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Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax

in Communicating Liberty by Sharon Harris Comments are off

Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax

by Sharon Harris

Ending the personal income tax would be a great blessing for America. And it would achieve many libertarian goals in one single swoop.

However, to most Americans — even those who hate the income tax — the idea currently seems unrealistic and breathtakingly radical.

Can we persuade others to accept this idea — and eventually propel it into the mainstream political discussion?

Libertarians are already doing this with many issues, including drug re-legalization, ending the Federal Reserve, privatization, a non-interventionist and many more.

Why shouldn’t we add ending the personal income tax to that list? The potential pay-off is incredible.

Here are some ways to present this bold libertarian idea as sensible, desirable and realistic.

ONE: Use the popularity of Ron Paul. If you’re discussing this issue with a Ron Paul admirer and there are millions of them then the battle is already at least half won. Just tell the person that Paul has long supported ending the personal income tax, and several times he has introduced legislation, the Liberty Amendment, to do this, most recently on April 30, 2009.

In fact, even if your listener isn’t a Ron Paul fan, the mere fact that legislation has been introduced in Congress to end the personal income tax will make the idea seem more real, more possible.

TWO: If appropriate, explain your position with dramatic language along these lines:

“I want to end the income tax — and replace it with… nothing.”

This makes it clear that you’re calling for bold change, not just a reshuffling of the status quo. This is powerful and provocative phrasing. The pause, then the unexpected “nothing” at the end surprises your listener — and makes him eager to hear what you’ll say next.

THREE: The natural question you’ll be asked is: “But how will we fund the government without the income tax? How can we fund essential services?”

Happily, there’s a great and persuasive answer. On November 20, 2008 Ron Paul said in a New York Times interview:

“About 45 percent of all federal revenue comes from the personal income tax. That means that about 55 percent — over half of all revenue — comes from other sources, like excise taxes, fees, and corporate taxes.

“We could eliminate the income tax, replace it with nothing, and still fund the same level of big government we had in the late 1990s. We don’t need to ‘replace’ the income tax at all.

That is remarkable and eye-opening: to think that we could adapt a budget from roughly ten years ago (or, more precisely, cut spending back to the still extremely high levels of just ten years ago) — and no longer be plagued by the personal income tax.

You’ll want to update the numbers, if possible, or at least qualify the statement by saying something to the effect of In 2008, Ron Paul pointed out

FOUR: Having made this striking point, you can de-radicalize the issue by adding: “So perhaps this idea isn’t so radical after all.”

FIVE: Strengthen point number three by adding something along these lines: “By the way, in the late 1990s, when Bill Clinton was president, I don’t remember many people complaining that government wasn’t big enough, or complaining we had too little government.”

Ask your listener if he would be willing to reduce the federal government to the size it was in the last years of the Clinton administration — if it meant we could abolish outright the personal income tax.

Many people will respond by saying that we need more reduction than that. Congratulations — you’ve just turned a radical-sounding idea into something that doesn’t sound radical enough!

SIX: Now it’s time to make the point that history is on your side. Tell your listener that America didn’t have an income tax until well into the 20th century — and without an income tax we quickly rose from a struggling ex-colony to become the most abundant nation in history.

Ron Paul, who has done more than any other elected official to advance this issue, made this point beautifully in 2001. Use his language to shape your own response:

“Could America exist without an income tax? The idea seems radical, yet in truth America did just fine without a federal income tax for the first 126 years of its history. Prior to 1913, the government operated with revenues raised through tariffs, excise taxes, and property taxes, without ever touching a worker’s paycheck.”

SEVEN: You may be asked: “But what about the Fair Tax (or the Flat Tax, or some other income tax reform plan)?”

Ron Paul provides a friendly and supportive response to this question. From the New York Times, Nov. 20, 2008:

“I see a consumption tax as being a little better than the personal income tax, and I would vote for the Fair Tax if it came up in the House of Representatives, but it is not my goal. We can do better. … We could eliminate the income tax, replace it with nothing, and still fund the same level of big government we had in the late 1990s. We don’t need to ‘replace’ the income tax at all.”

You can also point out that it is hard work to build support for any form of bold tax reform, including the Flat Tax and Fair Tax. We may get just one shot at major tax reform in our lifetimes. So why not put our effort into building a movement for change that would dramatically limit government and increase freedom? As the old saying goes, if you don’t ask for what you really want, you’ll never get it; but if you do ask, you might just get it all.

EIGHT: Make the benefits of abolition come alive for your listeners! Do what every good salesperson — and political persuader — must do: sell the benefits of the idea.

Help your listeners feel the desirability of income tax abolition. Make them feel in their pockets the extra money that would be theirs. Help them envision spending it. Create for them a vivid mental picture of what they would do, and how they would feel, when freed of the awful burden of the personal income tax. Help them see the better America that would emerge from this change. Make the dream come alive!

No one was better at doing this than the late Harry Browne, two-time Libertarian Party presidential candidate and one of the best libertarian communicators of all time.

Here is how Browne presented this:

“Imagine what would happen if we repealed all forms of federal income tax — including the personal income tax, the corporate income tax, Social Security, the estate tax, and the gift tax. A world of benefits would quickly come in the wake of repealing these taxes.

“The first benefit is the most obvious: all the money you’re paying in income taxes will be yours — to spend, to save, to give away as you see fit, not as the politicians think is best for you…

“When we repeal the income tax, all that you pay now in income and Social Security taxes will be yours at last — to do with as you see fit.

“If yours is the average American family, that means over $10,000 dollars a year that’s been going to the politicians that will stay in your hands.

“Every dollar you earn will be yours — to spend, to save, to give away as you see fit…

“So what will you do with that money when they no longer take it away from you?

“Will you put your children in private schools — where you could get exactly the kind of education you believe best for them? …

“Will you start that business you’ve always dreamed of?

*Will you move into a better neighborhood, take your family on a better vacation, arrange a much more comfortable and much more secure retirement?

“Will you help your church or your favorite cause or charity in a way you’ve never been able to do before?

“What will you do with that money?

“At last, it will all be yours — and the government will no longer have a claim on it.” …

“There will be a similar increase in take-home pay for everyone you do business with — your customers or your employer — meaning that people will have more money to spend on what you have to offer.

“A similar increase in take-home pay will occur throughout America, unleashing the biggest boost in prosperity that America has ever seen. There will be a job for everyone who can work and charity for everyone who can’t.

