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What are the rights of fathers on issues like abortion and child-rearing?

in Liberator Online Archives by Mary Ruwart Comments are off

(By Dr. Mary Ruwart from Ask Dr. Ruwart, from the Liberator Online Volume 18, No. 15. Subscribe here!)

QUESTION: Do libertarians believe a father has rights in regards to issues of abortion and child-raising? After all, he is partially responsible for the pregnancy. What if the man wants the baby but the woman doesn’t? What about mandatory child support?

MY SHORT ANSWER: Libertarians don’t always agree on the answers to these difficult and controversial questions. Some libertarians believe that the creation of a child obligates both parents to support the child until he or she is self-sufficient. Others believe that giving the gift of life doesn’t create an obligation to maintain it for either parent. Consequently, some libertarians believe in obligatory child support and others don’t.

A libertarian society would likely render abortion obsolete sooner than the society of today, because of rapid technological and economic growth. Technology should soon allow a fetus unwanted by a mother, but desired by the father, to be transferred to another womb, whether artificial or natural. This isn’t science fiction; by some reports (see “Learn More” below) we may have this option available in the near future.

Before this option becomes available, the woman is the one literally giving of her life’s blood to support the fetus. She will probably have the final say about whether it continues to reside within her. The father might be able to persuade an unwilling mother to carry the baby to term, rather than abort, by compensating her for doing so.

Although not a popular idea in today’s culture, potential baby-making activities are best undertaken with partners who can agree on how a surprise pregnancy will be handled. We wouldn’t take on a business partner without planning, via written agreement, for unexpected consequences. Should we undertake sexual congress with a partner without agreeing how unexpected consequences — a new, individual life — will be handled?

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

* “Will Science Trump Politics in Resolving Abortion Debate?“ by libertarian feminist Wendy McElroy. EXCERPT: “[T]he extent of the problem may well be diminished by science, by new reproductive technologies that sustain the viability of fetuses removed from women who do not wish to become mothers. Like heart transplants or intrauterine operations to correct birth defects, ectogenesis may be taken for granted some day.”

* “Artificial wombs: bold, controversial science coming soon,” by Dick Pelletier, PositiveFuturist.com. EXCERPT: “Cutting-edge research in the U.S. and Japan will soon launch a new era in human procreation: a world in which embryos can be ‘brought to term’ in artificial wombs, eliminating traditional pregnancies.”

* * * * * * * * * *

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 brand new book Short Answers to the Tough Questions, Expanded Edition is available from the Advocates, as is her acclaimed classic Healing Our World.

The Libertarian Progress That Might Have Been

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

(By Michael Cloud, From Persuasion Point #353, from the Liberator Online Volume 18, No. 15. Subscribe here!)

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”

– John Greenleaf Whittier

Near the end of your life, you may have a chance to look back – and see what might have been. For your personal life. And for your libertarian life.

You will probably regret a number of things you did — or failed to do. And wish you’d have made a different choice — a better one.

Looking back, what regrets might you have about your current libertarian choices and actions?

Will you regret participating in the libertarian movement — or wish you had been more involved?

Will you regret spending an afternoon working at an Operation Politically Homeless booth — or sadly wish you had spent a day or two or three sharing the World’s Smallest Political Quiz?

Will you regret reading Libertarianism in One Lesson, Healing Our World and a half dozen other libertarian classics — or will you wish you’d shared these books with curious high school or college students?

Will you rue the day you donated $20 or $50 or $80 to the Advocates to help reach out to college students with our libertarian ideas and insights — or will you sadly wish you have given more… so the Advocates could do more?

Will you feel bitterness and anger over the time and money you spent attending an Advocates communication seminar — or will you wish you could relive the experience?

You don’t have to wait until it’s too late. You don’t have to wait until regret and sad might-have-beens fill your heart.

Simply take five minutes alone — and imagine that you’re ninety and near the end of your life. Look at this day, this year through those eyes. Look at your libertarian choices and actions.

Then make the libertarian choice you will NOT regret. The libertarian choice that will delight and please you today. The one that you’ll look back on with a smile — or tears of joy.

As you take these actions, you’ll be growing the libertarian movement — and advancing the cause of freedom.

And if enough of us do this today, tomorrow, this year and next… you may reach the last days of your life in a libertarian America. And you will be glad.

* * * * * * * *
Michael Cloud’s brand-new book Unlocking More Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion is available exclusively from the Advocates, along with his acclaimed earlier book Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion.

In 2000, Michael was honored with the Thomas Paine Award as the Most Persuasive Libertarian Communicator in America.

Congress Denied Basic Information on Spy Programs They Supposedly Oversee

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From Intellectual Ammunition by James Harris, from the Liberator Online Volume 18, No. 15. Subscribe here!)

As new and ever more shocking revelations about the government’s massive surveillance programs continue to surface, President Obama and other defenders of the programs insist that Congress is aware of these programs, continually kept informed about them, and supervises them.

As President Obama said in June: “These programs are subject to congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate.”

But that’s just not true — according to some members of Congress themselves.

A new column by award-winning civil liberties journalist Glenn Greenwald quotes several congressmen who say they are not only not informed about these programs, the government repeatedly refuses to give them basic information they request.

