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Gallup Poll: Nearly 3 in 4 Americans Say “Big Government Is Our Greatest Threat”

in Liberator Online Archives by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 19, No. 1 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

For nearly 50 years Gallup has polled the American public on this question: “In your opinion, which of the following will be the biggest threat to the country in the future — big business, big labor, or big government?”

In mid-December Gallup announced this year’s result: Fully 72 percent of Americans now say big government is a greater threat to the U.S. than either big business or big labor.

That’s an all-time record — and by a sizeable margin.

A majority of Americans have always chosen “big government” when asked this question. But the 72% choice of big government as the biggest threat is the largest ever, far surpassing the prior record of 65% in 1999 and 2000.

(For comparison, when the poll was first taken in 1965, only 35% of Americans thought big government was the greatest threat.)

This year just 21% named big business as the greatest threat, and only 5%, a record low, said big labor.

Further, the response is consistent across party lines. Gallup notes: “Each party group currently rates big government as the greatest threat to the country, including a record-high 92% of Republicans and 71% of independents, as well as 56% of Democrats.”

Concludes Gallup: “This suggests that government policies specific to the period, such as the Affordable Care Act — perhaps coupled with recent revelations of government spying tactics by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden — may be factors.

“Americans have consistently viewed big government as a greater threat to the United States than either big business or big labor, but never more than they do now. That may be partly a reaction to an administration that favors the use of government to solve problems. Also, the revelation of widespread government monitoring of U.S. Internet activity may be a factor in raising Americans’ concern about the government. …

“In the future, Americans likely will continue to view big government as the greatest threat of the three, partly because of Republicans’ reluctance to rely on government to solve problems, and because Democrats and independents are also inclined to view big government as a greater threat than big business or big labor.”

Rand Paul and Sen. Cory Booker: We’re Taking On the Drug War in 2014

in Liberator Online Archives by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 19, No. 1 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Talk about New Year’s resolutions.

Liberal Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Liberty) have publicly vowed, via Twitter, to work together to take on the failed War on Drugs in 2014.

The idea of a partnership between the two on this crucial issue began — publicly at least — in late December, when Booker and Paul exchanged a series of tweets. After some joking back and forth about Festivus, the parody holiday popularized by the sitcom “Seinfeld,” Paul responded more seriously: “how about mandatory minimum sentencing reform instead?” Booker tweeted back the suggestion they “throw in reforming Fed Hemp & Marijuana laws.”

To which Paul replied: “I’m the Senate author of Hemp bill!” (Paul here refers to his Industrial Hemp Farming Act bill, which would re-legalize hemp for industrial uses.)Booker responded: “I know… Here is to a 2014 where we take on the failed war on drugs.”The possibility of liberty-oriented single-issue coalitions with the left and right on specific issues has long intrigued libertarians. In a year when drug reform is in the air,  Paul and Booker sound ready to lead the way.

How the Government Stole Christmas

in Liberator Online Archives by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 24 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Forget the Grinch — it’s the government that’s stealing Christmas.

So reports Americans for Tax Reform, a non-profit group that works for lower taxes and smaller government. (The following article is based on their 2011 report.)

The holidays are supposed to be a season for giving and spending time with loved ones. However, Uncle Sam has forced taxpayers to add him and his greedy local and state relatives to their gift list. Of an identified $10.72 billion of holiday spending, an incredible 43.36 percent is due to government taxes, fees, and other costs.

If you are one of the 93 percent of holiday revelers traveling this season, you will pay $69.65 in gas taxes for the average $152.47 round-trip excursion — 45.68 percent of the cost of the trip. Taking a rental is another convenient option, but 38.77 percent of your car’s rental cost is due to taxation, particularly from state and local governments.

Choose to fly to visit friends and family and 42.47 percent of your trip is made up of government costs. If you retreat from your in-laws to a hotel, remember that 39.39 percent of the cost of your stay is funneled back to the government. In Christmas 2011, the government stuffed its stocking with $3.79 billion in traveling taxes.

