"The Advocates has made invaluable contributions to the freedom cause. For over twenty years, the Advocates has worked tirelessly to help libertarians better communicate the ideas of liberty. I continue to be impressed by the Advocates' work." â€” Ron Paul
WELCOME to the Liberator Online!
In This Issue
* Thank you, Libertarian Party!
* Cost of Government Day: July 6
* Gallup: Almost No One Has Confidence in Congress
* VIDEO: Remy's "God Bless the USA (Veterans Affairs Scandal Edition)"
* TIME Magazine: The War on Drugs Is a Real War
THEY SAID IT: Crony capitalism enters the national political debate.... Gallup poll: millions of Americans feel they're not free enough -- and studies show they're right.... Uh-oh: Obama's Iraq exit strategy.... Michelle's hidden message?.... Hillary Clinton is unsure about re-legalization, but others aren't.... Hillary wouldn't pander for votes, would she?....
PERSUASION POWER POINT #371 by Michael Cloud
* Free Markets Nurture Empathy
ONE-MINUTE LIBERTY TIP by Sharon Harris
* Free Market orâ€¦ Freed Market?
WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
* Upcoming: Advocates communication workshops and speeches
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups!
* Join the Advocates on Twitter
* Join the Advocates on Facebook
* 2014 Freedom Cruises
by Sharon Harris
Thank you, Libertarian Party!
Last week at its national convention, the Libertarian Party awarded me the greatest honor of my career.
I was awarded the party's Thomas Paine Award. The Thomas Paine Award is given by the Libertarian Party every two years to the Libertarian Party member "who has been an outstanding communicator of Libertarian ideas, principles, and values through written, published, or spoken communications."
As someone who has spent the last two decades teaching libertarians to successfully communicate the ideas of liberty, there can be no greater professional honor for me.
I am deeply moved to receive this award, and I cannot thank the Libertarian Party enough for this recognition. It will inspire me to work even harder for our great cause.
In 2012 Advocates Chairman of the Board Jim Lark was given this same award, driving home the vital role the Advocates plays in this important field.
The Libertarian Party national awards program began in 1996 with the Samuel Adams Award (for outstanding activism), the Thomas Paine Award (for outstanding communication of libertarian ideas), and the Thomas Jefferson Award (for lifetime achievement through 2010; from 2012 henceforth, for outstanding leadership).
I think it speaks very highly of the Advocates that so many people associated with this organization have received these awards.
Since 1996, only three people have won at least two of the awards: Harry Browne (1998 Thomas Paine Award, 2006 Thomas Jefferson Award); Jim Lark (2004 Samuel Adams Award, 2008 Thomas Jefferson Award, 2012 Thomas Paine Award); and me (2012 Thomas Jefferson Award, 2014 Thomas Paine Award).
Advocates Chair Jim Lark is the only person who has won all three.
Other longtime Advocates friends and associates who have won these prestigious awards are David Bergland (1998 Thomas Jefferson Award), Michael Cloud (2000 Thomas Paine Award), and Mary Ruwart (2004 Thomas Paine Award).
And I was deeply moved this year when Hardy Macia â€” an Advocates Board member and longtime Advocates supporter who died last May â€” received the 2014 Samuel Adams Award recognizing outstanding LP activism.
Also at this convention, Harry Browne and ballot access expert and activist Richard Winger were inducted into the Libertarian Party's new Hall of Liberty. Harry was a great friend of the Advocates. He did communication workshops with us, gave us the honor of publishing his great book Liberty A-Z: 872 Soundbites You Can Use Right Now!
, and delivered his last speech at our 20th Anniversary Celebration just a few months before his death.
Richard Winger has been a friend of the Advocates for many years, and I have long admired his unique and important work. He has also advised Liberator Online editor James W. Harris on articles on ballot access issues.
Advocates people stayed busy at this year's convention fulfilling our mission: helping libertarians become great communicators of the ideas of liberty.