“Your life will be your own again: an end to government snooping into your finances, an end to keeping books for the IRS, an end to fear of an audit, an end to rearranging your financial life to minimize your tax burden.”

Wow! Harry really gives flesh and bones to this abstract political idea.

Notice, too, that he doesn’t just appeal to narrow self-interest. He realizes that many people want to keep more of their own money so they can help others — by giving to churches and charities, improving education, and so forth.

That excerpt is from Harry’s great 2003 article “Freedom from the Income Tax.” You can read the entire article here.

Use this example to create your own way to make your listeners feel, at a deep emotional level, the benefits of being completely free from the income tax.

NINE: Know your audience so you can show them specifically how ending the income tax will make a big difference on the issues most important to them.

Are they concerned about poverty and joblessness? Ending the income tax will put hundreds of billions of dollars every year back into the hands of those who earn it. It will dramatically stimulate economic growth. It will unleash, as Harry Browne said, “the biggest boost in prosperity that America has ever seen. There will be a job for everyone who can work and charity for everyone who can’t.”

Are your listeners concerned about education and strong families? Without the burden of an income tax, private education will flourish. Parents will be able to afford the education they think best for their children. Families where both parents are now forced to work fulltime will be able to afford, if they wish, to let one parent stay home and devote their time to their children. Nothing will do more to strengthen family values than ending the income tax.

Are they concerned about intrusive Big Government? Ending the income tax will limit government power and force government to act with far more restraint and responsibility.

Whatever the issue, ending the income tax will benefit them. Help them see this.

TEN: Point out to your liberty-minded friends that ending the income tax will win numerous victories for limited-government advocates — at once. Currently freedom activists must address so many issues. But the abolition of the personal income tax would win many of these victories in a single stroke!

This is a powerful argument that supporters of the Liberty Amendment have made for years. For examples of how the Liberty Amendment would dramatically shrink government in many ways at once, see this article.

ELEVEN: Some will say that such dramatic reform is impossible, that it is simply too big a change to hope for. One way you can address this is point out specific, concrete examples of enormous political change that happened quickly.

Examples: It became illegal to sell liquor in 1920 — a gigantic change in American life. Further, that seemingly permanent law was repealed just as dramatically in 1932, after the failures of Prohibition became obvious. Women secured the right to vote in America in 1920 — after nearly a century and a half of being denied this. The Berlin Wall, once seemingly as permanent as the Great Pyramids, fell suddenly in a matter of days in 1989. Government-imposed segregation in the South was halted after being the norm for a century.

Have examples like this at your fingertips. They can help your listener see, understand — and most importantly, feel — that bold libertarian change like abolishing the income tax is indeed possible.

When enough Americans understand the case for ending the income tax, and demand it be done, it will disappear. Help them see, understand, and feel this. Its hard to think of much else that could so quickly and dramatically benefit our country and the world.

Resources:

Read Ron Paul’s comments on introducing the Liberty Amendment:

Read the wording of the Liberty Amendment.

Word Choices: “Free Enterprise” Instead of Capitalism?

in Communicating Liberty by Sharon Harris Comments are off

by Sharon Harris

Word choices are very important. Two words might mean the same thing to you. But to your audience, one word may be far more meaningful and positive than another — and may get your point across not just more favorably, but more accurately.

An example is the word “capitalism” to describe the economic system libertarians believe in.

In a past column, I described some of the positive and negative reactions some audiences have to “capitalism,” and suggested some alternatives that are better in some circumstances.

You can read that column here.

Now we have some fascinating information to add.

A January 2010 Gallup poll makes a very good case for using “free enterprise” in many situations.

This January 2010 poll asked a representative sampling of Americans whether their top-of-mind reactions to several political terms were positive or negative. Respondents were not given explanations or descriptions of the terms.

Two of those terms were “capitalism” and “free enterprise.”

Both words, of course, essentially mean the same thing in typical, common usage.

However, they drew considerably different approval ratings.

First, the word “capitalism.”

Says Gallup: “Americans are more positive than negative on ‘capitalism,’ the word typically used to describe the United States’ prevailing economic system.

“‘Capitalism’ generates positive ratings from a majority of Americans, with a third saying their reaction is negative [61% versus 33%].

Ellis Island“Republicans are significantly more positive than Democrats in their reactions to ‘capitalism,’ although majorities of both groups have favorable opinions.

“Conservatives have the highest positive image [for the word "capitalism"], followed by liberals. Moderates have somewhat lower positive ratings than either of these groups.”

Now consider reaction to the term “free enterprise.”

According to Gallup:

“Americans are almost uniformly positive in their reactions to… ‘free enterprise.’”

“Eighty-six percent of respondents rated the term ‘free enterprise’ positively, giving it substantially more positive ratings than ‘capitalism.’ Although in theory these two concepts are not precisely the same, they are in many ways functional equivalents.

“Yet, underscoring the conventional wisdom that words matter, the public clearly reacts differently to the two terms. Free enterprise as a concept rings more positively to the average American than does the term capitalism.

“Strongly positive ratings of free enterprise are generally uniform across both partisan groups [Democrats and Republicans], and across the three ideological groups [liberals, conservatives, moderates].”

Gallup sums up with a lesson effective libertarian communicators cannot ignore:

“Bottom line: As most politicians and many in business have learned, the choice of words to describe a concept or a policy can often make a substantial difference in the public’s reaction. The current research confirms that assumption.

“It is apparent that ‘free enterprise’ evokes more positive responses than ‘capitalism,’ despite the apparent similarity between the two terms.”

NOTE: The same Gallup report I link to above also offers a very useful analysis by Gallup that breaks the popularity of these phrases down further, by political ideology (conservative, liberal, and “moderate”), by party, and so on. I highly recommend this short analysis to anyone seriously interested in using these terms effectively.

Comparisons: Questions that Make People Think

in Communicating Liberty, Liberator Online Archives by Sharon Harris Comments are off

(From the One-Minute Liberty Tip section in Volume 18, No. 23 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Government is often inconsistent and unfair. 

By asking the right questions, you can get people to see this unfairness and inconsistency, and lead them to question commonly-accepted coercive government programs.

Here are some examples:

“Why should people who spend their own money on country music be forced by the government to subsidize the tastes of people who like classical music?”

“Why should people who pay their own money to subscribe to newspapers and pay for cable news be forced by the government to subsidize the news preferences of NPR fans?”

