WELCOME to the Liberator Online!
In This Issue
* Liberty Is in the air!
* Is There a Media Plot to Ignore Ron Paul?
* Lemonade Freedom Day: August 20, 2011
* New Low: Only 17% Say U.S. Gov’t Has Consent of the Governed
* "Cost of Government Day" Shows Americans Slaving for Government
THEY SAID IT:
Thomas Sowell on family spending vs goverment spending.... New York Times reporter on the phony debt deal... Jay Leno gives Obama some credit... Gary Johnson on ending prohibition.
PERSUASION POWER POINT #313
* Teasing... for Liberty! OR: Can You Win Their Interest in 30 Seconds?
ASK DR. RUWART
* How can deregulation and tax cuts help America’s seniors, the poor, and those on fixed incomes?
ONE-MINUTE LIBERTY TIP
* How to Answer: "What is a Libertarian?"
WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups!
* Join the Advocates on Twitter.
* Join the Advocates on Facebook.
by Sharon Harris
Liberty Is in the Air!
Have you noticed? Libertarianism is popping up everywhere! There is a fast-growing interest in our ideas that is simply unprecedented.
Liberty is in the air!
And it’s no accident. It is happening thanks to decades of dedicated work by libertarian activists, intellectuals, popularizers, candidates, and others.
One mind at a time, in forum after forum, libertarians have made the case for liberty – and laid the groundwork for what I believe will be a new American Revolution for freedom.
There has never been a better time to bring others into the liberty movement.
And that’s what the Advocates for Self-Government is all about! We're here to provide the very best tools, resources, and training to help those who love liberty become powerful and successful communicators of these great ideas.
Our role is unique. Libertarians in many different organizations use our products, programs and training to make their own outreach and educational efforts far more effective. Individual activists rely on the Advocates to enable them to successfully take the ideas of liberty to their families, friends and communities.
Here are just a few of the unique things we do:
* We show libertarians how to become more effective communicators. We teach them how to explain libertarianism in a friendly, easy-to-grasp fashion; how to open closed minds; how to answer common objections to liberty; and much more. Thousands of grassroots libertarian activists have benefited from our tools and techniques.
* We encourage effective grassroots libertarian outreach with programs like our "Lights of Liberty"
* We publicize and distribute our renowned World's Smallest Political Quiz
. The Quiz is the single most popular libertarian outreach tool. Millions of people have encountered it in newspapers and magazines, on television, in classrooms and supplemental material for some of America's most popular textbooks, on talk radio, and at literally thousands of Web sites. Praised by the Washington Post, USA Today, and many others, the Quiz has been taken online more than 15 million times online.
With the Quiz, we've made remarkable progress in changing how Americans view politics -- from the simplistic Left-Right "map" to a more accurate model that includes libertarians. The Quiz has literally put libertarianism on the mental map that people use when they think about politics. For millions who share libertarian values -- but couldn't put a name on their beliefs -- the Quiz has been a revelation.
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-- the "outreach-in-a-box" kit that has been used by thousands of libertarian activists to reach millions of people. In the past two years -- thanks to the generosity of our supporters -- we're given nearly OPH kits to libertarian student groups on campuses in 39 states -- who will use OPH this coming year to reach and recruit thousands of student activists to the libertarian movement.
* We send this newsletter -- each issue filled with information about liberty, the libertarian movement, and the best ways to communicate our ideas -- to tens of thousands of liberty-minded people, who put this information to work in their daily outreach.
And there's much more.
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Learn more about the Advocates
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-- Sharon Harris, President | Email
by James W. Harris
Is There a Media Plot to Ignore Ron Paul?
“Michele Bachmann wins Ames Straw Poll, Tim Pawlenty gets third."
That was the headline at the highly influential Politico news site immediately after the Iowa GOP straw poll.
Missing, of course, is the second place winner – libertarian Ron Paul.
Though you’d never know it from that headline, Ron Paul finished in a virtual tie for first place with Bachman, less than one percent behind her. (Politico later changed the headline, presumably after heaps of protest from Ron Paul supporters. However, the new headline -- “Michele Bachmann wins Ames Straw Poll” – still ignores Paul’s startling upset. And the accompanying story spends only a few sentences on Paul.)
