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August 23, 2006

The Revolution Can’t Be Politically Managed

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch…
This year, as last year, August is strategy-and-tactics month — a time when we explain what we are doing and why. Here’s the latest installment . . .

The student of history would have to willingly ignore obvious facts to miss the truth: politically managed economies don’t work. Entrepreneurial ownership, consumer choice, and prices do a much better job of producing and allocating goods and services.

This is how the world works. The regimes that have ignored these facts have destroyed their economies and massacred their people. Now we know.

But there’s a corollary here. Many of the very people who understand that political management doesn’t work for national economies somehow believe that it will work for building a movement to shrink government. And so we are obsessed with finding a way to elect the right people to work our will in Congress. We somehow believe that the “revolution” can be politically managed, even though nothing else can be.

Alas, no matter how many times we change the cast of characters who politically manage our political parties, and no matter how many times we replace one member of Congress with another, we still don’t seem to get what we want.

I’d love to report that there are DC Downsizers in Congress. Instead, I’m hard-pressed to name any. None of them will, for example, out of the goodness of their heart and the purity of good intention, sponsor a bill that could, if passed, restrict the big spending ways of Congress, like, for example, the Read the Bills Act.

This isn’t because we elect the wrong people, although we almost certainly do that on a regular basis. It’s because we’re using the wrong system — operating in the wrong environment. The people we elect to run our political parties and Congress are simply doing what people do in a politically managed environment.

The social revolution we want to achieve can’t be politically managed. It must be built by entrepreneurial organizations like, and by changing the system and the environment in which public policy is made.

How do you transform the political environment?

I used to believe we had to bravely soldier-on through repeated electoral defeats, and that someday, shomehow, we’d win; but no more. I want to have my ideas heard by everyone, everywhere, everyday, without being dismissed because ideological labels, partisan triabalism, and constant failure at the polls makes people close their ears and shut-down their minds.

Likewise, I don’t want to waste any more time trying to politically manage my preferred political party to do the right things. I want to be entrepreneurial, not political.

So I don’t want to care anymore who my Congressman is, or what party he belongs to. Instead, I want to make him care about what I want. I can do that by making him hear my desires everywhere, everyday, and by building an army of supporters to make him feel relentless, inescapable, mind-numbing pressure to Downsize DC.

And I no longer want my Congressman to work in a system that encourages government growth. Instead, I want to force him to operate in a system that retards government growth, through things like the “Read the Bills Act,” the “Write the Laws Act,” and the coming “One Subject at a Time Act.”

And isn’t that what you want?

Can grow so large that it can spread its ideas to everyone, everywhere, everyday? Can it build an army to exert relentless, inescapable, mind-numbing pressure on Congress? Can it make Congress change the rules by which it operates?

Well, that’s up to you. We’re having a decent month of fundraising. Our monthly goal is $14,000. Thanks to increasing micro and macro monthly credit-card pledges we’ll start September with $4,290 of that in secure income. But we must make up the difference with one-time contributions.

So far this month, counting pledges, we’ve raised $10,055. A $4,000 contribution would get us to our budget goal for the month of August, so too would four $1,000 contributions or sixteen $250 contributions or forty $100 contributions.

But we have a longer-term goal. After we know we have a secure base of monthly support at $14,000, we can begin to invest a heavy percentage of any income above that on outreach and marketing — working toward the day when our message is heard by everyone, everywhere, everyday, and building our army as a result.

And when we know we’ve got $14,000 pledged to come in every single month, we’ll also launch the “One Subject at a Time Act” (OSTA). Please, become a monthly credit-card macro-pledger ($10, $15, $25, $35, $50 or more), a monthly credit-card micro-pledger ($3, $4, $5, $6, $7, $8, or $9), or a one-time donor at $76 or more.

If you can make one of these investments in what we’re doing then we’ll include your name (unless you indicate you want privacy) on a roster of “Legislative Sponsors” on the soon-to-be-created OSTA page on our website. You’ll be listed based on the size of your gift — pledgers are computed at the 12-month value of their support. The donor of the largest amount gets the “John Hancock line” — the top slot on the list. Click here to get your name on top of the list.

Can this entreprenurial vision of Downsizing DC really result in a change in the political environment?

We can’t centrally plan a string of electoral victories and insure that our winners truly represent our will. We can’t centrally plan every aspect of the social revolution we hope to achieve. But we can bob-and-weave our way to our objectives in entrepreneurial fashion if we’ll focus on changing the behavior rather than the personalities. How soon we succeed is up to you.

Thanks for being a DC Downsizer,

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

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