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The New Live and Let Live Global Peace Movement Interview with Marc J. Victor
The Live and Let Live Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. We support and promote the Live and Let Live Global Peace Movement. We are working to change the world to promote both freedom and peace.
Marc J. Victor is a certified Criminal Law Specialist by The Arizona Board of Legal Specialization and is admitted in Arizona & Hawaii. Marc has been zealously representing clients in serious state and federal criminal law matters for well over twenty-five years. He has twice debated Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery on the drug war.
Marc has represented clients in more than a thousand major felony cases including first and second-degree murder, sex cases, gun cases, major drug cases, complex white-collar cases, federal appeals, high-profile civil rights, personal injury, and other complex state and federal matters. His jury trial experience includes several murder trials including death eligible matters as well as complex sex and drug cases including both state and federal courts. During his career, Marc has successfully represented clients in many high-profile and media attention cases, including his representation of Elizabeth Johnson in the nationally televised “Baby Gabriel” case. He has also successfully argued before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
As a long-time freedom activist, Marc is regularly invited to speak to audiences across Arizona on a variety of issues including ending the drug war, the rights of gun owners, the free market, criminal justice issues as well as a variety of other criminal law-related issues. Most recently, Marc has spoken on the Live and Let Live Principle, the foundation upon which he has established The World’s Only Real Peace Movement.
Marc has been quoted locally, nationally, and internationally on radio, television, in print, and in-person as a legal commentator and expert on many local and national cases. He was an expert legal commentator for local NBC 12 News for the Jodi Arias case. Marc and firm partner Andrew Marcantel host The Peace Radicals Podcast with a new episode every Friday. The Peace Radicals is available on most streaming platforms including Apple Podcasts and Spotify and is also available to watch on YouTube.
Read the Interview Transcript
Hugh Ballou: Greetings, everyone. This is Hugh Ballou. Welcome back to another episode of The Nonprofit Exchange. We talk with people who have been there, done it, and are doing things that impact people’s lives. We have a unique one today. They are always good; this one is especially important in today’s world. Our guest is Marc J. Victor. Please tell people a little bit about who you are and why you started this nonprofit that you lead.
Marc J. Victor: Thanks for having me, Hugh. It’s such an honor and pleasure to be on your show. It’s true. My name is Marc Victor. For almost the last 30 years, I have been a criminal law defense attorney. I represent people in major felony cases, not just in Arizona and Hawaii, where I am licensed, but also across the nation. We have done a lot of high-profile cases. I do trial level matters and appellate matters.
The name of the law firm that I founded is Attorneys for Freedom. We are activists at our firm. I don’t hire lawyers unless they are freedom activists. We are freedom and peace activists, neither left nor right.
I am a former United States Marine. Very proud of my service in the Marine Corps. My adventure was the Desert Storm adventure, where I lived in a hole for a little while up at the border of Kuwait near the mine fields. I was honorably discharged as a sergeant. Many of my best friends still are from the Marine Corps.
I have been involved in trying to get the world on the right path for many years now. With several other people in different countries around the world, we have founded a nonprofit, a 501(c)3 called the Live and Let Live Foundation. This is a very serious effort by a lot of bright people in different countries to try to get us back on the right track.
When I say “us,” I mean all of humanity. The days of thinking about a free society or free community are long gone as we are all suffering through this coronavirus pandemic. This is a great example of what we’re talking about. Somebody did something in China that has created an incident around the whole world. That is our community now. We need to get our heads around it.
We’re brothers and sisters. We need to get past all of this craziness, worried about skin color and where you’re from and what language you speak and who you love. It’s time for the reasonable people of the world to stand up and say, “Enough is enough with this stuff.” Let’s do exactly what Martin Luther King wanted on this planet. Let’s be more concerned about the content of a person’s character than we are about the color of their skin.
Hugh: I was there when he said that in Atlanta, Georgia, Peachtree Street, outside of Walgreen’s. I was like, “Yes.” A few weeks ago, we finished up a series on supporting clergy. We had all three Abrahamic religions represented. I thought this would be relevant to what you’re talking about. The rabbi published this book, Radical Love: One World, One God, One People. We are one people.
