Volume 16, No. 6                                                                                                                     March 25, 2011

The Liberator Online

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

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In This Issue

* Spring: Operation Politically Homeless (OPH) Time!

* President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Clinton All Agree: The War in Libya is Unconstitutional
* Free E-book: The Case for Gold by Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman
* The Broken Window Fallacy: The “Benefit” to Japan of Floods, Earthquakes, and Radiation

THEY SAID IT: Jacob Sullum on Obama's new war.... Jay Leno on "change".... Jon Stewart on caging people without evidence .... John Stossel on the unholy union between government and corporations....
* What's Your Worst Communication Habit?

* Is libertarianism the "ultimate answer" to the world's problems?

* Promoting Liberty with Free Quiz App
* Sharon Harris speaking in North Carolina and Tennessee
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups!
* Join the Advocates on Twitter.
* Join the Advocates Facebook Fan Club.


by Sharon Harris

Spring: Operation Politically Homeless (OPH) Time!

Dear friend,
Spring is here! And spring is a great time to take the ideas of liberty to your community, discover new supporters and members for your libertarian organization -- and HAVE FUN doing so.
OPH -- Operation Politically Homeless -- can help you do it.
OPH is the Advocates' acclaimed "event in a kit" that can help you discover dozens or even hundreds of libertarian-leaning folks in your community. OPH is one of the great success stories of the libertarian movement. Hundreds of thousands of people have encountered the ideas of liberty through OPH. And millions more people are out there, just waiting for someone -- maybe you? -- to introduce them to libertarianism.
OPH works like magic. Wherever people are gathered, OPH will attract them. It will let you identify libertarian-leaning individuals and get the names and contact information.
Spring offers special opportunities for OPH, as the warm weather brings people to outdoor events, such as (to name just a few) art fairs, political rallies, rock festivals, gun shows, Tea Party events…
And one of the most amazing things about OPH is that it's... FUN!
Libertarian outreach -- fun? You bet! Over and over again, I've heard OPH users
say that.
Don't take my word for it. Here’s what libertarian activists have said over the years:
"I've been doing OPH for several years. I have administered thousands of Quizzes, seen people with all manner of political views, been asked questions ranging from the insightful to the provocative to the absurd, and generally had fun. That's right, *I had fun*." -- Scott Kjar.
"I ended up staying four hours simply because it was so much fun!" -- Reg Dominy.
"Folks, OPH has got to be one of the best PR devices ever invented! We signed up new members and made lots of friends. The neatest thing about OPH is that it works so well, and it's just so much fun for everybody." -- Dave Tartaglia.
"It is fun. Usually we'll have a couple of dozen people standing around the booth, a big crowd. Most of the time people just jump right into it. They really want to talk these questions out." -- Kirk Applegate, Ohio.
(Read lots more such testimonials here.)
OPH is a great volunteer activity. Newcomers and veterans alike can do it with ease. Each OPH kit provides everything you need, including banners, posters, Quiz cards and even "how to" training materials.
Somewhere near you, this weekend there will be an event -- a political rally, a county fair, a concert, a neighborhood party -- that is PERFECT for OPH. Will OPH be there? It's up to you.
Let me close with one person’s personal OPH story.
“I first encountered the World’s Smallest Political Quiz at an OPH booth hosted by local Libertarians on the University of Michigan campus in 1996. I joined the Libertarian Party shortly after that eye-opening experience. I’ve been a big user and promoter of OPH booths ever since!
“Almost every time I’ve ever been asked to present to a student group, I bring an OPH kit, and that’s true whether it’s a college or high school class. Administering the World’s Smallest Political Quiz is such a great way to get the conversation started.”
That person is… Wes Benedict: Executive Director of the national Libertarian Party.
How many more activists of this caliber are out there – just waiting to be introduced to the libertarian movement by an OPH booth?
How much stronger would our movement be if hundreds of OPHs were conducted across America this year – discovering thousands of eager new libertarian activists, supporters, donors and voters?
Learn about OPH -- and see photos of OPH in action.
Students: The Advocates will GIVE your campus libertarian group a FREE OPH kit. Get started right away discovering new libertarians on your campus!
Thank you -- and Happy Spring!
In Liberty,

                                    * * *

The purpose of the Liberator Online is to build a stronger movement for liberty. We do this by providing information about the libertarian movement and how to best communicate the ideas of liberty. Thank you for being a part of this!

Learn more about the Advocates and our work for liberty.