I conducted three workshops the week of the convention: a workshop on effective communication; a workshop on how learning about personality types can help libertarians successfully present the ideas of liberty to everyone; and a communication workshop for the Libertarian State Leadership Alliance (LSLA) at their candidate training the day before the convention. Thanks to everyone who attended!
Jim Lark conducted a campus organizing workshop along with Students For Liberty co-founder and president Alexander McCobin. Advocates Board member Emily Salvette was chair of the Credentials Committee at the convention, a position she has held on previous occasions and for which she has drawn great praise.
Finally, the Advocates booth, featuring a wide variety of communication books and other tools, as well as some fun convention specials, was a big draw and was kept busy throughout the convention. A big thanks to Advocates Program Services Coordinator Dagny Smith and Brett Bittner for making this booth a smashing success.
Again, thank you Libertarian Party for this great honor. This would not have been possible without the inspiration, teachings and personal examples of numerous mentors I have been blessed to have in the libertarian movement. I cannot begin to thank them all here, but I would like to single out my predecessors at the Advocates for Self-Government: our late founder Marshall Fritz and past Advocates president Carole Ann Rand. I am enormously grateful to them â€” and all who inspired and worked with them â€” for building this organization that has given me such a wonderful opportunity to serve the liberty movement.
The Advocates will continue to provide vital resources for libertarian activists â€” helping them to be successful in taking the libertarian message of individual liberty, abundance and peace to the world.
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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
Cost of Government Day: July 6
While Americans celebrated Independence Day on July 4, we are far from being able to
celebrate fiscal independence.
Indeed, according to
Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), this year Cost of Government Day fell onâ€¦ July 6. Ouch!
Cost of Government Day â€” calculated each year by ATR â€” marks the point during the year when the average American has finally earned enough income to pay for his or her share of the spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government at the federal, state and local levels.
2014 is the sixth consecutive year that Cost of Government Day arrived in July; prior to President Obama taking office, Cost of Government Day had never fallen after June 27.
All told, the full costs of government amount to a staggering 51 percent of GDP. Workers toil 121 days to pay for government spending alone, and 65 days to pay for regulatory costs. Americans labor in tax slavery 186 days â€” more than half the year â€” to pay off the full burden of government.
Some states like Connecticut and New Jersey must work even longer than that to pay for the costs of high spending and taxes in their states. The latest state Cost of Government Day once again occurs in Connecticut, falling on July 26 for 2014. The earliest Cost of Government Day goes to Louisiana, occurring on June 12 this year.
The days worked to pay for federal spending decreased since last year. However, federal regulatory costs have increased since 2013. While Americans worked 65 days to pay for the costs imposed by regulation in 2014, if the regulatory regime grows larger it will almost certainly mean much later Cost of Government Days in the future.
Gallup: Almost No One Has Confidence in Congress
Only seven percent of Americans say they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in Congress, according to
a new Gallup poll.
About one-third of Americans report having "some" confidence, while half have "very little," and another 7% volunteer that they have "none."
That's the lowest level of faith in any major American institution that Gallup has ever recorded. And Gallup has been taking such polls for over 40 years.
Further, the downturn in confidence is ongoing. Last year's 10% was the previous record low.
For comparison, in 1973 â€” the first year Gallup began asking the question â€” fully 42% of Americans said they had confidence in Congress.
Says Gallup: "The current 7% of Americans who place confidence in Congress is the lowest of the 17 institutions Gallup measured this year, and is the lowest Gallup has ever found for any of these institutions. The dearth of public confidence in their elected leaders on Capitol Hill is yet another sign of the challenges that could face incumbents in 2014's midterm elections â€” as well as more broadly a challenge to the broad underpinnings of the nation's representative democratic system."
These results perhaps aren't so surprising to those who saw a Public Policy Polling poll last year (reported in the Liberator Online) that found Congress less popular than lice, root canals, cockroaches, hemorrhoids, and colonoscopies, among other plagues and pests.
