A new Meetup Group already boasting 21 members at this writing has sprouted in North Texas and goes by the name “DFW 5 Principles of Liberty – Libertarian Meetup Group.” It was founded on January 23 this year and already has its inaugural facetime get-together, First Meeting! Brainstorming Session, scheduled for February 20. The exact location is still TBD so be sure to check the Meetup page before going anywhere.
The group’s Organizer is Michael Nolan, a liberty advocate “who got started in 2008 thanks to the Ron Paul campaign” and a web development consultant who teaches students biweekly. Nolan also operates Libertarian Tools, a site that identifies itself as “promoting the Non-Aggression Principle, and on finding non-political solutions to problems.” The goals include helping new libertarian activists find information quickly, assisting them in communicating the liberty message and aiding them in jumpstarting their own libertarian projects.
Nolan identifies three areas of interest for his new Meetup Group: education, outreach and activism. The Organizer had much to say about everything when contacted by Dallas Libertarian Examiner for an interview. For the sake of brevity, and to whetten potential new members’ appetites for more, what follows is the condensed soup version of his banquet of tangy responses.
Dallas Libertarian Examiner: How will your Libertarian Meetup Group differ from other libertarian Meetups in the area?
Michael Nolan: The DFW 5 Principles of Liberty group is a group I’m starting with the intent of carrying out local activism to achieve greater liberty in the DFW area. The group will be part outreach/education and part political, with a little bit of fun networking thrown in. The group is new and there’s a lot in flux, but here are the basic goals:
- Education: Demonstrate how liberty solves many problems more effectively than state solutions.
- Outreach: Get to know other groups of all types, and see where we could work together.
- Activism: The goal here is mainly to empower people to pick one issue, and pursue it doggedly until we achieve liberty.
DLE: What briefly are the “5 Principles of liberty?”
MN: The “5 Principles of Liberty” is a term coined by Jason Stapleton, host of the Jason Stapleton Program. This is the simple list: Limited Government, Individualism, Peace, Tolerance, Free Markets. His “This guy nails the 5 Principles of Liberty” video on YouTube is the current best explanation.
DLE: Will your group be primarily political or open to all who call themselves libertarian?
MN: With the 5 Principles approach there is a political component, but I see it more as one method among multiple methods, all of which are needed. To give an example, one issue I care about particularly is education. The government needs to get out of it. On the political side we may start with school choice in a transition to abolishing government-mandated education, but if someone is apolitical, they can find and promote low-cost alternatives to public school (like Liberty Classroom or Khan Academy), help their local home school network, or start a Meetup Group where they teach people a skill (I teach web development in Dallas this way).
DLE: What brought you personally to libertarianism other than Ron Paul?
MN: While I hated government overreach for years, Tom Woods through his books (and later his podcast) gave me the words needed to articulate what I already knew. In terms of what really cemented my libertarian views, it was the experiences I had in grad school. I entered as a social conservative and environmentalist. Then, I got involved in a student group that taught me how to become a lobbyist, which really opened my eyes to the corn lobby and to the political theater we call a two-party system (as one politician put it, Dems and Repubs are 80% in agreement and the rest is to scare up votes).
For my main work in grad school I worked in a government-funded research center, and I saw firsthand both the ineptitude of funding agencies and the heavy-handed attitude they take toward researchers. During my doctoral studies I also read up on how to accurately measure environmental impact, and saw that corn ethanol for example can often be worse than gasoline environmentally.
Late in my grad program I also joined a fellowship that required me to teach in an inner-city middle school. Imagine Eighth-graders who can’t read or do basic math despite many seeming to be eager to learn. Imagine teachers regularly yelling things like “You are so dishonest! I can’t trust you!” at kids and many of those children becoming unable to form healthy relationships with people in other age groups… need I say more about the horrors of public schools?
DLE: Anything else you would like to add?
MN You might want to check out Libertarian Tools, my liberty website. I write a blog about what I’ve learned and what I’m up to.
Watch the Jason Stapleton video. Heated debates will follow.