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Give Me Liberty

Volume 1/Issue No. 3 April 2003

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In This Issue:

Welcome

“How Do We Hold, Further, and Develop Our Commitment to Libertarianism?

by Stephanie West Allen, JD

“Free Speech on the Net Has Its Hidden Costs”

by Donnell King

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Welcome to Give Me Liberty! We are thrilled to have you reading our

liberty-oriented news ezine that hopefully will become one of your

favorite monthly reads. For this issue, we are pleased to welcome one

of the leaders of the Libertarian Party in Colorado, Stephanie West

Allen, JD. Also Donnell King returns with another thought provoking

article.

We are especially interested in having your input and feedback since

this is YOUR ezine. We want to know what you want to see in future

issues. We are going to working on a web site in the future at

www.givemelibertynow.com and at that time we will be moving the ezine

from Topica.

Finally we ask you to spread the word about Give Me Liberty! If each of

you would invite just five others to subscribe then we could begin to

grow this ezine into the thousands very rapidly. Just ask them to send

an email to

givemelibert-@topica.com !

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How Do We Hold, Further, and Develop Our Commitment to Libertarianism?

By Stephanie West Allen, JD

Today our country and our world need some very sharp, finely tuned ears.

To facilitate change, we need to close our mouths frequently. Listening

plays a decisive role in change. And not just any sort of listening. The

listening must be mature and committed.

For the components of that quality of listening, let’s look to two

brilliant educators. Their theories in the past 40 or so years have

proven to have broader application than just the classroom and students.

These two thoughtful teachers can help us to define the kind of

listening we need today. And tell us why focusing on one another’s words

will move us forward.

William Perry of Harvard University developed what he called a “scheme

of intellectual and ethical development.” He began to develop the Perry

Scheme when he, as a literature professor, asked his students what they

expected from him.

Some students saw him as a kind person who wanted them to think

independently, to think for themselves. Others saw him as an authority

figure who would impart to them true information and then extract that

same information from them as correct answers. Other students had still

different responses. Dr. Perry saw that his students wanted him to play

several inconsistent roles.

He also saw that, as some of the students who viewed him in an

authoritarian role moved towards a less authoritarian model of teaching,

they changed in many ways. Over 14 years, he developed his scheme of how

the students changed, and his map of development showed the progression

of those changes.

Perry’s map has nine positions and I will only present three here, in a

much condensed form. They will help us to see the importance of

developed listening and dialogue, as opposed to swapping swordfight

statements.

The first position is what he calls “dualism.” A person in this position

sees the world in very black and white terms. Two points of view cannot

coexist for them. If you disagree with me, one of us has to be wrong.

When a teacher is teaching in this position, he or she is the right one,

the authority, whose role is to convey knowledge to the student. The

student’s role is to receive.

The fifth position is “contextual relativism.” Here the person sees

world in shades of gray. Differing points of view can coexist. In fact,

differing points of view are invited. Dialogue is present. The role of

the teacher is facilitator. The students learn from each other and the

teacher. The teacher also learns from the students.

Above position five are positions of “commitment.” The person recognizes

this as a relativistic, shades-of-gray world, and realizes the need to

orient him-self or her-self in such a world. This orientation, this

anchor, is a personal commitment to certain values, life style and

philosophy. The person chooses this commitment and learns the

responsibility it entails.

A Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or libertarian in the dualistic

position will be quite different from one in the committed position.

Chosen commitment is not at all the same as dualistic “we versus them.”

The commitment position respects other points of view and enters into

dialogue. Substantial, meaty action can occur, as well as evolving

understanding. The interaction between those in the dualistic position

goes round and round until everyone turns into tiger butter.

In order to make changes, it is helpful to recognize in what Perry

position a dialogue is occurring. The dueling dualists will not likely

effect change. Speaking to a person in Perry’s committed position from

the position and stance of dualism will not result in societal

adjustments, either. We need dialogue between committed people of

various belief systems. People who are committed — and willing to

listen and learn and evolve.

Paulo Freire presents the perils for a country of what Perry calls the

dualistic teaching mode. In his book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” Freire

calls this mode the “banking concept of education.” The teacher deposits

into the student knowledge in a one-way process. This method makes

students, later adult citizens, passive. He says: “Authentic liberation

– the process of humanization – is not another deposit to be made in

men.” Freire too advocates dialogue.

Freire says the way to developing fully human, thinking, participating

citizens is through “problem-posing” education — a dialogue-based

education.

“The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches but one who is

himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being

taught also teach. They become jointly responsible for a process in

which they all grow.”

He lists a number of ways that the banking method of teaching mirrors

the society in which it occurs. Here are a few below. To see the mirror,

substitute “teacher” with “government” or “politicians”, and “students”

with “citizens.” Here are a few items from his list:

“The teacher thinks and the students are thought about.

“The teacher disciplines and the students are disciplined.

“The teacher chooses and enforces his choice and the students comply.

