Do you avoid getting involved in local politics because you feel like David against the Goliath of larger or more vocal groups? Do you feel there’s nothing you can do in any measure to clean up the mess that has become our political system…whether on a federal, state, or local level?
Not so, says today’s guest on Off the Grid Radio, Paul Dorr. Dorr is a Christian political activist who targets local governments through his firm Copperhead Consulting Services, which was designed to assist citizens in rolling back the cost and spending patterns of their local government. If you ever thought about fighting rampant political corruption in your community, then it’ll be worth your while to join us on Off the Grid Radio today as Paul Dorr explains how to make local governments more accountable to the electorate.
Off The Grid Radio
Released: January 13, 2012
Bill: Greetings and welcome, everybody. This is Bill Heid with Off the Grid Radio. We’d like to thank you for joining us today. We’ve got an amazing guest today. We’ve got a Christian political activist that has done something unusual in that he has a website called rollbacklocalgov.com. His name is Paul Dorr. Paul has done something that most political activists, let alone Christian activists, have done – he’s aimed his sights at the local level of government, at city government specifically, small government specifically. He’s given people empowerment tools to fight back as it were. Paul, welcome to the show today.
Paul: Bill, greetings. Love being on your show and glad you called. I’m glad to share what people across eight states now I’m working in are doing at the local level. It’s a lot of fun.
Bill: Let’s go back and talk about some foundational issues. We had mentioned them before when we got on the phone this morning. What’s interesting to me is, so much of political effort that Christians/non-Christians make – and I think the left understands this better than maybe social conservatives – is that so much of politics is done at the local level. It seems to me like a lot of people like to – they want to go on Drudge or their favorite website and vote for Rick Santorum or Ron Paul or Mitt or whoever it is at that national level, but we forget where our responsibilities are first and foremost, that’s at the local – it’s not even the local government, Paul. I think from a biblical standpoint, you and I would probably both agree, government starts with – this is an Abraham Kuyper thing – government starts with you as a person, can you self-govern yourself, then can you govern your family …
Bill: What’s your government role inside the church and then only then do we move out to local government. Do you want to make some comments on that maybe?
Paul: Absolutely. I believe it passionately as a Christian that we need to get ourselves as redeemed Christians. We need to get ourselves in discipline under God’s righteousness, his law. We need to read it, study it, apply it – not to save ourselves in any fashion but to live out a life of sanctification and do it in our own lives first and then do it within our covenants of marriage and do it within our family. The Lord has blessed my wife and I with 11 children. We’ve been teaching them these things their whole lives as they’ve been growing up. Then how to be servants unto Christ, how to be servants to their neighborhood around them, for their witness in the glory of Christ. Then begin to grow in that sanctification into the community and into the church life particularly. Those foundations have to be laid sound and solid and when they are then we get to turn and apply this type of sanctifying grace into local government and to have it start to spread. I was involved back in the 1980s with all the national stuff, with the state stuff and so forth. The more I was in those games and I saw how futile it all was, I realized that – to be real specific – we need a reformation in our own homes, in our own churches and communities first. That salt will start to go out and savor the rest of society – the state capital and from there who we elect to the US government and so forth. 10, 12, 14 years ago, I turned most of my vision away from those national things. I still get involved once in a while if a really good candidate comes along but my frustrations come back real quick when I realized how many of our Christians are so lost and have almost an idolatrist view that the federal government’s going to fix everything when in fact it’s the federal government that’s been one of the instruments that has been mitigating against Christian civilization, our families and society. We came back some years ago and said “let’s start to put tools together and work out the gifts that God gave me,” which were quite varied. I used to be a fiat money banker until the Lord convicted me on that. I used to own half of a bank. I used to be a bank acquisition consultant back in the 1980s. I saw the inside of the Federal Reserve and the comptroller’s office, the state banking departments and I saw how immoral and how corrupt our entire monetary system is. But I gained a lot of skills and gifts and training in there that I was able then to apply now, helping citizen groups to roll back local gov.
Bill: You mentioned something really important early on in terms of self-government. If you’re going to be a player – and I think God requires – so often we say “what do you think God requires of you?” If you’re going to do some Christian witnessing or consulting or testifying to people and you say something like “what do you think God requires of you? What do you think God requires of us with respect to local government?” That’s an interesting thing and it starts with personal self-government. Your opposition at a local level, even a mayoral meeting – you go to a city council meeting and folks are there – if you’re a raving lunatic, people are going to see you as such. I think that’s so profound, Paul, to get it right with yourself first so there has to be that self-sanctifying thing where you think that you’re right. I don’t think that you have to be perfect, right? We don’t wait for this perfect – we’re not perfectionists.