Holiday revelers enjoy an estimated $992 million in alcoholic beverages to celebrate the season. Savor your next mug of eggnog, because 56.31 percent of the price is taxes. Government guzzles 44.33 percent of your seasonal beer and drives up the price of your glass of wine at Christmas dinner by 32.77 percent. Sipping a soft drink won’t let you escape frosty government fees — 27.98 percent, or $61 million in taxes, is attached to the cost of soda.

When Santa comes down the chimney this year, he’ll have to save room in his sack for Uncle Sam’s gifts. Government gets $21 billion of a cumulative $69.1 billion spent on presents, consuming nearly a third of Christmas gift-giving.

All told, the government collects around $26 billion in new revenues over the holiday season.

That’s naughty — and definitely not nice!

(Please note: This excellent and entertaining report was prepared in 2011 by ATR. We deleted a section referring to a proposed Obama Christmas tree tax, which is to our knowledge no longer relevant. When sharing this information with friends and family, just add “A couple of years ago, Americans for Tax Reform found…” in case some of these figures have since changed. To see if ATR has updated this report since we published this issue, visit their website.)

Videos: Christmas Edition

in Liberator Online Archives by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 24 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

“I Saw Daddy Pat Down Santa Claus” (A Very TSA Christmas Song) 

Hilarious! See what happens when the holiday season’s most frequent flier meets… the TSA!

“I Saw Daddy Pat Down Santa Claus” is written and performed by the renowned comedian Remy, produced by Meredith Bragg, and made available by our friends at Reason TV.

A little over one minute long.

VIDEO: New Twist on a Christmas Classic: “The NSA is Coming to Town”

Yeah, they’re making a list and checking it… well, we don’t know how many times. But ONCE is too many!

This hilarious (and creepy) song and video from the ACLU is a must-see and a great online share.

Sample lyrics:

You better watch out,
You better not Skype,
You better log out,
Yeah you better not type,
The NSA is coming to town.

You’re making a list,
They’re checking it twice;
They’re watching almost every electronic device,
The NSA is coming to town…

…..and more. The accompanying video shows NSA agents in Santa suits, tracking, harassing, recording, and surveilling ordinary innocent citizens — which is what they do every day, of course. Except for the Santa suits (to the best of our knowledge).

The video ends with an appeal to reel in the security state. Now THAT’S a present we’d like to see under our tree!

They Said It…

in Liberator Online Archives by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From Volume 18, No. 24 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

CHRISTMAS AND DEFICITS:  “Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want and their kids pay for it.” — Richard Lamm, former Governor of Colorado.

IS SANTA CLAUS A DEMOCRAT, REPUBLICAN, OR… “If Santa Claus were a Democrat, his elves wouldn’t make toys. They’d loot them from rich kids and toy stores. If Santa were a Republican, he’d deport all the elves back to Middle Earth. So Santa must be a Libertarian.” — online comment by “gatman7,” responding to an article at TheBlaze.com discussing whether Santa is a Democrat or Republican, December 11, 2012.

THE GOV’T SANTA STEALS TOYS: “Too many adults treat government the way kids treat Santa. But government is not magic. … Many adults want government to cover everything under Santa’s flying sleigh. Their wish lists say, ‘subsidize my retirement, my big house, a year’s worth of unemployment, my medicine, my college loans, my electric car, my auto company, my union, my bank, my bad decisions in general, and my ethanol and solar companies.’  But unlike Santa’s bottomless bag of toys, every subsidy government gives to someone must first be taken from someone else. For every happy kid there is another whose toy was ripped from his hands.” — Joseph G. Lehman, “Government as Santa,” op-ed, The Mackinac Center,  Dec. 25, 2012.

A TSA CHRISTMAS: “It’s so cold that the security guys at the airports are putting their hands in their own pants.” — David Letterman, Dec. 7, 2010.

