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More Evidence: Libertarians Growing Rapidly in Numbers and Influence

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

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

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

Here’s more great news along those lines.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Too Much Libertarianism?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Did that answer your question?”

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

“Do you have time to discuss this further?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is gene patenting akin to slavery?

in Liberator Online Archives by Mary Ruwart Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Assault of Laughter

in Liberator Online Archives by Michael Cloud Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consider a famous example from politics.

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

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

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

Even Mondale laughed.

Want to use humor against Big Government ideas?

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

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

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

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

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

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

THEY SAID IT…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News From the Advocates

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

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

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

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

IN THE WORKS

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

January 2014: Communication workshop in New Orleans. Place and date TBA.
January 2014: Communication workshop in Kennesaw, GA. Place and date TBA.
February 2014: Communication workshop in Nashville. Place and date TBA.
March 2014: Communication workshop in Colorado. Place and date TBA.

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

Email Sharon if you’d like to learn about having a communication event near you.

ONGOING

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

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

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

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

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

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

Record High: 58% of Americans Say Re-Legalize Marijuana

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

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

A historic new Gallup poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans now want to re-legalize marijuana.

Fully 58% of voting-age Americans support re-legalizing marijuana — up fully 10% in just one year. Only 39% are opposed.

In recent issues we have reported on the fast-growing support for marijuana re-legalization, as indicated by polls.

But this new poll is a breakthrough. Gallup notes: “now for the first time, a clear majority of Americans (58%) say the drug should be legalized.”

Further, demographics are on the side of liberty on this issue. The strongest support for re-legalization comes from Americans aged 18 to 29 — a whopping 67% are for it.

Gallup: “It is likely that this momentum will spur further legalization efforts across the United States.”

Longtime advocates of re-legalization were elated by the poll.

“Legalization is now the mainstream position and supporters of perpetuating our war on marijuana will continue to be further relegated to the fringe,” declared NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri. “The American people… see that a new approach to marijuana policy is both required and possible.”

“Marijuana prohibition has been an abject failure,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Most Americans realize it is unjust, wasteful, and counterproductive to invest in the criminalization of adults for using a substance that is far less harmful than alcohol.”

To put this poll in perspective, the first time Gallup surveyed this question in 1969 only 12% of Americans were in favor of re-legalization.

Gallup notes that the growing support for re-legalization parallels support for another libertarian cause.

“The movement to legalize marijuana mirrors the relatively recent success of the movement to legalize gay marriage, which voters have also approved now in 14 states,” says Gallup. “Public support for gay marriage, which Americans also overwhelmingly opposed in the past, has increased dramatically, reaching majority support in the last two years,”

The Berlin Wall of marijuana prohibition is fast crumbling. Libertarians should be greatly encouraged by this. It shows that bold libertarian political change is possible in a relatively short time, even on such a controversial issue. It also indicates that demographics are on our side on important related issues.

What is the “non-aggression principle”?

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. 20Subscribe here!)

QUESTION: What is the libertarian “non-aggression principle” (or “non-aggression axiom”)?

MY SHORT ANSWER: Libertarianism is based on a single ideal, the non-aggression principle, so libertarian rhetoric tends to be remarkably consistent.

Libertarians oppose the initiation of force to achieve social or political goals. They reject “first-strike” force, fraud or theft against others; they only use force in self-defense. Those who violate this “non-aggression principle” are expected to make their victims whole as much as possible.

This “Good Neighbor Policy” is what most of us were taught as children. We were told not to lie, cheat, steal, not to strike our playmates unless they hit us first. If we broke a friend’s toy, we were expected to replace it.

Most of us still practice what we learned as children with other individuals, but we have grown accustomed to letting government aggress against others when we think we benefit. Consequently, our world is full of poverty and strife, instead of the harmony and abundance that freedom (i.e., freedom from aggression) brings.

Simply put, libertarians take the non-aggression principle that most people implicitly follow in their interactions with other individuals, and apply it to group actions, including government actions, as well.

You might have heard the Libertarian Party (LP) referred to as the “Party of Principle.” This is because the LP bases its programs and policy positions on the non-aggression principle.

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

* “The Philosophy of Liberty“ is a 10-minute, easy to understand, dramatic animated video introduction to the libertarian idea of self-ownership and what it implies. It is based on what is now the epilogue of Ken Schoolland’s classic libertarian book, The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible. It was created by Kerry Pearson (aka Lux Lucre). Scroll down to the bottom of this website to watch it in English. At the same page you can also download it in many languages. Share it with friends!

* “Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each person’s right to life, liberty, and property – rights that people have naturally, before governments are created. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should be voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have not themselves used force – actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud.”

That’s from the introduction to David Boaz’s excellent 1997 book Libertarianism: A Primer. You can read excerpts from that chapter and others online here.

Is Your Libertarian Activism “Only a Drop in the Bucket”?

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

(From the Persuasion Power Point section in Volume 18, No. 20 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

“Why are you even bothering to support the Advocates?” asks your friend. “Your support is only a drop in the bucket.”

“Why are you volunteering to work at an Operation Politically Homeless booth?” asks your college roommate.

“One day at an OPH booth and you might help 40 or 50 people recognize that they lean libertarian – but that’s just a drop in the bucket.”

“Why are you forwarding Liberator Online articles to a dozen friends and coworkers?” asks one of your recipients.