Paul: I gave a speech this summer out in Western South Dakota on that very point. The humanist world has guilt tripped us into thinking – and the Christians have mostly imbibed this – that we have to somehow reach some level of humanistic perfection. God’s not calling perfect men because we’re only redeemed men. He’s calling redeemed men. Yes, we have to do away with the old Adam, that’s the only sin nature, we have to mitigate and fight against our old sins. Once we see this growth of sanctification and a consistency in the pattern of life, I know for a living witness that civil magistrates – I sit in front of judges, I used to be an Operation Rescue activist and later in life down for, peaceably for the unborn, and when they see that consistent life of sanctifying under the law of God, in a Christian, that’s when the world – mostly looks at the church today as a byword because you’re so inconsistent, you’re so hypocritical. It’s obvious for the world to see. When they see real grace applied in a sanctifying growth, even some of my most mortal enemies will look at with respect upon us because they see something different. That’s why it’s so critical and that’s why we spent so many years discipling and training and instructing our children in these very things. You’re striving by grace. We stumble, we still sin, but you’re continuing to grow in sanctification. After we recognize the justification work of Christ, then as we grow in sanctification, the world will want to know more about the Lord you serve. Romans 2 is pretty clear, “even the workings of God’s law is written on every man’s heart.” Romans 1 – excuse me. One of the first chapters of Romans. They have a natural crude sense of righteousness. They see the church today being very little to do with that. Once they see the church being a part of that, there’s a powerful opportunities to witness the people.
Bill: Great opportunities there, Paul. We on this show talk a lot about stewardship. I think the context in which I wanted to have the conversation with you – and I think that’s the way it’s going – the stewardship of local government – before we go on a little bit more, comment on one of those Van Tillian ideas of neutrality. Can you get off the grid and go back – let’s say you’re Christian – can you get off the grid, homeschool your kids and not pay any attention to government?
Paul: Nope. Pietism doesn’t work. Government and – either the light will grow or the dark will grow – either Christ’s name will be glorified and amplified or the world of darkness and man’s sin nature and the world of the devil will grow. There is no neutrality. We must step forward – the nation, the world – is waiting upon the Christians to repent and sanctify and bring forth the crown rights of the Christ Lord that we serve, the Jesus we serve, into that public realm. Back in the 1980s, I was around so many evangelical Christians who would say in the state capital “don’t bring your Bible here. Don’t bring … that turns people off.” I was resisting it then but we must at the local level bring forth that righteousness of Christ into that local government. That is the only redeeming grace that’s going to turn them away from darkness. Often, people look at wicked local rulers and think they have all the power, there’s nothing you can do about it. I’ve seen – if nothing else, I’ve seen Christians whose faith steadfast to stay at it. I see, if nothing else, wear the others out and they pack up and leave. Either they’ll come to repentance and turn from their wicked ways, or we drive them out of authority and replace them with God-fearing Christians. Either way, Christ’s kingdom is going forward.
Bill: I was thinking, as you said that, of Edmund Burke saying “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” I think indeed that’s what’s happened in this country at the top spots but primarily local government. Doesn’t it seem, Paul, like the local government is taken on the same tenor? I know folks that get involved in conflicts – there’s all kinds of spending conflicts – but it seems like we’ve almost, at the local level, where you’re saying people don’t get involved, Christians don’t get involved, conservatives don’t get involved, because when they do they’re fighting some big established group. But it’s not our place to decide the outcome. I always say on this show, Stonewall Jackson’s favorite maxim was “duty is ours, consequences are God’s.” The outcome of your battle isn’t in your pay grade. In other words, it’s decided by someone other – at a higher level than you – but you have a duty nonetheless to get involved. Cicero even said it as well, Paul – “those that don’t participate in citizenship deserve to lose it.”
