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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Three DON’T's:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Reverse

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

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

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

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

Persuade himself? How?

The Reverse.

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

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

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

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

Then ask, “Why?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

How and why does it work?

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

Why does The Reverse work?

To truly learn a subject, teach it.

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

They Said It…

in The Feed by James W. Harris Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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