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The Power of One

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

(From the Persuasion Power Point section in Volume 18, No. 22 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

One may be all you need.

You may be only one request away from funding for your libertarian project.

You may be just one phone call away from recruiting a great libertarian candidate.

You may be one email request away from enrolling 50 campaign volunteers in just one day.

You may be one fundraising letter away from raising the first $100,000 for your Libertarian campaign.

You may be one meme away from reaching 1,000,000 people hungry for what you’re offering.

You may be one paradigm-shifting campaign slogan away from winning 308,860 votes in Massachusetts: “small government is beautiful.”

You may be one simple idea away from rotating the X-axis, Y-axis Nolan graph into the Diamond Chart on the World’s Smallest Political Quiz — and capturing the imagination of tens of millions.

One idea. One person. One action.

One-derful.

 

They Said It…

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

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

THIEVES: ”If any American did privately what Congress does publicly, he’d be condemned as an ordinary thief. Taking what belongs to one American to give to another is theft, and the receiver is a recipient of stolen property.” — economist Walter Williams, “Is There a Way Out?”, syndicated column Oct. 30, 2013.

OBAMA WINS AWARD FOR OBAMACARE “WHOPPER”: ”Four Pinocchios.” — rating from the Washington Post‘s “Fact Checker” column for President Obama’s false 2010 claim that, under Obamacare, “if you like your insurance, you will keep it.” Four Pinocchios is the Post’s highest award for a falsehood; the paper says it is reserved exclusively for “whoppers.”

GLOBAL LEADERS SAY STOP THE WAR ON DRUGS: ”Each year, hundreds of thousands of people around the world die from preventable drug-related disease and violence. Millions of users are arrested and thrown in jail. Globally, communities are blighted by drug-related crime. Citizens see huge amounts of their taxes spent on harsh policies that are not working. …It is time for a smarter approach to drugpolicy. Putting people’s health and safety first is an imperative…” — Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations, and Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil, “Stop ‘war on drugs,’” CNN.com, Nov. 5, 2013. Both men are members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, seeking international drug law reform.

STOP TAXING THE WORKING POOR: ”The reasonthat the national minimum wage is not a living wage is because government taxes the working poor too much. We do not have a low wage problem at all, we have instead tax poverty. …if you want the working poor to have more money just stop taxing them so damn much.” — British journalist Tim Worstall, “Yes, it’s still tax poverty, not a Living Wage,” Adam Smith Institute blog, Nov. 5, 2013

A WALL FOUR MILES LONG: ”The Vietnam Memorial Wall in D.C. contains the names of 58,272 Americans who died in the war. Its message is that the tragedy of that wretched war was that 58,000 Americans died. The wall is 146 feet long. Imagine a wall that also contained the names of all the Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, and others who died. Such a wall would be over 4 miles long.” — filmmaker Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick, “The myth of American exceptionalism,” USA TODAY, Oct. 25, 2013. (Thanks to Lawrence Vance, LewRockwell.com blog.)

RON PAUL — WHY I BECAME A DOCTOR: ”I became a doctor to avoid being a soldier. I knew I would be drafted, and such things as seeking asylum in another country, or becoming a conscientious objector, were out of my range of thought at that time. But if I became a doctor, I knew I would not be given a rifle and told to shoot other young men at government orders. …Though the horrible UN oath is used in medical schools these days, I still adhere to the Hippocratic Oath, and its injunction to ‘First, do no harm.’ It’s a great, ancient libertarian principle.” — Ron Paul, “Why RonPaulMD.com?”, November 8, 2013.

JAY LENO ON THE OBAMACARE DISASTER: “A new record was set today in the 100 meters. It was set by Senate Democrats running away from Obamacare.” — Jay Leno, Nov. 11, 2013.

DON’T CALL US, WE’LL CALL YOU: ”According to The Washington Post, the White House is considering appointing a civilian to lead the NSA. If you’re interested in the job, no need to submit a résumé, they have all your information already. They will call you.” — Jay Leno, Nov. 11, 2013.

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

FREE E-Book: After the Welfare State

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

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

“Young people today are being robbed. Of their rights. Of their freedom. Of their dignity. Of their futures. Theculprits? My generation and our predecessors, who either created or failed to stop the world-straddling engine of theft, degradation, manipulation, and social control we call the welfare state.”

So writes libertarian scholar Tom G. Palmer in the introduction to After The Welfare State, a short, readable and highly enlightening look at the origins, failures, and tyranny of the welfare state — and alternatives to it.