“The revelations about the magnitude, the scope and scale of these surveillances, the metadata and the invasive actions [and the] surveillance of social media Web sites were indeed revelations to me.” — Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

“I took an oath to uphold the United States Constitution, and I intend to do so. … I can’t do my job when I can’t get even the most basic information about these programs … How can I responsibly vote on a program I know very little about? … How can I talk about NSA actions I can’t learn anything about except from press accounts?” — Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA).

“I, as a member of Congress, can’t get access to the court opinions. I have to beg for access, and I’m denied it if I make that request.” — Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI).

Greenwald’s column expands on this with examples, documents, and links to similar statements by other members of Congress.

Greenwald summarizes: “Denial of access for members of Congress to basic information about the NSA and the FISC appears to be common. … Whatever else is true, members of Congress in general clearly know next to nothing about the NSA and the FISA court beyond what they read in the media, and those who try to rectify that are being actively blocked from finding out.”

Facebook Shows the Morality of Capitalism

in The Feed by Chris Spangle Comments are off

Facebook is reaching a saturation point. They need a new market of users to continue growth. Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, announced that they will invest in new infrastructure in emerging markets to bring internet to 5 Million people around the world. (http://cnnmon.ie/1dsZkKj) This newfound tool for information sharing will build new ways to make money, and hopefully topple tyranny. It can bring peace, abundance and harmony in places that desperately need it.

Yes, Facebook will profit by building infrastructure and providing this internet service. But the service will also profit the user. Can we say that the same benefits are always derived from government-funded infrastructure?

VIDEO: U.S. Taxpayers Pay Billions — to Subsidize the Military of Wealthy Foreign Nations

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From Intellectual Ammunition by James Harris, from the Liberator Online Volume 18, No. 15. Subscribe here!)

It’s just one minute long, but this Cato Institute video offers powerful intellectual ammunition for those wanting to lower taxes and reduce U.S. involvement abroad.

Beleaguered American taxpayers are being forced to pay to subsidize the militaries of wealthy allied nations that can (and should) defend themselves — while these nations in turn spend the money they save on economic growth and propping up their massive welfare states.

See the staggering amounts the U.S. spends on military matters in comparison to the rest of the world.

As Cato elsewhere says:

“The average American spends $2,300 on the military, based on the latest data available. That is roughly four and a half times more than what the average person in other NATO countries spends. These countries boast a collective GDP of approximately $19 trillion, 25 percent higher than the U.S. They obviously can afford to spend more. So why don’t they? Because Uncle Sucker picks up nearly the entire tab.

“Looked at another way, U.S. alliances constitute a massive wealth transfer from U.S. taxpayers (and their Chinese creditors) to bloated European welfare states and technologically-advanced Asian nations.”

Should struggling American taxpayers be forced to pay for the defense of wealthy developed foreign nations? Should foreign welfare programs be subsidized by your tax dollars?

Share this short informative video with your friends, family and colleagues, and see what they think.

Best Libertarian Science Fiction of the Year Announced

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From Intellectual Ammunition by James Harris, from the Liberator Online Volume 18, No. 15. Subscribe here!)

Want some great reading? The Libertarian Futurist Society has some recommendations for you.

Each year the Libertarian Futurist Society gives its coveted Prometheus Awards for the best current and classic science fiction and speculative fiction that explores libertarian themes.

This year Cory Doctorow won the award for Best Novel for Pirate Cinema (TOR Books). In Pirate Cinema, a young-adults novel, Doctorow explores themes of artistic freedom, Internet freedom and peaceful social change while shedding light on issues of copyright and government surveillance.

This is Doctorow’s second Prometheus Award. He won the Best Novel award in 2009 for Little Brother, described by the Libertarian Futurist Society as “an optimistic young-adult novel about a young pirate filmmaker whose Internet activity threatens his family with government reprisals and who learns to fight back against outdated forms of control.” Sounds timely…

Cryptonomicon, a 1999 novel by Neal Stephenson, won the 2013 Prometheus Hall of Fame award for Best Classic Fiction. Set during World War II and during the early 21st century, Stephenson’s novel explores the implications for a free society in the development of computation and cryptography.

Best Novel finalists for the best pro-freedom novel of the past year are Arctic Rising, by Tobias Buckell (TOR Books); The Unincorporated Future, by Dani and Eytan Kollin (TOR Books); Darkship Renegades, by Sarah Hoyt (Baen Books); and Kill Decision, by Daniel Suarez (Dutton – Penguin).

Hall of Fame finalists recognized this year: Sam Hall, by Poul Anderson (a 1953 short story); Falling Free, by Lois McMaster Bujold (a 1988 novel); “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman, by Harlan Ellison (a 1965 short story); Courtship Rite, by Donald M. Kingsbury (a 1982 novel); and As Easy as A.B.C., by Rudyard Kipling (a 1912 short story).

The awards will be given in a ceremony at the 71st Annual World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio, Texas, which is being held August 29-September 3.

For further great libertarian fiction reading ideas, see the list of past Prometheus Award winners and nominees.

Cost of Government Day: You Worked More Than Half This Year for Gov’t

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From Intellectual Ammunition by James Harris, from the Liberator Online Volume 18, No. 15. Subscribe here!)

Did you notice? Sometime in mid-July, you stopped working for the government — and were finally allowed to start keeping the money you earn.

