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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

More Evidence: Libertarians Growing Rapidly in Numbers and Influence

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!)

Last issue we brought news of an amazing survey by FreedomWorks that found libertarianism rising rapidly, especially among the young.

Here’s more great news along those lines.

First, a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute — a nonpartisan group that studies religion, values, and public life — finds that about 22% of Americans are either consistent libertarians (7%) or “libertarian leaners” (15%). “Libertarian leaners” are more libertarian than they are liberal, conservative or other political brands.

This 22% libertarian bloc estimate is pretty consistent with other recent surveys. And it is a large and powerful number for a growing political movement.

The survey also found that libertarians are disproportionately young: fully one in four is under 30. This is wonderful demographics for a political philosophy that wants to be the politics of the future.

Nick Gillespie of Reason.com, writing at Time.com, tells why this is exciting news for libertarians:

“[T]he 22 percent of Americans who are consistent libertarians or lean libertarian are fully capable of throwing any election in their direction. That makes them the true wild cards of American politics. A majority of libertarians describe themselves as independent (35 percent), affiliated with a third party (15 percent), or as Democrats (5 percent), with the remaining 45 percent calling themselves Republicans. …

“After a dozen-plus years of government mismanagement of the economy, foreign policy, and basic civil liberties under Republicans and Democrats, a record number of Americans rightly believe that the government has too much power. Libertarians are young, intense, principled, and highly engaged in politics. They are going to be around for a long time to come, and in ever-larger numbers. The only question left unanswered is who they will vote for.”

The survey finding is perhaps borne out by the remarkable showing this month by the Libertarian Party candidate for governor of Virginia, in a hotly contested three-way race. Libertarian Robert Sarvis, a software developer and attorney, had polled as high as ten percent, and on election day won 6.5 percent of the vote

This was the third-highest vote total for a Libertarian in a governor’s race in the party’s history, in any state. In 1990, by contrast, the Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate got just 0.7 percent of the vote.

Most importantly, the Sarvis campaign was especially popular among young voters. An exit poll shows that Sarvis won a startling 15 percent of voters age 18-29.

“A record-breaking number of Virginia voters have sent a message that they prefer the open-minded and open-for-business libertarianism of Robert Sarvis to the crazy social agenda of the Republicans and the crony capitalism of the Democrats,” said Chuck Moulton, chairman for the Libertarian Party of Virginia. “The Libertarian Party of Virginia is excited to build on this success by expanding its membership and running ever more highly qualified candidates in 2014 and beyond.”

Libertarianism is spreading fast among Americans — and especially the young. And that’s great news!

Too Much Libertarianism?

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

(From the One-Minute Liberty Tip section in Volume 18, No. 21 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Little Johnny had been playing outside. He came running into the house and asked, “Mommy, where did I come from?”

She’d been waiting for this question, so she took a deep breath, sat down with Johnny, and explained all about the birds and the bees and the wonders of how children are conceived and born.

When she finally finished, she asked him, “Did that answer your question?”

“I guess so,” he replied. “But Joey said he came from Boston.”

Sometimes we give people a lot more information than they want to know!

That can be true about libertarianism and political issues, too.

When someone asks you a question about libertarianism, begin by giving them a short answer. Start with soundbites.

Most people prefer to get a little information and then ask more questions, rather than getting a long lecture in response to one question.

A conversation goes much smoother when there’s give and take, so before going ahead and giving a longer answer, get permission from the other person. Ask them a question like one of these:

“Did that answer your question?”

“This is one of my favorite topics. Do you mind if I tell you a little more about it?”

“Do you have time to discuss this further?”

“Would you like to know a little more about this?”

Continue to be sensitive to their level of interest. Be alert to signs of disinterest, like fidgeting, looking around the room. Be ready to ask a permission question again, if the conversation extends.

(If you sense their attention is drifting, or time is an issue, you can also offer to supply further information in another form. “I know a great short article on this topic. Would you like me to email it to you?”)

Of course, sometimes you can sense that the person you’re talking with is very interested and desires to talk and learn more. But you’d be surprised — sometimes that is hard to tell, especially when you’re in the midst of talking about a great passion of yours. So play safe and ask.

It’s generally better to give too little — and leave them interested in hearing more — than to drown them in information.

As Michael Cloud likes to say: Don’t try to quench their thirst with a firehouse. Offer a glass of water instead.

