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Quick and Easy E-Ways to Help Others Discover Liberty

in Liberator Online Archives by Sharon Harris Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks, Judge Gray!

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

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

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

Here are two simple ways.

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

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

Fast, easy, and guaranteed to stimulate interesting comments!

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

Here are some suggested wordings for signatures featuring the Quiz:

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

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

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

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

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

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

Not bad for a few minute’s investment!

Upcoming Advocates Libertarian Communication Workshops

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

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

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

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

In liberty,

Sharon
sharon@theadvocates.org

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

Learn more about the Advocates and our work for liberty.

Learn more about libertarianism – the philosophy of liberty.

“Advancing Liberty Is Like Driving a Car at Night”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should slander be protected as free speech?

in Liberator Online Archives by Mary Ruwart Comments are off

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * * * * * * *

Got questions?  Dr. Ruwart has answers! If you’d like answers to YOUR “tough questions” on libertarian issues, email Dr. Ruwart

Due to volume, Dr. Ruwart can’t personally acknowledge all emails. But we’ll run the best questions and answers in upcoming issues.

Dr. Ruwart’s previous Liberator Online answers are archived in searchable form.

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

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

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

Politics is priorities.

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

Which problem is critical? And which is trivial?

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

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

“Why?

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

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

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

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

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

Try it with 5 or 6 people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

They Said It… (7/12/13)

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

EDWARD SNOWDEN — “AN OBLIGATION TO ACT”:

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

DANIEL ELLSBERG ON EDWARD SNOWDEN:

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

LIBERTARIANISM GROWING IN U.S. MILITARY:

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

EVEN PATRIOT ACT AUTHOR IS SHOCKED:

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

DO AS WE SAY, NOT AS WE DO:

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

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

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

JAY LENO ON OBAMA VS LIBERTY:

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

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

Intellectual Ammunition: The Real Cost of Government Regulation

in Liberator Online Archives by James Harris Comments are off

New Study: Government Regulation Robbed You of Millions of Dollars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Book Reveals Danger of Militarized Police

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIDEO: Who’s That Messing with Your Grill?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in Liberator Online Archives by Sharon Harris Comments are off

Dear friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exciting stuff!

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

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

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

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

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

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

See Alongside Night and find out!

In liberty,
Sharon
sharon@theadvocates.org

They Said It…

in Liberator Online Archives by Advocates HQ Comments are off

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

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

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

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

President’s Corner: What Are You Waiting For?

in Liberator Online Archives by Sharon Harris Comments are off

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment to improve the world.” — Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl, 1952.

 I love that quote. I believe it has a powerful message for those of us who want to make our world a freer place.

It’s easy to feel that you must be wealthy, brilliant, part of a huge organization or team, or a cog in someone else’s master plan before you can take a meaningful action for liberty.

It’s easy to think that, sometime in the future, you’ll be able to do something significant for freedom — after you’ve stashed away a lot more money, or learned more about the intricacies of libertarian thought, or read a stack of books on economics, or listened to that album of outreach CDs, or cleared up enough time to run for office… someday,
sometime, eventually…

But the truth is, you don’t have to wait a single moment.

Right now, you are already doing something to, as Anne Frank says, “improve the world” just by your commitment to read the Liberator Online — a publication designed to, among other things, help you become a highly successful communicator of the ideas of liberty.

When you’re finished reading, you can immediately begin to “improve the world” — in dozens of different ways.

You can (to name just a very few possibilities): Read more

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

in Liberator Online Archives by Sharon Harris Comments are off

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

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

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

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

Here is what he wrote: Read more

One-Minute Liberty Tip – You’re on Candid Camera!

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

Here’s a surefire tool that will get you off to a great start in any conversation about the ideas of liberty.

Start off with a

Simple
Movement
Into
Libertarian
Engagement

…better known as a SMILE! (Check out the first letters of that phrase.) Read more

Ask Dr. Mary Ruwart: Does Australia disprove arguments against the minimum wage?

in Liberator Online Archives by Mary Ruwart Comments are off

Dr. Mary Ruwart is a leading expert in libertarian communication. In this column she offers short answers to real questions about libertarianism. To submit questions to Dr. Ruwart, see end of column.