“The teacher acts and the students have the illusion of acting through

the action of the teacher.

“The teacher chooses the program content and the students (who were not

consulted) adapt to it.

“The teacher confuses the authority of knowledge with his own

professional authority which he sets in opposition to the freedom of the

students.”

Freire suggests the problem-solving” education to counteract these rigid

roles of the student and teacher; problems which are faced by both

teacher and student are posed. Together they work to solve them.

Perry’s book was published eight years before Freire’s book so Freire

likely did not know of Perry’s commitment positions yet Freire also

stresses the importance of commitment in developing one’s values and

one’s guides for responsibility and action.

“Students, as they are increasingly posed with problems relating to

themselves in the world and with the world, will feel increasingly

challenged and obliged to respond to that challenge. Their response to

the challenge evokes new challenges, followed by new understandings; and

gradually the students regard themselves as committed.”

How can we promote a problem-solving community in this country? This is

a question I pose for dialogue.

And how do we promote a community that nurtures development of people so

they are committed and fully participating in the problem solving? How

do we promote a community that promotes fully listening to each other?

Both Perry and Freire hold clues.

For three years, I was fortunate to be a part of a group of professors

who were committed to teaching their students in the positions of five

and above. One of the most successful programs for doing so was

developed at the Colorado School of Mines.

The best way so far discovered to move students out of dualism is to

place them in situations of diverse options and answers. At first, they

often become angry. They think the professor has THE “right” answer and

is not divulging it. They think their future clients would know exactly

what is needed and would express that in clear, black and white terms.

As these students are placed in the shades of gray, they develop.

Dialogue and creativity increases; the need for black and white

certainty decreases. But the change is not without anxiety, stress, and

retreat into the old way. They need support as they grow. They need to

realize their life experience has given them the ability to contribute.

Listening is a part of this growth and part of the way the uncertainty

is navigated. The students listen to each other and to the teacher. The

teacher listens to the students believing, and demonstrating that he or

she believes, the students have something of value to contribute. The

teacher demonstrates that he or she does not believe he or she holds the

only true answer. The answers will evolve with the participation of all.

Those of us who want to create the kind of community described above

must first take care that we are not conversing in a dualistic position.

We must not present ourselves, even in our commitment, as having THE

right answers or believe that we have it all figured out. A

problem-solving community is one where people enter into dialogue with

respect for the points of view of the other. Members of a

problem-solving community respectfully listen.

Respect means to re-spect, look twice. Listen again. Respectful

listening holds great benefits. It helps us to deepen and modify and

further develop our commitment. It helps our community to actively and

effectively develop solutions in a problem-solving spirit. We need

problem-solving community now.

Aren’t we both students and teachers?

The above is what I think. In furtherance of fruitful dialogue, I sure

wish I could now listen to what you readers have to say about my ideas.

Stephanie West Allen, JD, shows organizations how to raise the

productivity of their people by incorporating a positive mood, humor,

and spirit. She also works with individuals helping them to achieve

their goals in the face of challenges, difficulties, and obstacles.

Her website: http://www.allen-nichols.com

Free Speech on the Net Has Its Hidden Costs

By Donnell King

The publisher of this ezine, Cort McCadden, commented in a recent email

exchange with me, “several of us were discussing the attempts recently

of Congress to intervene in the Internet, especially as related to sp*m

which can be looked at from two points: freedom and also being a

nuisance.”

If you notice an odd spelling in the preceding paragraph, it’s because I

changed it. The change came about because of an oddity in this argument

that makes it necessary for me to do so. Actually including the word

sp*m in the email could possibly kick in some readers’ sp*m filters

which would prevent this legitimate email, to which you have subscribed,

from getting through to you.

I run my own filter, so I can tweak it the way I want. Other users buy a

software package that filters mail for them. Unfortunately, such

packages often filter innocuous emails just because they contain phrases

someone else has decided characterize unsolicited commercial email (UCE,

techno-jargon for sp*m).

If you buy one of those packages, set it up to move suspected UCE to a

special folder you can later peruse before dumping. If it weren’t for

such a practice, I would have missed an email from Cort! I happened to

find it in my “Junk” folder, and I have no idea what word in the email

might have gotten it assigned there.

Libertarian communicators struggle over UCE. Congress is gearing up

legislation addressing it, and doing its usual stunning job. (I would

tell you the bill number, but including it could kick in some of those

idiot filters. The purveyors of the filtering software assume anyone

including the bill number must want to lobby against it, and is

therefore a sp*mmer.) I think that, as usual, Congress should stay out

of it, if for no other reason than that they will scr*w it up. (That

word could kick in the filter too.)

It’s hard to define what actually constitutes UCE. The Net enables

people who aren’t already rich and powerful, including people other than

the Demopublican party, to get their ideas distributed. At least some of

the motivation in Congress to limit unsolicited email (broader than UCE,

but the definition that some now use for sp*m) may stem from the usual

motives for licensing– making it hard for newcomers to compete with the

established folks. None of the bills being considered would prevent

either branch of the Demopublican party from soliciting your donations.

