"We must learn to defend all our personal resources with reason, clarity and the kind of effective persuasion that wins friends, rather than alienating them. For this, no group is more helpful than the Advocates."
â€” Tonie Nathan, first Libertarian Party candidate for vice-president (1972), and first woman in American
history to receive an Electoral College vote.
WELCOME to the Liberator Online!
In This Issue
* Worth a Thousand Wordsâ€¦
* Grover Norquist: The Future Looks Libertarian
* Cut Military Spending by 60%: Libertarian Candidates Pledge
* VIDEO: Acclaimed Introduction to the Philosophy of Liberty
* Robbery With a Badge: Shocking New Report
THEY SAID IT: Uh-oh: Austin tax advocates finds she can't afford to live there any more -- because of taxes.... We'll be at war for 30 years or more, says Leon Panetta.... Merchants of Death cheer endless U.S. war.... Kucinich blasts Obama for foreign policy insanity.... Libertarian Party asks: which enemies in Middle East should we support?.... How the War on Drugs leads to tyranny.... Jimmy Fallon laughs at the lap-dog press....
PERSUASION POWER POINT #377 by Michael Cloud
* Nurture and Protect New Libertarians
ASK DR. RUWART
* Would blackmail be legal in a libertarian society?
ONE-MINUTE LIBERTY TIP by Sharon Harris
* Try This Brilliant Argument Against the War on Drugs
WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
* Upcoming: Advocates communication workshops and speeches
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups!
by Sharon Harris
Worth a Thousand Wordsâ€¦
I've written thousands of words over the years about OPH (Operation Politically Homeless) â€” the classic Advocates outreach tool.
If a picture is worth a thousand wordsâ€¦ well, here's a photo that pretty much says it all about OPH.
I came across it at the Facebook page of the National Organization of Libertarian Women. The happy and enthusiastic woman pointing to the OPH chart is Laura Pate, Libertarian Party of Alabama Director of Outreach, candidate for the Jefferson County Tax Collector, and nominee for "Libertarian Woman of the Month."
The OPH was conducted by the Alabama LP at the 23rd annual Irondale Alabama Whistle Stop Festival on Saturday September 27, 2014. Crowds filled the streets to enjoy artists, crafters, food vendors and musicians from all over the Southeast. How great that OPH was there, too! And you can see by the dots at the top of the OPH chart that the Alabama LP found quite a few libertarian-leaning folks there. Congratulations!
This picture perfectly illustrates what libertarians have been saying for years about this fantastic tool.
OPH is fun. OPH draws crowds. OPH lets just two or more libertarians find lots of libertarian-leaning people wherever people are gathered â€” and helps you easily recruit them into your organization.
OPH can be done by newcomers and old hands alike. It's a great way to take the ideas of liberty to your community or campus.
Learn more about how YOU can put the awesome proven power of OPH to work for your organization.
Students: Learn how your campus organization can get a FREE OPH kit â€” and join the hundreds of libertarian campus groups using OPH to find thousands of new libertarians.
* * *
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.
Become a SUPER COMMUNICATOR for the ideas of liberty!
Learn how at an entertaining and enlightening Advocates communication workshop, led by acclaimed libertarian communication expert and Advocates President Sharon Harris.
Find out how you can get Sharon to speak at your organization. Email Sharon now, or call her at 770-386-8372.
by James W. Harris
Grover Norquist: The Future Looks Libertarian
One of America's most influential Republican leaders says that libertarians are winning big victories, creating new coalitions, and seem to be the wave of the future.
Grover Norquist is the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). His article "Beyond Rand Paul: The Libertarians Are Coming" at OZY.com begins this way:
"They're no longer on the fringes. The libertarians are now officially mainstream. Proof? The New York Times Magazine [in its August article " Has the â€˜Libertarian Momentâ€™ Finally Arrived?"] cites the popularity of Republican Sen. Rand Paul and opposition to American 'boots on the ground' in Syria and Iraq.
"But it's much more than a moment. It's the culmination of a powerful narrative building over the past 30 years in American politics. This is a movement â€” and it doesn't live or die on the shoulders of one policy or one individual.
"What is notable is that regardless of whether an issue originates from the right or left, the side able to grab the mantle of liberty has advanced against all odds.
