The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Serving Our Cuase--Responsible Leadership

The Libertarian Party of Wisconsin like any successful enterprise will only succeed or fail on the vision, competence, eloquence, and example of its leaders. Some people lead naturally, born to it. Some learn through doing it and lead just as well. Either way, the quality of any business comes from people willing to take charge, work as part of a team, share credit for success and accept the ultimate responsibility if anything goes wrong. Leaders lead by learning, both the positive and the negative lessons.

Party members often tell a joke that goes, “Leading libertarians is like herding cats.” The punch line, as we know, is the impossible effort to give cats direction, unless they are following their hunger. For anti-statist individuals, participation in an institution contradicts an instinct of many libertarians who believe in a natural law of liberty and want to live free of coercion or a collective consent of others, particularly from institutions over which she or he has diminishing control (government, of course, being the prime example). That even brings another joke about the philosophy of libertarianism and the state of liberty in society. “How many libertarians does it take to change a light bulb?” Answer: “None. They think it will be done by an unseen hand.”

The problem with leadership in the libertarianism starts in a “pure ideal” of why we need a world of liberty, one where any institution or even a libertarian party slows a natural existence of individual freedom and personal responsibility. Also, the pure philosophy might abhor the practical reason of why we have a political party based on individual liberty and personal responsibility. We join for different reasons, but a libertarian party fights for the conditions where free minds and free-markets can naturally create peace and prosperity.

For forty years in its existence the Libertarian Party shows only marginal success at the election polls, with the possible exception of local community, county, cooperative and school boards. On a positive note, the Libertarian Party keeps our common cause alive, keeps voters and office holders at all levels of government office more honest to liberty in the republic than otherwise could be the case. And, the Libertarian Party chips away little by little at the wall of ignorance and apathy in people who by preoccupation with family, work, etc. forget that they ARE citizens and that they must be responsible more than anyone for keeping their own liberty and freedom intact.

For the lack of full pews, however, the Libertarian Party cannot always preach to the choir and keep the faith in the faithful. Despair comes to those who wait for answers. In politics, as in life, one has to know the right question(s) to ask. Sometimes, a “Gospel of Liberty” must be shown, and not told, to others on outside afraid to look inward. The question could be in our case, “How would a Libertarian Party function best to remain pure in principle while achieving practical results of restoring a republic of liberty?”

There might be a mistake in libertarian organizations copying the successful political parties who themselves became the corruption they sought to replace. Merely copying the structures, hierarchies, methods, and forms of the ruling mega-party do not fit what a libertarian organization could, should and would ideally become in order to remain pure in its essence and successful toward its goals. Whether libertarian organizations peel into mass marketing, death by committee, stove piping lines of accountability and responsibility, or puts ambition before performance in rank, these old ways do not really fit what a party of individuals, and smarter than average individuals, can create that effectively runs a party less like a government bureaucracy and more like a profitable and reasonably efficient enterprise.

Libertarians need to create a participatory party system with less rigid procedures while keeping the accountability and guidance intact. A libertarian society would empower individual citizens taking initiative to care for their own interest best, mostly empowering by not killing positive initiative and enthusiasm. The flexible “almost non-organization” that can spread the gospel of liberty works with all the membership, the officers, the representatives, the committees, the volunteers and the affiliates and their supporters, becoming the leaders among family and friends, co-workers and neighbors by showing, not preaching, how libertarianism is lived.

LIBERTY MUST BE LIVED TO BE KEPT ALIVE. In that way, liberty as practice and libertarianism as philosophy grow stronger, in all ways—in members, resources, volunteers AND VOTES. With that example, in the home, at work, among friends, or by acts of leadership through voluntary choice in their community, libertarianism stays pure and becomes practical politics as well, if directed toward supporting Libertarian Party candidates and supporting libertarian positions on legislation and policy.

As said in the beginning, some naturally lead well; others learn from the pain of wisdom. Most often, those paths cross. Managing things in an organization (the business details for example) are simple. It just takes the minimum commitment to perform the necessary duties. Success in any enterprise comes from maximum effort used smart and with experience.

Leading in the way described, if not natural, can be nurtured. Everyone can lead somehow if trained and empowered by the identification of talent, teaching skill sets, finding the tools, and given guidance and initiative to pursue their enthusiasm. Leadership is easy to understand. At a minimum, and as always done best by example in new enterprises, the minimum requirement necessary for success is to DO THE WORK. Liberty in the world depends on it. It depends on you!

