Sunday, February 21, 2010


(Part One of a Heart Beat Beyond the Box Profile) 

Maybe it's her knowing, over-the-shoulder, just above the spectacles glance; her 2,200 Facebook friends, many of whom hang on her every e-utterance; her unabashed 
refusal to fit quietly into a box.  

Or maybe it's the guiding phrase at the bottom of her Facebook page: 

I believe all people should be free to do as they please, so long as they do not physically harm or defraud others. Government has become a servant to special interest groups, rather than to the People, and so continues to infringe upon inherent human freedoms, regardless whether an R or D is in office.  

Whatever it is, when you first see Liz De Foe-Thomas at home in one of her favored milieus -- social media -- you know you're looking at what author Malcolm Gladwell would call a 21st century connector/maven/persuader -- a triple threat knowledge gatherer with a knack for connecting new ideas to the rest of us -- and connecting the rest of us to her world.  

If the under-30 crowd has a face, it probably looks more like Liz De Foe-Thomas, 28, than Barack Obama, an aging page from yesterday's news in comparison.  

Obama -- and Liberal politics generally -- are too old-fashioned for the De Foe-Thomas generation, which advocates something establishment types -- Liberals, Conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, and even  some Libertarians -- find, strangely enough, almost revolutionary: Greater personal freedom, and the personal responsibility freedom imposes as its one major constraint.  

One of the brains behind a Red Light Camera protest planned at the intersection of Providence and Broadway this Friday, De Foe-Thomas believes that anyone can and should enjoy the fruits of freedom, but never by taking fruit or freedom from someone else without consent.   

Taking our pictures -- and our privacy -- without consent, red light cameras have no place in De Foe-Thomas' world view.  

All this from the child of Christian conservatives who once considered herself a Republican but decided that "I really didn't like the idea of being forced to choose between only two political parties."    

Saying she "abandoned the system" in 2007, De Foe-Thomas found herself "fed up with the Bush administration's antics; fiscal irresponsibility; the escalation of the War on Drugs (placing over 700,000 people a year in jail over utterly victimless crimes); the Patriot Act;  and ALL the shocking policies Bush quietly put in place, giving government untold power."   

To find out where Liz De Foe-Thomas (photo right by Clay McGlaughlin) ended up politically, and why people like her -- independents who refuse allegiance to one political party and want to go back to basic American liberty -- are starting to matter more and more, both locally and around the country, the Columbia Heart Beat interviewed Liz -- via Facebook, of course. 

Columbia Heart Beat (CHB):  What's your connection to Columbia? 

De Foe-Thomas:   I was born and raised here.  As a teen, I couldn't wait to get out of this town.  But when I moved to the D.C. area, even though I really loved it, all I wanted to do was come back.  Columbia is my hometown, probably my home for life. 

CHB:  How would define your political views?  You don't seem to fit in a neat box -- not a traditional Libertarian, and certainly not an R or D.  

De Foe-Thomas:    Thanks for noticing.  I'll take that as a compliment. :)

 I'm not a huge fan of political labeling.  Most people can't be neatly shuffled into one party or ideology:  There are just too many variables involved.  In a lot of ways, it would be nice to rid ourselves of political parties altogether.  Perhaps then we would actually scrutinize politicians more, hold their feet to the fire, and ensure they're really in it for the reasons we'd vote them in.

I try to ignore party affiliation (and polling) and focus on a candidate's merits alone. 

CHB:  You've been involved in several Libertarian-style initiatives, like the Feb. 26 Red Light Camera protest, Liberty on the Rocks, and Campaign for Liberty.  How do you and the Libertarians get along? 

De Foe-Thomas:   The Libertarian platform does represent my views for the most part:  fiscally conservative, socially liberal.  The splendid little short film The Philosophy of Liberty sums up the liberty viewpoint pretty well.   If such ideals were running the show today, you'd have government both out of your pocketbook AND out of your bedroom.  Who doesn't want that? 

CHB: What is the Campaign for Liberty?   How did you get involved in it?

De Foe-Thomas:  Campaign for Liberty is a grassroots organization that was originally started by [former presidential candidate] Ron Paul.    I had supported Paul's campaign, so I signed on in November of that year.  I wasn't hugely active with the group at first, but I now organize a pub night "spin-off" every Thursday at the Heidelberg during happy hour called Liberty on the Rocks 

CHB:  How do you define Liberty? 

De Foe-Thomas:  True, individual liberty is all about personal property.  Not only is your body your own property, but so is the fruit of your labor:  your money, and the property you gain by voluntary exchange and mutual consent. 

If I am to be free, I should be able to survive and strive for betterment however I wish, and however I am able -- so long as I am not obstructing anyone else's right to property, and so long as I am not defrauding or physically harming another person.  

CHB:  If government can be a liberty stealer, how does it fit into this definition, if at all?    

De Foe-Thomas:   At times, people will use force or fraud to take from other people without voluntary consent.  This is where the law comes in, and for two reasons: protection (including arrest), and prosecution.  If liberty is to be preserved and maintained, government, in my opinion, should be limited to the function of protecting people from force and fraud, and prosecuting those who use either. 

NEXT TIME:  The Brave New World of Next-Gen politics


  1. Re: "Saying she "abandoned the system" in 2007, De Foe-Thomas found herself "fed up with the Bush administration's antics; fiscal irresponsibility; the escalation of the War on Drugs (placing over 700,000 people a year in jail over utterly victimless crimes); the Patriot Act; and ALL the shocking policies Bush quietly put in place, giving government untold power." "

    I am not an expert on the number on people jailed every year, but I am a thinker. This stat does not seem possible to me. If you put in jail 700,000 people every year, in 4 years, you would put 2.8 million people in prison. As of Feb. 2008 an easily found stat I found on the web our total prison population was 2.3 million. I don't believe that all those are there for victimless crimes.
    I don't know where De Foe Thomas got that figure, but if she does not have better critical thinking about how reasonable the numbers are that are being repeated, I have very little confidence about her other arguments or comments.
    Sounds like handbook for radicals hyperbole to sway emotions. The facts don't matter, just tell a big lie--tell it often-- and people will start to believe it!

  2. She didn't say "prisons" she said "jails."

    She may have been including local jails -- in cities and counties, etc. -- in this figure, not just prisons. Jail time can mean anything from a few days to a few months.

    In that case, the 700,000 figure doesn't seem at all exaggerated.

  3. @ Anonymous:
    While you may be a "thinker," you may need to think a little deeper.
    Many statistics, such as the one above, do not mean exactly what they state. The same person could be jailed, (not put in prison) and allowed to go free, and re-jailed for similar drug offenses many times in a year.
    The point of the statistic is that an incredible amount of time and money is wasted on the drug war, and the results are staggeringly adverse to the idea of the cause. The drug war creates criminals out of peace-loving people, and the black market in turn creates actual violent crime.
    Next time you wish to criticize, do at least a modicum of research, and some serious critical thinking. Oh, and have the courage to sign your name.

  4. @ Anonymous -

    Interesting opinion. 1,841,182 drug-related arrests were made in 2007 alone. Numbers are numbers. Don't get me wrong - it's okay to have an opinion - but the most dangerous opinions are usually uninformed ones. ;)


    Or - feel free to do a bit of Googling on the subject.