Volume 15, No. 2                                                                                  January 25, 2010     
The Liberator Online
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In This Issue

* Libertarian Party Executive Director Praises OPH
* Las Vegas July 7-11: Our 25th Anniversary Celebration
* Journalist: Libertarianism is On the Rise
* Americans Reject Government Health Care
* Amish Exempted from Health Care Requirements - What About You?
* Study: Homeschoolers Out-perform Government-Schooled Kids
QUICK SHOTS: Jay Leno on government versus privacy.... What could go wrong, asks this widely-circulated anonymous quote.... Government has become a privileged elite.... Bank robberies: the good news and the bad news....
* UNequal pay for UNequal Work!
 by Michael Cloud
* Why do libertarians favor free-market roads?
* Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax: Part 1
 by Sharon Harris
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups!
* Join the Advocates on Twitter.
* Join the Advocates Facebook Fan Club.
* Las Vegas July 7-11: Our 25th Anniversary Celebration!
Sharon Harris - newPresident's


Sharon Harris

Libertarian Party Director Praises Advocates' FREE OPH Program

Wes Benedict, Executive Director of the national Libertarian Party, recently thanked the Advocates for our newest program: free OPH outreach kits for student libertarian groups.
Wes praised the program and gave the following ringing endorsement of OPH.
Wes wrote:
"These [OPH] kits feature the world-famous Wes BendictWorld's Smallest Political Quiz. I think the World's Smallest Political Quiz is by far the best marketing tool ever created to help Libertarians quickly explain the difference between Democrats (liberal), Republicans (conservative), and Libertarians. I think the World's Smallest Political Quiz is by far the best marketing tool ever created to help Libertarians quickly explain the difference between Democrats (liberal), Republicans (conservative), and Libertarians.
"I first encountered the World's Smallest Political Quiz at an OPH booth hosted by local Libertarians on the University of Michigan campus in 1996. I joined the Libertarian Party shortly after that eye-opening experience. I've been a big user and promoter of OPH booths ever since!
"Almost every time I've ever been asked to present to a student group, I bring an OPH kit, and that's true whether it's a college or high school class. Administering the World's Smallest Political Quiz is such a great way to get the conversation started.
"I've hosted OPH booths at art fairs, political rallies, Bob Marley festivals, gun shows... all kinds of places. I don't always bring the whole kit. Sometimes just a part of it that is convenient to carry.
"Right now, I think the greatest opportunity for using OPH kits is at Tea Party protests. Simply set up a poster chart on an easel, or attach it to a pole to attract attention. Administer the Quiz to attendees (who are often looking for something interesting to do while standing there) and collect the email addresses of attendees who score libertarian.
OPH - UGA"As a candidate for county commissioner in Texas, I sometimes brought the kits to candidate forums. As Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Texas, I handed out dozens of ready-to-use kits to Libertarian Party activists, including candidates and student group leaders. Emily Cowan, an activist in Austin, Texas, has been hosting booths at a monthly festival for the last three years.
"I urge all Libertarian activists, especially student activists, to take a look at these OPH outreach kits offered by the Advocates for Self-Government."
Thanks, Wes!
By using these free campus OPH kits, libertarian students will reach thousands of liberty-minded fellow students -- the activists and leaders of today and tomorrow -- in the coming year alone.
Learn more about OPH here.
Student groups: email us to request your FREE OPH kit today!

* * * * * * * *
July 7-11. 2010: Join us in Las Vegas for our 25th Anniversary Celebration!
Reserve this date on your calendar, because you won't want to miss the fun! We'll be celebrating our anniversary in conjunction with FreedomFest 2010 -- a gathering of around 2000 liberty-loving folks. We'll enjoy some of the world's greatest freedom movement speakers, great food, and some of the finest people you'd ever want to meet. (I hope one of them is you!) More details coming soon.

* * * * * * * *

Welcome to 330 new Liberator Online subscribers this issue!

