"The Advocates leads the way in thinking, methods, and materials for communicating libertarianism to a world that most definitely needs it. Every libertarian activist has benefited from, and owes a debt of gratitude to, the Advocates."
â€” David Bergland, 1984 Libertarian presidential candidate,
author of Libertarianism In One Lesson
WELCOME to the Liberator Online!
In This Issue
* I'm Retiring!
* New Poll: Millions of Voters Say They're Libertarian
* A "Devil's Dictionary" of Washington-Speak
THEY SAID IT: Oh, the horror! Writer tells what happened after they re-legalized pot in Washington stateâ€¦. Unbelievable: economist Mark Perry on the millions of hours wasted filling out tax formsâ€¦. Shooting the messenger: Ron Paul on the "only American prosecuted and imprisoned in relation to the government's use of torture"â€¦. Journalist calls for imprisoning and silencing so-called climate "deniers"â€¦. Lawrence Vance sums up the libertarian solution to the monstrous War on Drugsâ€¦.
* No One "Pays" Taxes
WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
* SPECIAL THANK-YOU GIFTS reserved just for you!
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups
* Have a libertarian communication event near you! Find out how
by Sharon Harris
For the Advocates, some big changes and celebrations are coming up.
* It's the 30th Anniversary for the Advocates.
* It's my 20th Anniversary as Advocates president.
* And... I will be retiring as Advocates president at the end of the month.
Please note, I am not retiring as an active libertarian. I'm stepping down from the varied and time-consuming job of Advocates president and will be focusing my efforts on the activities I love most: writing and speaking about libertarianism and â€” my favorite topic â€” the most effective ways to communicate the ideas of liberty. I will also continue doing communication workshops on this topic â€” some of them in conjunction with the Advocates.
Being president of the Advocates for Self-Government has been the most wonderful and fulfilling job I could have ever imagined for myself!
It has been an incredible honor for me to follow in the footsteps of the previous two Advocates presidents: Advocates Founder Marshall Fritz and Carole Ann Rand.
They created a fantastic organization that has deeply affected the lives of millions of individuals. The Advocates has enormously increased the size and effectiveness of the libertarian movement, and has introduced tens of millions of people to libertarianism, first and foremost through the amazing World's Smallest Political Quiz â€” the most popular outreach tool in the libertarian movement.
Of course there is much more to the Advocates than the Quiz. The original mission of the Advocates was to empower libertarians to become excellent and successful communicators of the ideas of liberty. This is a unique and vital contribution the Advocates has made to the movement in our 30 years.
As Advocates president, I've learned about libertarian communication from the best: Marshall, Carole Ann, Michael Cloud, Mary Ruwart, David Bergland, Harry Browne, and many more too numerous to name. We've helped tens of thousands of libertarians become far more persuasive and effective in their outreach. And that has enabled libertarians to successfully win others to our side, helping build a strong and growing movement for liberty.
It has been a joy teaching numerous libertarian communication classes and seminars for libertarian groups in almost every state in America. Last year alone I had the pleasure of speaking on successful communication to over 1,000 libertarians.
I look forward to continuing this â€” so please contact me when you want a libertarian communication workshop in your area!
I've had the pleasure of meeting and working with some of the finest libertarians in the world â€” world-famous celebrities and people you may not have heard of who are making our world a freer and better place. What a privilege it has been! (I wouldn't dream of trying to name them all â€” we'd fill this entire issue up, and still leave deserving people out. Thanks, everyone!)
Similarly, I've had the great pleasure of working with many of the very finest libertarian organizations. I must especially thank the Libertarian Party for the greatest honors of my professional career. The LP has honored me with two of its highest awards. In 2012, I received the Thomas Jefferson Award, "presented to the Libertarian Party member whose achievements merit our recognition of outstanding leadership, high character, and dedication to the principles and goals of the Party." In 2014, I received the LP's Thomas Paine Award for "outstanding communication of libertarian ideas, principles, and values."
