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Won’t Big Businesses Abuse Their Power in a Free Market?

in Liberator Online Archives, Libertarian Answers on Issues by Mary Ruwart Comments are off

(From the Ask Dr. Ruwart section in Volume 20, No. 5 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

QUESTION: Won’t big businesses abuse their power in a free market? What if the only choices you have are bad businesses? For example, what if such companies grew so big that they could control the entire market?

MY SHORT ANSWER: In today’s society, you could indeed have a sector where all businesses are “bad,” because government lets some companies have a monopoly (e.g., local utilities, AT&T before deregulation, etc.) or a cartel (e.g., banks).

In a libertarian society, however, this would be much less likely. A sector with only “bad” businesses would soon be invaded by competitors who recognized that they could earn and retain customer loyalty (and profits) by being “good.”

In today’s society, many businesses are bigger than they would be in a libertarian one, because the high cost of regulation drives small firms out of business. For some examples, check out the cases of the small businesses that the libertarian Institute for Justice has tried to protect from over-regulation.

We are told, usually by government entities, that the free market creates monopolies, but actually it is the government that does so. For more on this subject, check out Chapter 7 in my book, Healing Our World (the 1992 edition is a free read on my website, www.ruwart.com).

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

Antitrust: The Case for Repeal by Dominick Armentano. This outstanding 100-page book — available as a FREE ebook from the Mises Institute — shows that anti-trust and anti-monopoly regulation, far from serving and protecting the public, is merely a tool used by powerful businesses against their competitors.

* “Federal Regulations Have Made You 75 Percent Poorer“ by Ronald Bailey, Reason magazine. This short and very readable 2013 article summarizes research by economists John Dawson and John Seater. The two compared U.S. economic growth with the growth in federal regulation since 1949, and calculated that federal regulations cost the average American household more than a quarter-million dollars in lost income — annually.



Short Answers to Tough Questions
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 latest book Short Answers to the Tough Questions, Expanded Edition is available from the Advocates, as is her acclaimed classic Healing Our World.

Liberty in This Season of Giving

in Liberator Online Archives by Michael Cloud Comments are off

(From the Persuasion Powerpoint section in Volume 19, No. 25 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Want to give your family and friends a gift they’ll treasure?

Want to shower them with values beyond measure?

Freely email them three or four of the most thought-provoking libertarian essays that you’ve read in the last six months. From the Liberator Online, LewRockwell.com, FEE, Reason, the Libertarian Party, or other sources you like and trust.

Freely email them links to the best SHORT (4-8 minutes) persuasive libertarian videos posted on YouTube.

Buy and give them copies of a personal, practical, and principled libertarian book. Christmas giftsChoose one that’s appropriate for where they are in their interest in liberty. Some suggestions: Libertarianism in One Lesson, David Bergland’s acclaimed short introduction to libertarianism. Healing Our World, Mary Ruwart’s warm-hearted and well-documented look at libertarianism, or Short Answers to the Tough Questions: Expanded Edition, her essential resource for libertarian activists.  Jim Cox’s entertaining and enlightening book of economic haiku, The Haiku EconomistSecrets of Libertarian Persuasion and Unlocking More Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion, my two books on the best ways to persuade others to embrace libertarianism. These and many more are offered at the Advocates for Self-Government online store.

Give the gift of liberty to those you love.

It’s the gift they will cherish year after year.

National Service: Should Young Americans Be Forced To Serve the Government?

in Liberator Online Archives, Libertarian Answers on Issues, Libertarian Stances on Issues by Mary Ruwart Comments are off

(From the Ask Dr. Ruwart section in Volume 19, No. 12 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)
National Service

QUESTION: I believe we shouldn’t be forced to participate in some kind of national service. However, some of my friends say we owe some duty to our country for being born here and living here. What about a citizen’s duty to country?

MY SHORT ANSWER: If “doing our duty” is equated to providing “service,” who decides what is service and what is not? If young Steve Jobs had been forced into some type of national service instead of being left alone to tinker in his garage, he might never have invented the personal computer. The resulting increases in everyone’s standard of living would have been lost or delayed because of a bureaucrat’s uninformed decision about what was good for the country.