The purpose of the Liberator Online is to build a stronger movement for liberty. We do this by providing information about the libertarian movement, news analysis from a libertarian perspective, and, most importantly, information and resources on 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: sharon@TheAdvocates.org
Good News,
Bad News,
Unbelievable News

by James W. Harris

Libertarianism is On the Rise

Support for libertarian ideas is growing -- and growing fast -- among the American public.
Davied Paul KuhnSo says journalist David Paul Kuhn, Chief Political Correspondent for RealClearPolitics, a popular and respected political news site with a conservative bent.
"The philosophical casualty of the Great Recession was supposed to be libertarianism," Kuhn writes. "But signs to the contrary are thriving.
"Americans are increasingly opposed to activist government programs. The most significant sociAtlas Shruggedal movement of 2009, the Tea Party protests, grew out of that opposition. Libertarian heroine Ayn Rand is as popular today as ever. Rand's brilliant and radical laissez faire novel Atlas Shrugged sold roughly 300,000 copies last year, according to BookScan, twice its sales in 2008 and roughly triple annual sales in recent decades.
"We are witnessing a conservative libertarian comeback. It's an oppositional advance, a response to all manners of active-state liberalism since the financial crisis. ...
"Half the public believes there is 'too much' government regulation of 'business and industry,' an 11-point rise in one year, according to a December CNN poll. Nearly a third of the public, in contrast, said there was 'too little' regulation."
Kuhn argues that the Obama administration's aggressive Big Government liberal agenda have aroused dormant libertarian feelings among Americans.
And far more Americans are libertarian, or libertarian-leaning, than most people think, Kuhn says.
Kuhn uses recent Gallup polls to conclude Diamond Chart - libertarinthat "slightly more than a fifth of U.S. adults" are, broadly speaking, more libertarian than anything else. "This is the loose libertarian bloc of American politics," Kuhn says. He further notes that "another third of the electorate allies with this bloc on issues regarding government's reach into private industry." (This would be largely market-oriented, small-government conservatives.)
Thus, together, this libertarian and free-market voting bloc has roughly equal footing with those who favor far more government control of the economy.
Kuhn says that this libertarian-themed opposition to the current Big Government agenda is primarily focused on economics: "There is no wide-ranging call for government to withdraw from social issues," he writes. "A rebirth of traditional libertarianism this is not. It's a more limited libertarianism that it is on the march."
However, David Boaz of the libertarian Cato Institute thinks Kuhn may be wrong about this.
Writes Boaz: "I see some evidence of a social libertarian surge as well ... Polls are finding growing support for marijuana legalization and for marriage equality, especially among young people."
We might add that growing numbers of Americans from across the political spectrum are voicing alarm about government encroachments on fundamental Bill of Rights freedoms.
Sums up Boaz: "As young people and independents also become increasingly disillusioned with President Obama's big-government agenda, this may be a real shift in a libertarian direction."

Americans Reject Gov't Health Care
Even as congressional Democrats and the president rush to stitch together a Frankenstein's monster of a health care bill, public rejection of the idea is reaching record levels.
On December 16, the Pew Research Center noted:
"As has been the case in most Pew Research health care - doctorCenter surveys since July, there is currently more opposition than support for the proposals. Nearly half (48%) say they generally oppose the proposals in Congress to overhaul the health care system while 35% generally favor them."
And Americans are rejecting health care reform for solid libertarian and free market reasons, Pew reports: "A third of opponents (33%) cite too much government involvement in health care as the most important reason for opposing the legislation."
This complements the findings of a Gallup poll reported in November.
Gallup reported that, for the first time since Gallup began surveying health care reform in 2001, "[m]ore Americans now say it is not the federal government's responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage (50%) than say it is (47%)."
This is a sea change. Just three years ago, fully two-thirds polled by Gallup believed that ensuring healthcare coverage was the government's responsibility.
And here's something that's downright startling. So many Americans object so strongly to government involvement in health care, and distrust government in general, that Pew Research Center president Andrew Kohut believes that Americans might well reject Medicare if it were proposed today.
"If Medicare was being debated today would it be getting the same frosty reception that we are seeing now -- and that we saw for health care reform in the Clinton years?" Kohut wrote in August. "To my mind, the answer is yes. Much of the opposition to health care reform today is being fueled by anti-government sentiment that did not exist during the mid-1960's."
Amish Exempted from Health Care Requirements -- What About You?
Under the health reform legislation the Democrats are struggling to pass, most Americans would be forced by the government to purchase insurance -- or face hefty fines and other possible punishment.
AmishBut not one group: the Amish. Democrats plan to exempt the Amish (and some similar religious groups) from the "buy health insurance or else" mandate.
Why? On First Amendment grounds, because of Amish religious beliefs. The Amish believe the church, not the government, should care for the needs of members. They are thus conscientious objectors, for religious reasons, to commercial insurance and government welfare programs.
As FOXNews.com reports: "[W]hen the Amish need medical care, they go to regular doctors and hospitals and pay in cash often with financial help from their church and neighbors. They rely on each other, not the government or insurance companies, as a tenet of their faith."
Since 1965, Congress has exempted the Amish from Social Security and Medicare taxes for the same reason.
We're all for that. But why stop with the Amish? What about those of us who object for other religious or spiritual reasons -- for example, a belief that the initiation of force against peaceful people is wrong? What about those who object on non-religious but deeply-held philosophical grounds?
Some of these folks are already speaking out. FOX quotes Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the libertarian Cato Institute.
"If they can do it for religious objection, well, I have a different type of objection," Shapiro said. "I think I'm being coerced into doing something against my will, and so the challenge would be from a different perspective."
We strongly support the Amish exemption, of course. But what about the rest of us conscientious objectors?

