WELCOME to the Liberator Online!
In This Issue
* The Great Cause That Makes All Other Great Causes Possible
* Obama Declares "National Financial Capability Month" -- Gov't To Teach Americans Responsible Budgeting
* Pew Poll: Majority Now Support Marijuana Re-Legalization
* Video: Make Your Own Gun-Free Zone
* How the News Media Betrayed Us on Iraq
THEY SAID IT:
Rand Paul and Chris Wallace on presidents who could have been jailed for drug use.... David Letterman on citizen-slaves.... Jay Leno discovers the most successful government program, and finds reason for alarm in Greece.... The questions that non-libertarians never get asked.... Rick Santorum feels compelled to point out that the Republican Party is not the Libertarian Party....
PERSUASION POWER POINT #345
"What Kind of a Conservative Are You?"
ASK DR. RUWART
* Is libertarianism the ultimate answer to the world's problems?
ONE-MINUTE LIBERTY TIP
* The Value of Your UN-published Letter to the Editor
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
The Great Cause That Makes All Other Great Causes Possible
When I think about why I am a libertarian, this phrase frequently comes to mind: Liberty is the great Cause that makes all other great causes possible.
Liberty makes possible virtually all the good things in our lives. For only liberty creates the abundance that allows people to move beyond merely struggling to survive, and lets them express their compassionate, caring, and creative sides.
Liberty brings with it peace, abundance, charity, art, travel, creativity, tolerance, and the opportunity to pursue happiness.
Think of any great charitable cause -- feeding and clothing the hungry, eradicating poverty, expanding education, funding the arts, medical research, caring for neglected animals, protecting the environment, following personal spiritual pursuits -- and you will immediately realize that only personal and economic liberty makes it possible.
Where liberty is lacking, there is poverty, sickness, violence, tyranny, misery. Where there is liberty, there is abundance, harmony and the opportunity for happiness.
Liberty is literally a matter of life and death for the people of the world. For the world itself.
As libertarians we are not only helping to set the world free, we are creating the conditions for a truly humane, harmonious, and abundant world to grow and flourish.
You can be proud of the work you do for liberty.
The Advocates exists to help libertarians be successful at spreading the precious ideas of liberty.
Thank you for being a part of this great 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
Obama Declares "National Financial Capability Month" -- Gov't To Teach Americans Responsible Budgeting
President Obama has proclaimed
April 2013 as "National Financial Capability Month," a time for the government to help Americans learn how to… make responsible financial decisions.
Like budgeting. Smart spending. Borrowing wisely. Saving money.
Yes, it sounded like an April Fool's joke to us, too, when we first heard it. Or maybe a satire from The Onion.
But no, it's for real.
"Together, we can prepare young people to tackle financial challenges -- from learning how to budget responsibly to saving for college, starting a business, or opening a retirement account," declared President Obama.
Yes, by all means, learn how to prepare a budget from the experts at the Obama administration who, according to
the conservative CNSNews.com website, have increased the national debt by $6,140,111,383,879.54 since Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009. That breaks down to an increase of $53,377 per household.
"My Administration is dedicated to helping people make sound decisions in the marketplace," declares the man who, with plenty of help from his mirror-images in the Republican Party, has overridden the desires of consumers and investors with billions of dollars of subsidies and endless pages of regulations.
Yes, learn how to invest wisely from the president whose trillion-dollar stimulus spending "investments" have been a crash-and-burn disaster
Yes, learn all about the responsible use of credit from the administration in power when, for the first time in history, the credit rating of the U.S. federal government was downgraded
below AAA by Standard & Poor's.
Yes, learn about "opening a retirement account" from the people who brought you the compulsory Ponzi scheme Social Security program
, with its remarkably poor returns and questionable future.
"My Administration continues to encourage responsibility at all levels of our financial system…" Obama said.
Right, at all levels… except, of course, for the zillion-dollar totally out of control federal government itself.
"I call upon all Americans to observe this month with programs and activities to improve their understanding of financial principles and practices," the president concludes.
Be careful what you ask for, Mr. President. If the American people actually do come to understand your financial principles and practices, you may not like the consequences.
Pew Poll: Majority Now Support Marijuana Re-Legalization
Support for marijuana re-legalization may have reached a tipping point.
