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MILESTONE: World’s Smallest Political Quiz Taken 20 MILLION Times

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

DSCF3519The Advocates for Self-Government is pleased to announce that on October 20 the online World’s Smallest Political Quiz reached a new milestone.

The Quiz has now been taken more than 20 MILLION TIMES since the Advocates put it on the Web in 1995.

The World’s Smallest Political Quiz has become an Internet legend – the world’s first, and by far most popular, Internet political quiz.

Created by the Advocates in 1987, the World’s Smallest Political Quiz has taken the idea of libertarianism as a legitimate and distinctive part of America’s political spectrum to tens of millions of Americans.

The Advocates, a national libertarian educational organization, has also distributed over 20 million Quiz cards. Millions more people have encountered the Quiz in classrooms, newspapers, books, on talk radio, at Facebook, at Operation Politically Homeless (OPH) libertarian outreach booths, and elsewhere.

“This success is fantastic news for libertarians,” said Advocates President Sharon Harris. “because the Quiz is arguably the most effective tool for libertarian understanding and outreach ever invented.”

When people take the Quiz:

  • They learn that libertarianism is a major part of the American political spectrum – that there is more to politics than just left versus right.
  • They see the differences between libertarianism and other political ideologies.They get insights into their own political views, and they think about some of today’s most important – but too-often ignored – political issues.
  • They learn that, on many key issues, libertarians are their allies, even if they consider themselves liberals or conservatives or centrists.
  • A large percentage of Quiz takers discover they are libertarians, or have more in common with libertarianism than any other political philosophy.
  • At the Advocates website, Quiz takers are also given access to outstanding information about libertarian ideas. Their questions are answered. They are given the opportunity to become active in the libertarian movement.
  • And they are offered tools and training to help them become ever more effective and successful in their libertarian outreach. When a Quiz take gives his or her name and address, requesting more information, that contact info is made available to other libertarian organizations for follow up.

 

QuizOfficialAs Ron Paul said in the Congressional Record: “The World’s Smallest Political Quiz is responsible for many Americans’ first contact with libertarian ideas. While traveling around the country, I have often heard people say, ‘I never knew I was a libertarian until I took the Quiz!’”

The Quiz was created by Advocates Founder Marshall Fritz, based around a revolutionary multi-spectrum political chart created by David F. Nolan (a co-founder of the Libertarian Party). Fritz added ten short questions and a graph to Nolan chart. The questions and graph allowed people to quickly plot their place on the political spectrum, as well as giving other political insights.

Sharon Harris notes that the amazing success of the Quiz is no accident. The Advocates has spent many years developing and refining the Quiz.

“From the beginning, Marshall insisted that the Quiz be not just fast and fun, but above all honest and accurate – giving reliable and useful insights to those who take it,” Harris says.

The result: a tool so reliable that non-libertarian educators, journalists and others can – and do – use it and recommend it.

During the past decade, the Quiz has been featured in some of America’s best-selling college and high school textbooks or their supplementary material.

In addition, the Advocates has supplied educators, at their request, with over 40,000 card Quizzes for their classrooms. Today, thousands of college and high school students study the Quiz – in their classrooms.

Furthermore, the Advocates has promoted it extensively for many years to thousands of journalists, educators, national and local office holders, political activists, and other opinion leaders. And the Advocates has supplied nearly one thousand libertarian student groups across America, at their request, with OPH kits, which feature the Quiz.

This is tangible, real-world outreach success. And it is making a real difference.

The success of the Quiz is great news for the entire liberty movement. The Quiz is discovering and educating the libertarian leaders, activists and supporters of tomorrow.

“I want to thank everyone who has ever sent an email about the Quiz, linked to it, or otherwise helped take the mind-opening Quiz to the public,” Harris said. “Keep on spreading the word, link to the Quiz – and help us reach the NEXT 20 million Quiz takers. Thank you!”

 

Identifying and Going After the Real Problem: Big Gov’t

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 20 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Here’s some sound advice from conservative commentator Erick Erickson that libertarians would do well to heed.

Erickson is writing about the recent IRS scandals and how Republicans should react. But his words apply to all of the recent scandals, including the NSA spyings, foreign policy fiascos, Benghazi, Obamacare, government spending and more, and his suggestions are especially applicable to libertarians:

“This is about big government. This is about ‘a government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take it all away.’ …

“’Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.’ George Washington [is often quoted as having] said that. The GOP should remember it.

“The talking points the GOP uses, the press conferences the GOP holds, the ads the GOP runs – all of them need to be directed at the idea of government being the problem. It has moved outside the scope of reasonable reasonability into the micromanagement of our lives.

“But – and this is the most important part – Republicans must remember that the problem is not Democrats in charge of government, but government itself. The argument falls flat if Republicans revert to ‘big government conservative’ arguments of ‘put us in charge’ and we’ll do better with the same. No they won’t.

“Government is the problem. The vastness, complexity, and nefarious encroachment into our personal lives should be fought, not just blamed on the other side.”

Video: Startling Growth in Self-Identifying Libertarians

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 20 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

“We’ve noticed in the last fifteen months an uptick in the number of people who are actually self-identifying as libertarian,” says FreedomWorks’ David Kirby, who has been researching this issue for many years along with the Cato Institute’s David Boaz.