Some Ron Paul supporters argue that this headline epitomizes a deliberate ongoing attempt by the media and the political establishment to ignore Ron Paul. And a few media mavericks are starting to agree.
In May, Reason magazine’s Brian Doherty, a savvy journalist not given to conspiracy theories, wrote
about a 2,000 word Washington Examiner article on the first GOP debate that “pretty much pretends Ron Paul and [libertarian] Gary Johnson weren't even there.” Doherty warns readers to “[e]xpect to have to see a lot more of this transparently pathetic pretending that Paul and Johnson don't exist…”
So…. is the media unfairly ignoring Ron Paul (and Gary Johnson)? And, if so, why? Check out this fascinating Aug.13, 2011 CNN “Reliable Sources” video clip
in which Politico’s chief political columnist, veteran journalist Roger Simon, also questions why the media -- including his own site -- is ignoring Paul.
In the same clip, note nationally syndicated progressive radio host Stephanie Miller comment that “the Golden Rule of Republican debates” is “pretending Ron Paul is invisible.”
And whatever you do, don’t miss this devastating and fabulously funny
take on the matter by Jon Stewart. It’s a classic!
A good article
on this is “Will no one rid the GOP of this troublesome man?” by Timothy P. Carney, senior political columnist. Washington Examiner. Excerpt:
“So, again, why doesn't Paul get the attention he seems to deserve? Mostly because the mainstream media and the Republican establishment wish he would just go away.
“One reason the bipartisan establishment finds Paul so obnoxious is how much the past four years have proven him correct -- on the housing bubble, on the economy, on our foreign misadventures, and on our national debt.”
Ron Paul’s supporters clearly have their work cut out for them.
Lemonade Freedom Day: August 20, 2011
August 20, 2011 is Lemonade Freedom Day
Lemonade Freedom Day is a tribute to the great American pastime of kids setting up lemonade stands.
It’s also a protest against the growing trend of busybody government regulators shutting them down – an outrageous and sad practice we’ve covered many times over the years in this publication.
Lemonade Freedom Day was started by Robert Fernandes, a father of two who believes strongly in personal and economic liberty – and is sick and tired of seeing kid entrepreneurs harassed by bureaucrats.
“Recently, we have seen many news reports of lemonade stands being shut down by police and other government workers. When kids sell things, such as lemonade, they are learning some very important lessons. They are learning about money and about being an entrepreneur.
"They are also learning how to be a productive member of society. They are learning about responsibility. They are participating in free and voluntary trade with willing participants. Selling lemonade is not a crime.
“On August 20, 2011, we are suggesting that everyone who has children, who believes in this message, go outside and set up lemonade stands all across the country. Even if you don’t have children, go out and buy some lemonade from a local child’s lemonade stand.
“We need to stand up for our kids. We need to send a message to the world. Selling lemonade is not a crime!”
Amen to that. As we’ve noted in the past, government persecution of kid’s lemonade stands is just a symbol of the far worse persecution of adult entrepreneurs by government. Occupational licensing laws and other needless restrictions that prevent people from starting businesses and practicing trades routinely strangle the dreams of untold numbers of would-be entrepreneurs across America.
Such requirements are so expensive and so difficult to meet that they prevent talented and hardworking people from entering professions of their choosing.
However, because the victims of such laws generally aren't cute 7-year-olds selling lemonade, we almost never hear about them.
In a land founded on the premise of free enterprise and entrepreneurship, that's a tragedy and an outrage.
So, as Lemonade Freedom Day approaches, here's a thought: why don't we start treating all
entrepreneurs with the decency and respect most of us feel towards school-aged lemonade stand operators?
There’s a Facebook Event Page
for Lemonade Freedom Day. You can Like it and show your support and spread the word.
New Low: Only 17% Say U.S. Gov’t Has Consent of the Governed
The Declaration of Independence famously proclaims that governments derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed."
If so, the U.S. government may well have lost its claim to those “just powers.”
On August 1 and 2, pollsters Rasmussen Reports asked 1,000 likely voters this question:
"The Declaration of Independence says that governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed. Does the federal government today have the consent of the governed?"
Rasmussen: “[J]ust 17% of likely U.S. voters think the federal government today has the consent of the governed. Sixty-nine percent (69%) believe the government does not have that consent. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.”
That’s the lowest level Rasmussen’s ever found when asking this question – and a steep drop from 23% as recently as May.
