WELCOME to the Liberator Online!
In This Issue
* Merry Christmas: 30% Off EVERYTHING In Our Online Store!
New Poll: Record Number Say U.S. Should Cut Spending
* No New Taxes: Stop Throwing Our Money Away
* Video: How many American libertarian voters are there?
Ron Paul: "Love, Compassion, Tolerance and Free Market Economics"
THEY SAID IT:
* Rand Paul reflects on his dad's legacy.... "The Dude abides," say cheerful Seattle cops about marijuana re-legalization.... Pot prohibition was nothing but a huge waste, says Seattle City Attorney.... Richard Branson slams the War on Drugs.... Shocking figures from Walter Williams about the U.S. debt.... Jimmy Fallon's creepy political forecast....
PERSUASION POWER POINT #336
New Libertarians: Building Without a Firm Foundation
ASK DR. RUWART
* Was the Wild WIld West Really So Wild?
ONE-MINUTE LIBERTY TIP
* Big Government vs, Christmas: Give the Gift of Facts!
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
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* Dr. Mary Ruwart’s Short Answers to the Tough Questions, Expanded Edition
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by James W. Harris
New Poll: Record Number Say U.S. Should Cut Spending
A new poll by Rasmussen finds
that a whopping 73% of likely voters want the government to cut spending in order to improve the economy.
That's the highest support ever for cutting spending, says the polling firm, which has been tracking voter opinion on this issue for years.
Further, just 18% want an increase in spending.
The poll was conducted December 12-13.
This is very consistent with a Rasmussen poll conducted December 4-5, which found
that just 19% of voters believe the government should increase federal spending to help stimulate the economy. In contrast, fully 62% oppose new federal spending as an economic stimulus. (Nineteen percent are undecided.)
As Rasmussen summed up the early December poll: "President Obama is calling for $200 billion in economic stimulus spending in his proposal to avoid the 'fiscal cliff,' but few voters believe increased government spending will stimulate the economy. Most think tax cuts are the better way to go."
This would seem to offer a great opportunity to political leaders who can intelligently and persuasively make the case for major tax cuts. And it's certainly a great time to raise the issue with friends and colleagues.
No New Taxes: Stop Throwing Our Money Away
Although, as the Rasmussen poll above indicates, the vast majority of Americans favor tax cuts, many pundits and politicians are arguing that tax increases are needed to enable the government to fund its necessary and proper functions.
In October Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) released a 202-page report entitled Waste Book 2012 that offers a good response to that.
Waste Book 2012 details more than $18 billion of utterly unjustifiable taxpayer-funded projects.
The 100 outrages revealed in Coburn's Waste Book 2012 include:
Between $1 billion and $50 billion wasted annually due to inefficient purchasing policies by federal agencies, according to an analysis by the Government Accountability Office (GAO);
$38.8 million in subsidies for a train mostly used by cruise ship tourists in Alaska;
$27 million for classes to teach Moroccans (in Morocco) how to make pottery;
$5.5 million for a State Department program to send professional athletes on diplomatic trips around the world;
$1.3 million to Pepsico -- the world's largest snack food maker -- to help it build a yogurt factory in New York;
$1.6 million for NASA to develop video games and a commercial-free online rock radio station;
$520,000 for the rehabilitation of an unused covered bridge in Ohio;
$505,000 for a pet shampoo and toothpaste company in Nebraska;
$300,000 to promote sales of U.S. caviar;
… and that's just a small example of the absurdities and outrages Coburn reveals. Page after page, the waste, the injustice goes on and on.
You can read the entire book for free online here
(We don't agree with Coburn on one point, that tax exemptions are the same as subsidies. However, his examples of outrageous exemptions for zillion-dollar industries do show just how corrupt the tax system is.)
Sen. Coburn's 100 examples are, of course, barely the tip of a gigantic iceberg of government waste and spending and unfairness.
But they certainly demolish the oft-heard cry that government spending has been cut to the bone.
Examples like this, while a small part of the overall budget, are useful because they make this very important point: the federal government is spending vast amounts of our money in the most frivolous and wasteful ways imaginable, and it has no intention of stopping.
