About Us

We are Agenda Setters by Downsize DC.

What is Downsize DC? How are we “Agenda Setters?”

Downsize DC is primarily focused on reversing the criminalization trend. More things than ever are crimes and more crimes than ever are federal. Probably every person in America violates some law on an almost daily basis. Downsize DC wants to reverse this trend. This goal requires setting a new agenda for Congress. As Agenda Setters we have powerful new tactics designed to achieve that.

The United States has about 5% of the world’s population, yet roughly 25% of the world’s prison population. Are we really the land of the free?

The politicians have created a lot of phony crimes. What actually constitutes a crime?

  1. Real crime always has an identifiable human victim. So, for example, mere possession of a thing cannot be a crime.
  2. The damages to the victim are physical or financial in nature – not mere feelings or opinions. A particular act might be “disgusting” to many people, but that doesn’t mean it’s a crime.
  3. Only victims (their guardians or heirs) should actually be seeking redress. Government is a service – merely a set of tools. No one owes The State anything, and there is no “debt to pay society.”
  4. The victim (or their advocates) should be able to both articulate and demonstrate, to a jury, that they have compensable damages.

Any situation that lacks these four factors cannot be an actual crime, and no Senator can make it so. Absent these four things there might still be an issue for two or more parties to resolve, but there is no role for The State in that dispute.

As if that’s not enough, federal politicians have gotten deeply involved in roles that were, per the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, reserved to the various states and individuals. The politicians have made matters worse, not better. Downsize DC will also utilize the argument of limited, enumerated constitutional powers to argue against any federal role in crime, even in those cases where a victim has been created.

OUR MISSION: We seek to dramatically reduce the role of both the justice system and prisons in the lives of Americans.

We’ll know we’re succeeding if the prison population declines.

We will pursue legalization and decriminalization efforts. And for those already ensnared in our “justice system,” we shall seek reforms that would permit them to become happy and productive members of society. This article outlines our priorities: Five Ways the Federal Government Contributes to Mass Incarceration.

Downsize DC is secondarily interested in government procedures. Congress passes too many laws – so many, in fact, that they cannot even read most of them. Unelected bureaucrats get in on the act too. They hand down legislation without representation. That’s why…

We are (historically) best-known for our Downsize DC Agenda – which includes the Read the Bills Act, the Write the Laws Act, and especially the One Subject at a Time Act, HR 2240 reintroduced by Russ Fulcher [R-ID]. We’ve not seen any other organization with ingenious, high-leverage concepts like these, so we continue to offer these transpartisan solutions.

Agenda Setters are determined to see specific, prioritized bills passed. They refuse to succumb to the whims of the moment, where the media (with help from incumbent politicians) sets the political agenda (see: Agenda Setting Theory).

Some Advocates (people who use our Action System to send letters and make phone calls on behalf of an issue or piece of legislation) transform into Agenda Setters by pledging to be one of 300 people to visit their congressional office in person.

But no Agenda Setter wastes their time! Using a trick called Option Activism, these Agenda Setters don’t make these visits until there are 300 people who have likewise committed to join them. Even then, they go in groups of three, five, and six people at a time. Waves of Agenda Setters add to the pressure of Advocate letters and phone calls.

Our Philosophy

We’re motivated by the following philosophical approaches…

The Principle of Human Respect – To the degree that individuals refrain from the initiation of force against other persons or their property, and do all they have agreed to do, then human happiness, harmony, and prosperity will flourish.

This is a conditional statement, much like a scientific law. It’s a principle in the sense that the input leads to a clear set of predictable results.

The ZAP (Zero Aggression Principle) – No one wants threats and violence used against them. Therefore, it is always wrong to initiate force against other persons, either personally or by asking politicians and police to do it for you.

This is a moral principle, a firm place to stand ethically.

The State (“government“) is actually an abstraction. Abstractions cannot act; people do. The State is made up of people, none of whom can violate these principles without consequence. Yet the State, as classically defined, is as an institution that claims the moral authority to initiate coercive force to achieve “social” goals. That’s why we like to say…

ZAP the State and have a nice day!

Our Team

Board of Directors: Gary Nolan (Chair – Missouri), Jim Babka (Ohio), Rick Wiggins (North Carolina)

Corporate Officers: Jim Babka, President; Linda Slack, Treasurer

Staff: Kandy Cowling, Office Manager; Perry Willis, Writer & Strategist; Ben Bachrach, Site Manager & Programmer; Lisa Talcott, Production Assistant

Support Team: Landon Cahow, Webmaster; Rick Wiggins, Server Manager; Randy Garbin, Graphics; Susanne DiPuccio, Office Assistant

Corporate Matters

Agenda Setters by Downsize DC = DownsizeDC.org, Inc. a 501(c)(4) public education non-profit registered in Virginia and operating in Ohio at…

872 Mark Dr.
Akron, OH 44313

Downsize DC accepts no government funding. We are funded entirely through the generosity of many donors. In 2019…

  • 46% of our funding came from one-time donations.
  • 54% of our funding came from monthly pledgers. Our smallest monthly pledges are $1, while our largest pledges were $148 and $250 per month. Our average monthly pledge was $17.

For more information about our budget, we seriously recommend you become a subscriber to our email newsletter. Newsletter subscribers know that we’re quite open about our budget need and progress, and that we constantly demonstrate what we’re accomplishing.

DownsizeDC.org, Inc. shares offices, staff, and other resources, including client information, with Downsize DC Foundation (home of the Zero Aggression Project – Board Chair, Kent White). See our Privacy Policy & Terms of Use for details.

Downsize DC President, Jim Babka, is employed with The Advocates for Self-Government and serves as an advisor to other libertarian projects.

Legal Counsel: William J. Olson, PC