Volume 3, Issue 11 | August 2023
"War is the extreme expression of division between people… but people are beguiled into this catastrophic trap by countless tiny steps of division. It begins way back in the virtuous little dissociations of oneself from the weaknesses that are all too evident in one’s neighbor." ― Philip Britts, Water at the Roots: Poems and Insights of a Visionary Farmer
In this issue…
North Carolina in the late summer… From the beach, to the mountains, and the entire area in between, it is hot and humid. The colors of NC this time of year are vibrant greens, ocean blue against faded Atlantic sand. It’s the colors of our farmers and their fields nearing harvest, and deep blue daytime skies with stars bright through the evening (when Canada isn’t ruining our air).
It’s the sounds of children out of school and thunder crashing in our legendary summer storms. It’s the smells of the best barbeque in the world and the fresh air of freedom that we are lucky enough to breath.
I love this state, all times of the year, which is why I am truly proud of the 14 candidates who have stepped up to run for political office in the 2023 elections. We have a wide-ranging group; both in the offices we are pursuing and the people who are pursuing them, and every single on e of them reminds my why I am a Libertarian, and activist, and Chair of the LPNC. I am here to help them win, so we can advance Liberty in NC.
Of course, winning races is difficult, even at local levels, and we need help. We are a long way away from competing with the war chests the uniparty has at its disposal, as we won’t put our souls up for sale, and so we need to compete in other ways. We need to be better strategically, target our races for wins or advancement, and grow from there, and we need you, the defenders of Liberty in North Carolina, to help move our cause forward.
In today’s newsletter, we have highlighted some of the candidates. We will highlight more in each of the next two issues before the election, but you can check all of them out on our website. We need donors, phone banking, door knocking, emailing, and just a ton of general support. If you can only give an hour a week or $5 a month, that’s incredible and we appreciate it. If a thousand people reading this gave an hour a week or $5 a month, we change the world, so please, give what you can.
Not that anyone in the LPNC needs a reminder why we fight this battle for Liberty, but the state is again looking for sneaky ways to take away your rights, attacking the second amendment brazenly again. Justin Hinckley, 2A Coordinator, gives the details in this issue.
We also have insight from Strategic Communications Advisor Joshua Glawson and Communication Director Rob Yates, reflecting on Liberty in North Carolina. We talk to Jennifer Bias, Chair of Brunswick County, and we hear from Mike Ross about the incredibly successful gubernatorial debate early last month. I want to thank both candidates, their campaigns, Rob Yates for setting it up, and Steven DiFiore – Chair of LPMeck – for doing an excellent job moderating.
We try to bring you all sorts of Liberty in every way we can, through the newsletter, through events like the debate and others in which we participate, and through our podcast, Liberty iNC. We launched our third season recently, and we are now on our 11th episode this season, with guests ranging from local heroes and activists, to members of other parties where we remind everyone that civil debate is still possible, to potential LP presidential nominees, and so many more. If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend that you tune in and give some feedback, as we are looking to create a product that is perfectly suited to Libertarians in North Carolina.
Finally, on a personal note, I want to thank Kim Acer for her service on the Affiliates team for the last few years. Everyone who gives time and energy in service of Liberty has my support and respect. Kim, thank you.
For everyone else, if you aren’t involved, what’s the holdup? No better time than North Carolina summer, to go to the beach or to fight for Liberty. We can’t wait to get you involved.
-Ryan Brown, LPNC Chair
Meet the 2023 Candidates
"People Are More Important"
I am a retired geophysicist, former dolphin trainer, helped start 2 non-profits including one that had me building power-generating playgrounds in Ghana, was an instructor on a tall ship built in 1877, and am currently an at-home dad raising my daughter and supporting my wife who is doing her residency at Duke. Our family motto is "because people are more important" and it is the perfect slogan for the way to run a city. All of our policies and laws should be guided by that principle.
I believe the people of Durham are the best people to decide what is best for them. My top priority is implementing Ranked Choice Voting, or something similar, in our city so that the people can have a better and more representative say in how our city is run.
An interesting fact about me: I flew in zero-gravity aboard NASA's "Weightless Wonder" as an undergrad working on a tractor beam.
I'm Justin Herbe, a new face and fresh candidate for Fayetteville City Council District 5 in the Municipal Primary Election to be held on October 10, 2023.
I am a U.S. Army Retired Officier that has seen the city grow astronomically since 2019.
We need transparent and effective new leadership that represents you!
This is our city and it's time to put the power back in the people's hands. Let our voices be heard and protect our God given liberties from government overburden.
I filed as a candidate for Huntersville Town Commissioner because I want to help Huntersville continue to be the best place to live in North Carolina. To that end, I'm committed to helping Huntersville towards:
I am asking for your support in November so we can make transparency and accountability a reality at Town Hall. As we continue to celebrate the town's 150th anniversary this year, let's work together to help Huntersville grow in the right direction over the next 150 years.
Please reach out to me anytime to discuss any issues impacting you here in Huntersville.
Travis Groo is a principled and a self-motivated human, and a proud dad of two wonderful kids, who believes that hard work always pays off. He works towards a free, peaceful, and prosperous world where every individual has the opportunity to pursue their unique vision of a rewarding and enriching life. Groo is defending all of our freedoms, all of the time. He believes individual rights and private property should be securely protected and preserved for everyone.