Indeed, what puzzles us the most is: what's taking the remaining 7% so long to catch on?
VIDEO: Remy's "God Bless the USA (Veterans Affairs Scandal Edition)"
If the VA hospital scandal has you outraged, you're gonna love this smart and savage satire by the great pro-liberty comedian Remy.
Remy reworks the 1984 Lee Greenwood radio hit "God Bless the USA"â€¦ for today's Veterans Affairs administrators.
Your jaw is bound to drop at least once or twice. After you've recovered, share this with friends.
It's another great video from Reason TV. Full lyrics with documentation here
TIME Magazine: The War on Drugs Is a Real War
"This Is Why Your Local Police Department Might Have a Tank," TIME Magazine, June 24:
"Forget Officer Friendly. A new report finds that local police departments are becoming excessively militarized, equipped with weapons, uniforms and even vehicles formerly used by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. â€¦
"As the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have wound down, police departments have been obtaining military equipment, vehicles and uniforms that have flowed directly from the Department of Defense. According to a new report by the ACLU, the federal government has funneled $4.3 billion of military property to law enforcement agencies since the late 1990s, including $450 million worth in 2013. Five hundred law enforcement agencies have received Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, built to withstand bomb blasts. More than 15,000 items of military protective equipment and 'battle dress uniforms,' or fatigues worn by the U.S. Army, have been transferred. The report includes details of police agencies in towns like North Little Rock, Ark., which has 34 automatic and semi-automatic rifles, a Mamba tactical vehicle and two MARCbots, which are armed robots designed for use in Afghanistan.
"'More Americans are becoming aware of the militarization of policing, but the use of paramilitary tactics to fight the war on drugs has been going on for a very long time,'" says the ACLU's Kara Dansky. Throughout the 1980s, law enforcement agencies got more aggressive in how they served drug warrants ...
"As police departments have added military gear, they've also upped the number of SWAT deployments, especially for use in drug warrants. Eighty-nine percent of police departments serving populations of 50,000 or more had SWAT teams in the late 1990s, twice as many as in the mid-1980s. In the mid-2000s, 80% of smaller police agencies â€” those serving between 25 and 50,000 people â€” had SWAT teams, up from 20% in the mid-1980s.
"Those squads are increasingly being deployed for drug searches. Almost two-thirds of SWAT deployments between 2011 and 2012 were for drug raids. Many of those units base their strategy and tactics on military special operations like Navy SEALs. ...
"Using military-style equipment has an effect on the behavior of police officers as well, adds Kraska. 'It changes the culture of the police department,' she says. 'It gets them into a much more intense, paramilitary mindset rather than thinking about a community-oriented approach to policing.'"
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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...
CRONY CAPITALISM ENTERS THE DEBATE:
"I will fight to end crony capitalist programs that benefit the rich and powerful." â€” Tea Party Republican David Brat, who stunned the nation by defeating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
in the Virginia GOP primary.
AMERICANS FEEL LESS FREE â€” BECAUSE THEY ARE:
"Over the past eight years, the share of Americans who feel satisfied with the amount of freedom in their lives has plummeted from 91 percent to 79 percent, according to a Gallup survey. That may explain earlier polling that found widespread perception that the government itself is the largest problem facing the United States. Public dissatisfaction may also reflect the reality that the country's international rankings in areas including economic freedom, Internet freedom, and press freedom have slipped dramatically in recent years. People feel less free because they are less free." â€” J.D. Tuccille
, "Americans Feel Less Free â€” And They're Right!" Reason.com, July 2, 2014 .
THE EXIT STRATEGY:
"President Obama is sending a couple hundred troops to Iraq. We spent six years trying to figure a way to get out of Iraq. And now we're back. But this time there is an exit strategy. Barack Obama has an exit strategy. In 2016, he's gone." â€” David Letterman, June 17, 2014.
"Yesterday Michelle Obama said she wants Americans to elect a woman president 'as soon as possible.' So even she has had enough of President Obama." â€” Conan O'Brien, June 24, 2014.
