Volume 20, Issue 20                              June 4, 2015
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In This Issue

Use the Ruler as a Ruler

Free the Hops: Sin Taxes Drive Up the Cost of Beer
The Debate Over NSA Spying is Finished. Or is it?

See what Kennedy, Vince Vaughn, Rep. Justin Amash, Sen. Ron Wyden, Big Boi, and Edward Snowden had to say about privacy, being "pro-people," the two Patriot Acts, the blessings of liberty, the 2nd Amendment, and TSA.

“You Libertarians Will Never Get Anywhere Until You Accept the Fact of Big Government…”

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Advocates Executive Director Brett Bittner
From Me To You

by Brett Bittner

Use the Ruler as a Ruler

I talk with a LOT of people, libertarians and non-libertarians alike. If you are not doing the same, you are really missing out on finding new friends and learning about others and their lives.

Often, my job as Executive Director of the Advocates comes up in conversation. With the vast popularity of World's Smallest Political Quiz, it's often a connection I make with my new conversation partner. 

Yes. That's me giving the Quiz to a panda.After all, it's been taken over 22 million times online, as well as millions more at festivals, rallies, and campuses throughout the country.As happens with everyone with a connection to something as popular as the Quiz, people often have suggestions about how to improve it. They mean well, but I don't know that that fully realize how much work goes into making this terrific outreach tool as effective as it is.

In a conversation this week with someone familiar with the Quiz, it was suggested that we replace this question with another and to remove one question in particular. "It'll make it easier for you to persuade people to be more libertarian," they said. "If you just don't talk about that, you will get more people to identify as libertarian."

A highlight of my day is to discover a new libertarian, so I'm certainly interested in what is effective. In this instance, it seems my friend didn't quite gather what the purpose of the Quiz is.

Thinking on it further after our conversation, I realized that he didn't see that, like a ruler, the Quiz is a tool to measure political tendency. We use it to objectively measure a very subjective topic, political philosophy. The Quiz itself holds no preference, as it is a ruler by which we can measure a pretty accurate picture of one's political philosophy. By seeing where someone falls on the Diamond Chart, we know where to start the journey of persuasion.

We carefully crafted the statements to identify the tendencies of each Quiz taker on a diverse set of issues, centered on issues of freedom. The beauty of the Quiz is that liberals find themselves in the "Liberal" area, conservatives end up in the "Conservative" area, and libertarians fall in the "Libertarian" area. 

Do you use the Quiz as a ruler?

By knowing someone's political tendencies, you know where to begin what I like to call "The Freedom Conversation." You wouldn't try to persuade a conservative on economic freedom issues where we agree, would you? Likewise, you wouldn't try to convince a liberal to adopt a belief that they already hold on personal freedom issues, would you?

Where do you start "The Freedom Conversation"?

After giving the Quiz over 3000 times in person (and 1 "in panda"), that conversation starts with the measurements that the ruler indicates.

Are you ready to use that ruler like a ruler?


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News You Can Use

Written & Compiled by Advocates Staff

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Free the Hops: Sin Taxes Drive Up the Cost of Beer

Your favorite frothy adult beverage would be a little cheaper if sin taxes were not part of the equation, according to a new report from the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan policy research center.

Map courtesy of our friends at the Tax Foundation

Each state taxes beer by the gallon, with the costs ranging from just 2 cents in Wyoming to $1.29 in Tennessee.

“State and local governments use a variety of formulas to tax beer,” Scott Drenkard writes at the Tax Foundation. “The rates can include fixed per-volume taxes; wholesale taxes that are often a percentage of a product’s wholesale price; distributor taxes (sometimes structured as license fees as a percentage of revenues); case or bottle fees (which can vary based on size of container); and additional sales taxes (note that this measure does not include general sales tax, only those in excess of the general rate).”

There is a trend to be found in the rates, as well. States in the Southeast tend to have the highest beer taxes. Seven of the top 10 states with the highest beer taxes are located in the area of the country known as the “Bible belt.” Northeastern states tend to have lower beer taxes.

Read more about how much of the price of your beer goes to the government via taxes here...

The Debate Over NSA Spying is Finished. Or is it?

