WELCOME to the Liberator Online!
In This Issue
* Right Now: Best Time EVER for Campus OPH!
* Social Security Hits Shocking Milestone
* Juan Williams: "We Are Living in the Age of Ron Paul"
* Over 100 Million Americans Now Getting Federal Welfare
* Poll: Half of Voters Feel Stuck With Lesser of Two Evils
THEY SAID IT
If you're innocent, why do you fear drones spying on you, asks drone proponent... Why Gary Johnson is different... Marijuana legalization will arrive in 5-7 years, some experts say... Ban tornadoes, not guns... Noam Chomsky on the difference between Bush and Obama... Glenn Greenwald says Obama did indeed deliver on his campaign promise of change...
PERSUASION POWER POINT #330
You Might Be a Libertarian If...
ASK DR. RUWART
* Can the private sector replace government-funded space exploration?
ONE-MINUTE LIBERTY TIP
* Word Choices: Politically Incorrect Foods
WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
* 2013 Freedom Cruises
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups!
* Join the Advocates on Twitter
* Join the Advocates on Facebook
by Sharon Harris
Right Now: Best Time EVER for Campus OPH!
In the past few weeks we've shipped out dozens of our OPH outreach kits to campus libertarian organizations.
(If you haven't heard, OPH -- Operation Politically Homeless -- is the acclaimed Advocates tool that transforms an ordinary, ho-hum outreach booth into an exciting and fun event!)
In total we've given OPH kits to more than 600 active campus libertarian groups -- free. (If your school group hasn't got one yet -- or you know a student who needs one -- learn how to get one
FREE here.) Many groups tell us they are getting ready to use these kits for campus outreach in the coming weeks, as fall classes start.
That’s great -- because right now is the best time ever for campus outreach.
First, it’s the beginning of the school year -- always a great time for OPH. Students are walking around campus, checking things out, looking to make new friends and learn about campus organizations. They are ready now more than any other time of the year to check out an eye-catching OPH booth. Some may be actively seeking out the campus libertarian group.
Second, it’s a presidential election season! There’s more interest in politics right now than there will be at any other time -- until four full years from now. Your OPH booth will hit students right at the time when politics is most on their minds.
Finally, not only is this an election year, it is an election in which libertarian ideas are playing an unprecedented role. Never before in any election in history has the world “libertarian” been used so much. Never before have so many students been so interested in the ideas of liberty, or defined themselves as libertarians. Ron Paul is a household name and a campus hero. Pollster John Zogby recently spoke of the growing popularity of Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson among college-age voters.
Bottom line: This is the best time ever to do OPH outreach on your campus! Take advantage of this historic moment. Do as many OPHs as you can in the coming weeks. Build your campus libertarian organization. Take the ideas of liberty to your campus.
Hundreds of active OPHs in the coming weeks will mean THOUSANDS of new libertarian activists discovered, energized and recruited to work for liberty.
Here’s what leaders of the two biggest student libertarian groups have to say about Advocates resources:
"The OPH kits are fantastic on campus, and we're thankful for your efforts." -- Corey Hubbard, Director of Events, Young Americans for Liberty
"This is awesome! What a great resource for students!" -- Clark Ruper, Vice President, Students for Liberty
The next few weeks alone could enormously increase the size, scope and effectiveness of the libertarian movement -- for decades to come.
It’s in your hands.
Seize the day!
* * * * * * * *
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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
by James W. Harris
Social Security Hits Shocking Milestone
"People retiring today are part of the first generation of workers who have paid more in Social Security taxes during their careers than they will receive in benefits after they retire. It's a historic shift that will only get worse for future retirees….
"A married couple retiring last year, after both spouses earned average lifetime wages, paid about $598,000 in Social Security taxes during their careers. They can expect to collect about $556,000 in benefits if the man lives to 82 and the woman lives to 85…"
The Associated Press, based on a study by the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank.
Previous generations received a relatively high return on the Social Security funds seized from them, AP notes.
"If you retired in 1960, you could expect to get back seven times more in benefits than you paid in Social Security taxes, and more if you were a low-income worker, as long as you made it to age 78 for men and 81 for women.
"As recently as 1985, workers at every income level could retire and expect to get more in benefits than they paid in Social Security taxes, though they didn't do quite as well as their parents and grandparents."
Now, however, Social Security is becoming a net loss for the average citizen.
And this is happening as millions of baby boomers hit retirement age, leaving fewer workers paying into an ever more costly program.
"Future generations are going to do worse because either they are going to get fewer benefits or they are going to pay higher taxes," sums up the Urban Institute's Eugene Steuerle.
