The World Libertarian Agenda Workshop
by Michael Gilson De Lemos

Why are Libertarians trying to change things, 
what are Libertarians trying to do, 
and how are they trying to do it?

Looking at Libertarians explains Libertarianism, gives important clues to these questions. At the 2000 ISIL conference workshop on the world agenda, there were over 200 suggestions, with an additional several hundred ideas that were sent in by people who heard about the workshop. Yet there were no votes or formal declarations. Why? Isn't that what conferences on world matters do? No. Not here. Not any more. For there was a guiding principle of Rights, freedom, and voluntary action and association that everyone understood. Based on it people came up with ideas and action areas. Without any central or democratic organization, these ideas will be tested and implemented more certainly than under any other system. People see what makes sense, have begun already, not to order others, but self assign to their groups or themselves, and things are happening. The Libertarian mind-set, what one might call after Barbara Branden their psycho-epistemology, is based on a principle of action that generates its own way of managing, a specifically voluntary and Libertarian ethic of self-management that is directed, efficient, economic.

 It is what some Libertarian thinkers have called spontaneous, but more appropriately might be termed self-directed, order.  Were going to make this explicit, showing the considerable work that has been done, including under the blessings of LIO.  Here are some things that Libertarians, even before the final article was proofed for the post-conference distribution, have begun to do or were energized using this process:

  • Get political support for a Libertarian cultural area on First Nation reserves
  • Propose a contact group for political tips between Libertarian movements
  • A tour for Costa Rican Libertarian in US
  • A systems review of USA LP operations
  • An ingenious solution--by a new Libertarian who joined at the conference--to regulatory problems in small Libertarian communities
  • Discussion of improvements by a more positive formulation of Rights Theory
  • When a Libertarian UN or World party might be viable
  • Discussion of whether it makes sense to say: Libertarians advocate separation of Government and State
  • Commitments to further test the management models in this workshop 

Libertarians believe that the world is better place when organized proactively, solving foreseeable problems strictly using the concepts of natural rights and Liberty of voluntary arrangements.  They are committed to finding a way and seeing things through until things work and people are happy. They see Libertarianism as a great social invention, a clarifying insight that solves many seemingly conflicting problems by the simple discipline of voluntary action. And this means that Libertarians of necessity act differently. Distilling this ideal and bringing it to a laser-like focus is what this first workshop was about.

Before the workshop, I sat with the conference team in a problem solving session. Afterwards, I explained my observations of how they spontaneously tended to work differently from other ways of association typical in our society: Theory X (the stick) Theory Y (the carrot) and Theory Z (imposing a mixture of the two with proven insights). Libertarians simply did not order each other about, engage in endless feel-good votes and manipulations, or seek out a leader to tell them what to do. 

They in fact did not manage with reference to others primarily as to the guiding realities of the work, allowing instead divergent perceptions to work themselves out, and thinking ahead as much as possible, even in the simple matter of organizing a few key events for the conference. To some their actions might seem overkill, others anarchic underkill, and those waiting to be told will wait a long time.  They did this unconsciously, guided by the logic that if you must get along voluntarily, every social transaction must be anchored in reality and viewed as a toll, not something you just do because you were told or somebody voted. And you want no cost of re-inventing the wheel at every moment, or even blindly accepting there needs to be a wheel, either. The group:

  • Was led by a facilitator
  • People spontaneously sub-facilitated
  • It was OK to fail
  • Modeled what to do with a graphic map
  • Everyone frequently checked to see if everyone was on board or there were questions
  • A mechanism for ongoing checking to see if what was planned actually happened was set up
  • People who were in a minority view were encouraged to try out their proposals independently
  • There was continual attention to un-obvious and transaction costs of money, time, emotions
  • There were several run throughs to detect possible problems not evident with a mere conceptual discussion-- a mini "kanban" system for diners was refined; conference facilitators were identified with intentionally happy but visible gaudy Hawaiian shirts
  • People who might have personality conflicts were separated or agreed to work together
  • There was an ethic of "worthwhile work can be made fun ' by a discipline of thinking ahead mixed with honesty about unforeseen goof-ups. Common expressions: Let's ask! Let's give people a choice! Let's run it through! How do we reward it! So-and-so is working or owns that--let him or her work!
  • Questions that were asked again and again : Does this make sense? Is anyone not OK with this? Does this actually help the people we are trying to help on their terms?
  • A sense that things went in predictable stages that could be defined and adapted for further improvement so creativity didn't go into 100 tried directions, or people new to the process became discouraged by what was actually normal if up-and-down growth pains or processes. ("Remember, it's a step back before you go forward.")
  • Perhaps the most characteristic and signature behavior was this: when everyone agreed very quickly, someone would literally lean back to disagree and test the proposal!