In fact, the popularity and use of the word “libertarian” is growing at a remarkably fast rate, as more and more people discover libertarianism and adapt it as their own philosophy. There is also a growing anti-libertarian backlash in the Republican Party from traditional conservatives and neo-conservatives who feel threatened by this rapid growth of libertarian ideas and the liberty movement.

In this short ReasonTV video (about 6:16 minutes) Kirby talks with Reason magazine editor-in-chief Matt Welch about why more people describe themselves as libertarian, how politicians like Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Justin Amash have come to think of themselves as libertarian; why the statist Old Guard feels threatened; and whether Glenn Beck calling himself libertarian is a good thing.

For more on the recent growth of libertarianism in America, see our short article “New Poll Finds ‘Libertarian Renaissance’ in America” from the September 20, 2013 Liberator Online.

Halloween: Share Some Scary Facts About… Government

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

(From the One-Minute Liberty Tip section in Volume 18, No. 20 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 a good source for such information. We frequently share it in this column, or elsewere in the issue, as major holidays near.)

This month the scariest holiday of the year is approaching. In a few days bloodsuckers, devils and demons will roam the streets, demanding we hand over goodies or face retaliation. No, it’s not tax time or election season — I’m talking about Halloween!

Below is a short report from the free-market Cost of Government Center that gives some genuinely shocking figures about how much government is adding to the cost of your family’s Halloween celebration this year.

The Cost of Government Center is an affiliate of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), and its website has excellent similar reports about the impact of taxes and regulations on major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Share this information with your family and friends, if the appropriate opportunity arises, and you’ll surely open some minds about the scariest spook house of them all — the voracious federal government! Happy Halloween!

Trick or Treat? The Frightening Cost of Halloween – Courtesy of Government by the Cost of Government Center, October 27, 2011

Think Halloween is scary? Ha! It’s nothing compared to the Frightfest of taxes and hidden costs government adds to this beloved holiday.

Each year, parents spend $1 billion on kid costumes for Halloween. On average, for the estimated 41 million trick-or-treaters, each kid wears a costume costing almost $25 — a hefty sum for parents who know this annual investment is only going to get a few hours of use.

Taxes make up a shocking amount of that cost.

Kids’ costumes are almost all made of heavily taxed synthetic fibers. On top of the state sales tax paid at the register, the government increases the cost of buying these costumes by imposing a 17 percent tariff on many of these imported costumes. Businesses not only have to absorb these costs, but also those imposed by income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate taxes, property taxes, capital gains taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, workmen’s compensation taxes, and other payments to federal, state, and local forms of government.

When all is said and done, government taxes compose a terrifying 47.82 percent of the cost of the average kid’s costume — $11.66 of the average price. Boo!

But the government’s tricks don’t end there. The Halloween season brings with it $2 billion in candy purchases. Due to excise taxation on sweets in addition to the burden of taxes placed on the confectionery industry, the government takes a 30.81 percent bite out of the average trick-or-treaters’ candy haul. Ouch!

Altogether, the cost of celebrating our scariest holiday is made all the more frightening by the costs imposed by government: hidden taxes and other costs constitute 40.91 percent of your Halloween celebration.

This amounts to a burden of $688 million — or $16.80 per kid. The remaining $1.3 billion of candy not distributed during trick-or-treating represents another $406 million in taxes. Finally, after including taxes on adults for decorations and costumes the total Halloween tax bite comes to… a bloody and bruising $2.7 billion.

And the cost is even higher if you attend a spooky party with alcoholic beverages. Wine, distilled spirits and beer are all subject to more hidden taxes. Going out to dinner instead of trick-or-treating also carries higher government costs. And if you have to drive your kids to trick-or-treat, the government bite of gasoline also takes a hefty bite out of your wallet.

Wherever you turn, wherever you go, you can’t escape the bloodsucking horror of… the federal government.

Hey, if you’re still searching for a truly bone-chilling costume idea, may we suggest you dress up as… Uncle Sam.

(Please note: The Cost of Government Center posted this on October 27, 2011. You might check their excellent website as Halloween nears to see if they’ve published an updated 2013 version. If you use these figures, especially outside of casual conversation, you might want to point out the date, i.e., “as the Cost of Government Center noted on Halloween two years ago…”)

Nick Gillespie: Where to Cut the Federal Budget

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 20 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

“What Federal Spending Are We Better Off Without?” was the shutdown-inspired subject of a New York Times debate on October 8.

What libertarian wouldn’t like to have a chance to wield that meat cleaver? Nick Gillespie of Reason pointed out there were plenty of places to cut, and he offered a few for starters. Here’s a sample:

“Whole agencies are demonstrably ineffective. The Department of Education was created in 1979, and its annual budget for K-12 education comes in just shy of $40 billion. Test scores for high-school seniors on the National Assessment of Educational Progress – called the Nation’s Report Card – are either flat or slightly below where they were before the department existed.

“Then there’s Defense, which is one of the single-biggest items in the federal budget. The U.S. accounts for 40 percent of global expenditures on military might and, in real dollars, our defense spending rose nearly 80 percent between 2001 and 2012.