Among questions the book explores: How does the welfare state function? What systems did the welfare state displace, and were they viable? How has the welfare state contributed to poverty and major international crises? And finally, how can we replace the unsustainable and coercive welfare state with a system to help the needy based on peace and liberty?

Edited by Palmer, the book contains essays by Palmer and other experts. It is published by Students for Liberty and the Atlas Network.

You can download it as a FREE PDF eBook here.

Inexpensive hard copies, and free copies in bulk for student libertarian groups to distribute, are also available. You can learn more about that here.

Praise for After the Welfare State:

“This book provides a superb introduction to the folly of the welfare state. The historical examples, the discussion of adverse consequences from existing welfare programs, and the moral arguments against government-imposed redistribution are all compelling background for anyone who cares about our future prosperity. Your future depends on understanding what is in this book.” — Jeffrey Miron, Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Economics, Harvard University.

“After the Welfare State makes serious economic analysis of current events readable, enlightening, and enjoyable. Spending other people’s money — even with the best of intentions — is a recipe for conflict and even catastrophe, as the authors demonstrate in one country after another.” — Donald J. Boudreaux, Professor of Economics, George Mason University.

Highly recommended!

Videos: The Five Winners of the First-Ever Reason Liberty Video Prize

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

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

Here are five fantastic — and now award-winning — liberty videos.

On November 6, 2013 the libertarian Reason Foundation announced the winners of the first-ever Reason Video Prize, which “honors short-form video, film, and moving pictures that explore, investigate, and enrich our appreciation of libertarian beliefs in individual rights, limited government, and especially human possibilities.”

All are great, and you can see them all here. Note at the upper left of the video, there’s a playlist of all five winning videos, starting with the winner, “I, Pencil.” So you can sit back and watch them in sequence, or pick whichever ones you want to see.

Drew Tidwell’s “I, Pencil,” produced for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, won first place and a $7,000 award. We’ve featured it in past issues. It’s a fantastic video adaptation of one of the greatest free-market essays ever written.

Second place ($2,000) went to Justin Monticello’s “Obama That I Used to Know,” a song parody that sums up the disillusionment of young Obama voters who voted for peace and civil liberties and got, in return… drones hits, illegal wars, crony capitalism, and other bitter fruits. Our favorite line: “Sometimes I think that Peace Prize winners shouldn’t have a kill list…”

Third place ($1,000) went to Isaac Reese’s “Game of Food Trucks,” produced for the libertarian Institute for Justice (IJ). This funny Game of Thrones parody asks a very serious question: Should the city of Chicago be in the business of protecting a few politically connected restaurateurs from competition? Hooray for the heroic entrepreneurs who are fighting back — with the help of IJ.

There were two other finalists.

“Top DHS Checkpoint Refusals,” produced by Mike Mills, is one you don’t want to miss. It’s a raw, astonishing compilation of citizens daring to stand up to authority by exercising their constitutional right to travel unmolested and to refuse questioning at Department of Homeland Security immigration checkpoints (that aren’t actually at the border). It’s also an eye-opening look at the sleazy, deceptive ways government agents try to imply powers that they don’t legally have. If all Americans had this devotion to civil liberties…

“Crony Chronicles: I Want to Grow Up to be a Crony” by Owen Brennan, Justin Folk, and Robert Perkins is a hilarious, if sad, portrayal of how the American dream has been perverted by crony capitalism, aka “crapitalism.”

Five fantastic videos for liberty. Check them out!

Anal Probes at a Traffic Stop: Why the War on Drugs Must End

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

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

“David Eckert was pulling out of a Walmart parking lot when police officers pulled him over for failing to stop at a parking lot stop sign. Police ordered Eckert to step out of his vehicle, and that’s when he committed the highly suspicious act of ‘clenching his buttocks.’ The officers’ natural reaction? This man must be hiding narcotics in his anal cavity.”

So reports Alison Frankel of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project. She continues:

“Being pulled over for a minor traffic violation is never a pleasant experience, but these Deming, New Mexico police officers took it to an atrocious new level, forcing Mr. Eckert to undergo a colonoscopy, anal probes, and defecation in a search for drugs.

“Yes, you read that correctly: the War on Drugs is being waged on minor traffic violators with enemas and sedatives.

“After pulling Mr. Eckert over, officers obtained a search warrant for an anal cavity search and drove Eckert to a Deming hospital. In the one act of sanity in this insane saga, doctors at that hospital refused to conduct the search, saying it would be unethical.

