WELCOME to the Liberator Online!
In This Issue
* From Student to National Liberty Activist
Thousands of Drones to be Launched in U.S.
Whole Foods CEO: Capitalism Is "Ending Poverty on Planet Earth"
VIDEO: Libertarian Party Response to State of the Union Address
Ron Paul: Immigration "Reform" Will Turn the U.S. into a Police State
THEY SAID IT:
You are being monitored, warns Bob Barr.... U.S. drone policy is plain crazy, says Conan O'Brien.... Why the State of the Union address date was changed.... Ignore gov't warnings about the dinky sequester cuts, scoffs Wall Street Journal.... Nancy Pelosi says gov't doesn't have a spending problem; Jimmy Fallon thinks she
has a problem.... Jay Leno updates the Monopoly game to reflect today's statist reality....
PERSUASION POWER POINT #342
One Question Every Libertarian Should Ask -- AND the Insight It Offers
ASK DR. RUWART
* Is it legitimate to use force to compel restitution?
ONE-MINUTE LIBERTY TIP
* Being Agreeable -- Even (Especially!) When You Disagree
WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
* The Advocates will be at Young Americans for Liberty's spring conventions
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups!
* Join the Advocates on Twitter
* Join the Advocates on Facebook
* 2013 Freedom Cruises
by Sharon Harris
From Student to National Liberty Activist
Recently I had the honor of speaking about communicating the ideas of liberty at the State Policy Network's annual meeting at Amelia Island, Florida. SPN is a network of state and national free-enterprise think tanks.
One of the many liberty activists we met at our booth there was Matt Collins of Nashville, Tennessee.
Matt told us how the Advocates had affected his life. We asked him if we could share his story with our readers, and he agreed.
Here's what Matt said:
"I was raised in a conservative household, and when I enrolled into college I began to explore the ideas of liberty.
"Somehow I ended up on The Advocates mailing list, and I came to rely upon the Liberator Online and the Advocates website as my primary source for better understanding my political philosophy and solidifying my ambitions of liberty.
"This was prior to the Ron Paul R3volution of 2008, and the liberty community online was widely diffused and even somewhat isolated.
"Michael Cloud's Persuasion Power Points column helped me to explain liberty concepts to people that were unfamiliar, and Mary Ruwart's Short Answers to the Tough Questions column provided me with intellectual firepower to back up these concepts.
"I must say that the Advocates was instrumental in the formation of who I am today, especially as it relates to breaking the left-right paradigm.
"When Ron Paul came onto the scene in 2007 it made it easy to jump right into the liberty movement, as I already had the foundation.
"This was beneficial because I eventually came to be one of a couple of individuals who started Dr. Rand Paul on his senatorial campaign, and then became Ron Paul's New Media Manager on his 2012 presidential campaign."
Matt's story is what the Advocates is all about: discovering new liberty-minded people, helping them become full-fledged libertarians, and providing them with the tools and information they need to become highly effective libertarian activists.
Each year MILLIONS of people come into contact with libertarian ideas because of the work of the Advocates. Many of them go on to become liberty activists themselves, taking the freedom philosophy in turn to millions more.
The Advocates is helping change the world -- one precious individual at a time. We are working with other libertarians to build the mass movement for liberty that will change our world forever.
Thank you for your participation in this vital work.
* * *
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.
by James W. Harris
Thousands of Drones to be Launched in U.S.
It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's… a drone.
Get ready, America. Drones are no longer something that happens in other countries. The U.S. is on the verge of having thousands of drones deployed in our skies, raising major concerns about privacy, safety and civil liberties.
"The FAA… forecasts an estimated 10,000 civilian drones will be in use in the U.S. within five years," reports
Associated Press, February 14. "The Defense Department says the demand for drones and their expanding missions requires routine and unfettered access to domestic airspace, including around airports and cities, for military testing and training…
"And the FAA has granted several hundred permits to universities, police departments and other government agencies to use small, low-flying drones. For example, the sheriff's department in Montgomery County, Texas, has a 50-pound ShadowHawk helicopter drone intended to supplement its SWAT team.
"The sheriff's department hasn't armed its drone, although the ShadowHawk can be equipped with a 40 mm grenade launcher and a 12-guage shotgun."
Ten thousand drones is just the beginning. A year ago the FAA projected
that 30,000 drones could be in American skies by 2020.