"So forget 'moment.' Think trend. And consider the once-impossible political shifts that have taken place over the past 30 years. The relevant dividing line is not right versus left or Republican versus Democrat but the expansion of individual liberty versus whatever and whosoever stands in the way."
Norquist gives four examples of major libertarian policy shifts in recent years: support for freedom of choice in education, gay rights, marijuana legalization, and the right to keep and bear arms.
"These four radical, unthinkable expansions of individual liberty are not liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat. All flow from the small 'l' libertarian, live and let live, leave us alone, 'laissez-nous faire' attitude. Four movements calling for increased individual liberty while their opponents explained â€” with hundreds if not thousands of years of tradition and history to back them up â€” that society should have the power to control behavior for the public good.
"One can see other issues that follow this trend. Uber against the taxi regulators. Airbnb. Lyft. Bet and invest on the side advancing liberty.
"A libertarian moment? No. A trend. A long-term trend with no obvious roadblock in sight."
Cut Military Spending by 60%: Libertarian Candidates Pledge
As we noted last issue, scores of Libertarian Party candidates for federal office have pledged to downsize the bloated federal government â€” in four big and specific ways:
* Eliminate the federal income tax
* End the War on Drugs
* Abolish the NSA
* Cut military spending by 60%
We're exploring each of these pledges in detail, one per issue, because the Libertarian Party has done a great job of showing that these bold proposals are not only possible, they are practical and enormously beneficial. (Of course, you can jump ahead of us and read about all four positions right now.)
Let's look at the pledge to cut military spending by 60% or more
. The candidates pledge: "If elected, I will sponsor legislation to cut military spending by 60% or more and cut total federal spending accordingly; close all foreign U.S. military bases; withdraw completely from the Middle East; and bring our troops home."
Here are the benefits, according to the Libertarians:
* A non-interventionist foreign policy will result in less hostility towards the United States and reduce the risk of a terrorist attack.
* There is no justification for forcing U.S. taxpayers to fund the military defense of other nations, including wealthy countries such as France, Germany and Japan.
* Cutting the U.S. military by 60 percent does not remove one cent of U.S. military defense spending â€” only military offense, defense of other countries, and waste.
* An oversized military budget is a war waiting to happen. Needless war results in untold death and destruction â€” the greatest assault on human liberty. A lean, reasonably-sized military budget will save lives, avoid casualties, preserve personal property and community infrastructures, and foster peace.
* Voters want to downsize the U.S. military. According to a survey by the Stimson Center, Democratic, Republican and independent voters all want to cut military spending "far more severely than the sequester would" and "far, far more severely than either party has proposed."
* Closing foreign bases and withdrawing from the Middle East means that U.S. troops stationed abroad can come home to their families. Kids will grow up with mom and dad at home.
* Fewer casualties will reduce demand on the Veterans Administration, which will improve the care of America's wounded soldiers.
* Downsizing the military will force the reduction and consolidation of 18 separate spy agencies â€” the surest way to end the government's spying on innocent citizens in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
* A right-sized military will be auditable, will squeeze out its legendary waste and will put an end to overpriced and unneeded multi-billion-dollar procurements that politicians lobby for to "bring home the bacon" to their districts.* A non-interventionist policy will reduce trade barriers, resulting in greater prosperity for both Americans and our trading partners.
* Cutting the military by 60 percent will enable substantial cuts in federal taxes and stop the growth of the national debt. If applied to the income tax, each American family will get back, on average, $4,100 â€” every year. If used to balance the budget, it will eliminate approximately 70 percent of the deficit and stop today's rapid inflation of the dollar. This will stabilize prices on everyday goods and services and dramatically reduce the risk of an economic collapse.
* Transferring wealth out of the government sector and into the private sector will create sustainable, productive jobs â€” approximately twice as many jobs as will be lost in the government sector. A net increase of millions of new jobs.
VIDEO: Acclaimed Introduction to the Philosophy of Liberty
The Philosophy of Liberty is an eight-minute animated film by Kerry Pearson (aka Lux Lucre) based on the prologue of Ken Schoolland's outstanding libertarian book The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible.
Millions of people have viewed the video. It's online in English at YouTube and elsewhere, and it's also available in about 40 other languages and several video formats at The Philosophy of Liberty website
. There you can also learn more about the history of this remarkable video.
