"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
* See You at the World's Largest Gathering of Libertarian Students!
* Obama: U.S. Currently Fighting Wars in 14 Countries
* Marijuana Re-Legalization: Its Effect on Teens
THEY SAID IT: Author David Swanson shows how the Afghanistan War compares in duration to other U.S. wars, and you're just not going to believe it.... Free speech hypocrites led the free speech marches in France, points out Lew Rockwell.... Conservative Bruce Fein says the CIA is anti-American and needs to be abolished.... Please, no new gas tax, requests Cato's Chris Edwards.... Magic is all around us, and we take it for granted, points out National Review's Kevin Williamson....
PERSUASION POWER POINT #382 by Michael Cloud
* Are We Nearing the Libertarian Tipping Point in America?
* Libertarians Are Actually Less "Isolationist" Than Other Political Views
WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
* International Students For Liberty Conference
* 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
See You at the World's Largest Gathering of Libertarian Students!
Mark your calendar!
The 8th Annual International Students For Liberty Conference will be held in Washington, DC, Friday, February 13 through Sunday, February 15.
And it's going to be an event to remember.
Students For Liberty describes the conference as "the premiere event of the year for students dedicated to liberty and advancing freedom on campus." Last yearâ€™s conference featured over 1,200 attendees from 26 countries â€” and SFL expects this year's to be bigger and better than ever before.
The Advocates will have a booth there, and we're looking forward to meeting friends new and old and sharing Advocates tools and programs like Operation Politically Homeless (now FREE for campus groups) with students and other attendees.
The conference is opening with a bang â€” a Friday night conversation between Ron Paul and Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, moderated by Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason.com and Reason.tv.
And that's just the start. The conference has lined up a stellar list of speakers. Among them: John Stossel, Congressman Justin Amash, Cato's David Boaz and Tom G. Palmer, Jeffrey Tucker of Liberty.me, Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks. Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Libertarian Party executive director Wes Benedict, The Freeman editor Max Borders, the Marijuana Policy Project's Rob Kampia... and that's just a few of the outstanding speakers you'll have a chance to hear. See the whole list of speakers here.
In addition to main-stage speakers, the weekend will feature over 80 breakout sessions on topics such as the militarization of police, the War on Drugs, free speech, and Bitcoin. The conference will also have an ongoing liberty fair with over 60 sponsor organizations. Plus there are networking opportunities with potential employers, and socials where you'll have a great chance to meet with fellow lovers of liberty.
PS: You don't have to be a student to attend. SFL says that, while the conference (as with other SFL programs) is focused on students, everyone is welcome to attend no matter what your age or status as a student might be.
Learn more and register at the conference website.
Hope to see you there!
NEXT ISSUE: "Ask Dr. Ruwart"... and 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!
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
Obama: U.S. Currently Fighting Wars in 14 Countries
The War Powers Resolution requires the President to report twice a year to Congress on U.S. military operations being conducted overseas without a congressional declaration of war.
President Obama filed his latest such report on December 11.
The report went virtually unmentioned in the mainstream press. Yet in it, Obama reports the startling, little-known fact that "the United States has deployed U.S. combat-equipped forces" in no less than... 14 countries.
As Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity summarizes: "In other words, the U.S. government is at war in 14 countries!"
Here's the list:
Central African Republic
The list does not include countries in which the U.S. is engaged in covert activities, or where U.S. troops are stationed in non-combat positions, or where the U.S. has participated in joint exercises with military allies, which, together, would probably include most countries in the world.
Asks the Ron Paul Institute's McAdams:
"Where else would the neocons have the U.S. military deployed for the next half-year report? Iran? Ukraine? Russia? North Korea? We can only imagine their wish list. Meanwhile, the $1 trillion spent annually on the military is quickly bankrupting the country, making us new enemies every day, and as a result making us less, not more, safe."
Marijuana Re-Legalization: Its Effects on Teens
One of the most often-heard arguments against re-legalizing marijuana is fear it will encourage marijuana use by teens.
However, reports Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), several recent significant studies indicate that hasn't been the case thus far. Studies indicate no connection between legalization of medical marijuana and teen use. Studies also find a recent decrease in teen use nationwide â€” including Colorado, which legalized marijuana in 2012.