Each year the Cost of Government Center, in partnership with Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, calculates Cost of Government Day.

Cost of Government Day is the day on which the average American has earned enough income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government at the federal, state and local levels.

This year Cost of Government Day arrived — finally! — on Saturday, July 13.

In other words, this year American workers are forced to labor 194 days out of the year just to meet all the costs imposed upon them by government.

And that’s just the average. Taxpayers in many states will have to work well past July 13 to pay for costs imposed by their bloated state governments. Notoriously high-tax, big-spending states such as California, Illinois and New York have some of the latest-arriving Cost of Government Days in the nation.

Worst of all is Connecticut — where residents must labor for the state until… August 31.

And if you feel that the burden has gotten worse during the past few years, you’re right.  This year marks the fifth consecutive year that Cost of Government Day has fallen in July. Prior to the Obama Administration, the latest-arriving Cost of Government Day recorded was June 27.

Upcoming Advocates Libertarian Communication Workshops

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

I’ll be conducting libertarian communication workshops at these upcoming events:

  • September 21: Texas State University, sponsored by Students of Liberty
  • September 28: Cobb County (Georgia) Library, sponsored by Liberty on the Rocks and America’s Future Foundation
  • November 16: Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah), sponsored by Students for Liberty

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

I hope you’ll join me at one or more of these events! Email me if you want additional information on them sent to you as soon as it becomes available.

In liberty,

Sharon
sharon@theadvocates.org

They Said It…

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

(From They Said It.. by James Harris, from the Liberator Online Volume 18, No. 15. Subscribe here!)

YOUR CELL PHONE NOW WORKS FOR THE FBI: “The FBI is able to remotely activate microphones on phones running Android software. They can now record conversations in this way. They can do the same with microphones in laptops. They can get to you in a lot of ways! Does this make you nervous? If not, why not?” – Peggy Noonan, “Why Christie Is Wrong,” Wall Street Journal blogs, August 5, 2013.

WHAT FIRST AMENDMENT?: “Asked to name the five specific freedoms in the First Amendment, 59% of Americans could name freedom of speech, followed by 24% who could name freedom of religion, 14% freedom of the press, 11% the right to assemble, and 4% the right to petition. Thirty-six percent of Americans cannot name any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.” – The First Amendment Center reporting findings of its annual national survey of American attitudes about the First Amendment.

CHILLINOIS: “Today Illinois became the 20th state to legalize [medical] marijuana. The state also changed its name to Chillinois.” — Conan O’Brien, August 1, 2013.

THE “LIBERTARIAN MOMENT” IS HERE: “From issues such as same-sex marriage and legal marijuana to restrictions on government spying and U.S. intervention in foreign affairs, the nation is engaged in a new ‘libertarian moment,’ politicians and political scientists say.” — reporters Dave Helling and Steve Kraske, “Nation has arrived at a new ‘libertarian moment,’ experts say,” Kansas City Star, August 4, 2012.

GEORGE WILL DEFENDS LIBERTARIANISM AGAINST “DANGEROUS” GOV.CHRISTIE: “What libertarianism says — it comes in many flavors and many degrees of severity, and it basically says before the government abridges the freedom of an individual or the freedom of several individuals contracting together, that government ought to have (A) a compelling reason; and (B) a constitutional warrant for doing so. Now, if Mr. Christie thinks that’s a dangerous thought, a number of people are going to say that Mr. Christie himself may be dangerous.” — pundit George Will responding to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s recent attacks on libertarianism, on ABC’s “This Week,” August 4, 2013.

JAY LENO ON OBAMACARE LIES: “The Obama administration has admitted that, under Obamacare, you might not be able to keep your doctor. At first the president guaranteed you’d be able to keep your doctor, and now they’re saying you ‘might’ be able to. Today Obama changed his slogan from ‘Yes we can’ to ‘Perhaps we could try. Can’t promise anything.’” — Jay Leno, July 24, 2013.

JAY LENO GIVES THANKS: “Detroit has become the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy. What happened was Detroit’s population dropped something like 70 percent, but the government got bigger. The tax base got smaller, but the government got bigger. Thank God that kind of thing could never happen in Washington.” — Jay Leno, July 22, 2013.

Quick and Easy E-Ways to Help Others Discover Liberty

in Liberator Online Archives by Sharon Harris Comments are off

(President’s Corner by Sharon Harris from the Liberator Online Volume 18, No. 15. Subscribe here!)

judge_jim_gray_interview_37405be026f“What is your political philosophy? It is an interesting question that few people really give time to think about.”

That’s how Judge Jim Gray — retired Orange County Superior Court judge and 2012 Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate — began a recent column in the Daily Pilot, a newspaper published by the Los Angeles Times which serves Newport Beach and Costa Mesa in Orange County, California.

After an amusing and enlightening comparison of sports to politics, Gray got down to the essentials.

He described “the libertarian values of both financial responsibility and social acceptance” and then asked the reader: “Are those your values too?”

He concluded by offering readers a way to find their place on the political spectrum: take the World’s Smallest Political Quiz.

“I think you will find the results to be quite revealing,” he concluded.

Thanks, Judge Gray!

