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Volume 20, Issue 6                              February 12, 2015
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"I would highly recommend that you learn more about the Advocates for Self-Government's views on liberty if you would like to be reminded of what America is supposed to stand for."

— Robert Ringer, bestselling author of Looking Out for #1 and Restoring the American Dream

WELCOME to the Liberator Online!

In This Issue

PRESIDENT'S CORNER
*
Part II: A Libertarian Approach to Black History Month

ACTIVIST AMMUNITION
Libertarian Chinese Immigrant Opens Eyes on Gun Control 
* The Coming Gov't Debt Explosion — and How to Deal with It

THEY SAID IT: NBC's Brian Wilson is the first person to suffer professional consequences for lying about the Iraq War, snarks journalist....  Laurence Vance on what the GOP should do if it really believes in a free market in health care....  Rand Paul tells off the NSA.... John Stossel on politicians, tapeworms, and other parasites.... Libertarianism is America's core philosophy — and it's on the verge of a major breakout, says David Boaz..... 

LIBERTY MINUTE
*
Valentine's Day: Uncle Sam Breaks Taxpayers' Hearts

WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
* Advocates at International Students For Liberty Conference
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President's Corner

by Sharon Harris







Part II: A Libertarian Approach to Black History Month  

Dear friends, 

Last issue we examined some resources for Black History Month, a time which opens the door for discussions on issues key to libertarians. 

This week I'm concluding with some more issue-oriented Black History Month resources and talking points. 

First, a look at state-created poverty and unemployment affecting black Americans. 

* "Race and Economics," a short column by economist Walter Williams, examines this often-ignored point. Excerpt: "Some might find it puzzling that during times of gross racial discrimination, black unemployment was lower and blacks were more active in the labor force than they are today. ... During the 1930s, there were a number of federal government interventions that changed the black employment picture."

* Walter Williams looks at the racist outcomes of the minimum wage more closely in "Minimum Wage's Discriminatory Effects." Excerpt: "Minimum wage laws have massive political support, including that of black politicians. That means that many young black males will remain a part of America's permanent underclass with crime, drugs and prison as their future."

* Walter Williams' outstanding 1982 short book The State Against Blacks (long out of print — check your library) — shows how numerous government programs, supposedly enacted to help blacks and the poor, have caused enormous harm to blacks (and others). 

* In his 2004 column "A Painful Anniversary" economist Thomas Sowell argues that the 1960s Great Society / War on Poverty programs helped destroy black families. Excerpt: "The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life."

Government's role in protecting slavery and enforcing Jim Crow laws is often ignored. Yet of course it was government that created and defended such abominable and unlibertarian practices.

* Mary Ruwart points this out in "Wasn't government action necessary to halt slavery and racial oppression?

* In "Discrimination and Liberty" from the Cato Institute, four distinguished libertarian scholars debate aspects of antidiscrimination law. It's a rich and sometimes controversial argument. 

Still another fascinating topic tailor-made for Black History Month is the little-known history of how gun rights helped protect civil rights activists and advance the civil rights movement. 

* For starters, check out "Yes, Guns Are Dangerous. But They Also Save Lives and Secure Civil Rights" by Damon W. Root of Reason magazine. 

* Also see this excellent review of the 2004 book The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement by Lance Hill, from The Nation magazine. This book tells the remarkable story of the Deacons for Defense, who at their peak had several hundred members and twenty-one chapters in the South. 

* "Black Open Carry: Why Gun Rights and Civil Rights Need Each Other" is a provocative new Reason TV video. It examines the little-known long, intertwined history of the gun rights and civil rights movements, from slave revolts to Reconstruction-era armed resistance to the Black Panther Party. "One of the great untold stories about the civil rights movement was that it required violent resistance from blacks to be effective," says historian Thaddeus Russell. Seven eye-opening minutes in length. 

In Liberty,
 
Sharon
 
NEXT ISSUE: "Ask Dr. Ruwart"... and more!
 
* * *
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Learn more about the Advocates and our work for liberty.

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Activist Ammunition

by James W. Harris





Libertarian Chinese Immigrant Opens Eyes on Gun Control 

Lily Tang Williams immigrated to the United States when she was 24 to escape communist rule in China. Having grown up under Mao Zedong's tyrannical communist regime, she doesn't take her rights for granted — including the right to keep and bear arms. 

Today she's a U.S. citizen, a Libertarian Party member, Colorado Director of 2012 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson's Our America Initiative, and all-around liberty activist. 

On February 2 she testified before the Colorado State Legislature, urging the repeal of gun control laws passed in 2013. Her powerful testimony is spreading around the web. 

Here's what she said. 