Finally, a new article in Rolling Stone makes the controversial argument that decriminalization in California has brought enormous benefits to teens and to the state as a whole, by removing teen offenders from the criminal justice system.
Armentano first points to the University of Michigan's highly regarded Monitoring the Future study, which tracks trends in substance use among students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades. Each year the national study, now in its 40th year, surveys 40,000 to 50,000 students in about 400 secondary schools throughout the United States.
This year Monitoring the Future found that marijuana use among teens declined slightly in 2014, with use in the prior 12 months declining from 26 percent to 24 percent. This small but significant decline follows five years of increasing use.
Armentano also reports on Colorado, which re-legalized marijuana in 2012: "Separate data published earlier this year by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment similarly found that fewer high-school students are consuming cannabis, despite voters' decision in 2012 to legalize the possession, production, and sale of the plant to adults.
"According to the survey, the percentage of Colorado high schoolers reporting having consumed marijuana within the past 30 days fell from 22 percent in 2011 to 20 percent in 2013. High school students' lifetime use of cannabis declined from 39 percent to 37 percent during the same two years."
(For an excellent analysis of this report, see "Despite Legalization, Colorado Teenagers Stubbornly Refuse to Smoke More Pot" by Jacob Sullum of Reason magazine.)
What about states that legalized marijuana for medical use? Armentano reports on a July 2014 paper by the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research that examined federal data on youth marijuana use and treatment episodes for the years 1993 to 2011 â€” a time period when 16 states authorized medical cannabis use.
The study concluded: "Our results are not consistent with the hypothesis that the legalization of medical marijuana caused an increase in the use of marijuana among high school students."
As Jacob Sullum of Reason points out, these studies are consistent with earlier data from the Center for Disease Control's Youth Risk Behavior Surveys from 1993 through 2011, which show little evidence of any connection between legalizing marijuana for medical use and the use of marijuana by high school students.
"Study: Legalizing medical marijuana has not increased teen pot use" was a headline in the April 24, 2014 Washington Post. According to the article: "the first comprehensive study of teen drug use in the states where marijuana is available for medical uses shows that [increased teen use] just hasn't happened."
The Washington Post was reporting on a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The authors of the study conclude: "Our study suggests that â€” at least thus far â€” the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes has not increased adolescent marijuana use, a finding supported by a growing body of literature."
Decriminalization has also had major benefits for youth in California, reports Rolling Stone magazine in an article entitled "The War on Drugs Is Burning Out" by Tim Dickinson, January 8, 2015.
In late 2010 California decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Possession of up to an ounce of marijuana became an infraction, like a parking ticket, with a maximum $100 fine.
Importantly, notes Rolling Stone, the law applied to users of any age â€” not just those 21 and over.
"The impact of this tweak has been remarkable," Rolling Stone says.
"By removing low-level youth pot offenses from the criminal-justice system, overall youth crime has plummeted by nearly 30 percent in California â€” to levels not seen since the Eisenhower administration.
"And decriminalization didn't lead to any of the harms foretold by prohibitionists. Quite the opposite: Since the law passed in 2010, the rate of both high school dropouts and youth drug overdoses are down by 20 percent, according to a new research report from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. Non-marijuana drug arrests for California youth, meanwhile, are also down 23 percent â€” fully debunking the gateway theory.
"Decriminalization in California, the report [from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice] concludes, has reduced the harms of prohibition for thousands of California teens. 'Fewer young people, its authors write, 'are suffering the damages and costs of criminal arrest, prosecution, incarceration, fines, loss of federal aid and other punishments.'"
The authors also point out that perhaps the most important result of decimalization is that it gives police "one less pretext to disrupt the lives" of young blacks.
* * *
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...
|THE ENDLESS WAR:
"The [Afghanistan] war thus far has lasted as long as U.S. participation in World War II plus U.S. participation in World War I, plus the Korean War, plus the Spanish-American War, plus the full length of the U.S. war in the Philippines, combined with the whole duration of the Mexican-American War." â€” author David Swanson, "Renaming Afghan War, Renaming Murder," DavidSwanson.org, December 29, 2014.
