Mental Lever Page Description

Mental Levers are mini-articles. They answer key questions and present important libertarian and voluntaryist ideas in bite-size chunks that are easy to share. They are grouped in the following Collections:

How much should you respect individual conscience?

Conscience
Individual conscience must be respected at all times.
Thomas Jefferson said it was sinful to make a man fund what his conscience hates. This should be a universal principle.

  • If a man hates a war, must he support it?
  • If a woman is offended by the teachings at “government” schools, must she pay for them?

Are you willing to be the armed person who shows up at their door to collect, or do you want to be the kind of person who respects individual conscience in all things?

Do you favor initiated force to impose your preferences, or empathy-motivated Zero Aggression. If you choose the latter, sign-up below.

Perry Willis

About the Author

Perry Willis

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Perry Willis is the co-founder of the Zero Aggression Project and Downsize DC. He was the National Director of the Libertarian National Committee on two occasions, and ran two Libertarian Party presidential campaigns. He has an extensive background in marketing and fundraising, and has ghost written direct mail appeals for numerous luminaries, including Karl Hess, Ron Paul, Charlton Heston and Harry Browne.

Jim Babka

About the Author

Jim Babka

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Jim Babka is co-founder of the Zero Aggression Project and President of DownsizeDC.org, Inc. He’s an author and former talk show host.
Previously, he was the President of RealCampaignReform.org, Inc., defending free press rights all the way to the Supreme Court. He and Susie are the proud, home-schooling parents of three teenagers. He enjoys theology, UFC, target practice, and Tai Chi.

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  1. Thomas Jefferson also hated the idea of patents, but he became the first head of the patent office, because having someone with his sentiments would ensure that patents were only granted with great circumspection. Point being, that Thomas Jefferson not only funded what he hated, he also lead the office.
    I have always leaned toward libertarianism. But, truly, how is it that we would get anything done using “empathy” as a constant yardstick? I can empathize with someone whilst completely disagreeing with them on how to solve the problem at hand. Ultimately, decisions have to come down to a vote–and not everyone will agree (just as Thomas Jefferson didn’t agree with patents). And if those who dissent are allowed to live outside the law, then we don’t really have laws–we have suggestions. And how do you govern a country like this? Especially, when people have extremely wide ranging moral compasses.
    I don’t know. I’m extremely frustrated by my government. I believe we have become a fascist state, but I need a more real/practical answer than “empathy” and “conscience.” Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great starting place, but I don’t know how that translates into actionable change. And when I have sent friends here for practical answers to their questions about libertarianism, these “mental levers” have not helped.
    And, no, I don’t want to be the person who “respects individual conscience in all things.’ Because, to me, some people ‘s conscience’s are twisted. Or maybe you think mine is twisted. Which is why decisions based on a majority vote is a good idea. The problem comes in when the votes are cast by corrupt, self-serving politicians. And when lobbyists and corporations have more political power than citizens. So frustrating!
    I will continue to vote for libertarianesque candidates like Ron Paul, but this “Zero Agression” — “Mental Lever” thing isn’t helping me define myself or libertarianism.

    1. Hi Lisa. More Metnal Levers will be added over time. Rome was not built in day. We will have more and more answers to the practical questions that trouble you and others. These first few are just a beginning.
      Implicit in your comments it the idea that we all need to submit to one solution for any given problem. But the part of our society that works best — the Voluntary Sector — does not work this way. It works by offering a multitude of competing solutions. We need that too for most of the problems that government attempts to solve. Seen in this way there is no need for a majority to impose a preferred solution on everyone.
      Government itself should be limited to purely defensive functions — primarily police and courts, with verdicts being controlled entirely by juries. Our laws should be limited to statutes against force and fraud, rather than trying to dictate every little detail of our lives. This is the kind of government that widespread acceptance of the Zero Aggression Principle would give us.
      I hope that you will continue to interact with us so that you can learn more about this subject. If you do I think you will find the intellectual journey to be well worth taking.

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