While at first these might seem unique or exemplary behavior, this is actually a marked tendency to manage things in Libertarian ways. Libertarian or Libertarian influenced management thinkers have in fact refined these strategies as a correct way of approach advising Fortune 100 companies and are now bringing them back to the movement so the unconscious becomes conscious.

 Libertarians are concerned with how people manage knowledge as a group to stay reality-focused. Concepts widely discussed today, from continuous/quantum improvement to re-engineering to super-simplification of procedures to the very concept of a mini-micro-economics, or management system, were pioneered by people, well known among management consultants, such as Alexander Proudfoot, Carl Garlick, Steve Millen, Dr. Laurence Peter, Dr. Jim Lark, and myself, over many years. Valuable experiments have been done by Libertarian influenced groups such as Microsoft, FedEx, and Koch industries. Many ideas of Deming, Drucker and others were integrated; but the real insight is recognition that coercion as both a management and social style is auto-toxic, undermining what it claims to achieve. 

It is important to get clear that this Libertarian approach is literally and in every sense no accident. Libertarian groups that are not clear on this can be de-railed by contentious persons who typically import old habits of an anxious judgmentalism disconnected from the reality of teamwork that Libertarians are in fact potentially naturals at. Every libertarian has a story of a group that split over attempts to impose total agreement by hectoring instead of natural discussion, experimentation and assent; or in areas where total agreement was not desirable in the first place. These in turn generate opportunities to fixate on rococo issues of principle to conceal personal shortcomings. These are hangovers of the wider coercive culture of blame, shame, guilt (which I maintain are the true emotional legacy of Theories X, Y, Z) that are simply silly policies of action. 

People find these insights liberating. They catch on that we must get rid of the habits of approach of the wider coercive culture. Interest in group problem solving strategies is directly traceable to the questions on creative and focused thinking by people such as Barbara Branden and others. And it has flowed in the question-and-verify culture of Libertarians. As I prepared for the workshop and shared my observations over dinner with team members, they agreed--and disagreed, refining my observations and leaving both the conference facilitator and me with pages of notes. The core idea of the workshop is That's the Libertarian way--and it is hard to make libertarianism happen optimally without learning these skills or at least being aware of them. For these activities were generated by core ideas of: 

  • I have a right to grow myself first
  • I have a boundary of action and ownership
  • I must respect that boundary and get agreement
  • I must make allowances for differences and that people will disagree. That is a positive benefit.
  • What's the reality here? 

The workshop was an opportunity for Libertarian key activists from around the world to get familiar with these insights. They could look at some practical applications, and try out the Libertarian Theory U--instead of in the other three management approaches, getting one idea at a time approved by a clique, group, or leader, do the reverse. That is:  putting out hundreds of suggestions so all can see, let each take ownership and form teams, and let it happen with a simplified learning structure: a to-do list, so we keep track of what is being done, share information, highlight issues. 

 It is a frequent error of Libertarians to talk as if the "market" will solve everything, leading to the obvious objection that no market ever performed an appendectomy or anything complex. Enthusiasm by Libertarian economists and philosophers over the economy and macro-economy and how supply and demand in a non-coercive context solves many puzzling issues has unintentionally led to ignoring personal transaction, the mini-micro-economy, the actual philosophy of implementation. Indeed a general weakness of philosophy has been ignoring management, the philosophy per se of implementation. What good is a great idea that cannot be made to happen? Libertarianism actually happens in a great degree in the neglected economics of households, personal relations, and internal business operations. Which in fact form 90% of economic activity. Thus the greatest implicit critique by Libertarianism on most social science and political economy on which it is based is that they don't study most economic activity at all! 

Libertarianism is a wide-ranging approach to voluntary living. It is not a set of policy prescriptions alone. It is a powerful approach for de-coercing our lives in every arena; a positive approach to using rights to find natural and happy solutions daily concerns. This is why it has spilled over into issues of getting rid of out internal coercions and suppressions in psychology, creativity studies, compensation systems, family therapy strategies, personal wealth-building, quantum jumps in progress such as life-extension studies and space colonization, and a broad movement in home-schooling, and new insights as discussed in this conference from anthropology to knotty matters of philosophic equations. It is a liberating philosophy of getting things done in every venue by soliciting mutual co-operation and seeing the value of those who chose to be left alone or try the different, and thus a very wise one. 