“Why should families who are working and scrimping and saving so they can send their kids to a private school that best suits their values be forced by the government to also pay for the education of children of other families, many of whom are better off economically than they are?”

“Why should people who want to teach their kids to play tennis be forced by the government to pay for baseball, football and soccer fields for other people’s kids?”

“Why should people who don’t like sports, or who support other sports besides professional sports, be forced by the government to pay for stadiums and other giveaways to wealthy sports corporations?”

Note: I like to say “forced by the government” so it is clear that force is being used, and clear who is doing it.

To questions like this, you can also point out that many people suffer from these programs. I did that in some of those questions. Here’s another example, using the first question above:

“Why should people who like country music — and who, in these difficult economic times, may be struggling to pay mortgages and household bills — be forced by the government to subsidize the tastes of people who like classical music?”

And it’s not just music and sports, of course. Here’s a variation:

“Why should people whose intoxicant of choice is marijuana be arrested and imprisoned by the government, while people who prefer intoxicants that are arguably more dangerous, like liquor and tobacco, are left alone?”

“If someone needs a job, and someone else is willing to pay less than the minimum wage to have some work done, why should this private, consensual, and mutually beneficial arrangement be forbidden by the government?”

“Why are some people forbidden by the government to gain work skills by offering to work for less than the minimum wage, while university students are allowed to work as interns with low or even no pay in order to learn the ropes of high-paying professions?”

What other comparisons can you think of that will change your listeners’ minds, open their hearts, and let them see the injustice of government programs through the eyes of those who are harmed by them?

What happens to farmers if we end government farm subsidies?

in Communicating Liberty by Mary Ruwart Comments are off

(From the Ask Dr. Ruwart section in Volume 18, No. 23 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

QUESTION: If you remove all farm subsidies, what happens to the farmer when drought or flood hits and he losses his crop for one year?

MY SHORT ANSWER: Like other business people, farmers plan for bad years through savings, insurance, etc. If they fail to make such plans, they suffer the same fate as other businesses operating on the edge — they go under in tough times. They are bought out by someone who manages better. The displaced farmers find an occupation more suited to their particular talents.

Subsidies discourage good management and encourage inefficiency. As a result, consumers pay more for less.

LEARN MORE: Suggestions from Liberator Online editor James W. Harris for additional reading on this topic:

* “Five Reasons to Repeal Farm Subsidies“ by Chris Edwards, Cato Institute, May 31, 2013.

EXCERPT: “Why is farming so coddled by the government? It’s a risky business, but not uniquely so. Industries such as high technology, newspapers, and restaurants are very risky, yet they don’t rely on government handouts. Farming faces certain risks such as adverse weather. But high-tech companies are vulnerable to rapid innovations by competitors, and restaurants are vulnerable to changing consumer tastes and intense competition. … If farm subsidies were ended…a stronger and more innovative agriculture industry would emerge that would be more productive and more resilient in the long run.”

* “GOP Hypocrisy and the Farm Bill“ By Michael Tanner, Cato Institute, Huffington Post, July 12, 2013. In this op-ed Tanner dissects a federal farm bill and shows the anti-market, anti-consumer nature of farm subsidies — and the shockingly huge conservative support for them.

EXCERPT: “In 2011, the last year for which full data is available, the average farm household had an income of $87,289, 25 percent higher than the average for all U.S. households. And about a third of the farm subsidies go to the largest four percent of farm operators. If you want to see real ‘welfare queens,’ look no further than Pilgrim’s Pride, Tyler Farms, and Riceland Foods.”

Don’t Quench Their Thirst with a Fire Hose

in Communicating Liberty, Liberator Online Archives by Michael Cloud Comments are off

(From the Persuasion Power Point section in Volume 18, No. 23 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

When someone asks you about libertarianism, how much should you tell them?

a) Enough to stimulate their desire for more?

b) Enough to satisfy their interest?

c) More than they want to know. Everything you know about libertarianism.

All too often, libertarians act on answer “c.”

We quench their thirst… with a fire hose.

We give them too much information, too fast. They can’t absorb it. Can’t digest it.

“The secret of being a bore is to tell all you know,” wrote Voltaire.

Burying our listeners with information numbs their minds and turns them off.

Drowning them with unfamiliar assertions, ideas, facts, and thinking — intimidates and overwhelms them.

When “too much” fails, “almost enough” succeeds.

Why? Because “almost enough to satisfy” is “enough to stimulate their appetite for more.”

This is the key: Almost enough. Less than enough.

“Less than enough” whets their hunger for more information about libertarianism.

“Less than enough” stimulates their thirst for more.

“Less than enough” arouses their desire to learn more.

They Said It…

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From Volume 18, No. 23 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

DOUBLE TROUBLE: “The federal budget has doubled in size in 12 years, from $1.9 trillion in 2001 to $3.8 trillion this year.” — David Eldridge, Washington Times reporter, “Rep. Nancy Pelosi: Nothing left to cut in budget…” Washington Times, Sept. 22, 2013.

CALLING MR. ORWELL: “…incorrect promise…” — New York Timesdescription of President Obama’s bogus vow that under Obamacare Americans “will be able to keep your health care plan, period.” (“Obama in Bind Trying to Keep Health Law Vow,” November 12, 2013.) Earlier, the Times reported that Obama “misspoke.”

GOV’T THINKS WE ARE IDIOTS: “In 1950, I was 14 years old and applied for a work permit for an after-school job. One of the requirements was to obtain a Social Security card. In bold letters on my Social Security card, which I still possess, are the words ‘For Social Security Purposes — Not For Identification.’ That’s because earlier Americans feared that their Social Security number would become an identity number. According to the Social Security Administration website, ‘this legend was removed as part of the design changes for the 18th version of the card, issued beginning in 1972.’ That statement assumes we’re idiots. We’re asked to believe that the sole purpose of the removal was for design purposes. Apparently, the fact that our Social Security number had become a major identification tool, to be used in every aspect of our lives, had nothing to do with the SSA’s getting rid of the legend saying ‘For Social Security Purposes — Not For Identification.’” — Walter Williams, “Do Americans Prefer Deception?”, syndicated column, Nov. 20, 2013.