Marc: There is a podcast I do every week called The Peace Radicals. We have had several very religious Christians come on and say, “You know what, Marc? The reason I support the Live and Let Live movement is because I’m a Christian.” We also had a very influential doctor named Zuhdi Jasser, a very religious Muslim. He came on and said, “The reason I support the Live and Let Live movement is because I’m a very religious Muslim. The dictates of Islam understood correctly demand that I push the peace movement.” This is about inclusiveness. People have different views about the world. That’s fine. We need to coalesce around some basic ideas. We call this Live and Let Live.
Hugh: I’m inspired already. Where do I sign up? You have a website. Tell us about your website.
Marc: If people want to get ahold of me and my law firm, they can always go to AttorneysForFreedom.com. If they want to find out more about the Live and Let Live movement, this is easy. Just remember LiveAndLetLive.org. Right now, we have a temporary website up there. There is lots of information. Since it’s a world-class movement, we’re building a world-class website that will be in different languages. We will have many of the chapter leaders from around the world. Incidentally, there are 37 active chapters, which have monthly meetings, around the world. They are in 19 different countries.
We have several other chapters simply waiting to be approved. We’re very careful. We don’t want the message to be hijacked. We don’t want people to be saying things differently than we’re saying, so we’re screening very carefully people who want to be chapter leaders in different parts of the world. It’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever been involved in.
Hugh: That’s awesome. Marc, you had an idea. Out of every 100 people who have an idea, only three people do something about it. You had this idea. How did you make this happen?
Marc: Actually, it’s been something I have been thinking about very carefully for almost 30 years now. Back when I went into law school, I started life. I was from Massachusetts. I was raised in the Jewish tradition. I was expected to be a D in life. Because of that, without knowing anything about what the Ds or the Rs were about, I decided I am an R. There were things I liked about Ronald Reagan and some of the things he said about individual responsibility.
When I got to law school, I started reading cases, and I fortunately for me ran into a professor by the name of Butler Shaffer. He got me to see the world differently. I have frankly been thinking about what he said and what he taught me for 30 years as a criminal defense lawyer, as I have been going through the criminal justice system. Fortunately, I had to take the bar exam again when I got admitted to Hawaii a few years ago. I looked at the entire American jurisprudence through the lens of what we’re saying with Live and Let Live. It all made sense.
There are basic rules about a civilized society. That’s what we call our legal principle. We get this from Live and Let Live. There are things we can say beyond the law. There are moral principles. There are things we need to say that shouldn’t be in the law. We would oppose putting them in the law, but we want to say and advocate for them aggressively nonetheless.
We summarize each of our principles as follows. The legal principle we simply summarize as “Don’t be an aggressor.” Nobody should aggress against anybody else. The moral principle we summarize as, “Be a good human.” We break both of those things down because they both need more explanation.
But what’s very important for people to understand is the difference between a legal rule and a moral rule. Legal rules, if you break those, we’re going to do something to you. There are formal consequences. Moral rules, you’re free to break all day long. There may be social consequences. People might not want to do business with you. They may not want to be friends with you. But these are different types of rules. We need to get our brains around the very important ideas in both realms. Keeping them separate is key to understanding the path to get to freedom and peace around the world.
Hugh: I think Abraham is the father of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. I believe he is in the capital statute. The rules you talk about are the 10 Commandments. Those come from the Jewish part of the Bible that we all share. I think those were there because we needed to learn how to behave. Your point is so powerful. What is the spirit of what we do that is the integrity of our work? I think Marc, when you start looking at what we have in common, that is powerful, rather than looking at what our differences are. I’m a tall guy. I automatically intimidate shorter people. We’re human beings. If you look at what’s different, that’s a problem.
Marc: That’s right. The more you travel around the world, and I have been to many countries, the more you realize how similar we are. Yeah, there is differences. We speak differently, and we look differently. Deep down, we’re not that different. We enjoy going out to eat and hanging out with our friends. We want our kids to do well. We want peace, and we want to be productive in life. We want to leave the next generation better than we found our generation. There are things that we want to do.