Holly Springs is growing fast. In fact, it’s one of the fastest growing cities in North Carolina. It's my opinion that the current Council has done a fine job of governing the Town, and I commend them for that.
With the rapid growth, also comes the growing pains and unforeseen issues. We see this as a good thing, but on the other hand it can be problematic. Traffic is getting much busier so roads need to be built, widened and expanded. My focus is that, although expansion and new infrastructure is a good thing for some, we’re absolutely allowing the Town to grow in a smart and equitable way, while also protecting private property rights.
My concentration will be on these issues:
Charlotte is a beautiful, clean, vibrant city, and I have been privileged to live here for the last 14 years. Unfortunately, over that time, I have watched this city succumb to the worst perils of government mismanagement.
We are told that our schools need more funding, then see millions squandered on things like see-through backpacks that did nothing but contribute to a landfill somewhere. Meanwhile, we seemed to be playing hungry-hungry hippos to pick superintendents, but we did manage to earn a reprimand from the FBI for being years behind in reporting sexual assaults. In fact, our inability to keep our students safe is only eclipsed by our inability to get them an education. Yet no one is held accountable.
Housing prices are skyrocketing, and the only action the city takes is to approve changes to zoning laws as requested by real estate developers who happen to be massive donors in North Carolina. Multi-unit construction is squeezed onto available parcels of land, driving up traffic, slowing emergency response times, and overcrowding schools. Yet most of us in Charlotte see only the negative impact of this haphazard and manipulated development approach, while remaining subject to the restrictive and arcane zoning laws in place. Even recent changes to zoning restrictions are middling, at best.
Crime, especially violent crime, is going up at an alarming rate, and opportunities for upward mobility are dwindling. Yet all we are given from our city leadership is a dramatic increase in property tax rates and pledges to spend tens of millions funding vanity projects for billionaires.
As mayor of Charlotte, I will focus singularly on rooting out the backroom deals, manipulations, and favoritism that is making life here cost more for less in return. I will hold myself and everyone in the city government accountable, ensuring that we are achieving our goals and that those goals are good for the people of Charlotte. I will not accept failing our children as a standard. And I will relentlessly fight for your rights to live as you please without hurting others.
Your rights, all the time. Nothing more, nothing less, no exceptions. Simple as that.
Welcome back for the third season of Liberty iNC, your Liberty-linchpin, constitutional-conundrum-crossroads, posh-porcupine-political-perspective podcast. This season, we have an extraordinary lineup of guests that some people are saying might be the best lineup in the whole history of podcasting, which we can neither confirm nor deny.
If you like it, let us know at [email protected]. And if you don’t like it, let us know then too. We welcome feedback, critiques, ideas, and suggestions. And if it's something you think might interest you in helping out, we have plenty of interesting stuff to do.
Keep an eye out for a new episode each weekend.
Find all episodes here. Available on YouTube, Spotify, Rumble, Google Pods, and Prime.
by Joshua D. Glawson
“The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster.” -Ludwig von Mises
Liberty in North Carolina is under constant threat from the political left, right, and everyone in between. There are a plethora of issues plaguing freedom, and human rights, in the state that claims “First in Freedom.” The good news is that there is a Libertarian solution.
North Carolina is widely considered a purple-voting state, meaning there is greater active political crossover between the Democratic blue and the Republican red, with more registered Independents than other political parties. Where we find agreement and disagreement between Democrats and Republicans, where issues are painted purple, we can likely find Libertarian gold.
There are four key areas of concern we can hyperfocus on to help protect Liberty while promoting the North Carolina Libertarian Party's solutions to common problems in the state of North Carolina.
In this article, I will go over the following:
What is Liberty, and Why Does it Matter in North Carolina?
Depending on a person’s philosophy, you can generally expect slightly different definitions of what Liberty means. Without being overly philosophical, the North Carolina Libertarian Party offers a general definition.
Liberty is the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views; freedom from arbitrary and unreasonable restraint upon an individual; the quality or state of being free; state of freedom; the absence of obstacles, barriers, or constraints to act freely; the state of being free from unfair rules and restrictions imposed by government or other authority on one's way of life; and, the freedom to live as you wish and go where you want.
Without Liberty, people are subjected to the arbitrary directions of other people. In a heterogeneous society, with more people moving from other states, regions, and countries, people have mixed ideas as to how to live.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to a top-down approach. In a mixed culture, people need the freedom to act independently in their pursuits. Without Liberty, everyone is put into a restricted box telling them how to act, what to think, how to conduct business, and how to live their peaceful lives.
A centralized, rigid, government approach to problem-solving creates new problems at higher costs with restricted elasticity and slower mobility for workarounds.
If North Carolinians do not protect Liberty, not only will we be living in perpetual contradiction with our North Carolina license plate slogan and the state motto, but we are also at risk of higher prices, restricted market options, less affordable housing, costly and limited healthcare, fewer jobs, and reduced happiness or flourishing overall.
How to Find Liberty-Winning Solutions
North Carolina has more registered independent voters than registered Democrat or Republican voters. Some of this has been a generational transition from yesteryear when almost everyone was registered as Democrat in North Carolina and now find themselves agreeing more with Republicans, Conservatives, and Libertarians than the DNC.
