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Volume 19, Issue 22                              November 26, 2014
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"The Advocates are for real. Libertarians who want to get real should put into action what the Advocates teach."

—  Russell Means (1939-2012),
American Indian activist, actor, author, libertarian
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In This Issue

PRESIDENT'S CORNER
I'm Thankful for... 

ACTIVIST AMMUNITION
How Free Enterprise Saved the Pilgrims: A Thanksgiving Story
VIDEO: The Pilgrims and Property Rights â€” How Our Ancestors Got Fat & Happy 

THEY SAID IT, SPECIAL THANKSGIVING EDITION: George Will mocks Dep't of Agriculture turkeys who slandered Pilgrims as "illegal aliens".... Judge Napolitano asks "What if Thanksgiving exposes the gov't?".... Businesses that stay open on Thanksgiving prove that the consumer is king, says Stephen Chapman.... Cato's David Boaz reminds us there's much to be thankful for....

LIBERTY MINUTE
Thanksgiving: Share Some Shocking Facts About Thanksgiving and Big Government

WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
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President's Corner

by Sharon Harris





I'm Thankful for... 

Dear Friend,

Welcome to this special Thanksgiving issue of the Liberator Online!

We've assembled a menu of libertarian-themed Thanksgiving delights for you. Informative, funny, and outragous items — something for every taste. Enjoy! 

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on the blessings of the past year and give thanks for all we're grateful for.  

At the very top of my list is... YOU!  

As a Liberator Online reader, you are part of a vibrant community that is literally changing the world: activists, scholars, and other libertarian leaders who are immersed in the ideas of liberty, are learning and refining techniques for effective libertarian communication, and becoming influential ambassadors for liberty. 

Your support helps us expand and reach ever more liberty-minded individuals.  

Thank you!

As you're thinking about your year-end donations, I hope you will consider making a donation to the Advocates

Take a look at the special gifts we've reserved for you as an additional thank you for your support — and remember that your donation is tax-deductible.

Your support makes it possible for us continue the unique and vital work of the Advocates. Thank you so much!

Wishing you an abundant and harmonious Thanksgiving,
 
Sharon
 
* * *
 
NEXT ISSUE: Michael Cloud's Persuasion Power Point column, Sharon Harris' Liberty Minute, and much more!

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Find out how you can get Sharon to speak at your organization. Email Sharon now, or call her at 770-386-8372.
 

Activist Ammunition

by James W. Harris 





How Free Enterprise Saved the Pilgrims: A Thanksgiving Story

Thanksgiving Day is a great time to remember, and share with others, the too-little-known story of how the Pilgrims discovered and embraced the power of individual incentives and private property — and how doing this saved them from looming starvation and death. 

This story has been told in many different forms over the years, and some critics have challenged versions of it. Our thanks to the Cato Institute's Daniel Griswold for sharing a definitive version of the story, from the work of one of America's most respected and honored historians. 

Historian Nathaniel Philbrick has won numerous prestigious awards for his books. His acclaimed 2007 book Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War was a New York Times Bestseller, a finalist for both the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in History and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and was named one of the ten "Best Books of the Year" by the New York Times Book Review. 

A passage from that book succinctly tells the story of how free enterprise principles and incentives saved the Pilgrims. 

Writes Philbrick:  

"The fall of 1623 marked the end of Plymouth's debilitating food shortages. For the last two planting seasons, the Pilgrims had grown crops communally — the approach first used at Jamestown and other English settlements. But as the disastrous harvest of the previous fall had shown, something drastic needed to be done to increase the annual yield.

"In April, [Plymouth Colony governor William] Bradford had decided that each household should be assigned its own plot to cultivate, with the understanding that each family kept whatever it grew. 

"The change in attitude was stunning. Families were now willing to work much harder than they had ever worked before. In previous years, the men had tended the fields while the women tended the children at home. 

"'The women now went willingly into the field,' Bradford wrote, 'and took their little ones with them to set corn.'"

Concludes Philbrick:  

"The Pilgrims had stumbled on the power of capitalism. Although the fortunes of the colony still teetered precariously in the years ahead, the inhabitants never again starved."

Governor Bradford tells the story himself in his book History of Plymouth Plantation, taken from his journals kept between 1630 and 1651, and recognized today as an American classic. Bradford describes the problems of the communal system (spelling has been modernized): 

"For this community [of food and property] . . . was found to breed much confusion and discontentment, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort . . .

"For the young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense. The strong . . . had no more in division . . . than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labors and victuals, clothes, etc . . . thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And men's wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it."

Bradford then describes the dramatic results of the shift to private plots and individual incentives: 

"This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn, which before would allege weakness and inability, whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression."

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we should remember that our great abundance today is based upon our system of private property rights and free enterprise. Principles that the Pilgrims discovered for themselves, in rudimentary form, and began putting into practice nearly four hundred years ago. 

Those principles saved their lives. Eventually, they made America the freest and most abundant country in human history. Today they offer the promise of still greater blessings to come. 

And that's something to be very thankful for — this and every Thanksgiving.

VIDEO: The Pilgrims and Property Rights — How Our Ancestors Got Fat & Happy 

Here's a short and funny ReasonTV video that covers the essential points of the material we've explored in the article above. 

Great for sharing online with friends and family. About 2:30 minutes.

