Agorism, the Laissez-faire Marketplace

Laissez-faire noun \ˌle-ˌsā-ˈfer, ˌlā-, -ˌzā-\: a doctrine opposing governmental interference in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary for the maintenance of peace and property rights (Merriam Webster)

The Agora was the ancient Greek marketplace, literally, a gathering place.

Not only does the unregulated marketplace exist; it thrives in most areas of the world, and has for the history of mankind.  Journalist Robert Neurwirth discusses the informal economies of Nigeria and China in his book, Stealth of Nations, on his blog, and in this informative video.

The informal economy, agorism, isn’t just something that works well in other countries. We all participate when we shop at garage sales, hire babysitters, trade a cooked meal for a neighbor’s help in painting the house. Our kids get five bucks or video game time in return for cleaning their rooms. Nothing is more natural than trading without third-party interference.

Read more on the Lake Minnetonka Patch.

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Liberty Republicans Critical of Romney Statement He’d Keep in Place Parts of the ACA

For Immediate Release:

Liberty Republicans Critical of Romney Statement He’d Keep in Place Parts of the ACA

Romney’s statement confirms that the most significant debate in American politics is within the Republican Party

( – A widely-circulated AP story citing Mitt Romney’s comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to the effect that he “doesn’t plan to repeal all of [President] Obama’s signature health care plan” and “there are a number of initiatives he likes in the Affordable Care Act that he would keep” drew the following sharp criticism from Liberty Republicans who made up the majority of Minnesota delegation to the RNC and cast 33 of the state’s 40 delegate votes for Ron Paul.

“Romney’s statement that he intends to replace ObamaCare with his own plan validates the Liberty Republican position that the general election is simply a contest of ‘my big government is better than your big government,’” said Marianne Stebbins, chair of Minnesota delegation to the RNC. “The Liberty Republican position is a Republican president should be taking about how we move away from government plans to a free-market health care system, not cherry picking bits and pieces of one big government plan to create another big government plan.”

“Cherry-picking bits and pieces of ObamaCare as Romney does compromises the fundamental principle of individual liberty and endorses the un-republican and extra-constitutional notion that government has the authority and the ability to manage individual health care decisions,” Stebbins added.

“Romney’s position confirms what Liberty Republicans have been saying for some time: The most significant debate in American politics today is not between the Democrat and Republican candidates for President; the most significant debate in American politics today is taking place within the Republican Party,” said Craig Westover, a delegate to the RNC elected at the MNGOP state convention running openly as a “Ron Paul delegate.” “The most significant debate in American Politics is between a genuine belief in individual liberty and limited government and exploiting liberty and limited government as expedient talking points.”

“Democrats are saying they can manage the economy and individual lives better than the market and individuals can,” said Westover. “Republicans are arguing we can manage the economy and individual lives better than Democrats can. The facts are it is not a constitutional function of the President and Congress to manage the economy, and the President and Congress cannot effectively manage an economy determined by tens of millions of individuals making hundreds of millions individual choices every day.”

“Government power is like Tolkien’s One Ring that controls them all,” said Stebbins. “Romney believes that unlike an ‘evil’ Obama, he can use the absolute power of government to create a ‘good’ health care plan. Liberty Republicans know better. We know power corrupts. The Republican objective should not be winning the election so Romney can impose his idea of ‘good’ on the American people. A Republican Romney should be about winning the election so he can throw the One Ring of government power into the fire of the Constitution.”

“Many Liberty Republicans have committed to support the endorsed Republican candidate,” noted Westover, “but ‘loyal support’ includes making it known when the candidate drifts from republican principles. A Republican candidate should not be talking about replacing one government plan with another; a Republican candidate should be talking about replacing a government plan with a free market approach to health care that puts health care decisions in the hands of individuals and their doctors.”

“We live better when we live free,” said Stebbins. “Romney’s position of cherry-picking ObamaCare is nether living better nor living free. It is not a republican position.”