Paul: You’ve given me so much there. I just want to jump into this. First, back to Edmund Burke – I agree completely with that adage but the thing you have to define is, when they do nothing, when they start to do something, they have to know what they’re doing is in accord with God’s law. We have a lot of good people trying to do something that is so often – it’s not fully formed from the righteousness of Christ. They’re trying to do something and it’s often either compromised or it’s a version of the darkness themselves, and we end up in the morass and the grey and the obscure just grows and people finally get apathetic and frustrated and “what can we do?” We have to bring the light of Christ into these tensions at the local level. Then I absolutely agree with the “duty is ours, the outcome is the Lord’s.” But people are not used to victory. What I’ve taught people for years – my children and a lot of my clients – be prepared to take a series of defeats, without compromise, in your struggles, if your position as you’re struggling is in accord with God’s law or in the civil realm as the law’s applied into constitutional fidelity where the constitution (break in audio) God’s law. Be prepared to take a series of defeats in righteousness for laying a foundation, because the consequences are the Lord’s and down the road – I used to think it happened generationally – I see it happening two, three, five years after we’ve had the struggle and we lost. Everything we said in the contest later has totally vindicated and comes out to be totally true and the other side’s position was a bold lie. Then, if you’re still there, if you’re steadfast, you can then bring this back forth and say “we told you the following things.” These foundations lead to way more than I ever expected. We see way more victories. But we don’t do it by compromising to get some quick and dirty victory that’s ephemeral and blows away. We lay foundations. Be prepared to lose some along the way, but don’t yield unto what’s true.
Bill: I think a comment based on what you’re saying – I think in a way – and this has happened in some ways as a virtue of Christian being reduced to strictly salvation. In other words, the Christianity that was comprehensive and very broad in its societal applications at the time of the Colonial period and the Founding Fathers, which even the deists understood that the Bible was basically the law of the land – they may not have liked it but they understood that to be the case. That’s the way they lived when we had our Constitution. You’ve got this reductionist view of Christianity, that it’s not really this comprehensive word that speaks to all areas of life. On top of that, Paul, I think you’ve got Christians who are very thin skinned. You get beat up a little bit in a battle and you just go home and say “enough of that.”
Paul: We have truncated the gospel. We’ve truncated the definitions of the gospel such that it becomes very – honestly, it becomes very self-centered. It’s all reduced down to “my salvation.” That’s your starting point, obviously. But my chief end living here on this earth is not my personal salvation. My chief end is to glorify God. I know – and this is my Calvinist roots – but I know that God is even glorified by the reprobate spending eternity in hell. If God has elected and pulled him out – the point here is that God is glorified in our lives. We have totally truncated, we have totally reduced it down. As we become more and more focused on my salvation and my good feelings – we’ve gutted manhood. We’ve elevated women into positions of leadership. We’ve lost the sense of Christendom. I am old enough to remember in rural Iowa where I lived, the parson walking down the street and no matter what denomination he was from, us kids – we look at the parson with fear and reverence, because he was the oracle of God. He brought the gospel to the community and his standard of righteousness affected every part of our community and our civilization. You feared the pastor, rightly so, as much as today everybody trembles and fears of the civil realm. We’ve replaced our God in this country and now people live in fear of mere men. We have to broaden that whole understanding of the gospel as it applied to every part of our life and rethink Christendom as the foundation of our entire civilization. Until we do that, personal salvation, our minion view of “my personal salvation,” personal piety, all that stuff, is just going to devolve into greater and greater sin and misery.
Bill: What’s interesting about what you just said is I see varying levels. We’ve got a lot of different listeners on this show. We have a lot of Dispensational friends, our Minion?? friends, Calvinist friends. But I would say what’s always fascinated me, Paul, is there are Calvinists who can articulate what you just said and would point out their brothers or sisters weakness in being self-conscious about the broader apprehensions or comprehensiveness of the Scripture and then not do anything. Isn’t that interesting?
Paul: My dominion and dispensational listeners, listen closely, I live in an area that’s surrounded by Calvinists and they’re dead in the water.
Bill: I think it’s important that we say that – that there’s a problem with inconsistency. Even the people that are well at articulating things don’t always do things. I think you and I are talking about a theology that transcends Calvinism, Arminianism, and Dispensationalism. We’re talking about a theology of action because we think that’s what the Bible requires. The cool part about it is you don’t even have to be a winner every time. You can lose and that’s part, in Romans again, you went to Romans, all things work for good. Even your losses do amazing things throughout the fabric of the universe. It’s fabulous.