It is estimated that Social Security will run out of income in 2033, when payroll taxes will only bring in enough to pay about 75 percent of benefits.
Younger workers are now being offered a sorry deal by the political establishment: they must pay even higher taxes, accept lower benefits, face later retirement ages, or be stuck with some painful combination of all three.
Social Security is the largest government program not only in America but in the entire world. It is the single largest expenditure in the U.S. budget.
As Social Security's inherent instability and unfairness becomes more and more obvious, perhaps the more libertarian-leaning post-boomer generations will become sick of being victimized and instead investigate libertarian reforms.
Here are two excellent short articles about libertarian ways to get out of the Social Insecurity quagmire, while protecting those who have been victimized by the government into Social Security dependency:
* "Abolishing Social Security -- Through REAL Privatization"
by Richard M. Ebeling, The Freeman, September 2005. Economist Ebeling explains the problems inherent in Social Security and offers a plan to end the system that will leave all Americans better off.
* "Free to Plan a Secure Retirement"
by Harry Browne. This is an excerpt from the two-time Libertarian Party presidential candidate's excellent 2000 book The Great Libertarian Offer.
Juan Williams: “We Are Living in the Age of Ron Paul”
Award-winning journalist and Fox News political analyst Juan Williams acknowledges
the incredible and ongoing influence of Ron Paul in a new column.
Here are some excerpts:
“Last year in this column I wrote: ‘If you have not been paying attention, it is time to look around and realize that we are living in the political age of Rep. Ron Paul.’ …
“In presidential debates, and until his last days in Congress, Paul has continued to stir revolution in the Republican Party by fighting the GOP establishment.
“During the debates, Paul got Republican audiences to applaud his calls for legalization of drugs, ending criminalization of prostitution and getting American troops out of endless wars around the globe.
“His daring positions won raves from young people, a legion of online fans and contributors while reviving the libertarian wing of the GOP and forcing open the doors of the party to Tea Party energy.
“Despite those accomplishments, the Republican establishment continues to treat Paul like a crazy uncle.
“But Paul is a persistent politician.
“Paul has long argued that the Federal Reserve’s role in monetary policy is at the heart of the nation’s economic problems. … The global financial scandal surrounding the manipulation of the LIBOR interest rates is causing some economic observers to take a second look at Paul’s critique of the Fed’s policies. …
“Cutting the Pentagon’s budget was once dismissed as a lunacy by the political establishment, and especially Republicans. But it has become an increasingly popular position in Congress during Paul’s tenure. …[I]n a tribute to the power of Ron Paul, 74 percent of voters in districts with Republican representatives now also say they want to lower the defense budget.
“As he leaves the political scene, there is no doubt that… Ron Paul has made his mark on American politics.
“We will be living in the age of Ron Paul for many years to come."
Over 100 Million Americans Now Getting Federal Welfare
Over 100 million people in the United States now receive some form of welfare -- and that figure does NOT include Social Security or Medicare.
So says a new study released by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee, as reported
by Daniel Halper in the blog of the conservative Weekly Standard.
An explosion in food stamps and Medicaid users makes up a large percentage of the 100 million.
"Among the major means-tested welfare programs, since 2000 Medicaid has increased from 34 million people to 54 million in 2011 and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) from 17 million to 45 million in 2011," says the Senate Budget Committee.
But a vast number of other federal programs are also doling out dependency.
"The federal government administers nearly 80 different overlapping federal means-tested welfare programs," the Senate Budget Committee notes.
Further, these incredible numbers are expected to rise.
"Spending on food stamps alone is projected to reach $800 billion over the next decade," the Senate Budget Committee says.
Poll: Half of Voters Feel Stuck With Lesser of Two Evils
A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of "likely U.S. voters" finds
that a whopping 46% say their presidential vote will not be for a candidate they like. Rather, it will be a choice between the lesser of two evils.
On July 29-30, the sampling was asked: "When looking at a choice between Obama and Romney, is it a choice you are excited about or will you simply be voting for the lesser of two evils?"
Only 45% said they were "excited" about their choice.
Of course, if Rasmussen had included Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson in their poll, they might have found more people excited about their vote.
* * * * * * * *
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...
IF YOU’RE INNOCENT WHY DO YOU FEAR DRONES:
"If you're concerned about it, maybe there's a reason we should be flying over you, right?" -- Douglas McDonald
, director of special operations for Unmanned Applications Institute International, which trains police to use drones to surveil citizens. Quoted in “Spies in the sky signal new age of surveillance,” Minnesota Star Tribune, July 22, 2012.
