WELCOME to the Liberator Online!
In This Issue
* SFL's Student Activist of the Year
* U.S. Foreign Policy: Costs and Solutions
* Government Growth and Spending
* Arguing Against the War on Drugs
THEY SAID IT:
Conan O'Brien on President's Day.... Jay Leno on Middle East democracy.... Laurence Vance on the War on Drugs.... Sallie James on cotton subsidies.
PERSUASION POWER POINT #304
* Friendliness Opens More Hearts and Minds by Michael Cloud
ASK DR. RUWART
* How Will Ending the Income Tax Help the Poor?
ONE-MINUTE LIBERTY TIP
* Successfully Arguing for a New Foreign Policy for America
WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups!
* Join the Advocates on Twitter.
* Join the Advocates Facebook Fan Club.
by Sharon Harris, Advocates President
SFL's Student Activist of the Year
Congratulations to Michelle Fields!
Michelle has just been named Student Activist of the Year by the outstanding student libertarian organization Students For Liberty (SFL).
Michelle is the president of the Pepperdine College Libertarians
SFL chose the finalists for this award based on their hard work, organizational skills, value creation, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Michelle's achievements for liberty included organizing a protest against TSA invasions of liberty, the creation of a Free Speech Wall at Pepperdine, interviews on Fox Business News and Reason.TV, and the growth of her campus organization.
We were pleased that one of her successes cited by SFL was her use of the Advocates' Operation Politically Homeless (OPH) booth to recruit new members to Pepperdine College Libertarians.
Earlier this year Michelle said this about OPH: "The Pepperdine College Libertarians used the OPH kit yesterday. It was amazing! We had 20-plus students realize they were libertarians and signed up to get information about our meetings because they want to learn more about the ideas of liberty! It was incredible! It was the most successful tabling we have ever done. Thank you so much!"
Awards were also given for:
* Student Event of the Year, won by the University of Nevada-Reno Students for Liberty for their "Abolish the ASUN Festival." (ASUN is the campus student government.)
* Student Group of the Year, won by University of California Berkeley Students for Liberty for their high level of quality activism and outreach, which has included OPH outreach.
We congratulate Michelle and the other libertarian leaders and campus groups who were finalists. You can read about the finalists here.
The awards were announced last weekend at the Fourth Annual International Students For Liberty Conference at George Washington University campus in Washington, DC. Over 500 student liberty advocates converged last weekend to attend this event.
Media coverage was impressive, including John Stossel and Judge Napolitano of Fox Business News.
We are thrilled with the rapid growth of campus libertarianism, and happy OPH is playing a part, with 219 campuses so far having requested free OPH kits from the Advocates. These kits have the potential to recruit thousands of new campus libertarians in 2011 -- and that's an exciting prospect.
With outstanding student activists like Michelle and her fellow SFL members, the future of liberty looks bright indeed!
* * *
Speaking of OPH...
* FREE OPH KITS FOR LIBERTARIAN STUDENT GROUPS: Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, the Advocates is 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.
Learn more about OPH, and how to get your free kit, here
* * *
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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
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Learn more about libertarianism
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-- Sharon Harris, President | Email
by James W. Harris
U.S Foreign Policy: Costs and Solutions
1. U.S. Foreign Policy Overreach
"Cutting $100 Billion? Easy!" by Tom Engelhardt, Antiwar.com, February 18, 2011.
In arguing that it would be easy to slash $100 billion from the U.S. military budget, the author reveals some startling figures about U.S. military and intelligence:
* U.S. military spending equals that of the next 15 countries combined (most of them U.S. allies) and represents 47% of total global military spending.
* U.S. Special Operations forces are pursuing the "war on terror" in an astounding 75 countries.
* There are at least 17 different U.S. intelligence agencies, with a public budget of $80 billion dollars, and huge amounts that are "black" or off-budget.
* Despite recent talk of military budget cuts, the proposed Pentagon budget for 2012 actually represents a 5% increase.
There's much more in this excellent and provocative article.
2. Ron Paul on the Proper U.S. Foreign Policy
"A Foreign Policy for Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty" by
Congressman Ron Paul, The Congressional Record, September 5, 2002.
The great libertarian congressman gives the fundamentals of a non-interventionist foreign policy in this edited version of a speech he gave on the floor of Congress.
Excerpt: "A proper foreign policy of non-intervention is built on friendship with other nations, free trade, and open travel, maximizing the exchanges of goods and services and ideas. Nations that trade with each other are definitely less likely to fight against each other. Unnecessary bellicosity and jingoism is detrimental to peace and prosperity, and incites unnecessary confrontation. And yet, today, that's about all we hear coming from the politicians and the media pundits who are so anxious for this war against Iraq.