So when politicians and pundits wail for yet more taxes, the proper response should be something along these lines: First, stop looting us to subsidize Pepsi, tourist trains and pet shampoo companies. Stop rebuilding unused bridges. Halt all the other obscene wastes of taxpayer dollars that Sen. Coburn has listed in his report.
Then come back and we'll talk some more. (And we'll have some more examples for you by then.)
Video: How many American libertarian voters are there?
David Boaz, the executive vice president of the Cato Institute, has long been interested in the question of how many libertarian and libertarian-leaning voters there are in America.
It's an extremely important question. And a complicated one, with the answer depending on, among other things, how you define "libertarian voter" as opposed to, say, a movement libertarian.
In this short (2:13 minutes) new video
Boaz explains how various pollsters come to conclusions about the percentage of libertarian-leaning American voters.
more details on this subject in a recent op-ed, "Swing-Voting Libertarians."
Also, Boaz and his Cato Institute colleagues David Kirby and Emily Ekins explore these ideas at book length in The Libertarian Vote: Swing Voters, Tea Parties, and the Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal Center
. This book argues among other things that 10 to 20 percent of Americans are fiscally conservative and socially liberal-libertarian.
Here's another fascinating tidbit from our own research. In August 2000 the respected Rasmussen polling firm gave the Advocates' World's Smallest Political Quiz to nearly 1,000 representative American voters. Our Quiz is a far more rigorous test of one's libertarian leanings than the looser definitions typically used by polling firms. Yet fully sixteen percent scored in the libertarian sector then -- a figure roughly identical to Cato's estimate.
Read more about the specific - and sometimes startling -- results Rasmussen found here
Ron Paul: "Love, Compassion, Tolerance and Free Market Economics"
(The following is excerpted from Ron Paul's extraordinary farewell speech to Congress, delivered on the House floor on November 14, 2012. You can read the entire speech here
or watch it here
"To achieve liberty and peace, two powerful human emotions have to be overcome. Number one is 'envy' which leads to hate and class warfare. Number two is 'intolerance' which leads to bigoted and judgmental policies. These emotions must be replaced with a much better understanding of love, compassion, tolerance and free market economics. Freedom, when understood, brings people together. When tried, freedom is popular.
"The problem we have faced over the years has been that economic interventionists are swayed by envy, whereas social interventionists are swayed by intolerance of habits and lifestyles. The misunderstanding that tolerance is an endorsement of certain activities, motivates many to legislate moral standards which should only be set by individuals making their own choices. Both sides use force to deal with these misplaced emotions. Both are authoritarians. Neither endorses voluntarism. Both views ought to be rejected.
"I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out 'the plain truth of things.' The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people world-wide, is to pursue the cause of LIBERTY.
"If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land."
* * * * * * * *
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...
SEN. RAND ON CONGRESSMAN RON:
"As I walk through airports, ride in taxis and meet people in large cities -- people of color, working-class people, people with tattoos, people in overalls, people wi
th piercings and even, at times, people in suits -- I am amazed at the diversity of folks who come up and say how much they admire Ron Paul. … My father's imprint will not be in Washington but in the minds of the millions of today's youth who found the message of liberty through a certain congressman from Texas. For inspiring a new generation to love the ideas of liberty, we all owe a debt of gratitude to my father, the champion of liberty, Ron Paul." -- Sen. Rand Paul
's tribute to his father, "Ron Paul Revolution: GOP's last best hope," Washington Times, Nov. 15, 2012.
SEATTLE COPS SAY "THE DUDE ABIDES":
"The department's going to give you a generous grace period to help you adjust to this brave, new, and maybe kinda stoned world we live in. The police department believes that, under state law, you may responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a Lord of the Rings marathon in the privacy of your own home, if you want to." -- Seattle Police Department spokesman Jonah Spangenthal-Lee
, in a statement at the department's website regarding their current plan not to issue tickets for outdoor pot-smoking, even though only indoor smoking was made legal by the state's recent historic re-legalization vote. The department also posted a picture of actor Jeff Bridges as the dope-smoking character "The Dude" from the film "The Big Lebowski" with the caption "The Dude abides, and says, 'take it inside!"
SEATTLE CITY ATTORNEY SAYS POT WAR A WASTE:
"All we've achieved by prohibition is to fill our jails and make drug dealers quite rich." -- Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes
, quoted in UK Telegraph, December 6, 2012.
