Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I hereby reject the CULT of the omnipotent Reformers!

From the skepdic: "A delusion held by one person is a mental illness, held by a few is a cult, held by many is a religion."

I’m no expert on cults or religions (more aligned with Christians than anything else), but I’ll attempt to show how the Libertarian Reform Caucus is dominated by Extremist Reformists who apparently use many of the strategies and tactics that cults employ. If this keeps up, the Reformist Cult runs the risk of turning into a full-blown religion!

Jiminy Tap-Dancin’ Crickin’-burgers!

Skepdic: Three ideas seem essential to the concept of a cult. One is thinking in terms of us versus them with total alienation from "them."

From the Libertarian Reform Caucus (LRC) Is the Libertarian Party Worth Fighting For? January 21, 2007: What we have now is a party with sharply drawn lines between the two camps. We can expect the purist elements to redouble their efforts to maintain control of the party. So now we face a determined foe. What sort of party will emerge out of this conflict, even if we win? I’d imagine a lot of the old guard will leave in protest. In fact, we should do everything we can to encourage the hardliners who refuse to compromise to pack their bags and go.

Skepdic: The second is the intense, though often subtle, indoctrination techniques used to recruit and hold members.

Guru: You’re not ready for this information.

Skepdic: The third is the charismatic cult leader. Cultism usually involves some sort of belief that outside the cult all is evil and threatening; inside the cult is the special path to salvation through the cult leader and his teachings.

LRC (home page): The Libertarian Reform Caucus is a coalition of freedom lovers who want to have an effective libertarian party, one which is designed to win elections now in order to turn the tide from ever increasing statism to more liberty. The current Libertarian Party does not meet this standard.

That statement is loaded with tricks. They’re in effect claiming that everyone who isn’t with them opposes an “effective” party and opposes “winning elections.” I hear that from Extremist Reformists frequently. As President Bush would say, “you’re either with them or against them.”

Skepdic: Communal reinforcement is the process by which a claim becomes a strong belief through repeated assertion by members of a community. The process is independent of whether the claim has been properly researched or is supported by empirical data significant enough to warrant belief by reasonable people.

How many times have you heard Extremist Reformists abuse the phrase: Are we a real political party or what!!??!! Therefore [insert unsubstantiated claim possibly backup up by anecdotal evidence].

Extremist Reformers have mocked use of the World’s Smallest Political Quiz as a recruitment tool. They have claimed our platform is too long and detailed and idealistic. Yet, they have failed to acknowledge that the Republican Party Platform is 92 pages and the Democratic platform is 43 pages long. The Extremist Reformists are now proposing a New Approach to the LP Platform that is looking remarkably similar to, believe it or not, in a full circle kind of way, the World’s Smallest Political Quiz! They appear to be confusing the purpose of a Political Platform with that of a Political Pamphlet that’s handy for distributing to people. Are we a real political party or what!!??!!

My current favorite outlandish claim by an Extremist Reformist is “Why Alternative Parties Must Get Range Voting or DIE.” Die? That’s sounds a little cultish to me. One of the co-authors, Clay Shentrup, actually phoned me at home and launched into a 19 minute monologue about how we should elect all public officials with range voting. After about five minutes of his rant, I pulled the phone away from my ear and totally quit responding with “uh-huh’s” “okay’s” and grunt noises, and stared in awe at the timer on my phone as the minutes racked up and the sounds kept emitting. Shentrup is the champion Range Voting zealot!

Observation 1: The Reform Caucus is dominated by extremists who are hypocritical, often wrong, silly, and frequently annoying.

Corollary 1: It’s too soon to start a conversation about destroying the Libertarian Reform Caucus.

Corollary 2: It’s time to start a conversation about Reforming the Libertarian Reform Caucus. After all, there may be something it has that is still worth salvaging.

So let’s choose which method to deploy to reform the Reform Caucus:

Option A: the 3-step Method (my personal favorite):
Step 1: Let them have their way.
Step 2: Let them drive each other crazy.
Step 3: Friendly fire, paranoia and cannibalization will drastically reduce their numbers without an intervention by peers.

Option B: the 2-step Method:
Step 1: Encourage moderates and pragmatists to infiltrate the Reformist Cult, perhaps with a peppering of purists to block and tackle for the moderates and pragmatists.
Step 2: Use a two-pronged approach involving logic to confuse them and the Socratic Method to re-program them.

One insightful attendee of the Orlando State Chairs Conference brought up the concept of perspectives. I may get the gist of this wrong, but perhaps the way the Reformists see the Purists and vice-versa is a matter of perspectives. Perhaps both sides are a little extreme and paranoid. Perhaps if they took a little time to see things from the perspective of the other side, they’d come to terms or at least agree to disagree but remain on the same team.

On the other hand, peace is dull, boring, and bad for ratings. There’s smoke on the battlefield and where there’s smoke there’s fire. Perhaps pouring a little gas on things (and I hope by now everyone realizes I’m totally full of gas) we could ignite an all-out flame war!!

Here’s some gas—it’s time to get ready for the Denver 2008 “Platform Rumble in the Mile-high Concrete Jungle.”

Purists and Reformist Extremists, you both face annihilation at the hands of the enemy unless you start planning now! Tickets go on sale soon, but you can start getting ready now (that means start budgeting for it now). You’ll need backups, so get your like-minded friends into the mindset of attending this epic battle to control the future of the Libertarian Party!

Whose side am I on? Who cares?!? How will I measure success? Ticket sales, baby!

Cash is king but Gold Packages glimmer!

[This is the pre-released editor’s uncut version. Final version to be released April 1st, April Fool’s Day.]