Study: Homeschoolers Dramatically Outperform Gov't-Schooled Kids
Homeschooled students are performing academically far above students incarcerated in government schools.
How much better? Homeschoolers, on average, scored a startling 37 percentile points ahomeschoolingbove government school students on standardized achievement tests.
That's the finding of a recent study conducted by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute.
The homeschool national average ranged from the 84th percentile for Language, Math, and Social Studies to the 89th percentile for Reading, compared to the average scores of 50 percentile points for government-schooled children.
"Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics" is the first major study of homeschooling results in ten years, and it is the most comprehensive study of homeschool academic achievement ever. It surveyed 11,739 homeschooled students from all 50 states (and Guam and Puerto Rico) for the 2007-08 academic school year.
The study's findings of academic superiority for homeschoolers are consistent with previous studies on homeschool academic achievement.
And there's more good news for homeschoolers. Government school students are plagued by achievement gaps related to the students' gender and the education and income levels of their parents. But such achievement gaps were not found in the homeschooled students surveyed.
* Homeschooled boys and girls scored equally well.
* The income level of parents did not appreciably affect test scores.
* While parent education level did have some small impact, even children whose parents did not have college degrees scored in the 83rd percentile, far above the average for public school students. Homeschooled children whose parents both had college degrees scored in the 90th percentile.
Further, whether or not parents were teacher-certified had no impact on scores. Nor did it make any difference whether a student lived in a state where homeschooling was heavily regulated or not.
The difference in cost is amazing, too. Government schools spend, on average, nearly $10,000 per child per year. The average homeschool parent spends about... $500 per child per year.
There are an estimated 1.5 to 2 million homeschooled children in the U.S. today, which is about 4% of the school-aged population.
Homeschooling is growing at around 7% per year. With results like these, it's no wonder.


Quick Shots...

JAY LENO ON GOV'T VS. PRIVACY: "The government issued a statement this week saying most Jay Lenopeople aren't complaining about the full-body scanners. See, the government always says that. Every time there's another intrusion into our privacy, they say most people aren't complaining. Well, of course, most people aren't complaining. You know what happens when you complain at airport security? You get a colonoscopy and wind up on a terrorists watch list." -- Jay Leno, January 13, 2010.
WHAT COULD GO WRONG? "Now, let me get this straight.....We are going to pass a health care plan written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts themselves from it, to be signed by a president who also hasn't read it and who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes...all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's nearly broke. What could possibly go wrong?" -- Anonymous, quoted in Carpe Diem blog.
GOV'T IS Steven GreenhutA PRIVILIGED ELITE: "People who are supposed to serve the public have become a privileged elite that exploits political power for financial gain and special perks. Because of its political power, this interest group has rigged the game so there are few meaningful checks on its demands. Government employees now receive far higher pay, benefits, and pensions than the vast majority of Americans working in the private sector. Even when they are incompetent or abusive, they can be fired only after a long process and only for the most grievous offenses. It's a two-tier system in which the rulers are making steady gains at the expense of the ruled. The predictable results: Higher taxes, eroded public services, unsustainable levels of debt, and massive roadblocks to reforming even the poorest performing agencies and school systems."
-- Steven Greenhut, "Class War: How public servants became our masters," Reason magazine, February 2010.

GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS ABOUT BANK ROBBERIES: "In 2009, the F.B.I. reported a 20 percent decrease in the number of people robbing banks. There was, however, a huge increase in the number of banks robbing people." -- Jimmy Fallon, "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," January 19, 2010.

* * * * * * * *
"Good News, Bad News, Unbelievable News" is written by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris. His articles have appeard 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."
POINT #282

UNequal pay for UNequal Work

by Michael Cloud

"Equal pay for equal work" was the rallying cry of 1970s feminists. Most Americans agreed. Becequal pay brochureause most of us try to treat people fairly.
If two sales people each sell five of the same widgets for the same price, they should both get the same sales commission. Common sense. Simple fairness.
But if one sells eight widgets and the other sells four, then the first sales person should be paid twice as much as the second person.
Why? UNequal pay for UNequal work. Simple fairness.
In the marketplace, a business rarely needs to be told that it should match pay to performance. Because if they fail to do so, their competitors will quickly hire away their best salespeople -- and pay them according to their performance.
So why do certain people claiming to be egalitarians oppose this marketplace fairness? Why do certain Ivory Tower Academics froth and foam against UNequal pay for UNequal work?
If someone truly believes in "equal pay for equal work," shouldn't he embrace all the corollaries?
* Different pay for different work.
* Outstanding pay for outstanding work.
* Good pay for good work.
* Mediocre pay for mediocre work.
* Substandard pay for substandard work.
* NO pay for NO work.
Each of the statements above is mathematically, logically equal to: "Equal Pay for Equal Work."
Most Americans and almost all private enterprise businesses believe and practice all of them. That is why free enterprise works.
So why do many egalitarians, academics, and self-described elite college students reject the logic and the fairness of: "UNequal pay for Unequal work"?

* * * * * * * *
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.
Why do libertarians favor free-market roads?

QUESTION: You recently argued that privatizing highwayroads would allow the owners of those roads to bar drunk drivers from using them, thereby acting as a market-based punishment for this behavior. What is wrong with the current laws against drunk driving? It seems to me you are using the drunk driving scenario to advocate privatizing public roads. While a free market is vital to a free and vibrant country, I think that too often we libertarians answer "Free Market!" before a question is even asked.
MY SHORT ANSWER: Libertarians turn to the free market because most government services are based on violations of the non-aggression principle. For example, some states levy road taxes as "user fees" at the gas pump, but then siphon the money off to other programs. People aren't paying for their use of the road, but are forced to pay for services they may not want or receive. This is the moral argument against government provision of services.
From the practical standpoint, government services are almost always more expensive and of lower quality than ones provided by the private sector. For example, private commercial roads operated by members of the International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association have an accident rate one-third lower than the U.S. interstate system. Better design, maintenance, access to rest areas, and more vigilance in removing reckless drivers are some of the ways in which private roads improve safety (see Footnote 1, below). Further, the costs of building a road are at least 50% lower when private contractors, rather than government employees, are used.
Government services are generally a bad bargain for taxpayers because public employees are not rewarded when they give the best service at the lowest price. Private businesses, however, do profit, and so have a powerful incentive to make customers happy. Consequently, the average person benefits more from market-provided services than those provided by government. 
[Footnote 1: Gabriel Roth, "Roads in a Market Economy," (Brookfield, VT: Ashgate, 1998), p. 55.]
LEARN MORE: Here is an interesting short review of  Roads in a Market Economy by Gabriel Roth, the book cited in the footnote above.

