WELCOME to the Liberator Online!
In This Issue
* LAST CHANCE: Get your 2011 Lights of Liberty Awards and Prizes
* Government Can’t Even Run A Barbershop
* Obama Filmmaker Shows the “Authoritarian Mind”
* Libertarian Party: To Stop War with Iran, End Sanctions and Embrace Free Trade
* Food Fascists: Restrict Access to Sugar
THEY SAID IT:
Pat Robertson says legalize marijuana... Santorum says vote for Ron Paul... Congressman Paul Sarbanes on more spending... Gary Kamiya on hindsight... The ACLU on Obama's targeted killing program... Mark Bittman on sugar...
PERSUASION POWER POINT #324
* The Know-Nothing Libertarian "Leader"
ASK DR. RUWART
* How can we fund scientific research without government?
ONE-MINUTE LIBERTY TIP
* The Golden Rule Applied to Libertarian Communication
WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
* Libertarian Party of Indiana state convention, March 22-25
* Libertarian Party 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
by Sharon Harris
LAST CHANCE: 2011 Lights of Liberty Awards and Prizes
The deadline for claiming your Lights of Liberty Award
for libertarian activism -- or for recommending someone else for that award -- is nearly here. We need to hear from you no later than March 23.
Why should you enter? You get cool prizes, qualify for drawings, and -- most importantly -- your example will encourage others to do vital libertarian outreach.
I've written about the Lights of Liberty Awards extensively in the past, so I'll just touch on it lightly here. For full details, please visit our Lights of Liberty site
Here are the basics.
Lights of Liberty is an Advocates program that honors libertarians who engage in vital outreach activities -- the kind that build a strong grassroots movement. Our Lights of Liberty Awards program is designed to give much-deserved recognition to activists and to encourage more libertarians to participate in such outreach.
You qualify for a Lights of Liberty Award if you did THREE of any combination of the following activities in 2011:
* Had a letter mentioning the word "libertarian" printed in a newspaper or magazine;
* Participated for two hours or more in one day at an Operation Politically Homeless (OPH) booth;
* Delivered a speech using the word "libertarian" to a non-libertarian audience.
If you did ANY COMBINATION of three of these activities between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011, congratulations -- you're a winner!
And if you know anyone who did, they’re a winner -- so let them know.
Visit our Lights of Liberty website
to learn about the cool prizes and other benefits of being a Lights of Liberty Award winner.
If you're involved in a libertarian organization, such as a campus libertarian group, Libertarian Party local or state organization, or Republican Liberty Caucus chapter, please spread the word to your members. We'd love to reward members of your group!
us or call toll-free 800-932-1776.
Thank you for your work for the great cause of Liberty!
* * *
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
by James W. Harris
Government Can’t Even Run A Barbershop
A small but very revealing experiment is going on in the United States Capitol.
Both the Senate and the House have barbershops. The Senate barbershop is federally subsidized, while the House barbershop is a private for-profit business.
So which is more efficient? Which provides the best service for the lowest price?
You guessed it. Reports
The Daily news site:
"While the Senate barbershop is federally subsidized, the House barbershop is a private business. Its three employees, one of whom is part time, are independent contractors. The House barbershop was privatized in 1994, a decision that House Republicans made after they took control of the lower chamber for the first time in decades.
“The dueling business models of the congressional barbershops have produced different financial results. While the Senate barbershop required a $300,000 federal bailout last year, the House barbershop turned a profit.
“And while Senate Hair Care Services, the formal name for the Senate barbershop, is not charged a dime for its work space, House Cuts pays the government $2,000 to $3,000 in rent each year."
The House barbershop charges far less for haircuts and shaves, too.
(Hat tip to Mark J. Perry’s excellent Carpe Diem
Obama Filmmaker Shows the “Authoritarian Mind”
Nothing negative can or should be said about President Barack Obama. So declares Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, who won his Oscar in 2004 for directing and producing Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.
Guggeinheim has just produced a 17-minute “documentary” praising the achievements and all-around greatness of President Obama, commissioned by the Obama campaign.
Check out this
two-minute interview of Guggenheim by CNN’s Piers Morgan. The left-leaning Morgan is incredulous when Guggenheim argues with a straight face that the only negative thing he can think of to say about Obama is that… Obama is so great that his greatness cannot be fully conveyed in a mere 17 minutes.
Yeah, he really said that. Of course, that is idiotic and hilarious. But, as the left-wing civil liberties blogger Glenn Greenwald notes, it is also disturbing.