"I was born and grew up in People's Republic of China, where the Communist Party rules everything. Chinese citizens are not allowed to have any guns ever since the Communist Party took over in 1949. So, Chinese people are left helpless when they need to defend themselves. I grew up with fear like millions of other children. Fear police will pound our doors at night for no good reason (search warrant is not necessary for them to do that), fear bad guys will come to rob us (there were crimes in our poor neighborhood), fear my parents and brothers would get hurt and taken away. I have seen local people who defend themselves with kitchen knives, rocks, glass bottles and sticks against criminals. But when it comes to dealing with the Chinese government and police brutality, there is nothing we could do. 

"Remember June 4th Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989? Our own soldiers, ordered by the top leaders in Beijing, killed thousands of students. Even though the local residents were supporting students, they had no ways to help them. Some Beijing residents begged for the tanks to stop but they did not. What if the residents and students had guns? What if there was militia in China that time? What if the citizens had unlimited magazines? The history might have been different.

"Why do you limit our firearms to only 15-round magazines? Do the criminals limit theirs? Does the government limit theirs? If we use our guns primarily for self defense, I need as many magazines as needed to defend my family and myself because I am a bad shot. It seems not fair at all to limit law abiding citizens' ability for self defense. What if the shop owners only could fire 15 times during the famous LA riot? What if the home owners ran out of bullets during the looting after Hurricane Katrina? What happens if the ranchers near the border have to face a big group of drug cartels who threaten them? How about the famous cases of our government gone wild: Ruby Ridge, Waco, Texas, Athens, Tennessee — a small town in the U.S.A at the end of the World War II, where the local dictators wanted to highjack the election results with their guns, [but] local residents organized and armed themselves to take their town back?

"I came to the U.S. for freedom, including the freedom granted by the Second Amendment: the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. When I held my own gun for the first time in my life in this country, I felt empowered and for the first time, I felt free.

"If the Communist government took my gun rights away, why are you limiting my gun rights in Colorado? Are you becoming communists? I hope not. I lived under tyranny for 24 years, I do not want to ever live under it again.

"Please vote as if the Constitution actually means something, because it does! Didn't you swear that you would uphold the U.S. Constitution and Colorado constitution when you became a House representative? I urge you to vote yes on HB15-1009, Repeal Large Ammo Magazine Ban, making our beautiful state free again. Thank you."

The Coming Gov't Debt Explosion — and How to Deal with It

The U.S. ship of state is sailing full steam ahead — straight toward a massive debt iceberg. 

Here are some genuinely shocking figures from "Medicare and Social Security Tabs Coming Due," an article by Michael Tanner, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, in the March 2015 issue of Reason magazine:

*  The national debt recently reached $18 trillion — approximately 101 percent of the United States' GDP.

* The Congressional Budget Office projects the debt will rise to $27.3 trillion within the next decade. 

* But those numbers are actually far too low — because they ignore Social Security and Medicare's unfunded liabilities. Add those in, and the national debt hits $90.6 trillion.

* Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are responsible for fully 47 percent — nearly half — of federal spending, and they continue to grow. 

* Social Security has a $24.9 trillion shortfall, while Medicare has $48 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Should healthcare costs rise, the Medicare figure could soar to $88 trillion. 

* Just this year, Social Security will have a $69 billion cash-flow deficit. Every year after, that shortfall will worsen. And Medicare is in even worse financial shape than Social Security.

In an article at Vice News last January, Tanner described the difficult choices we face: 

"To pay all the benefits promised in the future, Social Security would have to increase the payroll tax by as much as half, or find that revenue elsewhere. The government can always cut benefits, but without a tax increase those benefits would have to eventually be slashed by 23 percent. That would be very hard for seniors who depend on the program to get by."

What to do about these problems? You can read Cato's proposals for reforming Social Security at their Social Security reform website

Cato's research and proposals for health care and welfare reform (including Medicare and Medicaid and Obamacare) can be found here

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Harry Browne offered his plan for replacing Social Security with consumer-based choices in his 1996 book The Great Libertarian Offer. Though the numbers are a bit dated, his explanation of Social Security's problems, and his solution, remain very relevant, elegant, and easy to read and understand. 

For a quick overview of genuine market-based health care reform, see this short 2015 article "What True Health Care Reform Would Look Like" by Matt Battaglioli, published by the Mises Institute. 

Finally, see "How to Eliminate Social Security and Medicare" by George Reisman (Mises Institute, 2011) for more reasons why these programs should be eliminated, and a plan to accomplish this.

* * * 
Activist 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 FIRST AND ONLY: "BREAKING: Brian Williams becomes first person in human history to suffer professional consequences for lying about the Iraq War." — tweet from Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress, February 10, 2015. 

GOP VS. MEDICAL FREEDOM: "House Republicans have voted yet again to repeal Obamacare. ... Of course, there is a greater chance that the sun will not rise tomorrow than that Obama would sign the bill to repeal the healthcare law that bears his name. But if the Republicans are so interested in a free market in health care, why don't they vote to repeal Medicaid, Medicare, and Bushcare (the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003)? The answer is that Republicans and conservatives don't believe in medical freedom at all." — Laurence M. Vance, "The Stupid Party Strikes Again," LewRockwell.com blog, February 4, 2015.

