Volume 15, No. 4                                                                                  February 22, 2010     
The Liberator Online
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In This Issue

* Don't Argue with Me on This One!
* Las Vegas July 7-11: Our 25th Anniversary Celebration
* Study: U.S. No Longer Has a "Free" Economy
* Majority of Americans "Live at Expense of the Rest"
* Poll: Most Americans Unhappy with Federal Gov't
* Americans Want Incumbents Tossed Out
QUICK SHOTS: U.S. Senator attacks federal income tax.... Republicans for socialized medicine.... Jay Leno on the gov't and gambling.... John Stossel on how to get corporate money out of politics....
* The Private Enterprise Lesson from the Fable of the Golden Goose
 by Michael Cloud
* Do libertarians support research on drugs the government has declared useless?
* Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax: Part 3
 by Sharon Harris
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups!
* Las Vegas July 7-11: Our 25th Anniversary Celebration!
* Join the Advocates on Twitter.
* Join the Advocates Facebook Fan Club.
Sharon Harris - newPresident's


Sharon Harris

Don't Argue with Me on This One!
"I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me."
-- Dave Barry
I love this quote by humorist -- and libertarian -- Dave Barry. (Thank you, Michael Cloud, for sharing it with me.)
It shows us exactly why being able to win arguments isn't enough.
Yes, libertarians have brilliant answers for every political issue under the sun. And that is vital.
But while winning an argument and defeating an opponent can be satisfying, we must do more.
We must win people to our side. We must make friends, not create an army of people who are sore because we out-argued them. We must show our family, friends, neighbors, and community leaders that we libertarians are good people with good intentions. We must show them that liberty will be good for them and everyone else.
We must do more than just trounce statist ideas in debates. We must be sensitive to the concerns and the feelings of others. We must turn people into active, enthusiastic supporters of liberty -- into evangelists for freedom.
Some of the best libertarians today are people who were persuaded, in a friendly and gentle manner, to examine the ideas of freedom.
And some of the strongest enemies of liberty today are people who were thoroughly and unquestionably crushed by a libertarian in an argument.
We must do more than win arguments. We must persuade people to come over to our side. That's been a major focus of the Advocates since this organization was formed 25 years ago. We've gathered the best tools, techniques and methods to help libertarians not just win arguments, but win *supporters.*
You can see many of them at our online store.
And of course, many of them are free, including the wealth of information on effective libertarian communication at our website, and the publication you're reading right now.
I hope you find something in this issue of the Liberator Online that will help you persuade someone to embrace the ideas of liberty.

* * * * * * * *

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 325 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

Study: U.S. No Longer Has a "Free" Economy

The amount of economic freedom in the United States fell significantly in 2009, according to a respected annual survey.
For more than ten years the Index of Economic Freedom, a joint publication of The Wall Streeteconomic freedom index Journal and the conservative Heritage Foundation, has ranked the countries of the world by the amount of economic freedom they have.
The study focuses on ten fundamental economic freedoms: business freedom, trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government size, monetary freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption and labor freedom.
The 2010 Index was released last month, covering the year 2009.
The United States dropped to number eight on the list, its lowest ranking ever.
Worse, for the first time the U.S. dropped out of the Index's "Free" category into the next category of "Mostly Free."
Ranking ahead of the United States in economic liberty are, starting with the freest, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland, and, yes, Canada.
America's plunge in the rankings is due to a variety of anti-market policies, including increasing tax rates and government spending.
"The U.S. government's interventionist responses to the financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 have significantly undermined economic freedom and long-term prospects for economic growth," say the Index editors. "[U.S.] economic freedom has declined in seven of the 10 categories measured in the Index."
Of the 179 countries graded in this year's Index, only seven scored high enough to qualify as having a "Free" economy. Another 23, including the U.S., had sufficient economic liberty to rank "Mostly Free."
The Index clearly shows that economic liberty is vital not just for prosperity, but for personal freedom and protecting the environment.
"The 2010 Index provides strong evidence that economic freedom has far-reaching positive impacts on various aspects of human development. Economic freedom correlates with poverty reduction, a variety of desirable social indicators, democratic governance, and environmental sustainability," notes the Index. "Economies classified as free or mostly free also do a much better job promoting human development, reducing poverty and protecting the environment."
Study: Majority of Americans "Live at the Expense of the Rest"
Tax Foundation"According to the Tax Foundation, 60 percent of the population now gets more in government benefits than it pays in taxes. What does it say about a society in which more than half the people live at the expense of the rest? Worse, the dependent class is growing. The 60 percent will soon be 70 percent."
So reports libertarian journalist John Stossel in a recent column. (The Tax Foundation is a non-partisan tax research group in Washington, D.C.)
Here are more details, from the Tax Foundation study Stossel cites:
"[I]n 2010, before any of Obama's major policy initiatives -- such as health care reform, cap and trade, and tax rate increases -- are enacted, the bottom 60 percent of American families will as a group receive more in government spending than they pay in taxes.
"The lowest-income families will be targeted for $10.44 in spending for every dollar they pay in taxes. Remarkably, families in the middle-income group -- who are the target of many Obama policies -- already receive $1.15 for every dollar they pay in taxes.
"By contrast, the top 40 percent of families pay more in taxes as a group than they receive in government spending benefits. In the case of the highest-income families, they are currently targeted for 43 cents in government spending for every dollar they pay in taxes..."
Playwright & critic George Bernard Shaw once said: "A government with the policy to rob Peter to pay Paul can be assured of the support of Paul."
What will it mean for America when 70% or more of citizens are Pauls?