It might be necessary to look at some important, broader issues a libertarian party should consider before going further toward the goal (whatever the goal is set to be). Unfortunately, some of this gets a little sad and negative but informs better the need for a positive solution stated above. If, as libertarian political parties adopt the trappings, systems, work methods, and even political fund raising like the major parties, (albeit donations are still important; but money equaling the Megaparty treasuries is not as important if libertarians function with the leadership strengths as explained), the Libertarian Party and the liberty movement in general would repeat the cycle it is trying to break.

The very real practical fear for a party based on purist philosophy OR uncompromising pragmatism, is that an ideological revolution, inside or outside the organization, eats its own children as surely as the French and Russian revolutions destroyed those people that started them (and other ones as well). It would happen no less to or within a libertarian party or organization as it did happen to France's Third Estate or Russia's Left SRs.

The Founding Fathers of America, with time to make the right choices in a period of relative calm and settling, understood the need for limited, but stable government. Hence a loyal opposition needed opportunity to achieve power by some set of normative, acceptable, non-violent rules that all must follow. Even in the Federalists writings, while not described as parties, “factions” of different interests were expected, and in ways even encouraged, in the new American Republic. The factions were meant to provide a balance between and within the various governmental and non-governmental institutions in the Union. A fact in point, Hamilton, the primary real leader of the constitutional revolution, who wrote most eloquently about factions, was himself murdered by a leader of the opposing faction.

These examples take extreme ends but the lessons should nonetheless be generally instructive. Division in purpose or personality in any organization breeds pessimism and discontent. Negativity and non-cooperation destroys enthusiasm. Worst of all for any libertarian organization, arguments between purity and pragmatism defeat the means before the ends ever become reality.

The true lesson here? It is right to be principled, but pragmatism is acceptable and can be practical to the extent of reaching the common good for the common cause. Implacable, hostile, or resentful resistance to other views, even to the less pure ideas or more pragmatic ones on any side, leave no room for compromise. The general point can be summed up with the phrase: “Mutually assured destruction” if either of the extremes, purism or pragmatism, do not meet in the middle. And compromise between individuals within civilization, no less than within a political party or a mass organization, is necessary to prevent the inevitable end of all fanaticism with power: The destruction of both self and others.

In a society that seeks to maintain peace and prosperity for all, the loyal opposition, on both sides of the divide, must be kept satisfied with the trappings of power, namely respect and dignity for their beliefs to be voiced (even if wrong), and especially an opportunity within an agreed set of limited rules to achieve the “shackles of power.” Without the necessary conditions for both peace and prosperity to benefit from the balance of power provided by the factions of interest and factions of influence, politics fails to perform its absolute function in Natural Law: The guarantee of individual and collective liberty, freedom, justice, and citizenship for everyone and anyone, in peace with plenty.

Without the minimum guarantee existing for practical compromise, extremist tendencies for suicidal and homicidal solutions will destroy everyone in the name of purity or pragmatism. In that case, there is no hope on earth for a libertarian society to exist for anyone. The guiding principle for libertarianism must be: Liberty and justice for all, for the minority and the majority, and all the dissidents on every extreme.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

St. Croix Valley Liberty Beacons Volume 6--Tim Peterson on "Why I'm Glad to Be a Libertarian"

Wisconsin libertarian activist Timothy Peterson of Oconomowoc, speaks to the St. Croix Valley Liberty Rally in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, on March 14, 1999. His speech, "Why I'm Glad to Be a Libertarian." St. Croix Valley Liberty Beacons is a PiK. Media production of a Tim Krenz Film, presented by The Cepia Club LLC.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Facts and the Fate of Freedom

Sub Terra Vita
By Scipio Cepiacanus
April 11, 2010, Sunday, 6 PM

The Facts and the Fate of Freedom


Yesterday's Libertarian Party of Wisconsin (LPWI) convention in Oconomowoc was a great success. It was well-attended (at one count half-way through the speakers) by over 53 people. It was fun and informative, and full of fascinating fellowship with other distinct individuals who pursue their own small “l” libertarianism.

What does “libertarianism” mean in the broader philosophy and in the principles by which we live? One definition easy to understand, is that libertarianism is in essence the “Liberty to live our own lives; and to allow liberty to let others live their own lives without harm from others.” Libertarianism is just the long “smart”-word for the oldest form of law in our civilization. That law is, “Free-will that chooses to respect the rights of others in order to preserve our own.” Liberty to live is NOT license-to-kill, cheat, steal or oppress others. In fact, one of liberty's first tenets, like in medicine, is to “first do no harm, and help if you can without reward.”