RICHARD BRANSON SLAMS WAR ON DRUGS:
"Here we are, four decades after Richard Nixon declared the war on drugs in 1971 and $1 trillion spent since then. What do we have to show for it? The
U.S. has the largest prison population in the world, with about 2.3 million behind bars. More than half a million of those people are incarcerated for a drug law violation. What a waste of young lives." -- Richard Branson
, founder of Virgin Group, on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront," December 6, 2012.
WALTER WILLIAMS EXPLAINS U.S. DEBT INSANITY:
"Washington would have to collect $8 trillion in tax revenue, not to pay off our national debt and have reserves against unfunded liabilities, but just to avoid accumulating more debt. Recent IRS data show that individuals earning $66,000 and more a year have a total adjusted gross income of $5.1 trillion. In 2011, corporate profit came to $1.6 trillion. That means if Congress simply confiscated the entire earnings of taxpayers earning more than $66,000 and all corporate profits, it wouldn't be enough to cover the $8 trillion per year growth of U.S. liabilities." -- economist and syndicated columnist Walter Williams
, "Future Generations," December 6, 2012.
"Barbara Walters has released part of her 'Most Fascinating People' list. This year Hillary Clinton and Honey Boo Boo are both on it. That's right. The woman who may soon be president -- and Hillary Clinton." -- Jimmy Fallon, December 6, 2012.
* * * * * * * * * *
"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.
New Libertarians: Building Without a Firm Foundation
by Michael Cloud
During the last 12 months, I've personally spoken to more than 600 new libertarians.
Some joined the libertarian movement because of Ron Paul or Gary Johnson. Others joined through the Tea Party Movement. Some responded to memes on social media.
Most are bright, thoughtful, and open-minded. They've begun the journey of a lifetime -- a journey toward liberty.
But, I've noticed one dangerous weakness, one destructive flaw among 2/3 of them.
These two-thirds of new libertarian have not read any of the basic books on liberty. They have not read an in-depth, complete case for libertarianism.
As a result, they do not grasp the core elements and distinctions that make libertarianism matter: individual liberty; individual responsibility; private property; rights versus privileges; individual rights versus collective "rights"; individual rights versus government power; choice versus coercion; individual consent; small government versus Big Government; the right of self-defense; libertarianism versus authoritarianism; the huge differences between libertarianism, conservatism and liberalism; the why and how freedom of the press, of speech, and religion -- to name a few.
The new libertarians can't teach what they don't know. They can't make a strong case for the key elements of liberty when they haven't learned the essential elements of liberty.
Libertarian leaders are libertarian readers.
No, the new libertarians do not have to take a vow of silence until they can recite Human Action from memory.
No, they do not have to become libertarian scholars, studying liberty 40 hours a week.
For our new libertarians, the solution is small, simple, and easy. Just read 20 minutes a day each week day. A small daily mental workout.
If you know someone who has joined the libertarian movement in the last five years, ask each one to take on a 20-minute a day mental workout -- to become an effective and persuasive libertarian.
Ask them to read:
The Law by Frederic Bastiat. A 79-page gem! And you can download a FREE ebook -- PDF, HTML, or EPUB -- of this classic book from our friends at the Ludwig von Mises Institute here
Libertarianism in One Lesson
by David Bergland. Hailed as the best short introduction to libertarianism available.
Why Government Doesn't Work by Harry Browne.
The Great Libertarian Offer by Harry Browne.
And, to make sure they persuasively present their case for liberty, you may want to ask them to read Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion
and Unlocking More Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion
-- available exclusively from the Advocates for Self-Government.
This will give them a strong foundation to build a libertarian life -- and a libertarian America.
(Editor's note: The books linked above are available through the end of the year from the Advocates at a 30% discount. See the President's Column in this issue for full details.)
* * * * * * * *
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.
Was the Wild WIld West Really So Wild?
Ask Dr. Ruwart
I have frequent debates with a gentleman who claims that libertarian societies would become violent, Mad Max-like dystopias ruled by gangs. He challenges me to show examples of libertarian societies. He claims they don't exist because they don't work. Where can I find examples? How can I answer his claim?