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“Live Free” Speech (Marianne Stebbins) at the Ron Paul “We Are the Future” Rally, Tampa, August 26, 2012

Five and a half years ago, throughout the state of Minnesota, something peculiar happened. Introverts and other nerds started crawling out of their parents’ basements to voluntarily make contact with unknown life forms, life forms who were luckily also introverts and a little nerdy. People who had never known each other started to talk, eventually started to meet. No, not just on forums and facebook, but in real, live person.

The Zombie Apocalypse, you ask? Even, better.  The word in the underground was that a most unusual man was to run for President. But, wait!  These people hated politics. A lot. The lying, the empty promises, the ever-encroaching government, distinctions without any difference, always two sides of the same coin.

So when word started circulating that a politician who dared to talk about forbidden topics such as the Federal Reserve and our inability to afford unconstitutional wars and, above all, had consistently upheld his oath to the Constitution, was going to run for the highest office, tens of thousands of people who had previously checked out of politics in disgust sat up and took notice.

Those early headwaters formed the streams and tributaries that formed the river, and when it all came together, we saw some modest political success in MN in 2008. But 2008 was not the end point. That message flowed stronger, farther and wider each year.

We used to joke about how we needed to clone Ron Paul.  We don’t joke about it anymore. We’ve done it. Where there was one man carrying the message alone, there are now many thousands, perhaps millions of us working together to spread the message that we live better when we live free. So where did these thousands and thousands of clones come from?

No, not all from their parents’ basements.  Someone, somewhere told each of them the truth, patiently and in small doses, and opened their eyes.


We will be hearing a lot this week about “our nation’s leaders.”

What are leaders? Our leaders are not in Congress or state legislatures.  Congressmen and Legislators are followers. They are representatives. They change their views to fit that of the population. Most of them.

The leaders are in urban neighborhoods, suburbs, rural townships. They are the ones discussing ideas with their co-workers, family and neighbors.

Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that, when an idea is held by less than 10% of society, its growth is slow and difficult, but when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society.  The leaders, in their neighborhoods, are those that get us that 10%.

We have been seeing the changes.  You’ve seen them in many ways locally.   We’ve seen the issue of the Federal Reserve quickly go from zero to 10%, then tip into overwhelming disapproval of that secretive body in the last few years.

We even saw the changes this week at the RNC.  While we were beat with the political stick in the Rules and Credentials Committees, there was acceptance of some of Ron Paul’s ideas on the Platform Committee, from sound monetary policy to a more secure, more humble foreign policy. The IDEAS are succeeding.  And, of course, there were still some areas like indefinite detention where we need to do more educating.

Our goal is not political power. Our goal is to live free, because we know that means we live better. Politics is something we do defensively, out of necessity. When political power becomes the goal, we have lost the mission.

In this movement, everyone has a different taste for their level of political involvement. For some that level is zero.  I understand.  Some in our movement believe we need to take over the party. I understand that too.  Some people think if we control the system, we can use it to our benefit.

Government power is like Tolkien’s One Ring that controls them all. Some Republicans think we can use power only for good. We know better. We know power corrupts. Our goal is not to win elections so we can impose on people our version of what is good. Our goal is to throw the One Ring into the fire of the constitution.

To even attain that goal, we must do as Ron Paul has sought to do and as he’s taught us.  We must change the hearts and minds of the population, of our neighbors.  The political end will follow.  If we focus only on the politics and try to force that system to fit our paradigm, but if the people are not ready, we will be disappointed.  However, as we work to change the hearts and minds of our neighbors, the politics will happen.


In Minnesota, where this year we won 80% of the national delegates to the RNC, we weren’t successful because we fired up the campaign last summer and worked hard. That too.  We were successful because we came together five years ago, networked, organized, began sharing the message of liberty with neighbors and co-workers, adding them to our networks, and have been working together ever since.

Were we working together on politics all this time? Not particularly. Some. We were also getting together for Austrian meetups – my friend Nik Ludwig is a fantastic Austrian evangelist and is now working on getting these meetups going all over the state. We were setting up ham radio clubs. We were buying and splitting sides of steer and bison. Drinking raw milk off our friends’ farms. We were helping each other with our businesses. If we weren’t networking in person, we were networking on Facebook. Because the overriding thing we had in common was that we wanted to live free. As Ron Paul says, freedom brings people together.