One of the seldom-mentioned reasons for drone expansion is the desire of weapons manufacturers to sell the devices in the U.S., notes
the Wall Street Journal in a February 19 article entitled "Drone Makers Take Aim at U.S. Market."
"American firms that make drones are aiming their sights on the U.S. market as the next frontier for the controversial technology," the WSJ reports.
"With a declining defense budget expected to limit spending on the vehicles, used primarily to monitor and target combatants on foreign battlefields, manufacturers are seeking opportunities on the domestic front, where universities, police departments and border patrol agencies -- as well as commercial enterprises -- could use… drones."
There are potentially beneficial and benign commercial and safety uses for drones. But the idea of tens of thousands of flying, spying and potentially death-dealing government robots patrolling American skies has alarmed many Americans. Indeed, frustrated by the failure of the federal government to protect civil liberties on this issue, both conservative and liberal legislators in at least 15 states have introduced bills to protect citizens from drone abuse, reports
the ACLU. Most of these bills require law enforcement to get a probable cause warrant before using a drone in an investigation.
But such bills do not address some of the major concerns about federal use of drones.
Libertarian Republican Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has taken the lead on this issue. In June Paul introduced
the "Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act" to defend Americans against abusive federal drone usage.
Senator Paul is particularly concerned that President Obama won't definitively rule out drone strikes on U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.
"What I'm asking is about drone strikes on Americans, on American soil. The president will not answer that he cannot do this, in fact he seems to be asserting that he can
do this…" Paul said
on Fox News Sunday, February 17. "[A]ll he'll say is he doesn't intend
to do this. It is like him saying, I don't intend
to override the Second Amendment… but I might."
(The ACLU recently made a similar observation
about Obama's disturbing evasiveness on this crucial question.)
"Americans going about their everyday lives should not be treated like criminals or terrorists and have their rights infringed upon by military tactics," Paul said
this past summer when introducing his legislation. "Like other tools used to collect information in law enforcement, in order to use drones a warrant needs to be issued."
Ron Paul, in a February 18 column entitled "The Drone Threat," points out
just how badly things have deteriorated:
"In last week's hearings, CIA nominee Brennan suggested that he was open to a Congressional proposal to set up a secret court to oversee the president's program to kill Americans by drone.
"Should we cheer that a court selected by government officials will meet in secret to oversee the president's secret decisions on killing Americans without charge or trial?
"Has the Constitution been so eroded that we accept such a horrific and terrifying prospect?"
Whole Foods CEO: Capitalism is "Ending Poverty on Planet Earth"
"Capitalism is ending poverty on planet earth. The problem is not that there is an unequal distribution of wealth in the world. The problem is that there is an unequal distribution of capitalism."
So declared Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in his keynote address at the International Students for Liberty Conference on February 15.
Mackey also noted (reports
Breitbart.com, source of the information and quotes in this article) that, since capitalism's development just over 200 years ago, overall global per-capita prosperity has increased 10x.
And in nations which have embraced capitalism, the jump in prosperity has been even more fantastic -- 35x in Japan, 100x in the United States, and a staggering 200x in South Korea.
Capitalism, Mackey says, clearly has the power to eliminate poverty on the planet. Indeed, part of Whole Foods' mission statement is "to help end poverty around the word."
Given this, one wonders why capitalism has so many opponents. Yet they are legion: in academia, in the media, in politics and in the business world itself.
One of capitalism's biggest obstacles, Mackey says, is that "capitalism has a serious branding problem…the recent recession was…blamed on greedy financial corporations, deregulation, and capitalism -- market failures -- rather than on bad government regulations and monetary policies -- government failures."
The answer, Mackey says: better, more articulate defenses of free enterprise.
Defenders of free enterprise must be able to argue effectively the principle that "business is good because it creates value for many. It is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange."
Mackey expands on these and many other stimulating and provocative points in his new book (with Raj Sisodia) Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.
His viewpoint is summed up in these passages from that book:
"[F]ree enterprise, when combined with property rights, innovation, the rule of law, and constitutionally limited democratic government, results in societies that maximize societal prosperity and establish conditions that promote human happiness and well-being -- not just for the rich, but for the larger society, including the poor."
"We believe that business is good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it can elevate our existence, and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity. Free-enterprise capitalism is the most powerful system for social cooperation and human progress ever conceived. It is one of the most compelling ideas we humans have ever had. But we can aspire to something even greater."