But most of all I'd like to thank YOU, my friends who read the Liberator Online, use Advocates tools and services, and support the Advocates' work. You are the true heroes of the Advocates. You are building a successful movement for liberty that is changing our world.
I will miss connecting with you through the Advocates. I hope you will follow my new work and stay in touch with me. You can do this by "liking" me on Facebook â€” or emailing me. (Please do this right now, while it's on your mind.)
I'd like to congratulate Brett Bittner, the Advocates' new executive director! Brett has an outstanding record as a libertarian activist. He is a former executive director of the Libertarian Party of Georgia and a former president of the Libertarian State Leadership Alliance. He has been working with the Advocates for the past year and will be taking the helm of the organization on May 1. You'll be hearing more from Brett soon.
Finally, please read my President's Column in the next issue. I'll let you know more details about what's ahead â€” including a special celebration of the Advocates' and my anniversaries to take place in Atlanta on June 27. Hold that date on your calendar, and I hope to see you there!
* * *
NEXT ISSUE: Michael Cloud's Persuasion Power Point column, Sharon Harris' Liberty Minute, and much more!
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 â€” the philosophy of liberty.
by James W. Harris
New Poll: Millions of Voters Say They're Libertarian
A new poll from YouGov brings exciting and unprecedented news for libertarians.
Asked "Would you describe yourself as a libertarian or not?" fully one in five of likely millennial (ages 18-29) voters said yes â€” thus self-describing themselves as libertarians.
YouGov found that young Americans are more likely than any other age group to accept the label libertarian â€” great news for a growing political movement. And there is room for this figure to grow significantly as libertarian ideas spread, because, in addition to the 20% who self-identify as libertarians, another 42% said they were "not sure." Only 39% rejected the label.
Among older voters, 17% of 30- to 44-year-olds, 15% of 45- to 64-year-olds and 9% of those 65 and older say that the word "libertarian" described their views.
More great news: a majority Americans are, broadly, embracing libertarian ideas of limiting government. Fully 51% say they want to shrink the size of government. A whopping 30% of Americans even agree with the radical libertarian statement that "Taxation is theft." (It probably didn't hurt that the poll was conducted April 8-9 â€” a week before Tax Day.)
But what is most remarkable about the YouGov poll is that it has found so many millions of voters who accept the libertarian "brand" as a label for their political views â€” something inconceivable just a few years ago.
Nor are these self-described libertarians tied to either of the two older political parties. The libertarian vote is up for grabs to the candidate or party that appeals most to it. Writes YouGov: "There is little difference between partisans when it comes to identifying as libertarians. Republicans (13%) are essentially no more likely than Democrats (12%) to identify as libertarian, while 19% of Independents describe themselves as libertarian."
Notes Reason.com's Nick Gillespie: "Let's be clear about a couple of things: First, the fact that YouGov and other groups are hunting down the number of libertarians afoot â€” Pew even went 'In Search of Libertarians' just last year â€” is itself a sign that something new and different is happening. When you start touting up the way many things are breaking in a libertarian direction â€” the energy surrounding Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012, majority acceptance of pot legalization and gay marriage, serious efforts at criminal justice reform, plummeting numbers for faith in government, the rise of school choice, embrace of a sharing economy that routes around old-style regulation, general acceptance of free trade and free speech as positive values, and much more â€” it's fair to call attention to what we've dubbed here as 'The Libertarian Moment.'"
For more excellent commentary on the YouGov poll see "Millennials Are More Likely to Identify as Libertarians" by Robby Soave, Reason.com.
A "Devil's Dictionary" of Washington-Speak
Libertarian journalist James Bovard â€” author of a dozen outstanding and eye-opening books including Lost Rights, The Bush Betrayal, and most recently Attention Deficit Democracy â€” has done Americans yet another service.
In an editorial for USA Today Bovard put together a short dictionary of "Washingtonese" â€” the slippery lingo that politicians, bureaucrats and other such nefarious critters use to hide what they really mean.
Or, as Bovard puts it, the government's "nebulous nomenclature [that] deters citizens from recognizing exactly how well their elected leaders serve them."