* * * 
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, Thanksgiving Edition

FEDS ATTACK PILGRIMS AS "ILLEGAL ALIENS": "The Agriculture Department . . . stresses sensitivity. A video of its 'cultural sensitivity training' shows employees being instructed to call the Pilgrims who created Thanksgiving 'illegal aliens.' Of course there were no immigration laws to make any one of the first Thanksgivings illegal — for which fact, give thanks. Someday, if there is no Agriculture Department, more thanks to be given." — George Will, "Pardon These Turkeys," Washington Post, November 27, 2013.

JUDGE NAPOLITANO ASKS WHAT IF: "What if Thanksgiving exposes the government?

"What if another Thanksgiving Day is upon us and because of the government we have less to be thankful for than we did at the last one? What if at every Thanksgiving liberty is weakened and the government is strengthened?

"What if Thanksgiving's warm and breezy seduction of gratitude is just the government's way of inducing us to think we should be grateful for it?

"What if we don't owe the government any thanks for anything? What if the government owes us back all the freedom and property it has stolen from us? What if the government has produced nothing and owns nothing, save what it has coerced us to give it?" — opening of Judge Andrew P. Napolitano column, "What if Thanksgiving exposes the government?" November 28, 2013. 

OPEN ON THANKSGIVING: "Some 200 retailers nationally opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day, and a lot of others did so at midnight. Shoes, jewelry, sporting goods, flat-screen TVs, fancy chocolate — if you wanted it, you could buy it before the football games were finished. 

"This development provokes all sorts of laments. Family togetherness is getting short shrift. Commercialism has become an epidemic. The urge to buy has trampled more wholesome traditions.

"The critics may be right. But what is most obvious in the expanding store hours is an item of good news: In America, the consumer is king. …

"It's all proof that a free-market economy serves the interests of ordinary people. Stores don't open on Thanksgiving because they want to; they open because shoppers reward those that do, at the expense of those that don't. For consumers, it may be a reason to abbreviate the holiday festivities, but it's also grounds for gratitude." — syndicated columnist Steve Chapman, "How the Consumer Became King: Capitalism Empowers Ordinary People" November 29, 2012.

SO MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR: "A Kenyan boy who managed to get to the United States told a reporter for Woman's World magazine that America is 'heaven.' Compared to countries that lack the rule of law, equality, property rights, free markets, and freedom of speech and worship, it certainly is. A good point to keep in mind this Thanksgiving Day." — Cato Institute Executive Vice President David Boaz, "What to Be Thankful For," Washington Times, November 25, 2004.
 
* * * * * * * * * *
"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.
 

One-Minute Liberty Tip 

by Sharon Harris




Thanksgiving: Share Some Shocking Facts About Thanksgiving and Big Government

Holidays can be a great time to share libertarian ideas with family and friends, so be sure to gather liberty-themed facts, figures and stories specific for each holiday. We often share such information in the Liberator Online as a holiday nears.

With Thanksgiving almost upon us, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) warns that an uninvited guest is planning to crash your Turkey (or Tofurkey) Day celebration. Save a big seat at the table for... Uncle Sam. 

ATR offers some genuinely shocking figures about how much government is adding to the cost of your family's Thanksgiving celebration. 

Share this information with your family and friends, if appropriate, and you'll surely open minds and spark stimulating discussions. You can share it online, too, by sharing this link.

Maybe they'll even give thanks that you and other libertarians are working hard to spare them from this kind of government plunder. 

Following is ATR's report. (Note: ATR first posted this fun and informative piece in 2011, and unfortunately they haven't updated it as we go to press. It's still very usable, though. Just point out the date by saying something like "as Americans for Tax Reform noted a few Thanksgivings back…")
 
Hard to Be Thankful for Bigger Government this Thanksgiving
from Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) 

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for reuniting with friends and family. Unfortunately, the government wants in on your celebration too. Whether you stay home or travel for the holiday, government is a significant contributor to the costs of the celebration. 

Of an identified $10 billion in spending that occurs during Thanksgiving weekend on the wine and beer, the gas and plane tickets, and the meal itself, government taxation composes 35.86 percent of those expenses — approximately $3.6 billion in revenues.

Many of these Thanksgiving items are subject to the increased costs of income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate income taxes, and other taxes on business activity. Government then includes additional fees and excise taxes that further increase the cost of providing specific items or services.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, a 2011 Thanksgiving meal for ten increased in cost by $5.73 to a total of $49.20 — and government taxation gobbles up $13.68 of that.

And this doesn't include beer and wine consumption. Between football games and meals, nearly 53 million cases of beer are consumed. Government collects $219 million in taxes — 44.33 percent of the cost of each case. Thanksgiving attendees will also find it hard to be grateful for the 32.77 percent increase in the cost of each bottle of wine thanks to government.

Whether you fly or drive to be with your loved ones this Thanksgiving season, government heavily taxes your preferred mode of transportation. Of the 94 percent of travelers driving their cars, government will raise an estimated $1.1 billion in tax revenue — 45.33 percent of the gasoline price tag. Similarly, government also increases the cost of the average $376 Thanksgiving flight — making up 43.57 off each ticket's price.

Government hits taxpayers particularly hard during the holiday season, filling its plate with these taxes and fees. As you gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, remember that Uncle Sam is to thank... for your smaller slice of pumpkin pie.

* * * * * *
Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government.

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