Paul: I’m a particular opponent of the public schools today in that I think that the Christians need to escape – get their children out of there as fast as they possibly can. I’ve seen situations where we allow help from clients on a school bond fight that’s way too excessive. There’s so much of this going on. The political economy that we’re supposed to be living in now, the government is all of the economy. People organize to fight, sometimes we win 83 percent of our fights. So far it’s a running total right now. But sometimes we lose, for various reasons. Often when we get done, I see a bunch of parents from a multitude of faiths and grandparents sit back and say “I heard your personal convictions.” We don’t use my views on the public education as a whole in the campaigns. We got at it fiscally in enrollment and spending waste and we get a lot of data and information in simple terms to the voters that they were not being told. All that aside, I’ll often have people on the opposition committees sit back and say “I don’t want my grandkids back in that building. I don’t want them … this thing is far worse. You helped bring this out and helped me see this things.” In the midst of our political loss, I see another – on the fringe, another group of children or grandchildren just start to walk out of that school and now they’re getting into a private school, a parochial school or a homeschooling, in particular, and to me we got a small victory. God’s always doing something more in the midst of even our defeats that we often never even know about.
Bill: Well said. I think – we walk through this thing, Paul, where I think we’ve made the case. I think there needs to be a ground-up – I think early Deuteronomy – our basic form of government in this country calls to a representative, very small government, but people-centered, bottom-up kind of government. I think that’s what you and I are talking about, but I think God requires that. We’ve talked about that. Let’s move into the area of what folks that do want to become politically active at the local level find. I want to throw something out at you that I think ends up being true. No one would probably believe that we’ve morphed into this, but doesn’t it remind you, even at the local government level, of government that maybe Aristotle or Plato have envisioned, at least in terms of – if you read Plato’s Republic, it says “there are people who are educated, there’s an aristocracy. They should be leading and the rest of the rabble should just do what they’re told.” That’s the opposite of the vision that the Founding Fathers had, but I’ll bet that’s the majority of the battles that you run into. You run into people who presuppose themselves to be members of an elite – either implicitly or explicitly – don’t you?
Paul: Our public servants have become our public masters. They firmly believe that thus be the case and they are to govern and rule and “we know what’s best … you simple folks …” One of my maxims is their idea of unity in the community is for “those of you who oppose us to sit down, shut up and pay. If you do that and heed to us the masters, then we’re all going to be one happy and unified community.” They don’t like the rabble “getting organized” and overthrowing their realm. I had last May my first victory party afterwards. It was a $42 million fight with the school district. They demonized my committee – the local media did. They demonized me for the committee hiring me and so forth. It was vicious. I told the guys up front that you’re going to experience this, but it was a heavy dose of it. It was challenging to their faith, to all of them. They were (audio break) because they’ve been local citizens in this community for years, but they really got demonized. Afterwards, they called up and said – I was only two hours away from this community, it was a little closer to my home than normal – I said “we’re going to have a victory party.” We called a whole bunch of people “you’ve got to come on back down.” I got there and I happened to be delayed – I got in a couple of minutes late – I walked in the room and about 80 people were there and they stood up and started applauding. I said “no, sit down. Sit down. These men up front here, these men live in this community, they had the courage. They put up the fight.” What came from this whole crowd as they were questioning me later and having me give some remarks to them. I challenged them in the faith how now to continue these fights, how to take these stands. I always challenge the hoary heads, the grey hairs, in the body, in the churches. Let’s look at our sins of omissions and commissions and let’s repent. Let’s repent before our children, our grandchildren. Start taking a stand in our communities and so forth. The overall theme that came from them is “we can’t believe what happened here. You can beat these people? They have treated us so oppressively for so long. They have treated us like second class citizens. Not only did you help us beat them and rout them, but you drew them out and exposed them in a way that the whole community now sees.” That attitude – I lump as a class, with a few noted exceptions here and there, I lump sum of the most despicable, dishonest, conniving and manipulative public servants in America as a class, public school superintendents.
Bill: I’ve heard that before. Many, many times.
Paul: People used to – when we were children, you looked to him as one of the leaders of the community – him or her. Now, they teach this political apparatchik at the local level of the system being God. “We are your masters,” and then they apply – they’re trained in system thinking and how to get the whole system to subject the people. One of the big ways is to continue to tax them to death. Spend as fast as you can. That’s one of the things, I have to tell my businessmen, I have to offer my clients – they say “how can they justify this? They can’t run a business.” I said “you don’t understand. They’re not trained to run a business. They’re trained to expand government.” Call it a Keynesian economic position or whatever you want, their training is to grow and expand this as fast as they can, as aggressively as they can, to greater enslave you.