Does Australia disprove arguments against the minimum wage?

QUESTION: A recent graphic going around Facebook asserts that Australia’s employment situation disproves the notion that a high minimum wage leads to higher unemployment. The graphic says the Australian minimum wage is the equivalent of $16.43 and their unemployment rate is 5.3%. Does this refute arguments about the minimum wage?

MY SHORT ANSWER: The real question is “Without the minimum wage, would employment be higher than it is now?” Almost all of the research suggests that the answer would be a resounding “yes.”

However, another aspect of raising the minimum wage is the destruction of jobs of our most disadvantaged workers (minorities, undereducated, etc.). As minimum wage rises, flipping hamburgers (for example) becomes more attractive to college students, teens saving for college, etc. Minorities without a high school diploma become less necessary to employers; as a result, the disadvantaged often end up with no job at all because they have few other options. Their primary bargaining chip is their willingness to take a little less pay than their advantaged counterparts. Read more

The Surveillance Scandal: The Right — and the Wrong –Terms

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

“In the animal kingdom, the rule is, eat or be eaten; in the 

human kingdom, define or be defined.”

So wrote the great libertarian Thomas Szasz.

Define or be defined. That’s a key principle of effective communication.

You can see this at work right now, in the unfolding scandal concerning government surveillance and the resulting public debate.

Those who defend such programs are using specific words to attempt to redefine and change what is at stake in this debate.

“I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have 100 percent security, and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience,” President Obamasaid this month. “We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.” Read more

Ask Dr. Mary Ruwart: How effective is government welfare compared to private charity?

in Liberator Online Archives by Mary Ruwart Comments are off

Dr. Mary Ruwart is a leading expert in libertarian communication. In this column she offers short answers to real questions about libertarianism. To submit questions to Dr. Ruwart, see end of column.

QUESTION: Recently in the Liberator Online you answered a question with the following supporting argument:

“For example, about 75% of the tax dollars that are targeted to welfare programs actually go to the middle-class administrators rather than the needy. In contrast, private programs give about 75% of donated dollars to the poor. Thus, the poor get more when charitable giving is private.”

I am interested in where you got your statistics. I want to share this argument with friends, but I like to provide references. Could you do so? Read more

They Said It… (05/23/13)

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TAXATION IS THEFT — PENN JILLETTE: “So many people say, ‘You know, your taxes aren’t taken by force,’ and that’s foolish. If you don’t pay your taxes and you don’t answer the warrant and you don’t go to court, eventually someone will pull a gun. Eventually someone with a gun will show up.” — renowned magician, author and libertarian Penn Jillette, interview, The Daily Caller, May 6, 3013.

WAR ON TERROR IS JUST GETTING STARTED: “At least 10 to 20 years.” – Michael Sheehan, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, estimating at a May 16 U.S. Senate hearing how much longer the 12-year-old “War on Terrorism” will go on. Read more

Intellectual Ammunition: End the IRS, Polling on Pot, and Piers Morgan

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jimmy-for-GBULibertarian Party: End IRS scandals — By Abolishing the IRS and Income Tax

In the wake of the latest Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandals,

Libertarian Party Executive Director Carla Howell says there’s only one certain way to end all such scandals, now and in the future:

“We must abolish the IRS and end any need for a regulatory agency that snoops into people’s private lives,” Howell said on May 17.

Further, Howell offers a compelling argument that this is not only possible, it would have tremendous benefits for the country.

If we just cut the federal budget back to 1992 levels, Howell says, we could end the IRS and the income tax — and leave the government with more than sufficient funding to perform its constitutional obligations.

1992 was the year Bill Clinton was elected president. Few people at the time would have argued that the federal government of 1992 was too small. Indeed, a few years later, President Clinton himself would famously declare it was time to reduce the size and scope of the federal government because “the era of big government is over” and Americans needed “a smaller, less bureaucratic government… that lives within its means.”