Rasmussen also finds
* Only 8% of likely voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Fifty-two percent (52%) rate Congress' performance as poor.
* Only 8% of likely voters believe the average member of Congress listens to his or her constituents more than to their party leaders.
* In June, voters were asked if most members of Congress are corrupt. They are divided almost evenly: 39% say yes; 38% say no, while 23% are undecided.
In his 2010 book In Search of Self-Governance, pollster Scott Rasmussen observes that the American people are "united in the belief that our political system is broken, that politicians are corrupt and that neither major political party has the answers." He adds that "the gap between Americans who want to govern themselves and the politicians who want to rule over them may be as big today as the gap between the colonies and England during the 18th century."
The Declaration of Independence follows the phrase about "consent of the governed" with these words: "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it..."
"Cost of Government Day" Shows Americans Slaving for Government
In 2011 the average American must work 224 days -- just to pay the cost of government.
That's the startling claim
of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a non-partisan organization that works for lower taxes and smaller government, and the affiliated non-profit Center for Fiscal Accountability (CFA).
Each year ATR and CFA calculate "Cost of Government Day." That's the date when the average American has -- finally! -- earned enough to pay his or her respective share of the total cost of government. That cost includes federal, state and local taxes. It also includes the hidden costs imposed by government regulations that drive up the prices of products and services.
This year, Cost of Government Day finally crawled in on August 12. While that’s two days earlier than last year, it’s a whopping 27 days longer than 2008.
That means in 2011 the average American must toil almost 2/3 of the year just to earn enough to pay the cost of government.
Put another way, in 2011 the cost of government consumes 61.42 percent of national income. This leaves workers only a little more than a third of their income to meet such non-government expenses as food, shelter, clothing, and savings.
(State figures given here are, of course, an average, since state taxes and regulations vary widely. The report breaks the costs down state by state. The worst: Connecticut, where taxpayers must labor until September 10.)
2011 marks the third consecutive year Cost of Government Day has fallen in August. In fact, prior to 2009, Cost of Government Day had never fallen later than July 20.
This indicates an explosive growth in government during the past few years, notes AFA president Grover Norquist and CFA Executive Director Mattie Corrao.
“Upon taking office President Obama authored an 84 percent jump in discretionary spending and pursued an aggressive regulatory agenda,” they write. “As a result, the last two Cost of Government Days have fallen in August; this year marks the first time since the start of the Obama Administration that Cost of Government Day has fallen earlier than the previous year.”
Other highlights of the Cost of Government Day report:
* On average, Americans must work 102.83 days to cover federal spending and 44.16 days to cover state and local government spending.
* The cost of regulation is increasing and is damaging the American economy: Americans must work 49.75 days to pay for current federal regulations and an additional 27.6 days to pay for state and local regulations.
* Federal spending has increased by an staggering 91.4 percent over the last decade.
* * * * * * * *
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 BIG DIFFERENCE:
“Amid all the concerns about the skyrocketing government debt, a front-page headline in the Wall Street Journal said: ‘Families Slice Debt to Lowest In 6 Years.’ It is remarkable how differently people behave when they are spending their own money compared to the way politicians behave when spending the government's money.’” – economist and syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell
, “Random Thoughts,” August 9, 2011.
THE PHONY DEBT DEAL:
“There is something you should know about the deal to cut federal spending that President Obama signed into law on Tuesday: It does not actually reduce federal spending. By the end of the 10-year deal, the federal debt would be much larger than it is today. Indeed, both the government and its debts will continue to grow faster than the American economy…” -- New York Times reporter Binyamin Appelbaum
, “Spending Cuts Seen as Step, Not as Cure,” New York Times, August 2, 2011.
GIVE OBAMA SOME CREDIT:
"President Obama says he inherited most of the problems with the economy. I think he's being modest. He deserves a little credit." -- Jay Leno, Aug. 11, 2011.
GARY JOHNSON TALKS SENSE ON PROHIBITION:
“Border violence … is a prohibition problem. Just as we did for Al Capone and his murderous colleagues 90 years ago, our drug laws have created the battlefield on which tens of thousands are dying. By doggedly hanging onto marijuana laws that make criminals out of our children while our leaders proudly consume wine at state dinners, we have created an illegal marketplace with such mind-boggling profits that no enforcement measures will ever overcome the motivation, resources and determination of the cartels.
