Volume 16, No. 9                                                                                                                     May 18, 2011

The Liberator Online

for everyone who loves Liberty
Published by The Advocates for Self-Government

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WELCOME to the Liberator Online!

In This Issue

* New Advocates Video: Who Agrees with You?

* Two Libertarians Running for GOP Presidential Nomination
* Survey: Most Americans Want to Reduce Debt and Cap Gov’t Spending
* Twenty Obama Problems – and Twenty Libertarian Solutions
* How Much Is Government Costing You – Personally?
THEY SAID IT: Don Boudreaux on the PATRIOT Act .... Sen. Rand Paul on warrantless searches .... Gary Johnson: Greatest President in 40 years?

* Are These Lies about Talent Holding You Back?

* How can I argue against victimless crime laws without sounding like I approve of those acts?

* Your $1,000 Letter to the Editor
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups!
* Join the Advocates on Twitter.
* Join the Advocates Facebook Fan Club.

President's Corner

by Sharon Harris

New Advocates Video: Who Agrees with You?
Dear friend,
I want you to be among the very first people in the world to have the opportunity to check out our brand-new video at YouTube!

It’s entitled “Who agrees with you most in the world of politics?”
It’s a brief (under three minutes) introduction to the World’s Smallest Political Quiz.
The video shows the problems and inconsistencies of the old inaccurate “Left versus Right” view of politics. One of those problems, of course, is that “Left versus Right” has no place for people like you and me – libertarians.
The video tells why the Quiz chart is far more accurate and inclusive. It also gives a brief look at what libertarianism is. Finally, the video suggests viewers check out the Quiz and find out who agrees with them most in the world of politics.
Give it a look. Let me know what you think.
If you like the video, tell everyone, "You MIGHT be a libertarian!" And send them to the video so they can find out.

Please also post the video to your Facebook page, on your blog, and elsewhere.
The Quiz can open minds and hearts to the ideas of liberty. With your help, this video can lead many more people to have that experience.

                                     * * *

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.
-- Sharon Harris, President | Email

Intellectual Ammunition

by James W. Harris


Two Libertarians Running for GOP Presidential Nomination

It’s a bumper year for libertarians in presidential politics. So far two libertarians have formerly announced for the Republican Party presidential nomination: Ron Paul and Gary Johnson
Both Johnson and Paul participated in the first presidential debate in South Carolina on May 5. It was stunning to hear bold libertarian ideas -- including challenging Drug War orthodoxy and returning U.S. troops to U.S. shores -- advocated by two of five GOP candidates for the U.S. presidency.
As FOX News summarized prior to the debate:
“Paul and Johnson generally agree on the issues, championing civil liberties and the idea that government has grown far too big, is involved in far too many things, and does most of them poorly.
“Both favor drastic cuts in government spending, lowering taxes, repealing last year's healthcare reform legislation, eliminating the Department of Education and both also oppose legislation defining marriage as between a man and woman.
“They oppose the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. involvement in Libya, the War on Drugs, the Patriot Act and the border fence.”
That’s strong stuff. This certainly is shaping up to be a fun year to watch GOP politics. Some libertarians are already speculating about a libertarian dream-team ticket featuring both candidates… though, let’s make it clear, there’s been no such talk from either the Paul or Johnson campaigns. 
Of course, most commentators are quick to say that both Paul and Johnson are extreme long shots. However, let’s quote FOX News on that: “Then again, at this stage of the game in the last presidential campaign, most prognosticators said the smart money was on Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton.”
And let’s also note that a CNN poll, released the day of the debate, indicated that, of all Republican presidential hopefuls, Ron Paul comes closest to being able to beat President Obama.
Speaking of the 2012 elections, the Libertarian Party will of course be running a presidential candidate, to be chosen at their convention next year. More on that as it develops.
Which brings us to an article by Reason magazine editor-in-chief Matt Welch, in which he gives his thoughts on whether the Libertarian Party is still relevant in these days when the GOP is offering more libertarian-ish candidates. The article is called “Time for the Libertarian Party to Call it Quits?” and Welch basically says, “Heck no!”
Bottom line: All this libertarian presidential action means unprecedented attention for the ideas of liberty -- a great time to get your friends, family and associates interested in our ideas. Check out Advocates resources to brush up and enhance your libertarian outreach skills!
(Please note: This article is for educational purposes only. As a non-profit, the Advocates does not endorse candidates, political parties, or campaigns.)

