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Cost of Government Day: You Worked More Than Half This Year for Gov’t

in Liberator Online by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition in Volume 18, No. 15 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Did you notice? Sometime in mid-July, you stopped working for the government — and were finally allowed to start keeping the money you earn.

Each year the Cost of Government Center, in partnership with Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, calculates Cost of Government Day.

Cost of Government Day is the day on which the average American has earned enough income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government at the federal, state and local levels.

This year Cost of Government Day arrived — finally! — on Saturday, July 13.

In other words, this year American workers are forced to labor 194 days out of the year just to meet all the costs imposed upon them by government.

And that’s just the average. Taxpayers in many states will have to work well past July 13 to pay for costs imposed by their bloated state governments. Notoriously high-tax, big-spending states such as California, Illinois and New York have some of the latest-arriving Cost of Government Days in the nation.

Worst of all is Connecticut — where residents must labor for the state until… August 31.

And if you feel that the burden has gotten worse during the past few years, you’re right.  This year marks the fifth consecutive year that Cost of Government Day has fallen in July. Prior to the Obama Administration, the latest-arriving Cost of Government Day recorded was June 27.

Upcoming Advocates Libertarian Communication Workshops

in News From the Advocates for Self-Government by Sharon Harris Comments are off

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

They Said It… With George Will, Peggy Noonan, and More

in Liberator Online by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the They Said It.. section in Volume 18, No. 15 of the Liberator OnlineSubscribe here!)

YOUR CELL PHONE NOW WORKS FOR THE FBI:
Peggy Noonan“The FBI is able to remotely activate microphones on phones running Android software. They can now record conversations in this way. They can do the same with microphones in laptops. They can get to you in a lot of ways! Does this make you nervous? If not, why not?” – Peggy Noonan, “Why Christie Is Wrong,” Wall Street Journal blogs, August 5, 2013.

Bill of Rights

WHAT FIRST AMENDMENT?: “Asked to name the five specific freedoms in the First Amendment, 59% of Americans could name freedom of speech, followed by 24% who could name freedom of religion, 14% freedom of the press, 11% the right to assemble, and 4% the right to petition. Thirty-six percent of Americans cannot name any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.” – The First Amendment Center reporting findings of its annual national survey of American attitudes about the First Amendment.

CHILLINOIS: “Today Illinois became the 20th state to legalize [medical] marijuana. The state also changed its name to Chillinois.” — Conan O’Brien, August 1, 2013.

THE “LIBERTARIAN MOMENT” IS HERE: “From issues such as same-sex marriage and legal marijuana to restrictions on government spying and U.S. intervention in foreign affairs, the nation is engaged in a new ‘libertarian moment,’ politicians and political scientists say.” — reporters Dave Helling and Steve Kraske, “Nation has arrived at a new ‘libertarian moment,’ experts say,” Kansas City Star, August 4, 2012.

GEORGE WILL DEFENDS LIBERTARIANISM AGAINST “DANGEROUS” GOV. CHRISTIE:
George Will“What libertarianism says — it comes in many flavors and many degrees of severity, and it basically says before the government abridges the freedom of an individual or the freedom of several individuals contracting together, that government ought to have (A) a compelling reason; and (B) a constitutional warrant for doing so. Now, if Mr. Christie thinks that’s a dangerous thought, a number of people are going to say that Mr. Christie himself may be dangerous.” — pundit George Will responding to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s recent attacks on libertarianism, on ABC’s “This Week,” August 4, 2013.

JAY LENO ON OBAMACARE LIES: “The Obama administration has admitted that, under Obamacare, you might not be able to keep your doctor. At first the president guaranteed you’d be able to keep your doctor, and now they’re saying you ‘might’ be able to. Today Obama changed his slogan from ‘Yes we can’ to ‘Perhaps we could try. Can’t promise anything.’” — Jay Leno, July 24, 2013.

JAY LENO GIVES THANKS: “Detroit has become the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy. What happened was Detroit’s population dropped something like 70 percent, but the government got bigger. The tax base got smaller, but the government got bigger. Thank God that kind of thing could never happen in Washington.” — Jay Leno, July 22, 2013.

Quick and Easy E-Ways to Help Others Discover Liberty

in Liberator Online by Sharon Harris Comments are off

(From the President’s Corner section of Volume 18, No. 15 the Liberator Online. 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 help many thousands of people discover liberty.

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!

Advancing Liberty Is Like Driving a Car at Night

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

(From the Persuasion Point Section of Volume 18, No. 14 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here.)

Driving at NightThere 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.

* * * * * * * *
Unlocking More Secrets of Libertarian PersuasionMichael 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.

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

in Liberator Online, Military, War by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 13 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

“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.

New Book Reveals Danger of Militarized Police

in Liberator Online, Military by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 13 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Rise of the Warrior CopFor 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 of militarized police, 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.

Who’s That Messing with Your Grill? (Video)

in Liberator Online by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 13 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

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!