RAND PAUL SLAMS NSA: "It's none of their damn business what you do on your phone." — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), criticizing the National Security Agency (NSA) during a rally in Ames, Iowa, February 6, 2015. 

JOHN STOSSEL ON POLITICIANS, TAPEWORMS AND OTHER PARASITES: "Compare politicians and politicians' cronies to tapeworms and ticks. Like parasites in nature, the ticks on the body politic don't want to kill the host organism — meaning us. It's in politicians' and regulators' interest to keep the host alive so they can keep eating our food and sucking our blood. After watching members of Congress applaud President Obama during his last State of the Union address, I came to think that politicians were worse than tapeworms and ticks. ... At least tapeworms and ticks don't expect us to clap." — award-winning libertarian journalist John Stossel, "Parasites," syndicated column, February 4, 2015. 

LIBERTARIANISM, AMERICA'S CORE PHILOSOPHY: "Libertarianism, a belief in what Adam Smith called 'the obvious and simple system of natural liberty,' is the core philosophy of America. The first colonists fled aristocratic Europe to find religious liberty, individualism, and economic opportunity. They declared their belief in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. American history has been a struggle between liberty and power, between those who wanted to defend and extend the liberties guaranteed in the Constitution and those who wanted to make the United States more like the countries our ancestors left, with powerful and paternalistic government. Throughout our history, libertarian sentiments have been rekindled when the federal government has grown beyond what Americans will tolerate — such as the past few years. ... Libertarianism is the framework for a future of freedom, growth, and progress, and it may be on the verge of a political breakout." — Cato Institute executive vice president David Boaz, "Libertarianism Is on the Verge of a Political Breakout," TIME, Feb. 5, 2015. Check out Boaz's great new book The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom
 
*  *  *
"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.

One-Minute Liberty Tip 

by Sharon Harris




Valentine's Day: Uncle Sam Breaks Taxpayers' Hearts

As I often point out, holidays can be a great time to share libertarian ideas with family and friends. It's even more fun and effective if you've gathered liberty-themed facts, figures and stories specific for each holiday. We often share such information in the Liberator Online as a holiday nears.

With Valentine's Day upon us, I'm pleased to present the following information from Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) about how much government is adding to the cost of your Valentine's Day celebration. It's shocking stuff, sweetened just a bit by ATR's trademark humor. You can share it online, too, by using this link


Government Versus Valentine's Day
(from Hayley Robinson, Americans for Tax Reform)

This Saturday is Valentine's Day. Romantics all over the nation have spent the week buying gifts and making dinner plans, all at a considerable price. Last year the National Retail Federation estimated consumers would spend a whopping $17.3 billion on Valentine's Day — an average of $133.91 per person.

But that price is driven up enormously by an unexpected third wheel — Uncle Sam. Valentine lovers certainly won't love discovering that, for almost every part of the day spent with that special someone, government taxes and fees send costs skyrocketing.

Consider:

Roses and Valentine's Cards: These are romantic must-haves for many people. An estimated 233 million roses are grown for Valentine's Day, and consumers will spend $1.9 billion on flowers145 million Valentine's cards will be purchased for the occasion. Over $1 billion of the money spent on cards and flowers goes to... you know who. 

A Romantic Dinner for... Three? Yep, save a chair at the table for Uncle Sam. $3.5 billion is spent dining out on Valentine's Day — and a hard-to-swallow 31% of the cost of your bill comes from government taxes.

Wine: If you've been saving a nice bottle of wine for the occasion, be sure to savor it — 33% of the cost is due to government. That's enough to drive you to drink... if you could afford all the taxes. 

Chocolate: Consumers will spend nearly $1.3 billion on chocolate. Of this, 31% will be paid to the government. Ugh — that dessert just got a little less sweet.

Jewelry: In 2013, 6 million people expected or planned a marriage proposal on Valentine's Day. In 2014 it was projected that $3.9 billion would be spent on diamonds, gold, and silver. But beware, the government is standing right there beside you as you pledge your love — and taking a 36% cut of the cost of your glittering symbols of love. 

Cell Phones: If you're in a long-distance relationship and can't travel to see your sweetheart, hopefully you'll still be able to give them a call. You might want to keep it short, though: Uncle Sam will be on the line as well, and he'll be responsible for 40% of the cost of your bill. 

Travelling: Making a surprise visit to your long-distance loved one? Whether you're driving or flying, you're paying Uncle Sam for the privilege. Last year 45% of the cost of gasoline was due to government taxation, while other taxes and fees accounted for 44% of the cost of airfare. An annoying backseat driver or snoring seat mate would be much better than the travel companionship offered by Uncle Sam.

ATR sums it up this way: "Single or steady, taxpayers will remain heartbroken this Valentine's Day — when it comes to the costs imposed by the government." 

*  *  *
Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government. 

What's Happening with the Advocates

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