Anyone with an advantage in any way can use such natural or unnatural power— size, strength, wealth, or weapons—to do unto others whatever they like, no matter the cost. They COULD, but it is the natural order of the freedom to be free by allowing EVERYONE the liberty to be fulfilled and safe in person and property. Unless everyone has those same rights, no one will have any liberty in the end. Liberty as a natural order of things, of the natural laws to self-ownership, also means one thing as the incontestable rule of civilization: If we break the natural law of liberty, in such ways as to harm other people or defraud them of their own property or right of choices, by violence or threats of violence, the law breakers must face the consequences. And the punishments in natural law are the loss of one's own liberty by due process.

In the similar line of a law of natural rights, only a person's peers formed into what Anglo-Saxon law calls a Jury can judge the innocence or degree of guilt, AND the punishments accorded, of a breaker of the law.

The discussion of the nature of liberty, and the forms it takes in a modern political-economic system, was the general theme of the convention. The process of how jurors in the system of law by rule of law determine the FACTS of a case was the summary of Barry Hammarback's speech at the April 10, 2010 LPWI convention, a speech appropriately entitled, “Fact Based Legislation.”

My friend and colleague, Mr. Barry Hammarback, is an attorney-at-law who practices in River Falls, WI, a large Pierce County city in the St. Croix Valley of Western Wisconsin that is also home to the University of Wisconsin—River Falls. Mr. Hammarback's speech looks at the statistical numbers involved in the issues like a discerning economist, or a mathematician who can see the flaws in logic, or physicist who uses numbers to prove scientifically the existence of the objective possibilities in a universe. In short, like the accomplished trial lawyer he is, Mr. Hammarback uses the numbers to show the frauds attempted by special interests and government in their political-economic policies.

Without digging into the statistics Mr. Hammarback presented in his words and on his visual presentation graphics here in this essay (STAY ATTENTIVE TO SEE THE VIDEO TO BE AVAILABLE ON AND IN A FEW WEEKS FROM THIS WRITING), Mr. Hammarback looks at the number of deaths caused since September 11, 2001 by international guerrilla-terrorism in Wisconsin and the United States, numbers which pale by a towering and undeniable number of deaths caused in that time by influenza, and not only influenza, the common flu, but by specific means of people not washing their hands with soap who spread the virus.

Next, Mr. Hammarback showed the amount of money spent on fighting terrorism inside the United States and even more narrowly in Wisconsin via its state and local legislation—ie, the use of taxpayer dollars fighting the scourge of Wisconsin's terrorism crisis. In the most damning verification of the misguided use of special interest and fear politics, Mr. Hammarback lowers the boom when he shows how little money is spent to prevent astronomical amount of deaths via the lack of washing hands (even by doctors) that cause most influenza deaths. Plain and simple, the numbers don't lie. Like all science, it is true only, or at least mostly, if it can be expressed and understood in numbers.

In addition to the wasted Wisconsin—and Federal—taxes due to fighting internal and external terrorism, Mr. Hammarback received a resounding applause when he mentioned the theft of personal liberties by such legislation passed in the US Congress and Wisconsin's very own State House and local boards designed to protect us from, terrorism. The dispute of the war against guerrilla-terrorists is not necessary here to develop or examine. But the numbers spent on internal security vs. disease prevented, the cost of lives lost to terror or that could be saved by hand soap, stagger belief. Little money is spent on plain old preventive hand soap, that can save one hundred times the lives lost every year to terrorism in Wisconsin and even the United States.

Further Mr. Hammarback has more logic and reason on his side in the numbers than just using fear of terrorism to manipulate and mismanage domestic spending inside Wisconsin. His numbers on what it would cost to use a smaller amount of money—compared to that spent “fighting” terrorism in Wisconsin—to buy plain old hand soap and invest in protective equipment (and a little promotion of common sense and safety awareness) also points out the contradictions in the new American national health care system. How much cheaper would medical costs be in total if more influenza were prevented by a-dollar-a-week purchase of plain old hand soap for each person.

Again, this is no place to debate the question of Wisconsin's commitment to support national security policy as it relates to the wars world-wide fighting guerrilla-terrorism. That could be another essay entirely, no matter what one's viewpoint, where debate and balanced analysis could be used to support similar arguments on guns vs. soap, internationally.