Independent voting is also seeing an increase since the Covid-19 era (2019-2022), and people’s frustrations with government “solutions.” Tons of businesses and people were harmed because of the real problems caused by government intervention, mandates, laws, and restrictions. Neither of the mainstream parties did much to help protect Liberty in that period, and this incited people to leave their party affiliations.
North Carolina is now considered a purple voting state, with the crossing of colors red and blue. This creates an opportunity for Libertarians to find common ground with those that have frustratedly abandoned their Democrat or Republican status. Seek the gold lining in a mine of purple amethyst; find the commonality, and use the art of persuasion to find a solution that promotes each person’s individual liberty to act without encroaching on the freedom of others.
Now, let’s take a look at 4 problems threatening Liberty in North Carolina.
North Carolina is going through record growth with people moving from other states and countries. Raleigh, Durham, and Charlotte (NC) have especially seen significant growth over the past few years. With more people arriving and fewer leaving, there are quickly becoming housing issues. Some of those housing issues include affordable housing options, zoning restrictions, building codes, and state and county development/building regulations.
Democrats are concerned with low-income families not having the appropriate housing they need. Republicans are concerned with retirees needing affordable housing options to not become reliant on the state. These each impact employment, business development, tax revenues, and population density.
Libertarians want reduced red tape and fewer regulations for housing. By showing successful models of reduced government intervention in housing and development around the country such as that in Houston, Texas, are a great step in the right direction. Also offering solutions such as private communities or cities, Special Economic Zones (SEZ), and forward-thinking construction options can really help bridge the political gaps while offering a Libertarian solution in North Carolina.
North Carolina is one of the most expensive states when it comes to healthcare costs. This is caused by several reasons including Direct Primary Care, Certificate of Need laws, limitations on nurse practitioners, and more. As more people come to NC, it is extremely important that their diverse medical needs are met.
Democrats are concerned with low-cost healthcare options to the point that they will force everyone to pay for it or share the cost through taxes. Republicans want doctors and healthcare providers to benefit without pushing them out of the state.
Libertarians want to provide unhampered market solutions to healthcare and insurance. By demonstrating that fewer healthcare regulations do not necessitate a lack of humanity or governance, Libertarians have a chance to offer a win-win solution. With a freer market approach to healthcare, people can receive lower-cost healthcare while providing a market that entices doctors and healthcare providers to come and stay in North Carolina.
North Carolina has continued to fall in ranking on polls and surveys across the country when it comes to occupational licensing issues. With occupational licensing, the state creates a monopolistic barrier to entry for people of lower income, necessarily restricts market competition, and effectively reduces the happiness and flourishing of peaceful people in North Carolina.
Democrats claim to be worried about the poor and destitute, yet there are active restrictions in place preventing people from getting themselves out of the harms of poverty. Republicans claim a freer market approach enables individuals to enrich their lives and “pick themselves up by their bootstraps,” yet occupational licensing with its fees and bureaucratic red tape stifles growth and wounds individuals, families, and communities all for the privilege of a relative few.
Libertarians want reduced government interference in markets and the private lives of people. Libertarians tend to hold entrepreneurship as one of the noblest achievements a person can do for themselves, as entrepreneurship is an act of freedom and creates a sense of freedom in and of itself. Libertarians also believe an unhampered market approach will enable people to make more money, improves lives, and creates more happiness and flourishing for the aggregate. North Carolina needs a Libertarian solution to occupational licensing to allow less barrier to entry, improve market competition, and improve happiness and flourishing for the state and region.
North Carolina is one of only 17 states that have strict laws on alcoholic beverages in the United States (U.S.), which is known as being an alcohol control state or an alcoholic beverage control state. In NC, this is controlled top-down by the state government in the form of nepotism and cronyism under the guise of state protectionism. This department is known as the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, locally known as The ABC or The ABC Control System. This horde of plunderers controls the manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, and sales of all alcoholic beverages to varying degrees in the state of North Carolina.
Democrats tend to want people to enjoy their personal lives as they see fit, no matter the substance or preference, as long as it does not harm others. Republicans are usually laissez-faire these days when it comes to personal consumption of alcoholic beverages, especially if a successful business model can be created representing North Carolina in the state and Southern region.
Libertarians want an unhampered market approach to alcoholic beverages that allows individuals the opportunity to responsibly consume what they wish while also freeing people to create business models that serve public demand and needs. A Liberty-based solution enables people to act autonomously while holding them accountable for wrongs. Allowing the private market to compete in alcohol will reduce prices, and create more product variety, while also spurring economic growth via manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, and sales of alcoholic beverages. Libertarians understand that a divergence between state ethics and the public’s ethics creates unnecessary tension while it also restricts Liberty, happiness, and growth.
Liberty in North Carolina
If we desire to protect Liberty and promote Liberty in North Carolina, we must be actively searching for solutions that bring people together as opposed to merely telling everyone they are wrong. We cannot win in the short or long term if our only response to government infringement on Liberty is our mere objection to every suggested intervention.
Libertarians are philosophical skeptics, not cynics. A skeptic questions things, while a cynic always says, “No.” We can universally reject government intervention, but our wins will only come when we also offer viable free-market solutions to very real problems in North Carolina.
Our solutions can involve Democrats and Republicans, we can help create Liberty-based solutions while answering their respective concerns in the purple state. The Libertarian Party of North Carolina (LPNC) has a golden opportunity to protect Liberty in North Carolina while increasing the number of people who register as Libertarian in NC.