Poll: Most Americans Are Unhappy with the Federal Government
Fully two-thirds of Americans are "dissatisfied" or "angry" with the federal government.
That's one of the findings of a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, reported February 11.
angryThis is the highest level of public unhappiness the poll has found since March 1996.
Dissatisfaction with both the Democratic and Republican parties is also at near-record highs.
Further, Americans feel a majority of the tax money seized from them is "wasted," the poll finds. The average amount considered "wasted" was 53 cents out of every tax dollar. (Which sounds like a seriously low estimate to us.)
The most visible public opposition to Republicrat and Demopublican business-as-usual in the past year has been the Tea Party movement. How do citizens feel about that movement?
While nearly two-thirds of those polled say they don't know much about the movement, they nonetheless find it appealing.
The Washington Post says: "About 45 percent of all Americans say they agree at least somewhat with tea partiers on issues, including majorities of Republicans and independents ... Overall opinion is about evenly split, with 35 percent of all Americans holding favorable views of the movement and 40 percent unfavorable ones. A quarter expressed no opinion. Nearly six in 10 Democrats have unfavorable views, while independents are split, 39 percent positive and 40 percent negative."
Republicans are divided on the Tea Party movement: "Two-thirds of those calling themselves "strong Republicans" view the movement favorably, compared with 33 percent among "not very strong Republicans.""
Adds the Washington Post: "Among those who identify themselves as conservatives, those who are angry about the federal government and those who say they know at least a good amount about the tea party, about two-thirds said they agree with the movement."
All this brings up some big questions for libertarian activists to ponder. How can we tap into this growing dissatisfaction? How can we help tea partiers encounter and evaluate libertarian ideas? How can we influence tea partiers to move in more libertarian directions? Can coalitions be formed among broadly pro-liberty groups that can have a major effect on politics in the months and years ahead?

Americans Turn Against Congress, Want Incumbents Tossed Out
A CBS News-New York Times poll taken Feb. 3-9 indicates deep discontent with the statist quo:
* Only 8 percent of Americans want the current members of Congress re-elected.
 thumbs down
* Fully 80 percent said members of Congress are more interested in serving special interests than the people they represent.
* 75 percent disapproved of the job Congress is doing.
* Congress's job approval rating was 15 (out of a possible 100).
Which brings us to a great paradox. For years, polls have indicated that Americans favor "throwing the rascals out" of Congress -- voting out the incumbents.
Yet, when it comes to their own "rascals," they almost invariably reelect them. As Katherine Mangu-Ward of the libertarian magazine Reason notes, the same majority that wants congressional incumbents tossed out "will almost undoubtedly return about 90 percent of incumbents running for reelection to office."
If liberty activists can find a way to solve this paradox and harness this rage, we just may see some sudden and genuine political shake-ups.