Live and Let Live really is the way to describe a principle that could be described in other ways as well. Many of my Christian friends say, “Marc, what you’re talking about here is living the golden rule.” They’re right. My friends in Hawaii say, “Marc, what you’re talking about here is the true meaning of the Aloha spirit.” They’re right. There are many different ways to describe the same type of principle. It deals with the fact that Live and Let Live really is what it says. It’s what it purports to be. It’s not that confusing.
The first word is “Live.” What could this possibly mean? Live your life. You’re in charge of you. You have to be in charge of your body, your property, your money, your time, in order for you to live your life. I like to say it as, “You should be the iron fisted dictator of you.” Of course, this is for competent adults we’re talking about. Anything else we would say in this space is really just a suggestion. We in the Live and Let Live movement are making suggestions.
This is where we get our moral principle. It’s a suggestion. You’re free to ignore it. We say be a good human. What we mean by that is there are some certain aspirational values. You might think of them as enlightenment values.
Things like open-mindedness on all questions. If you’re shown to be right, be excited about that. There is nothing more exciting than being wrong. You’re corrected, and you can improve yourself and go forward.
Also, tolerance. We need to be tolerant over differences in how other people live and what they enjoy.
Voluntary kindness. Not forced kindness. That’s not real kindness. Real kindness is voluntary. You do it because you want to do it, not because you have to do it.
Civility. We should be able to disagree in agreeable ways. We shouldn’t be calling each other names and acting like a bunch of high school or junior high kids. We’re adults. We should act like adults. Let’s always be civilized at all times.
Things like building high levels of trust with other human beings. You want a good relationship with another human being. Work on building a high level of trust. In fact, in truth, we’re committed to these things, wherever they go.
Rational thought, rational inferences from those. Wherever they go. Even if it goes somewhere you didn’t want to go, be committed to the truth. We care about this stuff because at the end of the day, what we want to do in this space is optimize human happiness and well-being and minimize suffering. Some in the Live and Let Live moment say we should try to minimize the suffering of all living things. Life is important. That’s what we call our moral principle.
The rest of the analysis is very simple as well. It’s simply let live. You know what “live” means? You’re in charge of you. If you “let live,” that means you have to let other people be in charge of them. This is a very important rule. How do you violate this? You aggress against another person. When you aggress, you are doing something with another person’s body or property or money. Don’t aggress. That is what the law should prohibit at all times.
We think that this should apply to all people, no matter who you are, even if you form a group, a small group, a big group, if you’re a corporation, no special breaks here, and not even a break for the government. Why would we ever want the government to aggress against people? Of course, break down aggression. This is lawyerly stuff, but that’s what we do as an initiation of force or fraud or coercion or doing anything that creates a substantial risk of harm to another person or their property. What we would say is if you don’t do that, you should be left alone. Even if what you’re doing other people consider to be immoral or unhealthy or unwise or maybe not in your best interest, that’s where persuasion comes in. We don’t have a right to tell other people anything other than to demand that they should not be aggressors.
The cost of this by the way is that we have to take even our own morality out of the law. That’s right. I think we should help people who are less fortunate than ourselves. I do. I feel very strongly about that. That’s my moral position. But I don’t want that in the law. If my moral position goes in the law, other people with different moral positions will also want their ideas in the law. That’s where we are now. That’s what we’re fighting about now. Everybody is fighting to get control of the government so they can impose their view of how other people should live on everybody.
Hugh: Preach it, brother. This time in the Christian service, we’d take up an offering.
Marc: Excellent. We have people in this movement, very religious, very not religious. They get along just fine because everybody recognizes as a baseline that we defend the rights of everybody to live how they want to live.
Hugh: I have high blood pressure, so I ask my doctor what to do about it. He says, “Stop watching the news.” There is a special place for nonprofits. That’s a stupid word. It’s a tax-exempt, for-purpose business. It’s very intentional to impact people’s lives. You’re a lawyer. The organization we have, we are stewards. We are custodians of funds that aren’t ours. We help people who don’t belong to us volunteer and rally around a cause, rally around the vision for impacting the world. We sign up for a 501(c)3, which is a classification, not a philosophy. People can deduct their donations to you, but it’s for impacting the world.
