Should we think globally, act locally? Or think locally, act locally?

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This graphic from the ACLU accompanies an important report about the rising use of surveillance by Uncle.

Last night I spoke to about a dozen people connected with the Libertarian Party of Southeast Tennessee or desiring to hear about local economy. I’ve recast my notes into two briefs worth your reading, and I will publish them here.

I’m not a flashy speaker and am not a quick thinker on my feet. So you didn’t miss much in not going.

To these happy few I suggested “local economy” is a concept to wrest the arguments for liberty out of a political vocabulary and give them a free market vocabulary among people who are bent on self-determination and unhappy with the tyrannies of Washington and Nashville.

Perhaps it was not a great idea to talk to a political gathering about an alternative argument that suggests my listeners pay little mind to presidential elections. Not wise, because the Libertarian candidate for president, Gary Johnson, is an honorable man with a noninterventionist and free market outlook whom I recommend to you.

Why say anything to take the tiny gust of wind out of the sails of local party, weak as it is? Any Christian or man of honor should not throw away his vote on either Mssrs. Romney or Obama. He should give his vote to a believer in constitutional government. That would be Mr. Johnson or Virgil Goode of the Constitution party.

The ‘trap’ of the national election

The question still hangs.  Was I committing a faux pas among my libertarian friends at their meeting? Was I abusing my office as speaker?

No, I decided afterward as we engaged in friendly banter around our scraped-clean Rib & Loin plates after our barbecued pork or chicken dinners. No, we are arguing the same point. The Libertarian argument is about freedom and the free market. It favors diminishing the power of legal and political authority to meddle in lawful decisions of private parties. Libertarianism seeks to win a greater movement of liberty for the individual, the family and the free enterprise. It seeks to reduce the movement of liberty enjoyed by regulators, tax-eaters, police, surveillance operators and the raft of bean counters and harrassers. They have too much power, the commoner too little.

Libertarians want to rectify that. Let’s stop electing the same problem again and again, they argue.

The savvy people at the meeting are way ahead of their churchgoing Republican friends who think Mr. Romney is a pro-family and pro-small business conservative. They know that there is no difference between the two faces put forward by the political establishment, the one Dan Smoot revealed in his 1962 book, The Invisible Government. They know neither pretty face will pull the government back from the brink of bankruptcy and avoid yet more needless foreign wars.

Libertarians are a knowing group. The chairman of the chapter, Maria Mitchell, is a homeschooling mom who keeps up an amazing chatter on Facebook, with innumerable links to articles and videos giving the lie to the establishment media narrative about the election being between a liberal and a conservative, and that the election is the “most important in our history as a nation,” blah blah blah. How can the establishment survive the onslaught of the tens of thousands of Mrs. Mitchells’ spreading doubt about any too-tidy official story?

Because libertarians see the trap of politics, they are willing to hear me out about local economy. For their condescension to my argument I am most grateful.

Local economy as an alternative framework to elections

I proposed that the defeat of statism is not politics, but the marketplace. I argued that local economy will buffer people in this one corner of the world, and that taking up the argument of local economy will strengthen the actual local economy because it appeals to all sorts of people who might disagree with me on pro-life, environmentalism or public education.

This website is a personal experiment in the argument of local economy. I believe in the argument as a Christian and a supporter of the free market and a free economy. Just as environmentalists who tend toward statism argue “Think globally, act locally,” my argument is “Think locally, act locally.”

And the acting is not in terms of any political party. It is in terms of Christian charity, private self-interest, self-government, lively multi-generational family ties, interpersonal commerce.

Politics, elections, corporate gamesmanship over pork contracts, “grant writing” projects for federal dough — these are empty activities that perpetuate the system that seems to rely on nothing but jawboning and brute force to keep itself atop the heap.