MINIMUM WAGE MYTHS: “Arguably the most important thing in the debate about the minimum wage is that hardly anyone makes it. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics less than 3 percent of all workers take home $7.25 or less an hour and half who do are 24 years old or younger. And the vast majority — 77 percent — of minimum wage earners belong to households that are above the poverty line. So when Fast Food Forward declares, ‘We can’t survive on $7.25!’, the good news is that very few people have to (and to the extent that they do, their income is supplemented by anti-poverty programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, and housing subsidies). Staying at the minimum wage is also usually mercifully short-lived. For instance, between 1977 and 1997, two-thirds of full-time workers had moved on to higher pay within a year.” — Nick Gillespie, “Big Labor’s Big Mac Attack,” The Daily Beast, Dec. 4th, 2013.

HOPE FOR THE FUTURE: “Libertarianism is growing fastest among the young, and groups like Students for Liberty give me hope. These young people certainly know more about liberty than I did at their age. Maybe they will avoid prior generations’ big-government mistakes.” — libertarian journalist John Stossel, “The Libertarian Era?”, syndicated column, Nov. 13, 2013.

UH-OH: “Members of the Tea Party gathered outside the White House to demand President Obama’s impeachment. The president said he appreciated their views and he is setting up a new website where they can voice their opinion.” — Conan O’Brien, Nov. 20, 2013.

* * * * * * * * * *
“They Said It…” is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.

FREE Libertarian E-Book: Why Liberty

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 23 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

 why_liberty_coverLast issue we reviewed an outstanding free ebook from Students For Liberty (SFL), After the Welfare State.

Now we’re pleased to suggest another SFL title to add to your ebook library.

Why Liberty is a highly readable book edited by distinguished libertarian scholar Tom G. Palmer. It is suitable for absolute newcomers to libertarianism as well as longtime libertarians.

Why Liberty is a collection of short articles from experts in the fields of policy, academia, business, media, and student organizing. The articles are unified by an emphasis on liberty as a dynamic and liberating force with the power to change the world. They point out the urgent need all people have for liberty.

Why Liberty examines the libertarian idea through the lenses of culture, entrepreneurship, health, art, technology, philosophy and more. The articles can be read in any order — a reader can dip anywhere into the book and start learning and enjoying. “Think of it as a bag of healthy snacks for the mind,” suggests SFL.

You can learn more about Why Liberty here. Download it as a FREE PDF ebook on that same page (scoot down to the link entitled “Read the full Why Liberty here!”) or go here.

Here’s the table of contents: 

1. Why Be Libertarian, by Tom Palmer
2. There Ought NOT to Be a Law, by John Stossel
3. Libertarianism as Radical Centrism, by Clark Ruper
4. The History and Structure of Libertarian Thought, by Tom Palmer
5. The Times, They Are A-Changin’: Libertarianism as Abolitionism, by James Padilioni, Jr.
6. The Political Principle of Liberty, by Alexander McCobin
7. No Liberty, No Art: No Art, No Liberty, by Sarah Skwire
8. The Humble Case for Liberty, by Aaron Ross Powell
9. Africa’s Promise of Liberty, by Olumayowa Okediran
10. The Tangled Dynamics of State Interventionism: The Case of Health Care, by Sloane Frost
11. How Do You Know? Knowledge and the Presumption of Liberty, by Lode Cossaer and Maarten Wegge
12. The Origins of State and Government, by Tom Palmer

As David Boaz of the Cato Institute notes, “Once your rights are taken away, it’s hard to get them back. The authors of Why Liberty explain why you should fight for your freedom.”

Highly recommended. Why Liberty is published by SFL in conjunction with the Atlas Network.

Student groups note: Free print copies in bulk for student libertarian groups to distribute are also available. You can learn more about that here.

Video: Hilarious Remy Lampoon of Obama’s Broken Healthcare Promises

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 23 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

The great pro-liberty comedian Remy is back! Welcome to Remy’s “If You Like Your Plan You Can Keep It: The Rap.”

In this Reason TV video Remy takes on Obama’s infamous “you will be able to keep your health care plan” bogus promise.

The lyrics, printed onscreen and under the video with links, are wonderful. Sample:

Selling hope’s like selling soap, son, I’ll tell you why
You can’t make either one without a little bit of lye

Laugh at it, then share with friends! About 1:50 minutes.

Study: American Writers Self-Censoring Due to Fear of Gov’t Reprisal

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 23 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Fully 16% of American professional writers in a recent survey say they have avoided writing or speaking on a political topic or other controversial topic because they fear it will provoke government surveillance. An additional 11% have seriously considered doing so.

The survey was conducted in October and results were released in November by the PEN American Center, an organization of professional writers that defends freedom of expression and whose membership includes some of America’s most distinguished writers.

The survey questioned 528 PEN members, and allowed them to make personal statements as well. (It should be noted that PEN strongly promotes free speech, and members may therefore be more concerned about censorship issues than other writers.)

PEN concludes:

1. PEN writers now assume their communications are monitored.

2. The assumption they are under surveillance is harming freedom of expression by prompting writers to self-censor their work in multiple ways, including:
a) reluctance to write or speak about certain subjects;
b) reluctance to pursue research about certain subjects; and
c) reluctance to communicate with sources, or with friends abroad, for fear that they will endanger their counterparts by doing so.

Among the survey findings:

  • 28% of writers surveyed have curtailed or avoided social media activities, and another 12% have seriously considered doing so;
  • 24% have deliberately avoided certain topics in phone or email conversations, and another 9% have seriously considered it;
  • 16% have avoided writing or speaking about a particular topic, and another 11% have seriously considered it;
  • 16% have refrained from conducting Internet searches or visiting websites on topics that may be considered controversial or suspicious, and another 12% have seriously considered it;
  • 13% have taken extra steps to disguise or cover their digital footprints, and another 11% have seriously considered it; 

Quotes from writers in the survey are disturbing. A few samples:

“I have dropped stories… and avoided research on the company telephone
due to concerns over wiretapping or eavesdropping.”

“As a writer and journalist who deals with the Middle East and the Iraq War in particular, I suspect I am being monitored.”

“I have made a conscious, deliberate choice to avoid certain conversation topics in electronic emails out of concern that those communications may be surveilled.”

“I have felt that even to comment on the Snowden case in an email would flag my email as worthy of being looked at.”

The PEN report concludes: “73% of writers have never been as worried about privacy rights and freedom of the press as they are today. …

“Writers are self-censoring their work and their online activity due to their fears that commenting on, researching, or writing about certain issues will cause them harm.