You and I both have been in the military. We have been where people are shooting people, trying to kill them. We are both advocates for peace. Define what peace means. Different people may have different ideas of what peace really means.
Marc: Excellent question. Thanks for asking it. Freedom and peace are different ideas. I think freedom is a necessary prerequisite for peace. Let me start with freedom. Freedom to me means you’re not being aggressed against. That’s what freedom is. You are in charge of your body, your property, your money, your time, your mind, what you believe. If you are in charge of those things, you are absolutely free. You are the iron fisted dictator of those things.
Hugh, you and I could be neighbors. So long as neither of us trespass on the other, we are living in freedom. But we may be horrible to each other. When I see you in the morning, I may say, “Hugh, I hope you have a horrible day today.” You may say, “You, too, Marc.” We may not like each other. While we are living in freedom, we are certainly not living in peace.
Peace requires sticking your big toe into the moral world. If we want to get to peace, we have to have a little bit more of what I would describe as concern or love for your fellow person. When I come out in the morning, I say, “Hugh, how are you? I hope you have a great day today.” And I really mean it, not just saying it.
One of the things that we say in the Live and Let Live movement is, “Live the message.” Don’t just repeat the message about being a good human. Actually live the message. Care about it. Care about yourself. As part of the moral principle right now, be the best version of you. Bring out the best version of yourself that has yet hit the planet. Think about what you’ve done well in your life, what you’ve done poorly in your life. Resolve to improve everything. Bring out a brand-new version of yourself.
We might get to freedom. If we can get the laws of the world calibrated around this idea of no aggression, what we call the Live and Let Live legal principle, nobody gets to aggress against anyone else. We will get freedom. We don’t necessarily get peace though. Until people voluntarily buy in to some aspects of the moral principle, we can never get to peace.
But the good news is most people agree with this message. In fact, we have our Global Leaders meeting coming up in a couple of weeks. It’s the best part every month for me because I get to talk to the leaders of the movement around the world. We’re making this community now. We’re meeting these wonderful people. Everybody is really committed to just bringing out the best versions of themselves and bringing out a very positive, inspiring message.
One thing that we are assuming here is that there is more of us than there are of them. What I mean by them is people who reject both the legal principle and the moral principle. I think there is far more of us. When I say to them in the meeting is, “Look, the only thing standing between us and actually realizing freedom and peace on a global scale is our ability to deliver the message in a way that people understand.” If we can deliver that message, given that all we really need is about a third, the American Revolution is estimated to be supported by about 1/3 of the people. if we can get to a third, we will get our way. Frankly, I think if everybody hears our message, we’ll have at least 75-90% of the people who agree with us.
Hugh: Part of this, Marc, what I’ve noticed around the world, whether it’s synagogues, churches, or community-based charities, those who are focused on helping others come to a sense of peace because they are wanting to serve rather than to take. There is a different paradigm from what people on the news tell us we ought to believe. Maybe even the commercial world says, “Buy this, and you will have peace and happiness.” There is a countercultural thing.
In the words of psychiatrist Murray Bowen, who started the Bowen Institute and Bowen Center at Georgetown, it’s the differentiation of self. What are your core principles? How do you make decisions based on those? You have just outlined a number of very strong leadership principles. You want to say anything about leadership and principles?
Marc: Absolutely. It’s all about principles. That’s why we call it the Live and Let Live principle generally. There is the legal principle and the moral principle. We stand very firm on these principles. Let me throw out some ideas here. Imagine somebody who rejects everything I said about the moral principle. Somebody who is intolerant, closed-minded, uncivilized, unkind. So long as this person is not an aggressor, I would defend the right of such a person to live their lives in the horrible ways they want to live their lives. This is very important. It’s not just a matter of defending things that I’m in favor of.