FREE SPEECH HYPOCRITES:
"The big French free-speech march was led by such 'world leaders' as Hollande, Cameron, Merkel, and Netanyahu, all of whom enthusiastically jail people for thought crimes expressed in speech or print." â€” Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
, "No Irony in Paris," LewRockwell.com blog, January 11, 2015.
ABOLISH THE UN-AMERICAN CIA:
"The CIA should be abolished. ... The CIA has made Americans less safe. ... It will never accept accountability for its actions â€” including torture, kidnappings, and extrajudicial killings â€” because it salutes the motto that the ends justify the means, that savagery is justified to defeat perceived savages. ...The CIA is un-American. It sneers at our nation's signature creed that it is better to risk being the victim of injustice than to be complicit in it. ...abolishing the C.I.A. would make Americans safer and their liberties more secure." â€” Bruce Fein
, constitutional scholar and Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Reagan, "It's time to abolish the CIA," Washington Times, December 31, 2014.
PLEASE, NO NEW GAS TAX:
"Gas tax supporters say that it is time to raise the tax because it has not been raised in two decades. What they leave out of the story is that the gas tax rate more than quadrupled between 1982 and 1994 from 4 cents per gallon to 18.4 cents... Thus, looking at the whole period since 1982, federal gas tax revenues have risen at a robust annual average rate of 6.1 percent (based on Tax Foundation data
). So, again, we have a spending crisis, not a funding crisis."â€” Chris Edwards
, Cato Institute, "Highways and the Federal Gas Tax," Jan. 10, 2015.
WE TAKE MAGIC FOR GRANTED:
"The aggregate effect of competitive capitalism is indistinguishable from magic, but we are so used to its bounty that we never stop to notice that no king of old ever enjoyed quarters so comfortable as those found in a Holiday Inn Express, that Andrew Carnegie never had a car as good as a Honda Civic, that Akhenaten never enjoyed such wealth as is found in a Walmart Supercenter. The irony is that capitalism has achieved through choice and cooperation what the old reds thought they were going to do with bayonets and gulags: It has recruited the most powerful and significant parts of the world's capital structure into the service of ordinary people. And it would do so to an even greater degree if self-interested politicians... would get out of the way. â€” Kevin Williamson
, "McDonald's is Microsoft," National Review Online, December 29, 2014. (Hat Tip to Mark Perry
, Carpe Diem blog.)
* * *
"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.
Persuasion Power Point #382
by Michael Cloud
Are We Nearing the Libertarian Tipping Point in America?
â€¦and if we are, what can YOU DO to speed up the process?
A number of libertarian researchers, thinkers, and writers strongly believe that the libertarian movement is growing faster and moving forward faster than ever before.
They cite the growing and snowballing numbers of libertarians in the Millennial Generation.
Seventy-four million Millennials â€” ranging from 10 to 33 years old â€” are becoming more and more libertarian.
They point out the large number of 18- to 35-year-old voters who supported and voted for Ron Paul for President in 2008. And the larger and growing number of Millennials who campaigned and voted for Ron Paul in 2012.
And they note the increasing percentages of these young voters who voted for Libertarian Party candidates in 2012 and 2014.
The momentum is increasing each election.
And, just as importantly, it's increasing between elections. In high schools. On college campuses across America. On talk radio. On TV talk shows. And online.
If these numbers are right, if these trends are happeningâ€¦ what can YOU do to speed up the process? To get us nearer to the Great Libertarian Tipping Point?
1. Talk with high school and college students about liberty.
2. Talk with 18- to 35-year-olds about liberty â€” and the difference it can make for their future.
3. Ask for permission to forward them links to short YouTube videos or clips or talks. Then do it â€” sparingly.
4. Get their permission to send them online links to well-written essays and articles. Or email newsletters such as the Liberator Online. Then ask them to forward the stuff they like best to their friends and classmates.
Here's the secret to speeding up libertarian growth among the Millennials: winning more Millennials to libertyâ€¦ and getting them to share it with their friends and classmates and colleagues.
Share your best libertarian conversations and online materials with a dozen receptive Millennials for several weeks or months, and then ask THEM to share the libertarian conversations and writings with a dozen of their friends and classmates. With people roughly their own age who know them and like them and trust them.
You can set this in motion in less than 30 minutes a week.