In a profound way, the Libertarian political agenda is conceived as not an end-all, but simple basic housecleaning of the culture lag of the dark Ages, the unquestioned and socially poisonous habits built into our institutions. Here are some of the insights--themselves forming a checklist for good, non-coercive, management-- shared at the conference workshop and during the after-sessions. 

  • First, get clear on what is going on
  • Get clear on what we know and recurring issues we want to solve
  • Model strengths, goals, permanent solutions at low or diminishing cost
  • What is needed to oblige and support changes?
  • How to manage it? Are sure of what we have done?
  • How not to re-invent the wheel--or flat tire
  • How do we keep repeating the good?
  • When do we start?
To keep it organized, we focused in the workshop on the over-arching how-to task of growing Libertarianism itself, and invited each person to consider their own Libertarian group :

1. First, get clear on what is going on

  • We started by asking participants--and you should take a moment to do this also--to ask what Libertarianism was doing positively in their lives. And if they had a group, to look at where they were 5 years ago, where they were now, and where they hoped to be 5 years from now, along with suggestions about the world agenda. This focused participants away from concepts to making the concepts clear and workable, and was the foundation for generating suggestions in the next few weeks. Unsurprisingly, many came up with similar insights, and many with ideas very targeted to their situation. There was synergy: people who thought they were the only one found people with similar ideas quickly. There is power in writing it down: what are we trying to do, and how?
  • We shared how LIO is meant to embody this model U--it is an assistance group, has a suggestion driven agenda, and work is done by volunteers. It often catalyzes things by getting like-minded folks rapidly together, and is focused on helping remove obstacles and lower costs, not creating them.
  • A key idea was there was such a thing as Philosophy of Implementation, whose lack explains the trouble in getting great philosophies implemented. I have been doing a lot of work in this, it is a young thing, but the idea that people may be having difficulty or disagreeing on implementation because no one has a clue how to do it often explains seemingly intractable problems. Libertarianism informs our implementation Philosophy. We discussed how current approaches to getting things done--in schools, factories, play and thus, unsurprisingly, politics--are really variants of participative coercion. Libertarians say: that's not us. Are these coercions happening with the best of intentions when we try and get things done?

2. Get clear on what we know and recurring issues we want to solve
  • We brought attention to Libertarian weaknesses, based on a survey of Libertarians, in the movement. These were fairly obviously substantially driven by unclear goals, lack of memory of where we had been, and unintentionally coercive or ill thought out ways of doing things. Libertarians complained of tendencies among their fellows of arrogance, impatience, anger over societal injustice that spilled into what should be teamwork, not being pro-active while talking like techno-space cadets, going off half-cocked without really understanding or living the philosophy, and repeating mistakes because groups didn't learn from failures or successes well ("Our institutional memory…now where did we put it?"). One Libertarian summarized it as an ongoing problem of at times not letting fellow Libertarians be Libertarians.
  • At this point we began discussing some of the research findings  and models of LIO that are being tried. Key was the idea of the "Envelope' or that, given a certain understanding of our ideas in the population, by doing certain systematic things we could maximize their impact--an outer envelope of achievement before further cultural education that we often don't reach do to the aforementioned issues. We emphasized that a key tool of change is measurement, and some surprising findings from surveying and studying nearly every Libertarian group on Earth that could be expressed in easy to understand form. They were
    • At any given moment, the population is about 20% sympathetic to many Libertarian ideas; a moderately organized group can turn out 1% libertarians in a vote with spikes of 15% to a majority in favorable situations; core activists average 100 per million population of whom 5-10% are regularly active; and with good technique ( good systems, local activism, cultural activities and seminars, candidates) can spike to 300 per million population of a militant and therefore highly influential Libertarian Party or movement that seems to be the envelope short of renewed cultural education
    • Libertarian  party groups that did basic things, with the present level of currency of ideas in the culture (minimal)  averaged  1 Libertarian in public office per million population, even with unfavorable electoral laws
    • This did not improve unless highly specific activities to target offices occurred. These started with building membership to running massive numbers of candidates
    • Self-assignment of task social get togethers were highly effective in education, building members and getting things done; they showed by behavior what libertarianism was about and got people hooked.
    • No members, no candidates, no numbers
    • When set practices, such as had occurred in New Hampshire, were undertaken, the numbers after a discouraging period where momentum was built, suddenly quantum jumped to where 1/3 of the members were running for office elective or appointive, and Libertarians in office went to just around 30 per million
    • This supported and was supported dramatically other activities such as lobbying, education, and conferences
    • There was a phenomenon of local candidates out-polling national ones as there was no approach to integrate and make the different activities support each other
    • There were numerous such techniques that Libertarian groups tended not to focus on, and thus drifted away from success
    • In other words, there are set things that worked; but people not only did not realize this, but did not set up mechanisms to perpetuate them and so a new group would come in and start from  a blank page
    • Long term, all parties except Florida and Costa Rica were ignoring, and none at present had, an educational process (e.g. regular yearly high-school presentations) tied in (and it need not be done by the party itself) with the political candidate process. This is how the movement started, but this was being ignored in the daily political concerns. Certainly no measurement of such activity occurred, though where on occasion done seemed very promising
    • This does not constitute building on success and was in fact inimical to the Libertarian ethic. It was the source of recurring problems and many repetitive criticisms and debates by people who assumed that something was wrong with the people doing things, not the system of managing how things are done--let alone awareness of such a need.
  • In US, many of these system problems were the result of the need to consolidate growth, upgrade systems and keep participation and openness totally transparent. This also was beginning to affect our ideology, causing leftward and recently rightward drifts in how people conceptualized Libertarianism to themselves. To address this we brought attention to the model of NLT: new libertarian Thinking, the idea that the power of Libertarianism is as an approach to problems embodied by cooperatively asking people "Can we work out a voluntary, rights based, contractual, non-coercive group of solutions to the problem? Is the problem in fact the result of previously ignoring NLT solutions and knee-jerk jumping to coercive, one-size-fits-all ones? " This was needed to increase vigor but also was useful as a unifying, internal acculturation, educational, and persuasive tool. Politicians in other parties were in fact being converted to Libertarian approaches when it was presented as the habit of looking for a non-coercive solution first. Consistent use of  "The Question" is very powerful. The Libertarian platform then became a list of known approaches that worked. And Libertarian practice --way of putting that immediately to work. 