LIBERTARIAN GARY JOHNSON IS DIFFERENT:
“The majority of Americans are fiscally responsible, socially accepting. I’m in that category. That said, I’m different than t
he other two [presidential candidates] in several categories. I’m the only candidate that doesn’t want to bomb Iran. I’m the only candidate that wants to get out of Afghanistan tomorrow, bring the troops home. I’m the only candidate that’s talking about marriage equality from the standpoint of it being a constitutionally guaranteed right. Let’s end the drug wars. Let’s repeal the Patriot Act. I would have never signed Defense Authorization Act. Let’s balance the federal budget tomorrow. Let’s abolish the IRS. Let’s eliminate the income tax, corporate tax, and replace it with one federal consumption tax. These are big differences with the other two.” -- Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson
, interviewed by Politico, "Libertarian Gary Johnson aims for presidential debates," July 24, 2012.
MARIJUANA RE-LEGALIZATION IS COMING SOON:
“Support for legalization is (no other way to put it) higher than ever, and rising. That's partly demographics -- the young are more into pot than their elders, who aren't sticking around. But it's something else, too: The status quo, people are starting to notice, is a total disaster.
“The prohibition on marijuana -- a relatively benign drug when used responsibly by adults, and a teddy bear compared to alcohol and tobacco -- has done an impressive job of racking up racially-biased arrests; throwing people in jail; burning up police time and money; propping up a $30 billion illegal market; and enriching psychotic Mexican drug lords. …Most pot activists and policy analysts I spoke to put the timeframe for legalization at 5-7 years, tops.” -- Julian Brookes
, "Pot Legalization Is Coming," Rolling Stone, July 26, 2012.
BAN TORNADOES, NOT GUNS:
“Laws banning guns are as effective as laws banning tornadoes. Norway’s severely restrictive gun laws didn’t prevent the mass murder of 77 people there last year. Conversely, Switzerland’s policy of having all its citizens armed hasn’t led to killing sprees. Before there were firearms, people slaughtered each other with swords, clubs and rocks. Murder will not be eliminated by eliminating the instruments of death.” -- Randy Alcorn
, "Harboring the delusion of gun control," Santa Maria Times, August 05, 2012.
NOAM CHOMSKY ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BUSH AND OBAMA:
“If the Bush administration didn’t like somebody, they’d kidnap them and send them to torture chambers. If the Obama administration decides they don’t like somebody, they murder them.” -- leftist activist Noam Chomsky
on the radio show Democracy Now, May 14, 2012.
CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN:
“In fairness to Obama, he did campaign on a promise of change, and vesting the President with the power to order the execution of citizens in secret and with no oversight certainly qualifies as that.” – liberal civil liberties blogger Glenn Greenwald
, "Obama the Pioneer," Salon.com, Aug 4, 2012.
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"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.
You Might Be a Libertarian If...
by Michael Cloud
In 1989, comedian Jeff Foxworthy published a book called You Might Be a Redneck If...
It was filled with one-liners such as:
"If you've ever brought an open beer to a job interview...you might be a redneck."
"If you've ever been involved in a custody fight over a hunting dog... you might be a redneck."
"If you consider the fifth grade your senior year... you might be a redneck."
The book sold well -- and continues to sell today. Jeff Foxworthy became a very successful stand-up comedian. And the slogan became extremely well known.
That year, so
me libertarians started doing knock-off one-liners of Mr. Foxworthy's slogan.
Except our one-liners ended with "...you might be a libertarian."
A few months ago, I remembered the fun we had, and wrote a few new one-liners.
"If you believe that public schooling impairs more thinking than marijuana... you might be a libertarian."
"If you're sure that Social Security rips off more Americans than Bernie Madoff... you might be a libertarian."
"If you think that gun control means having a steady aim... you might be a libertarian."
"If you believe capitalist acts between consenting adults should be legal... you might be a libertarian." (Thanks to libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick for the great phrase "capitalist acts between consenting adults.")
"If you vote as an act of self-defense... you might be a libertarian."
"If you wear a seat belt despite the fact it's required by law... you might be a libertarian."
Sometimes humor and laughter can help people see the truth. Sometimes they can set us free.
Maybe you can come up with a few smart and funny one-liners that fit in the "...you might be a libertarian"
Try it and see. You could be funnier than your family thinks.
Remember Mark Twain's insight: "Nothing can stand against the assault of laughter."
* * * * * * * *
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.
Can the private sector replace government-funded space exploration?