Judge Gray’s article offered nearly 100,000 Daily Pilot readers the chance to take the Quiz. Many of those who do will discover — perhaps for the very first time — that they are libertarians, or at least libertarian-leaning.

I know that most of you reading this don’t write newspaper columns or run for vice president of the United States.

But you, too, can quickly and easily help lots of other people encounter the eye-opening, enlightening power of the Quiz.

Here are two simple ways.

1) Share the Quiz on Facebook and through other social media. Take the Quiz online and right-click on the graphic that shows your results. Save the image and post it on Facebook and other sites. Add a caption along these lines:

“Here’s how I scored on the World’s Smallest Political Quiz. Try it and see which political group agrees with YOU the most in the world of politics!”

Fast, easy, and guaranteed to stimulate interesting comments!

2) Put the Quiz as a signature in your emails. You’re probably familiar with signatures. These are the little quotes or sayings or personal notes seen at the bottom of email messages and online forum posts. Most email programs can be configured to generate them automatically. Signatures have been described as “email bumper stickers.”

Here are some suggested wordings for signatures featuring the Quiz:

  • Are you liberal, conservative, libertarian — or other? It only takes a minute to find out! Try the world-famous World’s Smallest Political Quiz online at: www.theadvocates.org/quiz
  • Fun! Fast! Revealing! Try the world-famous World’s Smallest Political Quiz at: www.theadvocates.org/quiz
  • Who agrees with you in the world of politics? Find out by taking The World’s Smallest Political Quiz at: www.theadvocates.org/quiz
  • Discover your real political identity in minutes — take the world-famous World’s Smallest Political Quiz online at: www.theadvocates.org/quiz

Prepare different signatures for different audiences. Most email programs allow you to have a variety of prepared signatures ready. Make sure the signature you choose is appropriate for the person(s) who’ll be reading it. Also, variety is the spice of liberty — switch messages frequently so you won’t bore your regular correspondents.

If you email regularly, you can effortlessly and effectively reach a lot of people with these “email bumperstickers” for liberty.

~ ~ ~

How many people you reach with these two fast and easy e-methods depends on you, of course. How often you email. How many people you interact with on social media.

But you might be surprised by the numbers. And the Quiz is so intriguing and fun that many of the people you share it with will in turn pass it on to their friends, family and colleagues.

Even if you reach only a few people, you can make a huge difference. Many liberty activists got their introduction to libertarianism by a chance encounter with the Quiz — and they went from there to bring the ideas of liberty to many thousands of people.

If everyone receiving this article used these two easy and simple ideas, and reached just a few dozen people over the course of a year… that would add up to over a million people reached with the Quiz and the ideas of liberty.

And that doesn’t even count the ripple effect — the outreach that some of those you reach would in turn engage in.

Not bad for a few minute’s investment!

Upcoming Advocates Libertarian Communication Workshops

I’ll be conducting libertarian communication workshops at these upcoming events:

  • September 21: Texas State University, sponsored by Students of Liberty
  • September 28: Cobb County (Georgia) Library, sponsored by Liberty on the Rocks and America’s Future Foundation
  • November 16: Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah), sponsored by Students for Liberty

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

I hope you’ll join me at one or more of these events! Email me if you want additional information on them sent to you as soon as it becomes available.

In liberty,

Sharon
sharon@theadvocates.org

* * *
The purpose of the Liberator Online is to build a stronger movement for liberty. We do this by providing information about the libertarian movement and how to best communicate the ideas of liberty. Thank you for being a part of this!

Learn more about the Advocates and our work for liberty.

Learn more about libertarianism – the philosophy of liberty.

“Advancing Liberty Is Like Driving a Car at Night”

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

(By Michael Cloud, From Persuasion Point #352, Volume 18, No. 14 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here.)

There has never been a libertarian country. No time and no land has ever been fully free.

Some of our ancestors made progress. Made inroads to freedom. The Magna Carta. The Declaration of Independence. The Constitution of the United States of America.

But all had deep flaws, failings and shortcomings. Even in America, they allowed slavery. Or failed to recognize the rights and freedoms of women. Or violated the life, liberty, and property of native Americans. Or allowed blue laws. Or condoned Jim Crow laws. Or deprived gay men and lesbians of rights and liberties that we recognize for heterosexual men and women. Or shamelessly violated — and continue to violate — everyone’s natural or Constitutional rights — trampling on our fundamental Bill of Rights liberties.

We have partial freedom. More than many, but less than we could have and should have. We must find and drive an unmarked road to full freedom.

“Advancing liberty is like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” — adapted from E.L. Doctorow.

The headlights keep us on the road, but the freedom road markers make sure we’re moving toward a more complete liberty.

Freedom Road Marker: “Does this proposal cut government spending — AND return every penny to the taxpayers?”

Freedom Marker: “Does this proposal shrink government — or not?”

Freedom Marker: “Does this expand liberty — or not?”

Freedom Marker: “Does this reduce the size or spending or taxing or power or authority of government — or not?”

If we keep driving in the direction of small government and individual liberty, we will reach our rightful destination: a libertarian America.

* * * * * * * *
Michael Cloud’s brand-new book Unlocking More Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion is available exclusively from the Advocates, along with his acclaimed earlier book Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion.

In 2000, Michael was honored with the Thomas Paine Award as the Most Persuasive Libertarian Communicator in America.