Joshua D. Glawson is a writer and speaker in the Liberty Movement. He has been active with the Libertarian Party of California since 2015. He now resides in his home state of North Carolina. Check him out at Home - Joshua D. Glawson (joshuadglawson.com)
by: Rob Yates, LPNC Communications Director
In the last two months, I have shared some of my broad observations after serving as your Communications Director for a year. This month, in the final part, I try to tie my last two observations together in a way that some people might find useful going forward.
A suggestion on how to put things into action
In the last two parts of this series, I first looked at some truths about human psychology that explain some of the more troubling outcomes of human behavior in a way that might present some solutions. Next, I tried to make a case that Libertarians quite literally have our own language, even though we’re all speaking, mostly, English.
This month, I want to take that further, and make the case that we actually have an entire ecosystem which we have sealed more hermetically than we might be aware. If we understand why people do certain things, and then look at how we might appear to those people, we are in a much better place to respond to their words and actions in a way that is at least informed.
Before I get into it, though, I want to make one thing crystal #*^% clear. I don’t think what I am writing here is particularly controversial, though I suspect some could read it as such. That’s certainly not my intent. I am, however, extremely concerned about one specific possible misinterpretation of what I am saying, so I want to make one point, up front and unambiguously. I am not, in any capacity, at any level, advocating for us to violate our principles in any way. In fact, I don’t think my idea works if we operate counter to our principles.
What I am suggesting, though, is that we completely reframe the way we communicate with non-Libertarians when in a political capacity. I have argued that we have our own language, and now I am stating that we have our own subculture. That observation, alone, is roughly as interesting or insightful as the Harris / Pence debate. Libertarian subculture is as obvious as any other passionate subculture, apparent to all of us.
Where I hope to provide some novel insight is in my observations on how our subculture is perceived by those not immersed in it. If we understand that, we can communicate in a way that plants a seed of Liberty and fosters it until we have another new member who has abandoned the uniparty.
In the first part of this series, I talked about how powerful and determinative for behavior the human fight-or-flight response really is. Combined with the instinct most people possess to avoid solitude, people unconsciously see a bad email from a boss, or a newscast with sensational language packaged as “Breaking News,” as a mortal threat like a tiger attacking. They are then easily polarized into what amounts to teams.
Pushed to the extreme, these teams become gangs, and politicians take advantage of this to get votes, painting the other party as a blood feud enemies, and making nothing more important than preventing the other side from getting elected. Then, when elected, they quite literally ignore every single thing they said during the campaign, and pass laws that suit the fancies of their various donors.
The important thing to note here is that almost everyone is aware this is going on. They will acknowledge it readily at a macro level, but then immediately shut down any hint of open-mindedness as soon as they hear a suggestion that their party, specifically, bears responsibility. Democrats agree that the system is corrupt all around, but Joe Biden did absolutely nothing suspicious ever in any of his and Hunter’s international dealings. And Republicans "love" the soldiers and pretend-hate the military industrial complex, and they swear Donald Trump is the only one who can drain the swamp, his first term and his war crimes be damned.
Essentially, there is not enough cognitive dissonance between what they know to be true confirmed by their own observations and their desperate and innate loyalty to the side they choose. Democrat and Republican is an identity and point of pride. Loyalty is important to both and dissent is not tolerated much, and even less so lately. For someone to abandon the comfort of that team, we need to give them the confidence that we can reply a soft landing place.
One thing more incumbent to the Libertarian subculture than almost all other elements combined is our delight in argument. We debate, fight, troll, and critique. Occasionally, it goes too far, but overwhelmingly we do it in good faith and good spirits, a fact that we can obfuscate when we get intense. If we are perceived as continually in conflict, as incorrect as that might be, why would someone leave the comfort of their team to get away from conflict?
Now, I am not a complete idiot, so I am not suggesting that we should stop our debate and philosophical fracas. Nor would I want to; we do it because we like it. It’s one of my favorite parts of being Libertarian. I have a few debates that have been going for years (my slack name is “intellectual property stan,” and I confidently maintain that position).
What I am suggesting, though, is that we not approach political disagreements with non-Libertarians, especially those who are committed to their own set of principles, with a “win/lose” mentality. We can learn a lot of we approach every discussion like this with the assumption that we have something to learn. Not that we’re wrong (I am confident we are right, and I am notoriously way too cocky in general. If I can reframe that mentality, I promise that you can.), but that we approach these interactions as if we are learning something.
It gets difficult when we hear the same tired and readily debunked arguments we have heard so very many times before, but just as we aren’t inclined to hear those arguments, again, the people making those arguments are committed to them, and their core identity is based on that. To change someone’s mind who is that engrossed, you have to first earn that person’s trust. When they trust you, they will listen to you, and then our job is easy, we have better ideas.
But when you immediately tell someone why his/her argument is absurd and has been disproved countless times, you do nothing to gain that person’s trust. You signal, unconsciously, that you are part of the enemy class, and that person becomes nearly incapable of relaxing and opening his/her mind.
If I am not convincing you, I would strongly suggest watching these three videos, showing in horrifying clarity and simplicity, how easily this aspect of human psychology is manipulated.