3. Model strengths, goals, permanent solutions at low or diminishing cost

  • We looked at the fact that there are 2 types of global goals; things that can be done conjointly, such as a policy towards UN excesses or interchange of information among activists, and things each group can do locally from a global awareness, such as learning about Libertarian solutions in other countries to advance those same ones locally ("They have private roads that work great in Outer Kreplachia")
  • One concept  attendees praised was the ALTER concept of how long term change must occur. First, Acceptance of the "L" word, familiarity by the public that there is a thing such as Libertarians, and they are not to be confused with Librarians, and they are nice people. Next, the long 'reverse march' through institutions so people realize we are contributing and permanent members of the socio-political Landscape (Thus Hugh Downs, the famous US "journalist of the century", comment that " Most of the good ideas are coming from the Libertarians." We can have that in every country from Nauru to China. Finally, realizing that we are involved in a process of transitional measures, Social Evolution as these occur, and thus growing Revolution. One powerful concept is to transcend some of these minarchist-anarchist discussions with the idea of a social approval of legal Libertarian Cultural Areas to perfect and educate on Libertarian ideas. Libertarianism can be presented as creating not an untried program but areas of non-coercive stability in the true anarchy of society, where 2 million laws are in fact no law, and a million conflicting and coerced government plans are in fact no plan, let alone a self-plan.  From The Question we can then readily ask: How do we model it? Who wants it? What choices or foreseeable issues does it address? How can it be done cheaply, high quality, low cost, even free? How do we keep it natural, not something that defeats itself?
  • From these perspectives, again from a LIO survey, we were in a better position to appreciate out libertarian strengths: that when we let libertarians be libertarians, we are an agreeable and effective combination of disciplined principle and easy-going attitudes; that we combine insights from all walks of work. In fact, as a worker in Florida pointed out to me, we are what the communists claimed to be, but were prevented from being by their urge to coerce all to be one: the only party on earth where unself-consciously as we saw right there in the workshop, distinguished philosophers and millionaires work equably and easily with workers and craftsman. We can build on strength, that is our way; not focus and harp on weaknesses; that is the subconscious reaction of the surrounding culture. In 30 years of growth we in fact do have considerable experience to highlight and draw upon; we are a growing world community based on the insight of non-coercion; and we are learning, not just to discuss, but live Libertarianism.

4. What is needed to oblige and support changes?

  • There is a joke in the movement that we are world experts in re-inventing the flat tire, that Libertarian Groups often run their budgets and affairs at times like social Security and other government errors we rightly criticize.  As I like to say, philosophy begins in wonder, it is a tragedy if it remains there. What do these jokes mean? It means that there is a disconnect in how we implement our philosophy; a general lack of recognition of structures worth repeating means we leave vulnerable to criticism from the ignorant those who intuitively get it right. Enough is enough. There is a general recognition that while one can be on the learning curve, building a condo there to live is nuts. One time struggle with error is drama, twice it is tragedy, the third and forth it is comedy becoming farce. So let us make this issue personal and change this.