MY SHORT ANSWER:
Actually, the settling of the American western states is a good example of a libertarian-like society. Unlike Hollywood's portrayal, the settlers, miners, and ranchers homesteaded the west rather peacefully and with virtually no government. Disputes were generally settled by agreed-upon procedures.
For a fascinating description of how it worked, check out
"The Not So Wild, Wild West" by Terry Anderson and P.J. Hill, a 1979 study that originally appeared in the Journal of Libertarian Studies.
Here's an excerpt:
"The West during this time is often perceived as a place of great chaos, with little respect for property or life. Our research indicates that this was not the case; property rights were protected, and civil order prevailed. Private agencies provided the necessary basis for an orderly society in which property was protected and conflicts were resolved.
"These agencies often did not qualify as governments because they did not have a legal monopoly on 'keeping order.' They soon discovered that 'warfare' was a costly way of resolving disputes and lower-cost methods of settlement (arbitration, courts, etc.) resulted.
"In summary… a characterization of the American West as chaotic would appear to be incorrect."
The authors expanded their study into an entertaining, informative and highly praised book entitled The Not So Wild, Wild West: Property Rights on the Frontier that further explores the issue. You can check out what reviewers said
at Amazon.com, and you can read
the opening chapter at Google Books.
* * * * * * * * * *
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
Big Government Versus Christmas: Give the Gift of Facts!
Holidays are a great time to share libertarian ideas with family and friends. Libertarians should gather a store of liberty-themed facts, figures and stories specific for each holiday. (I'll be sharing such items with you in this column as each major holiday nears.)
With Christmas upon us, I'm happy to share with you a short report
from Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) that gives some genuinely shocking figures about how much government is adding to the cost of your family's celebration this year.
It's a great presentation, using humor to leaven some outrageous numbers.
ATR wrote it last year and hasn't been updated for 2012. But the principles are the same, and if anything the costs government imposes on Christmas are probably even higher. If you cite specific numbers, you can simply say, "Last year, according to the Americans for Tax Reform…"
(Note: I deleted a short section in the original about a Christmas tree tax, which may not be applicable. I suggest you also leave this out of any presentation you make.)
You might also check ATR's website
just before Christmas and see if they've published a 2012 update of this story.
Both ATR and their affiliate The Cost of Government Center
are excellent sources of similar reports about the impact of taxes on holidays. These reports make the cost of taxation come alive. Great stuff and highly recommended.
Share this information with your family, if the appropriate opportunity arises, and you'll surely open some minds to the liberty message. And that's a gift that can change lives!
How the Government Stole Christmas
by Americans for Tax Reform (2011)
This year, save space under the Christmas tree for Uncle Sam.
The holidays are a season for giving and spending time with loved ones. However, this year taxpayers will be adding Uncle Sam to their Christmas list. Of an identified $10.72 billion of holiday spending, 43.36 percent of the price Americans pay to celebrate Christmas is due to government taxes, fees and other costs.
If you are one of the 93 percent of holiday revelers traveling this season, you will pay $69.65 in gas taxes for the average $152.47 round-trip -- 45.68 percent of the cost of the trip. Taking a rental is another convenient option, but 38.77 percent of your car's rental cost is due to taxation, particularly from state and local governments.
Choose to fly to visit friends and family and 42.47 percent of your trip is made up of government costs. If you retreat from your in-laws to a hotel, remember that 39.39 percent of the cost of your stay is funneled back to the government. For Christmas 2011, the government will stuff its stocking with $3.79 billion in traveling taxes.
With Christmas parties, eggnog and relatives abound, and holiday revelers enjoy an estimated $992 million in alcoholic beverages to celebrate the season. Savor your next mug of eggnog, because 56.31 percent of the price is taxes. Government guzzles 44.33 percent of your seasonal beer and drives up the price of your glass of wine at Christmas dinner by 32.77 percent.
And sipping a soft drink won't let you escape frosty government fees -- 27.98 percent, or $61 million in taxes, is attached to the cost of soda.
When Santa comes down the chimney this year, he'll have to save room in his sack for Uncle Sam's gifts. Government gets $21 billion of a cumulative $69.1 billion spent on presents, consuming nearly a third of Christmas gift-giving.
All told, the government collects $25.9 billion in new revenues over the holiday season.
Bah humbug, indeed!
* * * * * *
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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