We don’t generally get a lot of positive press, and this gets more true at higher levels. Libertarians in the news, with a very few exceptions, have generally done something that can be spun as crazy, phobic or -ist of some sort, extremist, dumb, uncaring and callous, dangerous, or even immoral. To be fair, that spin is often true, though the mainstream narrative around Libertarians tends to eschew nuance and reinforce polarizing tropes.
Which is exactly why, when we act in a way that someone has been programmed to believe confirms that we fit those tropes, we lose any real chance of changing that person’s heart and mind. We don’t have to actually do anything extreme or subversive, simply appearing adversarial is enough to drive subconscious confirmation to people that we are an enemy.
It’s more important now than ever to effectively fight for the cause of Liberty. The rise of social media amplified unimaginably by the covid lockdown tyranny, has created a country that is more polarized than anytime since the Civil War, with both sides equally committed to taking our Liberty away and shaping an authoritarian state in their respective image and likeness.
The prior two major conflicts that have taken place on this land since the founding of the modern United States have been for Liberty. Even when our response fell short, we have always been a country with no tolerance for involuntary servitude, and we were willing to shed blood to prove it. This conflict is similar in scope and stakes, but the battlefield is far different.
I hope that violence doesn’t erupt. I don’t think it will, not on a massive scale, at least, but I do think it’s possible. But conflict has started, in earnest, and forces are in play to drive that conflict. To win that battle, we need to play a different game. We have 14 Libertarians running for office this year. If everyone who reads this got involved, we could realistically get ten or eleven of them elected, maybe more.
We are all ambassadors of the Libertarian Party, whether we asked for that responsibility or not. There are a few ways out of our current mess, and most of them are less than desirable. If we decide to be good ambassadors, and active stewards of Liberty, we get to the other side by creating a free state, and we watch everyone prosper equally.
Jennifer Bias, Brunswick County LP Chair
It’s August in North Carolina, so we can’t think of anyone better to talk to than Jennifer Bias, Chair of the Brunswick County affiliate, an area defined by its proximity to our beautiful shoreline and beaches, an economy centered around tourism, and several unique characteristics that arise in this context.
With popular calabash-style restaurants, a robust film industry, and nuclear power as a primary energy source, the relaxed free-market spirit of Brusnwick County is an ideal place for Libertarian ideals to spread. And, with a low median income and too much poverty, a failing education system, and a demographic that is growing younger, Libertarian solutions have a fertile ground in which to grow.
Against this backdrop, the Tar Heel asked Jennifer about her background and the LP in Brunswick in another interview where we are happy to introduce you to the affiliate Liberty warriors out there doing the work.
Tar Heel: Jennifer, first of all, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Looking forward to getting into the work you are doing in Brunswick, but first let’s get to know you, the person. Can you tell me a little bit about your background? Where are you from originally, and what led you to Brunswick?
Jennifer Bias: Sure. First, I'm a mom to my son and daughter, Logan (19) and Lana (14). I would consider both of them "liberty kids;” natural skeptics in a cookie-cutter world. I currently manage an oceanfront hotel but many moons ago I went to school to become an elementary school teacher. I originally went in with some hope of changing things from the inside. I became a "super volunteer," volunteering over 100 hours each year while I finished school. Higher level thinking was studied at the university level in great detail, but I noticed that the public school system practically demanded teachers avoid those higher level teaching methods. Instead of having children explore interests through student-centered curriculum and having them naturally group and collaborate, I saw principals insist on children sitting in their seats to quietly regurgitate information input/output style on a worksheet. It really killed that spark in me. Luckily I was working at a hotel while attending UNCW, and I learned that managing a hotel is not that different from managing a classroom, believe it or not. It ended up being more than just a job to get me through school. I’ve met some amazing people and have learned so much about our area. It doesn’t hurt that my office overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.
Tar Heel: Many of us talk about moving to the beach, or dream of it, but I think we are probably romanticizing it a bit, especially comparing summer vacation experiences that we’ve had as our ideal against the very different reality of the offseason. What’s it like for you living there year-round? What parts do you love, and what could you do without?
Bias: Ha, it is definitely romanticized but for good reason. Look, this area is one of the most biologically diverse areas on the globe, considered a biodiversity hotspot. And there’s nothing like a Carolina sunset [editor's note: we second that]. I’m not in real estate so I’m not trying to sell you any property here when I say it's a beautiful place to live, but the secret is out. Most of the cars on the road are tourists and those looking to relocate to the area.
Because of that, most of the local area is based around tourism, which anyone from the Myrtle Beach area can tell you looks like feast or famine. I have been in this area since I was a five year old and I can’t begin to tell you how much it’s changed. It is no longer a sleepy beach community. Twenty thousand new jobs have been added to this area in the last 10 years, but seemingly very few plans for growth, if any. As soon as schools get out for summer, I know I need to add about 15 minutes to my commute to work. At some point, many stores and restaurants went from quality to quantity.
Sometimes I read on NextDoor newcomers who suggest the same heavy-handed government solutions to problems they experience, and I think to myself, why would you vote for the same thing you just moved away from? Apps like NextDoor are fantastic for allowing market solutions to stay community-based.
Tar Heel: How does that dichotomy affect running an affiliate? Is it pretty much business as usual but with more crowds sometimes, or do you strategize differently to adjust for the season?
Bias: I think it only affects affiliate growth. You see more growth in the winter time, when there are less festivals and outdoor activities to attend. People suddenly have more free time on their hands and want to get involved again.
