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New Year, New Opportunity

in From Me To You, Liberator Online by Brett Bittner Comments are off

New Year, New Opportunity

This article was featured in our weekly newsletter, the Liberator Online. To receive it in your inbox, sign up here.

Since the Christmas holiday, the phrase I have heard over and over again is “New Year, New You.”

Today, I’m going to talk about the new new year, and the new opportunity that 2017 presents. It is a new year. In a few days, we’re going to have a new president. That means a new administration with new priorities, a lot of new projects, a new Congress, and we’re going to see our opportunity as libertarians.

2016 opened a lot of hearts and minds to the possibilities of libertarianism. 2017 means that it’s time to meet them with our solutions.

At the end of last year, I talked about learning more, so that we are better prepared to speak on libertarian issues and the ideals of liberty. When it comes to the conversations that we lead, we’ll be better informed, better equipped, and better prepared to talk about what it means to be a libertarian, and how we focus on the issues as we see them.

We’re also going to be listening more. That will allow us to be better prepared to answer the questions that are brought to us. The questions will arise in the conversations we lead, but also in everyday, casual conversation. We are going to be asked, “What is the libertarian view on this?” when we make it known that we are a libertarian authority.

We’re also going to need to take advantage of this new opportunity by welcoming inquiry to nurture those who are new to libertarianism, or who just found out about us in the last year or eighteen months. They’ll still have plenty of questions. At the beginning of last year, I wrote More Fit Than Fat, talking about how we tend to push away new libertarians, by showing them that they are not “libertarian enough.”

Will you take advantage of 2017? This new year? This new opportunity?

I know that I am.

Try A Different Tack This Holiday Season

in Communicating Liberty, From Me To You, Liberator Online by Brett Bittner Comments are off

Try A Different Tack This Holiday Season

This article was featured in our weekly newsletter, the Liberator Online. To receive it in your inbox, sign up here.

The 2016 holiday season is already upon us. We have Thanksgiving next week, and we have Hanukkah and Christmas next month.

These holidays mean that we’re going to have a lot of time with friends, family, and co-workers as you go to parties and gatherings.

Typically, what we see from a lot of libertarian groups, in an attempt to advance libertarianism and the ideas of liberty, is to use these audiences that you have as a way to talk about libertarianism. This year, I’m going to ask that you try something different.

I’m asking that you do not talk about politics AT ALL. Instead, I want you to do something that is going to give you an opportunity to have both peace and a way to learn about some of the beliefs that these people hold. The best way you can achieve that is to listen.

Don’t engage. Just listen.

What you’re going to be able to do as people talk about their own ideas, you’re going to get a better understanding of where they’re coming from. You’re also going to be able to use that later on to formulate the ideas that you’ll be able to communicate when you’re talking with them later. This way, you’ll already understand their positions and you’ll have time to build your response to the ideas they hold.

The beauty of this is that you’ll have a ton of peace because you’re not going to be arguing with anyone. There won’t be any screaming matches or uncomfortable situations about ideas.

Instead, you’ll be able to have a peaceful Thanksgiving dinner. You’ll be able to have a wonderful learning Christmas feast, and you’ll learn so much more about other people’s views.

Just stop… And listen.

VIDEO: Congress Makes Christmas Come Early: Did Uncle Santa Bring YOU a Gift?

in Liberator Online by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Libertarian Christmas Video Bonanza section in Volume 19, No. 26 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

The $1.1 trillion budget just passed by Congress sure bought lots of gifts and presents for everyone.

Everyone, that is, who’s connected to the feds. The rest of us have to pay… while Congress plays Santa to its cronies and benefactors.

Watch this stunning video and see where some of that trillion bucks is going. Then circulate this video far and wide.

Approximately 1:30 minutes. From Reason TV, written by Nick Gillespie, produced by Meredith Bragg

How the Government Stole Christmas

in Liberator Online by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 24 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

Forget the Grinch — it’s the government that’s stealing Christmas.

So reports Americans for Tax Reform, a non-profit group that works for lower taxes and smaller government. (The following article is based on their 2011 report.)

The holidays are supposed to be a season for giving and spending time with loved ones. However, Uncle Sam has forced taxpayers to add him and his greedy local and state relatives to their gift list. Of an identified $10.72 billion of holiday spending, an incredible 43.36 percent is due to government taxes, fees, and other costs.

If you are one of the 93 percent of holiday revelers traveling this season, you will pay $69.65 in gas taxes for the average $152.47 round-trip excursion — 45.68 percent of the cost of the trip. Taking a rental is another convenient option, but 38.77 percent of your car’s rental cost is due to taxation, particularly from state and local governments.

Choose to fly to visit friends and family and 42.47 percent of your trip is made up of government costs. If you retreat from your in-laws to a hotel, remember that 39.39 percent of the cost of your stay is funneled back to the government. In Christmas 2011, the government stuffed its stocking with $3.79 billion in traveling taxes.

Holiday revelers enjoy an estimated $992 million in alcoholic beverages to celebrate the season. Savor your next mug of eggnog, because 56.31 percent of the price is taxes. Government guzzles 44.33 percent of your seasonal beer and drives up the price of your glass of wine at Christmas dinner by 32.77 percent. Sipping a soft drink won’t let you escape frosty government fees — 27.98 percent, or $61 million in taxes, is attached to the cost of soda.

When Santa comes down the chimney this year, he’ll have to save room in his sack for Uncle Sam’s gifts. Government gets $21 billion of a cumulative $69.1 billion spent on presents, consuming nearly a third of Christmas gift-giving.

All told, the government collects around $26 billion in new revenues over the holiday season.

That’s naughty — and definitely not nice!

(Please note: This excellent and entertaining report was prepared in 2011 by ATR. We deleted a section referring to a proposed Obama Christmas tree tax, which is to our knowledge no longer relevant. When sharing this information with friends and family, just add “A couple of years ago, Americans for Tax Reform found…” in case some of these figures have since changed. To see if ATR has updated this report since we published this issue, visit their website.)