“Undeterred by such ethical concerns, police then took Eckert to Gila Regional Medical Center…”

Reporter Chris Ramirez of New Mexico’s KOB Eyewitness News 4 sums up, in this numbered list, what happened to Eckert next:

  1. Eckert’s abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.
  2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
  3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.
  4. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
  5. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
  6. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of  doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.
  7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.
  8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert’s anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found.

Throughout this ordeal, Eckert protested and never gave doctors at the Gila          Regional Medical Center consent to perform any of these medical                          procedures…

         No drugs were ever found.

And get this: Mr. Eckert is now receiving… bills from the Gila medical center. Yes, the medical center is demanding he pay thousands of dollars for the torture he underwent there.

The ACLU is defending Mr. Eckert in a lawsuit against the City of Deming, its police officers, and the medical center.

Incredible though it may seem, these tactics are being used by police elsewhere. The ACLU’s Frankel also mentions that “In two separate incidents in Texas this August, police officers probed the genitals and anal regions of four women suspected of possessing marijuana during routine traffic stops. No drugs were found during the cavity searches.”

Drug law reform, anyone?

Look Who’s Coming to Dinner

in Liberator Online Archives by Sharon Harris Comments are off

(From the President’s Corner section in Volume 18, No. 22 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 an excellent source for such information as a holiday nears.)

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. As you’re making your plans, the free-market Cost of Government Center (CFR) reminds us that an uninvited guest is planning to crash your Turkey (or Tofurkey) Day — Uncle Sam.

CFR — an affiliate of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) — offers us some genuinely shocking figures about how much government is adding to the cost of your family’s Thanksgiving celebration this year.

Share this information with your family and friends, if the appropriate opportunity arises, and you’ll surely open some minds. Maybe they’ll give thanks that you and other libertarians are working to spare them from this kind of government plunder.

Here’s CFR’s report.

Hard to Be Thankful for Bigger Government this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for reuniting with friends and family — but the government wants to be part of your celebration too. Whether you stay home or travel for the holiday, government is a significant contributor to the costs of the celebration.

Of an identified $10 billion in spending that occurs during Thanksgiving weekend on the wine and beer, the gas and plane tickets, and the meal itself, government taxation composes 35.86 percent of those expenses — approximately $3.6 billion in revenues.

Many of these Thanksgiving items are subject to the increased costs of income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate income taxes, and other taxes on business activity. Government then includes additional fees and excise taxes that further increase the cost of providing specific items or services.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, this year’s Thanksgiving meal for ten increased in cost by $5.73 to a total of $49.20 — mostly due to rising food prices. Despite the most significant increase in food costs since 1990, government taxation still gobbles up $13.68 of your meal preparations.

Unfortunately this measure still does not account for beer and wine consumption. Between football games and meals, nearly 53 million cases of beer are consumed. Government collects $219 million in taxes — 44.33 percent of the cost of each case. Thanksgiving attendees will also find it hard to be grateful for the 32.77 percent increase in the cost of each bottle of wine thanks to government.

Whether you fly or drive to be with your loved ones this Thanksgiving season, government heavily taxes your preferred mode of transportation. Of the 94 percent of travelers driving their cars, government will raise an estimated $1.1 billion in tax revenue — 45.33 percent of the gasoline price tag. Similarly, government also increases the cost of the average $376 Thanksgiving flight — making up 43.57 of each ticket’s price.

The government hits taxpayers particularly hard during the holiday season, filling its plate with these taxes and fees. As you gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, remember that Uncle Sam is to thank… for your smaller slice of pumpkin pie.

*  *  *

This Thanksgiving I’ll be giving thanks for the growing liberty movement, and especially for Liberator Online readers like you — people who are eager to learn the best ways to share the blessings of liberty with others!

I’m also grateful for libertarians who support the vital work of the Advocates with their generous donations. They make all the programs of the Advocates possible — including this newsletter. If you’d to join this special group, click here to donate and see the great “thank-you” gifts we have reserved for you. THANK YOU and Happy Thanksgiving!

Yours for Liberty,
Sharon

More Evidence: Libertarians Growing Rapidly in Numbers and Influence

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

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

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

Here’s more great news along those lines.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Too Much Libertarianism?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Did that answer your question?”

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

“Do you have time to discuss this further?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is gene patenting akin to slavery?

in Liberator Online Archives by Mary Ruwart Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Assault of Laughter

in Liberator Online Archives by Michael Cloud Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consider a famous example from politics.

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

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

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

Even Mondale laughed.

Want to use humor against Big Government ideas?

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

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

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

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

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

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

THEY SAID IT…

in Liberator Online Archives by James 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.

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