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Volume 16, No. 5                                                                                                         March 14, 2011
The Liberator Online
for everyone who loves Liberty
Published by The Advocates for Self-Government


"The World's Smallest Political Quiz has gained respect as a valid measure
of a person's political leanings."

-- The Washington Post, June 17, 2001.


















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In This Issue

PRESIDENT'S CORNER
* Online Quiz Taken 17 MILLION Times!

INTELLECTUAL AMMUNITION
* Free Online Book Gives Libertarian Policies on Every Major Issue
*
U.S. Budget: Overlapping Federal Programs Cost Taxpayers Billions, Says GAO
* Libya: Why the U.S. Should Not Intervene
 
THEY SAID IT: Judge Napolitano on Obama's approval of indefinite detention.... Ron Schiller on NPR.... Jay Leno on apparent social conservative Harry Reid.... Walter Williams on the immorality of wealth redistribution.   
 
PERSUASION POWER POINT #305
* Persuasion Shortcut: Promote Atlas Shrugged Movie From Now 'til April 15th

 ASK DR. RUWART
* Do libertarians support a national sales tax?

ONE-MINUTE LIBERTY TIP
* Feed the Politically Homeless at Your Next OPH!
 
 WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups!
* Join the Advocates on Twitter.
* Join the Advocates Facebook Fan Club.



PRESIDENT'S CORNER

by Sharon Harris



Online Quiz Taken 17 MILLION Times!

Dear friend,
 
Please join me in celebrating a new Quiz milestone!
 
As of last week, the online World's Smallest Political Quiz has now been taken more than 17 MILLION TIMES since it was first put on the Web in 1995.
 
The Quiz has become an Internet legend -- the first, and by far the most popular, Internet political quiz.
 
And the numbers continue to grow. In October 2007 we were thrilled to announce that we had reached the ten million mark. Now we’re seeing the twenty million mark approaching. We're currently averaging 4,000 Quiz takers a day.
 
Add to that the 8 million-plus Quiz cards we've distributed, and the additional millions more people who are encountering the Quiz in classrooms, newspapers, books, on talk radio, at Facebook, at Operation Politically Homeless (OPH) booths, and elsewhere.
 
This is fantastic news for libertarians. Because the Quiz is arguably the most effective tool for libertarian understanding and outreach ever invented.
 
When people take the Quiz:
 
* They learn that libertarianism is a major part of the American political spectrum -- that there is more to politics than just left versus right.
 
* They get insights into their own political views, and they think about some of today's most important -- but often ignored -- political issues.
 
* They learn that, on many key issues, libertarians are their allies, even if they consider themselves liberals or conservatives or centrists.
 
* A large percentage of Quiz takers discover they are libertarians, or have more in common with libertarianism than any other political philosophy.
 
* At our Web site, Quiz takers are given instant access to outstanding information about libertarian ideas. Their questions are answered. They are given the opportunity to become active in the libertarian movement. And they are offered tools and training to help them become ever more effective and successful in their libertarian outreach.
 
Please note: the amazing success of the Quiz is no accident.
 
We've spent many years developing the Quiz into a fast, fun, effective, and honest educational tool that gives reliable and useful insights to those who take it. A tool so reliable that non-libertarian educators, journalists and others can -- and do -- use it and recommend it.
 
During the past decade, the Quiz has been featured in many of America’s best-selling college and high school textbooks or their supplementary material – including more than a dozen key textbooks by the biggest names in publishing, including McGraw-Hill, Prentice Hall, and Houghton Mifflin.
 
In addition, we’ve supplied educators, at their request, with over 30,000 card Quizzes for their classrooms. Today, thousands of college and high school students study the Quiz -- in their classrooms.
 
Furthermore, we have promoted it extensively for many years to literally thousands of journalists, educators, national and local office holders, political activists, and other opinion leaders.
 
This is tangible, real-world outreach success. And it is making a real difference. 
 
As Ron Paul has said: "The World's Smallest Political Quiz is responsible for many Americans' first contact with libertarian ideas. While traveling around the country, I have often heard people say, 'I never knew I was a libertarian until I took the Quiz!'"
 
The success of the Quiz is great news for the entire liberty movement. We're finding and educating the libertarian leaders, activists and supporters of tomorrow!
 
This is just part of the work the Advocates does for liberty. But in so many ways, the Quiz is central to everything we do.
 
I hope you'll join me in celebrating this latest Quiz success.
 
PLEASE NOTE: NONE of this success would have been possible without the help of the many wonderful people who support the work of the Advocates with their generous donations, large and small. These HEROES OF LIBERTY have made it possible for the Quiz to reach so many people in such an effective way with the ideas of liberty!
 