“As the shutdown entered its second week, The Dayton Daily News reported that the Pentagon is sending half a billion dollars’ worth of ‘nearly new’ cargo planes to a storage facility in Arizona, where they will join $35 billion worth of other unnecessary aircraft and vehicles.

“When leaders like Representative Nancy Pelosi claim ‘there’s no more cuts to make,’ I have to wonder whether they are tripping on powerful hallucinogens – whose availability undercuts another unnecessary, ineffective and costly federal program: the War on Drugs.”

And that’s just for starters. As Gillespie noted: “Much of what the feds spend money on is either unnecessary or ineffective … or both.”

Gallup Poll: Voter Support for a Third Party Hits All-Time High

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 20 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Government failure is piling on government failure. NSA wiretapping, Obamacare, a stagnant economy, endless and inexplicable wars…

In response, a whopping 60% of Americans now say the Republicrat and Demopublican parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed.

That’s the finding of a poll conducted October 3-6, 2013 by the prestigious Gallup polling company.

Gallup has been asking voters this question for ten years. This 60% support for a third party is the highest ever.

Gallup found that only 26% believe the two major parties adequately represent Americans – also the lowest support Gallup has ever polled.

As for self-defined independents, fully 71% say we need a third party. (That number is actually lower than the all-time highs in 2007 and 2010.)

These findings parallel an October 12-13 Rasmussen poll, which finds 47% of Americans “believe neither major political party represents the American people.”

“However, the desire for a third party is not sufficient to ensure there will be one. Structural factors in the U.S. election system and the parties’ own abilities to adapt to changing public preferences have helped the Republican and Democratic parties to remain the dominant parties in U.S. government for more than 150 years.”

“Structural problems,” of course, include ballot laws passed by the Republicrats that keep potential third party competition off ballots and phony presidential “debates” run by representatives of the two parties that deliberately exclude new parties.

However, as support grows for new parties, and the media becomes more and more decentralized, look for those barriers to be increasingly challenged.

World’s Smallest Political Quiz used to explain libertarianism and Libertarian Party at CPAC

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

(From the President’s Corner section in Volume 18, No. 20 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Libertarian Party Chair Geoffrey J. Neale presented and explained the Libertarian Party at the Sept. 28, 2013, Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in St. Louis, Mo. CPAC is one of the most influential conservative gatherings in the world. attended by activists and office holders from across the United States.

Neale’s presentation came during a panel discussion titled: “Can Conservatives and Libertarians Ever Get Along?” I was pleased to note that Neale began by using the Advocates’ World’s Smallest Political Quiz to clarify what libertarianism means – yet another proof of the marvelous effectiveness of this amazing tool and the clear thinking about politics it promotes.

The entire transcript of the debate can be read here, and the debate is also onvideo.

Here are some excerpts from Neale’s presentation:

“The Libertarian Party was built on a very simple principle: liberty. Freedom to do what you want as long as you respect the rights of others.

“One of our [party's] founding fathers, David F. Nolan, who, sadly, passed away three years ago, created this little chart, a test, known as the Nolan Chart or the World’s Smallest Political Quiz. It differentiates people based on whether you should have the right to decide your life on economic issues or social issues. [It shows where] you fit in a [two-dimensional] political spectrum.

“People in the middle, we call Centrists. People who are strong on social freedoms, but not on economic freedoms, we call Democrats. People who are strong on economic freedoms, but not so much on social issues, we call Republicans. People who are strong on both we call Libertarians, and people who are strong on neither we call authoritarians. [Editor's note: Although Neale is using political party names here in the context of his presentation, the Quiz itself uses political terms – Right/Conservative and Left/Liberal.]

“David Nolan wanted to make a differentiation. He said, ‘It’s really not about left or right, it’s about authoritarian vs. libertarian.’ …

“So, for Libertarians, it’s not about left or right, it really is about right or wrong. … Libertarians are opposed to the initiation of force or fraud. Let me translate that into Christian: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is a moral statement; it is the essence of coexistence in any civilized culture. …

“What we believe in is voluntary association and disassociation. When you take government influence, oppression, and action out, and you allow good people to interact, they do wonderful things. I have faith in the human spirit, in human nature. When not perverted by outside sources, [they] act very well together.

“What we need is the freedom to act as good people, and we all have it within us. But the government is getting in the way of our human nature.”

Great presentation! I would only add that, along with Dave Nolan, Advocates Founder Marshall Fritz (pictured on the left with Dave in the photo below) also deserves credit for the World’s Smallest Political Quiz. Dave’s great insight was the chart that appears on the Quiz. Marshall’s contribution was to add ten extensively-researched and tested questions alongside the chart, to allow people to quickly find where they fit on Dave’s chart and thus discover what political group most agreed with them.

The combination of Dave’s chart and Marshall’s questions and packaging created the irresistible eye-opening political tool that has taken the idea of a multi-spectrum political map that includes libertarians to tens of millions of people around the world.

Thanks, Geoffrey Neale, for being a part of that ongoing revolution – for taking the mind-opening Quiz and the ideas of liberty to this highly influential CPAC audience!

Yours for Liberty,
Sharon

Dramatically Improve Your Conversations with These Simple (But Too Often Ignored) Tips

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

(From the One-Minute Liberty Tip section in Volume 18, No. 19 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

In past columns we’ve talked a lot about the vital importance of listening. In my communication seminars libertarians are often startled to learn about the power that active, genuine listening can add to our communication efforts.