To continue the impressive progress of this movement, we practice living free, we network in our communities.

We trade with each other.  We work to be physically and mentally fit so that we are self-sufficient. We self-employ. Maybe we home school, but we teach our children to be self-sufficient and to live free.

We may run for our city council or township board, not to exercise political power, but to recapture liberty for ourselves and our neighbors. As candidates, we may campaign door to door on the merits of working things out as neighbors, relying on ourselves and each other instead of asking government to step in, because that makes us a stronger, safer community when we rely on each other. We teach as we campaign.


And we have encouraged liberty people in MN to run for local offices. Not to exercise political power, but to take back local and personal liberty. There may be only one inimitable Ron Paul, but some of these candidates might turn out to be reasonable facsimiles.  Some won’t. Some will get a high off the power and climb the ladder for its own sake. But some will stay humble and keep in their sights that the goal is to live free.

Each of us needs to always keep the principles of liberty in mind when supporting candidates. This movement is not about winning a single election. Regardless of who that person is, if they’re going in the wrong direction, we must never be afraid to call them out or even, if they continually fail to heed, drop our support. Some would call that being disloyal, but when a candidate is disloyal to our fundamental principles, we must first remain loyal to the principles.  Stay awake.

Ron Paul labored tirelessly for decades in obscurity, never wavering. He may not have foreseen the fruits of that dedication bringing us to that 10% tipping point, but we are just about there. There was no shortcut. Without that drudgery, he wouldn’t have earned the respect we have for him.

So stay true, stick together, stand strong for your principles. Share them at every opportunity, because YOU are a leader. Don’t settle. Live better. Live free.

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Rules Controversy Could Cost Romney Critical Support in General Election

For Immediate Release
August 30, 2012


Marianne Stebbins
Phone: 952-239-1007

Craig Westover
Phone: 612-309-1492

Rules Controversy Could Cost Romney Critical Support in General Election

“Defeating President Obama requires enthusiastic support of grassroot activists” saysMinnesota Delegation Chair Marianne Stebbins 

(Tampa) – Following a multi-state press conference at the Republican National Convention protesting RNC rule changes that would bind state delegates to future national conventions and give the RNC unprecidented power to change convention rules without a vote by national delegates, Minnesota Delegation Chair Marianne Stebbins issued the following statement.

“The controversy over the rules is not simply an interparty squabble,” said Stebbins. “It could cost Gov. Romney the election. There is no campaign without a healthy grassroots. And the grassroots are furious. I’ve received hundreds of emails and phone calls from all over Minnesota, and they are still coming in. Some say say they won’t work for Romney; others say they won’t vote him. Losing grassroots support — the volunteers that make a campaign go — could cost critical votes in critcial states and ultimately the election.”

“The rules controversy is a power grab that is at the at heart of the debate within the Republican Party. Gov. Romney is campaigning on decentralizing federal power and returning decison-making to the states, while within the Republican Party, the RNC is centralizing power and taking authority from the states. That’s a clear contradiction of the Republican Party’s fundamental principles. The idea that we live better when we live free applies inside the party as much as it does outside the party,” said Stebbins.

“At this point, we feel it is imperative that Gov. Romney use his power as the Republican Party candidate for President to instruct the RNC to use the power granted to it in revised rules and eliminate the controversial binding rule and immediately use the same power to strip itself of the authority to change party rules without approval of national delegates,” said Stebbins.

—– End —–
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Grassroots Vow to Stay and Fight

In the wake of the RNC Rules power grab, grassroots activists are vowing not to let the elites’ effort to push them out succeed.  The Rules Committee report came up for a vote before the Republican National Convention Tuesday afternoon following contentious pre-meetings, and was vigorously opposed on the convention floor.  (It was unclear whether they “ayes” or “nays” were in the majority, regardless of the Chairman’s ruling.)

Delegates from states spanning the map from Minnesota to Texas, California and Vermont have already been meeting to plan strategies to neutralize the chilling effects on the grassroots movement.

Expect to hear more as a wide variety of factions coalesce and plan for action.