That "something greater" is the "conscious capitalism" of the book's title, which is summarized as "doing business grounded in a more evolved ethical consciousness."
VIDEO: Libertarian Party Response to State of the Union Address
You may have heard the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union Address earlier this month.
But did you hear the Libertarian Party's response? It wasn't broadcast on mainstream media TV, of course, but you can watch the video or read the transcript
The Libertarian response was delivered by Carla Howell, Executive Director of the Libertarian National Committee.
Among the many excellent points that Howell makes:
"President Barack Obama proposes policies that make things worse for the economy and worse for Americans:
* Higher government spending
* More dangerously-high government debt
* Continued meddling in needless, costly foreign conflicts
* More rules and regulations
* Higher taxes
* And more assaults on our freedom.
"Despite whatever response Republican politicians serve up, their proposals -- and their votes -- do the same thing: Preserve and grow Big Government."
Howell goes on to make bold but common-sense libertarian proposals to increase personal liberty, abundance, and peace. Too bad the media didn't see fit to let their viewers know of this alternative to the big-government-as-usual politics of the two older parties.
Ron Paul: Immigration "Reform" Will Turn the U.S. into a Police State
Proposed immigration "reform" recently launched in the U.S. Senate by John McCain (R-Big Government) and Charles Schumer (D-Big Government) threatens to "turn the U.S. into a police state" -- complete with national ID, surveillance, massive imprisonment, and worse.
Ron Paul in a recent column.
"The devil is in the details, and the details of the McCain plan are deeply disturbing." Paul notes.
"To secure the borders [McCain] is calling for
a massive increase in drones flying over US territory, spying on US citizens along the border -- and presumably within the 100 mile "border zone
" over which Department of Homeland Security claims jurisdiction
"What if these drones detect suspicious activity unrelated to illegal immigration? Imagine the implications for the federal government's disastrous War on Drugs. Imagine what's left of the Fourth Amendment completely tossed into the trashcan. The 'privatized' prison system in the U.S. that now benefits from the War on Drugs and illegal immigration will no doubt look forward to booming business thanks to the army of drones overhead."
Then there's the ominous E-Verify program, which would be enormously expanded.
"Additionally, the McCain/Schumer plan calls for a nationwide, mandatory E-Verify program, which forces employers to act as federal immigration agents, and forces American citizens to prove to the government that they are allowed to work. E-Verify is an East Germany-like program that creates a massive federal database of every American citizen and notes whether or not they are permitted to work."
Paul cites Cato Institute privacy expert Jim Harper, who explains
that E-Verify is in fact yet another attempt at a national ID card. Says Harper: "the [E-Verify] system must biometrically identify everyone who works -- you, me, and every working American you know. There is no way to do internal enforcement of immigration law without a biometric national identity system."
Paul, himself an advocate of
humane and compassionate immigration reform
, notes that "much of our immigration problems would be eliminated were the federal government to simply return to sound money practices and end the welfare incentive for individuals to come to the U.S. illegally.
"Whatever the case, turning the U.S. into a police state in order to fight a hyped-up illegal immigration 'crisis' is a bad deal for us all."
For more, read
Paul's full column.
* * * * * * * *
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...
YOU ARE BEING MONITORED:
"At virtually any given time outside of one's own home, an American citizen can reasonably assume his movements and actions are being monitored by something, by
somebody, somewhere. Traffic and crime surveillance cameras record your whereabouts on the streets. Police department license plate scanners record where and when you park. Mysterious black boxes located in vehicles track your driving. And, thanks to a recent rare display of congressional bipartisanship that renewed amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) a little over a month ago, civilians cannot even be certain their phone calls and emails are not being read and monitored by government snoops. Once we factor in third-party monitoring via mobile apps, which can continuously track a cell phone's geo-location even without the user's knowledge or consent, the very concept of 'privacy' becomes virtually irrelevant." -- 2008 Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr
, "Uncle Sam -- Privacy Hypocrite," Feb. 5, 2013.
"This is crazy. The Justice Department is saying that President Obama can order drone strikes on American citizens -- that he can do that. In a related story, this is the last Obama joke I'm ever doing on this show." -- Conan O'Brien, Feb. 7, 2013.
THAT EXPLAINS IT:
"Do you know why the White House scheduled the State of the Union address for Lincoln's birthday instead of Washington's birthday? Well, it's because Washington was famous for saying, 'I cannot tell a lie.'" -- Jimmy Fallon, Feb. 12, 2013.