Survey: Most Americans Want to Reduce Debt and Cap Gov’t Spending
The federal government had slammed into the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. And Americans are ready to reign in government spending, according to an eye-opening Reason Foundation-Rupe poll released May 3.
* 96 percent of Americans say it is important to reduce the national debt. A whopping 69 percent stated reducing the national debt is “very important.”
* 74 percent of Americans support implementing a spending cap that would prohibit the government from spending more money than it takes in during a fiscal year. Only 19 percent oppose a government spending cap.
* By far the most popular policy prescription for reducing the national debt is spending cuts: 45 percent of people say Congress should bring down the debt by reducing spending without raising taxes. Another 16 percent favor reducing the debt primarily through spending cuts, but are open to some tax increases; 14 percent prefer an equal emphasis on spending cuts and tax increases.
More details on the survey here.

Twenty Obama Problems – And Twenty Libertarian Solutions
The Libertarian Party has compiled a list of 20 major national problems faced by the Obama administration -- most of them caused or exacerbated by the administration itself.
And they’ve given 20 short examples of how libertarians would solve each one.
It’s a great example of how to be clear, concise and get straight to the point. It also illustrates just how much better off America would be if we adopted libertarian policies.
Here are a few samples:
4. Post office loses money hand over fist: Libertarians would end the post office's monopoly, and allow competition and the free market to provide the mail services people demand.
10. Huge federal deficits: Libertarians would cut government spending so much that deficits would disappear.
11. War in Libya: Libertarians want to end America's foreign wars, not start new ones.
12. Obama’s assassination doctrine: Libertarians would never claim that the President can assassinate American citizens just because he personally believes them to be terrorists.
17. PATRIOT Act extensions: Obama has signed bills to extend the life of the PATRIOT Act, which violates the civil rights of Americans. Libertarians would refuse to renew it.
18. Sustaining warrantless wiretaps: As a candidate, Obama said he would end these violations started during the Bush administration. But apparently he lied. Warrantless wiretaps are still being used today. Libertarians would end them immediately.
It’s a great list, and it can be helpful in forming your own short answers to questions about these government-spawned problems. Check it out!

How Much Is Government Costing You – Personally?

Everyone knows that federal spending is out of control.
But do you know what this spending insanity is costing YOU, personally? Do you know how many dollars worth of liability are yours? What this means for YOUR personal financial future?
To answer those questions -- and hopefully stir up some citizen outrage – the Independent Institute created their famous “Government Cost Calculator.”

Now it’s been revamped it to make it even better. It’s well worth a visit.
The Government Cost Calculator tells you your personal burden of federal spending -- by month, year, and over the course of your lifetime.
WARNING: the results are liable to be painful!
The Calculator will also estimate how much you could earn if you were able to privately invest your earnings -- thus giving you a far more complete look at what government spending really is costing you.
Tip: Before using the Government Cost Calculator, watch the 39-second video on the page to get a fuller understanding of how the program works and what it means.

This is a great tool to awaken your friends to the terrible true cost of government -- not in some abstract way, but as it hits them, personally, right in the wallet.

* * * * * * * *
Intellectual Ammunition is written by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris. His articles have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, and he has been a Finalist for the Mencken Awards, given by the Free Press Association for "Outstanding Journalism in Support of Liberty."

They Said It...

* THE PATRIOT ACT AS HOBSON’S CHOICE: "GOP leaders argue that extending the PATRIOT Act is especially important because the killing of Osama bin Laden might inspire retaliatory terrorist attacks against Americans. Call me cynical, but had Bin Laden not yet been killed or captured, I'm sure that these same GOP leaders would argue that extending the PATRIOT Act is especially important because Osama bin Laden remains on the loose. … And so the power-hungry in coalition with the paranoid have available an inexhaustible supply of superficially plausible excuses for keeping citizens in a perpetual state of fear, war, surveillance, and suppression." -- libertarian economist Don Boudreaux, Café Hayek, May 13, 2011, quoted by Downsize DC in their "Repeal The PATRIOT Act" campaign.
* SEN. RAND PAUL ON THE PATRIOT ACT: “My main objection to the PATRIOT Act is that searches that normally require a judge’s warrant are performed with an FBI agent’s letter, a national security letter. I object to these warrantless searches being performed on U.S. citizens. I object to the 200,000 NSL searches that have been performed without a judge’s warrant. I object to over 2 million searches of bank records, called suspicious activity reports, performed on U.S. citizens without a judge’s warrant. In the aftermath of 9/11, our leaders said give us your liberty and we will keep you safe. We would be wise to remember Franklin’s response that those who trade their liberty for security may wind up with neither.…Jefferson wrote that if we had a government of angels we would need no Constitution to protect us. But men are not always angels and I, for one, do not wish to unchain government from the bindings of the Constitution.” -- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Tea Party) February 9, 2011, as quoted in Reason Magazine, “The Most Interesting Man in the Senate,” June 2011.