"We should avoid entangling alliances and stop meddling in the internal affairs of other nations -- no matter how many special interests demand otherwise. The entangling alliances that we should avoid include the complex alliances in the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO. One-world government goals are anathema to non-intervention and free trade. The temptation to settle disputes and install better governments abroad is fraught with great danger and many uncertainties."
The entire speech is worth reading. In a hurry? Skip down to the section entitled "The Principle Behind Foreign Policy" and read from there to the end.
Government Growth and Spending
1. Article: One in Six American Workers Now Working for Government
"Leviathan: The government payroll is longer than you might think" by Iain Murray of the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute, published in National Review Online.
Murray argues that the true size of the government-paid workforce is far larger than most people realize: nearly 40 million Americans, about 17 percent of the American labor pool, about one in every six workers.
Excerpt: "[The federal government] uses contracts, grants, and mandates to state and local governments to hide its true size, thereby creating the illusion that it is smaller than it actually is, and give its departments and agencies much greater flexibility in hiring labor, thereby creating the illusion that the civil-service system is somehow working
"When we add up the true size of the federal workforce - civil servants, postal workers, military personnel, contractors, grantees, and bailed-out businesses -- and add in state-and local-government employees -- civil servants, teachers, firefighters, and police officers -- we reach the astonishing figure of nearly 40 million Americans employed in some way by government. That means that about 17 percent of the American labor pool -- one in every six workers -- owes its living to the taxpayer."
2. Study: Almost All Federal Spending is Unconstitutional
"The Unconstitutional Congress" by Stephen Moore. Though written in 1995, this analysis by the founder of the Club for Growth is more relevant than ever. Subtitled "The GOP Misses the Best Argument for Limiting Government," it argues that almost all domestic federal spending is unconstitutional, and therefore should be halted.
Excerpts: "No matter how long one searches through the Constitution, it is impossible to find any language that authorizes at least 90 percent of the civilian programs that Congress crams into the federal budget today.
"There is no granting of authority for the federal government to pay money to farmers, run the health-care industry, impose wage and price controls, give welfare to the poor and unemployed, provide job training, subsidize electricity and telephone service, lend money to businesses or foreign governments, or build parking garages, tennis courts, and swimming pools. The Founders did not create a Department of Commerce, a Department of Education, or a Department of Housing and Urban Development. This was no oversight: they simply never imagined that government would take an active role in such activities...
"[F]iscal conservatives need to go beyond making the case that government wastes money -- which it surely does -- and start making the case that most federal spending today is illegitimate because it lies outside Congress's spending powers under the Constitution."
Arguing Against the War on Drugs
1. Op-Ed: Persuading Conservatives and Others to End the Drug War
"Drugs and Conservatives Should Go Together" by Jeffrey A. Miron, Cato Institute. Although aimed at persuading conservatives to support ending the War on Drugs, this short article is a great summary of many major reasons the futile crusade against drugs should be ended. Excellent source of information for forming your own soundbites on this issue.
Excerpt: "Yes, drugs can harm innocent third parties, but so can -- and do -- alcohol, cars and many other legal products. Consistency demands treating drugs like these other goods, which means keeping them legal while punishing irresponsible use, such as driving under the influence."
* * * * * * * *
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...
* HAPPY DAYS: "Happy Presidents Day. Or, as it's being called in the Middle East, 'Happy Overthrow Your Presidents Day.'" -- Conan O'Brien, Feb. 21, 2011.
* NOW YOU TELL ME: "Experts say that what happened in Egypt proves that countries in the Middle East can move toward democracy without the U.S. invading them. George W. Bush said, 'NOW you tell me.'" -- Jay Leno, Feb. 16, 2011.
* ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE WAR ON DRUGS: "There is no question that the war on drugs is a failure. ... There are, however, some things that the war on drugs has accomplished. It has drained $40 billion a year from the federal treasury. It has made criminals out of hundreds of thousands of Americans (754,224 Americans were arrested for marijuana possession in 2008). It has destroyed financial privacy. It has unnecessarily swelled prison populations (over half of the federal prison population is because of drug charges). It has turned America's inner cities into war zones. It has greatly eroded civil liberties. It has corrupted law enforcement. It has ruined more lives than drugs themselves." -- Laurence M. Vance, "The Drug War Is Expanding," Future of Freedom Foundation, February 8, 2011.