Here's a sampling:
Historic â€” different than last week
Unprecedented â€” different than last month
Emergency â€” the gift that keeps giving
Truth â€” whatever people will swallow
Legacy â€” any political boast that survives more than three 24-hour news cycles
Handout â€” a government benefit received primarily by the supporters of the other party
Mandate â€” whatever a winning politician can get away with
Honorable â€” any public figure who has not yet been indicted
Bill of Rights â€” (archaic) political invocation popular in 1790s
Fair play â€” any process in which politicians or bureaucrats pick winners and losers
Rule of Law â€” the latest edicts from a deputy assistant Labor Secretary or deputy assistant HUD Secretary
Patriotic â€” any appeal that keeps people paying and obeying
Waste â€” federal spending that fails to generate laudatory headlines, votes or campaign contributions
Freedom â€” whatever rulers have not yet benevolently prohibited
Election â€” when voters are permitted to freely consent to one of the two aspiring despots offered by the major parties
Cynic â€” anyone who expresses doubt about the latest bipartisan agreement to gradually eliminate the federal budget deficit over the next 117 years
Anarchist â€” anyone who advocates across-the-board spending cuts of more than 3.63%
Scurrilous â€” anyone who mentions previous federal failures when the president proposes glorious new programs
For much more Bovardian wit and wisdom, see his USA Today article.
* * *
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...
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER POT RE-LEGALIZATION:
"We no longer arrest 12,000 people every year for possessing marijuana in Washington state. Those are 12,000 people who kept their jobs, went to college, supported their kids, and enjoyed happy and productive lives. State-licensed pot farmers have driven illegal growers out of the state. Mexican cartel pot has no market here. Thousands of new jobs have been created. We've seen no pot-inspired crime wave, no mass conversion of citizens into stoners. Parents know more about pot than we did two years ago; when we talk to our kids about avoiding it, we come from a place of knowledge, not fear. My family is safer and healthier because marijuana is regulated and legal. ... Here in Washington, as in Colorado, we've stopped destroying the lives of people who possess a drug that's less harmful than alcohol. " â€” writer Bruce Barcott
, "I Thought Legalizing Pot Would Be a Disaster. But It Turned Out to Be Wonderful," TIME, April 9, 2015.
WHAT A WASTE:
"In a recent report to Congress, the National Taxpayer Advocate
that American taxpayers and businesses spend 6.1 billion hours every year complying with the income tax code... [That] would be the equivalent of more than 3 million Americans working full-time, year-round... By way of comparison, the federal government currently employs 2.7 million full-time workers, and Wal-Mart, the world's largest private employer, currently employs 2.2 million workers worldwide and 1.3 million workers in the U.S. (both full-time and part-time)." â€” economist Mark Perry
, Carpe Diem blog, "Some Thoughts on Tax Day," April 15, 2015.
RON PAUL ON SHOOTING THE MESSENGER:
"Government officials are rarely prosecuted
for even the most blatant violations of our liberties. In contrast, federal prosecutors routinely pursue criminal charges against whistleblowers. For example, the only American prosecuted and imprisoned in relation to the government's use of torture was whistleblower John Kiriakou!" â€” Ron Paul
, "The IRS and Congress Both Hold Our Liberty in Contempt," Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, April 5, 2015.
JOURNALIST â€” JAIL AND SILENCE CLIMATE "DENIALISTS":
"Man-made climate change kills a lot of people. It's going to kill a lot more. We have laws on the books to punish anyone whose lies contribute to people's deaths. It's time to punish the climate-change liars. ... Those denialists should face jail. They should face fines. They should face lawsuits from the classes of people whose lives and livelihoods are most threatened by denialist tactics. ... I'm talking about public persons and organizations and corporations for whom denying a fundamental scientific fact is profitable, who encourage the acceleration of an anti-environment course of unregulated consumption and production that, frankly, will screw my son and your children and whatever progeny they manage to have. Those malcontents must be punished and stopped." â€” journalist Adam Weinstein
, "Arrest Climate-Change Deniers," Gawker, March 28, 2015.