“There are ample reasons why millions of Americans, the Global Commission on Drug Policy and, just recently, former Mexican President Vicente Fox are calling for legalization of marijuana as an alternative to the failed and ridiculously costly 'war on drugs.' Twenty-eight thousand deaths along the border are certainly among those reasons.
“Will legalizing marijuana put the criminal cartels out of business? No. But it will immediately deny them their largest profit center and dramatically reduce not only the role of the United States in their business plans, but also the motivation for waging war along our southern border.” – Republican libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson
, writing in the Washington Post (as quoted in Reason magazine
* * * * * * * * * *
"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.
Part Two: Can You Win Their Interest in 30 Seconds?
by Michael Cloud
(Editor’s note: This is the Part Two of Michael Cloud’s column on this subject. Be sure to check out Part One
if you haven't already.)
The secret to winning your listener’s interest in 30 seconds? Use provocative 30-second teasers.
Consider these teaser samples.
1. "If there were a simple, reliable way to reduce drug gang membership and violence by over two-thirds, reduce the cost of the drug war by over $100 billion a year, and generate over $50 billion a year in private sector income and investments, would you want to hear about it?"
2. "Would you be interested in knowing about a simple, dependable way to bring in $1 trillion this year for our sluggish economy? All of it private sector money, at zero cost to taxpayers?"
3. "Would you be interested in a provable way to cut your medical care costs by 20% or 30% or even 50% this year, cut your health care insurance bills by 20% to 40%, and cut your prescription drug costs as much as 50% -- while protecting or improving health care quality and service? At zero cost to taxpayers?"
4. "I'm wondering if you'd like to hear about a simple, verifiable way to unleash small businesses all across America to dramatically increase revenue and create 2 million to 6 million new private sector jobs in the next 12 months."
I could tell you my test results on each of these teasers. But I want you to see for yourself.
Try out any one of these 4 samples on 5 to 10 friends, acquaintances, or co-workers who you have NEVER discussed libertarianism with.
Many of them will spontaneously ask you, "What is it?" or "How do you do that?"
Whether they do or don't, ask the person, "On a scale of 1 to 10 -- with 1 being totally uninterested and 10 being absolutely, positively want to know -- how would you rate your level of interest right now?"
Thirty seconds ago, they weren't even thinking about the issues. Now, many of them are interested on a scale of 8, 9, or 10.
Teasers are to interest and curiosity, what appetizers are to hunger and thirst.
They tantalize and tempt us.
Teasers ignite or inflame our desire.
They are designed to stimulate interest, NOT satisfy it.
Teasers are structured to arouse or increase curiosity, NOT quench it.
They tell us what they offer, but do NOT tell us how they'll provide it.
That increases our desire to know. It makes people more receptive and responsive.
* Offer concrete, specific benefits. Provable or verifiable benefits.
* Offer big, exciting benefits.
* Offer immediate or really-soon benefits.
* Be able to document or demonstrate that the benefits are probable or possible.
Learn, develop, and use 30-second libertarian teasers – and you will find that person after person will open their hearts and minds and ask you: "What is it?" or "Really? How do you do that?"
PS: Curious about the documentation for the sample teasers in this column?
1. What would happen if we legally "marry" marijuana and alcohol, if we legally require that marijuana and alcohol laws, regulations, enforcement, penalties, and policies be exactly the same? As a first step. (See The Great Libertarian Offer
by Harry Browne. And visit the Marijuana Policy Project
2. U.S. corporations are parking over $1 trillion in profits overseas -- rather than paying a 35% corporate tax on the earnings. What if the federal government declared a tax amnesty or tax reduction to, say, 10% or 5% for all such earnings brought into the U.S in the next 6 months? A $1 trillion private sector stimulus...
3. See my 2009 essay "6 Simple Ways to Dramatically cut costs of Medical Care -- at Zero Cost to Taxpayers!
4. Many years ago, Jack Kemp proposed "Enterprise Zones" -- where federal, state, and local mandates, regulations, and restrictions would be radically reduced or removed -- for blighted or impoverished areas in America. What if we take the "Enterprise Zone" concept -- and apply it to all
small businesses in America? Small businesses generate 60% to 80% of the new private sector jobs in America. Imagine what they could do and would do -- if we let this Army of Atlasses shrug off the government burdens!