A new Pew poll released April 4 finds
that fully 52% of Americans supported re-legalization of marijuana. Only 45% are opposed. And the demographics are overwhelmingly in favor of re-legalization.
This is the first time since the Pew Research Center started polling on the question 40 years ago that it has found a majority of Americans favor re-legalizing marijuana. Support for re-legalization has risen 11 points since only 2010.
The Pew results confirm what other recent major polls are finding. According to
StopTheDrugWar.org, fully five polls released in December showed marijuana re-legalization at or very near majority support.
The Pew poll found majority support for marijuana re-legalization among Democrats, independents, and "liberal and moderate Republicans." However, only about three-in-ten "conservative Republicans" say marijuana use should be legal.
There was also majority support among all age groups except those born before the Baby Boom generation.
According to Pew: "Nearly two-thirds of those under 30 (64%) favor legalizing marijuana use, as do about half or more of those 30 to 49 (55%) and 50 to 64 (53%). There is far less support for legalization among those 65 and older (33%); still, there has been an 11-point rise in support among older Americans since 2010."
It seems clear that the Berlin Wall of marijuana criminalization is at last beginning to crumble.
"I've always tended to be cautious in claiming that we've hit the 'tipping point' on marijuana legalization," said prominent drug law reform advocate Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "But we're there now. And I'd say we're trailing marriage equality by just a half-step, even if far fewer elected officials are willing to join publicly with us as yet."
Video: Make Your Own Gun-Free Zone
Our kids are kept safe from harm by attending schools designated by the government as "gun-free zones."
But what about the rest of us?
Good news, citizens! You'll be happy to learn that it's easy to turn your home, small business or other property into a gun-free zone.
Yes, you too can enjoy all the benefits of living in a gun-free zone. This video tells you how.
Hilarious, provocative and short (two minutes). Share it with friends!
(We don't know who produced this video, but it aired on Fox News at some point.)
How the News Media Betrayed Us on Iraq
On the tenth anniversary of the disastrous Iraq War, Congress and the White House continue to call for U.S. military intervention around the globe. And the national media airs these calls, often uncritically.
That's an excellent reason to ponder these excerpts
from "How the News Media Betrayed Us on Iraq" by Sheldon Richman of the Future of Freedom Foundation:
"The tenth anniversary of the start of America's illegal and aggressive war against Iraq should not pass without recalling that the mainstream news media eagerly participated in the Bush administration's dishonest campaign for public support. It is no exaggeration to say that most news operations were little more than extensions of the White House Office of Communications.
"Abandoning even the pretense of an adversarial relationship with the government, the media became shameful conduits for unsubstantiated and outright false information about Saddam Hussein's alleged threat to the American people. Included among the falsehoods were reports that Saddam had a hand in the 9/11 attacks, had trained al-Qaeda fighters, and had attempted to obtain uranium ore and aluminum tubes for nuclear bombs.
"Put bluntly, the disastrous invasion of Iraq, which was sold on the basis of lies told by President George W. Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice, and others might not have happened without the enthusiastic help of The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and others.
"The blood of more than a hundred thousand -- perhaps more than a million -- Iraqis and 4,500 Americans is on their hands too. …
"This story of media malfeasance would be bad enough if it were just history. Unfortunately, even as media figures now issue mea culpas about their shameful Iraq 'coverage,' they are engaged in precisely the same shoddy business with respect to Iran and its alleged but unproven nuclear-weapons program."
You can read the rest of Richmond's excellent article here
* * * * * * * *
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...
RAND PAUL SAYS OBAMA, BUSH COULD HAVE BEEN JAILED FOR DRUG USE:
"Look, the last two presidents could have conceivably been put in jail for their drug use and I really think -- look what would'v
e happened, it would've ruined their lives. They got lucky. But a lot of poor kids, particularly in the inner city, don't get lucky and they don't have good attorneys and they go to jail for some of these things and I think it's a big mistake." -- Sen. Rand Paul
(R-KY), "Fox News Sunday," March 24, 2013.
CHRIS WALLACE CORRECTS RAND PAUL (ABOVE):
"Actually, I think it would be the last three presidents, but who's counting?" -- journalist Chris Wallace
, host of "Fox News Sunday," adding Bill Clinton to Rand Paul's list of presidents who could have been jailed for drug use.