  • LIO began by surveying Libertarians on what they saw as areas of opportunity. How do we support change, make it happen, keep it happening? There were some striking themes. They included:
    • Criticism is good. But let's make official the ethic of reforming problems in our minds as opportunities. That is after all what we are asking society to do.
    • Let's catalog basic distinctions and create mechanisms to train people on them: campaign versus operational knowledge, for example.
    • Let's perpetuate but expand good ideas: e.g. the USA LP Success campaign seminars--extend to sister countries?
    • Let's encourage piloting different ideas
    • Let's realize that are issues as a movement are not unique: they are part of growing up, again as we so often say in other contexts like how boom and busts work
    • We need a simplified educational process; our platform is unwieldy; how do we streamline to different needs?
    • How about a master to-do list or idea bank, and a resource bank of proven procedures, and expect and make easy their use
    • If we model our Libertarian life in the movement, won't that make our educational task easier?
  • To address this we have two sets of LIO models, the first about how libertarian groups grow, the second more about Theory U. The first is the Iron Triangle (graphic). The idea here is that it is useful to realize many people tend to fall into 3 archetypes of thinker, handlers, doers. People in other  words do indeed fall along the common categories of takers, sales types, and people who focus on getting things done. 

What is not realized is that groups develop also along those modes, from membership clubs to businesses. They have an initial concept stage that attracts thinkers, and subsequent implementation and expansion stage that attracts the other types. A strong organization takes account of all three, and does not hesitate to spin off groups or structure itself so different styles are put to strong use instead of getting in each other's way. It is very typical, for example, for companies to grow from en entrepreneur to an organized to administrative stage--and then back again as new opportunities arise, And it follows that when folks do not know this, they come in conflict and confuse differing styles with substantive problems. This is an insight not only from Libertarianism to the world, but to ourselves. Consider the graphic: how many useless discussions come from not seeing that the movement starts in each country and locality with a conference and discussion phase, to political organizing that attracts very different people. And, thus, broadens into a movement which in turn affords new opportunities for both theoretical ideas and practical improvement of society?

The Iron Triangle means accepting that a stable Libertarian movement must express all this: it must have think tanks, party action, and a larger movement of education and informal fellowship or it cannot address everyone's needs. It will leave many unconvinced and find it cannot support its successes if it focuses on one area. If we survey our movement we see in some countries with influential think tanks operating dangerously in a vacuum of public understanding, or party groups disconnected from the think tanks that feed them or a movement to create new prospects. In building a Libertarian movement in general, the think tank is the seed, the movement the soil and the party the fruiting tree that generates new seeds. No seeds, No soil, dead tree. Soil, tree, no seed, no fruit. A tree with neither soil nor seed has neither ground nor purpose.  Finally, this division of labor allows many things to occur that for legal or structural reasons might not otherwise occur. A Libertarian Party need not even run candidates to be significant: it could create petitions of tactical non-voters, confronting the system. But as we say be flexible, so we must give thought to not only structure, but how it can be used. Many find this model a very valuable starting point for discussion. Costa Rica immediately divided itself this way, and there is something for diverse personalities. Differing people, working apart, yet support each other, instead of getting in confusion by a mixed up structure of undifferentiated belonging with which we so often criticize the present system.

  • Many people found this all tied together with our 7 step growth model for Libertarian groups. If you come away with nothing else than that we grow in stages and can build on this is specific ways, you have got a lot. Libertarian groups evolve from a few people in a living room ("5 guys in a living room") in an uncomprehending society, passing to networking groups and study circles, think tanks and conferences, political groups and Civic Unions to a militant, iron triangle Party with a specific plan and successorship, to thus, using our ALTER idea, promoting and setting conditions for eventual Libertarian Areas to by holes "Swiss Cheese" coercive society from within. This model comprehends and shows the logic of every strategy of Libertarian change one is likely to hear, as most strategic tend to focus on one stage of the process, often to a person's personality predilections in the Iron triangle model. Each stage has characteristic activities--translations, OPH Booths and so on--and also characteristic numbers of how many of what ever you are measuring per million. While one should certainly take advantage of opportunities, one must account for each stage, grow the organization. At each stage the leaders, like good Theory U thinkers, must, to grow, let go and let the new people they have worked so hard to attract do what they know how to do. And the model is very fruitful to discuss in your group: it is a broad road map for strategic growth, where the detail is provided by what must be done consonant with local conditions, such as financial restrictions on political parties. This is a basic system to make change occur, and in which you can work with your team to develop recipes and procedures to make sure things are done, over and over and over again, that successfully educate people on Libertarianism. And not just by precept, but as you see by example as an organization as well.