This is a great educational tool which we highly recommend. It offers an easy-to-understand introduction to the fundamentals of libertarianism. Many viewers praise it as extremely clear, rational and emotionally moving - a remarkable combination of responses. Share it online.
Robbery With a Badge: Shocking New Report
Asset forfeiture is a dull name for a shocking little-known legal device that allows law enforcement officials to take your cash and property â€” without a warrant or criminal charges of any kind â€” and keep most of the proceeds.
That's right: they can do this even if you have not committed a crime. Even if you've never been charged with one.
The only way you can get back your money or property is to go through an exhaustive legal process to prove that your property was legally acquired. Yes, in essence, you must prove to the government that you are not guilty. And the process is so difficult, time-consuming and expensive that most don't attempt it.
Even if you think you know about this vile practice, a new report by the Washington Post entitled "Stop and seize: Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes" has uncovered new information that will shock you.
Among the Post's findings:
* Asset forfeiture has risen dramatically in the past decade. Thousands of Americans have had billions of dollars stolen by police â€” again, without being charged or convicted of a crime.
* The federal government has given millions of dollars to non-government organizations to train police officers in aggressive use of asset forfeiture. An estimated 50,000-plus police officers have had such training in the last decade.
* Says the Post: "Behind the rise in seizures is a little-known cottage industry of private police-training firms that teach the techniques of 'highway interdiction' to departments across the country.
"One of those firms created a private intelligence network known as Black Asphalt Electronic Networking & Notification System that enabled police nationwide to share detailed reports about American motorists â€” criminals and the innocent alike â€” including their Social Security numbers, addresses and identifying tattoos, as well as hunches about which drivers to stop. â€¦
"A thriving subculture of road officers on the network now competes to see who can seize the most cash and contraband, describing their exploits in the network's chat rooms and sharing 'trophy shots' of money and drugsâ€¦"
* "Some police advocate highway interdiction as a way of raising revenue for cash-strapped municipalities. 'All of our home towns are sitting on a tax-liberating gold mine,' Deputy Ron Hain of Kane County, Ill., wrote in a self-published book under a pseudonym. Hain is a marketing specialist for Desert Snow, a leading interdiction training firm based in Guthrie, Okla., whose founders also created Black Asphalt. Hain's book calls for 'turning our police forces into present-day Robin Hoods.'"
There's much more in the Washington Post's multi-part series, now online.
* * * * * * * *
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...
"I'm at the breaking point. It's not because I don't like paying taxes. I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can't afford to live here anymore. I'll protest my appraisal notice, but that's not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture." â€” Austin, Texas artist Gretchen Gardner
at an Austin town hall meeting. She fears that the rising local taxes she voted for will drive her out of her home. First quoted in the Austin-American Statesman, May 31, 2014, then widely disseminated.
"I think we're looking at kind of a 30-year war." â€” former Obama Secretary of Defense and CIA director Leon Panetta
, explaining why he thinks the U.S. war with ISIS must be extended to Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere, for decades. Quoted in "Key Democrats, Led by Hillary Clinton, Leave No doubt that Endless War Is Official U.S. Doctrine" by Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, October 7, 2014.
MERCHANTS OF DEATH CHEER ENDLESS WAR:
"Led by Lockheed Martin Group (LTM), the biggest U.S. defense companies are trading at record prices as shareholders reap rewards from escalating military conflicts around the worldâ€¦ the four largest Pentagon contractorsâ€¦rose 19 percent this year through yesterday, outstripping the 2.2 percent gain for the Standard & Poor's 500 Industrials Indexâ€¦investors see rising sales for makers of missiles, drones and other weapons as the U.S. hits Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraqâ€¦" â€” journalist Richard Clough
, "Syria-to-Ukraine Wars Send U.S. Defense Stocks to Records," Bloomberg, September 25, 2014. (Hat tip to FirstLook.org)
KUCINICH VS. OBAMA:
"Qatar and Saudi Arabia can now overtly join with the U.S. in striking
Syria, after they have been covertly attempting for years to take down the last secular state in the region. We are now advancing the agenda of the actual Islamic States â€” Saudi Arabia and Qatar â€” to fight the ersatz Islamic State of ISIS. ...What does this have to do with the security of the 50 States United? Nothing!" â€” Dennis Kucinich
, former 16-year member of Congress and two-time presidential candidate, "The Real Reason We Are Bombing Syria," Sept. 23, 2014.