* GARY JOHNSON, GREATEST PRESIDENT IN 40 YEARS?: “If President Johnson were to end the Drug War and that were his sole achievement in office he’d have done more good than any President in 40 years. Not since Milton Friedman helped end the draft has there been a better cause. That alone demands one welcome Johnson’s decision… to enter the race for the Republican party’s 2012 presidential nomination. – journalist Alex Massie, “The Man Who Should Be President,” UK Spectator, April 21st 2011

* * * * * * * * * *
"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.


by Michael Cloud

Are These Lies about Talent Holding You Back?
There are two great lies about talent.

1. If you are untalented at something, you can't improve. So practice is useless.

2. If you are talented at something, you don't need to improve. So practice is unnecessary.

Both beliefs are dead wrong. So reveals more than 40 years of scientific investigation into talents and abilities. From leading researchers such as Benjamin Bloom, Herbert Simon, William Chase, Anders Ericsson, and Carol Dweck.

No matter the talent -- music, athletics, chess, or even persuasion -- you can improve. Modestly or massively. You can improve modestly by just mastering the key talent knowledge. But massive improvement comes from deliberate practice. (And, no, it's NOT just a matter of hard work.)

No matter how ordinary your persuasive talents, no matter how extraordinary, you can become radically better. Perhaps a Patrick Henry. Or a Cobden and Bright. Or Frederick Douglass. Milton Friedman. Harry Browne. Or Advocates Founder Marshall Fritz.

May I offer two great books that will show you how to profit from practice?

Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. What separates the world-class performers from everyone else? What do they do -- that you can learn to do -- that will up your game? Raise your performance?

Mindset by Carol S. Dweck. One way of looking at your abilities and performance stops you cold. Another mindset lets you learn, develop, and excel. Learn how to quickly shift into a powerful learning mindset -- and to become better and better.

These two readable, enjoyable books will explode the two biggest lies about talent. They will give you the knowledge and the how-to tools you need to dramatically boost any talent you want.

Why not take them out for a test drive -- and observe the results on your talent of libertarian persuasion?

* * * * * * * *
Michael Cloud is author of the acclaimed book Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion, available exclusively from the Advocates.
In 2000, Michael was honored with the Thomas Paine Award as the Most Persuasive Libertarian Communicator in America.

Ask Dr. Ruwart

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.
How can I argue against victimless crime laws without sounding like I approve of those acts?

Question: I recently was discussing the legalization of drugs and prostitution with someone. This person said he thought I took this position because I wanted to engage in these activities myself! How do I argue for legalizing prostitution and drugs -- without making people think I approve of, and participate in, these behaviors?

My Short Answer: : I suggest something along the following lines.
Libertarians recognize that outlawing vices can cause worse damage than the vices themselves. For example, the War on Drugs causes more deaths and damaged lives than the use of illegal drugs.

Because we spend about 50% of our police, prison, and court resources on drug use, our justice system has less to spend on tracking down murderers and rapists. Indeed, because of mandatory minimums for drugs, violent criminals often get a shortened sentence in order to jail drug users. About 80% of those in prison for drug-related crimes are for non-violent marijuana possession.

Drug abuse is a medical problem, just like alcoholism. Unless a person is a direct physical threat to others (such as driving under the influence), putting them in prison is counter-productive.

Similarly, prostitution, like drug use, may be a vice, but treating it like a crime only makes the situation worse. Amsterdam, where both marijuana use and prostitution is legal, has much less sexually-transmitted disease and drug use/abuse than in the U.S. For example, only about half as many Amsterdam high school students use marijuana compared to the U.S. John Stossel, in his book Give Me A Break!, notes that the Dutch minister of health said that legalization has “succeeded in making pot boring” for students. If we care about our children enough to get the pushers out of the schools, perhaps we need to follow Amsterdam’s example.  
(For more details and references for these and similar arguments, see Chapter 15 in my book, Healing Our World. The earlier edition can be read and downloaded free at my website, . The new and updated versions can be purchased from the Advocates).

