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Volume 17, No. 4                                                                                                               March 2, 2012

The Liberator Online

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


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WELCOME to the Liberator Online!

In This Issue

PRESIDENT'S CORNER
* What Libertarians Do

INTELLECTUAL AMMUNITION
* American Dependence on Government at All-Time High
* Beware of Governments (Greek or Otherwise) Bearing Regulations
* Ron Paul: Military Spending is Out of Control, Threatens National Security
* Who Knew?
 
THEY SAID IT: Kathryn DeLong on taxes... Why Gary Johnson should scare Democrats... Jay Leno on the devil and Rick Santorum... Jay Leno on White House fears...

PERSUASION POWER POINT #323
* Why Do You Put Liberty First?

ASK DR. RUWART
* Separation of Church and State in a Libertarian Society

ONE-MINUTE LIBERTY TIP
* The Real Issue May Be Poverty

WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
* Libertarian Party of Indiana state convention, March 22-25
* Libertarian Paries of Minnesota and Wisconsin, April 14
* 2013 Freedom Cruises
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups!
* Join the Advocates on Twitter.
* Join the Advocates on Facebook.

President's Corner

by Sharon Harris




What Libertarians Do

Dear friends,
 
Have you seen this hilarious bit of libertarian humor? If not, click on the image to see it full size.



I haven't been able to find the creator. If you know who it is, please let me know so I can give much-deserved credit. 
 
I laughed out loud at this, and I hope you did too. Laughter is good for the soul and body! (And it's good not to take ourselves too seriously.)
 
Like most humor, there’s a lot of truth here. 
 
One of the Advocates’ major roles is to help libertarians become effective spokespersons for liberty. And this piece wonderfully illustrates some of the misconceptions about libertarians that we need to be aware of and counter. 
 
To many on the political right, we are in that first box -- libertines, not libertarians. We should be prepared to point out the difference. We should be ready with persuasive arguments -- that use conservative language and appeal to conservative concerns -- to point out the wrongness of the War on Drugs and other restrictions on individual liberty. 
 
To many on the political left, libertarians are seen as being in the second box: either selfish rich people, or dupes and apologists for ruthless corporations. To counter this, we must point out the crucial need for economic liberty to improve the lives of the poor. We must point out the huge difference between genuine free enterprise and crony capitalism (aka “crapitalism”). We must convey our total opposition to the ugly combination of big business and big government. We must speak in language that conveys our sincere concern for the needy. 
 
To the media and our friends and family -- panels three and four -- we must be sure we present our arguments in ways that win them over, instead of turning them off. Every issue of this newsletter has information that can help with this. 
 
And as for that fifth panel… Well, that’s what I think about when I think of all of you Advocates supporters and freedom fighters reading this newsletter.

What do libertarians do?

You really are carrying the banner of the Founding Fathers! We're working for a very noble cause -- and we're making the world a better place. Please keep on doing what you're doing to keep the Light of Liberty alive!

* * *
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




American Dependence on Government at All-Time High
 
Today one in five Americans -- the highest number in U.S. history -- relies on the federal government for everything from housing, health care, and food stamps to college tuition and retirement assistance. 
 
That’s more than 67.3 million Americans who receive subsidies from Washington.
 
This is an alarming trend that poses a grave danger to America liberty, says the 2012 Index of Dependence on Government, released this month by the conservative Heritage Foundation. For the past 10 years, the Index has tracked the growth in government dependence dating back to the early 1960s.
 
“The great and calamitous fiscal trends of our time -- dependence on government by an increasing portion of the American population, and soaring debt that threatens the financial integrity of the economy -- worsened yet again in 2010 and 2011,” according to the Index. 
 
Among the most troubling facts Heritage found:  
 
* The federal government spent more taxpayer dollars than ever before in 2011 to subsidize Americans.
 
* A whopping 70 percent of the federal government’s budget goes to individual assistance programs, up dramatically in just the past few years.
 
* Government dependency jumped 8.1 percent in the past year, with the most assistance going toward housing, health and welfare, and retirement. 
    
* Government dependency grew by 60.7 percent since just 2001.
 
* Since 1962, allowing for inflation, the amount of money spent by the government on such programs has grown by more than 15 times.
 
* The average individual who relies on Washington could receive benefits valued at $32,748 -- more than the nation’s average disposable personal income ($32,446).
 