Bill: They’ll do anything. I know to the point where even if you – you probably don’t watch the Simpsons, Paul, but I do – there’s always … whenever they have a public meeting on the Simpsons, there’s always a lady who says “won’t anyone think of the children?” The writers of the Simpsons know and understand what you know, that that’s part of a manipulative aspect of what a superintendent or whoever has to push these projects, tax increases through. They always have that element that if – you must hate – “Paul Dorr hates the children. Bill Heid hates the children.” You have 11 children. My guess is they’re probably doing a little better than most of the kids that have gone through public school like I did. You don’t hate the children and people that want to cut budgets don’t hate the children. But that’s something you fight too. You’ve got the system – part of that system is this emotional fight, isn’t it?
Paul: Yeah, there’s a book out there by RJ Rushdoony called “The Politics of Guilt and Pity.” Theologically, biblically, I really recommend anybody fighting at the local level to read that book because it gets to the theological and biblical root of it. It’s so grace-filled because it focuses on how much we are redeemed Christians. We’re not subject to the humanist ongoing guilt manipulations. When we can get through that and think in the victory that Christ has won for us and think in such victory sense, out of joy for the work Christ has done, then when we go into these fights the guilt manipulation tactics are often ripped away. One of the things that we’ve come up with is a little magic – we call the silver bullet – is where and when we can use radio in our campaigns, we’ll often employ children’s voices – not deceptively. They don’t claim to be members of the local school, but we’ll take their guilt manipulation tricks and we’ll have children talk about some of the problems in the government today and the public school systems. They’re not teaching children how to better manage their money. So many of our peers are growing up, getting out of college and they’re buried in debt. They’ve got student loans and car loans and then if they want to get married they’ve got house loans. They can’t build a family in a community because they’re buried in debt. Often they’re taught how to spend like this by looking at the school. Getting everything they want whenever they want, building new palaces, athletic complexes galore. What a bad example this is for our children, and we have children will be saying these messages on the radio. Then they’ll play the guilt trip – we don’t use guilt, we just expose the guilt trip by using the children’s voices back at the adults. I tell my clients “when we do this, watch for what I call the squeal factor. When we expose their guilt manipulative games right back at ‘em, using children’s voices, we see large blocs of older people say ‘yeah, that’s right. Those kids are all … they’re spending so wildly. No one’s teaching them how to … this is getting out of control.’” Once you can lift that guilt trip, it unleashes a whole energy of people that will stand up against the local government and whatever trick they’ve been trying to play by using the children. I have a thing on my website …
Bill: Let’s say the website again. It’s rollbacklocalgov.com. Before you go on Paul, it’s an excellent website. You should go to it as soon as you can – rollbacklocalgov.com. There’s tons of tools on here for you – tactics, strategies, videos, resources that you can incorporate into your local battle. Go ahead, Paul, but I wanted to get that in there because I really think people need to go to the site.
Paul: One of our tactics is “do it for the kids.” We go through the philosophy of it, give some background, some reading material and then from there how to tactically counter that. We’ve taken pretty well every gimmick and tool that the local governments can play against us and, if we’re organized and we’ve got a voice and we can go to the community … I often – we’re at the point now, I often look for and hope that the local civil authority – be it the county administrator, the city manager, the school superintendent – I kind of hope they abuse their authority and treatise with the contempt that they truly see us as. Because once I can draw them into the real nature and duel of what they really feel of us and capture it, then we turn around and we throw it right back into the community and show the whole community. At that point, credibility is often destroyed amongst these local bodies. A year or two later we’ll hear of school board elections or city council elections just rolling out the dead weight that was accommodating all this bureaucratic tyranny.
Bill: On your website there’s tools for holding people accountable. One of those tools is an interesting fact of the age of electronics and the age of information is that you can record sessions, such as city council or school board meetings, and catalog these sessions and hold people responsible by making those into YouTubes, by distributing that information into your local community. People don’t like that, do they, Paul?
