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â€” Ron Paul, The Congressional Record, June 30, 2010
WELCOME to the Liberator Online!
In This Issue
* "Food tastes better, the sky is bluer..."
* Your Tax Dollars Paid for Swedish Massages for Rabbits
* FDA Bureaucrats Kill 150,000 Americans
THEY SAID IT: Uber brings the privileges of wealth to the masses.... Ron Paul fears a military draft is ahead.... The CIA secretly protected and employed at least 1,000 Nazis as spies after World War II, says New York Times article.... How the Libertarian Party pressures the two older parties to adapt libertarian ideas....
ASK DR. RUWART
* What is the non-aggression principle?
WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
* Upcoming: Advocates communication workshops and speeches
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by Sharon Harris
"Food tastes better, the sky is bluer..."
Recently I came across a 1952 poem by the renowned San Francisco poet and leftwing anarchist Kenneth Rexroth. Entitled "For Eli Jacobson," it is a eulogy for an old friend and fellow political activist.
"For Eli Jacobson" wonderfully captures the glory of being an activist in a great cause. In particular, these lines:
We were comrades
Together, we believed we
Would see with our own eyes the new
World where man was no longer
Wolf to man, but men and women
Were all brothers and lovers
Together. We will not see it.
We will not see it, none of us.
It is farther off than we thoughtâ€¦.
It does not matter.
We were comrades together.
Life was good for us. It is
Good to be brave â€” nothing is
Better. Food tastes better. Wine
Is more brilliant. Girls are more
Beautiful. The sky is bluer
For the braveâ€¦
Our lives were the best. We were the
Happiest men alive in our day.
I especially love those last lines. "Food taste betterâ€¦" "Our lives were the bestâ€¦" and the rest.
They beautifully capture the heightened awareness, the excitement and anticipation, that comes with working for a great cause. The way that such activism brings spice, meaning, and joy to life.
I also love Rexroth's celebration of friendship forged in activism. That, too, is a key benefit of working for a great cause. In the liberty movement I have met so many wonderful people, made so many lifelong friends.
One more thing. In lines that follow those above, Rexroth says he and his friend once thought that young people would emerge to take up their socialist/anarchist struggle. But, he notes with sadness, they did not:
In our young days we believed
That as we grew old and fell
Out of rank, new recruits, young
And with the wisdom of youth,
Would take our places and they
Surely would grow old in the
Golden Age. They have not come.
They will not come. There are not
Many of us left.
For libertarians, happily, it is a very different story. Those of us who have been in the liberty movement for a long time have been blessed to see the emergence of a new generation of young libertarian activists.
We have watched our movement grow by leaps and bounds in recent years, infused by the energy and enthusiasm of young people determined to make liberty a burning issue in American politics.
What a wonderful thing to see!
I hope Rexroth's words remind you of the privilege and the joys of being part of a great cause. I hope your personal involvement in the liberty movement makes your life richer, more meaningful, and more fun.
Go out and have fun â€” and change the world.
* * *
NEXT ISSUE: Michael Cloud's Persuasion Power Point column, Sharon Harris' Liberty Minute, and much more!
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by James W. Harris
Your Tax Dollars Paid for Swedish Massages for Rabbits
Politicians are warning us that the government is broke. It's time for higher taxes and belt-tightening. Citizens need to pay more and expect less.
But still, our leaders heroically scraped together funding for the most important, the most fundamental, the most essential government functions.
Like providing Swedish massages to rabbits.
Yep. The National Institutes of Health spent $387,000 on this project. Yes, that's the same NIH whose director says they "probably" would have come up with a vaccine for Ebola by now, if it wasn't for low funding (they only get $30 billion a year).
And that's just the beginning. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has released his annual Wastebook report.
"Wastebook 2014: What Washington Doesn't Want You To Read" identifies "100 silly, unnecessary, and low priority projects" that lay bare Washington's loony spending priorities.
Total bill for these one hundred projects? A whopping $25 billion. And, Sen. Coburn warns, this is "just a fraction of the countless frivolous projects the government funded in the past twelve months â€” with borrowed money and your tax dollars."