5. How to manage it? Are sure of what we have done?

Certain things kept in mind make management easy. We have learned the first of getting everybody's  ideas down, self-assigning, realizing that there is a natural structure for groups that we can understand so it works for us or ignore so it works against us. And encouraging people to express their thoughts, devise non-coercive projects and build on what is shown to work is very Libertarian, in fact nothing more than the scientific method brought to social process.  Here are two models that help immensely. 

  • First, the KAB model. Understand that learning itself is a structured process. There is a period of formal knowledge, a process of testing, comfort, assimilation that varies enormously from person to person, and a need to structure the environment to structure Behavior so it will succeed in realizing whatever this knowledge involves. All three are required to have a plan and a program and to actually understand a subject. Otherwise you have a dream and are back to being the wondering philosopher again. . The Fact that you know in theory the knowledge of how to be physically fit does not make you Charles Atlas overnight. And if you do not  structure your environment accordingly, keeping sweets out of sight and so forth, means the fact is not Reality. As Libertarians we want to both self-educate and educate the world. We are happy to enlighten the next fellow on the great virtue of Liberty. But what sort of teacher expels the student who does not immediately learn or keeps a disorderly schoolhouse or hard to follow books? 



    Always keep the KAB model in your head. Ask: Did we define the thing? Are we making assimilation possible? Are we supporting what we are trying to accomplish. Often an honest look shows the answer is--no. Strange action by the other fellow is often the result  of a disconnect along these lines. As people learn and groups grow, expect plateauing. Things do go up a bit, flatten out or even go back, and then as assimilation occurs there is a quantum jump in to a new plateau. As this happens don't get discouraged. It is normal. Many panicky government attacks on the free-market are due to people not realizing that change occurs continuously, quantum jumps, than goes backwards as things consolidate. This is actually what process is, what is sometimes called dialectic change. It's like the old joke: I consider, you are slow, he is a back stabbing heartless idiot. And don't forget personalities. Is a thinker enmeshed in a doer's job? This KAB is a real tool for improving communication, allowing time for people to change, and simple realism.

  • Next, a simple system for managing things goes a long way. We are talking about a way of tracking our inputs (money, ideas, resources, people) how we process, and what comes out (candidates, conferences).  Start be getting everyone involved, starting from your agenda list, to set up plans, review them regularly highlighting where they are ahead or behind, and measuring what happens to see what you have learned. This can get pretty complex, but in most situations  It's Pareto's law,  a simple list that everyone agrees to in the theory U spirit get 90% of what you need done, done. Doing this a bit goes a long way. This is actually a very serious step when you start doing this. Because are society has a philosophy where theory and practice are not only disconnected but also presumed to war against each other, people can get quite suspicious of this and may have a hard time sticking to it. Fine. That is part of the KAB process. Good things take time. Focus on a few priorities, 'work backwards" by imagining what steps you have to take to get there, and try and get one important thing done every other day, just one. The progress will soon be amazing. Don't worry if you have a backlog of things that must be done. People join in the hope of something to do: a wide array of mutually supporting projects will not disappoint you will "turbo-charge" your to-do list by making sure you regularly highlight problems and opportunities.

6. How not to re-invent the wheel--or flat tire

  • Libertarians want a non-coercive society. They have learned all government functions can be privatized to everything from companies, consumer groups, trusts and community volunteers. They know that many government tasks backfire and should not be done at all. They realize that we are living in a time of culture lag, that many social restrictions are really versions of old religious laws created in a fanatical time. They understand that by organizing things around the Liberty of our rights on a voluntary basis, not only or problems prevented, but they are highlighted. We are forced to foresee and account for them, and study there root causes--which generally, Libertarians have found, are created by the coercive approaches to begin with. 
People can learn to use this, instead of the false solution of shifting the costs of the problem on some out of favor group. Figure out a way to voluntarily help the poor, even cure poverty, and you solve the problem. Steal from Peter to pay Paul and back again, and you not only do not cure it, you subtly and insidiously expand it. It's quite an insight, in fact a new social invention  that makes government as commonly understood, and its whole social milieu, obsolete, an idea whose time has gone. "Coercion is dumb. Think Voluntary" say Libertarians. Coercion is the first and last refuge of learned incompetence.