* At the same time, virtually half of the U.S. population (49.5 percent) does not pay any federal income taxes. They thus have little economic motivation to support cutting taxes.
 
Further, the problem is worsening. Patrick Tyrrell, co-author of the Index, says: “In the next 25 years, more than 77 million baby boomers will retire. They will begin collecting checks from Social Security, drawing benefits from Medicare, and relying on Medicaid for long-term care.
 
“This much dependence on government has not been seen before in our nation, and it spells grave danger for the republic. A dose of reality would inform politicians that federal handouts, while politically expedient, will doom the republic if they are not curtailed.”
 
Ironically, the report notes, government does a very poor job at helping the needy, compared to the private sector. Says Tyrrell: “Research shows that private, community, and charitable aid helps individuals rise from their difficulties with better success than federal government handouts. Plus, local and private aid is often more effectively distributed.”
 
You can read a blog summary of the Index here, and the entire Index online here.
 
* * * 
 
Beware of Governments (Greek or Otherwise) Bearing Regulations
 
Greece’s ongoing economic woes have been the subject of innumerable news stories the last several years.  
 
Economist Megan Greene recently visited Greece. Here’s an excerpt from her blog report about what she encountered when she visited a bookstore and café in Athens: 
 
“A friend and I met up at a new bookstore and café in the centre of town, which has only been open for a month. The establishment is in the center of an area filled with bars, and the owner decided the neighborhood could use a place for people to convene and talk without having to drink alcohol and listen to loud music. After we sat down, we asked the waitress for a coffee. She thanked us for our order and immediately turned and walked out the front door. My friend explained that the owner of the bookstore/café couldn’t get a license to provide coffee. She had tried to just buy a coffee machine and give the coffee away for free, thinking that lingering patrons would boost book sales.  However, giving away coffee was illegal as well. Instead, the owner had to strike a deal with a bar across the street, whereby they make the coffee and the waitress spends all day shuttling between the bar and the bookstore/café. My friend also explained to me that books could not be purchased at the bookstore, as it was after 18h and it is illegal to sell books in Greece beyond that hour. I was in a bookstore/café that could neither sell books nor make coffee.” (Thanks to Marginal Revolution blog, where we first read this.)
 
Think that could never happen in America? Think again. Read what happened to John Stossel’s when he tried to open a simple lemonade stand in New York City. 
 
* * * 
 
Ron Paul: Military Spending is Out of Control, Threatens National Security
 
“I continue to be dismayed that in spite of our economic problems, most of those who call themselves fiscal conservatives refuse to consider any reductions in military spending. Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute very aptly addresses this in his recent article for the American Conservative entitled Attack of the Pork Hawks.

"He [Bandow]  points out that conservatives are using a tired liberal argument to defend the bloated military budget: namely, that more spending equals better results. The federal education morass is merely one example that clearly disproves this.
 
The facts are that the President’s budget calls for an 18% increase versus the previously planned 20% increase. This is not a cut, yet Pentagon hawks continue to issue dire warnings that this 'draconian' decrease in proposed future spending will seriously threaten our national security. In truth, the majority of DOD spending goes to protect other nations, including prosperous allies like Europe and Japan and South Korea -- nations that could and should take more responsibility for their own defense.
 
“Is there any amount of money that would satisfy the hawks and the neoconservatives? Even adjusted for inflation, military spending is 17% higher now than when Obama took office. Even the worst case scenarios of Obama's 'cuts,' adjusted for inflation, still put outlays at 2007 levels, which are 40% higher than a decade ago. Our total spending on overseas adventurism and nation building equals more than the next 13 highest spending countries in the world combined. Even if we were to slash our military budget in half, we would still be the world’s dominant military power, by far.”
 
-- Ron Paul, “Overspending on National Security Threatens National Security,(February 20, 2010).

* * * 
 
Who Knew?
 
From the humor site Cracked.com.
(Click on image to see larger picture.)



* * * * * * * *
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...

HMMMM…: "If the cigarette tax exists to stop people from smoking, then what does the income tax do? " -- tweet from libertarian Kathryn DeLong.

WHY LIBERTARIAN GARY JOHNSON SHOULD TERRIFY THE DEMOCRATS: "Gary Johnson is, in some important ways, the candidate that the Left once hoped Barack Obama would be. He vocally opposes the death penalty, the use of torture by the U.S. military, and the indefinite detention of people charged with a crim -- even suspects charged with terrorism.