WHICH ENEMIES SHOULD WE SUPPORT?
"The U.S. government has been intervening in the Middle East for more than half a century under the pretext of achieving peace. But things just keep getting worse. We must stop stoking conflicts that tear countries apart, stop dropping bombs, and stay out of the region. Democratic and Republican politicians have meddled so extensively in the Middle East that they're now in the ludicrous position of siding with very recent U.S. enemies: Iran, Assad, and al-Qaeda, all of whom oppose the Islamic State." â€” Nicholas Sarwark
, chair of the Libertarian Party National Committee, "Libertarian Party urges lawmakers to get out, stay out of Iraq and Syria," press release, September 9, 2014.
DRUG WAR POLICE STATE:
"Thanks to the Drug War, merely on the whim of saying that they smell something, cops are now able to enter homes, search cars and totally violate the rights of nonviolent people. The Drug War and terrorism are the two biggest excuses used to violate people's rights, yet according to the national safety council you are 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than a terrorist. The very existence of the Drug War to begin with, or a prohibition on any object is a fundamental violation of natural rights that should not exist in any civilized society." â€” John G. Vibes
, "8 Reasons to End Prohibition of All Drugs Immediately," The Art of Not Being Government website, October 2, 2014.
THE FREE PRESS:
"Political reporters are complaining that the White House has been asking them to edit some of their stories to make the president look better. The White House said that's not true, and those reporters should please change what they said." â€” Jimmy Fallon, Sept. 25, 2014.
* * * * * * * * * *
"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.
Persuasion Power Point #377
by Michael Cloud
Nurture and Protect New Libertarians
Successful martial arts schools nurture and protect their newest students. Their beginners.
They care for and help develop their beginnersâ€™ skills and discipline.
They protect them from far more experienced and skilled students.
Because if new, young students make progress, they will keep practicing and keep coming to the dojo.
And, if they are able to learn with, and train with, those with comparable skills and experience, they will become more and more confident â€” and they will stay with the program.
But if older students are allowed to bully and intimidate younger and weaker and less skilled students, the young students will drop out. And, if this happens often enough, over a long enough periodâ€¦ the number of students will stall and shrink. Finally, the school will close.
We have this same challenge in libertarian organizations.
We must nurture and protect our newest libertarians. Our beginners.
They will misapply libertarian ideas. They will say things that are not libertarian.
Because they have not read as many economics, history, and libertarian books as longtime experienced libertarians have read.
Because they havenâ€™t been to two or four or more libertarian conferences â€” as more experienced libertarians have.
Because they havenâ€™t discussed and debated the implications and applications of core libertarian concepts.
When they make mistakes â€” just like you and I did â€” we need to be caring teachers and mentors to them â€” while letting them learn and develop at their own pace.
They need our knowledge and guidance. We need their excitement about liberty â€” and hunger to learn more.
For the growth and development and progress of the movement for liberty.
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.
Would blackmail be legal in a libertarian society?
Question: How would a libertarian society deal with blackmail? Thinking of the blackmailer as a gossip offering the service of his silence for a fee, I cannot find any reason why it should be illegal in a libertarian society. Both parties receive something of value and the agreement is consensual.
My short answer: The criteria for illegality in a libertarian society would be: "Does it threaten first-strike force, fraud, or theft?" For example, if I pay blackmail to someone who would otherwise beat me, they are using the threat of first-strike force to take my money, very much like a thief does. This would clearly be against libertarian law.
If I pay blackmail to someone so that they won't tell a true but embarrassing tale about me, I am not being threatened with first-strike force, fraud, or theft. Quite possibly, such "blackmail" might (depending upon the circumstances) be considered a private contract under libertarian law. If the blackmailer told his or her story anyway, I might be able to sue for contract violation!
If I pay blackmail to someone so that they won't lie about me, the situation is not as clear. Many libertarians consider slander of a person's reputation to be a violation of the non-aggression principle; others don't.
