August 26, 2011
Set the Terms of Debate
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day: "Government welfare programs -- if they should exist at all -- should be limited to helping those who really need assistance. They should be safety nets, not dragnets that capture everyone." -- Mark Skousen, Econopower, page 55

Congress remains out of session until after Labor Day. That gives us time to sharpen our minds and our arguments.

Frequently, we let our Statist opponents frame the debate. They choose the terms, and we fight on their ground.

In this message, you'll obtain TWO, cutting edge, persuasion concepts. You'll be able to use these whether you're debating or writing a letter to the editor.

But first, you should know how these concepts come to you. 

The Downsize DC Team works on two projects, both of which publish content to this Downsizer-Dispatch newsletter.

Both entities are legally required to serve an "educational" purpose. But in order to retain its status as the recipient of tax-deductible contributions, the Foundation must be careful about appearing to choose a side in current political disputes. The primary project of the Downsize DC Foundation is a blog. 

At this website, we're going beyond the volatile and episodic news cycle. Here, we're supplying more timeless tools. With archive labels like, Your Freedom, Your Brain, and Our Lexicon, you can see that this site is about HELPING YOU be a more effective activist and spokesman for our mutual DC Downsizing cause.

The blog is still young; less than a year old. Our burning passion in this early stage is correcting the defective way people think about The State.  

The State is more likely to do harm than good. You and I lose many social benefits when we starve the "voluntary sector" for the sake of The State.

The "voluntary sector?" Well, that brings us to the two concepts promised earlier, both of which are written by Downsize DC Vice President, Perry Willis.  

1) What is the "voluntary sector?" It's important to understand the differerence between the Voluntary Sector and the Coercive State.

Perry Willis, writes...

People constantly use these terms...

  • The Public Sector
  • The Private Sector

I want to argue that these terms are deceptive and cause mischief in the mind.

I think we should stop using them entirely, and instead depict the distinction in the following way:

"The Voluntary Sector vs. The Coercive State."

Here's why...

* The word "public" is mostly used when referring to anything involving The State.
* The word "private" is always used in reference to the rest of society.
* But does this really make sense?

We encourage you to read the rest of Mr. Willis' article at the Downsize DC Foundation blog.

2) Statists speak of a social safety net. How mean is someone who opposes that? Well, what if it was a dragnet? 

Perry Willis writes...

What politicians call a "social safety net," isn't. It's a dragnet.

* A safety net would only catch people when they fall, but...
* A dragnet entangles everyone, even when they don't need aid

Warren Buffet qualifies for Social Security and Medicare. Is Warren falling? Does he need help? Of course not. Why then have the politicians created dragnet programs that provide benefits to people like him, and to millions of others who don't need assistance?

One thing is clear -- dragnet programs give politicians vast power, foster dependence, and create huge constituencies that will fight to preserve such programs.

We encourage you to read the rest of Mr. Willis' article at the Downsize DC Foundation blog.

If you gained something from either or both of these articles, please consider doing one or two things.

First, tell someone else about the article. Send them the link and EXPLAIN WHY you valued it. Encourage them to sign up for a subscription to the Downsizer-Dispatch.

Second, please consider putting a little something in the "tip jar." Our ability to provide this blog is tied to your financial support. And remember, your contribution or monthly pledge is tax-deductible, if you itemize.

With your contribution, please leave a comment telling us what you liked most about either essay, or how you plan to use what you've learned.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer,

Jim Babka
Downsize DC Foundation

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