"He's pro-choice. He calls for deep cuts in the defense budget and an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and from many of our military bases around the world. He unequivocally supports marriage rights for gays and believes that legalizing marijuana -- rather than building a wall -- is the key to solving illegal immigration. He also favors a two-year grace period for immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally, so that they can obtain work visas and continue living and working here. …

"What's striking about Johnson isn't just the fact that he's to the left of Obama and most other elected Democrats on many issues. It's also his boldness in comparison with the Democrats' timidity. … By having the courage of his convictions, Johnson exposes both the GOP's fraudulence on civil liberties and the Democrats' perpetual timidity and hedging.  … Democrats should be very worried." -- Theo Anderson, "Why Gary Johnson Should Terrify the Democrats" on the blog of the leftwing magazine In These Times, Feb. 15.

JAY LENO ON THE DEVIL AND RICK SANTORUM: "Rick Santorum has said that Satan has his sights set on the United States of America. Today Satan said he tries to avoid politics because it makes him feel dirty." -- Jay Leno, Feb. 22, 2012.

JAY LENO ON WHITE HOUSE FEARS: "President Obama said he understands that rising prices are making people worried and fearful. Especially in his re-election campaign. They're really fearful. " -- Jay Leno, Feb. 23, 2012.

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


Persuasion
Power Point
#323

by Michael Cloud

Why Do You Put Liberty First?

Why is individual liberty your highest political priority?
 
You have a lot of different choices of social, economic, or political goals.
 
You could make justice your highest priority.
 
Or prosperity. Or tolerance. Or honesty.
 
You could make love your greatest value.
 
Or respect. Or kindness. Or civility.
 
You could put the Constitution first.
 
Or the rule of law. Or a strong work ethic. Or the American Way.
 
Why do YOU put individual freedom first?
 
Why is individual liberty vital and necessary?
 
Compare and contrast the value of individual liberty with each of the values above.
 
Why is it more important than justice or prosperity?
 
Why is it more essential than honesty or civility?
 
What one or two or three crucial things does individual freedom do for us, give to us... that none of the other does?
 
Think through, talk out, write out your answers to these questions and you will know and love liberty even more than you do now.

* * * * * * * *
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.
 
Separation of church and state in a libertarian society 
 
QUESTION: I want to see the removal of all references to a god from money, courts, and schools, as I believe these are a violation of church and state. What is the libertarian stance on this?
 
MY SHORT ANSWER: In a libertarian society, all schools would be private. You could send your children to a school that catered to your tastes (i.e., no references to God) and religious people could send their children to a school devoted to Him (or Her as the case might be). 
 
Competition in currency, which would be most likely in a libertarian society, would probably result in some currencies without a religious reference and others with one. 
 
Some libertarians believe that courts should compete as well; others want a monopolistic system like we have today. Since a libertarian society's code would be "honoring our neighbor's choice," it's likely that courts would provide both Bible-based oaths and secular ones as well. 
    
It's a matter of choice. You choose what you want; others choose what they want. The market gives multiple choice; the government usually gives a one-size-fits-all monopoly. 
 
If someone wants to use government to outlaw religious references, he can only do so by giving the government power to impose religious references. Rather than advocating such a win-lose situation, libertarians promote the win-win options that occur when we honor our neighbor's choice, rather than imposing our own. 
 
(For a more detailed explanation of what the phrase "honoring our neighbor's choice" entails, see my book, Healing Our World, available from the Advocates. The earlier 1992 edition can be downloaded free from my website at www.ruwart.com.)

* * * * * * * *
Got questions?  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

The Real Issue May Be Poverty

Many objections or concerns that people have about some libertarian proposals boil down to one issue: concern about the poor and disadvantaged. 
 
Examples: 
 
* One of the major objections to private education is that, without government schools, the poor might not have access to quality schools. Many people know that the private sector can provide quality education that most people could afford. And they’re frustrated by the wretched education the government education monopoly foists upon so many kids. But they are afraid that ending government involvement in education will leave the poor and needy stranded. 
 
* Many people support government control of healthcare and insurance out of concern for the poor. Many of them agree that private provision of these services would work fine for those who are well off. But they fear for the poor and needy. 
 