Also check out the article "Open Letter to Mothers Against Drunk Driving" by economist Walter Block, from his book The Privatization of Roads and Highways. Excerpt: "[W]ith a system of private highways and streets, the various owners would compete with one another to provide service for their customers (including, preeminently, safety). Those who failed (e.g., pursued policies detrimental to the 'health of children and other living things') would be forced either to change the error of their ways or go belly up. Those who saved lives by better dealing with drunkards, speeders, etc., would earn profits and thus be enabled to expand the base of their operations."
* * * * * * * *
Got questions? 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 books Healing Our World and Short Answers to the Tough Questions are
available from the Advocates.
 Liberty Minute clock

Liberty Tip

Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax: Part One

by Sharon Harris

Ending the personal income tax would be a great income taxblessing for America.
However, to most Americans -- even those who hate the income tax -- the idea currently seems unrealistic and breathtakingly radical.
Can we persuade others to accept this idea -- and eventually propel it into the mainstream political discussion? Libertarians are already doing this with many issues, including drug relegalization, ending the Federal Reserve, privatization, and many more.
I believe we can and should add ending the personal income tax to that list. Here are some ways to present the idea as sensible, desirable, and realistic.
Ron PaulONE: Use the popularity of Ron Paul. If you're discussing this issue with a Ron Paul admirer (and there are millions of them), then the battle is already at least half won. Just tell the person that Paul has long supported ending the personal income tax, and several times he has introduced legislation, the Liberty Amendment, to do this, most recently on April 30, 2009.
(Here are Paul's comments on introducing the Liberty Amendment. And here is the wording of the Liberty Amendment.)
In fact, even if your listener isn't a Ron Paul fan, the mere fact that legislation has been introduced in Congress to end the personal income tax will make the idea seem more real, more possible.
TWO: If appropriate, explain your position with dramatic language along these lines: "I want to end the income tax -- and replace it with... nothing." This makes it clear that you're calling for bold change, not just a reshuffling of the status quo. This is powerful and provocative phrasing. The "nothing" at the end surprises your listener -- and makes him eager to hear what you'll say next.
THREE: The natural question you'll be asked is: "But how will we fund the government without the income tax? How can we fund essential services?"
Happily, there's a great and persuasive answer. On November 20, 2008 Ron Paul said in a New York Times interview:
"About 45 percent of all federal revenue comes from the personal income tax. That means that about 55 percent -- over half of all revenue -- comes from other sources, like excise taxes, fees, and corporate taxes.
"We could eliminate the income tax, replace it with nothing, and still fund the same level of big government we had in the late 1990s. We don't need to 'replace' the income tax at all."
That is remarkable and eye-opening: to think that we could adapt a budget from roughly ten years ago (or, more precisely, cut spending back to the still extremely high levels of just ten years ago) -- and no longer be plagued by the personal income tax.
FOUR: Having made this striking point, you can de-radicalize the issue by adding: "So perhaps this idea isn't so radical after all."
FIVE: Strengthen your case further by adding something along these lines: "By the way, in the late 1990s, when Bill Clinton was president, I don't remember many people complaining that government wasn't big enough, or complaining we had too little government."
Ask your listener if he would be willing to reduce the federal government to the size it was in the last years of the Clinton administration -- if it meant we could abolish outright the personal income tax.
Many people will respond by saying that we need more reduction than that! Congratulations -- you've just turned a radical-sounding idea into something that doesn't sound radical enough!
Next issue I'll share further ways to persuade your audience that this bold libertarian proposal is realistic and desirable.
* * * * * *
Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government. See more One Minute Liberty tips.

What's Happening
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Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we're giving our acclaimed OPH (Operation Political Homeless) outreach kits to libertarian OPH - UGAstudent 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, contact us today via email for more information on getting your free OPH kit.

LAS VEGAS July 7-11 -- ADVOCATES 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: Join us in Las Vegas for our 25th Anniversary Celebration! Reserve this date on your calendar, because you won't want to miss the fun! We'll be celebrating our anniversary in conjunction with FreedomFest 2010 -- a gathering of around 2000 liberty-loving folks. We'll enjoy some of the world's greatest freedom movement speakers, great food, and some of the finest people you'd ever want to meet. (I hope one of them is you!) More details coming soon.

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"May it be to the world... to assume the blessings and security of self-government." -- Thomas Jefferson, June 24, 1826.