* * * * * * * *
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 can deregulation and tax cuts help America’s seniors, the poor, and those on fixed incomes?
Ask Dr. Ruwart
You recently wrote
: “We can only balance the budget by privatizing entitlements like Social Security and Medicare and ending foreign wars. The ONLY way we can keep the promises made to our seniors without massive inflation is to increase our rate of wealth creation. One way to do that is by deregulating business. Each regulator destroys about 150 private sector jobs each year, so each one fired is true economic stimulus."
I'm all for market deregulation, but I don't see how that in itself is going to ‘keep the promises made to our seniors.’ One is a wealth problem, the other is a wealth transfer
problem. The thing about retirees is that they're unemployed, so the fact that corporations suddenly do better does nothing for them. Certainly you're not suggesting we pay off our Social Security promises by increased taxes on this new wealth?
My Short Answer:
I’m suggesting lower taxes. When the economy grows and more wealth is produced, tax revenue goes up even when tax rates go down (for a detailed explanation of how this works, see this article
Even with dramatic tax cuts, the national debt could be retired and entitlements phased out with an economy stimulated by freedom.
Many seniors have stocks in their retirement plans or their IRAs. An increase in the productivity of our businesses would likely boost the value of these portfolios as well. In addition, a strong economy with low inflation means that every dollar of a fixed income keeps or increases its buying power, instead of losing more of it each year.
Everyone benefits from prosperity, but seniors, the poor, and those on fixed incomes will have the most noticeable increase in quality of life.
* * * * * * * *
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
How to Answer: "What Is a Libertarian?
I’m always on the lookout for great answers to the question “What’s a libertarian?”
Every libertarian is going to be asked that, probably many times.
Your response is extremely important. Indeed, your answer may well be the deciding factor in whether your questioner comes away with a good impression of libertarians and wants to learn more, or decides to dismiss -- or even actively oppose -- libertarian ideas.
I was impressed with an answer
by writer Nick Sorrentino, in a recent editorial in the Culpeper (Virginia) Star Exponent newspaper.
His column was entitled: “Live and let live. What exactly is a libertarian?” It begins this way:
“What is a libertarian? This is a question that is often asked of me. People know that I identify myself as one and so feel comfortable asking me. There is a simple answer and it goes like this.
“Don’t mess with me, and I won’t mess with you. I don’t care if you are gay, of a different religion than me, smoke pot, or are a communist. It doesn’t matter to me, the libertarian. I am concerned with actions that have consequences, not private behavior that impacts no one other than the individual or another consenting adult.
“Live and let live. This is the essence of libertarianism. It’s an uncomplicated philosophy that is useful in nearly every corner of human life.”
Sorrentino goes on to explore the idea further:
“Does this mean I have to tolerate you acting like a jerk in my front yard? Absolutely not. If you take your Trans-Am for a joy ride through my fescue, I’m calling the police. You violated my right to be left alone and destroyed my property. …
“Libertarians don’t think the state should be used to make you do anything that you don’t want to do, assuming you mind your own business.”
The rest of his article is well worth reading as well.
What I like about his explanation is that it is clear, simple, and easy to understand. I love that he even tells you this upfront: "It's an uncomplicated philosophy..." That's a great touch!
Sorrentino follows the famous KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Smartypants.
Too often, our explanations of libertarianism come wrapped in high-toned philosophical phrases and peppered with obscure jargon. Too often, our listeners simply have no idea what we are talking about.
I have sometimes tried telling a friendly, non-politically minded person about libertarianism, and seen him or her bewildered by what, to me, are simple concepts. Has this ever happened to you?
There’s a lot to learn from Sorrentino’s clear, simple presentation. You may want to explain libertarianism differently. But – here’s the key point -- you want to be able to explain it in the same kind of clear, jargon-free, simple, common-sense, easily understood language he uses.
It’s best to have several short explanation of libertarianism, memorized and ready for various audiences, ranging from teenagers to politically unsophisticated adults to journalists and scholars.
Do you have a definition that works for you? I’d like to hear it. Please send it to me by email
Hope you'll check out past columns Ion this topic: What's a Libertarian?
and Telling How Libertarians Are Different from Liberals and Conservatives
* * * * * *
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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If you're in a student libertarian group, click here
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