If you would like to join them by becoming an Advocates donor, we have some fantastic "thank you" gifts for you. Check them out here:
 
Or call us toll-free at 1-800-932-1776.
 
Most importantly, you'll have the great satisfaction of knowing you're making so many crucial programs possible -- including the Quiz, and the Liberator Online -- that the liberty movement relies on.
 
Help us reach the NEXT 17 million Quiz takers. Thank you!

                                    * * *

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
 


Free Online Book Gives Libertarian Policies on Every Major Issue

Cato Handbook for Policymakers, 7th Edition (2009).  The Cato Institute, America’s leading libertarian thinktank, gives to-the-point policy recommendations on every major policy issue. This is a great guide to what Congress should be – but alas, isn’t – doing.
 
The 63 chapters -- each beginning with a list of major policy recommendation -- offer issue-by-issue blueprints for promoting individual liberty, free markets, and peace.
                                  
Providing both in-depth analysis and concrete recommendations, Cato's Handbook is a great resource for policymakers -- and for anyone else interested in securing liberty and limiting government.
 
You can read each chapter for free in PDF form.

You can also purchase the book from Cato at that site.

U.S. Budget: Overlapping Federal Programs Cost Taxpayers Billions, Says GAO

 

Photo: VinothChandar
“Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue” is the rather bland title of a stunning report released early this month by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
 
"This report confirms what most Americans assume about their government," said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, upon the release of the report. "We are spending trillions of dollars every year and nobody knows what we are doing. The executive branch doesn't know. The congressional branch doesn't know. Nobody knows, This report also shows we could save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars every year without cutting services."
 
The report found huge amounts of waste and duplication among federal programs. That will come as no surprise to Liberator Online readers, but it provides strong support for the idea that a great deal of what the federal government does is useless and can be abolished without causing anyone pain except the bureaucrats and special interests who feed off the programs.
 
Here’s a good short summary of the findings of the report.
 
You can read the GAO’s summary of their report, and see the entire 345 pages report in .pdf form.
 
Excerpt from the GAO REPORT: “The U.S. government has more than 100 programs dealing with surface transportation issues, 82 monitoring teacher quality, 80 for economic development, 47 for job training, 20 offices or programs devoted to homelessness and 17 different grant programs for disaster preparedness. Another 15 agencies or offices handle food safety, and five are working to ensure the federal government uses less gasoline.”

Libya: Why the U.S. Should Not Intervene

Photo: jorgemejia
Anyone who loves freedom must sympathize with those trying to overthrow the Libyan dictator Gaddafi. But what role should the U.S. government play?
                        
The same neoconservatives and liberal interventionists who dragged the U.S. into the Afghanistan and Iraq quagmires are now calling for U.S. military intervention in Libya.
 
Here are some voices that urge caution.
 
* “Buying Friends Creates More Enemies” by U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, March 7, 2011.
 
Excerpt: “We do know, however, that these conflicts in Africa and the Middle East can be made worse if the U.S. government attempts to intervene and support certain candidates or factions. Such intervention would not further US interests or win us new friends, but in fact would undermine the legitimacy of any government that may emerge after the end of old regimes.”
 
* “Stay Out of Libya: The case against military intervention” by Steve Chapman, Reason Magazine, March 10, 2011.

Excerpt: “Most of the people endorsing an attack know less about Libya than they do about playing the oboe. Yet this group is willing to shoot first and ask questions later, forgetting that ignorance usually trumps good intentions. … Once the U.S. attacks, many Arabs will see it as a fight between an Arab leader and the American imperialists bent on subjugating Muslims, not a heroic struggle by the Libyan people against a dictator.”
 
* “U.S. Needs a Low Profile in Libya” by Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato Institute, March 4, 2011.

Excerpt: “Given the highly negative opinions of the United States held by people throughout North Africa and the Middle East — U.S. approval ratings are frequently in the 10 percent to 25 percent range — we should be relieved that U.S. conduct has not been a prominent issue in any of the uprisings thus far. That argues for maintaining a low profile and avoiding becoming a source of controversy.”
 
* “The GOP's Neocon Addiction to War” by Jacob Heilbrunn, The National Interest March 7, 2011.
 
Excerpt: “The neocons who urged America to invade Iraq are now noisily denouncing President Obama for being a wussbag on Libya. … But there are sound reasons to resist such a course. The last thing that America needs is to become bogged down in Libya. Yes, all power to the rebels for taking on Gaddafi. But frankly, it's their fight and they have to win it. Inserting America directly into the conflict would simply fan, not create, the perception that an outside imperialist power is once more throwing its not inconsiderable weight around in the Middle East.”

