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Volume 19, Issue 21                              November 21, 2014
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"The Advocates has made invaluable contributions to the freedom cause. For over twenty years, the Advocates has worked tirelessly to help libertarians better communicate the ideas of liberty. I continue to be impressed by the Advocates' work." — Ron Paul
WELCOME to the Liberator Online!

In This Issue

PRESIDENT'S CORNER
Three Caterpillars, a Butterfly… and Liberty

ACTIVIST AMMUNITION
Silicon Valley Innovators: Gov't Is Biggest Barrier to U.S. Innovation

Rand Paul: "I'll Do Everything to End the War on Drugs"

THEY SAID IT: Re-legalize marijuana, says GOP congressman.... Obamacare passed because Americans are stupid, says Obamacare architect.... Where the heck is the anti-war left, asks liberal democrat journalist.... The U.S. is heading into yet another dumb war, says columnist Steve Chapman....

ASK DR. RUWART
Won't big businesses abuse their power in a free market?

WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
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President's Corner

by Sharon Harris







Three Caterpillars, a Butterfly… and Liberty  

Three caterpillars — a conservative, a liberal, and a libertarian — looked up and saw a butterfly. 

The conservative caterpillar said, "That should be illegal. Why, it's blasphemous! If God had meant for caterpillars to fly, he would have given us wings."

The liberal caterpillar said, "That looks incredibly dangerous! Who's in charge of it? What's going to happen to the crawling industry if this catches on? This needs to be stopped until the government can investigate it and set up inspection and regulation to make sure it's safe."

The libertarian caterpillar said, "One day we'll all fly together, and we'll wonder why we ever feared the freedom of flight."

* * * 

People have always feared the innovation and choice that liberty brings. Liberty shakes up the status quo. Liberty constantly creates new opportunities and replaces old industries and institutions with new and better ones. 

This wonderful process is scary and threatening for many people. That's understandable. 

Yet the history of the progress of the human race is the history of removing government control of our personal and economic lives. 

Religious liberty made both religion and the state more humane. Economic liberty — lessening government control over the economy — brought us incredible abundance and saved billions of lives. Ending alcohol Prohibition in America ended the crime and loss of civil liberties that misguided policy provoked. 

Time and time again, we see that personal and economic liberty create harmony and abundance.

Yet in each of the examples above, and many more, good people from across the political spectrum feared and opposed the changes that ultimately proved to be so beneficial. 

Today our liberal and conservative friends are on our side on these once-contentious issues. No one yearns for subsidies to prop up the horse and buggy industry. No one wants to return to slavery, or alcohol Prohibition, or compulsory state religion. 

As libertarians, an important part of our job is to reassure our fearful friends on the left and the right that liberty works, and the more liberty we have, the better off we will be. On every issue. 

Eventually, just as they did on the issues above, they will come to see the benefits of liberty on the remaining issues as well, and they will join with us on them. 

As the libertarian caterpillar said, "One day we'll all fly together, and we'll wonder why we ever feared the freedom of flight."

(Thanks to that most prolific of authors, A. Nonymous, for the original version of this fable that I encountered on the web.)

In liberty,
 
Sharon
 
* * *
 
NEXT ISSUE: Michael Cloud's Persuasion Power Point column, Sharon Harris' Liberty Minute, and much more!

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Activist Ammunition

by James W. Harris 





Silicon Valley Innovators: Gov't Is Biggest Barrier to U.S. Innovation

What's the worst drag on American technical innovation?

According to some of the most creative and successful people in America, it's… government. 

In a new "Silicon Valley Insiders Poll," The Atlantic asked 50 "Silicon Valley Insiders" — described as leading "executives, innovators, and thinkers" — this question: "What's the biggest barrier to innovation in the United States?"

The top three answers: 

"Government regulation/bureaucracy" — cited by 20% of respondents. 
"Immigration policies" — cited by 16%.
"Education" — yet another thumping government failure — cited by 14%. 

As Reason's Nick Gillespie notes in the Daily Beast: "Given the role it plays in setting immigration policy and controlling education at all levels through a mix of money and mandates, that means government takes the gold, silver, and bronze medals at making life harder."

(Fourth place was "Talent Shortage," cited by 10% of respondents, which is also at least in part a consequence of the second and third government-created barriers.)

Further, it's not just the tech sector reporting serious damage from government. A 2010 survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses asked small business owners to identify the biggest problems they face. Twenty-two percent of respondents said the single most important problem facing small businesses was "Taxes. Another thirteen percent said "Government Regulations and Red Tape." Both, of course, are direct manifestations of Big Government. Combined, they add up to 35% — making Big Government the biggest problem small businesses say they face. 

And Americans in general seem to agree. As we reported earlier this year, a Gallup poll found a record 72% of Americans picked big government as "the biggest threat to this country in the future" compared with big business or big labor.

Rand Paul: "I'll Do Everything to End the War on Drugs"

On his HBO show last Friday (Nov. 14), Bill Maher asked Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) about remarks he made in 2000 concerning the War on Drugs: 

BILL MAHER: "You said in 2000, 'The War on Drugs is an abysmal failure and a waste of money.' Are you still on that page?"

RAND PAUL: "I'm absolutely there, and I'll do everything to end the War on Drugs....