Quick Shots...

Jim DeMintU.S. SENATOR ATTACKS FEDERAL INCOME TAX: "The Constitution, when it was signed, it did not even allow a federal income tax. And that sounds like a good way to limit the size of the federal government." -- Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), speaking this week at the annual CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee) convention.
REPUBLICANS FOR SOCIALIZED MEDICINE: "In the middle of the recent fight against socialized medicine, Republicans fought hard to protect the chunk of Gene Healyour health care system that's already socialized. If there's money to be saved trimming waste from Medicare, 'we should spend it on Grandma!' insisted Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. GOP leader Michael Steele proposed a 'contract with seniors' insulating Medicare from cuts." -- Gene Healy of the Cato Institute, "Tea Partiers should get serious," Washington Examiner, February 16, 2010. 
JAY LENO ON THE GOV'T AND GAMBLING: "For the second time since he became president, Barack Jay LenoObama has slammed Las Vegas by saying, 'You don't blow a bunch of cash in Vegas.' Hey, the way government is spending money, I'd rather take the odds in Vegas. Wouldn't you? At least you might win something!" -- Jay Leno, February 5, 2010.
STOSSEL: HOW TO GET CORPORATE MONEY OUT OF POLITICS: "There is a simple way to get corporate money out of politics: get the government out of our lives and economic affairs. If government has no favors to sell, no one will spend money trying to win them." -- John Stossel, January 27, 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 #283

The Private Enterprise Lesson from the Fable of the Golden Goose

by Michael Cloud

Remember Aesop's fable of the Golden Goose?
A couple discovered they had a goose that lays a golden egg each morning. At first, they felt lucky and blessed. They enjoyed their newfound prosperity. But soon, greed infected their thinking.
"If we kill the goose," they reasoned, "we can get all the gold inside now."
So they killed it, cut it open, and discovered that there was no gold inside. They had destroyed the source of their wealth.
What's the obvious lesson? "Don't kill the golden goose."
Most people get it.
But almost everyone misses the private enterprise lesson hidden in the fable.
A private enterprise business asks: "Why settlegoose for one egg a day? What if I let the golden eggs hatch into baby golden geese, feed them and care for them, let them grow, let them lay their own golden eggs, and repeat the process? Why not breed and raise flocks of golden geese -- and have all the golden eggs I want?"
Bright entrepreneurs and private enterprise businesses breed golden geese. They increase the population of golden geese.
Our federal, state, and local governments do the opposite. They try to take as many golden eggs as they can -- without reducing the population of golden geese.
Let's explore this second lesson.
The private sector of the economy is the golden goose habitat. The place where wealth is created and expanded. Produced and traded. Invested, saved, and consumed.
The government sector of the economy craves and grabs as many golden eggs as we allow it to. It's the place where wealth is neither saved nor invested -- it is consumed.
If we want to maximize golden geese and golden eggs, we need to maximize the private sector and minimize the government sector. Yet most politicians and government officials try to do the opposite.
Consider total federal, state, and local government spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).
2001 GDP: $10 trillion. Total government spending: $3.4 trillion -- 34.1% of the GDP.
2010 GDP: $14.6 trillion. Total government spending: $6.5 trillion -- 44.5% of the GDP.
In 10 years, politicians have increased total government spending from $3.4 trillion to $6.5 trillion. Almost DOUBLE.
(Total federal, state and local government spending can be found here.)
Don't think numbers. Just think of golden geese and golden eggs.
Every golden egg that is "borrowed" or taxed by government is a golden egg that no longer produces wealth. It can't hatch, grow, and produce new golden eggs -- or golden geese.
The higher the percentage of golden eggs "borrowed" or taxed by government, the slower the golden goose population grows. The lower and weaker the compound interest rate.
The lower the percentage, the faster the golden goose population grows. The higher and stronger the compound interest effect. The bigger the golden goose population. Ever-growing prosperity.
What if we reduced and limited total federal, state, and local government spending from today's 44.5% of the gross domestic product -- to 10%?
How much would this increase wealth-producing, wealth-expanding private enterprise businesses? How many hundreds of thousands of additional new businesses and millions of new jobs would that create?
How quickly would America's gross domestic product (GDP) DOUBLE if we rolled back combined federal, state, and local government spending from today's 44.5% of the gross domestic product -- to 10%?
How quickly would America become a country brimming with a hundred million multi-millionaires?
This could be and should be America's future. And it will be -- if we ignore those voters and elected politicians who voted us into this mess - and guide our voting and actions by the private enterprise lesson of the golden geese.
When we dramatically shrink the government sector of the economy, while expanding the private sector by the same measure, private enterprise will protect, nurture, care for, feed, breed, and grow flocks of golden geese.