“Writers reported self-censoring on subjects including military affairs, the Middle East North Africa region, mass incarceration, drug policies, pornography, the Occupy movement, the study of certain languages, and criticism of the U.S. government.

“The fear of surveillance — and doubt over the way in which the government intends to use the data it gathers — has prompted PEN writers to change their behavior in numerous ways that curtail their freedom of expression and restrict the free flow of information.”

What’s Happening with the Advocates

in News From the Advocates for Self-Government by Advocates HQ Comments are off

ADVOCATES LIBERTARIAN COMMUNICATION EVENTS: Advocates President Sharon Harris will be conducting libertarian communication workshops or giving speeches at these upcoming events:

January 2014: Communication workshop in New Orleans. Place and date TBA.
January 2014: Communication workshop in Kennesaw, GA. Place and date TBA.
February 2014: Communication workshop in Nashville. Place and date TBA.
March 2014: Communication workshop in Colorado. Sunday, March 30, Golden, Colorado, sponsored by the Libertarian Party of Colorado.

Attendees will learn how to dramatically increase their effectiveness at communicating the ideas of liberty.

Email us now if you’d like us to send you further information on these events.

Email Sharon to find out how you can have a communication event near you.

ONGOING

FREE OPH KITS FOR LIBERTARIAN STUDENT GROUPS: Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we’re giving our acclaimed OPH (Operation Political Homeless) outreach kits to libertarian student groups FREE — if they simply promise to use them a minimum of three times a year and send us photos documenting their OPH activity. OPH — praised as the best recruiting tool in the libertarian movement — normally sells for $50.00.

If you’re in a student libertarian group, click here for more information on getting your free OPH kit.

JOIN US ON TWITTER: Twitter is the first place to learn about breaking Advocates and liberty movement news, expert communications tips, and exclusive Advocates discounts and specials. (And don’t worry — we won’t bombard you with tweets. We’re keeping it fun, fast, and useful.)

Go to the Advocates Twitter account and click the “follow” button below our picture. Thanks!

JOIN THE ADVOCATES ON FACEBOOK: The Advocates Facebook page offers you a chance to share your ideas on liberty, meet some great people and show your support for the Advocates for Self-Government and liberty. Join us and you’ll receive regular Facebook updates on Advocates news, communication tips, and special offers for our Facebook friends.

2014 FREEDOM CRUISES: Advocates Board Secretary and long-time libertarian leader Dr. Ken Bisson invites you to join him for a Freedom Cruise. Enjoy a wonderful trip on a luxury cruiser — at a bargain rate! Great food and fine company. Non-libertarians welcome! On January 26, 2014 the 17th Annual Freedom Cruise embarks: a 7-day Holland America voyage to excellent snorkeling destinations Grand Cayman and Cozumel, with visits to Key West and Half Moon Cay as well, all on Holland America’s newest cruise ship! (These aren’t Advocates events, but libertarians who have been on past cruises rave about them.) Ken offers two other February 2014 cruises as well. For photos and more details — or to sign up for free, no-pressure, no-commitment email updates — visit Freedom Cruises.

Survey: Americans Embracing Libertarian Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 23 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Record numbers of Americans are embracing a libertarian, non-interventionist, Ron Paul-style foreign policy.

That’s the startling, but very welcome, finding of a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in conjunction with the Council on Foreign Relations.

Fully 52% of Americans — a solid majority — now say the United States “should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.” Just 38% disagree with that statement.

Pew sums up: “This is the most lopsided balance in favor of the U.S. ‘minding its own business’ in the nearly 50-year history of the measure.”

Yet this is in no sense “isolationism” or a desire to detach from the rest of the world. The same poll found that “Even as doubts grow about the United States’ geopolitical role, most Americans say the benefits from U.S. participation in the global economy outweigh the risks. And support for closer trade and business ties with other nations stands at its highest point in more than a decade.”

Says Pew: “Fully 77% say that growing trade and business ties between the United States and other countries are either very good (23%) or somewhat good (54%) for the U.S. Just 18% have a negative view. … Two-thirds (66%) say greater involvement in the global economy is a good thing because it opens up new markets and opportunities for growth.”

What Americans clearly seem to be yearning for is a return to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, perhaps never better expressed than in Jefferson’s March 4, 1801 inaugural address: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.”

It is libertarians who have, almost alone, taken the lead in arguing for embracing Jefferson’s advice, and this exciting new poll finding is yet another indicator of the fast-growing influence of libertarianism in American politics today.

December 15 Is Bill of Rights Day!

in Communicating Liberty, Liberator Online Archives by Sharon Harris Comments are off

Dear friend,

December 15 is “Bill of Rights Day” — a day to celebrate, honor and renew support for our precious Bill of Rights.

It was on December 15, 1791 that the Bill of Rights — the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution — went into effect.

One hundred and fifty years later, in 1941, December 15 was officially proclaimed Bill of Rights Day.

Some classrooms will hold Bill of Rights Day discussions, and some citizens and organizations will celebrate Bill of Rights Day.

Still, most Americans remain tragically unaware of the significance of this date. As Chris Bliss of MyBillofRights.org observed in 2011:

“The sad fact is that at this key crossroads in the life of our nation, the Bill of Rights is barely taught in our schools anymore, and is nowhere to be found in our public square. Worse, it is so uncelebrated in our public discourse that last December 15, while flipping through the morning news shows, I heard the following on no less than three networks: ‘It’s December 15, and you know what that means? It’s National Cupcake Day!’”

Ouch!

All Americans should be familiar with their Bill of Rights freedoms. Sadly, numerous surveys indicate most are not. A 1991 poll commissioned by the American Bar Association found that only 33% of Americans even knew what the Bill of Rights was. In one Gallup poll 70% did not know what the First Amendment was or what it dealt with.

The Bill of Rights is, of course, the great protector of American liberties. It boldly declares that people have certain inalienable rights that government cannot abridge — fundamental rights like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, and more. It also provides procedures for defending those rights — such as fair trials and limits on federal power.

The Bill of Rights doesn’t belong just to America. It has inspired freedom fighters around the world. The Founders viewed their Revolution as the first blow in a struggle to win liberty for all the people of the world. The Bill of Rights is truly a document for everyone.

Thomas Jefferson made this clear in a letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787: “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.”