It is equally important that the person you are conversing with be aware that you are carefully, sincerely and respectfully listening to what he is saying.

Here are some ways you can demonstrate to the other person that you are genuinely listening. These aren’t tricks or gimmicks. Using them will not only show the person that you are listening. You actually will be listening better.

1. Deliberately move away from distractions. Turn off the radio or TV. Put your cell phone away, turn it off, or at least move it further away from you.

2. Make eye contact. This connects you with the speaker. It’s not necessary (or appropriate) to stare at the person, but simply make natural, appropriate eye contact as the person is speaking.

3. Lean forward slightly. This is a natural movement when you are paying attention to something or someone, and the other person intuitively realizes this.

4. Nod when you agree with what the person is saying and/or when you are sure you understand or relate to what the person is saying.

5. Make short remarks when appropriate like, “I see.” “I understand.” “Yes.” “I agree.”

6. When the person finishes, before you start giving your opinion, do one of these three things:

* Ask a question that encourages the person to add to what they were saying.

* Ask a question that gets the person to clarify what they were saying.

* Summarize briefly what you think their major point was, and confirm with them that you are correct.

7. Three DON’T's:

* Don’t lean back and cross your arms over your chest. This indicates an unwillingness to be open to what the other person is saying.

* Don’t interrupt to correct or disagree with what the person is saying. Let them finish.

* Don’t spend your listening time planning on what you will say when they get through. Instead, focus on understanding what they are saying. Really listen.

Surprisingly, these simple techniques are often ignored, and communication suffers badly as a result.

Watch for them in your next few serious conversations. Notice if your listeners are using these indicators of serious listening. See how you feel when they do — and when they don’t.

It takes an awareness of them, and some practice, to use them effectively. But the payoff is worth it. You will find your communication and conversations are greatly improved. And you will win more friends — both for yourself and for the cause of liberty.

The Reverse

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

(From the Persuasion Power Point section in Volume 18, No. 19 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Tired of long, drawn-out arguments about government? Worn out from explaining why government fails and makes things worse?

What if you could convince your listener to persuade himself about libertarianism? What if you could persuade him to marshal compelling and convincing evidence and arguments that would change his mind about libertarianism?

Persuade himself? How?

The Reverse.

Instead of telling him what’s right with liberty and wrong with government, ask him.

“What’s one thing that government does now that you think it definitely should not do?”

Or: “What’s one activity that government engages in that it should stop doing?”

Or: “What’s one government program that’s a dismal failure or a waste of money that government ought to shut down?”

Then ask, “Why?”

After he tells you why, ask him to tell you more. Ask him to elaborate and expand. To tell you about the consequences of the bad program. To give you examples.

Then play Devil’s Advocate. Ask him how he would respond to possible objections.

“Suppose someone said X, how would you answer that objection?”

“Suppose someone said Y, how would you answer that objection?”

He will argue himself into a libertarian position. And he will give you the evidence and arguments that are most convincing to him.

The Reverse lets your listener pick the part of government that he’s most opposed to, do your arguing for you, and in the process intensify his opposition.

How and why does it work?

  1. It begins with what your listener already believes. It respects his beliefs and values.
  2. It creates rapport. Agreement. You both agree that government should abandon this activity or program.
  3. As Pascal wrote, “We are usually convinced more easily by reasons we have found ourselves than by those which have occurred to others.”
  4. As Win Wenger writes in The Einstein Factor: “The sheer act of expressing our thoughts on some subject causes us to learn more about that subject, even when no new information has been provided from without.”

Why does The Reverse work?

To truly learn a subject, teach it.

To help our listeners learn, we must ask them to teach.

They Said It…

in The Feed by James Harris Comments are off

(From the They Said It… section in Volume 18, No. 19 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

GUESS HOW TO END MOST VIOLENCE CRIME IN CHICAGO: “Most of Chicago’s violent crime comes from gangs trying to maintain control of drug-selling territories.” – Jack Riley, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for a five-state region that includes Illinois, quoted in “Heroin Pushed on Chicago by Cartel Fueling Gang Murders,” Bloomberg Markets Magazine, Sep 17, 2013. Last year there were more than 500 homicides in Chicago.

PRO BONO CAPITALISM: “‘Rock star preaches capitalism.’ [Laughs.] Wow. Sometimes I hear myself and I just can’t believe it. But commerce is real. … Commerce, entrepreneurial capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid. Of course, we know that. … Aid is just a stopgap. … We need Africa to become an economic powerhouse.” – Bono, lead singer for the Irish supergroup U2, from a speech at Georgetown University’s 2012 Global Social Enterprise Event, now widely circulating on the web. Bono, one of the world’s best-known philanthropic performers, has long raised funds for African charities.

SYRIA SHOWS MORE AMERICANS AGREEING WITH RON PAUL: “The American people have spoken out against war. Many more are now asking what I have been asking for quite some time: Why is it always our business when there is civil strife somewhere overseas? Why do we always have to be the ones to solve the world’s problems? It is a sea change and I am very encouraged. We have had a great victory for the cause of peace and liberty and let’s hope we can further build on it.” – Ron Paul, “Has The Tide Turned Against The Warmongers?” Texas Straight Talk column, September 16, 2013.