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Republican Party Establishment Offers Compromise to Rules Proposal Stripping State Parties’ Authority to Choose Convention Delegates

For immediate release

Republican Party Establishment Offers Compromise to Rules Proposal Stripping State Parties’ Authority to Choose Convention Delegates

Minnesota Delegation Chair Marianne Stebbins calls compromise proposal a “Heads we win, tails you lose” offer to grassroots activists.

(Tampa) – In response to compromise position offered late Monday, August 27, in which the Romney campaign and GOP leaders ostensibly backed down from proposed rule changes effectively eliminating a state’s authority to select delegates to national Republican conventions, Minnesota Delegation Chair Marianne Stebbins noted that what is being played as a compromise is simply more slight-of-hand politics that betrays republican principles.

The proposed rule change pushed in the pre-convention Rules Committee meeting, August 24, by Romney campaign counsel Ben Ginsberg would grant the Republican National Committee — and Mitt Romney — sweeping new powers to amend the governing document of the GOP and allocate and bind state party delegates to presidential candidates based on state straw polls and give presidential campaigns final approval of delegate selections.

Under the compromise proposal, which will be voted on by the full GOP Convention on Tuesday, August 28, delegates who are bound by state law to a presidential candidate that hasn’t bowed out of the race or released his/her delegates must honor that commitment. Any vote for another candidate would be voided and the delegate would lose his or her delegate status.

“The compromise proposed by the RNC and Romney campaigns is a heads “Heads we win, tails you lose” offer to grassroots activists,” said Stebbins.

“The establishment/Romney campaign has offered a minimal compromise to the supporters of the Rules Committee Minority Report that leaves in place most of the objectionable power grabs of proposed new rules including the ability for the RNC to change the rules without convention approval (Rule 12). Meanwhile, support for the full Minority Report continues to grow as grassroots activists from across the nation – Ron Paul and non-Paul delegates — flood email inboxes with protests,” said Stebbins . “With Rule 12 in effect, there is nothing stopping the RNC from changing party rules after the convention and away from public scrutiny and effectively rescinding its publicly offered compromise or creating new rules that further reduces the grassroots effectiveness of the party,” said Stebbins.

Rule 12 requires a 75 percent vote of the RNC to make changes to party rules without a vote by delegates to a national convention. While 75 percent might seem like a high threshold, because the national party controls state funding, a little arm-twisting is all it takes for the national party to influence state RNC members.

“In the past the power of the purse has proven a powerful tool praty chairmen,” Stebbins added. “In the past, what party chaimen have wanted, party chairmen have gotten irrespective of the opinion of the grassroots.”

“I fail to see the difference between the rules proposed by the party establishment and the process they imply and the criticisms we make of the Democrats and President Obama buying votes by doling out federal benefits,” said Stebbins. “Clearly the party establishment and the Romney campaign’s attempt to strip state Republican parties of their authority to select delegates to national conventions is a violation of republican principles.”

Stebbins noted that minority reports coming out of the Rules Committee will also be presented to convention delegates on Tuesday that address the proposed new process for amending GOP convention rules (Rule 12).

“More states, not just states with a plurality or majority of Ron Paul delegates are seeing this move as the power grab by national party leadership and the Romney campaign that it is,” said Stebbins. “Many if not all members of the Minnesota delegation will reject the new rule and be voting in favor of minority reports that repeal the proposed rules.”

“If we are going to be the party that in the general election that seriously proposes reducing the size and scope of the federal government, then we ought to be running our party consistent with the same principles,” added Stebbins. “Rejecting consolidation of power in our own party makes the GOP a stronger party in the general election.”

—– End —–

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Rules Committee Compromise is No Deal

The establishment/Romney campaign has offered a minimal compromise to the supporters of the Rules Committee Minority Report which leaves in place most of the objectionable power grabs, namely the mandate to states to bind their delegates and the ability for the RNC to change the rules without convention approval.  Meanwhile, support for the full Minority Report continues to grow as grassroots activists across the nation flood email inboxes with protests.  Stay tuned…

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Minnesota Delegation Reacts to RNC Stripping State Parties’ Authority to Choose Convention Delegates

For Immediate Release
August 25, 2012

Minnesota Delegation Reacts to RNC Stripping State Parties’ Authority to Choose Convention Delegates

“Even non-Ron Paul Delegates see move as a ‘power grab’” says Delegation Chair Marianne Stebbins

(Tampa) – In response to the Republican National Convention Rules Committee action on Friday, Aug. 24, granting the Republican National Committee — and Mitt Romney — sweeping new powers to amend the governing document of the GOP and allocate and bind state party delegates to presidential candidates based on state straw polls and give presidential campaigns final approval of delegate selections, Minnesota Delegation Chair Marianne Stebbins issued these statements.