Remember the old show business wisdom: “Always leave ‘em wanting more.”

Is gene patenting akin to slavery?

in Liberator Online Archives by Mary Ruwart Comments are off

(From the Ask Dr. Ruwart section in Volume 18, No. 21 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

QUESTION: Regarding the issue of patented genes: If a person — their body — is made up of genes, is not owning the genes which make up that person’s body akin to slavery? Slavery being the ownership of another person?

MY SHORT ANSWER: The usual way that a company patents a person’s genes is to take a blood or tissue sample from a willing donor during a study to test new drugs. Usually, the donor signs an “informed consent” explaining that the company might make — and patent — a gene product from the blood or tissue without any further compensation to the donor.

The patent entitles the company to use or sell the gene or gene product from the donated sample only. The person is not owned, and can’t be forced to give additional samples, so he or she isn’t what we’d normally consider a slave.

However, such patents do create property rights issues, because, in theory at least, a donor couldn’t sell the same gene or gene products to another company or person. In my opinion, the problem is the U.S. Patent Office, which should not have allowed such patents to be issued in the first place. However, because the FDA requires so much expensive testing for new drugs, companies wouldn’t develop gene products, even if they cured major diseases, without the patent protection that allows them to recover their costs.

The Supreme Court, it seems, agrees with me. In a landmark decision against Myriad in June, 2013 (Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, 569 U.S. 12-398 (2013)), the Supreme Court ruled that genes can’t be patented because they occur in nature. Since the U.S. Patent Office has already granted a couple thousand gene patents, this decision will create a lot of economic chaos. It will limit the development of genetic diagnostic testing as well, because the cost of regulatory FDA hurdles won’t be recoverable in many cases without these patents.

I was in the pharmaceutical industry during the time that FDA regulations were increasing. The company I worked for, and others, made the decision not to develop unpatented products because of this problem. We need to get rid of this excess regulation so that patents are no longer necessary for drug development.

The Assault of Laughter

in Liberator Online Archives by Michael Cloud Comments are off

(From the Persuasion Power Point section in Volume 18, No. 21 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

In politics and economics, there are hundreds of different ways of responding to ideas and proposals you disagree with.

Humor is one powerful way. It dissolves tension. It changes the tone of the conversation. It’s fun. And many people love to share a good joke.

Mark Twain wrote, “Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”

H.L. Mencken wrote, “One horse laugh is worth 10,000 syllogisms.”

Both proved it in their writing. So did Ambrose Bierce in The Devil’s Dictionary. So does P.J. O’Rourke today.

Free-market pamphleteer Frederic Bastiat sometimes used humor to skewer bad economic ideas. Read his marvelous essays “The Candlemakers’ Petition” and “The Negative Railroad.” Hilarious — and more relevant today than when he wrote them.

Consider a famous example from politics.

In the 1984 Presidential campaign, a growing number of people believed that Ronald Reagan was too old for a second term.

During a televised debate with 56-year-old Walter Mondale, 73-year-old Ronald Reagan put the issue to rest with a quip:

“I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

Even Mondale laughed.

Want to use humor against Big Government ideas?

1. Recognizing a good political joke — and sharing it – is easier than making one up. So when you hear or read a good joke or humorous remark about Big Government, write it down or otherwise save it. Email it to friends. Tell it to people in the office. Same with a funny quote or a libertarian online meme or video. If it’s good, some of them will in turn pass it on. If it’s great, it could go viral.

2. Read a collection of political wit and humor — and substitute your target for theirs. Great Political Wit by Robert Dole is a good place to start.

3. If you want to learn how to build a joke or write comedy, read New Comedy Writing Step-by-Step by Gene Perret. You’ll learn and laugh. I studied with Mr. Perret in the 1980s. He’s a master comedy writer. Or Comedy Writing Secrets by Mel Helitzer and Mark Shatz. It’s very good.

In a world of self-important, know-it-all politicians and pundits, we need more humor. At their expense.

In a world where every issue is crucial, where every election is the most important ever, where our failure to elect this golden candidate could destroy Western civilization… we need laughter.

In a world of bloated big government balloons… you can be a pin.