MINIMUM WAGE MADNESS: “One of the simplest and most fundamental economic principles is that people tend to buy more when the price is lower and less when the price is higher. Yet advocates of minimum wage laws seem to think that the government can raise the price of labor without reducing the amount of labor that will be hired. … Countries with minimum wage laws almost invariably have higher rates of unemployment than countries without minimum wage laws.” — economist and syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell, “Minimum Wage Madness,” Sept. 17,2013.

LEAVE POT USERS ALONE, GO AFTER REAL CRIMINALS: “There is no greater waste of valuable taxpayer dollars than branding hundreds of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens as criminals simply for choosing to use a substance less harmful than alcohol. Given the fact that most Americans support taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol, I suggest our police and prosecutors find a better use of their time.” — former prosecuting attorney Dan Riffle, now director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, Sept. 16, 2013.

THE REAL WORRY: “How many are worried about a government shutdown? How many are more worried about it starting back up? ” — Jay Leno, Oct. 1, 2013.

LENO RIPS OBAMACARE: “USA Today had a front-page feature on the new healthcare law. It said that the opposition to Obamacare is at an all-time high. It has gotten so bad that the president is now calling it ‘Bidencare.’” — Jay Leno ,Sept. 16, 2013.

LENO ON GOV’T EFFICIENCY: “According to a new report, over the last three years Social Security overpaid by $1.29 billion — thus establishing itself as the federal government’s most efficient program.” — Jay Leno, Sept. 16, 2013.

RAISING THE DEBT LIMIT: “President Obama is now making his case for raising the debt limit. He said raising the debt limit does not increase debt. You know, like raising the speed limit does not increase speed.” — Jay Leno, Sept. 26, 2013.

Gallup Polls: Trust in Federal Government Hits All-Time Low

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 19 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

“Americans’ trust and confidence in the federal government’s ability to solve problems internationally as well as domestically has fallen to historic lows this year.”

So reports Gallup, summarizing the results of an early September poll. Gallup has been tracking this question since 1973.

Their latest poll finds that just 49 percent of Americans have a “great deal” or “fair” amount of confidence in the federal government to handle international problems. And only 42 percent of Americans have a “great deal” or “fair” amount of confidence in the federal  government to handle issues at home.

Similarly, another September Gallup poll finds a majority — and another record number — of Americans believe the government is too powerful.

Reports Gallup: “Six in 10 Americans (60%) believe the federal government has too much power, one percentage point above the previous high recorded in September 2010. At least half of Americans since 2005 have said the government has too much power.”

All this is very good news, argues Tad DeHaven of the libertarian Cato Institute:

“Skepticism of government is as American as apple pie. The experiment that is the United States was borne out of a colonial revolution against an overbearing master. As the decades have passed, however, the federal government has steadily acquired powers that are vastly beyond what was intended by our founding Constitution. And like a frog in a pot of water that is slowly brought a boil, Americans have become acclimated to a world in which the federal government intrudes into every nook and cranny of our lives. …

“Perhaps Americans are finally realizing that rather than making us safer, constant foreign interventionism has largely succeeded in turning the American people into targets.

“And perhaps there is growing recognition that politicians cannot simply ‘create jobs’ out of thin air — the tax revenue that the federal government showers on politically favored individuals and industries necessarily comes at the expense of other entrepreneurs and other ‘job creators.’ …

“Let’s hope the circus-like atmosphere in Washington over passing a budget, raising the debt ceiling and Syria will cause even more Americans to question why so much power and money has been placed in the hands of imperfect (to put it politely) men and women.”

FBI: Marijuana Arrests at Near-Record Levels; Rate of Unsolved Violent Crimes Rises

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 19 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Polls show a majority of Americans favor re-legalization of marijuana. Two states have re-legalized marijuana, 16 states have decriminalized it (i.e., no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal use), and 20 states have re-legalized marijuana for medical use.

Despite all this, a new FBI report finds that marijuana arrests continued at near-record levels in 2012.

And the vast majority of these arrests were for simple possession.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, an estimated 749,824 arrests were made nationwide for marijuana in 2012. More than 87% of marijuana arrests were for mere possession.

Further, marijuana arrests accounted for nearly half (42.4 percent) of all drug arrests last year. Thus the War on Drugs is largely a war on small-time marijuana users.

Nationwide, police make an average of one marijuana arrest every 48 seconds.

Meanwhile, 59.9% of rapes, 53.2% of all violent crimes, and 81% of property crimes reported in 2012 were unsolved or did not result in arrest. Is there a connection?

“Every time a police officer makes an arrest for drugs, that’s several hours out of his or her day not spent going after real criminals. As the country has been investing more and more of its resources into prosecuting drug ‘crime,’ the rate of unsolved violent crime has been steadily increasing. Where are our priorities here?” asked retired lieutenant commander Diane Goldstein of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of police, prosecutors, judges and other law enforcement officials opposed to the War on Drugs.

Dan Riffle, a former prosecuting attorney now director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, agreed.