DON'T FEAR THE SEQUESTER:
"Voters should scoff at the idea that a $3.6 trillion government can't save one nickel of every dollar that agencies spend. The $85 billion in savings [if sequestering kicks in] is a mere 2.3% of total spending. The agencies that the White House says can't save 5% received an average increase in their budgets of 17% in the previous five years -- not counting their $276 billion
stimulus bonus." -- "President Armageddon," Wall Street Journal editorial
, Feb, 19, 2013.
NO GOV'T SPENDING PROBLEM, SAYS PELOSI:
"House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said on Fox News Sunday that it's a false argument to say that we have a spending problem. You know something? I think she may be right. I think what we actually have is a 'You don't have a clue' problem." -- Jimmy Fallon, Feb. 12, 2013.
NEW MONOPOLY RULES:
"Monopoly is getting a big makeover. They want to make the Monopoly game more modern and bring it up to date to reflect our current culture. Like, in the new version of Monopoly, the banker never goes to jail." -- Jay Leno, Feb. 12, 2013.
* * * * * * * * * *
"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.
One Question Every Libertarian Should Ask - AND the Insight It Offers
by Michael Cloud
In my last column, I asked you to ask a dozen NON-libertarian acquaintances one question:
"Do you believe that Americans have too little freedom, about the right amount, or too much freedom?"
And write down their answers.
Did their responses surprise you? Please you? Shock you? Freak you out?
If the answers that you got are anything like those that I usually get, you might find them disturbing.
On average, out of each twelve NON-libertarians I've surveyed:
Just 1 (at most) person answers: "Americans have too little freedom."
7 to 9 people answer: "We have about the right amount."
2 to 4 people answer: "Americans have too much freedom."
If this were all you knew, you might be discouraged.
But wait! There's very interesting news -- if you also ask each person in group three for examples of "too much freedom."
Here's what they told me:
* Getting drunk or high and doing things that endanger others.
* Getting drunk or high and doing things that endanger yourself.
* Driving recklessly or too fast.
* Engaging in unprotected, high-risk sex.
* Bringing a life into the world that they are unable or unwilling to support and care for.
* Religious, political, or social speech or action that antagonizes or provokes others.
That offers us a very valuable insight.
Most of the "too much freedom" examples are actions that endanger the life and limb of others or the actor. Some are speech or action that may well instigate violence.
These are matters of license and irresponsibility. Matters that our libertarian concepts of personal responsibility, accountability, and liability either directly oppose or can dramatically reduce.
Different people use the same words in different ways. By asking for a few examples of what someone means, we can avoid misunderstandings, and focus our attention on our real points of difference -- and agreement.
And work toward real solutions and more points of agreement.
Here are a few helpful sentences:
"I want to make sure that I fully understand you. Could you give me a couple of examples?"
"I think I see your point, but I'm not sure. Would you give me an example or two?"
"I'm a little confused here. Could you explain this a little more -- and give me an example or two?"
Concrete examples help us understand and communicate. They are firm ground in a sea of words.
* * * * * * * *
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.
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.
Is it legitimate to use force to compel restitution?
Ask Dr. Ruwart
You consistently claim that the only legitimate use of force is self defense.While I agree that is a legitimate use of force, I believe one other exists. When someone violates another person in some way and is unwilling to make things right through restitution, as you call for, isn't it justifiable to use force to make sure the victim receives just compensation for his injury?
Of course, this power would be exercised by government. Would it be fair to say that government (preferably state or local) may, in addition to defending citizens, enforce restitution for wrongs committed against another?
MY SHORT ANSWER:
You are correct. Restitution recovery is a proper use of defensive force. After all, if someone takes your TV, you can certainly use force to recover it if you aren't successful in stopping him or her.
The State could be your agent in such recovery, and the State should ideally recover payment for its own services from the aggressor as well. That way, innocent taxpayers wouldn't have to pay for someone else's restitution.
Many libertarians, myself included, also believe that we should have the option of choosing a private, rather than a "public," agency to act for us. Unfortunately, for the most part, today's government frowns upon or prohibits this choice.