On the other hand, some versions WOULD prevent libertarian and other

nonprofit groups from sending you email you didn’t first ask for. That

makes it a free speech issue.

Still, it is at least theoretically possible for Congress to pass an

effective law if we could just figure out the ownership issues. For

libertarians the issue revolves around the basic principle that no one

has the right to initiate force against another human being, or to

advocate or delegate its initiation.

Steven Cousineau wrote in the Libertarian Enterprise, “Unsolicited

commercial email forces its way into our in boxes and then forces us to

process it.” Ferris Research says UCE will cost the American economy $10

billion in 2003 in lost productivity (a few seconds here and there

processing billions of UCE messages) and bandwidth–corporate servers

have to allocate bandwidth to UCE, which accounts for about 20 percent

of the inbound email at corporations. I’ve seen estimates that half the

bandwidth ISPs must allocate for home email use comes from UCE.

Newsflash: bandwidth ain’t free. Someone pays for it, and it’s not the

folks sending UCE. The cost of your service reflects the cost of

providing the bandwidth for all that email. In that sense, then, UCE

initiates force by taking my property that I haven’t given permission to

use.

On the other hand, some people say that when you publish your email

address, you give your permission to other people to send you email.

That makes a certain kind of sense. You must realize, however, that

“publishing” your address can be as intentional as putting on your Web

site and as unintentional as visiting a Web site without having stealth

software to block cookies and port probing. Another big source of

unintentional “publishing” comes from posting to public bulletin boards

such as Usenet and Web-based discussion boards. There are a number of

private ways to handle these.

1) Get one of the numerous free email accounts out there and use that

account whenever you sign up for such a bulletin board. Every so often

go into the account and dump the contents.

2) Put sp*m bait on your site. The Wyoming Libertarian Party’s Web site

includes this statement: “Sp*mmers, please read. This section is for

those low-life scum who troll web pages looking for email addresses so

they can sp*m them. Have a few:” The statement is followed by a number

of interesting email addresses including some that will cause messages

to go back to the sp*mmers, the address the Federal Trade Commission set

up for people to use to report sp*mmers, and all the board members of

the Federal Communications Commission. Harvesting programs, of course,

will not read the page but simply gather the addresses, leading to a

sort of self-reporting.

3) Include bogus addresses on your Web sites and bulletin board posts.

For instance, I could use ki-@dumpthis.mailme.com as my address. Any

automatic harvesters would get an address that would simply bounce. A

human who clicked the link could quickly edit the address so it would go

where intended, such as ki-@mailme.com (not a real address, just in

case you’re tempted to try it).

4) Freely use the delete key. If you don’t recognize the address from

which the email originates, delete it. If you’re in business and want

email from people you don’t know, you can usually tell from the subject

line. This won’t help the ISPs who have to transmit the stuff, but it

will at least cut down on wasting your time. I’m amazed by the people

who complain about UCE, and yet read it.

5) If you want to get serious about it, consider posting conditions on

your Web site under which your email address may be used. It may stem

the flow a little. I aggressively pursued for awhile, and I think my

name must have wound up on a “nut list,” because the amount of UCE that

went to that address dropped. Regardless, I had some fun, and reportedly

a few people have managed to get some money out of it by settling out of

court when they sued someone who violated the terms. (If you want to see

an example, take a look at my own Web site:

http://www.soapboxorations.com/. Click on “Writing/Editing” and then on

the “No solicitations” link.)

Bottom line: does UCE trespass on my property? I think so. Is it enough

of a trespass that I want to get the government involved? No. The cure

would be worse than the disease. If I decide it’s worth my time, I’ll

pursue it under existing fraud statutes. Most of them, I’ll simply

delete. I WON’T delegate to someone else the decision about what I want

to read and what I don’t. After all, some of the most interesting ideas

I’ve picked up have come from an email I wasn’t expecting. As annoying

as it is, I’ll make my own decisions.

For the record, though, to any marketing types out there: I’m perfectly

satisfied with the size of my masculine anatomy. Thanks for asking,

though.

Donnell King works with individuals and groups who want to become more

effective communicators. He is an associate professor of speech and

journalism at a Tennessee college and a recipient of an Excellence Award

from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development. He

is available for consulting and training. He has recently co-authored a

textbook on communication, and he is getting ready to release his first

ebook. You can find out more about his work at

http://www.soapboxorations.com, or contact Donnell by

email at z2dhauk02@sneakemail.com.

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Referring This Ezine – YES, by all means we encourage you to pass on

this newsletter to as many people as possible! We would only ask that

you make no changes to its content without written permission.

If you no longer desire to receive Give Me Liberty just send an email to

givemeliberty-@topica.com .

Cort McCadden, Managing Editor

Written by Donnell

April 2nd, 2003 at 1:20 am

Posted in General