Tar Heel: Brunswick has some other idiosyncrasies. It’s the southernmost county in our state, and, until just recently, it was considered part of the Myrtle Beach [South Carolina] metropolitan area. Were you involved in that debate at all, and how has it affected affiliate activity, if at all?
Bias: I was not involved in that debate but we haven’t been affected by that change at all.
Tar Heel: Brunswick is also subject to the Cape Fear Council of Governments. While all of North Carolina is organized under Councils of Government, Cape Fear is known for being more active than many. Has that impacted your ability to act as an affiliate in any way, or does it contribute to diminution in Liberty in the area.
Bias: Has that impacted our ability to act as an affiliate? Not really, but of course we want to see growth that doesn’t include a kickback to Mr. Real Estate guy here and Ms. Land Developer lady over there. We want to see real plans for growth that benefit the community.
Tar Heel: More specifically, Brusnwick politics are pretty reliably Republican, but not by a wide margin. Further, it has shown in the past that people are not afraid to vote outside of the uniparty. What opportunities do you see for growth, and how are you trying to implement that?
Bias: I think the real opportunities for growth are going to be in the younger demographics. We have done some tabling at UNCW before and that was extremely successful.
Tar Heel: Brunswick is also starting to skew younger, but jobs are scarce, especially non-seasonal jobs, and average income is low, especially for NC. How can we effectively message to his demographic, one that we should find as an eager backer of Liberty but that seems to be moving further in the wrong direction, and show them that we have real solutions to the real problems they face?
Bias: I’m not sure we’re starting to skew younger. The average age here is 56. The secret is out: this is a cool place to live affordably. Brunswick County consistently is ranked the fastest growing county in the state, and a few times has been one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. This is where the retirees finally settle and buy their McMansion or beach condo. Income is low because its largely retirees. Those who are working age are usually in the service or medical industry or commute to work.
I think the best way to reach people, and this goes for any demographic, is through laughter. People lean in and want to listen to what you have to say when they’re having a good time. Memes are king these days. I would argue most people don’t watch the news anymore and mostly get their information from social media. If you meme it, they will come. Oscar Wilde said that if you're going to tell people the truth, you had better make them laugh or they will kill you.
Tar Heel: What do you think are the biggest issues for people living in Brunswick, and how can the Libertarian Party help alleviate those burdens?
Bias: I think one of the biggest issues is lack of "smart" growth. Growth that benefits the community and not the ones making the backroom deals. I think innovation attracts a lot of smart growth. Free markets allow competition to create better products and better services.
Tar Heel: What one thing have you, as Chair, or your affiliate, accomplished that makes you the most proud?
Bias: There’s no prouder accomplishment than being on the side of liberty and being beside others who feel as passionately as I do.
Tar Heel: Following up on that, what did you try that you wish you could get a mulligan?
Bias: We planned a “Let Her Speak” Jorgensen protest convoy right before a massive summer thunderstorm. All of the chalk markers on our windows and posters and pictures we created were ruined in a matter of seconds. I chuckle every time I think back to it. Hey, we tried!
Tar Heel: So what’s next for Brunswick? What are your plans and goals for the next several months into 2024?
Bias: The main goal for Brunswick County is growing the affiliate. With additional growth, our reach can make a difference but the numbers have to be there.
Tar Heel: And what about Jennifer, what do you see in your immediate, and not-so-immediate, future?
Bias: I just stay in a position that’s ready to pivot and try to help others to do the same. Be ready for rapid change.
Tar Heel: Finally, something we like to ask everyone, what message would you like to send to other Libertarians, Liberty warriors, and even those who are Liberty curious around the state of North Carlina?
Bias: Sometimes the fight for Liberty can look so dark and overwhelming. “Who am I to make a difference? Can a difference even be made at this point?” And to that I say, you are a drop of water in the ocean. Every word you speak, smile you smile, action you take can help another. As each day passes, the “two” parties get more and more extreme, alienating their own bases. In these dystopian times, a message of true Liberty has never sounded sweeter to those looking for new answers! Never give up. Never ever ever.
Tar Heel: Jennifer, what a beautiful message to close with. Thank you so much for your time today. Fascinating conversation, and we appreciate it. Looking forward to seeing what you have in store.
Check out Jennifer as a panel member on the Liberty iNC podcast, Season 3, Episode 5, as well.
Thank You North Carolina
My debate against Shannon went great. We proved that we can civilly disagree about things and acknowledge where we align, and we don’t have to kill each other. I give the people of North Carolina credit for still believing in that possibility.
On July 6, Shannon Bray, who is currently the only other registered Libertarian, and I met at the Faith, Hope and Love Ministry in Gastonia, a place near and dear to me, for the first of what I expect to be several debates leading up to the governor election in 2024. The experience was novel and refreshing, and I want to tell you all about it and acknowledge some people who helped put it together.
Before I get into any of it, I have to thank Shannon. You conducted yourself in a manner that makes me proud to be Libertarian and proud to share the space with you, and debated in a way that should make all Libertarians proud. You were civil, respectful, and sincere, but you didn’t abandon your principles or shy away from difficult issues.
I also have to thank Steven DiFiore. I was happy to hear that Steven would be the moderator. I find you to be an honest and committed Libertarian, and I expected that you would maintain a fair debate, insightful but cordial. You did not disappoint. If we want to show the country that you can run aggressively, on principle, while still remaining connected as humans, steady leadership like yours will be necessary, especially as the party grows and things are more prone to conflict.