“Instead of punishing and stigmatizing responsible adult marijuana users, we should be focusing on serious crime. As a former prosecuting attorney myself, I believe it is irresponsible to squander our limited law enforcement resources on this disastrous public policy failure. That is especially true when so many violent crimes remain unsolved. Every second spent arresting and prosecuting adults for marijuana is time that could have been spent preventing and solving real crimes.”

If not you, who? If not now, when?

in Communicating Liberty, Liberator Online Archives by Mary Ruwart Comments are off

(From the Ask Dr. Ruwart section in Volume 18, No. 19 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

QUESTION: Sometimes when I criticize government, I am told that if I don’t like it here, I should go somewhere else. Essentially, the old “love it or leave it” line. What’s a good response?

MY SHORT ANSWER: One response I use goes like this:

“I love my country and its heritage of liberty. When I see it going astray, I want to help it get back on track.

“Our government once endorsed slavery. Where would we be today if the abolitionists had left, instead of helping our nation extend its heritage of liberty to black slaves?

“When our government makes a mistake, it’s up to us to correct it. If not us, who?”

Rand Paul: Repeal Mandatory Minimum Sentencing, Defend Black Voting Rights

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 19 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

“If I told you that one out of three African-American males is prohibited by law from voting, you might think I was talking about Jim Crow 50 years ago.

“One out of three African-American males are forbidden from voting because of the War on Drugs. The War on Drugs has disproportionately affected young black males. The ACLU reports that blacks are four to five times more likely to be convicted for drug possession, although surveys indicate that blacks and whites use drugs at similar rates.

“The majority of illegal drug users and dealers nationwide are white, yet three-fourths of all people in prison for drug offenses have been African American or Latino.

“Why are the arrest rates so lopsided? Because it is easier to go into urban areas and make arrests than suburban areas. Because we literally subsidize the arrest and incarceration of people. Federal grant money is based on convictions.

“It doesn’t take much imagination to understand that it’s easier to round up, arrest and convict poor kids than it is to convict rich kids. If law enforcement is expected, or pressured, to meet some quota due to the federal dollars their department might receive, they are more likely to go looking in urban areas than the suburbs. …

“Since mandatory sentencing began, America’s prison population has exploded, quadrupled. America now jails a higher percentage of citizens than any other country in the world, at the staggering cost of $80 billion a year. …

“Conclusion: Mandatory minimum sentencing has done little to address the very real problem of drug abuse while also doing great damage by destroying so many lives. I’m here today to ask you to let judges start doing their jobs. I’m here to ask that we repeal mandatory minimum sentencing.”

– Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee September 18, 2013 on “Reevaluating the Effectiveness of Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentences.”

Success Stories – How We Can Find Thousands of New Libertarians and Bring Them into the Libertarian Movement

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

(From the President’s Corner section in Volume 18, No. 19 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Dear friends,

Campus libertarians are having great success using free OPH kits provided by the Advocates to reach the libertarian leaders and activists of tomorrow!

So far we’ve given over 900 OPH kits free to campus libertarian groups who’ve requested them. It’s one of the biggest outreach efforts in our history.

And libertarian students are putting those OPH kits to work!

Before I share a couple of recent OPH success stories with you, let me offer some numbers for you to consider:

  • Imagine if just 200 OPH kits were used just three times this coming year by students and other libertarian groups.
  • That would be 600 OPHs in total.
  • Now imagine each OPH discovered and activated just 20 new libertarians. (That’s a very reasonable expectation, based on years of experience.)

 

The results: 12,000 new libertarians discovered and brought into the liberty movement!

Imagine what a difference that could make to liberty in America.

And that’s a low estimate. OPHs are so easy to do, any group can do them several times a year.

There’s no reason libertarians couldn’t put on 1,000 OPHs per year. Or many more than that.

Opportunities abound: music festivals, political events, demonstrations, gun shows, fairs, festivals, on campus… anywhere people are gathered, you will find success with your OPH.

That’s been proven, over and over again, since the Advocates first created and introduced OPH in 1987.

Actually, as an OPH kit user don’t think of yourself as just working to grow and expand your own local organization’s membership — vital as that is.

You should also think of yourself as part of a national OPH movement. With enough OPHs, on and off campus, we can reach millions of Americans with the ideas of liberty — and bring tens of thousands of them — every year — into the liberty movement.

OPH is revolutionizing America. Those who are using OPH now are building the liberty mass movement of tomorrow.

Americans are hungry for the ideas of liberty. They’ve never been so eager to hear the message your OPH booth can bring them. There’s never been a better opportunity — and there is no better tool than OPH.

Now, some exciting new OPH success stories!

1. University of Missouri Young Americans for Liberty: Over 50 New Recruits

In early September the University of Missouri chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) used OPH to educate and recruit at the Student Activity Mart.

Member James Chappelow says OPH “rocked the Student Activity Mart.”

“We recruited more than 50 new interested students and provided a public service to Mizzou students of all political stripes by helping them get in touch with their own ideas and beliefs using the World’s Smallest Political Quiz,” Chappelow reports.

Fifty new students signed up! And many other students were educated about liberty and the political spectrum. Congratulations!

2. Bowling Green Young Americans for Liberty: 100 Students Signed Up

Reports Sam Link of Young Americans for Liberty at Bowling Green State University in Ohio:

“We used the OPH kit to help spread the word and recruit during BGSU’s Campus Fest.