* * * * * * * *
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 CONSTITUTION TURNED UPSIDE DOWN: “Yesterday, President Obama signed an executive order claiming the right to incarcerate persons in the Guantanamo Bay military prison for the duration of their natural lives even after acquittal. You heard that correctly. AFTER acquittal.

“Following upon President Bush, President Obama has claimed the power to punish people even after a jury has found them not guilty.
 
“No western government has ever claimed the power to do this. Not the king of England, not Hitler, not Stalin, not even the Russian and Chinese communists. … [T]hat view turns the Constitution on its head.” -- Judge Andrew Napolitano on the Glenn Beck show, March 8, 2011.
 

* NPR WOULD BE BETTER OFF: “…it is very clear that in the long run we would be better off without federal funding.” -- Ron Schiller, recently fired National Public Radio Foundation's senior vice president for fundraising
 

* UPFRONT: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D-Utah] now wants to outlaw prostitution. Let's make politicians illegal and keep the hookers. At least they're upfront about screwing you." –Jay Leno, March 3, 2011.

 

* THE IMMORAL FEDERAL BUDGET: “I think it immoral for Congress to forcibly take one American's earnings and give them to another American to whom they do not belong. If a person did the same thing privately, he'd be convicted of theft and jailed. We might ask ourselves whether acts that are clearly immoral and despicable when done privately are any less so when done by Congress. Close to two-thirds of the federal budget, so-called entitlements, represent what thieves do: redistribute income.” -- economist and syndicated columnist Walter Williams, March 11, 2011.

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



PERSUASION POWER POINT #305


 
Persuasion Shortcut: Promote Atlas Shrugged Movie From Now 'til April 15th

by Michael Cloud
 
April 15th: Tax Day. Ugh.
                                               
BUT, this year --
 
April 15th: Atlas Shrugged (Part 1) -- the movie -- will be released.
 
Do you have family members or friends between the ages of 15 and 30?
 
Because those are the years when young people are most open-minded, receptive, and responsive to the ideas and fiction of Ayn Rand. To her stories, to her case for reason, individualism, free markets, and libertarianism.
 
Invite a few of these young people to go with you to see Atlas Shrugged in a theater near you.
 
After the movie, LISTEN to their thoughts and reactions. Do NOT confront them or argue with them. Let them digest what they saw at their own pace.
 
Tell them, "If you liked the movie, then you'll find the book even more interesting. More enjoyable."
 
Give each of them a copy of Atlas Shrugged, the novel by Ayn Rand.
 
Let them read and assimilate Atlas Shrugged at their own speed.
 
Some will love it. Some won't.
 
Talk with the ones who love it. If they are jazzed by the ideas on free market capitalism and libertarianism, ask if they'd like to see similar ideas by people who agree with Miss Rand on these matters.
 
Send them a link to the Advocates' website. Or to 2 or 3 essays at the website you think they might enjoy.
 
With many, many libertarians... it usually begins with Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand.
 
Why not your family and friends?
 
Wouldn't this give you a reason to smile this April 15th?
 
* * * * * * * *
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.
 
Do libertarians support a national sales tax?

 

Question: I have read about proposals to eliminate the income tax and replace it with a consumption tax (national sales tax). To me this seems like a very good idea. First, it would mean foreign manufacturers would pay almost the same tax as domestic ones. Second. it would remove the need for large accounting and legal departments in corporations, and would certainly simplify the paperwork of small businesses. Third, it would eliminate the ability of the wealthy to utilize loopholes in the present tax system. There are many more benefits I can see, and I can't see a downside. Am I missing something? Do libertarians support this idea?"

 

My Short Answer: Libertarians recognize that taxation of any kind is theft and therefore do not support taxation. However, some dedicated libertarians have been working to replace the income tax with a consumption tax, like the one you've outlined.

Among other things, they believe that people would feel the bite much more if everything that they bought came with a double-digit sales tax. Tax increases would be more visible -- and more unpopular for politicians to propose. The abuses perpetrated by the IRS would also end. Public support for abolishing taxes altogether would increase.

However, one danger many libertarians see in proposing this switch is the possibility that we would end up with a national sales tax AND an income tax.

Why not simply get rid of the income tax and replace it with nothing, as libertarian presidential candidates like Ron Paul and Harry Browne have proposed?

As Ron Paul told the New York Times in 2008: "I see a consumption tax as being a little better than the personal income tax, and I would vote for the Fair Tax if it came up in the House of Representatives, but it is not my goal. We can do better. ... We could eliminate the income tax, replace it with nothing, and still fund the same level of big government we had in the late 1990s. We don't need to 'replace' the income tax at all.