* CONGRESS VOTES TO KEEP SUBSIDIES TO BRAZILIAN (YES, BRAZILIAN!) COTTON FARMERS: "An amendment to end what Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) rightly called 'lunacy' failed this afternoon in a depressing show of cowardice on cotton subsidies. The amendment [Amendment No. 89] would have ended payments to Brazilian [yes, sic] cotton farmers that cost U.S. taxpayers $150 million a year. The House rejected the amendment 183 to 246.
"Republicans -- those stalwart fiscal conservatives! -- voted 75 in favor and 164 against. The Democrats showed more courage and voted in favor of the amendment 108 to 82."
-- Sallie James, Cato Institute, "Bribes to Brazil to Continue."
* * * * * * * * * *
"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.
PERSUASION POWER POINT #304
How to Guarantee That You Get Your Main Point Across
by Michael Cloud
If friendliness did not exist, we would invent it as the
best way to get along with others.
But friendliness does more than help us get along with others: it lets us warmly and gently reach their hearts and minds.
And it lets them reach ours.
Think about two or three of your best friends. Do you feel like smiling? Do you feel glad all over?
Imagine that you just read a novel that moved you and touched you -- maybe even changed you.
You'd tell your best friends all about it, wouldn't you?
Imagine that you phone them.
What would you tell them about the novel? Facts? About the characters, the plot, the ideas? Feelings? What it made you feel -- and why. Ideas? Which ideas really got you -- and why?
What would you NOT tell them? That they MUST read it? That you were ignorant before you read it? (Remember: they were your best friends BEFORE you read it. How receptive and responsive will the "ignorance" remark make them?)
How would you tell them about the novel? What would you tell them first? Second? Next? What words would you use? How would your voice sound? Excited? Shaken? Enthusiastic?
How would you NOT tell them? Would you use a "better than thou" tone of voice? In critical and condemning words? A negative or hostile voice?
What you said and how you said it would be shaped and supported by your deep friendship. Your words and manner would be friendly. And your friends would be extremely open and receptive and responsive to you and your message.
TOUGHLOVE MOMENT: Compare your responses above to your last three conversations about libertarianism. Were they similar? Or different? In what you said? In what you did NOT say? In how you said it? In how you did NOT say it?
Were you friendly? Acting as a friend? OR: were you critical or hostile -- and acting as a foe?
TENDERLOVE MOMENT: You can talk with others the way you do with your best friends. Befriend those you discuss libertarianism with. Act and speak as a friend to them. To the best within them.
Friendliness is contagious.
Be a friend in your libertarian conversations.
Friendliness opens more hearts and minds to libertarianism.
* * *
The last sentence in A Tale of Two Cities: "'It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.'"
The last sentence in The Fountainhead: "Then there was only the ocean and the sky and the figure of Howard Roark."
The last sentence in Atlas Shrugged: "He raised his hand and over the desolate earth he traced in space the sign of the dollar."
* * * * * * * *
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.
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.
How will ending the income tax help the poor?
Ask Dr. Ruwart
Question: I was unable to persuade a liberal friend that the income tax is evil because it is essentially forced labor through coercion, or that we could largely pay for the elimination of the income tax simply by halting our overseas empire (it seemed best to use a liberal priority in this instance). He maintained that eliminating the income tax would benefit only the wealthy. Could you help me show that eliminating the income tax is in everyone's best interest?
My Short Answer: Ultimately, the poor are hurt most by income taxes and government spending of any kind.
When government spends, it must tax or run a deficit. Both harm the poor. Deficit spending results in inflation. People on a fixed income, low income, or no income at all are hurt most by inflation. The little money that they have buys even less than before.
When government taxes from middle or upper income individuals, money is diverted from consumer spending, spending which otherwise would create jobs that might lift some of the poor out of poverty. Instead, the tax dollars go to government spending, which delivers half the service at twice the price of the private sector. Gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of wealth creation, goes down as government spending goes up (for details, see Chapter 12 of my book, "Healing Our World," available as a free download [1992 edition] at www.ruwart.com or [greatly expanded and footnoted 2003 edition] for purchase from The Advocates).
Less wealth creation means that goods and services are more expensive than they otherwise would be. The poor are hurt the most when prices rise or do not fall as they otherwise would.
Thus, when government spends, GDP falls and inflation grows, middle and high income individuals cut back on discretionary spending, like vacations; the poor, however, must cut back on necessities, such as food, safe housing, and preventative medicine.