Sen. Coburn further notes: "Despite all of this obvious waste, Washington politicians celebrated ending the fiscal year with a deficit under half-a-trillion dollars for the first time since 2008 â€” as if adding $486 billion to a national debt quickly approaching $18 trillion is an actual accomplishment deserving praise."
Here are a few more choice items from Coburn's Wastebook 2014:
* $856,000 to teach mountain lions to use treadmills.
* $307,524 to study whether sea monkeys can be trained to swim.
* $371,026 to study whether mothers love their dogs as much as their own children.
* $804,254 for a video game to empower parents to persuade their kids to eat vegetables.
Just skimming the table of contents rewards you with items like these below. And each one is accompanied by a jaw-dropping description that will have you thinking you're reading the humorous parody site The Onion:
* Roosevelt and Elvis Make a Hallucinatory Pilgrimage to Graceland
* NASA Wonders How Humans Will React to Meeting Space Aliens
* Anti-Terror Grant Buys State-of-the-Art SWAT Equipment for Safest Small Town in America
* Spouses Stab Voodoo Dolls More Often When "Hangry," Study Reveals
* Scientists Hope Gambling Monkeys Unlock Secrets of Free Will
* Paid Vacations for Bureaucrats Gone Wild
* Taxpayers Help NY Brewery Build Beer Farm
* Free "High-End" Gym Memberships for DHS Bureaucrats
* USDA's "Perfect Poop Pak" Smells Like Government Waste
Page after page, the idiocy and waste goes on and on. Read the whole thing here.
FDA Bureaucrats Kill 150,000 Americans
Never mind Ebola, terrorists and school shootings.
What Americans should fear isâ€¦ the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration).
The FDA's failure to approve life-saving drugs in a timely fashion is killing thousands, even tens of thousands, of Americans every year, critics charge.
Take just one example. An estimated 150,000 Americans have died or will die from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis â€” a disease in which tissue deep in the lungs becomes thick and stiff, or scarred, making breathing difficult â€” because of the FDA's four-year delay in the approval of the drug pirfenidone â€” a drug already approved and marketed in Europe (since 2011), Japan (2008), Canada (2012) and China.
That estimate comes from Dr. Henry I. Miller, a medical researcher, founding director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology, and 15-year member of the FDA.
That's more Americans than were killed in any American war except the Civil War and World War II.
And pirfenidone is just one example among many others
. The FDA's slow approval of beta-blocking drugs in the 1970s may have led to the unnecessary deaths of up to 100,000 people, according to Sam Kazman, J.D., of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
For many years the FDA prohibited aspirin makers from advertising the widely-accepted argument that aspirin could significantly reduce the risk of heart attack for some patients. According to economist Paul H. Rubin, â€œThe FDA surely killed tens, and quite possibly hundreds, of thousands of Americans by this restriction alone.â€
Indeed, says Reason magazine's science correspondent Ronald Bailey, "the FDA's increased obsession with safety may be killing more people than it saves. â€¦After all, if it takes the FDA ten years to approve a drug that saves 20,000 lives per year that means that 200,000 people died in the meantime."
The FDA's approval process can take up toâ€¦ 18 years. For people desperately fighting fatal illnesses, such long waits are death sentences.
Making things worse, the FDA's review process is so expensive that, according to Yevgeniy Feyman of the Manhattan Institute: "The typical drug approval costs between $1.2 and $1.3 billion."
According to Reason magazine's Bailey, many drugs that could save lives are never introduced because of this cost.
In 2000, economist Daniel B. Klein of the Independent Institute wrote
: "Because the FDA process is so expensive, so protracted, and so uncertain, thousands of untold drugs are never discovered or developed. It is impossible to estimate the suffering and death caused, but surely it greatly exceeds 50,000 premature deaths annually."
Why is the FDA so agonizingly (literally) slow and expensive? Prior to 1962, the average time for FDA approval was just seven months. However, in 1962 Congress passed the Kefauver Harris Amendment, which added a new requirement of proof of effectiveness, in addition to the old standard of proof of safety, for approval of new drugs. Effectiveness is a far more difficult, and expensive, standard to meet.
Perhaps worst of all, the FDA typically doesn't give even gravely ill patients the opportunity to choose promising treatments it has not approved. As journalist Kate Jenkins asks
: "If you had a fatal disease and were told you only had one year to live, wouldn't you prefer to be allowed to make your own choice?"