Bill of Rights Day is a great time for letters to the editor pointing out the vital importance of our Bill of Rights freedoms — and urging citizens to stand up for the Bill of Rights and reject the too-often-heard calls by politicians to sacrifice our precious liberty for (alleged) security.

Bill of Rights Day is a great time for speeches, public events, and other creative celebrations. For talking with family, friends, colleagues about this American treasure.

Here’s something that might be helpful. Several years ago students at Liberty Middle School in Ashley, Virginia prepared a short summary of the Bill of Rights.

While this condensed version doesn’t have the majesty, depth and detail of the entire document, it is short and easy to understand, and may be useful to you in discussions and letters. I’ve edited it just a bit.

THE BILL OF RIGHTS: First Ten Amendments to the Constitution

1. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, right to assemble peaceably, right to petition the government about grievances.
2. Right to keep and bear arms.
3. Citizens do not have to quarter soldiers during peacetime.
4. No unreasonable searches and seizures.
5. Rights of the accused.
6. Right to a fair trial.
7. Right to a trial by jury in civil cases also.
8. No cruel and unusual punishments.
9. Unenumerated rights go to the people.
10. Reserves all powers not given to the national government to the states or the people.

As Adam Summers of the Reason Foundation observed in The Libertarian Perspective:

“The Founders must be spinning in their graves. Nearly everything the government does today is unconstitutional under the system they instituted. Governmental powers were expressly limited; individual liberties were not. Now it seems it is the other way around. …

“If the Bill of Rights is to regain its meaning, we must rededicate ourselves to the principles it asserts and be mindful that a government powerful enough to give us all we want is powerful enough to take away everything we have.”

Let it begin with you. This December 15, remind all Americans that we are, as the National Constitution Center puts it, a nation of “Bill”-ionaires.

Happy Bill of Rights Day!

Yours for Liberty,
Sharon

Instead of “Government Subsidies”…

in Communicating Liberty, Liberator Online Archives by Sharon Harris Comments are off

(From the One-Minute Liberty Tip section in Volume 18, No. 22 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Libertarians often complain about “government subsidies” of various types. And rightfully so.

Like many people of other political views, libertarians object to government subsidies to corporations. To millionaire farmers. To baseball teams. And so on.

We are right to criticize such outrageous spending.

But consider using different phrasing.

“Government subsidies” sounds like the government is reaching into its pockets and handing out its own money.

We libertarians know, however, that the government has no money of its own. It is reaching into our pockets and the pockets of our fellow citizens, forcibly seizing money from us, and handing our money over to its favored special interests.

So let’s use language that makes that clearer. That tells who is really footing the bill.

Instead of “government subsides” to corporations, try “taxpayer subsidies” to corporations.

Instead of “government funding” of a project, try “taxpayer funding.” Or “taxpayer dollars.”

Or personalize it further.

“Subsidizing corporations with your hard-earned money.”

“Taking our money away from us and giving it to sports teams.”

“Taking money from struggling families and giving it to millionaires.”

Identifying the true victim of such schemes — telling where the money is really coming from — makes a far stronger case for stopping such spending.

Pointing out that it is taxpayer — not government — funding drives this point home.

This may open the eyes of people lulled into complacency by the notion of “government funding” and “government subsidies.”  It may help some people to realize, in a visceral and personal way, the outrageous nature of so-called “government subsidies.”

Who will fund national monuments in a libertarian country?

in Liberator Online Archives by Mary Ruwart Comments are off

(From the Ask Dr. Ruwart section in Volume 18, No. 22 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

QUESTION: National landmarks such as the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial are symbols of national unity, strength, and sources of inspiration. They are monuments of a national republic. How would these monuments be constructed for the entire nation in a libertarian society?

MY SHORT ANSWER: They would be constructed and maintained through private donations rather than taxes. Donations are given freely; taxes are forced.

We honor Jefferson, Washington, and other American icons because they believed in the importance of individual freedom, even though they may not have practiced it perfectly (e.g., Jefferson had slaves). We dishonor their memory and the values they cherished by forcing our fellow Americans to pay for their memorials.

Without tax funding, the edifices of these great men might be less grandiose than they are today. (Of course, they might just as well be even grander, better preserved and staffed, and better funded.) However, they would be a truer symbol of the freedom that made our nation great.

Even today, many renowned historical sites and monuments are privately funded. George Washington’s home Mount Vernon — the most popular historic estate in America, open 365 days a year — has been maintained and made available to the public since 1853 by the Mount Vernon’s Ladies’ Association, which proudly declares it “does not accept grants from federal, state or local governments, and no tax dollars are expended to support its purposes.”

Thomas Jefferson’s home Monticello is maintained by a private, non-profit corporation, in cooperation with the University of Virginia.

Colonial Williamsburg was restored with private funds and is run as a private national museum not dependent on government funding.

A libertarian society, based on free enterprise and free from today’s crippling tax burden, would be far wealthier than our society today and thus better able to fund such monuments and landmarks. And the drive to collect the funding for them could unite and inspire the country every bit as much as the actual monuments themselves.

LEARN MORE: Suggestions from Liberator Online editor James W. Harris for additional reading on this topic:

* “The Firestorm Over Private Museums“ by Lauren A.E. Schuker, Wall Street Journal. This April 2008 article tells how art collectors are increasingly creating private museums to insure their prized artwork gets shown the way they feel it should be. It notes that there are nearly 100 such museums in America, despite the huge competition from government-funded art museums.

* * * * * * * * * *
Got questions?  Dr. Ruwart has answers! If you’d like answers to YOUR “tough questions” on libertarian issues, email Dr. Ruwart

Due to volume, Dr. Ruwart can’t personally acknowledge all emails. But we’ll run the best questions and answers in upcoming issues.

Dr. Ruwart’s previous Liberator Online answers are archived in searchable form.

Dr. Ruwart’s latest book Short Answers to the Tough Questions, Expanded Edition is available from the Advocates, as is her acclaimed classic Healing Our World.

The Power of One

in Communicating Liberty, Liberator Online Archives by Michael Cloud Comments are off

(From the Persuasion Power Point section in Volume 18, No. 22 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

One may be all you need.

You may be only one request away from funding for your libertarian project.

You may be just one phone call away from recruiting a great libertarian candidate.

You may be one email request away from enrolling 50 campaign volunteers in just one day.

You may be one fundraising letter away from raising the first $100,000 for your Libertarian campaign.

You may be one meme away from reaching 1,000,000 people hungry for what you’re offering.