On the other hand, when government spending slows, inflation slows too and jobs increase. Some of the poor move into the workforce and become more affluent.
Income taxes are bad for everyone, but the poor are hurt the most. The hidden negatives are often overlooked, and those who are trying to help the poor often hurt them out of ignorance.
* * *
suggested additional reading on this topic from the Liberator Online editor:
* "Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax" by Advocates President Sharon Harris is a four-part (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) series on how to persuade others to support ending the income tax.
* "Cough Up" by Congressman Ron Paul. In April 2006 Paul pointed out that ending the income tax would only require going back to the budgets of a few years ago.
EXCERPT: "Even today, individual income taxes account for only approximately one-third of federal revenue. Eliminating one-third of the proposed 2007 budget would still leave federal spending at roughly $1.8 trillion -- a sum greater than the budget just 6 years ago in 2000! Does anyone seriously believe we could not find ways to cut spending back to 2000 levels?"
* * * * * * * *
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
Successfully Arguing for a New Foreign Policy for America
By Sharon Harris
The revolts in the Arab world against oppressive rulers have captured the eyes of the world.
They've also led many Americans to see the failure and tragedy of American foreign policy, and to look for new models.
So this is a great opportunity for libertarians to argue for our foreign policy of peaceful non-intervention in the internal affairs of other nations.
Here are some suggestions.
Some people will label this policy as "isolationism," sometimes without being aware of the harm and inaccuracy of this label, and sometimes to deliberately discredit it.
I've written in the past on the problems of the word "isolationism" and how to deal with this charge. You can read that here
So what do we call this foreign policy that most libertarians favor? First, let's describe it.
Libertarians (in general) want to end U.S. government intervention in the internal affairs of other nations. We favor free trade, the freedom to travel, diplomacy, and lively and ongoing cultural interaction with people worldwide.
The best word I know for this is "non-intervention." Libertarians are "non-interventionists." We favor "a foreign policy of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other nations."
That's still a potentially confusing word. So it is better understood when coupled with a short description of what it means, such as I gave two paragraphs ago.
It's also sometimes helpful to describe this as "America's original foreign policy" or "the Founding Fathers' foreign policy," and to quote the classic Jefferson line: "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none."
Ron Paul has put it
very well: "Non-interventionism is not isolationism. Non-intervention simply means America does not interfere militarily, financially, or covertly in the internal affairs of other nations. It does not mean that we isolate ourselves; on the contrary, our founders advocated open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations."
Another useful term is "armed neutrality," as in "We favor a foreign policy of armed neutrality. We won't intervene in the internal affairs of other nations, but we will strongly defend ourselves if attacked."
That's a good phrase, but it is a bit colder than non-interventionism. You can add color and real-world authenticity to it by describing it as "like Switzerland" or "like the widely-admired Swiss model."
Reason magazine printed a fascinating article
on Swiss armed neutrality, entitled "Neither Nationalist nor Socialist: How the Swiss kept their freedom in World War II," by Walter Olson, in their October 1998 issue. Some excerpts:
"Switzerland virtually invented the policy of 'armed neutrality': It started no wars and sought no empire, but defended itself with ferocity when attacked. ...
"...the American Founders often cited Switzerland as an example of the kind of nation they hoped to build on these shores. ... Said Patrick Henry: 'Let us follow their example, and be happy.'"
(We should note that admiration for Switzerland's armed neutrality does not mean, of course, that libertarians approve of some of the Swiss economic policies discussed in that article, or compulsory military service.)
Last issue I discussed some useful phrases to use when calling for an end to U.S. subsidizing of dictators.
Useful phrases for discussing non-interventionism include "stop trying to be the policeman of the world," "bring our troops home," "stop meddling in the squabblings and affairs of other countries," "stop funding dictators and tyrants with our tax dollars."
Stress the positive side, too: the U.S. can best cause change by being a shining example to the people of the world of the great benefits that come from being a free and prosperous nation.
Last year, Pat Buchanan, not a libertarian, used
this brilliant phrasing: "Across Europe, our NATO allies are slashing defense to maintain social safety nets. But Uncle Sam, he soldiers on. We borrow from Europe to defend Europe. We borrow from Japan and China to defend Japan from China. We borrow from the Gulf Arabs to defend the Gulf Arabs."
Finally, learn about the costs, drawbacks and failures of our current interventionist system, and understand the fundamentals of non-interventionism. The articles cited in this issue's Intellectual Ammunition column, above, are good places to start.
* * * * * *
Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government. See more One Minute Liberty tips.
What's Happening with the Advocates
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