This article by Ronald Bailey gives a further look at this mess, and offers libertarian alternatives.
The Independent Institute offers an overview of the situtation and proposals for replacing the FDA.
And for a great movie that dramatizes this life-and-death struggle, see The Dallas Buyers Club starring Matthew McConaughey.
* * * * * * * *
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...
UBER BRINGS WEALTH TO THE MASSES:
"Once, only the privileged few, the studio bosses and pampered starlets, could afford to have a chauffeur and a waiting car to transport them around sprawling Los Angeles. Now anyone with a credit card can enjoy that freedom. â€¦ A short ride through downtown in UberX, the company's lower-priced service, introduced here last spring, can cost as little as $4." â€”
journalist Melena Ryzik
, "How Uber Is Changing Night Life in Los Angeles," New York Times, Oct. 31, 2014.
RON PAUL FEELS A DRAFT:
"As the burden of our hyper-interventionist foreign policy increases, it is increasingly likely that there will be serious attempts to reinstate the military draft. â€¦ This is an issue that has long united authoritarians on the left and right. â€¦ It is baffling that conservatives who (properly) oppose raising taxes would support any form of national service, including the military draft. It is similarly baffling that liberals who oppose government interference with our personal lives would support mandatory national service. Mandatory national service is a totalitarian policy that should be rejected by all who value liberty." â€” Ron Paul
, "National Service is Anti-Liberty and Un-American," weekly column, Oct. 19, 2014.
"In the decades after World War II, the CIA and other United States agencies employed at least a thousand Nazis as Cold War spies and informants and, as recently as the 1990s, concealed the government's ties to some still living in America, newly disclosed records and interviews show.
"At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, law enforcement and intelligence leaders like J. Edgar Hoover at the FBI and Allen Dulles at the CIA aggressively recruited onetime Nazis of all ranks as secret, anti-Soviet 'assets,' declassified records show. They believed the ex-Nazis' intelligence value against the Russians outweighed what one official called 'moral lapses' in their service to the Third Reich." â€” Eric Lichtblau
, "In Cold War, U.S. Spy Agencies Used 1,000 Nazis," New York Times, Oct. 26, 2014.
THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY AND THE BALANCE OF POWER:
"Libertarian candidates may have decided the winner in at least six federal and governor races, despite record-shattering spending levels in support of the Democratic and Republican candidates. Each race where a Libertarian threatens to affect the outcome of an election puts pressure on the old parties to move in a libertarian direction by reducing government's size, scope, and authority.
"It's also a sign that more Americans reject the argument that there's any substantial difference between Democratic and Republican politicians. Voters are seeing that which of the two wins is of little consequence." â€” Libertarian Party
, post-election blog post, "Libertarians play key role in highly contested races," Nov. 5, 2014.
* * * * * * * * * *
"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.
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.
What is the non-aggression principle?
QUESTION: What is the libertarian non-aggression principle?
MY SHORT ANSWER: Libertarianism is based on a single ideal, the non-aggression principle.
Libertarians oppose the initiation of force to achieve social or political goals. They reject "first-strike" force, fraud or theft against others; they only use force in self-defense. Those who violate this "non-aggression principle" are expected to make their victims whole as much as possible, via restitution.
This "Good Neighbor Policy" is what most of us were taught as children. We were told not to lie, cheat, steal, or strike our playmates, except if they hit us first. If we broke a friend's toy, we were expected to replace it.
Most of us still practice what we learned as children with other individuals, but we have grown accustomed to letting government aggress against others when we think we benefit. Consequently, our world is full of poverty and strife, instead of the harmony and abundance that freedom (i.e., freedom from aggression) brings.
Simply put, libertarians take the non-aggression principle that most people implicitly follow in their interactions with other individuals, and apply it to group actions, including government actions, as well.
* * *
Got questions? Dr. Ruwart has answers! If you'd like answers to YOUR tough questions on libertarian issues, email Dr. Ruwart
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 latest book Short Answers to the Tough Questions, Expanded Edition is available from the Advocates, as is her acclaimed classic Healing Our World.
What's Happening with the Advocates
Upcoming workshops, speeches, and conferences
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