"The War on Drugs has become the most racially disparate outcome that you have in the entire country. Our prisons are full of black and brown kids. Three-fourths of the people in prison are black or brown, and white kids are using drugs, Bill, as you know...at the same rate as these other kids. But kids who have less means, less money, kids who are in areas where police are patrolling... Police are given monetary incentives to make arrests, monetary incentives for their own departments… 

"So I want to end the War on Drugs because it's wrong for everybody, but particularly because poor people are caught up in this, and their lives are ruined by it."

Paul also strongly defended sentencing reform and restoring voting rights to non-violent former felons. 

Paul further indicated his opposition to the federal War on Drugs during an early November discussion on the Washington, D.C. marijuana legalization vote. Paul told Roll Call that he strongly favors getting the federal government out of such matters: 

"I'm not for having the federal government get involved. I really haven't taken a stand on … the actual legalization. I haven't really taken a stand on that, but I'm against the federal government telling [Washington, DC] they can't," Paul said.

"I think there should be a certain amount of discretion for both states and territories and the District. I think really that when we set up our country, we intended that most crime or not crime, things that we determined to be crime or not crimes, was really intended to be determined by localities."

His father Ron Paul sometimes has taken that position or one similar to it, calling for ending the federal War on Drugs and leaving it up to states to decide whether or not they want to pursue drug prohibition. 

This let-the-states-decide position is also the premise upon which alcohol Prohibition was repealed in the 1930s.

* * * 

Activist 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...

RE-LEGALIZE MARIJUANA, SAYS GOP CONGRESSMAN: "The fundamental principles are individual liberty, which Republicans have always talked about; limited government, which Republicans have always talked about; the doctor-patient relationship, which, of course, we have been stressing a lot about lately; and of course, states' rights. … It is counterproductive to the people of this country to have our limited resources — we're $500 billion in debt every year — to put in jail someone who is smoking a weed in their back yard, or especially for medical purposes. It is a total waste of resources. … To my fellow Republicans, this is going to help you politically. If I can't appeal to you on your philosophical nature, come on over for just raw politics, the numbers are going this way now." — U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), former Reagan press secretary and speech writer, quoted in the Washington Post November 14, 2014. 

OBAMACARE PASSED BECAUSE AMERICANS ARE "STUPID," SAYS OBAMACARE CRAFTER: "If you have a law that makes explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it wouldn't have passed. … Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the 'stupidity of the American voter' or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass." — Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, who was paid nearly half a million dollars to help craft Obamacare, in a 2013 video that surfaced this month.  

WHERE IS THE ANTI-WAR LEFT? "Hundreds of airstrikes, over 3,000 soldiers deployed, and a request for $5.6 billion is a war, folks. Had President Mitt Romney just doubled our military presence in the Middle East and launched airstrikes that even the Kurds and the Free Syrian Army have criticized, the reaction would have been entirely different from liberals throughout the country. We once again have over 3,000 American boots on the ground in Iraq (without a peep from the anti-war left)…" — journalist H. A. Goodman, "I'm a Liberal Democrat. I'm Voting for Rand Paul in 2016. Here Is Why," Huffington Post, Nov. 17, 2014. 

YET ANOTHER DUMB WAR: "For most of this century, we've been fighting wars to enhance our security, and each time, we find ourselves with more enemies and less security. By now it should be clear that is not a coincidence." — syndicated columnist Steve Chapman, "The U.S. Goes to War Without a Clue, Again," November 6, 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.


Won't big businesses abuse their power in a free market?

QUESTION: If you free big businesses from government regulations, how do you keep these same businesses from becoming an aristocracy and turning America into a feudal state?

MY SHORT ANSWER: In a libertarian society, you, the consumer, control businesses by voting to buy or not buy their products. You vote to keep them in business or shut them down. You eliminate the "bad guys" by purchasing only from the "good guys."

In today's society, government regulates some companies out of business, leaving a monopoly (like most local utility companies) or a cartel (like the banking industry). Limiting your choices limits your control.

Government doesn't keep big business in check; government keeps big business big.

Business only has two ways to get big: by serving customers better than the competition or by getting Big Brother to regulate their competition out of business. Keeping government out of the marketplace keeps business in its true service role.

* * * 

LEARN MORE: Suggestions by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris for further reading on this topic:

* "Big Business and Big Government" by Tim Carney, Cato Institute Policy Report, July/August 2006. 

EXCERPT: "The history of big business is the history of big government. As the federal government has progressively become larger over the decades, every significant introduction of government regulation, taxation, and spending has been to the benefit of some big business. ...big business and big government prosper from the perception that they are rivals instead of partners (in plunder). The history of big business is one of cooperation with big government. Most noteworthy expansions of government power are to the liking of, and at the request of, big business."

* "The Only Way to Get Money Out of Politics" by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom Foundation.

EXCERPT: "It’s a great myth that businesses, especially big prominent corporations, want less government intervention in the economy. On the contrary, they love government power because it provides things they can’t achieve in a freely competitive marketplace where force and fraud are barred. Corporations support and lobby for interventions that benefit themselves by hampering their competitors, both foreign and domestic. You often find companies asking for tariffs and other restrictions on imports that compete too effectively with their products. Agribusinesses welcome government (taxpayer) help in selling their products abroad; they also love subsidies, price supports, and acreage allotments. ... In American history big companies were behind virtually ever advancement of the regulatory state." 

* * * 
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.

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