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THEY SAID IT…

in Liberator Online Archives by James 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 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 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 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.

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

in Liberator Online Archives by James 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 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.* * * * * * * * * *

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

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video: Startling Growth in Self-Identifying Libertarians

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

Halloween: Share Some Scary Facts About… Government

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taxes make up a shocking amount of that cost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nick Gillespie: Where to Cut the Federal Budget

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some excerpts from Neale’s presentation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours for Liberty,
Sharon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Three DON’T's:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Reverse

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

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

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

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

Persuade himself? How?

The Reverse.

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

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

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

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

Then ask, “Why?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

How and why does it work?

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

Why does The Reverse work?

To truly learn a subject, teach it.

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

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

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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