Should slander be protected as free speech?

in Liberator Online Archives by Mary Ruwart Comments are off

(By Dr. Mary Ruwart from Ask Dr. Ruwart, Volume 18, No. 14 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here.)

QUESTION: I have questions about a past column of yours on the topic of blackmail. You wrote: “Many libertarians consider slander of a person’s reputation to be a violation of the non-aggression principle; others don’t.”

I’m confused. It seems to me that slander should be protected as free speech in a libertarian society. There’s no aggression involved. So what’s the problem?

MY SHORT ANSWER: Not all libertarians agree on whether or not a lie constitutes aggression. A lie does not necessarily affect only one’s reputation. For example, a service provider could be put out of business by a well-publicized lie and lose all their assets before they were able to set the record straight. I have actually seen this happen to a publically-traded company, where stockholders lost their investments and the employees lost their jobs.

Does a person have the right to free speech? Of course! Must they take responsibility for the consequences of their speech? That is the real question.

For example, if a person purposely yells “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, and people are killed in the stampede, is he or she guilty of manslaughter if there was no fire? The person yelling “Fire!” has the right to free speech, certainly. Must that person pay restitution to those who are injured or the survivors of those killed?

What if the person thought they smelled smoke and truly believed that there was a fire? They were trying to help people and didn’t lie, but the result was the same. Are they responsible for the dead and injured?

This is where libertarians disagree over this issue. Some libertarians would agree with you that the only consequences that a liar should have to face is damage to his or her reputation, regardless of the consequences of that lie. Others believe that a liar is responsible for the resulting damage.

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

As Mary Ruwart notes, libertarians disagree on these issues. Below are examples of differing views.

* Ayn Rand on libel and slander: In the book Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A, Rand answers the question “What do you think of libel and slander laws?” in this way:

“They are appropriate laws, because the freedom of ideas does not permit you to lie about a person. Under the older interpretation of the courts, truth was your defense. If you know something defamatory about someone, and it’s true, then you have the right to say it. But today, you can practically say anything, so long as you’re supposedly not motivated by malice. There are some standards, but they are unclear and impractical.

“This type of law is strictly to protect specific individuals; it has nothing to do with ideas. It’s an issue of whether or not you lied about someone, and caused him damage.”

* Murray Rothbard on libel and slander: In his book The Ethics of Liberty Rothbard argues that libel and slander, while immoral, should not be illegal:

EXCERPT: “Smith has a property right to the ideas or opinions in his own head; he also has a property right to print anything he wants and disseminate it. He has a property right to say that Jones is a ‘thief’ even if he knows it to be false, and to print and sell that statement.

“The counter-view, and the current basis for holding libel and slander (especially of false statements) to be illegal is that every man has a ‘property right’ in his own reputation, that Smith’s falsehoods damage that reputation, and that therefore Smith’s libels are invasions of Jones’s property right in his reputation and should be illegal.

“Yet, again, on closer analysis this is a fallacious view. For everyone, as we have stated, owns his own body; he has a property right in his own head and person. But since every man owns his own mind, he cannot therefore own the minds of anyone else. And yet Jones’s ‘reputation’ is neither a physical entity nor is it something contained within or on his own person. Jones’s ‘reputation’ is purely a function of the subjective attitudes and beliefs about him contained in the minds of other people. But since these are beliefs in the minds of others, Jones can in no way legitimately own or control them. Jones can have no property right in the beliefs and minds of other people.”

* * * * * * * * * *

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 brand new book Short Answers to the Tough Questions, Expanded Edition is available from the Advocates, as is her acclaimed classic Healing Our World.

Persuasion Power Point #351: What’s the Most Important Issue in Politics Today?

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

Politics is priorities.

What’s most important? What’s least important?

Which problem is critical? And which is trivial?

The next time you discuss politics with a friend or co-worker, ask:

“If you could solve only one political problem — which would you choose?

“Why?

“Why, in your opinion, is the problem you named more pressing, more urgent than, say, the federal deficit or high taxes or government spying on us?

“If you were given 5 minutes airtime on all TV and radio stations, what would you tell Americans to win them to your point of view?

“What would be the huge, immediate, direct benefits of solving this problem?”

Carefully listen to what he says. Thank him for sharing his opinions with you.

Then, later in the day, repeat the process with another friend or co-worker.

Try it with 5 or 6 people.

If your friends are like mine, each one will choose a different “most important political problem.”

And you’ll learn that you need to have 5 or 6 very different libertarian conversations — if you want to win them to libertarianism.

You’ll need to talk about their “most important political problem” – their political priority — and discuss how and why libertarianism can relieve, reduce, and possibly remove it.

When you talk in terms of their priorities, in terms of what matters most to them, they will listen and talk with you.

And many of them will be receptive and responsive to our libertarian solutions.

* * * * * * * *
Michael Cloud’s brand-new book Unlocking More Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion is available exclusively from the Advocates, along with his acclaimed earlier book Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion.

They Said It… (7/12/13)

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

EDWARD SNOWDEN — “AN OBLIGATION TO ACT”:

“I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity, or love, or friendship is recorded, and that’s not something I’m willing to support, it’s not something I’m willing to build, and it’s not something I’m willing to live under. …I think anyone who opposes that sort of world has an obligation to act in a way they can.” — NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden interviewed by civil liberties journalist Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian, June 6, 2013. (Transcript here.)