Learn more about libertarianism -- the philosophy of liberty.
-- Sharon Harris, President | Email

Intellectual Ammunition

by James W. Harris

President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Clinton All Agree: The War in Libya is Unconstitutional

Yep, that’s what they said… before they were elected or appointed to their respective offices, that is.
Obama: "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." -- Sen. Barack Obama, running for president, Boston Globe, Dec. 2007.
Biden: “It is precisely because the consequences of war -- intended or otherwise -- can be so profound and complicated that our Founding Fathers vested in Congress, not the President, the power to initiate war, except to repel an imminent attack on the United States or its citizens.
“They reasoned that requiring the President to come to Congress first would slow things down and allow for more careful decision making before sending Americans to fight and die – and ensure broader public support.
“The Founding Fathers were, as in most things, profoundly right. …The Constitution is clear: except in response to an attack or the imminent threat of attack, only Congress may authorize war and the use of force." – Senator (now Vice President) Joseph Biden, running for president, Boston Globe, Dec. 2007.
Biden (again): “Congress' responsibilities could not be clearer. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution grants to Congress the power `to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal and to make rules concerning captures on land and water.' … The rationale for vesting the power to launch war in Congress was simple. The Framers' views were dominated by their experience with the British King, who had unfettered power to start wars. Such powers the Framers were determined to deny the President.” – Senator (now Vice President) Joseph Biden, U.S. Senate, July 30, 1998. (Source: Congressional Record.)
Clinton: “The President has the solemn duty to defend our Nation. If the country is under truly imminent threat of attack, of course the President must take appropriate action to defend us. At the same time, the Constitution requires Congress to authorize war. I do not believe that the President can take military action -- including any kind of strategic bombing -- against Iran without congressional authorization.”  -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (now Secretary of State), running for president, Boston Globe, Dec. 2007.

Free E-book: The Case for Gold by Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman


In 1982, Rep. Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman served on the U.S. Gold Commission, commissioned by Congress to evaluate the role of gold in the monetary system. Paul and Lehrman produced a landmark minority report: The Case for Gold. Published in book form by the libertarian Cato Institute that year, the report covers the history of gold in the United States, explains how the breakdown in its use as a financial standard was caused by government, and details the critical need for sound money -- where prices reflect market realities, government stays in check, and people retain their freedom.
Now Ron Paul is new chairman of the House Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy -- which oversees the Federal Reserve as well as the currency and the valuation of the dollar. Austrian economics are reaching vast new audiences. And, in a time of economic crisis, there is growing interest in stable, free-market money.
That’s a perfect time for Cato to re-release this great book – and it’s free as a PDF or ePub file for downloading, and free to read on the web.
One of the many highlights: the great Murray Rothbard's superb history of money and banking in chapters two and three. This history reminds us that the citizens of the United States have been subjected to repeated inflations and debasements, most often in the cause of war but also to the benefit of Wall Street.
The ultimate solution to this mess has been proposed by Ron Paul. End the Fed, allow free competition in currency. This book makes the logic of that solution clear.

The Broken Window Fallacy: The "Benefit" to Japan of Floods, Earthquakes, and Radiation

“Bad and discredited ideas, it seems, never die. Neither do they fade away. Instead, they keep turning up, like bad pennies or Godzilla in the old Japanese movies.”
So said the great libertarian economist Murray N. Rothbard.
We’re seeing the latest manifestation of this in comments on the terrible earthquake and tsunami tragedy in Japan. Some commentators are arguing that this awful tragedy has a silver lining: the economy will benefit by jobs and other economic activity that will be created by the clean-up and rebuilding.
Photo: judepics
The idea that overall wealth can somehow come from disaster and destruction is called “The Broken Window Fallacy.” The name comes from a wonderful 1850 essay by the witty French free-market economist Frederic Bastiat (see just below). The Fallacy was explained to modern readers by Henry Hazlitt in his classic Economics In One Lesson (also just below).
The Broken Window Fallacy is not only bad thinking. The crazy logic of it leads to endless bad economic policies. You can see this fallacy at work in the recent “cash for clunkers” boondoggle, which led to the destruction of numerous perfectly good cars in an attempt to create jobs. You can see it in government stimulus spending intended to create jobs by taking money from some people and giving it to others (while ignoring what the money would have done if left in the hands of those who earned it).
Here are some text and video guides:
* “Economic Lunacy” is the title of a column by economist Walter William that discusses the latest manifestations of the Broken Window Fallacy,found in the tragedy of Japan.
* John Stossel's Broken Window Fallacy: The award-winning libertarian journalist debunks the Broken Window Fallacy in this short (2:41) entertaining video.
* The Broken Window Fallacy: This short (3:32) video provides a nice summary of the Fallacy, after beginning with a few downright creepy examples of the Fallacy as articulated by liberal economist Paul Krugman.
* The Broken Window: This short excerpt from Economics in One Lesson, Henry Hazlitt’s classic introduction to free-market economics, succinctly explains the Fallacy.
* The Broken Window: Here is the famous 1850 essay by Bastiat, along with some other related writings of his.