The Nolan Chart of political philosophies summarizes this insight. All philosophies are a little Libertarian--why not the real thing? But a new philosophy creates a new way of doing. The commonly received Theories X,Y, and Z that are widely used by management thinkers and define much discussion are in fact management reflections of those political views. A command, "stick" management of authority makes sense to a society where there is rule by coercive elites. In the accompanying graphic, there is the interesting correspondence of these approaches. 

Theory U has been tested by US companies and is used by those such as Microsoft.  Yet they do not last as the political culture is against it. What is interesting is that in the early French Revolution they almost hit on this self-assignment approach. People were asked what they thought should be done; the thousands of ideas collected in Les Cahiers de France and promptly ignored by the power-crazed revolutionaries. As world Libertarians we can manage Libertarianism in a Libertarian way--and by example show and develop the conditions of desirable social and political change.

  • A very key idea in change is Best Practices or the idea of looking around at other groups to see what they are doing right and copy without shame and improve and adapt. Before you start a newsletter and campaign or seminar, what are others doing? Who is doing best in managing resources? What is interesting is people often do not realize how terrific what they do is in comparison to what is happening. You are not interested in the most expensive or lush. You are constantly interested in what does the job best for less and less. LIO surveyed many Libertarian groups in all countries, and encourages groups to perform their own surveys and compare notes.  Here are some key things:
  •  1. Call your group Libertarian and associate everything you do with that in a positive way. Libertarian is our world brand. You don't know the Christian without the crucifix in pocket. If there is local confusion on the term, change that perception.
     2. Good groups recruit members always as potential activists ( not necessarily political ) and candidates
     3. The leadership and key members know what is being done cold, and encourage simple management systems that are easily duplicated. They are into the self-assignment philosophy and recruit genial older members too arbitrate and prevent conflicts
     4. They have an OPH or sign-up booth with literature and Nolan tests at every event, however small, including protests or meetings they co-sponsor
     5. Members hand out literature at every opportunity, they have outreach people, their candidates knock on doors in their campaigns
     6. They worry about where they will be long term, and reach out to youth
     7. If you suggest it, find someone to do it; new members are immediately given a task that they are interested in
     8. The leaders see their main job as keeping obstacles to a minimum, keeping track of projects so things work in concert and praising, praising, thanking. They don't tell or assume, they ask
     9. When in doubt, have a dinner party of information seminar at the library
    10. They talk to sister groups and the opposition. Many good prospects are first rabidly against Libertarianism, not realizing it is the sure means to their goals.

7. How do we keep repeating the good?

  • The wise man neglects nothing that may further his destiny, beginning with realizing that to be a little wiser is to have your destiny made clear. If you wonder why some idiot isn't doing the painfully obvious, that is the Universe's gentle way of alerting you that you, in fact, are that idiot. And effectiveness often boils down to repeating the proven. Simply recognizing there is a good to repeat is a major step. In the workshop one tool we discussed was how in Florida they have begun using these ideas to cut factionalism, improve understanding, and get things done. Dubbed the IMP--Improvement Management Process--program. While discussing the concepts we've touched on in the workshop, they asked and got nearly 600 improvement suggestions from members, set up teams to pilot suggestions and look for no cost ways of doing things, and set up a to-do list and suggestion system to keep things flowing. They  set about correcting potentially fatal errors in their data processing, looking at how they ran campaigns, and cutting newsletter costs while turning it into an outreach document. The idea was to make this a tool owned by the members, and change officer's roles into facilitators there to help remove obstacles. The effect was dramatic. Where like typical non-profit groups, they spent entire meetings debating the size of paper clips, they encouraged groups doing hundreds of things while keeping an eye to making timely correction. The vocabulary of the Party there became more focused, and they were better able to get the message across. Libertarians were winning elections with over 100,000 votes, the totals rivaling national candidates, as they set up long-term plans.
  • LIO has some set tools to help this. Along with the IMP, it encourages cross-national internships in political action, a sister-program between US and non--US parties run by the activists, keeps lists of promising ideas it tries to match to activists. It's "yenta' catalyst-assistance posture is exemplified by its website, that has many resources so one can see what the movement is doing and get activist and other resources in a handy place--and which is now being imitated. It  is working to set up a conference on Libertarian management standards--including for privatized government function. For, surprise, with all we have heard of planning and all the wars fought, no management standards exist to assess whether what happens is good or bad--indeed, they are technically illegal in many government programs. Examples: prohibitions against open information, understandable management accounting, prohibition of management responsibility and legal accountability via sovereign immunity, and success conditions.
  • As the workshop ended, we focused on the great tool that it was a workshop--a Libertarian one, where we were seeing ways to change the vocabulary. While we discussed an agenda and management process, it is clear it is the framework of a social process: non-coercive, learning to build naturally, allowing targeted self-assignments. Libertarianism, by showing ways to improve how we manage our daily lives, become in action more skilled and in attitude better people. And, also, create a more attractive and participatory group.

