I have lived in many places across this country and debated lots of people alone or in front of friends and coworkers and actually managed to turn many self-avowed socialists into Federalists who would agree that we should have Libertarians run the Federal government without changing their core socialist beliefs; here is how you do it:
First, the goal is to convert or persuade not to destroy. Clear visions of Conan from your mind, it’s not “To crush your enemy and see them driven before you!” while this is good, it’s not the goal. Each person who would stand and debate you will stand and debate others so they are the target; once persuaded to join your ideology they will work to convert others.
With the goal of persuasion in your heart you must realize that you are not their opponent; much the same as Aikido is the martial art of redirecting the incoming force of your opponent, thus putting them off balance and with a fluid twist and pivot the wall or the floor become their enemy. When argued correctly Federalism is the Aikido of the political debate; chances are that if you value the 10th amendment you are a Federalist.
You must detach yourself from domestic issues; that’s the left-right debate and as a 10th’er or Federalist we are interested in the Progressive-Federalist debate which is entirely different. For example, I’m a Libertarian and I debate a Socialist; he says “Don’t you think we should have a social safety net for the poor and disadvantaged?” I respond “Sure, I think every State that wants to have social programs should have the opportunity; it’s too bad they can’t though. The Federal government takes so much from the people in taxes that States who really want to do good for the people are unable. We have to rely on Federal programs that are inefficient and wasteful. Not to mention the dangers of consolidating all that power in one place. According to the U.S. Constitution it’s the States who have the authority to make social programs not the Federal government. You do believe in the U.S. Constitution don’t you?”
At this point in the conversation you will notice the incoming attack has been deflected and I now hold them off balance and extended in a direction they did not expect. There are several choices available to him or her and this is where you find out if they are a socialist or a progressive. A real socialist will now have questions and start to talk about the difference between State and Federal government where you can move into topics covered by Madison and Jefferson whereas a progressive will start to insist that all social programs must be Federal.
The Progressive will continue the attack, and provide you with enough energy for the really embarrassing event to follow. Hopefully at this point you have people that are watching this conversation because the Progressive is your ideological opposite and will take years of conversations to turn; the more people watching the better.
The socialist and humanitarian façade starts to fade; you have unmasked them as you say things like “So you don’t believe that I should be able to find a State with like-minded Libertarians and live in peace? You think we should all live under your rules?” They are at this point unable to hide their real intentions which are to control people. Trust me, this looks really bad in a group situation. The more energy they put into insisting everyone live under their rules the more people are drawn to your position of choice, diversity of opinion and freedom to vote with your feet. This is the pivot and throw of political Aikido and the Progressive will find the floor or the wall is their enemy.
If you are interested; live in New Hampshire or Massachusetts and can get a group of 10 or more people and would like me to demonstrate some of these concepts to you and your friends please contact me, and let’s arrange a time to meet. Currently I attend a local 912 weekly meet up in Amherst NH; you may also join us there.
I have also written a paper called “What went wrong with our Republic” that will illustrate many of the core arguments essential to Federalism and will help you to deflect and redirect many arguments that might catch you flat-footed; I am including a link to it here.
cross-posted from the New Hampshire Tenth Amendment Center