Learn More: Liberator Online editor James W. Harris suggests the following articles for further reading on this topic:

* Vices Are Not Crimes: A Vindication Of Moral Liberty by Lysander Spooner. The 19th century abolitionist and constitutional lawyer Spooner -- author of perhaps the most subversive essay in American history, No Treason -- here argues that vices should not be treated as crimes. As always, Spooner’s prose is scintillating and his reasoning is relentlessly logical.
Excerpt: “Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property. Crimes are those acts by which one man harms the person or property of another. Vices are simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness. Unlike crimes, they imply no malice toward others, and no interference with their persons or property. In vices, the very essence of crime -- that is, the design to injure the person or property of another -- is wanting.”
* Every Crime Needs a Victim by Laurence M. Vance. This excellent article updates the essential insights of Spooner (above) with modern-day examples.
Excerpt: “Prostitution isn't just the world's oldest profession, it's also the world's oldest victimless crime. But if adultery or fornication should not be crimes, then why should prostitution be one? They are all consensual acts between two or more parties. Forced prostitution, of course, is a crime because it has a victim. And prostitutes who trespass by plying their trade without permission on private property are themselves committing a crime. But sex between two consenting adults without dinner and a movie should not be the business of government or anyone else. Again, if an individual is genuinely concerned about what he sees as the plight of prostitutes, then he should resort to persuasion or provide an employment alternative instead of looking to the government to outlaw immoral activity.
“The state's war on drugs, like its war on poverty and its war on terrorism, is a failure, unless you consider turning hundreds of thousands of otherwise law-abiding people into criminals a success. Out of the 847,863 arrests for marijuana in 2008, 754,224 were for possession alone. According to the Sentencing Project, over half of the federal prison population is the result of drug charges. Twenty percent of the state prison population and 25 percent of the local jail population is due to drug charges. There are currently about half a million drug offenders in prison or jail, an increase of 1,100 percent since 1980. Not only has the unconstitutional drug war had virtually no impact on the use or availability of most drugs in the United States, it has destroyed civil liberties and financial privacy.”

* * * * * * * *

Got questions?  Dr. Ruwart has answers! If you'd like answers to YOUR "tough questions" on libertarian issues, email Dr. Ruwart at:
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 outstanding book Healing Our World is available from the Advocates.

One-Minute Liberty Tip 

By Sharon Harris

Your $1,000 Letter to the Editor
A picture may be worth a thousand words -- but a letter to the editor can be worth a thousand dollars!
The Media Awareness Project (MAP) is a drug law reform organization that encourages letters to the editor. Several years ago, they set out to calculate the value of a typical letter.
After some research, they came to some startling conclusions.
In most newspapers a column inch contains about 40 words. Most newspapers -- large and small -- sell a column inch of advertising for about $60 per 100,000 readers.
So, in a newspaper with a circulation of 100,000, a published letter has an estimated value of $1.50 PER WORD ($60 divided by 40 words in one column inch).
MAP further found that the average circulation of the newspapers in which their supporters had letters published was about 300,000 readers.
Thus the value of their average published letter was $4.50 -- PER WORD!
Based on this, then, a typical short letter of 225 words has an average value of... $1,112.50.
And there's more. Your letter appears in prime newspaper real estate -- because the letters section is one of the most widely-read parts of a newspaper. So you get the largest-possible publicity "bang for the buck."
This is great news. Anyone reading this is capable of writing a good, publishable letter to the editor. By doing so, you can give a thousand dollars worth of free advertising to the libertarian movement.
The potential topics are endless. Your letter can promote a libertarian candidate or organization, a libertarian policy proposal, or anything else libertarian.
The beauty of this is that it's so easy, and you don't need anyone's permission. And it won't cost you a cent. It takes just a little bit of your spare time.
What an opportunity!
Three more quick points:
1. Here’s some excellent advice on writing effective letters to newspapers:
* Writing Better Letters-to-the-Editor by Jim Simpson.
2. Always use the words "libertarian" or "libertarianism" in your letters to identify your positions. As we’ve discussed in the past, the constant use of these words is essential “branding" of our libertarian "product.” And if you don’t label your idea “libertarian,” it will often be taken as advocacy for conservatism or liberalism, depending on the issue.
3. Remember the Lights of Liberty awards! For years, the Advocates has given our Lights of Liberty awards to libertarians who publish three or more letters that contain the words "libertarian" or "libertarianism." We give certificates, recognition, some neat prizes, and more.
Letter-writers are the Paul Reveres and Thomas Paines of the libertarian renaissance. They take the ideas of liberty directly to the public. They provide the libertarian coverage that newspapers often neglect. They let people know there is an alternative to the Big Government ideas that too often dominate the political debate. They inspire. They lift spirits. They inform.
Will you join them? I hope you'll commit to publishing at least three libertarian letters before the year is out.

* * * * * *
Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government. See more One Minute Liberty tips.   

What's Happening with the Advocates

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If you're in a student libertarian group, click here for more information on getting your free OPH kit.

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About Us

THE LIBERATOR ONLINE, created by James W. Harris and Paul Schmidt, is the official newsletter of the Advocates for Self-Government.

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