Says the Libertarian Party’s Howell: “We must draw back total federal spending to the level of 1992, which is more than enough to fulfill the government’s constitutional duties to protect our life, liberty, and property. This will allow us to balance the budget immediately, end the federal income tax completely, and give back an average of more than $12,000 to every family in America.” Read more

Intellectual Ammunition: Privacy, Answering the Unanswerable

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Privacy: You DO Have Something to Hide

“If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”

This is surely the most tedious argument in favor of government spying on innocent citizens.

And it’s not just annoying, it’s dead wrong. You probably DO have something to hide. Something that could get you in real trouble.

So says Moxie Marlinspike — former director of application security at Twitter and co-founder and CTO of Whisper Systems — in an enlightening and frightening article at Wired.com entitled “Why ‘I Have Nothing to Hide’ Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance.” Read more

President’s Corner: Hardy Macia (1969-2013) – A Life for Liberty

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The world has lost a true champion of liberty with the untimely death of Hardy Macia, who died from Hodgkin’s lymphoma on May 13 at the age of 43.

Hardy Macia was my hero — a modern-day Paul Revere, a true light of liberty, a good man, a kind and gentle spirit.

Hardy made invaluable contributions to the entire libertarian movement. He was active in the Libertarian Party, where he served as an officer in the national party and ran for office several times. He was a member of the Free State Project who made the move to New Hampshire to advance the libertarian cause.

Hardy was a big fan of the Advocates for Self-Government, and he served this organization in many ways: as a donor, a member of our Board of Directors, and the creator of the famous mobile app for the World’s Smallest Political Quiz.

Hardy was a father and a successful businessman, the founder and president of his own software company, Catamount Software. He had a passion for liberty and he spent much of his life working for this cause, right up to the very end.

Hardy was running for Congress as a Libertarian when he got his cancer diagnosis — and he continued that run, hoping to wake a few more people up to the cause of freedom. He even fought zombies in this funny ad from his campaign: Read more

How NOT to Talk to People About Liberty

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

One of the best ways to learn how to better communicate the ideas of liberty is to see someone doing it… the wrong way.

How NOT to Talk to People About Liberty by The Libertarienne Show is a fun, funny, short video that shows you exactly that. Read more

They Said It… (06/06/13)

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JAY LENO — TAXATION IS CONFISCATION: “The latest scandal in Washington, of course, is raising questions about the IRS. You know, I have a question. Why is it called the Internal Revenue Service? How is having your money confiscated a service?” — Jay Leno May 23, 2013

JAY LENO — SOME GOOD FROM TAX SCANDAL: “A Democratic congressman said that he worries that the IRS scandal might have a chilling effect on the IRA and that they might be afraid to audit people. So finally some good is coming out of all of this.” — Jay Leno May 23, 2013

RON PAUL — IRS’S VERY JOB IS TO VIOLATE LIBERTY: “While it is important for Congress to investigate the most recent scandal and ensure all involved are held accountable, we cannot pretend that the problem is a few bad actors. The very purpose of the IRS is to transfer wealth from one group to another while violating our liberties in the process, thus the only way Congress can protect our freedoms is to repeal the income tax and shutter the doors of the IRS once and for all.” – Ron Paul, “The IRS’s Job Is To Violate Our Liberties,” Texas Straight Talk, May 20, 2013.

RAND PAUL — DON’T FUND AL-QUAEDA: “We should not aid the allies of al-Qaeda in Syria, nor should we be giving weapons to radical extremists who might use them against Syria’s two million Christians.” — Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) arguing against arming Syrian rebel groups allied with Al-Qaeda. See ten-minute Senate video of Paul arguing this before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations here.

STOSSEL — CUT GOV’T, END POVERTY: “The Feds spend almost 4 trillion dollars and most people have no clue about what to cut? Well, I have a few ideas. Who needs a Commerce Department? Commerce… just happens. The Education department? Department of Energy? Labor? Cut those too! If we cut government to the limited government the founders had in mind, poverty would become something so rare our kids would have to learn about it in history books.” — libertarian journalist John Stossel, “The Fight Over ‘Austerity,’” May 30, 2013. Read more

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