Think about the white supremacist attitude. I couldn’t disagree more with such a person and their outlook on life. I would try my best to persuade this person. If they say, “No, Marc, I hate Jews like you. That’s the way I live my life,” I would say, “Fine,” in the same way I would defend their right to say whatever they wanted to say, even and especially in the case where I disagree. I defend their right to live how they want to live, with the one exception that they don’t violate that legal principle. If you put one finger on somebody else, now you’re trespassing. We have a problem. You damage somebody’s property? Now you have violated the legal principle. We have a problem. But if you want to be a peaceful jerk, I defend your rights in a free country to be a peaceful jerk. Just like free speech, it’s not just a matter of defending what people say that I agree with. It’s especially defending what they say in the cases where I disagree. That’s where you defend the principles at the edges, where nobody wants to defend them.
Hugh: That’s such an important perspective. God created us all. We are all very unique. We are all very different. If I try to change everybody else, it’s a moot point. All I can do is change myself. People have responded to that and changed because they have seen value in how I show up.
We’re coming close to the end of this very energized interview. Silly me, I was wondering if I had enough questions. Duh. Marc, how can people listening embed this in their work? We have nonprofit leaders, clergy, volunteers in the community. How can they participate in this peace movement and tie it into what they are doing with their charitable work?
Marc: The best thing people can do is say, “Marc, I have gone to the website. I have looked at everything there. I love it. I’m in.” Ok, well, if there is not a chapter near you, start one. Contact us. “I want to hold a meeting once a month and help get people excited about this global peace movement.” This could be tremendous. We are organizing people. It’s a grassroots effort. Start a chapter. Join a chapter. This is the best thing you can do.
Second best thing you can do that is still really important is make a donation. We need money to get the message out. I have been running an attorneys’ trust account here for almost 30 years. I am very clear on how funds are supposed to be used. This has been my life’s mission: to try to generate more peace globally. Whatever dollars you saw fit to donate to the Live and Let Live Foundation, which you can do from the website, I assure you we will use in the most efficient manner possible to do which is really our goal, to deliver the message in a way that people can understand. Those things are super important.
Also, just blast it out on social media. Take the link and blast it around everywhere, far and wide. “I just discovered this new global peace movement,” which by the way doesn’t even kick off until March 2023. The reason for that is we really want to have a world-class look on the website. We want it to have some good momentum. I didn’t expect we would have 31 chapters already. We don’t even have our permanent website up.
Like I tell people in the movement, the message is strong enough. The truth, the obviousness, the morality of this message is strong enough by itself on its own to convince people when they hear it. If they don’t hear it, it won’t convince anybody. I ask people to blast it out on their social networks. These are the kinds of things.
If they want to get more involved, just contact me directly. You can either contact me through my law firm website or through Live and Let Live. My direct email is Marc@AttorneysForFreedom.com. Just say, “Hey, Marc, how can I help? I love it.” We’ll find a way to work together and create a win-win.
Let’s try to change the world. Things are urgent. Technology is not going back in the box. Smaller and smaller numbers of people unfortunately can do greater amounts of harm. It’s urgent that we stop being adrift here, and we get our brains around some important principles and get the world back on the right track.
Hugh: Go for it. Leaders out there, you’re leading your own initiative. You’re doing your own donation programs. Notice what Marc just did. He was very clear on the value proposition, very clear on what you can do, very clear on how the money is going to be used and their fiduciary oversight and stewardship of those funds. Marc, you set a stunning example there for everybody watching.
As a parting thought, what do you want to leave people with today?
Marc: I would say that if you, like most people right now, are feeling frustrated, if you’re upset with the Rs or the Ds, if you’re frustrated no matter which news channel you watch, do something about it. Don’t just sit on the sidelines. You have an organized group of very good, committed people with a serious effort here to try to put the world back on the right track. Get involved. Do something to help out this effort.
We haven’t even identified the founders of the movement yet because we haven’t kicked it off yet. If you want to be a founder of the movement, get involved. Be a mover and shaker. We can use your skills and talents and efforts to help. Join with ours to try to leave the world a better place than we found it.
Hugh: Spoken with passion like all of us need to be doing. Marc Victor, thank you for being our guest today.
Marc: Thanks for having me, brother. It was a real joy to be here.