Ask Dr. Ruwart
Libertarians favor getting the government out of space exploration, and allowing private enterprise to take over. But except for space tourism and satellite launching -- two extremely niche markets -- what motivation would private companies have for exploration missions like Voyager 1 and 2, the Mars missions, and the upcoming missions to seek out life on Europa?
A discovery of microbial life on Europa, for example, has unarguable value to the human race as a species. But I have difficulty seeing how such a discovery could interest investors -- much less investors who many not live to see its fruits, if any.
MY SHORT ANSWER:
My guess is that companies involved in space exploration for profit might wish to invest in the next step -- exploring other planets -- as well. After all, other planets might have valuable mineral deposits or other potential for profitability. Businesses will be alert to any and every opportunity to make a profit.
Even if they weren't, however, the private sector is composed of more than for-profit businesses. There is the vast world of non-profits. You and the millions of others who want to explore new worlds could join together and fund such efforts. Instead of space exploration becoming a political football, you’d have dependable support. And those who don’t feel as you wouldn’t have their hard-earned money taken from them at gunpoint (taxation) for space exploration. Everyone gets what they want.
* * * * * * * * * *
Suggestions for further information on this topic by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris:
1) “Rocket Men: Meet the 21st-century pioneers who want to take you into space”
by Katherine Mangu-Ward. This article from the February 2012 special space exploration issue of the libertarian magazine Reason points out that government is dropping the ball on space exploration, and the hope for the future of this incredibly important field lies in the private sector. Excellent overview.
“For decades space enthusiasts and libertarian dreamers have imagined a future where robust competition replaces top-down bureaucracy in the provision of extra-atmospheric travel. … But thanks to a convergence of technological development, regulatory breathing room, and budgetary austerity, that future is now.”
2) “Space X's Elon Musk: "I think it would be cool to be born on Earth and die on Mars. Hopefully not at the point of impact."
by Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason.com, March15, 2012. Short profile, with links, of one of today’s space entrepreneurs.
“Ask him why it's important to go to Mars, and his answer starts in the primordial soup and ends with the declaration that ‘it's all about making life multiplanetary,’ as an insurance policy for humanity among other reasons.”
3) Reason magazine special space exploration issue
, February 2012. Lots more libertarian space exploration commentary.
* * * * * * * * * *
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 outstanding book Healing Our World
is available from the Advocates.
One-Minute Liberty Tip
By Sharon Harris
Word Choice: Politically Incorrect Food
Last issue I pointed out the popularity of the phrase “politically incorrect” among so many conservatives and liberals.
That, I wrote, gives us a valuable phase useful in discussing the War on Drugs: “politically incorrect drugs.”
Now I'd like to offer a variation on that idea. In recent years we've seen an explosion of attempts by government to control, regulate and even outlaw foods deemed unhealthy for us.
Perhaps the most notorious current example is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s restrictions on the sale of certain sizes of soda.
When we apply the “politically incorrect” idea to such nanny-state food bans, we get something like this:
“Now the government is trying to ban 'politically incorrect foods.' What’s next?”
You can follow that up with arguments along these lines:
“Haven't they got something more important to do?”
“Why is it any of their business what you choose to eat?”
…and so on.
It’s a nice and very populist phrase to ridicule the government and win listeners to your side, in the right situations.
And from there, you can often lead them further. Perhaps to a discussion of “politically incorrect drugs,” the right to make personal lifestyle choices for yourself, and much more. Maybe even all the way to liberty!
* * * * * *
Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government.
What's Happening with the Advocates
2013 FREEDOM CRUISES: Advocates Board Chair and longtime libertarian leader Dr. Ken Bisson invites you to join him for Freedom Cruises in January and May 2013. Enjoy a wonderful trip on a luxury cruiser – at a bargain rate! January 2013 itinerary: an Eastern Caribbean cruise to Grand Turk, St. Maarten, and San Juan. May 2013 itinerary: The 7 day "Castles Along the Rhine,” cruising between Basel, Switzerland and Amsterdam, with a great opportunity to enjoy a few extra days in Europe on either end of your cruise. Non-libertarians welcome! Great food and fine company. (This isn't an Advocates event, but libertarians who have been on past cruises rave about them.) For photos and more details -- or to sign up for free, no-pressure, no-commitment email updates -- visit Freedom Cruises.
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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Joining the conversation is easy. If you don't already have a Twitter account, it only takes a few moments to sign up for one
Then go to the Advocates Twitter account
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That's all it takes! You'll then get our tweets -- and we can get yours.
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