Then, together, we will push past the Tipping Point â€” and begin dismantling Big Government and expanding liberty.
* * *
In 2000, Michael was honored with the Thomas Paine Award as the Most Persuasive Libertarian Communicator in America.
One-Minute Liberty Tip
by Sharon Harris
Libertarians Are Actually Less "Isolationist" Than Other Political Views
Libertarians who advocate a foreign policy of peaceful non-intervention in the internal affairs of other nations sometimes get labeled by critics as "isolationist."
The words "isolationist" and "isolationism" are smears. Further, they inaccurately describe what libertarians believe. I've written in the past on ways to respond to this charge
Last month Simon Lester, a trade policy analyst with Cato Institute, wrote
an excellent column entitled "Libertarian Internationalism" at Townhall.com in which he debunks the notion.
"[T]he reality is that libertarianism is among the most internationally minded philosophies," he writes. "Examining several key areas of international relations makes this clear: International trade, diplomacy and the military, and institutions."
Here are some of his arguments, which are helpful to anyone in discussing this issue.
1. International trade.
"The most obvious place where libertarians are internationalists is economic relations. True libertarians advocate the free flow of trade and investment, without government restrictions. This is about as international as you can get. For libertarians, the origin of a product or service is irrelevant. People around the world should be able to buy and sell from each other without government interference. ...
"Unfortunately, in most countries today, there is a strong sentiment for favoring domestic economic actors over foreign ones. This feeling manifests itself in various forms, such as tariffs and Buy National procurement policies. Libertarians stand almost completely united against this nationalist feeling, believing that trade and other economic interaction with foreign actors benefits us all."
2. Diplomacy and the military.
"Diplomacy and the military is a more complicated policy area, involving a number of instances of potential relations between domestic and foreign. Here, though, there is a strong case that libertarians are more internationalist than most others. Of course, in part this depends on what one means by internationalism.
"Libertarians are most frequently accused of isolationism when they object to military intervention in foreign territories. That libertarians usually object to these interventions is not in doubt. However, use of the military cannot always credibly be called internationalist. Colonialism and conquest, although they do require contact with foreigners, are not generally a positive form of international relations. ...
"Thus, for libertarians, war and government aid do not reflect true internationalism. To some extent, they are really about government bullying and condescension towards foreigners, the idea that we are superior to them and can use our power to re-make them in our image. In contrast, libertarians believe in treating citizens of other countries with respect and acting with humility."
3. International institutions.
"This is the area where libertarians are most likely to reject what is conventionally thought of as the internationalist position, as they worry about the power of these institutions. In reality, libertarians are not rejecting the idea of international institutions, but rather the specific policies pursued by some of these institutions. ... If there were international institutions that supported balanced budgets (or protected property rights), for example, libertarians would likely be supportive. There is no fundamental libertarian objection to international cooperation through institutions; the only concern is on specific issues of substance."
Finally, Lester argues that libertarianism is inherently internationalist, not isolationist.
"At a more conceptual level, the idea of limited government inherently pushes us away from nationalism and towards internationalism. As things stand now, most power is in the hands of national governments, who often use this power in ways that conflict with the interests of other governments. In other words, putting power in the hands of nation-states leads naturally to national conflict. By contrast, devolving power to local governments more closely connected with the people reduces the role of national governments and nationalism. It makes power more disbursed, and allows communities to connect with each other, regardless of the nation in which they are located."
These are excellent points, and sharing them with critics can help refute and perhaps eventually bury the tiresome "isolationist" smear.
Lester's complete argument at Townhall.com
* * *
Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government.
What's Happening with the Advocates
8th Annual International Students For Liberty Conference, Friday February 13 â€” Sunday February 15, Washington, DC:
Billed as "the premiere event of the year for students dedicated to liberty and advancing freedom on campus," this conference features an incredible line-up of speakers and events. See the President's Corner in this issue for a fuller description. The Advocates will have a booth there, and we look forward to meeting you! Learn more at the conference website
SEE SPECIAL THANK-YOU GIFTS
we've reserved for you, for your year-end tax-exempt donation.
JOIN THE ADVOCATES on Facebook and Twitter. Fun, informative, inspiring posts!
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.
WE'LL COME TO YOU: Email Sharon to find out how you can have a communication event near you.
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