On Tuesday, the United States Senate gave final passage to the USA Freedom Act, but not without drama on the floor of the upper chamber. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., offered three amendments that, if passed, would have weakened the bill.

NSA Spying

With the support of hawks in the Senate Republican Conference, McConnell proposed amendments that would have increased the transition period from three to six months, removed essential transparency requirements, and required private companies to notify the federal government if they changed their data retention policies. Each of the amendments failed, falling short of the majority needed for passage.

After the USA Freedom Act passed with significant bipartisan support, a visibly irritated McConnell railed against the bill from the floor, lecturing his colleagues that the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans against “unreasonable searches and seizures,” doesn’t cover phone records.

Read more about what's happening in Washington with bulk phone metadata collection here...


That Cessna Flying Over Your House May Be Sending Photos to the Tax Assessor - Bloomberg
Congress Wants a Pay Raise - CNN
US Airport Screeners Missed 95% of Weapons, Explosives in Undercover Tests - Ars Technica
Surprise! Controversial Patriot Act Power Now Overwhelmingly Used in Drug Investigations - Washington Post


Disney Weighing Demand for Pricing for Parks - TIME
3 Reasons Why It's OK to Have 23 Kinds of Deodorant -
Systeme D - Notes on Liberty
Flooding Texas: 5 Reasons Californians are Still Moving to Texas -

In The News is written and compiled by staff at the Advocates for Self-Government. 
Bits and Bytes From Across the Spectrum
Kennedy on TSA

WHY WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS"I support people having a gun in public full stop, not just in your home. We don’t have the right to bear arms because of burglars. We have the right to bear arms to resist the supreme power of a corrupt and abusive government. It’s not about duck hunting, it’s about the ability of the individual. It’s the same reason we have freedom of speech. It’s well known that the greatest defense against an intruder is the sound of a gun hammer being pulled back." — Vince Vaughnactor in an interview with British GQ, June 1, 2015

WATCH OUT! WE'RE SUSCEPTIBLE TO THE BLESSINGS OF LIBERTY"Allowing Sec. 215 of #PatriotAct to expire puts us at risk of enjoying greater privacy and makes us susceptible to the blessings of liberty." â€” Justin Amash, Congressman (R-MI), on Twitter, May 21, 2015

WHAT ARE THOSE SECRET LEGAL INTERPRETATIONS MADE BY THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH?: "It’s almost as if there are two Patriot Acts, and many members of Congress haven’t even read the one that matters.  Our constituents, of course, are totally in the dark.  Members of the public have no access to the executive branch’s secret legal interpretations, so they have no idea what their government thinks this law means. " â€” Ron WydenU.S. Senator (D-OR) on the floor of the Senate, May 26, 2011

I'M PRO-PEOPLE: "I’m not pro-government at all, I’m pro-people. Our freedoms are getting taken away every day with things that people aren’t aware of, like the [National Defense Authorization Act]. I don’t care who the president is–it ain’t just all about who’s black or who’s white or who’s Republican or Democrat, it’s about who is for the betterment of people, period." Antwan Patton, aka Big Boi, hip hop artist & half of OutKast in an interview with Pitchfork, November 20, 2012. 
"Quotable" is compiled by members of the Advocates staff.

Michael Cloud
Persuasion Powerpoint

By Michael Cloud
“You Libertarians Will Never Get Anywhere Until You Accept the Fact of Big Government…”

I was in a Starbucks, drinking coffee, and reviewing my notes in Libertarianism by Dr. John Hospers.
A 20-something guy walked in the door, glanced at the cover of my book, and walked over to my table.
“Are you a libertarian?”  he asked.
“Yeah, â€œ I answered.
Big Government“I don’t know you,” he said. â€œBut I do know this: You libertarians will never get anywhere until you accept the fact of Big Government. Let me tell you why.”
“I’ll be glad to hear why…if you’ll just clarify a couple of things for me,” I said.
“Clarify what?” he asked.
“When you say we need to â€˜accept the fact of Big Government’, exactly what do you mean?” I asked. 

Read more of Michael's conversation with his fellow Starbucks patron here...

Michael Cloud is the President and Co-founder of the Center For Small Government. His persuasion techniques are collected in two books available in the Advocates Online Store.

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