DANIEL ELLSBERG ON EDWARD SNOWDEN:

“There has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden’s release of NSA material — and I include the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago. … the Founders of America never fathomed the kinds of surveillance powers that have now been turned against Americans — nor would they ever have granted to a spy agency the vast, sweeping powers we’ve learned of recently. …this may be our last chance to rein in the surveillance state.” – Daniel Ellsberg, renowned leaker of the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago that exposed the U.S. government’s criminal Vietnam War secret strategy.

LIBERTARIANISM GROWING IN U.S. MILITARY:

“This may come as a surprise to some — especially considering that each and every member of the military is of course a government employee — but there is a very strong libertarian streak running within the United States military, particularly the lower and middle ranks. I wrote during the 2012 primary season about the appeal Ron Paul held for soldiers, and…I’m noticing military libertarianism increasing, not decreasing, among the more politically aware and engaged officers and enlisted.” – David French, “Would a Libertarian Military Be More Lethal?” National Review Online, July 9, 2013.

EVEN PATRIOT ACT AUTHOR IS SHOCKED:

“As the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely troubled by the FBI’s interpretation of [the Patriot Act]…  Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.” – Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who introduced the Patriot Act in 2001, arguing in a press release that the federal government has gone far beyond what he and other Patriot Act supporters ever intended, June 6, 2013.

DO AS WE SAY, NOT AS WE DO:

“US government declares hacking an act of war, then hacks allies.” – headline of Washington Examiner article on recent NSA revelations, July 1, 2013.

MR. GORBACHEV DON’T TEAR DOWN THAT WALL, JUST MOVE IT OVER HERE:

“We’ll be the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall…” – Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) arguing for legislation to increase the number of border patrol agents by 20,000 and fund the construction of 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.

JAY LENO ON OBAMA VS LIBERTY:

“President Obama is currently on a week-long trip to Africa, where he will promote freedom, democracy, and economic opportunity. I guess he figured it hasn’t worked here — so try it somewhere else.” — Jay Leno, June 27, 2013.

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

Intellectual Ammunition: The Real Cost of Government Regulation

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

New Study: Government Regulation Robbed You of Millions of Dollars

Imagine living in an America where the average family was worth millions of dollars.

That’s what America could be today — if the federal government hadn’t increased its interference in the U.S. economy during the past 60 years.

That’s the stunning conclusion of a new study by economists John Dawson of Appalachian State University and John Seater of North Carolina State, published in the Journal of Economic Growth.

They compare U.S. economic growth with the growth in federal regulation since 1949, and conclude that federal regulations cost the average American household more than a quarter-million dollars in lost income — annually.

Today the average household brings in about $53,000 per year. Without federal regulations passed during the past sixty years, that same household would bring in a whopping $330,000 per year instead.

Put another way, the U.S. GDP Is $16 trillion. Without the federal regulations of the past sixty years, Dawson and Seater argue it would be about $54 trillion. Federal regulations since 1949 have thus cost America an astounding 75% of our potential growth.

With this loss of income, of course, comes a corresponding loss in health, education, environmental quality, safety, charity and much more.

Ronald Bailey, science correspondent for Reason Magazine, has written an excellent analysis and summary of the Dawson and Seater study entitled “Federal Regulations Have Made You 75 Percent Poorer: U.S. GDP Is Just $16 Trillion Instead of $54 Trillion.” Bailey’s article is highly recommended for anyone wanting to learn more about the study and the methodology it uses.

Bailey tests their hypothesis against various assumptions and finds that their basic argument holds — that federal regulations have cost Americans an incalculable amount of wealth.

But what about the value of the federal regulations? Haven’t citizens benefited from these regulations? The two economists argue that their findings “indicate that whatever positive effects regulation may have on measured output are outweighed by negative effects.”

Or, as Bailey says: “Whatever the benefits of regulation, an average household income of $330,000 per year would buy a lot in the way of health care, schooling, art, housing, environmental protection, and other amenities.”

Of course, it is extremely naïve to assume that regulations are designedwisely and dispassionately to benefit and protect citizens. Many economists have long noted that much regulation is not — despite the claims of regulators — aimed at protecting consumers, but rather at benefiting and enriching special interests, including the regulated businesses (which routinely use regulations to enrich themselves and injure their competition), politicians, and regulators. And regulation also often triggers unexpected costs and consequences.

If economists Dawson and Seater are right, government regulations have wiped out incalculable riches in the past sixty years, without remotely comparable benefits. This important new study deserves the attention of all who are interested in liberty.

New Book Reveals Danger of Militarized Police

For several years award-winning libertarian investigative journalist Randy Balko has been covering an extremely important story that few other journalists have touched: the increasing militarization of U.S. police and the danger this poses to American liberties.

Rise of the Warrior Cop is Balko’s brand-new book on the topic, and it is a chilling eye-opener. Anyone who cares about liberty should give it serious attention.

Balko shows how bad laws (the War on Drugs being a prime example), anti-liberty politicians, and America’s various “wars” against vague ill-defined enemies like crime, drugs, and terror have transformed America’s police force. The distinction between a cop and a soldier has been blurred to the point where they are often indistinguishable.