For a detailed description of how restitution would work, see Chapter 13 in my book Healing Our World. (The current edition is available
from the Advocates; the earlier edition is available to browse for free
For short answers to common questions about restitution, see
my "Restitution Q&A," excerpted from the 1998 edition of my book Short Answers to the Tough Questions. (The newly revised and expanded edition of this book is available
right now at a substantial discount from the Advocates.)
* * * * * * * * * *
Dr. Ruwart has answers! If you'd like answers to YOUR "tough questions" on libertarian issues, email Dr. Ruwart at: ruwart@theAdvocates.org
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 brand new book Short Answers to the Tough Questions
, Expanded Edition is available from the Advocates, as is her acclaimed classic Healing Our World
One-Minute Liberty Tip
By Sharon Harris
Being Agreeable -- Even (Especially!) When You Disagree
Benjamin Disraeli once said, "My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me."
I feel the same way! Perhaps you do, too.
However, according the Oxford Dictionary, the word "agreeable" means....
"quite enjoyable and pleasurable; pleasant: a cheerful and agreeable companion; willing to agree to something."
And Dictionary.com lists synonyms for "agreeable" as: pleasant, likable, accommodating, gracious, amiable, compatible, harmonious.
This is not usually how a typical political discussion
goes. Two people who have different political views often wind up frowning, becoming defensive, throwing facts and figures back and forth at each other like rocks, and even attacking each other's character.
Such political arguments seldom, if ever, end with one of the individuals persuading the other to a new point of view.
As Dale Carnegie wisely noted: "If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent's good will."
If the goal instead is to open the other person's mind or heart to considering a different point of view, arguing is usually counter-productive
Being agreeable, in contrast, may be just the ticket.
Imagine a discussion that is actually, as the dictionary describes, "enjoyable and pleasurable." One where the person you are talking to feels comfortable enough to explore new ideas that you are presenting. One where neither of you needs to be defensive or argumentative. One where it is both safe and free to disagree.
The key is to be -- again quoting the dictionary -- "pleasant, likable, accommodating, gracious, amiable, compatible, harmonious." Or, simply, agreeable.
This isn't the same as giving in, or hiding your views, or saying things you don't believe in. It's simply listening, and being pleasant, kind, and gentle in your responses.
This gentle agreeableness is startlingly powerful. You will often find that the other person will behave in the same manner -- taking the conversation to a whole new level of value.
Being agreeable gives you the opportunity to use other persuasion methods like the Ransberger Pivot (see here
You can find areas of agreement and focus on them, creating an ally on important issues. You can persuade the person you are a good person with good intentions, and lay the groundwork for future productive discussions.
And perhaps most importantly, at the very least you won't be violating the all-important first rule of libertarian communication
All of these conclusions are far better than the typical ending of the typical political argument.
Not only will your discussion be pleasurable, but the other person will be more likely to become the kind of "agreeable" person that Disraeli described and that you and I are looking for.
* * * * * *
Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government.
What's Happening with the Advocates
March and April:
The Advocates will be at Young Americans for Liberty's spring conventions at campuses across the country. Check out the list
of schools and join us at one near you!
FREE OPH KITS FOR LIBERTARIAN STUDENT GROUPS:
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we're giving our acclaimed OPH (Operation Political Homeless) outreach kits
to libertarian student groups FREE -- if they simply promise to use them a minimum of three times a year and send us photos documenting their OPH activity. OPH -- praised as the best recruiting tool in the libertarian movement -- normally sells for $50.00.
If you're in a student libertarian group, click here
for more information on getting your free OPH kit.
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Go to the Advocates Twitter account
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2013 FREEDOM CRUISES:
Advocates Board Secretary and long-time libertarian leader Dr. Ken Bisson invites you to join him for a Freedom Cruise in May 2013 and/or January 26, 2014. Enjoy a wonderful trip on a luxury cruiser -- at a bargain rate! Great food and fine company. Non-libertarians welcome! There's just one stateroom left for the May 2013 "Castles Along the Rhine" cruise -- so hurry if you're interested! On January 26, 2014 the 17th Annual Freedom Cruise embarks: a 7-day Holland America voyage to excellent snorkeling destinations Grand Cayman and Cozumel, with visits to Key West and Half Moon Cay as well, all on Holland America's newest cruise ship! (These aren't Advocates events, but libertarians who have been on past cruises rave about them.) Ken offers two other February 2014 cruises as well. For photos and more details -- or to sign up for free, no-pressure, no-commitment email updates -- visit Freedom Cruises
* * * *
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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