THE LIBERTARIAN VIEW ON THE WAR ON DRUGS:
"The libertarian view on the drug war is simple and consistent: Since it is not the business of government at any level to prohibit, regulate, restrict, license, criminalize, limit, or otherwise control what someone wants to smoke, snort, sniff, inject, or swallow, then there should be no laws whatsoever regarding the buying, selling, possessing, trafficking, using, growing, cultivating, processing, or manufacturing of any drug for any reason. ... Therefore, on both the federal and the state level, all drugs should be legalized, all drug laws and regulations should be repealed, all DEAs should be eliminated, all incarcerated drug offenders should be pardoned and released from jail or prison, and every facet of the drug war should be ended. And because the drug war is such a great injustice, this should all be done immediately." â€” Laurence M. Vance
, "The Drug War Litmus Test," LewRockwell.com, April 7, 2015.
* * * * * * * * * *
"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.
One-Minute Liberty Tip
by Sharon Harris
No One "Pays" Taxes
"You don't ''pay' taxes. The government TAKES them." â€” comedian Chris Rock.
Not only is this quote funny (especially when you hear Chris Rock say it), it makes a profound point â€” one well worth remembering when talking about taxes and politics.
The word "pay," in connection with taxes, is just government propaganda. Using it â€” saying we "pay taxes" or "paid our taxes" â€” hides and distorts the true nature of taxation. And that's something libertarians shouldn't do.
Here's what I mean.
In common usage, the word "pay" strongly implies some kind of consensual agreement. If you're selling apples and I want one, I pay you for it. If I don't want the apple, I don't have to pay. If someone else has a better deal on apples, I'm free to trade with him instead. Or I can skip apples altogether.
Similarly, if I borrow money from a loan company, I agree to pay it back with interest. If a competing company offers lower interest rates, I'm free to trade with them instead. I also of course have the option of not borrowing money at all.
Those are payments, voluntarily agreed to.
However, the word "pay" is inappropriate for a coerced exchange â€” like taxation.
As the great Lysander Spooner famously pointed out, if a criminal points a gun at you and demands all the money in your pocket, you aren't "paying" the robber when you hand over your money. You didn't "pay" â€” you were robbed!
If burglars enter your home at night and steal your valuables, you didn't "pay" the burglar. He TOOK your money! You were robbed.
Libertarians view taxes as a form of coercion, no different in essence from robbery or theft. (By the way, a startlingly large number of Americans now agree with us on this. See the story "New Poll: Millions of Voters Say They're Libertarian" above.)
So we should never use language like "pay taxes" or "paid taxes." Saying so legitimizes taxation. It implies that taxation is just another form of legitimate exchange, like paying for goods and services you voluntarily purchased.
Instead, when someone else uses that term, we should, if appropriate, gently disagree. And respond with something like: "Actually, I didn't 'pay' taxes. No one PAYS taxes. The government just seizes money from you. There's a big difference. Payments are voluntary. Taxes are coercive. Likeâ€¦ theft."
Your wording, of course, will depend on who you're speaking with and where. But one thing's certain â€” you'll have trouble improving on Chris Rock's monologue:
"The messed-up thing about taxes is you don't 'pay' taxes. The government TAKES them. You get your check and money is GONE! It was not an option! That ain't a payment â€” that's a JACK! I been TAX JACKED!"
* * *
Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government.
What's Happening with the Advocates
SEE SPECIAL THANK-YOU GIFTS for your tax-exempt donation.
JOIN THE ADVOCATES
. Fun, informative!
FREE OPH KITS FOR LIBERTARIAN STUDENT GROUPS: We're giving our acclaimed OPH (Operation Political Homeless) outreach kits â€” a $50 value â€” to libertarian student groups FREE. Learn why OPH is praised as the best recruiting tool in the libertarian movement, and get your free OPH kit.
HAVE A GREAT LIBERTARIAN COMMUNICATION WORKSHOP NEAR YOU: Email Sharon to find out how.