Greenwald urges viewers to note “how creepy his Leader worship is… All I can say is that this is the pure face of the Authoritarian Mind… as common as it is repellent.”
Needless to say, this blindness and deference to the presidency is all too common among both liberals and conservatives. But seldom do we get such a perfect, and perfectly ridiculous, example of it.
Libertarian Party: To Stop War with Iran, End Sanctions and Embrace Free Trade
The U.S. should end its sanctions against Iran and promote free trade to bring about peace in the Middle East, says
Libertarian National Committee Chair, Mark Hinkle in a recent Libertarian press release:
“As relations with Iran deteriorate, President Barack Obama and the Bipartisan Senate Committee are making things worse: inciting yet another war in the Middle East through economic sanctions.
“On February 2nd, 2012 the Senate Banking Committee unanimously approved increased sanctions against Iran.
“The United States must stop meddling and return to our traditional libertarian foreign policy of free trade in order to give peace a chance in the Middle East.
“Trade sanctions are proven failures. In the 1990s, Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton enforced trade sanctions against Iraq which led to the deaths of more than 100,000 innocent men, women and children.
“Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, in an appearance on 60 Minutes in 1996, was asked about the child deaths from sanctions, and replied ‘I think this a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it.’ Albright’s willingness to sacrifice Arab children to achieve U.S. policy goals was broadcast throughout the Arab world and was cited by Osama Bin Laden as a key motivation for the 9/11 attacks.
“Now the U.S. government is doing the same thing to Iran, a country that not only has never attacked the United States, but has attacked no other country in over 200 years.
“Sanctions don’t work. They unite the people of a country behind their political leaders, no matter how bad those leaders may be. By meddling in foreign affairs, U.S. politicians turn foreign citizens -- who support the United States -- against us.
“Rather than repeat failed policies of past presidents, we must use the successful policies of those who kept us out of war. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson kept the United States out of the bloody French Revolution and allowed us to make peace with our archenemy, the British, by pursuing free trade and a noninterventionist foreign policy.
“The Libertarian Party calls for removing all restrictions on trade. Free trade is the best way to foster peace in the Middle East."
Food Fascists: Restrict Access to Sugar
“Added sweeteners pose dangers to health that justify nations controlling them like alcohol.” So begins an editorial in the respected science journal Nature. (The editorial can be read here
, but non-subscribers must pay a fee. A news story on the editorial can be read for free here
The writers -- UC San Francisco pediatric endocrinologist Robert H. Lustig and colleagues Laura A. Schmidt and Claire D. Brindis -- begin by pointing out health problems caused or aggravated by sugar.
Fair enough. But then they move out of science and into policy prescriptions.
“A little [sugar] is not a problem, but a lot kills -- slowly,” they write. “If international bodies are truly concerned about public health, they must consider limiting fructose -- and its main delivery vehicles, the added sugars HFCS and sucrose -- which pose dangers to individuals and to society as a whole.”
Among their proposals:
* “States could apply zoning ordinances to control the number of fast-food outlets and convenience stores in low-income communities, and especially around schools…”
* “[D]esignate an age limit (such as 17) for the purchase of drinks with added sugar, particularly soda.”
* And of course, inevitably, taxes on "sweetened fizzy drinks (soda), other sugar-sweetened beverages (for example, juice, sports drinks and chocolate milk) and sugared cereal."
Impossible? Never underestimate the power of the well-armed Nanny State. Smoking bans, zoning restrictions for fast-food restaurants, banning of foods with trans fats, and an increasing number of restrictions on alcohol use and sale all strongly suggest otherwise. And never mind the nasty unintended consequences of such prohibitions. That never fazes those who are certain they can run our lives better than we can.
Who knows, one day the government might even ban common plants that people have used for centuries for medical, religious and recreational purposes… oops, sorry. Forgot about that War on Pot thing.
* * * * * * * *
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...
PAT ROBERTSON SAYS LEGALIZE POT:
“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol. I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: this War on Drugs just hasn’t succeeded. ... It’s completely out of control. Prisons are being overcrowded with juvenile offenders having to do with drugs. And the penalties, the maximums, some of them could get 10 years for possession of a joint of marijuana. It makes no sense at all.” -- Christian evangelical leader Pat Robertson
, New York Times interview, March 7, 2012.
SANTORUM SAYS VOTE FOR RON PAUL:
"Vote for Ron Paul, that's what you should do." -- GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum
, replying to a questioner asking him to explain his votes for No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D and debt ceiling increases. From a YouTube video posted March 12, reported by Reason.com.