Freedom is what is good for a nation, especially one that wants to help its poor. More freedom means more wealth creation and less poverty. Government interference, even well-intended, backfires. (For some examples and more detail, see my book, “Healing Our World.” The 1992 edition is available as a free download at www.ruwart.com. The updated 2003 edition is available at the Advocates online bookstore.)

Most people give generously of their time and money if this is the voluntary custom. For example, tipping is not mandatory, but almost everyone does it. Before government got involved in social welfare, almost everyone helped a less fortunate neighbor individually or as part of a formal organization because that was the custom. You were either a charity case or a provider of charity; few people wanted to be in the former group.

To return to this way of charitable thinking, the government should stop forcing people to “give at the office” through taxation and resist the temptation to force people into service. Doing so will only create resentment towards those in need, leaving little sympathy for the poor when their “help” disappears in the shifting political tides.

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

* “Shhh… Don’t call Obama’s national service scheme a ‘draft‘” by Jerome Tuccille. National service is seemingly off the front burner, but don’t let down your guard; the idea continues to circulate. This article, written in 2008 when the idea was being more strongly pushed by both Democrats and Republicans, points out the insidious nature of the concept.

EXCERPT: “Under Barack Obama’s plan, a refusal to participate in a national service program touted at the federal level will be punished by the withholding of high school diplomas by the school district in your town. And without that diploma, few colleges or employers will even bother to look at your application.

“It’s a softer sort of authoritarianism which requires no draft boards, muddles the identity of the ‘bad guy’ and produces no martyrs in handcuffs for the evening news. You just can’t get a job if you don’t do as you’re told.”

* “National Service? Puh-lease“ by Michael Kinsley, TIME, Sept. 04, 2007. Liberal journalist Kinsley does a great job of gutting the whole “national service” notion. Ignore the couple of paragraphs in the middle about democracy and taxation; the rest is brilliant and marvelously written.

EXCERPT: “Problem number one with grand schemes for universal voluntary public service is that they can’t be both universal and voluntary. If everybody has to do it, then it’s not voluntary, is it? And if it’s truly up to the individual, then it won’t be universal. What advocates of this sort of thing generally have in mind is using the pressures of social conformity and the powers of the state indirectly to remove as much freedom of choice as possible, while still being able to claim that everyone who signs up is a ‘volunteer.’”

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Short Answers to Tough QuestionsGot 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 latest book Short Answers to the Tough Questions, Expanded Edition is available from the Advocates, as is her acclaimed classic Healing Our World.

The Libertarian Progress That Might Have Been

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

(From the Persuasion Powerpoint section in Volume 18, No. 15 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”

– John Greenleaf Whittier

Near the end of your life, you may have a chance to look back – and see what might have been. For your personal life. And for your libertarian life.

You will probably regret a number of things you did — or failed to do. And wish you’d have made a different choice — a better one.

Looking back, what regrets might you have about your current libertarian choices and actions?

Will you regret participating in the libertarian movement — or wish you had been more involved?

Operation Politically Homeless in ActionWill you regret spending an afternoon working at an Operation Politically Homeless booth — or sadly wish you had spent a day or two or three sharing the World’s Smallest Political Quiz?

Will you regret reading Libertarianism in One Lesson, Healing Our World and a half dozen other libertarian classics — or will you wish you’d shared these books with curious high school or college students?

Will you rue the day you donated $20 or $50 or $80 to the Advocates to help reach out to college students with our libertarian ideas and insights — or will you sadly wish you have given more… so the Advocates could do more?

Will you feel bitterness and anger over the time and money you spent attending an Advocates communication seminar — or will you wish you could relive the experience?

You don’t have to wait until it’s too late. You don’t have to wait until regret and sad might-have-beens fill your heart.

Simply take five minutes alone — and imagine that you’re ninety and near the end of your life. Look at this day, this year through those eyes. Look at your libertarian choices and actions.

Then make the libertarian choice you will NOT regret. The libertarian choice that will delight and please you today. The one that you’ll look back on with a smile — or tears of joy.

As you take these actions, you’ll be growing the libertarian movement — and advancing the cause of freedom.

And if enough of us do this today, tomorrow, this year and next… you may reach the last days of your life in a libertarian America. And you will be glad for the libertarian progress.

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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.