“We were definitely the most active political table at Campus Fest. The Quiz was a huge [help] in bringing students to the table and we were able to sign up around 100 people that day!

“Thanks for the OPH kit!”

Thank you and the Bowling Green YAL for using OPH, Sam!

These students are showing what’s possible with OPH. It’s easy, fun, and turns a boring ho-hum literature table into a crowd-pleasing, crowd-drawing event.

OPH offers the libertarian movement the opportunity to easily reach the public with our ideas and recruit tens of thousands to our side.

Take advantage of this amazing, proven tool!

Learn more about OPH (Operation Politically Homeless) — the libertarian movement’s most successful outreach tool.

* Campus libertarian groups: Learn more about our free OPH kit offer.

Yours for Liberty,
Sharon

Give Them Something!

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

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

Maybe you’ve just met someone at a party. You’ve had a great discussion about libertarianism. Now it’s time to leave. You may never see this person again.

Or you’ve just delivered a speech on libertarianism to a service club or high school class. You’re thanking the teacher for inviting you and thanking the class for their questions. In a moment you’ll be gone.

Or you mention to your cab driver as you return to the airport that you’ve been to a libertarian conference, and he says “Libertarians — yeah, I’ve been hearing more and more about them.” And now, after a good conversation, you’re stepping out of the cab.

Don’t overlook the crucial last step in your conversation. Don’t let their current interest and enthusiasm and curiosity dwindle away. Act right now — while they are eager to learn more.

Give them something.

Give them some way for them to easily continue their investigations into libertarian ideas and the libertarian movement. Give them information. Give them a web address or email address or other contacts.

Here are some suggestions.

World’s Smallest Political Quiz cards: The Quiz card is designed for this. It’s an outreach kit on a card. The Quiz itself is fun, irresistible, and eye-opening. The back has links to solid, persuasive information about libertarianism.

Quiz cards are attractive and easy to carry in a wallet, purse, pocket, glove compartment, etc. I always have them with me.

Give them more than one. “Here’s one for you — and a few to share.” You can hand-write your contact information, or the name of a libertarian organization or website you’re familiar with, on the card when you give it to them.

Other cards: Don’t have a Quiz card handy? (Shame on you! :) Give them a business card, or any other piece of paper handy, with a good libertarian website or other information. Don’t just write down the web address or email address. Write something like: “More info on libertarianism” so when they see the paper again, they’ll know what it is. If appropriate, give your own contact info as well.

Books: If you want to give a book, there are several great introductory books.Libertarianism In One Lesson is renowned as the best short introduction to libertarianism available. Mary Ruwart’s Healing Our World is especially appealing to concerned, compassionate, spiritually-inclined idealists who want to make the world a better place. David Boaz’s Libertarianism: A Primer is one of the best all-around introductions to libertarianism.

Other: Does your local libertarian organization have a card, a hand-out, an introductory pamphlet? If so, keep some handy. If the person is local to you, and you want to talk further with them, give them your email address or phone number.

As the Boy Scouts famously advise: Be prepared!

Help make that unexpected conversation, that successful presentation, that great talk with your niece, the beginning of a longer journey into libertarianism.

Make it easy for them to take the next step.

Give them something.

Do libertarians favor gun control?

in Liberator Online Archives by Mary Ruwart Comments are off

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

QUESTION: I am unclear on the libertarian stand on gun control and crime. Should there be gun control in a libertarian society? And if so, how much?

MY SHORT ANSWER: Firearms, like fists, can be used for offense or defense. Libertarians would not advocate cutting off a person’s access to firearms any more than they would advocate cutting off a person’s hands to prevent a brawl.

Most people who advocate gun control do so because they believe it lowers the crime rate. In fact, just the opposite is true. Violent crime (rape, robbery, and homicide) decrease dramatically when states pass laws that permit peaceful citizens to carry concealed weapons.

One famous example: in 1966 and 1967 Orlando, Florida police responded to a rape epidemic with a highly-publicized program to train 2,500 women in the use of firearms. Orlando became the only city with a population over 100,000 which showed a decrease in crime. Rape, aggravated assault, and burglary were reduced by 90%, 25%, and 24% respectively — without a single woman ever firing a shot in self-defense.

Criminals are looking for an easy mark and avoid those who might be armed. Anyone who doubts this might wish to put a sign on their front lawn saying “This house is a gun-free zone” to experience the consequences firsthand.

Gun control is actually “victim disarmament.” It exposes the weakest among us — women, children, and the elderly — to greater risk of attack. It denies us the ability to defend ourselves against those who would harm us.

Since the courts have ruled that the police have no obligation to protect an individual citizen from attack, we have no legal recourse if they fail to do so.

Acting in self-defense, armed citizens kill more criminals each year than police do, yet shoot only one-tenth as many innocent people by mistake. Clearly, armed citizens act as responsibly (if not more so) than trained law enforcers.

Libertarians believe that everyone has the right to self-defense. America’s founders did too. Libertarians strongly support the Second Amendment. Libertarians do not support the victim-disarmament laws collectively known as “gun control.”

For more details, including references for the examples cited above, see Chapter 16 of my book, Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression, available from the Advocates (2003 edition). The 1993 edition can be read online for free at mywebsite.