DAVID LETTERMAN ON CITIZEN-SLAVES:
"The average American works six months a year for the government. Think about that. Government employees don't even work six months a year for the government." -- David Letterman, March 25, 2013.
JAY LENO ON THE MOST SUCCESSFUL GOV'T PROGRAM:
"The U.S. Senate is now fighting to keep open the Senate barber shop. It loses $350,000 a year. Do you know what that makes it? The most successful government program ever. It's losing only $350,000 a year." -- Jay Leno, March 19, 2013.
THE QUESTIONS THAT NEVER GET ASKED:
"On a given issue, a journalist confronted with the libertarian position, like legalizing drugs, objects by pointing out the most extreme possible consequence: 'So I could go buy heroin at the store?' Fair enough, except that there are no analogous challenges to the establishment positions. A candidate whose stance is that drugs must remain illegal is never asked, 'So you're okay with imprisoning millions of people, empowering violent street gangs, destabilizing multiple foreign countries, militarizing municipal police forces, and still having ubiquitous drug use?'" -- from journalist Conor Friedersdorf
's brilliant article, "How the Establishment Press Got Rand Paul Wrong," The Atlantic blog, March 11, 2013.
"The island nation of Cyprus is now considering a 10 percent tax on every individual savings account in that country. They'll take 10 percent of your money right out of the bank. To which President Obama said: 'You can do that?'" -- Jay Leno, March 19, 2013.
YEAH, WE KNOW:
"We're not the Libertarian Party, we're the Republican Party." -- Rick Santorum
, former U.S. senator and 2012 GOP presidential candidate, expressing the frustration of social
authoritarians over the rapid rise of libertarian ideas within the GOP. Quoted in Politico, April 1, 2013.
* * * * * * * * * *
"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.
"What Kind of a Conservative Are You?"
by Michael Cloud
One evening over 30 years ago I fell into a conversation about politics at a party. Everyone had opinions about politics.
One man sat quietly for half an hour, then announced to everyone, "I think you're all wrong. You don't understand standards and decency and authority. I do. I'm a conservative."
Two of my fellow libertarians started rebutting "conservatism" and accusing this man of holding false beliefs.
He responded to the criticisms -- and attacked libertarianism for condoning "license."
The libertarians were counter-attacking when I interrupted the argument by shouting, "Wait a minute. I'm confused. I need some help here. Could you straighten me out on something?"
Everyone quieted down. I spoke to the conservative.
"What kind of a conservative are you?" I asked. "I've read a lot of conservative writers and met a lot of conservatives, and I've noticed that there are several different kinds of conservatives. There are fiscal conservatives, whose main concern is that government live within its means. There are social conservatives, who want government to enforce a strict morality. There are nationalist conservatives, who want to restrict trade and immigration and fight those who oppose what they see as the American way of life. Are you primarily a fiscal conservative, a social conservative, or a nationalist conservative? What kind of a conservative are you?"
"Well, I'm mainly a fiscal conservative," he said.
"Are you a big government fiscal conservative or a small government fiscal conservative? Do you want a big and powerful government that lives within its means or a small and limited government that lives within its means? " I asked.
"Are you kidding? Government is way too big. I want a small, constitutionally-limited government," he responded.
We then had a great discussion on which federal agencies he'd abolish and where he'd slash government and why.
We went from an escalating argument to an interesting, friendly discussion. This small government fiscal conservative and three libertarians found we had a lot in common.
And it began with asking him what he did believe and what he did not.
By not assuming that all conservatives are the same.
Suppose someone said, "I'm a Christian." Should we assume that all Christians are the same?
Or should we ask, "What kind of a Christian are you, Catholic or Protestant? What denomination are you: Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist, Quaker...? Could you tell me a little bit about your faith? What do you have in common with other Christians -- and how are you different?"
If someone says, "I'm a liberal," we can ask:
"What kind of a liberal are you? What are your liberal beliefs? What do you have in common with other liberals -- and how are you different? Are you a central planning liberal or a grassroots, community-decision-making liberal? Are you a civil liberties liberal?"
If someone says, "I'm a socialist," we can ask:
"What kind of a socialist are you? Small communes and communities... or centrally planned in Washington, DC? Are you a coercive socialist or a voluntary socialist? Could someone choose not to participate in your vision of what a socialist country would be?"