“Even if you win one person over to libertarianism – it’s only one person. Just a drop in the bucket.”

“Only a drop in the bucket” means tiny, trivial, insignificant, can’t-make-a-difference, a waste of time… futile!

“Only a drop in the bucket” is intended to needle you, push your buttons, embarrass you, and make you feel stupid for doing what you’re doing. It’s designed to goad you into STOPPING what you’re doing.

But the “only a drop in the bucket” objection forgets that some small actions are independently powerful and have a huge impact. One small stone from David’s sling brought down Goliath. One small glass of water can save the life of a man dying of thirst. One square inch of Kevlar can save the life of a police officer.

More. One small action can set in motion massive consequences. One last snowflake can trigger an avalanche. A final straw can break a camel’s back.

CNBC’s Rick Santelli’s five-minute 2/19/09 economic rant from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange ignited the Tea Party movement.

More. One small action by one person PLUS one small action by others can total up to something far bigger. Buckets can be slowly – or very quickly – filled by such drops.

How many drops does it take to fill a one-gallon bucket? Drop sizes vary.

Depending on the size of the drop, it takes between 75,708 drops and 90,840 drops to fill a one-gallon bucket.

Using the 90,840 drops in a gallon number, if every subscriber to the Liberator Online puts “only one libertarian drop in the bucket” into that bucket, today, tomorrow, and the next day – we will overflow the bucket in less than three days. You and I and our fellow Liberator Online readers ALONE can overfill 141 one-gallon buckets every year.

And… we are NOT alone. There are all the activist libertarians in the Libertarian Party PLUS roughly 400,000 registered Libertarian voters in America. PLUS the millions of young libertarians who campaigned and voted for Ron Paul for president in 2012. PLUS the 15,700,000 votes that were cast for Libertarian Party candidates in 2012. Plus the libertarian campus organizations blossoming across America. PLUS the thousands who support CATO and Reason and the Independent Institute and FreedomFest. And the blogs, the newsletters, the podcasts, the videos, the letters to editors…

Your “one libertarian drop in the bucket” each day or week helps fill bucket after bucket after bucket for liberty.

And gets us closer and closer to freedom in our time.

They Said It…

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

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

NEEDLING US: “You need the haystack to find the needle.” – Gen. Keith B. Alexander, National Security Agency (NSA) director, quoted in the Oct. 14 Washington Post, defending the NSA’s collection of nearly all U.S. call records and the harvesting of hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal emails, email address books, and instant messaging accounts.

ROBERT RINGER – SHUT IT DOWN FOR GOOD: “While the theatrics continue in D.C. over a world-ending, temporary government shutdown, there are those of us who are dreamers and like to fantasize about a PERMANENT government shutdown. That would be the only action that could actually bring about total freedom to a people for the first time in history. Anyone who believes that man cannot survive without government should do some reading – Murray Rothbard … Friedrich Hayek … Ludwig von Mises … Lysander Spooner … Frederic Bastiat … for starters. Warning: Conformists with weak tickers should not take the plunge.” – bestselling author and libertarian Robert Ringer, Sept. 30, 2013.

THE GENDER PAY GAP DOESN’T EXIST: “To claim that a significant portion of the raw wage gap can only be explained by discrimination is intellectually dishonest and completely unsupported by the empirical evidence. And yet we hear all the time from groups like the National Committee on Pay Equity, the American Association of University Women, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and even President Obama that women ‘are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men.’ And in most cases when that claim is made, there is almost no attention paid to the reality that almost all of the raw, unadjusted pay differentials can be explained by everything except discrimination – hours worked, age, marital status, children, years of continuous experience, workplace conditions, etc. In other words, once you impose the important ceteris paribus condition of ‘all other things being equal or held constant,’ the gender pay gap that we hear so much about doesn’t really exist.” – economist Mark J. Perry, “Ceteris paribus,” Carpe Diem blog, Sept. 3, 2013.

GETTING ALONG JUST FINE: “We seem to be getting along just fine without a government during the shutdown. I just pray that when the shutdown is over, all nonessential employees  – about 800,000 of them – will be back at their nonessential jobs.” – David Letterman, Oct. 14. 2013.

BLOODTHIRSTY ZOMBIES:  “If you’ve never seen ‘The Walking Dead,’ it’s basically a bunch of bloodthirsty zombies slowly devouring what’s left of America. No wait, that’s C-SPAN.” – Craig Ferguson Oct. 11, 2013.

REDSKINS MUST CHANGE THEIR NAME: “The Washington Redskins must change their name. There’s just too much hatred, violence, degradation and controversy associated with it. They should just call themselves the Redskins.” – popular meme floating around the Web in various forms.* * * * * * * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When people take the Quiz:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video: Startling Growth in Self-Identifying Libertarians

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

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

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

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

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

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

Halloween: Share Some Scary Facts About… Government

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

(From the One-Minute Liberty Tip section in Volume 18, No. 20 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Holidays can be a great time to share libertarian ideas with family and friends, so be sure to gather liberty-themed facts, figures and stories specific for each holiday. (The Liberator Online is a good source for such information. We frequently share it in this column, or elsewere in the issue, as major holidays near.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taxes make up a shocking amount of that cost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nick Gillespie: Where to Cut the Federal Budget

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some excerpts from Neale’s presentation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours for Liberty,
Sharon

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