THEY SAID IT…

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From Volume 18, No. 21 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

GOP “VS” OBAMACARE: “It is not an exaggeration to say the GOP establishment is more sympathetic to Obama’s case for the centralized welfare state than to the Tea Party’s case for limited government and individual liberty. … Remember, Republicans are the guys who gave us a new Medicare prescription-drug entitlement when Medicare was already tens of trillions of dollars in debt. They are the guys who ran in 2012 as the saviors of Medicare — even though they well knew that slamming Obama over taking money out of Medicare would make it much more difficult to address Medicare’s unsustainable costs in the future. They are the guys who accept core premises of Obamacare: Republicans do not make the case that health care is like any other commodity in a free market rather than a corporate asset to be centrally managed. The disagreement between statist Democrats and the GOP establishment is about the degree of government intrusion in health care, not the matter of government intrusion in principle. Republicans are also the guys who want to keep some of Obamacare’s core, anti-free-market elements — e.g., provisions that forbid denial of coverage owing to preexisting conditions and that keep ‘children’ on their parents’ coverage until age 26.” —Andrew C. McCarthy, “The Art of the Impossible,” National Review Online, October 19, 2013.ABOLISH THE U.S. DEP’T OF DYSTOPIA: ”From its inception, the [Department of Homeland Security] has operated as something akin to a federal Department of Dystopia, encouraging the proliferation of surveillance cameras, armed personnel carriers and police drones across Main Street America with some $35 billion in Homeland Security grants. … [The] Senate should abolish Homeland Security.” — Gene Healy, Cato Institute, “Instead of Confirming Jeh Johnson, Senate Should Abolish Homeland Security,” DC Examiner, October 21, 2013.

RAND PAUL — SHOW SOME COMPASSION: “Federal Judge Timothy Lewis recalls a case where he had to send a 19-year-old to prison for 10 years for ‘conspiracy.’ What was the ‘conspiracy?’ This young man had been in a car where drugs were found. I don’t know where many of you in this chamber went to high school, but I’m pretty sure one of us might have been in a car in our youth where someone might’ve had drugs. As this young man was sentenced to a decade behind bars, he turned and screamed for his mother as he was escorted away. Before the arrest, this young man was going to be the first in his family to go to college.” — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) testifying in favor of ending mandatory minimum sentencing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sept. 16, 2013.

FIRST OBAMACARE, THEN… ”Canada Has Death Panels — And That’s a Good Thing.” — title of article at Salon.com by Adam Goldenberg, Oct. 21, 2013. Excerpt: “When taxpayers provide only a finite number of acute care beds in public hospitals, a patient whose life has all but ended, but whose family insists on keeping her on life support, is occupying precious space that might otherwise house a patient whose best years are still ahead.”

THE FASTEST WAY TO NOT: ”In San Francisco, Apple unveiled its new products. Apple said, ‘This iPad is the fastest and most vivid way to not be able to log on to the Obamacare website.’” — Jimmy Kimmel, Oct. 22, 2013.

LENO ON OBAMACARE INNOVATION: ”Here’s my favorite part: The president said yesterday that if it’s taking too long you can bypass the [Obamacare] website and enroll by mail. Only the federal government could come up with a website that’s slower than sending something by mail!” — Jay Leno, Oct. 22, 2013.LENO: PUT NSA IN CHARGE OF OBAMACARE WEBSITE: ”What the president should do is put the NSA in charge of the website. That way there’s nothing to fill out. They already have all our information. You just put your name in.” — Jay Leno, Oct. 24, 2013.

Liberty Resource: 2013 Edition of FREE Gun Rights E-Book

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 21 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Gun Facts by libertarian writer Guy Smith is a free ebook, updated in 2013. Smith says his book is devoted to “debunking gun control myths and providing citable evidence.”

Gun Facts has been downloaded into more than 165 countries with well over a million direct copies in circulation.

Gun Facts is written in an easy-to-read digest form. Each chapter presents common gun control myths and fallacies, then counters with documented facts (with over 530 detailed footnotes and numerous insightful charts). The book is concise, just a bit over 110 pages.

Gun Facts provides excellent info for speeches, debates, letters to editors, and more. Virtually every major gun control topic is covered: assault weapons, guns and crime, gun show “loopholes,” ballistic finger printing, firearm availability, gun control outside the U.S., accidents, etc. Finding information is fast and easy.

Gun Facts is a very useful resource on this crucial and sometimes contentious topic — and, again, it’s free in ebook form. (A paper copy is also available for purchase.)