* People fear abolishing welfare because they worry that people who genuinely need help won’t find enough help from the private sector. 
 
* People may understand how roads and highways can be provided effectively by the market, but they worry that possible charges for their use might become too expensive for the poor. 
 
This is true of many more issues. Those who feel this way are often good, idealistic and compassionate people -- the kinds of people we want to be libertarians. 
 
If you sense that this is your listeners’ main concern, you can allay that concern -- and win your listener to your side -- with an answer along the lines below. 
 
Let’s take the example of education. Say something like this. 
 
“If I understand you correctly, you don’t object to the idea of private education per se. And you agree with me that the private sector could provide as good, or probably far better, education than the government schools currently provide. You also agree that those who are doing well in our society could afford to pay for quality education. But you’re concerned that the poor, the jobless and the disadvantaged might not be able to afford it, and would thus be without decent educational opportunities if the government didn’t offer education. Is that correct?”
 
If he answers yes, then first congratulate him for his compassion. “I’m glad to hear that you’re concerned about the poor and needy. That’s great.”
 
You can use the Ransberger Pivot (discussed here and here to let him know you’re a good person who shares his concern: “And I strongly share that concern. Like you, I want to live in a world where every child, rich or poor, has the opportunity to have a world-class education. That’s why I favor private education -- because I believe it is the only way the poor will have that opportunity.”
 
And now shift the issue from education to the true issue: poverty. 
 
“What you’re really concerned about, then, is not whether private education can work. You’re talking about the problem of poverty. Your concern is a subset of the broader question of how do we help the poor. How do we eliminate, or at least drastically reduce, poverty?”
 
You then go on to answer the real question. You tell how the poor would be vastly better served by a libertarian society. You may already have your own short answer to this. If you don’t, I urge you to develop one, because this is a serious concern for many people. For many, it’s a deal-killer for libertarianism. 
 
Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started. The great libertarian communicator Harry Browne, in arguing for abolition of the income tax, pointed out that ending that tax would unleash “the biggest boost in prosperity that America has ever seen. There will be a job for everyone who can work and charity for everyone who can't.” Unemployment would virtually disappear, and charities and scholarships would be flooded with donations. The poor would have great opportunities and access to immediate aid.  
 
Dr. Mary Ruwart has also answered this question a number of different ways, on a number of topics. Her short answers to questions about poverty are archived and searchable here.
 
You can also use the example of how many goods and services in relatively unregulated areas of our economy have dropped dramatically in price, thanks to market competition. Computers, Internet service, phones, and many other items once aimed only at the wealthy are now cheap and commonly used by the poor. Chain restaurants have brought the costs of prepared food and clean facilities down to an affordable level. Ending government monopolies in areas like education, medicine and insurance would do the same. 
 
You should craft your own short answer to this question, and memorize it. You can make your argument stronger, of course, by knowing facts about the particular area your questioner is interested in. The list at the start of this article offers examples every libertarian can expect to be quizzed on. So be prepared. 
 
The advantages of getting to the heart of the poverty question are:
 
1. You have identified and clarified your listeners’ real concern. 
2. You have a useful and persuasive answer for questions on a variety of issues.
3. You can establish yourself as a caring person who shares your listeners' concern about the poor. 
4. You may be able to inspire someone to embrace libertarianism because it offers the best way to combat poverty. 
 
One extra tip. A friend of mine says one of the main things that sparked his interest in libertarianism was that libertarianism seemed to take the question of poverty seriously and offered practical ways to lessen or eliminate poverty, something neither the left or the right seemed to do. 
 
If that is one of your major interests in libertarianism, you should say so. It further cements the bond between you and your listener.

* * * * * *
Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government.  


What's Happening with the Advocates

LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF INDIANA STATE CONVENTION, March 22-25: Advocates President Sharon Harris will be keynote speaker. Other speakers and programs to be announced shortly at the party web site.

COMBINED CONVENTIONS OF THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF MINNESOTA and LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF WISCONSIN, April 14: Advocates President Sharon Harris will be one of the keynote speakers. Learn more.

LIBERTARIAN PARTY NATIONAL CONVENTION, May 2-6: Advocates President Sharon Harris will participate in the tribute to David Nolan and will be speaking on campus outreach. Liberator Online columnist Michael Cloud will be the keynote speaker.

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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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.

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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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