Ron Paul is right. If all we did was to restrict government to its constitutional limits, we could provide for defense and other necessary functions with constitutionally-permitted excise taxes.

Next, libertarians could start working on getting rid of those, too!

 

* * *  

 

LEARN MORE: Suggested additional reading on this topic from the Liberator Online editor:

* "Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax" by Advocates President Sharon Harris is a  four-part (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) series on how to persuade others to support ending the income tax.    


* * * * * * * *

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 




Feed the Politically Homeless at Your Next OPH!

by Sharon Harris 
 
Check out this great video by the University of Central Florida chapter of Young Americans for Liberty to see a fun and successful OPH (Operation Politically Homeless) booth.
 
The UCF libertarians gave the World’s Smallest Political Quiz to about 100 people – opening eyes, establishing a campus presence, discussing the ideas of liberty, making friends, and discovering quite a few new libertarians. They got new subscribers to their email newsletter, added about 15 new Facebook members, and signed up several new members to their campus group. And they had fun doing it. Congratulations!
 
The UCF libertarians also came up with some neat twists on OPHing that you might want to incorporate into your next OPH. They’re shown in this video. They are:
 
* FEED THE POLITICALLY HOMELESS! Notice the “Free Popsicles” sign at the booth. Great idea! On a hot day, lots of people will stop by your booth to get a free popsicle – and maybe pick up some ideological refreshment, too. If popsicles are too high for your budget (or if it’s a chilly venue) how about gum, candy, or some other treat?
 
As UCF YAL says: “We not only offered the ‘Politically Homeless’ a new place to live, we offered them free popsicles.”
 
(“Free balloons” is another good idea that some groups have used at outdoor festivals. Kids can’t resist them – and the kids pull their parents to the booth.)
 
* TAKE A PHOTO OF PEOPLE POINTING TO THEIR SCORES: UCF YAL did this, and look at all those smiling faces! People clearly had fun taking the Quiz and posing next to their scores. The photos prove it.
 
Here’s UCF YAL on why they took these pictures: 
 
“We asked everyone who participated if they would be willing to let us take a photograph of them plotting their results on the Nolan Chart. If they agreed, we encouraged them to join our Facebook group in order to see their picture. We also used this opportunity to discuss the basic principles of liberty and find areas of agreement based on each participant's results.”
 
Smart! Possible variation: You could print the photos out right there and post them on a board for passers-by to see.
 
And please remember:
 
Photograph and document your OPH like these guys did! Other people want to know about your experiences with OPH. They want to hear about your experience. And that includes us! Your photos, stats, and stories allow us to publicize your efforts and encourage others to do OPH. Please -- keep us informed! 
 
“Thanks to the support of Advocates for Self Government, we were able to reach out to the student body via the Worlds Smallest Political Quiz,” UCF YAL reports. “[OPH] was an excellent outreach tool and we were able to talk to discuss the philosophy of liberty with many of our fellow students.”
 
“We would encourage other YAL chapters around the country to take advantage of the resources being offered by Advocates for Self Government and remain vigilant in your recruiting efforts. The college campuses are the future of this nation and planting seeds of liberty is essential to the success of our movement.”
 
Thanks!
 
PS: STUDENTS, GET YOUR FREE OPH KIT! Remember, the Advocates will GIVE your campus libertarian group a FREE OPH kit – acclaimed as the best outreach tool  in the liberty movement. All we ask in return is that you do at least three OPH events during the school year and report the results to us. Get your free OPH kit today!

* * * * * *
Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government. See more One Minute Liberty tips.   


What's Happening with the Advocates



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, contact us today via email for more information on getting your free OPH kit.

JOIN US ON TWITTER:Twitter is the first place to learn about breaking Advocates and liberty movement news, expert communications tips, and exclusive Advocates discounts and specials. (And don't worry -- we won't bombard you with tweets. We're keeping it fun, fast, and useful.)
 
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.

Then go to the Advocates Twitter account and click the "follow" button below our picture.  

That's all it takes! You'll then get our tweets -- and we can get yours.

BECOME A FAN  of the Advocates on Facebook. The Advocates Fan Page is a Facebook community that offers you a chance to share your ideas on liberty, meet some great people and show your support for the Advocates for Self-Government and liberty. Join and you'll receive regular Facebook updates on Advocates news, communication tips, and special offers for our Facebook friends.
 
Have any of your Facebook friends already joined? Join yourself and find out! There's no cost, no obligation, and your privacy is fully protected. Thank you!

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THE LIBERATOR ONLINE, created by James W. Harris and Paul Schmidt, is the official newsletter of the
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