The debate itself was nearly flawless. We started a little late, for those paying attention. Quick inside perspective, we had everything else lined up, tested, and working perfectly, and the laptop got ornery at the last minute, and tried to not sign into both YouTube and the recording program at the same time. Our team quickly fixed that, and we were off.
Having a livestreamed debate opens the discussion up to people across the state, Libertarian and other, with easy access and the ability to watch later, when convenient. And the live chat with audience questions got everyone involved, no matter where they were watching. To keep people coming back, we have to execute on things like that, and our team really came through. For that, I want to thank Courtney Conover and my campaign manager, Rob, Nate Seedorf, and everyone else who contributed to bringing equipment, setting up, testing, and keeping the debate running smoothly for everyone joining virtually.
Actually debating in-person, though, creates an environment that is simply impossible to duplicate when we are speaking virtually. I have to thank Brad Hessel for getting Shannon to the debate, and I want to thank all the people in the *studio* audience for coming out to watch and giving the debate an unbelievable vibe.
I am also happy with my performance in the debate. I am not claiming to be the “winner;” I think the people of North Carolina are the only ones who should ever “win” when politicians debate (#FiretheUniparty). Rather, I felt very comfortable in the discussion and I think my responses are reliable reflections of how I would handle being your governor. I hope that I piqued your interest enough to want to learn more. Check out my website, or feel free to reach out directly. I love meeting other Libertarians. For any success I might have had, though, I have to thank my incredible campaign team for the extensive preparation you put into this.
Finally, and I saved the most important one for last, I want to thank Pastor Moses Colbert, Pastor Monica [last name], and everyone at the Faith, Hope, and Love ministry for hosting us so graciously in your building. Pastor Moses, you have been an inspiration to me, more than you know, for the last few years, and it has been an honor and a privilege to serve by your side. Despite the pressure you were under with the City’s draconian and vengeful fines, and the pressure you are always under feeding hungry people and spreading your ministry to those most in need, you found the time and space to let us hold this debate in a truly perfect setting. You have a beautiful family at your church, and I promise, I will never stop fighting to defend it.
I have written previously about events around the state, and all the great people I’ve met and things I’ve seen. This time, staying close to home, with a little help from a lot of great people, proved an excellent reminder to keep my eyes open for greatness everywhere, and always remember who I fight for.
Bureaucratic Tyranny: New Rules for Concealed Carry Instructors
With the effective death of Constitutional Carry in NC for this legislative session, the NC DOJ is seeking ways to harass, violate, and abuse gun owners.
by Justin Hinckley, LPNC Second Amendment Issues Coordinator
As suspected, with the effective death of Constitutional Carry in NC for this legislative session, the NC DOJ, under the direction of Democratic Gubernatorial frontrunner Josh Stein, is seeking ways to harass, violate, and abuse gun owners. In this instance the state is focusing on concealed carry instructors and increasing the time and monetary commitments for them to operate. My guess is the state wants to drive more instructors and prospective instructors away from the certification. I believe they are doing this to drive costs for concealed carry of a handgun (CCH) courses up as fewer instructors means greater demand but lower supply and the additional time and materials burden causes higher costs which flow to the consumer.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 9, NC residents have the opportunity to show up to the public hearing to vociferously protest any new restrictions on CCH instructors, the course standards, or the documentation burdens. Long-term we should continue to badger the supposedly pro-2A Republicans to pass constitutional carry, an easy win for them in this legislative session.
A review of the timeline of the new restrictions highlights why it seems this panic arises out of nowhere; short answer, it did. On June 23, Bob Overton, CCH Program Manager, sent an email statewide to CCH instructors apprising them of the changes through a series of attached documents with no additional context in the body of the email. The attachments stated that the rules were to be effective October 1, 2023, indicating they had been reviewed and finalized without public notification. The email also conveniently forgot to mention the public hearing scheduled for August 9 at 10:00am at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh.
Thanks to active organizations who sounded the alarm, the outcry was enough to compel a follow-up email by Jeffrey Smythe, Director of Criminal Justice Standards Division, on June 23. Smythe first backtracked on the previously stated effective date of October 1, stating the rule changes were a proposed starting point for discussion. Smythe also indicated a public comment period began April 18, 2023, two months prior to the “public” announcement of the proposed rule changes.
This attachment was ostensibly an explanation for how the rule changes came about with a weak justification for every rule. The discussions of the background for each proposed change are brief and unconvincing. The division cites one specific instance in which the instructor is identified after a variety of rule violations in their course, two cases in which specific instructors are discussed but - not identified violating - current rules, and three instances in which no specific cases are discussed but broad trends are indicated. None of the cases discussed mention how criminals obtained CCHs, led to crimes being committed that otherwise would not have been committed, or offer any evidence that someone was hurt or victimized due to the violations. Additionally, the division fails to mention any sort of statistical trend for theses rule violations. A serious lack of justifiable evidence is presented in order to implement a serious overhaul of the CCH class process.
