A personal message from Jim Babka and Perry Willis, Co-Founders of Downsize DC and Co-Creators of the Zero Aggression Project
Something exciting starts today — a new approach to social change. This new path has been TRANSFORMATIVE to us. We hope it will be for you, as well.
This message will…
- Describe the experiences that changed us
- Explain what you can gain from the Zero Aggression Project 3.0 (ZAP)
- Ask you to consider making this your main libertarian activity
- Start a countdown to close the ZAP Founders Committee
How we got here…
We have 50-man-years experience testing libertarian recruitment methods. Some worked, some didn’t, and then one day a switch flipped…
- We changed how we talked to people
- We reduced our use of practical arguments based on studies, statistics, and facts
- We made moral arguments instead
We used the Zero Aggression Principle (ZAP) — Don’t threaten or initiate force against others, or ask politicians to do it for you.
That changed EVERYTHING. People…
- Listened more
- Argued less
- Asked more questions
- Moved in our direction
We were stunned! This contradicted…
- Everything we “knew” about marketing
- The entire structure of the libertarian movement
- Marketing focuses on “What’s in it for me”
- We’re supposed to show how libertarian ideas can benefit people personally
We’ve always tried to do that. So does the whole libertarian movement. It’s a good approach, but it has two weaknesses…
- You have to persuade people one issue at a time
- The other side can do the same thing, using their own “social science” studies
This “War of Competing Benefits & Studies”…
- Consumes time
- Requires vast knowledge of many subjects
- Forces you to overcome the natural bias people have for their current beliefs
Could there be a better way?
- Just one argument could be effective on EVERY issue?
- That one argument was something people ALREADY AGREED with?
This is what we learned by making the Zero Aggression Principle our main argument…
- It’s super-powerful
- It applies to every issue
- People already obey the ZAP in their daily lives but make exceptions in politics
We started focusing on that last point in our conversations…
Why make an exception for government?
This even gave us a new way to counter “factual” claims…
“You have a study that says one thing. I have a study that says the opposite. Should I be able to use threats of violence to make you do things my way?”
And here’s what happens…
- People become less certain about State coercion
- This makes them less aggressive and argumentative
- They ask questions like, “How would such a society work?”
We began to wonder. Could we…
- Create an organization that uses the ZAP to persuade and recruit?
- Create software to help us make these arguments?
- Use that software to measure how people respond?
The result was a website with a host of new software tools. However…
We didn’t get it exactly right on the first attempt, or the second. But…
We think the third time’s the charm.
The Zero Aggression Project 3.0 hits close to the mark.
We’re eager to show you what we’ve done, but there’s one problem…
The site is HUGE.
There’s too much to see all at once. We think a more orderly unveiling will be more useful to you. So…
- We’re going to send you a series of messages which tell a story in reverse
- We’ll start at the end, with the kind of society we want to create
- Then work backwards, to show you how your involvement with the Zero Aggression Project helped create that society
- As we do this various parts of the site will be unveiled until you have the whole thing
As you follow this story-in-reverse, please consider…
- Making ZAP your main libertarian activity
- Joining the ZAP Founders Committee before it closes on April 30th
Founders will be listed on the ZAP website perpetually.
- Become a Founder. Donate using our secure web form
- Raise your listing on the roster by donating more (the names are ranked by size, cumulative)
- Your donations (to the Downsize DC Foundation, parent of the Zero Aggression Project) can be tax-deductible.
- And if you can give $2,000 or more right now, email us to learn how your donation can be matched, dollar-for-dollar.
You can take a quick tour of the site when you visit the contribution form. Some sections are already open, and some are behind a curtain, to be unveiled later.
Please stay tuned for the reverse story described above.
BTW — If you have libertarian friends who might be interested in ZAP, please forward this to them.
With high hopes for the future,
Jim Babka & Perry Willis
Co-creators, the Zero Aggression Project
P.S. Please note: The site is still under construction. PayPal and the printable contribution form are not yet set-up — these links don’t work. But we ARE accepting your contribution in all the other ways outlined on the secure contribution form.
I agree with the idea of having a strong ZAP-enforcement arm that is never allowed to initiate force (although I still call it NAP).
And I agree that it is Principle, not Utilitarian considerations, that is important.
But I long ago gave up the idea of persuading non-libertarians of the value of libertarianism. If you can do it, more power to you. My only desire is to get away from the Statists.
But one thing in particular bothers me. Suppose a man’s desire is to raise, say, cats, so that he can torture them? And what if his neighbor is so incensed by that behavior that he initiates Force against the cruel man? I know that the correct Principled response is to punish the second man and not harm the cruel man. It is just troubling. Have you encountered that thought before?
All moral principles have difficult cases Zack. We think the institution of the jury can deal with many of these problems, though no solution will ever be perfect. In this case I think it would be hard to get a jury to convict the person who defended the cats.
I am sure you are correct. My fear is that it would also be difficult to convict a person who defended Mohammed’s honor, say, or common decency by murdering a nudist. Once you have people being offended and getting away with Initiating Force because of offensive behavior (not defensive or retaliatory Force), all bets are off.
Zack, sorry but you’re still thinking like a statist. If your neighbor is torturing cats, tell everyone you know or whoever will listen, what is going on. What if this guy went to a restaurant and they wouldn’t serve him? What if the utility company cut off his electricity? And his water and gas? What if no supermarket would let him shop there? What if no one would allow him to set foot on their property? Perhaps he would see the error of his ways and stop it or at least move away and become someone else’s problem.
Shunning doesn’t work. I have been shunning Democrats for decades.
Many people are not affected by Shunning, for example the guy with a rich indulgent mother. In fact, if shunning is popular I can make my fortune by providing things like shopping services for those who a shunned. If some people shun a man, a Free Market will provide others who will cater to him.
I hope you did not think I was advocating Initiation of Force against these guys. On the contrary, I opposed those who use Force because they are offended – whether they are offended by Blasphemy or Nudity or Animal Cruelty. I opposed letting them get away with that use of Force by having juries let them off. How is that Statist?
Are monthly donations to DownsizeDC tax deductible?
Does it come under charitable donations?
EXCELLENT…So set me up with a $10.00/mo. tax deductible donation to help your cause.