Paul: [laughs] It’s one of the areas we really have to fight. I have a friend who’s a federal judge and he’s always liked my advocacies in the areas of the First Amendment rights. He and I are at strong odds on other issues, but in one area he’s always told me “this company’s going to lose its First Amendment rights if we don’t exercise them, particularly if the local government bodies …” To the extent that your state laws allow recording and capturing and holding these people accountable, we train people in how to do this, how to set up a regimented program, how to use homeschool kids or senior citizens who are retired and have some time. Start to build an inventory, build a library, get this material captured and then start – I haven’t had time yet to put up our better YouTube videos and give some instruction as to how to implement them. I have the training tools up there. I’ve got a client down in South Carolina that – if you’ve got time, I’ll give you one “how to” story that …
Bill: Sure, sure. Tell us.
Paul: In January of last year, they went to the city council meeting and they heard the – they have a self-funded retirement program in this city in South Carolina. They listened to the actuarial attorney for the retirement fund stand up and give his annual report where he describes that the – if I remember the terms – the city puts in every nickel of retirement fund, that the employees don’t contribute a nickel, and the average employee after 32 years of experience they get to retire with pretty much 100 percent of their last year’s paycheck, not the three-year rolling average, but the last year’s paycheck, if they’ve maxed out at 32 years. They recorded this and they were stunned that they heard this. They called me later and said “we can’t believe this. We talked to the business community around town. They said ‘retirement funds? Who’s got those? They’re all collapsing on us and so forth. What do we do with this?’” I says “go back to the city council, get on the agenda for next meeting, have your camera there, tell them you want five minutes, you’ve just got some comments. Stand up there and say: Question #1 – have the camera close on you the questioner – and then the minute you ask the question, pan back and look at the city council up in their high platforms looking condescendingly down upon you. Then ask them #1 – did we hear right last month that the actuarial attorney said that the taxpayers fund 100 percent of the retirement contributions of the city employees? Then pan back and get them to nod or whatever. The city manager said ‘yes.’ The second question is: did we understand right that if they work for 30 or 32 years, they retire at 100 percent of the most recent year’s pay?” By this time they’re saying ‘yes …’ They had one friend on the city council, they primed him ahead of time that this third question was coming. They said “last question – those of you who disagree with those two ideas, that the taxpayers should be funding 100 percent of the contributions and that you get 100 percent of their most recent year’s pay if they put in 32 years, if you disagree with those two terms of the retirement fund in our city, would you please raise your hand?” One council member sticks his hand straight high in the air. The camera pans back and all the rest of them are trying to eat their notes, looking down. They immediately – they said “thank you very much. That’s all we needed.” The city called for immediate break, came down off the podium. Three of them went up to the camera operator and said “what are you going to do with that film?” Turns out they never told them but it turned out he was a first-time camera operator, he wasn’t running it the way he should have and he didn’t capture them up there. They didn’t end up using it. That’s the last time I’m going to make that mistake. But they are now – they’ve got the editing software and they’re now capturing more and more inventory. They’re going to recruit some homeschool kids to help them start building these political YouTubes. They’ve set up their own YouTube video channel. There’s a lot of things – a lot of oppression and a lot of deception and a lot of ugliness as the local government level that most Christians don’t want to believe occurs. When they hear of a group that’s going down there and recording city council or county commissioners – “the paper didn’t say that. The paper’s saying this, this and …” Local media’s pretty much worthless for real coverage anymore of much of these things, unless it’s a big controversy. The Christian community doesn’t really believe it’s this bad until they see it on film. That’s when – and I try to train them, zoom in when a government official’s speaking, get up close. We want to see his body language. We want to see his eyes when he’s talking. Let people judge his demeanor or her demeanor as they’re speaking. From that, that’s when large numbers of people will say “wait a minute.” You can start getting a lot more public sentiment with a good political video.
Bill: You know, Paul, there’s … I’m thinking of this as being something that you can do to fight against battles that are on the forefront, specific bond issues, specific tax increases and so forth. But I’m thinking about Jefferson County in Alabama – that bond issue. Let’s talk about – there’s a grace aspect of this, of holding people accountable, that maybe is in our human element that we really don’t see or understand. What if you would have had people just doing this constantly in Jefferson County? The temptations to be dishonest like what happened down there – you may help someone in a way that you don’t understand and they don’t understand. They will never commit some crazy fraud or crime because they know you’re there. Do you see what I’m saying? I’m trying to get at something, I’m not sure how to articulate it. But you’re helping someone in a grace event by holding them to the standards that they themselves say that they have.