The proposed changes themselves are absurd and clearly-meant-to-be-burdensome. The first of the changes involve pre- and post-course forms to fill out and file with the state. At least 30 days prior to a course and within 10 days after a course, an instructor must file paperwork with the state indicating details about the proposed class to be taught. This means all classes must now be scheduled at least 30 days out, so, for example, a friend or family member cannot arrange a class with an instructor on short notice in order to get a CCH faster. This delay will likely cost lives.
What’s more, the post-class form must include all students' names and contact information. This is a naked attempt to compile more data about gun owners and CCH holders, as well as provide an additional avenue to harass instructors if they are accidentally inaccurate in their more intricate record-keeping in the future. In addition to the personal student information sent to the state, instructors will now be required to keep a roster for their own records which is to be kept indefinitely and made available to state inspectors upon request.
Adding to the financial burden, the new rules now state that an instructor is required to provide "red" books, of which the state is the only authorized dealer, to each student during each class. This means more books, which cost the instructor money as well as dealing with lead times waiting for the state to process and ship said books. Another hurdle to reduce the number of classes being taught throughout the state. The final restrictions include banning the use of steel targets for the range qualification of the course and the banning of a virtual presentation for the classroom portion of the course.
Make no mistake, this is the first of many attempts to use the bureaucratic state to forward the anti-gun agenda. It is no coincidence this effort only came about in the wake of the repeal of the pistol purchase permit law and began in the midst of the fight for constitutional carry. Josh Stein has enough distance from this to claim innocence while he runs for governor and needs undecided pro-gun voters to vote for him. He is also close enough to it to say it was one of his accomplishments as NC Attorney General when it is convenient for him. Surely this is a reason to vote for Republicans, right? Well, no, since it is Republican Speaker of the NC House, Tim Moore, who refused to hold a vote on constitutional carry, as we have previously discussed. It is Tim Moore and the NC Republicans who are continuing to allow unelected bureaucrats to harass gun owners and the instructors who seek to enable legal concealed carry for those owners. Those in power have a duty to wield that power in a way that protects and expands on the heavily violated rights of their citizenry.
Therefore, do not fall into the trap of believing that gun rights is a left-right, red-blue, liberal-conservative issue. No, politicians use the promise of expanding gun rights as a lever to win elections, particularly in North Carolina. While the left promises to restrict guns, and does it every chance it gets, the right makes the opposite promise but repeatedly fails to deliver except on the lowest-hanging fruit. They never pass any substantive reforms to roll back the consistent, decades-long assault on Liberty.
This is one of many reasons why I am a Libertarian. The Democrats and Republicans either actively hate your Liberty or are apathetic about it. Politicians reliably assault freedom or reliably make some mediocre defense of freedom during an assault, but are absolutely unreliable at going out and progressing in the fight to proactively advance the cause of Liberty. So I urge you to remember these bureaucratic assaults when next you are at the ballot box. Remember that Democrats and Republicans both love the bureaucracy, they built it! The only party who wants to actively dismantle the tyranny of bureaucracy is the Libertarian Party. The only party who wants to aggressively and unambiguously advance Liberty is the Libertarian Party. The only party who wants to give the government less power, regardless of the reigning party, is the Libertarian Party. Support freedom, support community, support Libertarianism.
Be Kind Be Great, You Are the Power, and the LPNC Feeding the Hungry
by Thomas Hill
This past Friday, I made my way from Concord, NC, to Columbia, SC, on behalf of You Are The Power, to support Erika Brown and her organization, Be Kind Be Great. Erika and her organization specialize in feeding unhoused populations in the Greater Columbia area and beyond.
Erika embodies an ethos of compassion and service, doing what she can to ensure that hungry people have something to eat. Unfortunately, because hungry people are often homeless, and that is inconvenient to our political class, Columbia took a page from Gastonia's book, and made it illegal to feed people. They ticketed Erika for this heinous crime.
YATP found out about the harassment from CPD and issued a call to action to inspire activists to join Erika and provide a "shield" of support and protection the next time she attempted to feed hungry mouths in her city.
I met Matt Baxley, chair of the York County LP and state coordinator for YATP, before the scheduled feeding time. We discussed the possibility of being arrested and prepared ourselves the best we could. Considering the show of force by law enforcement in Gastonia in response to Pastor Moses and his ministry, both Matt Baxley, the event organizer, and I expected the worst.
We met Erika and other YATP and local LP activists in front of the library downtown and started preparing to feed the hungry. As some of us served food, others held signs and peacefully assembled in support.
Numerous city police vehicles passed by without stopping. Folks were able to go about their business downtown as we fed the unhoused until we ran out of food. This is remarkable considering the police shut her operations down within seven minutes the last time she attempted to feed our less fortunate neighbors.
We thought our good fortune was about to change when a city policeman stopped by as we were packing up. Matt interceded as the officer was approaching, politely greeted the officer, and offered him water to drink. The officer was very kind and professional, only asking for details about the organizations taking part and the people responsible for organizing it. YATP became involved to provide cover for Be Kind Be Great. Matt said he would take responsibility if any tickets or charges were forthcoming.
The officer assured us that he had no problem with what we were doing. He just wanted to make sure we weren't blocking the sidewalk or leaving any trash behind. We assured him that we would leave the area better than we found it and thanked him for his kindness and professional demeanor.
It certainly was a breath of fresh air compared to the response of law enforcement in Gastonia. They would be well served and better enabled to serve their community if they followed Officer Hall's lead and acted as a true peace officer, rather than punishers.
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