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

FREE E-BOOK: Gun Facts by Guy Smith. This free ebook, updated in 2013, presents in easy-to-read digest form the most common gun control fallacies and the facts that prove them false. 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, accidents, etc.). A great quick and easy reference. Over 110 pages with more than 530 detailed references.  Downloaded millions of times by readers in over 155 countries.

GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA FACT SHEETS: GOA’s fact sheets are well-documented, condensed, and refute common gun control arguments. Start with their all-around Gun Control Fact Sheet. They also offer Fact Sheets on more specific topics.

Video: Libertarians Take on Federal Asset Forfeiture in Outrageous Case

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 19 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Warning: If you have high blood pressure, maybe you shouldn’t watch this short (1:45) video about the latest case of the libertarian Institute for Justice.For more than 30 years, Terry Dehko has successfully run a grocery store in the Detroit suburb of Fraser, Michigan, with his daughter Sandy.

But in January 2013, without warning, the federal government used civil forfeiture to seize all of the money from the Dehkos’ store bank account — more than $35,000 — even though they’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.

Welcome to the kafkaesque world of civil forfeiture law — aka “robbery with a badge” — where the government can seize private property from Americans without ever charging, let alone convicting, them of a crime. Americans are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but civil forfeiture turns that principle on its head.The government is able to pocket the money and property it grabs without charges, evidence or due process — and leaving the owners no prompt and reasonable way to get a court to review the seizure.

But… libertarians to the rescue! Terry and Sandy have teamed up with the Institute for Justice (IJ) to fight back in federal court. We hope a victory will help restore the right of every American to be free from these abusive police-state forfeiture laws.

IJ has videos about other civil forfeiture outrages they are litigating here.

To learn more about the civil forfeiture law outrage, read IJ’s acclaimed report “Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture.”

What is up with 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:

  • October 19: Speech at University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, sponsored by Students for Liberty.
  • October 26: Speech in Houston, sponsored by the Libertarian Party of Texas.
  • October 27: Communication workshop in Houston, sponsored by the Republican Liberty Caucus, Young Americans for Liberty, Students for Liberty, and others. Location TBA.
  • 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

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.

4 Big Factors That Make More People More Receptive to Libertarianism

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

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

What really changes people’s minds about libertarianism?

Sometimes it’s what you say.

Sometimes it’s how you say it.

Sometimes it’s who you say it to.

Very often, it’s what’s going on with Big Government… while you’re having the libertarian conversation.

And it’s 4 big factors. You can express it as a formula: P2C2. That’s Big Government Problems, Pain, Costs and Consequences.

Big Problems caused or sustained by Big Government. Massive unemployment. Huge amounts of time wasted complying with government paperwork, rules, and resolutions. Huge Social Security problems. Big Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare problems. And don’t forget the problems created by the problems.

Intense Pain caused or sustained by Big Government. Overwhelming pain. Caused by Big Government problems — or trying to cope with with the problems.

The pain of paying 47% of your income in taxes. The pain caused by trying to understand and correctly fill out government paperwork, trying to understand and comply with government regulations. Throbbing pain as you fill out forms for your small business, enroll your children in public schools, and as you fill out government paperwork… while waiting to see a doctor.

Ballooning Costs of Big Government programs — or complying with them. Big Government puts the POUND into the comPOUNDing costs of everything it touches.

Welfare, warfare, regulation, mandates, and more. Ever-growing costs that squeeze every last dollar out of your family income and savings.

Cascading Consequences of Big Government policies and programs. Marijuana prohibition promotes gangs and gang violence that fosters more drug enforcement cops and costs, more arrests and prosecutions, and massive numbers of long-term prisoners serving time in jails and prisons for selling, possessing, or buying marijuana or other drugs.

U.S. government foreign wars, gunboat diplomacy, occupation forces, military aid to foreign despots create new enemies, are often paid for by overspending, inflation, and debt.

Consequences – all of which hurt taxpayers, weaken the economy, and flush American wealth into bottomless sewers.

Want to make people far more receptive and responsive to your libertarian suggestions and solutions?

Want to amplify the impact of your persuasive libertarian proposals?

P2C2. Big Government Problems, Pain, Costs and Consequences.

First, show and tell them how huge, intense, extensive and expensive the Big Government policies and programs are.

Second, tell them: “This is America. Birthplace of freedom. We can do way better than this.”

Third, offer them libertarian solutions. Freedom remedies that reduce and remove the root cause of the huge problems, pain, costs, and consequences: Big Government programs.

Fourth, tell them the huge, immediate, direct benefits of reducing and removing these wasteful and harmful Big Government programs: dramatically less burden on them and their families, radically lower taxes and higher take-home pay for them, their co-workers and their neighbors — and ever-growing economic, social, and personal liberty for all of us.

Fifth, let them know that that’s just a taste of libertarianism — and ask them if they’d like to find out more.

Sixth, if they say “yes” to learning more about liberty, see that they get immediately some great introductory material. Books such as Libertarianism In One Lesson by David Bergland or Healing Our World by Mary Ruwart. Free online information about libertarianism and the liberty movement — the Advocates has lots of good introductory material at our website, under the tab “Libertarianism: What You Need to Know.” A free subscription to the Liberator Online.

You’ll be glad you did.

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