As far as the speech “Fact-Based Legislation,” regarding Wisconsin's legislature, Mr. Hammarback's analysis is solid. There are certainly other things, plain bad political-economic policies, where the facts, in numbers, can explain where legislation made in Wisconsin and in the United States Federal Government just DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. As in a trial, decisions should be made on facts. As a jury, we cannot dispute the facts but we can contradict the law if the law is in error, in error by trying to use force or fraud or contradict the natural law of liberty for all. Part of that natural law is theft of property by taxation or theft of liberty in order to protect us from things out of proportion to the expense required.

For a country where civic responsibilities like jury duty is a moral obligation, and a mandatory duty, to saving our freedom and preserving our way of life, we expect to hear more good common sense from Mr. Barry Hammarback. Watch his speech to be posted on and and on .

Finding the Common Ground

Sub Terra Vita
By Scipio Cepiacanus
April 10, 2010—3:54 PM.

Finding the Common Ground

WIBA-Madison/Milwaukee radio host,, Vicki McKenna, just gave our Libertarian Party convention a great pep talk trying to have a good dialogue between opposing view points. When I talked to her in private before her speech over a soda water and soda pop in the lounge, Ms. McKenna and I took the identical position that each side in a debate has its fanatics that just cannot discuss matters affecting our common interest with humane respect. Indeed, even if someone might not connect on another person's political views or convictions, or even their religious beliefs, what is the harm of a great many people sitting down to have a cup of coffee over a butterscotch muffin. It is all about finding what makes us the same in the great concerns that makes “good” neighbors.

We are all trying to fight internal emptiness and loneliness and the fear of death and suffering of those we love and for them we belief we cannot survive if they were gone. In our private discussion over the soda and my cigarettes, Ms. McKenna is a kindred spirit to what I believe is essential for building a better neighborhood, a richer community, a more prosperous people, and perhaps a more peaceful world: Finding out that we are more similar than different; and that at least in logic, reason, fact-based dialogue, and respect for our persons AND any unreconciled opposing viewpoints.

Where is the dialogue and the “community issues” dinner table where we live—the home place around us at a moment in time? Unless we find that willingness as an entire humanity, we really are in trouble. But if we can suspend our disbelief and suspicion of each other, and finally sit at the great dinner table of the common ground in the common place, we as a humanity might not save all that we could lose anyway, but we can help each person, friend, neighbor or stranger find their path to what they really want to do and be: LIVE BETTER LIVES; and treat each other as we would want to be treated.


At the Libertarian Convention—Part I

Sub Terra Vita
By Scipio Cepiacanus
April 10, 2009

At the Libertarian Convention—Part I
2:20 PM

I'm here at the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin annual convention in Oconomowoc, WI. The morning board meeting, and then the membership meeting that followed took care of business. It looks like I and my fellow committee members on the Business Committee have taken on a lot work for the next month to follow up on fixing problems or proposing action that was discussed. As a group, we recognized flaws in our management of information, dissipation of resources, lack of focused communications—both within and without the Party, and our need for leadership. Both the morning meetings were well attended.

Following the luncheon buffet here at the beautiful Olympia Resort, our convention's home base this year, we heard a speech by, the 2008 US Vice Presidential candidate for the LPUSA, and a person of great business success, who is running for National Party chairperson. Mr. Root said his focus as chair would be on fund raising and personnel training at ever level of our organization. It is all to be directed at marketing and sales efforts. While Mr. Root is obviously a success at the level of success he has achieved in Las Vegas as an entrepreneur, I was too timid and shy to ask my question: “Politics is even more basic than local politics; IT is based on personal relationships. How do we succeed in tapping the personal message on a vote-by-vote basis in our neighborhood?”

After Mr. Root's speech, the first of six great shirts the Treasury Committee made for a limited-edition collector's auction for this sole convention sold for $40. Our attendance for the speaking events, with the admission-fees we assessed, has brought us to over fifty people at last count.

And now, seeing the good results of some great team efforts, Yuri Maltsev of the von Mises Institute is talking about micro-economy and how a true free-market (like I've told friends, a free-market is a garage sale or a lemonade stand), how more freely made contracts without government manipulation or even less manipulation, would better serve a nation of liberty. Mr. Maltsev is doing a Q&A with smart people, so I'm just listening to the smart people and typing/blogging while all this goes on around me.