You may be one paradigm-shifting campaign slogan away from winning 308,860 votes in Massachusetts: “small government is beautiful.”

You may be one simple idea away from rotating the X-axis, Y-axis Nolan graph into the Diamond Chart on the World’s Smallest Political Quiz — and capturing the imagination of tens of millions.

One idea. One person. One action.

One-derful.

 

They Said It…

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From Volume 18, No. 22 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

THIEVES: ”If any American did privately what Congress does publicly, he’d be condemned as an ordinary thief. Taking what belongs to one American to give to another is theft, and the receiver is a recipient of stolen property.” — economist Walter Williams, “Is There a Way Out?”, syndicated column Oct. 30, 2013.

OBAMA WINS AWARD FOR OBAMACARE “WHOPPER”: ”Four Pinocchios.” — rating from the Washington Post‘s “Fact Checker” column for President Obama’s false 2010 claim that, under Obamacare, “if you like your insurance, you will keep it.” Four Pinocchios is the Post’s highest award for a falsehood; the paper says it is reserved exclusively for “whoppers.”

GLOBAL LEADERS SAY STOP THE WAR ON DRUGS: ”Each year, hundreds of thousands of people around the world die from preventable drug-related disease and violence. Millions of users are arrested and thrown in jail. Globally, communities are blighted by drug-related crime. Citizens see huge amounts of their taxes spent on harsh policies that are not working. …It is time for a smarter approach to drugpolicy. Putting people’s health and safety first is an imperative…” — Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations, and Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil, “Stop ‘war on drugs,’” CNN.com, Nov. 5, 2013. Both men are members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, seeking international drug law reform.

STOP TAXING THE WORKING POOR: ”The reasonthat the national minimum wage is not a living wage is because government taxes the working poor too much. We do not have a low wage problem at all, we have instead tax poverty. …if you want the working poor to have more money just stop taxing them so damn much.” — British journalist Tim Worstall, “Yes, it’s still tax poverty, not a Living Wage,” Adam Smith Institute blog, Nov. 5, 2013

A WALL FOUR MILES LONG: ”The Vietnam Memorial Wall in D.C. contains the names of 58,272 Americans who died in the war. Its message is that the tragedy of that wretched war was that 58,000 Americans died. The wall is 146 feet long. Imagine a wall that also contained the names of all the Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, and others who died. Such a wall would be over 4 miles long.” — filmmaker Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick, “The myth of American exceptionalism,” USA TODAY, Oct. 25, 2013. (Thanks to Lawrence Vance, LewRockwell.com blog.)

RON PAUL — WHY I BECAME A DOCTOR: ”I became a doctor to avoid being a soldier. I knew I would be drafted, and such things as seeking asylum in another country, or becoming a conscientious objector, were out of my range of thought at that time. But if I became a doctor, I knew I would not be given a rifle and told to shoot other young men at government orders. …Though the horrible UN oath is used in medical schools these days, I still adhere to the Hippocratic Oath, and its injunction to ‘First, do no harm.’ It’s a great, ancient libertarian principle.” — Ron Paul, “Why RonPaulMD.com?”, November 8, 2013.

JAY LENO ON THE OBAMACARE DISASTER: “A new record was set today in the 100 meters. It was set by Senate Democrats running away from Obamacare.” — Jay Leno, Nov. 11, 2013.

DON’T CALL US, WE’LL CALL YOU: ”According to The Washington Post, the White House is considering appointing a civilian to lead the NSA. If you’re interested in the job, no need to submit a résumé, they have all your information already. They will call you.” — Jay Leno, Nov. 11, 2013.

* * * * * * * * * *
“They Said It…” is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.

FREE E-Book: After the Welfare State

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 22 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

“Young people today are being robbed. Of their rights. Of their freedom. Of their dignity. Of their futures. Theculprits? My generation and our predecessors, who either created or failed to stop the world-straddling engine of theft, degradation, manipulation, and social control we call the welfare state.”

So writes libertarian scholar Tom G. Palmer in the introduction to After The Welfare State, a short, readable and highly enlightening look at the origins, failures, and tyranny of the welfare state — and alternatives to it.

Among questions the book explores: How does the welfare state function? What systems did the welfare state displace, and were they viable? How has the welfare state contributed to poverty and major international crises? And finally, how can we replace the unsustainable and coercive welfare state with a system to help the needy based on peace and liberty?

Edited by Palmer, the book contains essays by Palmer and other experts. It is published by Students for Liberty and the Atlas Network.

You can download it as a FREE PDF eBook here.

Inexpensive hard copies, and free copies in bulk for student libertarian groups to distribute, are also available. You can learn more about that here.

Praise for After the Welfare State:

“This book provides a superb introduction to the folly of the welfare state. The historical examples, the discussion of adverse consequences from existing welfare programs, and the moral arguments against government-imposed redistribution are all compelling background for anyone who cares about our future prosperity. Your future depends on understanding what is in this book.” — Jeffrey Miron, Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Economics, Harvard University.

“After the Welfare State makes serious economic analysis of current events readable, enlightening, and enjoyable. Spending other people’s money — even with the best of intentions — is a recipe for conflict and even catastrophe, as the authors demonstrate in one country after another.” — Donald J. Boudreaux, Professor of Economics, George Mason University.

Highly recommended!

Videos: The Five Winners of the First-Ever Reason Liberty Video Prize

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 22 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Here are five fantastic — and now award-winning — liberty videos.

On November 6, 2013 the libertarian Reason Foundation announced the winners of the first-ever Reason Video Prize, which “honors short-form video, film, and moving pictures that explore, investigate, and enrich our appreciation of libertarian beliefs in individual rights, limited government, and especially human possibilities.”

All are great, and you can see them all here. Note at the upper left of the video, there’s a playlist of all five winning videos, starting with the winner, “I, Pencil.” So you can sit back and watch them in sequence, or pick whichever ones you want to see.

Drew Tidwell’s “I, Pencil,” produced for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, won first place and a $7,000 award. We’ve featured it in past issues. It’s a fantastic video adaptation of one of the greatest free-market essays ever written.