LEARN MORE: Suggestions for further reading on this topic from Liberator Online editor James W. Harris:
* "Defending the Blackmailer" by Walter Block. Walter Block has been writing about libertarianism and blackmail for decades. His collected writings on this topic are in his 2013 book Legalize Blackmail.
This provocative selection is a chapter from his classic 1976 book Defending the Undefendable, which you can download as a free ebook from the Mises Institute.
Excerpt: "What exactly is blackmail? Blackmail is the offer of trade. It is the offer to trade something, usually silence, for some other good, usually money. If the offer of the trade is accepted, the blackmailer then maintains his silence and the blackmailed pays the agreed-upon price.
"If the blackmail offer is rejected, the blackmailer may exercise his rights of free speech and publicize the secret. There is nothing amiss here. All that is happening is that an offer to maintain silence is being made. If the offer is rejected, the blackmailer does no more than exercise his right of free speech."
* * *
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.
One-Minute Liberty Tip
by Sharon Harris
Try This Brilliant Argument Against the War on Drugs
One of the most powerful arguments I've ever heard against the very concept of the War on Drugs was made by Thomas Szasz, the great libertarian psychiatrist.
In the introduction to his wonderful book Our Right to Drugs, Szasz wrote:
"Casting a ballot is an important act, emblematic of our role as citizens. But eating and drinking are much more important acts. If given a choice between the freedom to choose what to ingest and what politician to vote for, few if any would pick the latter. Indeed, why would anyone be so foolish as to sell his natural birthright to consume what he chooses in return for the mess of pottage of being allowed to register his preference for a political candidate?"
"The right to chew or smoke a plant that grows wild in nature, such as hemp (marijuana), is anterior to and more basic than the right to vote."
This contrast â€” between the right to vote and the right to choose what substances we ingest â€” is brilliant, powerful and mind-opening.
Americans treasure our right to vote as a symbol of our liberty and self-governance. Epic struggles have been fought to extend the vote to women and disenfranchised minorities. Fights still wage today over voting issues. In troubled countries around the world people are willing to risk their lives to vote. The right to vote is widely considered sacred.
Yet the right to choose what we put into our own bodies is obviously a more fundamental freedom, a freedom rooted in our very nature as self-controlling adult human beings. In comparison to this freedom, voting is abstract and distant. Voting gives us only one small voice among many. The right to decide what we ingest is far more personal and basic. Indeed, without the ability to exercise that right, the very idea of self-governance is meaningless.
When you think about it, what could be a more fundamental freedom than the right to decide what plants we can consume? How can we consider ourselves free at all if we can't make this most basic of choices?
Shouldn't we, then, argue strongly for this right â€” at least as strongly as we argue for the right to vote?
Thomas Szasz's powerful analogy can open minds on this difficult subject.
* * * * * *
Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government.
What's Happening with the Advocates
Upcoming workshops, speeches, and conferences
The Advocates will have a table at the SFL Conference in Atlanta
Oct. 25: Advocates President Sharon Harris
will be speaking at the Students For Liberty regional conference, Calgary University, Calgary, Canada
Oct. 25: Advocates Chairman of the Board Jim Lark
will deliver the keynote address, European Students For Liberty conference, Madrid, Spain
Nov. 1: Advocates Chairman of the Board Jim Lark
will speak at the Students For Liberty regional conference, Salem College, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Nov. 15: Advocates Chairman of the Board Jim Lark
will speak at the European Students For Liberty conference, Reykjavik, Iceland
October and November, Students for Liberty regional conferences:
The Advocates will be at numerous Students For Liberty (SFL) regional conferences throughout the U.S. and Canada. We will announce which ones as soon as they are confirmed.
us now if you'd like us to send you further information on these events.
Sharon to find out how you can have a communication event near you.
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 â€” if they simply promise to use them a minimum of three times a year and send us photos documenting their OPH activity. OPH â€” praised as the best recruiting tool in the libertarian movement â€” normally sells for $50.00.
If you're in a student libertarian group, click here 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 â€” we won't bombard you with tweets. We're keeping it fun, fast, and useful.)
Go to the Advocates Twitter account and click the "follow" button below our picture. Thanks!
JOIN THE ADVOCATES ON FACEBOOK: The Advocates Facebook page 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 us and you'll receive regular Facebook updates on Advocates news, communication tips, and special offers for our Facebook friends.