There are more speakers, and I'm quite tired from a long one-two day. It is a good convention so far, so I'll try to check in later.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Movie Review: Three Days of the Condor--1975; Starring Robert Redford

Review of: Three Days of the Condor. Directed by Sydney Pollack; Produced by Stanley Schneider; Co-written by James Grady (adapted from his novel, Six Days of the Condor). Starring: Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson & Max von Sydow. Paramount, 1975.

In this 1975 existential realist spy-thriller directed by Sydney Pollack, why does an assassination team murder seven book worms who work at the American Literary Historical Society? What's the beef with a dime store spy novel reviewed by employee bookworm extraordinaire, Joseph Turner. It was just a cheap knock off book which was translated into Arabic, but not French; Dutch and Spanish, though not Russian?

This opens the plot in the movie, Three Days of the Condor, based on the Cold War novel, Six Days of the Condor by James Grady. Turner, played by the brisk and youthful Robert Redford, rides a motorized bicycle to work, running late as normal. He arrives and asks the society director if there was special delivery mail for him from the bosses higher up on the book report he submitted.

But this is not a normal book depository in an old New York brownstone facade. Within the upstairs offices of the literary society, in an age when computers were expensive, primitive, and took up whole rooms, this sleepy literary society has a computer that first optically scans pages of books and then checks and references the material against “real world” US Central Intelligence Agency operations, code-names, or potential traitors, recruits, or any other useful information to such an agency bound to gather, protect, and attack based on “knowing” information.

Then, by fortune's chance, Turner takes an unwatched exit from the basement full of books to the deli to pick up lunch. While Turner is gone, legendary actor Max von Sydow, playing a contract assassin named Joubert, leads a sneaky break-in of the American Literary Historical Society. In a movie full of great one-line epiphanies, excellently handled by director Pollack and the film editors, Joubert asks the computer expert, Janice, who is also Turner's girlfriend, if she would move away from the window. With the muffled sub-machine guns pointed at her, Janice says dispassionately at her fate, “I won't scream.” Joubert replies simply, “I know.”

When Turner returns to find the front security gates unlocked, he enters the brownstone to find every one murdered, and he doesn't know why. As the great mystery characters might say, “The game is afoot.” And in fact, this is a great mystery movie done in excellent spy v. spy, spy v. counter-spy, and indeed triple-dog-dare “counter-counter-spy v. everyone” plot. From the pinnacle of the bookworm murders and through some rather thrilling escapes, Turner deduces that he was the real target of the murderers and why a bookworm like he who reads books for the CIA could possibly be the cause of so much unheroic death.

Turner survives several attempts by the professional Joubert to locate and murder him while in the process the theme of the movie unravels like opaque layers of onion to the hard, pungent core. In another prophetic one-liner as “spy stuff” becomes too fancy for him, Turner says, “@$^* the Wall Street Journal!” in a statement of contempt that foreshadows the resolution of the mystery of the dime store spy novel—the one translated into languages of oil-owning nations. As in history, this story follows the markets of survival in a world running out of cheap and reachable resources. It is 1975 presaging the 21st Century scrambles for what society just wants without having to be asked if freedom is sufficient sacrifice for comfort and safety.

Turner takes Kathy Hale (played by Faye Dunaway) hostage to find a random means of survival, and Kathy takes on the Stockholm Syndrome with lustful intrigue for her captor. She looks at Turner's CIA cover business I.D. pass, which if watched closely on the screen is actually a Nazi-lightening bolt “SS” symbol (check it out closely). Together, Turner and Hale outsmart the CIA's World Trade Center-based New York branch led by Deputy Director of New York CIA, Mr. Higgins, played by Cliff Robertson. Shots of the still new-at-the-time World Trade Center show prominently in several photography-features of the film, statements portending the age of the militarized policy and security state that were warned to America by President Eisenhower in his January 1961 farewell address. But perhaps the real theme of Three Days of the Condor is the absence of clarity as to who or what is the good guy or good side. In one of the final profound epitaphs of Joubert, as to how he operates within the world of violence as a contractor (hint, hint), Max von Sydow's character says perfectly: “I don't think in terms of 'why'. . . No need to believe in either side. . . . The belief is in your own precision.”

In this movie, even unto the end where Higgins asks “Condor”/Turner, “How do you know they'll print it?” there exists no clarity nor belief worthy to find any heroes. Not even the antagonist Turner can claim the absolute purity of purpose nor hide under a profaned innocence like his murdered coworkers. Only a protagonist like Joubert, a true anti-hero, really knows what he is doing, or why it is important at all to anyone, even if it is only important for himself.