8. When do we start?

There is a lot of talk on the sociology of knowledge and the structure of revolutions, but it maintains dead end ideas characteristic of a coercive culture. What kind of knowledge maintains knowledge is impossible or suspect, that revolution is really perpetuating the establishment by reformist criticism? What sort of philosophy has no thoughts on implementation? Socialism, anarchism, the Old Libertarianism, all foundered because you had people who had no theory of management and implementation, that childishly believe that, faced with a meal they cannot digest or eat, progress is made by shifting things on the plate.

We have learned some ideas here. Too many ideas, as there is a lot to come back to and absorb, Which is at it should be: what you have here is a toolkit, and you have learned that it is there and tools are needed to do the Libertarian job.

The movement in the US started with 5 guys in a living room. Each Libertarian group starts this way. In communicating what this is about to your growing group or summarizing it in your mind, here is what you have you did not have when you began

  • Your suggestions and ideas written down of what the agenda is, what Libertarianism means to you
  • Recognize that groups grow in identifiable stages
  • Don't confuse personalities or stages with philosophic conflicts
  • KAB--and to grow, let go
  • Theory U: get the ideas out, self-assign, model communicate as a specifically libertarian way
  • A model for your group, and some number benchmarks to help you know what to shoot for
  • The Iron triangle idea as a tool
  • Don't confuse management with anything else; campaigns, education
  • Start dreaming today: other Libertarians have learned about this, set up a preliminary agenda, and there is a vocabulary you can use--in a world movement, you are not alone
  • One day at a time
One last thing about Theory U and the greatest three resources of the global Libertarian Action Network:

1. You
2. You and
3. You

Libertarianism is about you, and that is what people are delighted to learn when you tell them. We are told this is the era of self-limitation and obedience. Libertarians say no, that the idea of freedom liberates us. It's a very basic, simple idea that liberates us for new opportunities. Libertarians want to help people self-change with their questions and insights because 6000 years of coercion is enough. And the Libertarian Party is about attending to sharing that recognition. At the end of the day you understand your rights a bit better, get along with others more patiently, and are more aware of how groups really work, and handle things more sensibly. That's one party worth attending.


1. A Libertarian UN party or action group
2. An international manual, issues list
3. Knowledge transfer
4. Advisors across borders
5. Joint action discussion

Mutual help
1. Knowledge transfer, technical and management, standard activist training process, cross-national fund-raising
2. Translation help, permanent funds for interns across borders
3. Long term visits by international activists
4. Libertarian heritage in each country
5. International magazine

1. Native peoples
2. Libertarian zones to show what works
3. International youth, Unions, consumer groups
4. International calendar and conference team
5. Cultural protection

We need
1. Better back-up of Libertarian positions: data, studies, numbers
2. Examples of Libertarian ideas at work and disseminate information across borders 
3. International Objectivism courses and Libertarian courses
4. Way of setting up field representatives for pay in new countries
5. World guideline platform and bibliography, support for anthropology from Libertarian view, more demonstration projects

1. (Mary Lou Gutscher's) Seminar idea for business--would like in our country
2. LIO website-27 suggestions to make more useful
3. Regular communication activists to activist and by Party Leaders internationally
4. Regular UN rep to keep an eye and attend conferences
5. Tie in conferences to locality like upcoming Bastiat conference

Issues to work on
1. We need a theory of minimal or no state
2. We need better theory of rights
3. We need more ideas on taxless society
4. We need working conferences like this in our country
5. Helping third world Libertarian groups

What we liked about the workshop was
1. Clarify ideas and personal goals
2. Good to see people thinking about these things--I thought I was alone
3. Toolbox of many concepts--send us copies of your slides
4. Tried out NLT; it  is very persuasive in discussion
5. Growth model, tools very portable, like idea of getting opinions out and then discuss

Check out... 

*The Libertarian International Organization (LIO) LIO is an assistance network for rights activists worldwide. Site has growing number of useful Links and Projects.

* MG will be facilitating a " Global Workshop on the Libertarian Agenda " sponsored by the International Society for Individual Liberty and LIO. Please Press "Speakers" at

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