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

in Communicating Liberty, Liberator Online 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 by James W. 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. 

New Study: Government Regulation Robbed You of Millions of Dollars

in Liberator Online by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 13 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

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 designed wisely 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 Libertarian Science Fiction Film Features the Quiz!

in Liberator Online by Sharon Harris Comments are off

(From the President’s Corner section in Volume 18, No. 13 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

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 science fiction film 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!

Above is the trailer 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!

The Original Internet Political Quiz Gets a New Home

in News From the Advocates for Self-Government by Advocates HQ Comments are off

The Advocates for Self-Government is pleased to launch its revamped website as a new hub for all libertarian activists and for anyone who would like to learn more about libertarianism.

The libertarian non-profit that created the world-famous World’s Smallest Political Quiz is launching www.TheAdvocates.org as a center for numerous new resources, including “Libertarian Answers,” a searchable database of carefully-crafted responses to questions libertarians face day-to-day; tools, tips and techniques for successful outreach; links to liberty movement organizations; and more.

The new website has been designed to help both experienced and new activists share the libertarian philosophy with friends, family and peers.

The centerpiece of the site will be the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, which is taken several thousand times per day and has so far been taken almost 20 million times online. The renowned Quiz has been featured in numerous books and newspapers, and it is used by educators in high school and college classrooms. It is also currently being used by students in hundreds of college libertarian organizations to help their fellow students better understand the American political spectrum.

The World’s Smallest Political Quiz is often a person’s introduction to libertarianism and to how libertarians differ from liberals and conservatives. The Quiz is based on the Nolan Chart, which measures political preferences on two axes — economic issues and personal issues. This new political map more accurately reflects the diversity of U.S. political views than does the older but inadequate left-right line.

“The Quiz makes it possible for people to quickly and easily discover where they truly fit in the world of politics,” said Sharon Harris, President of the Advocates for Self-Government. “Our new website will also showcase the many Advocates programs that teach libertarians how to successfully communicate the ideas of liberty.”

Rupert Boneham, star of the popular TV show “Survivor” and 2012 Indiana gubernatorial candidate, said the Quiz first introduced him to the political philosophy which best fits his beliefs and values.

“I am a proud libertarian. It took most of my life to figure out that I had been living and teaching the libertarian philosophy for years,” Boneham said. “It was when I first took the World’s Smallest Political Quiz that I discovered there was a political party and philosophy that I truly aligned with.”

The Advocates for Self-Government is a nonprofit libertarian educational organization that has been working for the libertarian ideals of individual liberty, free markets, and peace since 1985.

Share your story with us!

in News From the Advocates for Self-Government by Advocates HQ Comments are off

For most libertarians, the realization that libertarianism was the philosophy to follow came in one eureka moment. Suddenly, it all made sense! We want to know about your moment. What triggered you to become a libertarian? Give us the who/what/when/where/why of your conversion to liberty. Write a statement, make a video, sing a song…however you want to tell us your story, we want to hear it and share it with your fellow libertarians!

http://advocatesforselfgov.tumblr.com/

What Are You Waiting For?

in Liberator Online 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.

Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl 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):

  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper supporting a libertarian cause — and by doing so, take our ideas to thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of readers.
  • Call your local libertarian organization and offer to support a worthy project or candidate, help with office chores, or work at an Operation Politically Homeless (OPH) outreach booth. See if they have something that needs to be done that fits your talents, finances and time.
  • Pick out several people you think are good prospects to accept libertarian ideas. Think about how you can effectively and persuasively answer whatever concerns may be keeping them from fully embracing libertarianism. (It could be they’re ready — just waiting to be asked.)
  • Make sure you have some good libertarian outreach literature with you at all times. (Naturally, I’m partial to our pocket-sized World’s Smallest Political Quiz.)
  • Wear a button or a pro-liberty T-shirt. Put a bumper sticker on your car. And, again, carry good outreach literature with you for the questions you’ll be asked. (Maybe a stack of Quiz cards in your glove compartment?)
  • Call, write, email or fax your local, state and national elected officials. Urge them to stand up for our precious Bill of Rights during this time of civil liberties crisis. Or tell them to take a pro-freedom vote on upcoming legislation you’re concerned about. The League of Women Voters has a site that makes it easy to find and contact your national, state and local politicians.
  • Make a contribution to a libertarian organization that is doing work you find useful and important. (Again, I’m partial here!)


That’s just a few of hundreds of possibilities — simple but vital things you can do right now that will definitely make a difference in the world. (And again, note they all involve effective communication and outreach — the specialty of the Advocates.)

Too insignificant? Hardly! Your newspaper letter will reach a huge audience, opening minds and exposing many to libertarian, perhaps for the first time. Your OPH booth could greatly increase the size of your local libertarian organization and recruit tomorrow’s libertarian leaders and activists. A single Quiz you pass out at your workplace or in your classroom may change someone’s life forever (it’s happened many times). The discussion about liberty you have with your nephew or friend or fellow student or co-worker may just bring a new libertarian into the world — and every new libertarian means we’re that much closer to a free world.