Paul: Yes. I completely confirm that. That’s why I coach and train my clients to build and inventory of this video and let the bodies know that “we’re capturing this. We’re going to remember what you said two years ago or a year ago. All these promises that you made that you want to now turn around and renege on and stab the people in the back. We got the film of that, back when you said it.” They want to now twist the knife in the people’s back and they go “aah …” They know that film’s out there. We had to do that in one county in my state where we used two-year-old film, a year prior film, of a certain county commission meeting and then we demonstrated that the new chairman of this commission who was on the previous commissions was aggressively lying about what he had been a part of the previous two meetings. His credibility was greatly harmed. But many of them, if they know you have it and they know you’ve used it, it can be very much said, an element of grace in that it restrains the evil from them. This takes some dedication on some homeschool families who have some time, if their kids adjust their school schedule to go to daytime meetings, or more particularly, retired folks who are still pretty agile and like computers and so forth and camera technology. If you can get a group of them to stay at this, keep recording and keep videoing, and then on occasion when there is a real harm done, to expose it to the whole community. It can itself be a restraint. Sadly – and I preface all this with “get used to it folks.” The local media’s pretty well bought and sold. They’re not part of objective forum anymore. In most of the communities I work in, the local media are simply the mouthpiece of the local government apparatchik. Many of your listeners may be struggling with “well, that’s what the paper’s supposed to be there. That’s what the TV crew’s supposed to be there. They’re supposed to hold them accountable.” That day’s pretty much gone. It’s going to have to come back to us as citizens to do this.
Bill: And Paul, let’s make the case for as we see the future. I think what’s going to happen, the federal government – at least the federal government that I know of – is broke. The state government – I live in Illinois so I can speak authoritatively to this week. Last week we, meaning the people in the state of Illinois, we paid some lottery ticket owners – people who won lottery tickets – lottery ticket winners rather, not owners. The checks that we wrote to them bounced from the State of Illinois. We can’t even run a crooked scam. It’s unbelievable. What happens is, all this money and all these efforts now get downshifted. The federal government’s going to start pulling programs away from state, county, local municipalities. State is going to start pulling some of those things away, some of those funds. They already are. Rockford, Illinois, not too far from us, Paul, they have to turn – they unscrew their lights at night because they can’t afford to run the lights to power the street lights. You’re seeing all these things but at the same time in the course of that, this big shift is going to be back to local government. Now it’s going to be a double whammy because local governments are losing more money because businesses are moving. In Illinois, businesses are moving out of Illinois. Revenues are decreasing, tax revenues are decreasing in many places. You have the burden shift back to the local area, which it should be, but unfortunately our leaders at the local government are left with some pretty tough decisions. That’s why they’re going to need the kind of help that you’re talking about.
Paul: That’s exactly right. The challenge we’re going to have in front of us though, is that most of these local government leaders have been trained in this federal/state/county/city transference of money and regulations of power and rule. I often say that much of the oppression and the tyranny that we hate about Washington is harder to deal with at the local level. It’s often meted out at the local level, with the excuse “the state mandates … the federal mandates … we have to do this and that … sorry, nothing we can do about it.” The local government people are ones meting out the tyranny and oppression. Many of them are ill-equipped now as this funding system starts to crumble and break down and as our monetary system and the value of our dollar is collapsing and the whole fiat money system is unraveling. Many of them in there – and that’s why I challenge every homeschool father I can come across – train your children. Get them ready for what’s coming. They’re going to need to step into positions. Honestly, this government school class of people who lead, in addition to the fact that most of the public school graduates they come out thinking like an adolescent in the first place – but economically and politically, (inaudible) and local leadership are not equipped for what’s going to be coming. You’re going to see a lot of them – when this pressure’s on. I see it when we beat ‘em at the local levy referendums or bonds or tax increases. After so much of it, they just walk away. They can’t take it. Tough decisions are going to have to be made, especially in the areas of public employment retirement funding and benefits and so forth. There’s no getting around it. It’s coming. That’s why I’m trying to equip and train and prepare people to step forward. If they offer the solutions now, the spending solutions now, people say “you’re crazy. We can’t do that.” then as the vise of economic crumbling and lack of more and more money comes from the top down, pretty soon those “crazy, wild ideas,” spending cut proposals three years ago are going to look very reasonable today. In fact, Christians could then have great opportunities to step into leadership.