VIDEO: The NSA Has “The Whole World in Its Hands”

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 21 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Every day more NSA bombshells hit the news. And no one seems able to stop them.

So it’s time to bring out the big guns: calling the Kinsey Sicks!

Yes, the Kinsey Sicks — stars of music, film, and Las Vegas and Off-Broadway live shows. Known worldwide for over 16 years as “America’s Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet.”

In this hilarious yet alarming video, the Kinsey Sicks turn the traditional American spiritual “They’ve Got the Whole World in Their Hands” into a smart and sassy Edward Snowden-inspired all-out assault on the tyrannical NSA and the police state that agency is busily building. (Be sure you catch all the lyrics: they’re printed just under the video, click on “Show  more.”)

Maybe humor can do what politics has so far failed miserably at. Share this with your friends (and, like it or not, with your favorite government spy agency — because you know they’re watching)!

Report: U.S. Economic Freedom Fading; U.S. Falls to 17th Place

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 21 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

That’s the disturbing finding of the 2013 Economic Freedom of the World Annual Report, a highly-regarded study of economic freedom around the world.

The annual study is prepared by the Economic Freedom Network, a group of independent research and educational institutes in nearly 90 nations and territories worldwide. The group describes the report as “the world’s premier measurement of economic freedom.”

From 1980 to 2000, the United States was generally rated the third freest economy in the world, ranking behind only Hong Kong and Singapore.

But policies of the Bush and Obama administrations have decimated that ranking. Today, the U.S. languishes in 17th spot.

Hong Kong again topped the rankings of 152 countries and territories, scoring 8.97 points out of a possible 10. Hong Kong was followed by followed by Singapore (8.73), New Zealand (8.49), and Switzerland (8.30).

Also ahead of the United States: United Arab Emirates (8.07), Mauritius (8.01), Finland (7.98), Bahrain and Canada (each 7.93), and Australia (7.88)… and six more.

Scores are for 2011, the most recent year for which the data is available.

More disturbing than the rankings is the U.S.’s score, which shows a sharp drop in the amount of economic freedom. After generally rising from 1980 to reach a score of 8.55 in 2000, the U.S. has now fallen to a considerably lower 7.73.

“Unfortunately for the United States, we’ve seen overspending, weakening rule of law, and regulatory overkill on the part of the U.S. government, causing its economic freedom score to plummet in recent years,” said Fred McMahon of the Fraser Institute, co-author of the report.

“This is a stark contrast from 2000, when the U.S. was considered one of the most economically free nations and ranked second globally.”

The worst countries? Venezuela has the lowest level of economic freedom worldwide, with Myanmar, Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, and Chad rounding out the bottom five. (North Korea and Cuba could not be ranked because of a lack of data.)

The worldwide average economic freedom score rose slightly to 6.87 out of 10, compared to 6.74 last year. However it remains below its peak level of 6.92 in 2007.

These scores are extraordinarily important, because, as the report shows, economic liberty is literally a matter of life and death. Extensive research shows that people living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy greater prosperity, more political and civil liberties, and longer life spans.

“The link between economic freedom and prosperity is undeniable: the nations with the most economic freedom also offer people the best quality of life. Compare the bottom-ranked countries, where oppressive regimes deny their citizens opportunities for economic growth and personal freedom,” McMahon said.

On average, the poorest 10 per cent of people in the freest nations are more than twice as prosperous as the average population of the countries with the least economic freedom.

Among the highest-ranked countries, the average income of the poorest 10 per cent of people was $10,556 (U.S. dollars) in 2011, compared to only $932 (U.S.) for those living in the least free economies.

The report defines the cornerstones of economic freedom as personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and security of private property.

The report measures economic freedom in five different areas: (1) size of government, (2) legal structure and security of property rights, (3) access to sound money, (4) freedom to trade internationally, and (5) regulation of credit, labor, and business.

The full report goes into all of these issues in far greater detail. It is available free at www.freetheworld.com.

News From the Advocates

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

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

  • November 16: Communication workshop at Utah Valley University, Orem, UT, sponsored by Libertas Institute, Students for Liberty, Young Americans for LIberty and Campaign for Liberty
  • November 19: Speech at meeting of Atlanta Chapter of America’s Future Foundation.

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

IN THE WORKS

Note: if you would like to learn when dates and places are set, please email Sharon.

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. Place and date TBA.

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

Email Sharon if you’d like to learn about having 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.

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