America’s cops have increasingly come to resemble ground troops: complete with military-style uniforms, tanks, other military weapons, military training and military-style tactics. Decades of police-state legislation have gutted fundamental constitutional protections like the Fourth Amendment. Rogue cops ignore or bypass our remaining legal protections.

Today’s police have arguably become an internal army — something the Founders feared and warned about. Indeed, according to Balko, police today have been conditioned to see the citizens they serve as an “other” — an enemy. In enforcing tyrannical laws like drug prohibition, they are actually engaging in a violent war against the people whose liberty and property they are supposed to protect.

America wasn’t supposed to be like this. And this isn’t an anti-cop book; good police will welcome it. It is a warning about how bad laws and bad politicians have transformed the police into something they were never supposed to be. Balko offers sensible suggestions to defuse and reform this situation.

Balko’s carefully researched book covers history, politics, and constitutional law. It is breathtaking and terrifying, and it is one of the most original libertarian books in years. Balko has exposed a grave danger to American freedom, and his argument deserves major national attention.

You can read a lengthy excerpt from Rise of the Warrior Cop for free, courtesy of the American Bar Association’s ABA Journal website.

VIDEO: Who’s That Messing with Your Grill?

The Fourth of July has come and gone, but it’s still summertime, the perfect time for grillin’ and chillin’ and celebrating our liberty and independence and… but, hey, who’s that lurking around the grill?

“Ain’t no party like a nanny state party…”

Reason TV presents “Up in My Grill: 4th of July Rap” — the perfect summer music video, written and performed by the great comedian Remy.

Just one minute and twenty seconds long, hilarious, with a strong libertarian message. Highly recommended. Share with friends!

Ron Paul: U.S. Gov’t Has “Learned Nothing” from Disastrous Wars

“We left Iraq after a decade of fighting and the country is in far worse shape than when we attacked in 2003. After trillions of dollars wasted and tens of thousands of lives lost, Iraq is a devastated, desperate, and violent place with a presence of al Qaeda. No one in his right mind speaks of a U.S. victory in Iraq these days. We learned nothing from it.

“We are leaving Afghanistan after 12 years with nothing to show for it but trillions of dollars wasted and thousands of lives lost. Afghanistan is a devastated country with a weak, puppet government — and now we negotiate with those very people we fought for those 12 years, who are preparing to return to power! Still we learn nothing.

“Instead of learning from these disasters brought about by the interventionists and their failed foreign policy, the president is now telling us that we have to go into Syria! …

“We have attacked at least five countries since 9/11. We have launched drones against many more. We have deposed several dictators and destroyed several foreign armies. But, looking around at what has been achieved, it is clear: it is all irrelevant.”

– Ron Paul, excerpts from “What We Have Learned from Afghanistan,” Texas Straight Talk, June 24, 2013.

President’s Corner: New Libertarian Science Fiction Film Features the Quiz!

in Liberator Online Archives by Sharon Harris Comments are off

Dear friends,

I’m excited to report a new milestone for the World’s Smallest Political Quiz.

As you probably know, the Quiz has been reprinted in books, textbooks, newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and many other places.

Now it’s broken into a new medium: for the first time to my knowledge, the Quiz is appearing in a feature-length movie!

Appropriately enough, it’s a libertarian movie with a hard-hitting libertarian message: Alongside Night.

Alongside Night began life as a novel by J. Neil Schulman. First published in 1979, it is one of the most acclaimed libertarian novels of all time. It’s been praised by the likes of Ron Paul, Milton Friedman, Anthony Burgess, Walter Block, Thomas Szasz, F. Paul Wilson, Poul Anderson, Robert Anton Wilson, Thomas Woods, Publisher’s Weekly, the Los Angeles Times Book Review… and we could go on and on.

Science Fiction Review described it as “Probably the best libertarian novel since Atlas Shrugged.”

A special free anniversary edition of the novel was recently downloaded an incredible 350,000-plus times.

Now Schulman – who has written many other highly-praised books, fiction and non-fiction, and is a leading libertarian activist – has turned his award-winning novel into a feature film, with himself as writer and director.

Starring in Alongside Night is Kevin Sorbo, one of the most popular actors in the world today. Sorbo gained fame playing Hercules in five TV movies in 1994, which led to the continuing series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995-1999) — the #1 rated show worldwide. Sorbo gained additional fame and fans from his starring role of Captain Dylan Hunt on the 2001-2005 series Andromeda. His many films include Meet the Spartans, Kull the Conqueror, and An American Carol.

Here’s a summary of the plot of Alongside Night, courtesy of Schulman: “The American economy is in freefall. Markets are crashing. Inflation is soaring. Bankruptcies, foreclosures and unemployment are up, and even defense contracts are going overseas. The United States military is threatening to go on strike. Foreigners are buying up everything in America at firesale prices while gloating over the fall of a once great nation. Homeless people and gangs own the streets. Smugglers use the latest technology to operate bold enterprises that the government is powerless to stop, even with totalitarian spying on private communications. Anyone declared a terrorist by the administration is being sent to a secret federal prison where constitutional rights don’t exist.