"Last night Hillary Clinton said she won't support legalizing recreational
marijuana until we see how it goes in Colorado. Officials in Colorado couldn't respond because they were too busy swimming in a pool of money." â€” Jimmy Fallon, June 18, 2014.
"In a new interview, Hillary Clinton said the Bible is the most influential book she's ever read. Some people think she might be pandering to Southern Christian voters. Then Hillary said, 'Oh come on y'all â€” little ol' me?'" â€” Jimmy Fallon, June 17, 2014.
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"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.
Persuasion Power Point #371
by Michael Cloud
Free Markets Nurture Empathy
Would you like to live in a world where empathy is both virtuous and profitable?
A world where it pays to meet the wants and needs of others?
Look for it in the private sector. Private enterprises. Free markets.
Without empathy, private businesses and free markets wither and die. With empathy, they survive and thrive.
Each business must be guided by empathy for their customers' wants and needs and budgets.
Or the customers will seek out and patronize a business that does.
Every retail business faces this truth each day.
What would attract customers to our store?
How do our shoppers want to be greeted and treated?
What store layout and merchandising would appeal most to our customers?
What kind of employees would our customers be most comfortable with?
What do our shoppers expect from our employees? Information? Guidance? Courtesy? Close assistance, or room to roam?
What prices and terms make it easiest for our customers to buy?
What do our shoppers think? What do they know? What do they need to know? What do they want? What are they looking for â€” that no one else has offered them?
Empathy guides businesses toward the right solutions. The answers that open the wallets and purses of their customers.
Private enterprises instill a deep and abiding empathy in each of us who work there.
Free markets nurture empathy.
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.
Who's to blame for dangerous prescription drugs: the FDA or Big Pharma?
QUESTION: The pharmaceutical company is sometimes caught pressuring the FDA to approve drugs with side effects and the FDA does so. Who is the prime mover of aggression here, the FDA or the pharmaceutical cartel?
MY SHORT ANSWER: It's the karmic circle. The American public allowed the FDA to regulate the pharmaceutical companies under the largely erroneous assumption that they were nefarious. In the beginning, the primary loss to the American public was fewer life-saving drugs, since more money had to be spent on development instead of discovering new drugs.
The regulations reshaped the industry in a way that encouraged graft, as the regulations got more onerous. The industry "fought back" with the Prescription Drug User Fee Act which lets companies pay about $1 million for a faster review. This co-opted the regulators, since about half of their budget now comes from such fees.
In addition to losing many life-saving drugs, the drugs that we get now are less safe. The biggest safety problem with drugs on the market today is that they are meant for long-term use, which amplifies side effects. That's because only drugs for long-term use can recover the high cost of development that regulations have produced. Even with the high prices of drugs, only 3/10 recover their costs.
This is a lose-lose situation for the American public, the industry itself (which has become close to unsustainable), and even the regulators, who will one day die or watch their loved ones die from diseases that might have been cured without regulations.
LEARN MORE: Suggested additional reading on this topic from Liberator Online editor James W. Harris:
* "Abolishing the FDA: FDA Policies Keep People Sick and Create a False Sense of Security" by Larry Van Heerden The Freeman, March 1, 2007.
Excerpt: "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) started out as a bulwark against snake-oil peddling. It has since swung back and forth between hostility and subservience to the drug industry. The FDA seems indifferent to the many deaths its own intransigence has caused and imperious when forced to defend its actions in court, resulting in a system that withholds life-saving drugs from the market, approves dangerous drugs, and denies everyone freedom of choice. The time has come to seriously consider abolishing the FDA."
* * *
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
Free Market orâ€¦ Freed Market?
Here's a neat little phrase that can be very handy when talking about economics: "freed market."
No, not "free market."
As we've discussed in the past, "capitalism" is often not a very useful word for libertarians to use to describe the economic system we advocate. Sheldon Richman of the Future of Freedom Foundation gives some good reasons for not always using the word "capitalism" here.