WE GOT PAST THAT A LONG TIME AGO:
"You've got to kind of get past this mentality that you can't spend any money at all." -- Congressman Paul Sarbanes
(D-MD), urging his fellow lawmakers to ignore the gigantic national debt and spend zillions more dollars on "infrastructure."
"If in the year 2000 the U.S. president had told the American people that the government would soon begin using robot planes to track people, including U.S. citizens, all over the world, and would reserve to itself the right to kill them without trial, it is safe to say there would have been an enormous uproar. But that is exactly what is happening today, and nobody cares. The majority of Americans, including those who were opposed to the war in Iraq, have no problems with their government killing at will, so long as the killing is done in the name of ‘national security.’" -- Gary Kamiya
of Salon.com, “The cost of America’s police state,” March 5, 2012.
ACLU VS. OBAMA:
"Few things are as dangerous to American liberty as the proposition that the government should be able to kill citizens anywhere in the world on the basis of legal standards and evidence that are never submitted to a court, either before or after the fact … The targeted killing program raises profound legal and moral questions that should be subjected to public debate, and constitutional questions that should be considered by the judiciary.” Hina Shamsi
, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, March 5, 2012. The ACLU is suing the Obama administration over this issue.
SUGAR, PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE:
“With sugar, we’re in a situation where a dangerous substance is perfectly legal and available everywhere. It’s sold without restriction to everyone, and it’s marketed, with billions of dollars, to children before they can even speak, let alone reason… What choice do we have but to regulate it, just as we would -- and do -- regulate tobacco and alcohol and, for that matter, firearms?” -- Mark Bittman
, “Sugar: Public (health) enemy No. 1?” National Public Radio, March 1, 2012. (Hat tip to David Boaz, Cato Institute.)
* * * * * * * * * *
"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.
The Know-Nothing Libertarian "Leader"
by Michael Cloud
The other day, a libertarian phoned me to talk about some projects he was working on. After we discussed them, I wanted to find out a little bit about his libertarian background and thinking and knowledge.
"When I first meet a libertarian, I like to get a feel for his interests and knowledge," I said. "I ask one question and we start from there. When I first met Murray Rothbard, Nathaniel Branden, Dave Nolan, Dr. John Hospers, David Bergland, and Harry Browne, this is the first libertarian question I asked each of them. Would you be willing to answer it?"
"Sure," he said. "What's the question?"
"What's the last libertarian book that you've read cover-to-cover -- and when did you read it?"
"I've read the Constitution," he said.
"The U.S. Constitution is 4440 words long. And it's not a book," I said. "Let's try again. What's the last libertarian book that you have read cover-to-cover -- and when did you read it?"
He was silent for 20 seconds. Then he spoke.
"I've never read a libertarian book cover-to-cover," he said. "But I have a good reason."
"What is it?" I asked.
"I'm planning to write a book on libertarianism... and I don't want to be influenced," he said.
"You haven't read one single book on liberty? Why would anyone want to read anything you write?" I asked.
"Well, I'm a very original thinker," he said.
"How would you know? If you haven't read Ayn Rand, Ludwig Von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Friedrich Hayek, David Bergland, Harry Browne, and other great libertarian thinkers, how could you possibly know whether you have so much as one solitary original thought?" I asked.
He changed the subject. Five minutes later, we said goodbye.
Would you want to work with this libertarian "leader?" Would you trust his political judgment?
Would you want to read what he writes? Listen to what he says?
Or would you rather work with a libertarian who's actively learning and developing?
You don't need to read every libertarian book to be a libertarian.
You do not need to be a scholar or authority on all things libertarian.
But if you want to educate others, if you want to convince others, you need to learn a little bit about liberty.
A few books will go a long way toward seeing what's so and why. Toward showing you how the ideas fit together.
So you can explain the ideas of liberty, the solutions of liberty to your family, friends, and co-workers.
If you're embarrassed by your answer to my question about your libertarian reading, you can easily change it with just 15 of minutes' of reading a day.
Try any one of these books.
Libertarianism in One Lesson
by David Bergland. Praised as “the best short introduction to libertarianism available."
Why Government Doesn't Work
by Harry Browne.
The Great Libertarian Offer
by Harry Browne.
by Frederic Bastiat. Just 72 pages, packed with wisdom.
Healing Our World
by Dr. Mary Ruwart
They are short, highly readable, practical, wide-reaching books.
In just 15 minutes a day, you'll become more knowledgeable, better able to answer your
friends' questions about liberty, more persuasive, and more confident.
And you will smile when I ask you, "What's the last libertarian book that you've read cover-to-cover -- and when did you read it?"