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

They Said It...

“The regimes that endorsed the war with Libya -- supposedly justified by outrage over ‘gross and systematic violation of human rights’ -- include quite a few, such as Gabon, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, that are guilty of the same crimes. … There is no moral consistency, and little rhyme or reason, to the U.S. government's decisions about which brutal dictators to challenge, which to leave alone, and which to support as allies.” -- Jacob Sullum, “Obama's War of Choice: The dangerously open-ended rationale for attacking Libya, Reason Magazine", March 23, 2011.
LENO ON OBAMA’S POLICY CHANGE: "Remember when President Obama said we can’t fight two wars and vowed to change our policy? Well, he did. Now we’re fighting three wars." -- Jay Leno, March 21, 2011. [Actually, it’s five wars, if you count Pakistan and Yemen. – Editor.]
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRISONS AND ZOOS: "I’m not a lawyer… but I always thought the point of evidence was that if you didn't have enough, you're not allowed to keep them in prison. It's one of the many differences we have in this country between prisons and zoos. You don't really need anything on an aardvark." -- Jon Stewart on Obama’s decision to continue indefinite detention and military tribunals at Guantanamo, March 9, 2011.
STOSSEL ON GOV’T AND BIG BUSINESS: “Businesses love to have government as their partner. There's safety in it. Why take chances in a marketplace full of fickle consumers and investors, when you can get secure money and favors from the taxpayers? It's an old story, and free-market advocates as far back as Adam Smith warned against it. Unfortunately, too many people think ‘free market’ means pro-business. It doesn't. Free market means laissez faire -- prohibit force and fraud, but otherwise leave the marketplace alone. No subsidies, no privileges, no arbitrary regulations. Competition is the most effective regulator.” – award-winning journalist John Stossel in his column “Corporate Welfare," March 23, 2011.

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


by Michael Cloud

What's Your Worst Communication Habit?

Which habit causes you the most trouble in conversations?
Which habit stands in the way of you winning others over to your ideas?
Not listening? Only listening with part of your attention?
Putting down the other person or his opinions?
Repeating your points?
Talking too loud?
Understanding libertarianism well enough to "buy" it, but NOT well enough to "sell" it to others?
What do you think? In your opinion, what's your worst communication habit?
Whatever answer you come up with, I'd bet the moon that it's really your second-worst habit.
How can I say that? I don't know you. We've never talked. True. But I have personally talked with over 20,000 libertarians in the last 20 years. And I've personally interviewed more than 3,000 about their libertarian conversations.
After hearing my answer, more than 99% of those I asked agreed that their choice for worst habit was actually their second worst -- and that my suggestion was really their worst communication habit.
What's my nominee for worst?
The habit of NOT correcting the communication habit that they selected as worst.
The habit of neglecting to repair, remove, or replace the bad communication habit.
The habit of ignoring the self-defeating habit, of doing little or nothing to end it.
The habit of NOT getting rid of the bad habit.
Make it your habit to actively correct your worst habit. Do this repeatedly -- and you will become a far more persuasive libertarian.

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

Ask Dr. Ruwart

Dr. Mary Ruwart is a leading expert in libertarian communication. In this column she offers short answers to real questions about libertarianism. To submit questions to Dr. Ruwart, see end of column.
Is libertarianism the "ultimate answer" to the world's problems?


Question: 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 are your thoughts on this?


Photo: jmscottiMD
My Short Answer: We always need to question our values and keep open minds. Otherwise, where is freedom of thought?

You say you are asking questions to determine whether liberty is the "ultimate answe"’ 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.