Make Your Christmas Joyous — and Libertarian

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

(From the Persuasion Power Point section in Volume 18, No. 24 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Would it take a miracle to win your family or friends to libertarianism?

liberty christmas ornament

Liberty Christmas Ornament

Christmas is the season of miracles. And you just might cause one by giving your loved one stimulating and fun libertarian gifts this Christmas.

Does your family member or friend like movies? Why not buy him a DVD of an entertaining movie with a libertarian theme: “The Americanization of Emily” or “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (the 1950s original) or — if you’re a practicing capitalist — “Atlas Shrugged, The Movie” Parts 1 and 2, and “Other People’s Money.”

Unsure of which movie to select? Buy yourself “Miss Liberty’s Guide to Film and Video” from the Advocates this year. It contains over 250 reviews of films that deal with subjects such as free speech, the draft, drug laws, taxation, regulation, sexual liberty, immigration, and many more.

Does your sister or brother like fiction? Buy them Give Me Liberty edited by Martin Greenberg and Mark Tier. This collection of libertarian short stories might jump-start a lifetime love affair with liberty. Have them read And Then There Were None by Eric Frank Russell first. You haven’t read it? Get yourself a copy, too.

Or try these libertarian classics:

  • The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein.
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
  • The Last War (Ferret Chronicles) by Richard Bach.

Do they prefer non-fiction books?

  • How I Found Freedom In an Unfree World by Harry Browne can shatter their prejudices and open their minds. It’s available as an ebook at HarryBrowne.org
  • Why Government Doesn’t Work and The Great Libertarian Offer by Harry Browne are simple and direct, engaging and readable books. They make great presents — and you CAN give YOURSELF a Christmas present, too. Also available at the Harry Browne link above.
  • Libertarianism in One Lesson by David Bergland. A short and elegant read, hailed by many critics as “the best short guide to libertarianism available.”
  • Healing Our World by Dr. Mary Ruwart. Do you have progressives or New Agers in your life? This book really connects with them.
  • Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion by Michael Cloud. This is the gift that keeps giving the gift of liberty. It will multiply the effectiveness of every libertarian conversation. This is the perfect gift for the libertarians in your life. Including you. Available from the Advocates.
  • One suggested CD set: “Personal Responsibility is the Price of Liberty,” a 2-CD set that makes a powerful case for the libertarian concept of individual responsibility. Many people who are NOT receptive and responsive to our message of individual liberty open their hearts and minds to personal responsibility.

These are a few popular libertarian Christmas gifts. The Advocates has many more at their Liberty Store, and until the end of the year, they’re available at a huge 30% discount!

These are Christmas gifts that may well make a difference in your brother’s or sister’s or friend’s life. Christmas gifts they will cherish for years to come. Make this season one of glad tidings and hope for your loved ones. Make their Christmas joyous — and libertarian!

Comparisons: Questions that Make People Think

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

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

Government is often inconsistent and unfair. 

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

Here are some examples:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What happens to farmers if we end government farm subsidies?

in Communicating Liberty by Mary Ruwart Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t Quench Their Thirst with a Fire Hose

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

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

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

a) Enough to stimulate their desire for more?

b) Enough to satisfy their interest?

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

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

We quench their thirst… with a fire hose.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Less than enough” stimulates their thirst for more.

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

They Said It…

in Liberator Online Archives by James W. Harris Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FREE Libertarian E-Book: Why Liberty

in Liberator Online Archives by James W. Harris Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the table of contents: 

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

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

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

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

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

in Liberator Online Archives by James W. Harris Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in Liberator Online Archives by James W. Harris Comments are off

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

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

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

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

PEN concludes:

1. PEN writers now assume their communications are monitored.

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

Among the survey findings:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Happening with the Advocates

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

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

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

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

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

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

ONGOING

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

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

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

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

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

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

Survey: Americans Embracing Libertarian Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy

in Liberator Online Archives by James W. 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.

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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 W. 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.

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

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