Want more suggestions for excellent libertarian books? Check these out:
“Reading the Literature of Liberty
” by Roy A. Childs, Jr. The late editor of Laissez Faire Books wrote this guide to outstanding libertarian books in 1987, and it’s still a great guide today.
“The 20 Best Liberty Books Ever Written
” by Jim Powell. Excellent 1999 list by another Laissez Faire Books editor.
* * * * * * * *
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.
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.
How can we fund scientific research without government?
Ask Dr. Ruwart
I am greatly in agreement with libertarianism principles, but as a college student preparing for a career in the hard sciences, I can't help but question one issue: scientific research. How would a libertarian society address such issues as scientific research of a purely academic nature at a scale that cannot necessarily be carried out at a university level? Without government-funded laboratories, how do we fuel new research of such a nature that would be inherently unprofitable to any private enterprise?
MY SHORT ANSWER:
In his 1996 book The Economic Laws of Scientific Research
, Terence Kealey presents evidence that only 10% of new technology comes from academic (government-funded) research. He also finds that increasing funds for government research tends to depress privately-funded efforts, resulting in a net loss of new scientific progress.
In other words, government funding of research, like most forms of aggression, backfires.
Kealey writes: If this book has a message, it is this: relax. Economic, technical and scientific growth are free lunches. Under laissez faire they just emerge, like grass after the rain, through the efforts of individual entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Once the State has initiated the rule of law and sensible commercial legislation, the goodies will flow -- and laissez faire is morally superior to dirigisme [strong government control of society] as it maximises the freedoms and responsibilities of the individual.”
My own experience in 25-plus years of both industrial and academic research supports Kealey’s findings.
Kealey’s book is out of print, but he makes the same point in an excellent short commentary published by the Cato Institute entitled “End Government Science Funding
That article begins: “The big myth about scientific research is that government must fund it. The argument is that private companies will not fund science, especially pure science, for fear that their competitors will ‘capture’ the fruits of that investment. Yet, in practice, companies fund pure science very generously, and government funding displaces private research money.”
Kealey explores that point, and concludes: “Scientists may love government money, and politicians may love the power its expenditure confers upon them, but society is impoverished by the transaction.”
If a libertarian society didn't have a Brookhaven National Laboratory or a Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider, it would most likely have something that was more highly valued by society at that point in time. Who knows, you might even like it better!
* * * * * * * *
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 Golden Rule Applied to Libertarian Communication
The Golden Rule, according to philosopher and scholar Simon Blackburn, can be "found in some form in almost every ethical tradition."
We often hear it in the positive form: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
It is also heard in a negative form (sometimes called the Silver Rule): “Do not treat others in ways you would not like to be treated yourself.”
Libertarianism, with its prohibition against the initiation of force, could be described as a variant of, or adjunct to, this universal Golden Rule. No one wants to be forced into doing something, or forcibly restrained from doing peaceful things they desire to do with their life or property. So by not initiating force against others, we are doing unto others what we would have done unto us.
On a more humble level, the Golden Rule applies to communication. We should, whenever possible, speak with others in the ways we would like to be spoken to. We should try not to speak with others in ways we would not like to be spoken to.
This isn't just politeness. It’s a central component of effective communication.
Think about how YOU would like to be treated in a conversation. How would you like the other person to behave when they are trying to persuade you to share their point of view?
Would you like them to:
* Shout at you?
* Call you stupid or evil?
* Refuse to listen to your viewpoint?
* Interrupt you?
* Ignore your ideas?
* Talk for 30 minutes without taking a breath?
Of course not.
So let's apply the Golden Rule to our libertarian communication:
* Be respectful of the other person and civil in the way you talk.
* Listen to the other person's viewpoints and take their concerns into account.
* Find areas of agreement and compliment the person on their insights.
* Refrain from arguing or getting angry.
* Don't lecture and don't interrupt.
I've written in in more detail about each of these techniques in previous columns. Note that they're all things that WE would like OTHERS to do for us.
They are Golden Rules of effective libertarian communication. (Or any other kind of communication.)
Of course, the concept of following the Golden Rule in communication (and elsewhere) is a simple one. But please note: it's not EASY. It doesn't come naturally. It takes commitment and practice.
But the payoff is worth it. You will enormously increase your success in persuading others to embrace libertarian ideas.
And just as important, you won't turn off those who are not yet ready to accept libertarian ideas. They will thus be ready to listen to the next person who approaches them -- who may complete the process of helping them become libertarians.
* * * * * *
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 a 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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