A more accurate and more popular (according to a Gallup poll) alternative I've discussed is "free enterprise." Also good is "free market."
But even these useful words are often hijacked by big-government conservatives and others who don't really mean what libertarians mean by genuine free enterprise.
Today's economic system is nothing like a free market. Yet it is often described as one. So, when people see massive economic problems and scandals all around them â€” subsidies and bailouts of rich businesses, unemployment, high taxes, dangerous products, corporate favoritism, monopolies â€” all of which are due to anti-market actions â€” it's natural that they would oppose the "free market" system that we supposedly have. After all, the terms "capitalism" and "free market" are frequently used by those who defend this very system.
Ugh! What confusion!
Which makes "freed market" a great phrase to toss into a discussion.
For example, asked about your economic views, you might say: "I believe in the free market. Or, to be more precise, a freed market."
Your listener: "What do you mean, 'freed' market?"
And that gives you the chance to explain what libertarians actually believe. Something along these lines:
"I want to see our current economic system freed up, for consumers and for competitors. A free market â€” which we don't have today â€” would do that, and we'd all benefit."
You then persuasively share the many ways everyone would benefit from this.
The use of "freed market" lets you point out how government meddling and crony capitalism, not the market, are responsible for today's economic woes. It frees you from defending the present system, while still letting you use successful examples from that system as examples of what libertarians are striving for.
Importantly, "freed market" also makes it clear that we don't have a free market today. It makes it clearer that you are talking about a goal, a better future, something different and better than the status quo.
In short, it lets you present the free market as the solution â€” not the cause â€” of today's problems. It lets you offer a vision of a better future â€” not a defense of current abuses.
It's a neat little twist.
The word "freed market" and the idea behind it have been discussed a lot at the Center for a Stateless Society. Here's an excerpt from "Embracing Markets, Opposing 'Capitalism'" by Gary Chartier that nicely points out the difference between the economic system we have today â€” and the free market libertarians want to see:
"To a very significant degree, the economic system we have now is one from which peaceful, voluntary exchange is absent. An interlocking web of legal and regulatory privileges benefit the wealthy and well connected at the expense of everyone else (think patents and copyrights, tariffs, restrictions on banking, occupational licensing rules, land-use restrictions, etc.). The military-industrial complex funnels unbelievable amounts of money â€” at gunpoint â€” from ordinary people's pockets and into the bank accounts of government contractors and their cronies.
"Subsidies of all kinds feed a network of privileged businesses and non-profits. And the state protects titles to land taken at gunpoint or engrossed by arbitrary fiat before distribution to favored individuals and groups. No, the economies of the US, Canada, Western Europe, Japan, and Australia, at least, aren't centrally planned. The state doesn't assert formal ownership of (most of) the means of production. But the state's involvement at multiple levels in guaranteeing and bolstering economic privilege makes it hard to describe the economic system we have now as free."
With the right listeners, the term "freed markets" can help you open minds to a new understanding of genuine economic freedom and the blessings it can bring.
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Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government.
What's Happening with the Advocates
July 9-12: The Advocates will have a booth at FreedomFest in Las Vegas. Stop by and say hello!
August 8-9: Advocates President Sharon Harris will be a featured speaker at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)'s "Communicating Liberty" conference in Atlanta.
Attendees will learn how to dramatically increase their effectiveness at communicating the ideas of liberty.
Email us now if you'd like us to send you further information on these events.
Email 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.
2014 FREEDOM CRUISES: Advocates Board member and long-time libertarian leader Dr. Ken Bisson invites you to join him for a Freedom Cruise. Enjoy a wonderful trip on a luxury cruiser â€” at a bargain rate! Great food and fine company. Non-libertarians welcome! (These aren't Advocates events, but libertarians who have been on past cruises rave about them.) For photos and more details â€” or to sign up for free, no-pressure, no-commitment email updates â€” visit Freedom Cruises.