“And caught in the middle of it all are the brilliant teenage son of a missing Nobel-Prize-winning economist, his best friend from prep school whose uncle was once an Israeli commando, and the beautiful but mysterious teenage girl he meets in a secret underground … a girl who carries a pistol with a silencer.”

Exciting stuff!

Sneak previews for Alongside Night have already been held at a few festivals and libertarian events, and as I write this column the film is playing at the huge FreedomFest liberty bash in Las Vegas.

To learn more about Alongside Night, including future showings, visit the movie’s Facebook page and the official movie website.

And now… let’s look at the Quiz in it’s first-ever film appearance!

Here’s the for Alongside Night. At about 40 seconds, look to your right.

Yes, there it is: the Quiz chart, on the wall.

How did it get there? What’s happening in that room? What next?

See Alongside Night and find out!

In liberty,
Sharon
sharon@theadvocates.org

The Original Internet Quiz Gets a New Home

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

The Advocates for Self-Government is pleased to launch its revamped website as a new hub for all libertarian activists and for anyone who would like to learn more about libertarianism.

The libertarian non-profit that created the world-famous World’s Smallest Political Quiz is launching www.TheAdvocates.org as a center for numerous new resources, including “Libertarian Answers,” a searchable database of carefully-crafted responses to questions libertarians face day-to-day; tools, tips and techniques for successful outreach; links to liberty movement organizations; and more.

The new website has been designed to help both experienced and new activists share the libertarian philosophy with friends, family and peers.

The centerpiece of the site will be the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, which is taken several thousand times per day and has so far been taken almost 20 million times online. The renowned Quiz has been featured in numerous books and newspapers, and it is used by educators in high school and college classrooms. It is also currently being used by students in hundreds of college libertarian organizations to help their fellow students better understand the American political spectrum.

The World’s Smallest Political Quiz is often a person’s introduction to libertarianism and to how libertarians differ from liberals and conservatives. The Quiz is based on the Nolan Chart, which measures political preferences on two axes — economic issues and personal issues. This new political map more accurately reflects the diversity of U.S. political views than does the older but inadequate left-right line.

“The Quiz makes it possible for people to quickly and easily discover where they truly fit in the world of politics,” said Sharon Harris, President of the Advocates for Self-Government. “Our new website will also showcase the many Advocates programs that teach libertarians how to successfully communicate the ideas of liberty.”

Rupert Boneham, star of the popular TV show “Survivor” and 2012 Indiana gubernatorial candidate, said the Quiz first introduced him to the political philosophy which best fits his beliefs and values.

“I am a proud libertarian. It took most of my life to figure out that I had been living and teaching the libertarian philosophy for years,” Boneham said. “It was when I first took the World’s Smallest Political Quiz that I discovered there was a political party and philosophy that I truly aligned with.”

The Advocates for Self-Government is a nonprofit libertarian educational organization that has been working for the libertarian ideals of individual liberty, free markets, and peace since 1985.

Share your story with us!

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

For most libertarians, the realization that libertarianism was the philosophy to follow came in one eureka moment. Suddenly, it all made sense! We want to know about your moment. What triggered you to become a libertarian? Give us the who/what/when/where/why of your conversion to liberty. Write a statement, make a video, sing a song…however you want to tell us your story, we want to hear it and share it with your fellow libertarians!

http://advocatesforselfgov.tumblr.com/

They Said It…

in Liberator Online Archives by Advocates HQ Comments are off

JAY LENO — BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR: “We wanted a president who listens to all Americans. Now we have one.” — Jay Leno, June 7, 2013.

WELCOMING THE DEBATE: “President Obama said he welcomes a national debate over our surveillance policies. He said that’s a debate we wouldn’t have had five years ago. Five years ago? It’s a debate we wouldn’t have had two weeks ago if they all hadn’t gotten caught.” — Jay Leno, June 11, 2013.

ANYONE KNOW? “Anyone know if President Obama intends to perform background checks on the Syrian rebels before providing them weapons?” — tweet from Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), June 18, 2013.

RAND PAUL — DON’T TRUST GOV’T: “Our Founders never intended for Americans to trust their government. Our entire Constitution was predicated on the notion that government was a necessary evil, to be restrained and minimized as much as possible. Indiscriminate monitoring of citizens’ records is precisely the kind of general warranting we fought a revolution over. The Colonists did not appreciate a British government that could go door to door, searching anyone and everyone without probable cause or suspicion. …the proper order of things in our constitutional republic is that the government is supposed to fear its citizens, not the other way around.” – Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), “Americans who cherish freedom must push back against government surveillance,” Washington Times op-ed, June 7, 2013. Read more

President’s Corner: Thomas Jefferson’s Final Fourth of July

in Liberator Online Archives by Sharon Harris Comments are off

The Fourth of July — Independence Day — is almost here. Like most libertarians, the Fourth means far more to me than just picnics and fireworks.

The Fourth of July meant a lot to Thomas Jefferson, too.

In 1826, when he was 86 years old, Jefferson was invited by the mayor of Washington, D.C. to join in a celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. However, the grand old man of liberty was too ill to make the journey.

So he sent a letter reluctantly declining, written with his typical eloquence and passion. It turned out to be his last political statement, as Jefferson died ten days later — on the Fourth of July.

Here is what he wrote: Read more

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