“Gov. Romney’s campaign counsel Ben Ginsberg in today’s Rules Committee meeting adopted an attitude toward Liberty Republicans that if you can’t beat them, then beat them with a stick,” said RNC Minnesota delegation chair Marianne Stebbins, who sits on the Rules Committee. “Mr. Ginsberg and the interests he represents made it clear today that Liberty Republicans and Tea Party Republicans are unwelcome guests at this party.”

The rules changes came as, at the same time in a room down the hall, the Credentials Committee was unseating the Ron Paul delegation elected at the Maine state convention.

Stebbins noted that during the Rules Committee meeting Mr. Ginsburg made numerous proposals from raising thresholds to nominate a candidate from the floor to requiring binding of state delegates and even approval of state delegates by national presidential campaigns. Mr. Ginsburg argued that his rules, effectively gutting grassroots and state party authority to choose delegates to national conventions, were necessary to provide the RNC and Romney campaign “flexibility” to adapt to changing political conditions.

“The ‘flexibility’ Mr. Ginsberg wants is centralizing party power in the party establishment in order to prevent the discussion of issues important to Americans but that might challenge party candidates,” said Stebbins.

“Loyalty to the party or a candidate is having the courage to tell them they are wrong when they propose policy that is contrary to small “r” republican principles and bad for the country. That’s best for party and country. Apparently, Mr. Ginsberg and the Romney camp do not want that annoyance. They would prefer to put tape over the Check Engine Light rather than heed its warning.”

“Even non-Ron Paul delegates and MNGOP party officials recognize the significance of the RNC actions goes beyond its direct effect on Liberty Republicans. It’s pure and simple a power grab by Romney forces,” Stebbins added.

Craig Westover, a former MNGOP communications director and a Ron Paul delegate to the RNC noted, “The Rules Committee action is why many Liberty Republicans don’t salivate when someone rings the unity bell and why we can’t give unequivocal support to Gov. Romney. If Gov. Romney can condone a power grab by the RNC, what’s to say he won’t initiate an Obama-like power grab by the federal government when he is President?”

“The real ‘battle for the soul of America’ is taking place within the Republican Party,” Westover noted. “Is the Republican Party going to be, like the Democratic Party, a power grab party or are we going to be a party that stands for what it says it stands for – individual liberty and constitutional government. When the Rules Committee essentially and arbitraily invalidates the Republican Party Constitution doesn’t bode well for liberty and constitutional government.”

“Liberty Republicans believe that Americans live better when they live free,” said Stebbins. “And when political parties live free they are stronger parties. I can’t fathom a Republican candidate for President that would support Mr. Ginsberg’s obvious contrary belief.”

—– End —–
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Message out of the RNC Rules Committee: Minorites Not Needed

Mr Ginsberg of the Romney campaign, fellow member of the Rules Committee, has put up amendment after amendment to stifle any hint of minority opinion over the morning and afternoon.  From raising thresholds to debate or nominate to requiring binding of state delegates and even approval of delegates by the campaign, Ginsberg makes it clear that certain elements of the party — and presumably their votes — are not welcome here.  His latest amendment apparently fatigued the body.  His proposal to raise the threshold of submitting a minority report from 25% to 40% failed.

Mr Ginsberg may be able to control his little fantasy world convention, but he is pushing away a growing movement of the independent liberty voter.

Ginsberg at RNC Rules Committee

Ginsberg at RNC Rules Committee

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Done. National delegate election process gutted.

All delegates to the national convention will be hereby and forever allocated and bound. Return to your couches with your potato chips.

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