Bill: Great points, Paul. As we start to close here, I was thinking about who are the customers that you have, the clients that you have? People listening to this – if you’re facing some local government challenges, describe a couple of scenarios whereby people that are listening to this radio broadcast may want to come and connect with you – go to the website and then connect with you personally to see what you can do, because you have a consulting service that can actually help organize and help. Are these mainly battles with schools and city councils? Give us a couple of examples.
Paul: We do schools, we do counties, we do rural zoning ordinances. We do mostly funding proposals and most of it in the areas of schools. But we did a county courthouse addition in Des Moines, Iowa. They wanted to add a courthouse addition five times the total square footage of the existing courthouse. That’s a population of 400,000. We work in metros, we work in tiny little rural communities. The two things I always say that we need is we need Christian men with courage and I can pretty well help them develop all the rest of it. If someone’s willing to take the hits and to take the demonization that the system will roll out, if we have a Christian couple, a family, two or three families – the more the better, obviously. From there, we can build a local committee on a particular fight, or we can help them build a non-profit organization. We’ve got some really good, low-cost, highly efficient ways of getting those things set up. We can start helping them develop a communications system into their county and the community. But more so, right up front, I can help them with some pretty creative ideas on how to go to the right people who are paying the cost of this oppression and try to have them start to help fund this. There’s ways of doing that that we’ve employed. In fact, we’ve got a new model we’re working on right now with technology, that could be extremely efficient and very low cost to raise money as well. Yeah, I’ve got to feed my family so you’re going to have to pay me. Part of the fundraising comes to me, but we raise a lot more so that they can get their message and get their credibility and get their voice into the community. Then after a particular fight, I have clients now who are starting to roll into setting up an ongoing communications system, a 501(c)(4) and they’re going to start to become this ongoing presence and voice and hopefully get out in front of a lot of these problems and have the community shut down the city council before they even get started on it.
Bill: It’s been … I’ve never heard of anybody that really has taken on a project or is doing what you’re doing, Paul. I’m fascinated by it.
Paul: I’m looking for my peers so far and it is something pioneering, something the Lord laid my heart and as I look back over 30 years of my professional life, I went from the corrupt banking system into pro-life activism into political work. I see that some of the tools and the training the Lord gave me through all of that is now come together and synthesized in this project. We beat 83 percent of them. I’ve been involved in 65 or 70 different campaigns in eight states. We’re leaving behind some really emboldened or strengthened community groups. I’m hoping that a lot more will pick up on some of these ideas. We have to have stamina. It’s not going to be a quick fix. We’re not going to overturn it tomorrow. But as we stay at it and as this economy and this dollar system continues to crumble, I see great opportunities for Christians to lead at the local level.
Bill: Any other advice you’d like to give? I think you mentioned getting the Rushdoony book. That’s available on your website as well. Is there any other advice, as we start to close down here Paul?
Paul: Just be in fervent prayer that the Lord will send you – each one who is hearing this – that they’ll recognize the sanctifying grace that they need to start in their own life. It often helps to have a pastor who understands these things, who will stand by you, as you take the hits and so forth in the community. And develop a vision of – I call it eschatology of hope – of a future orientation. Think genuinely about your grandkids and your kids and “what am I going to leave behind” for the older people listening. What kind of legacy is it? Is it all just material things? Faithfulness at going to church and so forth? One of the greatest legacies I think the older people can leave behind is a voice that stood up for Christ and for his righteousness in the public square, in the community around them, and leave an example for the grandkids. That would be one of my challenges to your listeners, is to step out of their realm of guilt and fear that may have kept them quiet in the past, and step forward into the light of Christ’s gospel and bring it to the whole world and let your living witness be the thing that evangelizes people.
Bill: Paul, well said. Well stated. I think if we do engage in that battle, not only do you have the victory that is possible to stand by, you have all of the efforts but your children, your grandchildren, are watching you and they will see that it’s OK to battle as well. You do a great thing here, Paul. We want to encourage everybody to go to rollbacklocalgov.com and check it out. Paul, wish you the best with your efforts. Many blessings and thanks again for joining us.
Paul: It was my pleasure, Bill, and God bless you and your ministry.
Bill: Thank you so much.[0:48:55]