* * *  


LEARN MORE: Suggested additional reading on this topic from the Liberator Online editor:

There are libertarians of every religious persuasion (and none). Here are two sources for learning more about why Christian libertarians reject force out of love and respect for others. (Libertarians of other faiths will find much to agree with in both pieces.)
* “Thoughts On the Word ‘We’” by Doug Stuart. This short piece is from the website, an excellent source for learning more about how some libertarian Christians believe their religious and political views are in harmony.
Excerpt: “It is not a Christian duty to ensure that our subjective preferences are imposed upon those around us who may and do have very different preferences. It is our Christian duty to love our neighbor and fight injustice. To seek a just society means we must advocate for a free society where individuals are embraced as unique and worthy of being handed the power to their own lives. We must oppose a planned social order and seek a free one because we know that groups that emerge spontaneously through free association are likelier to provide a social benefit because people are free to participate. Their benefit to the individual and to society depends largely on the extent to which these groups are joined voluntarily. Forcing people to belong to and identify with the collective effort of seeking social justice will create a society that is neither social nor just.”
* “Must a Christian be a Libertarian?” by Clifford F. Thies. economist and long-time libertarian activist, explores religion and libertarianism in this 1996 speech.
Excerpt: “Because we are commanded to love one another, we cannot be morally neutral. But because we respect the limits on our authority, and we trust in God’s plan of salvation, we do not violently intervene into the lives of others. … It's with loving kindness, not coercive force, that we are to uphold each other.” 

* * * * * * * *

Got questions?  Dr. Ruwart has answers! If you'd like answers to YOUR "tough questions" on libertarian issues, email Dr. Ruwart at:
Due to volume, Dr. Ruwart can't personally acknowledge all emails. But we'll run the best questions and answers in upcoming issues.

Dr. Ruwart's previous Liberator Online answers are archived in searchable form.
Dr. Ruwart's outstanding book Healing Our World is available from the Advocates.

One-Minute Liberty Tip 

By Sharon Harris

Promote Liberty with Free Quiz App
Since 1987, libertarians have carried the World’s Smallest Political Quiz on cards in their pockets, wallets and purses – so they’d always have the most acclaimed outreach tool in the libertarian movement with them whenever they wanted to explain and explore libertarian ideas.
(You can get those Quiz cards here – the Deluxe Quiz is my recommended format, and by far the most popular.)
But now you can carry the Quiz with you in another way: as an app for your iPhone, iPad, or Android.
The colorful and attractive Quiz app lets you instantly test your friends and acquaintances with the Quiz's ten simple questions that predict their political leanings with startling accuracy.
It works just like the online Quiz. You just tap in your answers to the questions. Then watch as a red dot moves around the chart to finally land on your political position.
Quiz takers can also tap “More Information” to learn about the Quiz, the Advocates, and to visit the Advocates Web page.
Also, tap each of the five political positions on the chart – Left (Liberal), Right (Conservative), Centrist, Statist, and Libertarian – for a concise description of these views.
This Quiz app is fun -- it's a great conversation starter, activism tool, and a fast way to show liberty-minded people there really is a place for them outside the simplistic "Left-Right" political model.
And the app is free. Just go to the App Store on your iPhone or iPad, or "The Market" on your Android, type in "World’s Smallest Political Quiz"… and download it in seconds.
Thanks to longtime Advocates friend and current Advocates Board member Hardy Macia and his company Catamount Software, you can now have the World's Smallest Political Quiz wherever you go!
Get the Quiz for your iPhone, iPad, or Android today – and pass the word on to your friends who use these devices.
PS: After you try the Quiz app, please take a few moments to rate it and leave a rating and short review. You can do that by going to the App Store and going back to the Quiz App’s description.
Thank you!

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

What's Happening with the Advocates

ADVOCATES PRESIDENT TO SPEAK: Sharon Harris will speak at two events in April. Hope you can attend, and if you do, be sure to say hello to her. She loves to meet Liberator Online subscribers!

 * April 16-17, 2011 - Libertarian Party of North Carolina, Hickory, NC. Find out more.

 * April 29-30, 2011 - Libertarian Party of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. Find out more.

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, contact us today via email for more information on getting your free OPH kit.

JOIN US ON TWITTER:Twitter is the first place to learn about breaking Advocates and liberty movement news, expert communications tips, and exclusive Advocates discounts and specials. (And don't worry -- we won't bombard you with tweets. We're keeping it fun, fast, and useful.)
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 and click the "follow" button below our picture.  

That's all it takes! You'll then get our tweets -- and we can get yours.

BECOME A FAN  OF THE ADVOCATES ON FACEBOOK: The Advocates Fan Page is a Facebook community that offers you a chance to share your ideas on liberty, meet some great people and show your support for the Advocates for Self-Government and liberty. Join and you'll receive regular Facebook updates on Advocates news, communication tips, and special offers for our Facebook friends.
Have any of your Facebook friends already joined? Join yourself and find out! There's no cost, no obligation, and your privacy is fully protected. Thank you!

About Us

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

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