Before we can honestly say "I agree" or "I disagree," we must understand. To understand, we must ask. With courtesy and interest and a sincere desire to learn the truth.
We may discover that they disagree with us.
We may discover that we have a lot in common. That they agree with us on many important things. That they are, in fact, our allies on many crucial issues.
And we may also find that we are able to persuade them on other things.
Isn't that worth seeking?
What kind of a communicator are you?
Are you one who assumes, or one who asks?
Are you one who wants to shoot first and ask questions later, or one who sincerely wants to understand?
What kind of communicator are you?
* * * * * * * *
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 libertarianism the ultimate answer to the world's problems?
Ask Dr. Ruwart
I find it very hard to find flaws in the liberty ideal. Still, I am asking a lot of questions about libertarianism, and probing the libertarian philosophy deeply, because I want to make sure it is truly the
ultimate answer to the world's problems. What do you think?
MY SHORT ANSWER:
We always need to question our values and keep open minds. Otherwise, where is freedom of thought?
You ask questions to determine whether liberty is the ultimate answer to the world's problems, whether liberty will ever fail us. I would say, as trite as it sounds, that love is the ultimate answer and that liberty, or political freedom, is one aspect of that love. Without love, liberty will be fleeting. If you are looking for the ultimate answer, you need to look one step beyond liberty.
If we are loving towards each other, we won't assault, steal from, or defraud one person to give to another. If someone is in need, we give of ourselves. If another person doesn't want to help, we honor their choice out of that same love. When we love, we are not tempted to aggress."
* * * * * * * * * *
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
The Value of Your UN-published Letter to the Editor
Published letters to the editor are tremendously valuable for the liberty movement. Using advertising costs as a comparison, a small published letter is the equivalent of an ad for libertarianism worth several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the circulation of the newspaper. Further, the letters column is one of the best-read sections of a newspaper.
So a published letter is a huge return on your letter-writing investment.
But what about letters that don’t get published?
Surprisingly, they, too, can have significant value.
Libertarian and economist Donald J. Boudreaux is surely the king of liberty letter writers. Nearly every day he writes a letter to the editor of a newspaper or magazine.
Don’s letters are usually short and to the point -- about 150 words. (He knows that shorter letters generally have a far better chance of being published.)
His libertarian letters regularly appear in leading national newspapers and magazines.
Yet, as he acknowledges, “Only about 7 percent of these letters get published. The overwhelming majority never appear in print.”
Why, then, does he write so many letters? It’s not that he’s got too much time on his hands. Don is a professor of economics at George Mason University, has lectured around much of the world, and publishes popular and scholarly articles in some of the world’s most influential publications.
Don gives several reasons for why he writes his near-daily letters in a fascinating 2010 article
entitled “Letters, he writes letters” in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. I highly recommend it.
For this column, I want to focus on one of those reasons.
Don writes: “[A]t least some of my unpublished letters find their way to the pundits or reporters whose mistakes prompted me to write. I know some of my unpublished letters get through to these writers because I sometimes receive emails from them, either to challenge my interpretation of what they wrote or to ask questions about why my understanding of economics differs from theirs.
“I have no idea whether I've ever changed the mind of even a single pundit or reporter, but it's satisfying to know that they read my letters, at least occasionally, and might then be prompted to improve their understanding of economics.”
This is an important point. Even your unpublished letters can have a significant effect on some very influential people. Your letter may stimulate a future column, open an editor’s mind to a different viewpoint, or reassure an editor that a pro-liberty editorial he wrote was read and appreciated.
Further, a newspaper that regularly receives letters from a libertarian perspective will learn there is a demand from some readers for coverage of those ideas.
Always remember that when you identify yourself as a libertarian in your letter, you're representing the entire libertarian movement for many readers. You want to win friends, change minds, make a good impression. The communication methods the Advocates teaches can help with that.
Every letter writer gets rejected sometimes. It’s gratifying to know that even the rejected letters can have a significant impact.
Incidentally, you can have the pleasure of reading Don’s letters nearly every day -- published and unpublished alike – at Cafe Hayek
, the blog he shares with Russ Roberts, which I highly recommend.
* * * * * *
Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government.
What's Happening with the Advocates
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2013 AND 2014 FREEDOM CRUISES:
Advocates Board Secretary and long-time libertarian leader Dr. Ken Bisson invites you to join him for a Freedom Cruise. 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
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