Second place ($2,000) went to Justin Monticello’s “Obama That I Used to Know,” a song parody that sums up the disillusionment of young Obama voters who voted for peace and civil liberties and got, in return… drones hits, illegal wars, crony capitalism, and other bitter fruits. Our favorite line: “Sometimes I think that Peace Prize winners shouldn’t have a kill list…”

Third place ($1,000) went to Isaac Reese’s “Game of Food Trucks,” produced for the libertarian Institute for Justice (IJ). This funny Game of Thrones parody asks a very serious question: Should the city of Chicago be in the business of protecting a few politically connected restaurateurs from competition? Hooray for the heroic entrepreneurs who are fighting back — with the help of IJ.

There were two other finalists.

“Top DHS Checkpoint Refusals,” produced by Mike Mills, is one you don’t want to miss. It’s a raw, astonishing compilation of citizens daring to stand up to authority by exercising their constitutional right to travel unmolested and to refuse questioning at Department of Homeland Security immigration checkpoints (that aren’t actually at the border). It’s also an eye-opening look at the sleazy, deceptive ways government agents try to imply powers that they don’t legally have. If all Americans had this devotion to civil liberties…

“Crony Chronicles: I Want to Grow Up to be a Crony” by Owen Brennan, Justin Folk, and Robert Perkins is a hilarious, if sad, portrayal of how the American dream has been perverted by crony capitalism, aka “crapitalism.”

Five fantastic videos for liberty. Check them out!

Anal Probes at a Traffic Stop: Why the War on Drugs Must End

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 22 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

“David Eckert was pulling out of a Walmart parking lot when police officers pulled him over for failing to stop at a parking lot stop sign. Police ordered Eckert to step out of his vehicle, and that’s when he committed the highly suspicious act of ‘clenching his buttocks.’ The officers’ natural reaction? This man must be hiding narcotics in his anal cavity.”

So reports Alison Frankel of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project. She continues:

“Being pulled over for a minor traffic violation is never a pleasant experience, but these Deming, New Mexico police officers took it to an atrocious new level, forcing Mr. Eckert to undergo a colonoscopy, anal probes, and defecation in a search for drugs.

“Yes, you read that correctly: the War on Drugs is being waged on minor traffic violators with enemas and sedatives.

“After pulling Mr. Eckert over, officers obtained a search warrant for an anal cavity search and drove Eckert to a Deming hospital. In the one act of sanity in this insane saga, doctors at that hospital refused to conduct the search, saying it would be unethical.

“Undeterred by such ethical concerns, police then took Eckert to Gila Regional Medical Center…”

Reporter Chris Ramirez of New Mexico’s KOB Eyewitness News 4 sums up, in this numbered list, what happened to Eckert next:

  1. Eckert’s abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.
  2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
  3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
  4. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
  5. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
  6. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of  doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
  7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.
  8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert’s anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found.

Throughout this ordeal, Eckert protested and never gave doctors at the Gila          Regional Medical Center consent to perform any of these medical                          procedures…

         No drugs were ever found.

And get this: Mr. Eckert is now receiving… bills from the Gila medical center. Yes, the medical center is demanding he pay thousands of dollars for the torture he underwent there.

The ACLU is defending Mr. Eckert in a lawsuit against the City of Deming, its police officers, and the medical center.

Incredible though it may seem, these tactics are being used by police elsewhere. The ACLU’s Frankel also mentions that “In two separate incidents in Texas this August, police officers probed the genitals and anal regions of four women suspected of possessing marijuana during routine traffic stops. No drugs were found during the cavity searches.”

Drug law reform, anyone?

Look Who’s Coming to Dinner

in Liberator Online Archives by Sharon Harris Comments are off

(From the President’s Corner section in Volume 18, No. 22 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Holidays can be a great time to share libertarian ideas with family and friends, so be sure to gather liberty-themed facts, figures and stories specific for each holiday. (The Liberator Online is an excellent source for such information as a holiday nears.)

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. As you’re making your plans, the free-market Cost of Government Center (CFR) reminds us that an uninvited guest is planning to crash your Turkey (or Tofurkey) Day — Uncle Sam.

CFR — an affiliate of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) — offers us some genuinely shocking figures about how much government is adding to the cost of your family’s Thanksgiving celebration this year.

Share this information with your family and friends, if the appropriate opportunity arises, and you’ll surely open some minds. Maybe they’ll give thanks that you and other libertarians are working to spare them from this kind of government plunder.

Here’s CFR’s report.

Hard to Be Thankful for Bigger Government this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for reuniting with friends and family — but the government wants to be part of your celebration too. Whether you stay home or travel for the holiday, government is a significant contributor to the costs of the celebration.

Of an identified $10 billion in spending that occurs during Thanksgiving weekend on the wine and beer, the gas and plane tickets, and the meal itself, government taxation composes 35.86 percent of those expenses — approximately $3.6 billion in revenues.

Many of these Thanksgiving items are subject to the increased costs of income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate income taxes, and other taxes on business activity. Government then includes additional fees and excise taxes that further increase the cost of providing specific items or services.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, this year’s Thanksgiving meal for ten increased in cost by $5.73 to a total of $49.20 — mostly due to rising food prices. Despite the most significant increase in food costs since 1990, government taxation still gobbles up $13.68 of your meal preparations.

Unfortunately this measure still does not account for beer and wine consumption. Between football games and meals, nearly 53 million cases of beer are consumed. Government collects $219 million in taxes — 44.33 percent of the cost of each case. Thanksgiving attendees will also find it hard to be grateful for the 32.77 percent increase in the cost of each bottle of wine thanks to government.

Whether you fly or drive to be with your loved ones this Thanksgiving season, government heavily taxes your preferred mode of transportation. Of the 94 percent of travelers driving their cars, government will raise an estimated $1.1 billion in tax revenue — 45.33 percent of the gasoline price tag. Similarly, government also increases the cost of the average $376 Thanksgiving flight — making up 43.57 of each ticket’s price.

The government hits taxpayers particularly hard during the holiday season, filling its plate with these taxes and fees. As you gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, remember that Uncle Sam is to thank… for your smaller slice of pumpkin pie.

*  *  *

This Thanksgiving I’ll be giving thanks for the growing liberty movement, and especially for Liberator Online readers like you — people who are eager to learn the best ways to share the blessings of liberty with others!

I’m also grateful for libertarians who support the vital work of the Advocates with their generous donations. They make all the programs of the Advocates possible — including this newsletter. If you’d to join this special group, click here to donate and see the great “thank-you” gifts we have reserved for you. THANK YOU and Happy Thanksgiving!

Yours for Liberty,
Sharon

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