You can probably think of lots of other things you can do. Take a moment and think of one simple activity you can easily do right now — the possibilities are enormous.

And remember, you can start immediately — you don’t need any more preparation time, and you don’t need anyone’s permission!

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment to improve the world.”

What are you waiting for?

The Question Libertarians Can’t Answer… Answered

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question libertarians can't answerMichael Lind, progressive co-founder of the New America Foundation, recently wrote an article entitled “The question libertarians just can’t answer: If your approach is so great, why hasn’t any country anywhere in the world ever tried it?”

Asks Lind: “Why are there no libertarian countries? If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early twenty-first century is organized along libertarian lines?”

Lind presumes this is a devastating attack on the very foundation of libertarian thought. Indeed, he asks, why isn’t libertarianism “discredited by the absence of any libertarian regimes in the real world?”

Of course, many libertarians realize this is not a new question at all. It’s actually quite common.

And there are many good answers to it — as libertarians promptly proved by providing them.

Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation, not only provided his own excellent answer, but did libertarians a further favor by offering links to some of the best answers.

Here are the links Hornberger offered (and a few more):

Tom Woods Reply Number 1

Tom Woods Reply Number 2

Michael Lind’s Obtuse Attack on Liberty and Libertarianism by Ronald Bailey

Michael Lind’s Bad Argument Against Everything by W.W. Houston

Freedom: The Unfolding Revolution by Jonah Goldberg

Why are there no libertarian countries? by Matt Mitchell

Michael Lind’s Revisionist Libertarian Smear by Ben Domenech

Three Challenges to Libertarian Populism by Ben Domenech

This is just a sampling. There are many other worthwhile and insightful responses on the web.

As libertarianism continues to gain ground, such challenges will be more common. It is vital that libertarians have effective, friendly and persuasive responses. These links offer important information and arguments to let you craft your own answers.

Libertarian Party: Why Don’t Politicians Apologize When the Stock Market Goes Up?

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Stock Market RisesThe Libertarian Party is asking an unusual and thought-provoking question: Why don’t Democrats and most Republicans apologize to the American people when the stock market goes up?

Think about it. When the stock market drops, politicians invariably exclaim: “Thank goodness we didn’t privatize Social Security! Just look how much people would have lost in the stock market!”

But what about when the market goes… up? Imagine the potential earnings that Americans coerced into Social Security have lost because the government won’t let them control their retirement assets.

“After an almost uninterrupted bull market since March 2009 and six consecutive months of stock market gains, why haven’t politicians who are against any kind of privatization of Social Security apologized to the American people?” asks Libertarian National Committee member William Redpath.

“More than two thirds of workers pay more in payroll taxes than the individual income tax. That is money that is forcibly taken from them by the government that they could invest to build real wealth over the course of their working lives, or money that could be spent to make their lives better today.

“Instead, workers are forced into a system in which their payroll taxes are immediately given to current retirees or spent by the government in other ways.

“People should be free to keep their payroll taxes and use those funds as they see fit. If they choose to save and invest, it doesn’t have to be in the stock market. It could be in more conservative investments. However, the stock market has been the best investment over the long run, and attempts by politicians to demonize it harm the American people.”

In fact, notes Redpath — who is a licensed CPA and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) — during any 20-year period going back to at least 1926, the stock market has never had a negative return. According to Morningstar, $1 invested in a basket of small company stocks at the end of 1925 would have been worth $18,365 at the end of 2012.

Indeed, Social Security is a lousy deal for citizens in many ways, Redpath points out.

“Social Security returns are paltry at best and negative for some people. But the big enchilada that no defender of the status quo will address is this: Americans have no personal property rights in their future Social Security benefits. All Americans are beholden to future Congresses for their benefits. And, benefits can’t be passed onto their children and grandchildren, as private accounts could be,” says Redpath.

Plus, of course, Social Security is headed to insolvency, due to its Ponzi Scheme structure.

“Libertarians call for phasing out the current government-sponsored Social Security system and transitioning to a private voluntary system,” adds Geoffrey J. Neale, current chair of the Libertarian National Committee. “This will remove the looming threat of insolvency while allowing everyone… to be self-sufficient and prosperous in their golden years.”

Remy Sings “Tap It: NSA Slow Jam” (VIDEO)

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Oh yeah! Reason TV presents the perfect song for this moment in history: a brilliant and hilarious music video on the NSA spy scandal, written and performed by the great comedian Remy.

“Tap It: NSA Slow Jam” manages the unusual feat of being laugh-out-loud funny and paranoia-inducing creepy at the same time. Pay close attention to the wonderful lyrics (which can be found at the same URL as the video).

Highly recommended! When you’re done laughing, share it with friends. Be aware, of course, that you’ll quite likely be sharing it with your uninvited online buddies at the NSA as well. Hope they’ve got a sense of humor.

They Said It…

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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

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