* * * * * * * *
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.
Do libertarians support research on drugs the government has declared useless?

QUESTION:  I am a student reporter writing a story on controversial medical treatments, such as the use of LSD. Are libertarians in support of research for what the government has classified as a "medically useless" drug?
MY SHORT ANSWER: Libertarians believe that each person has the right to choose what they put into their own body; however, they also bear the responsibility for that choice.
Thus a person or organization should be free to engage in research with any drug they please. People should be free to be paid or volunteer "guinea pigs" in health care - doctorsuch research, if they are made aware of the risks and thus able to give informed consent.
Of course, no one should be allowed to force other people to participate in such research. And no one should be forced to pay for research of any kind through taxation.
Similarly, if someone chooses to take something that makes them ill, they shouldn't demand that their neighbors pay, through taxation, for their medical care. 
Those are the conditions under which such research would take place in a libertarian society.
These positions are derived from libertarians' belief in self-ownership. If someone or some organization (including the government) can dictate what we can put into our bodies, we are, in essence, enslaved to them.
LEARN MORE (suggested reading from the editor):
* "Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each person's right to life, liberty, and property -- rights that people have naturally, before governments are created. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should be voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have not themselves used force -- actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud." That's from the introduction to David Boaz's excellent book Libertarianism: A Primer. You can read excerpts from that chapter and others online here.
* "The Philosophy of Liberty" is a 10-minute, easy to understand, dramatic animated introduction to the libertarian idea of self-ownership and what it implies. It was created by Ken Schooland and Lux Lucre and is made available by the International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL). You can watch in English, French, Spanish or Portuguese.
* In direct contrast to the libertarian view, the U.S. government has engaged in dangerous and secret research on unsuspecting civilians for decades, and may even be doing so right now, according to the highly respected Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: "Throughout the Cold War, the U.S. government experimented on American citizens without their knowledge. A 1995 government report called for the prohibition of such human-subject experimentation without informed consent. Yet today, some officials still have the power to waive regulations requiring informed consent in classified government experiments." That's an excerpt from "Outlaw nonconsensual human experiments now," a shocking short article well worth reading.
* * * * * * * *
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 Three

by Sharon Harris

This is Part Three of my series on persuading Americans that abolishing the personal income tax is sensible, desirable, and realistic.
In the past two issues I've given seven ways to begin that argument. If you haven't read them, you can find them here and here.

Now let's continue.
EIGHT: Make the benefits of abolition come alive for your listeners! In my earlier tips I offered ways to show listeners that ending the personal income tax is politically and economically possible.
Now it's time to do what every good salesperson -- and political persuader -- must do: sell the benefits of the idea.
Help your listeners *feel* the desirability of income income taxtax abolition. Make them feel in their pockets the extra money that would be theirs. Create for them a vivid mental picture of what they would do, and how they would feel, when freed of the awful burden of the personal income tax. Help them see the better America that would emerge from this change. Make the dream come alive!
No one was better at doing this than the late Harry Browne, two-time Libertarian Party presidential candidate and one of the best libertarian communicators of all time.
Here is an example of how Browne made the idea come alive for his listeners: 
"Imagine what would happen if we repealed all forms of federal income tax -- including the personal income tax, the corporate income tax, Social Security, the estate tax, and the gift tax. A world of benefits would quickly come in the wake of repealing these taxes.
"The first benefit is the most obvious: all the money you're paying in income taxes will be yours -- to spend, to save, to give away as *you* see fit, not as the politicians think is best for you...
"When we repeal the income tax, all that you pay now in income and Social Security taxes will be yours at last -- to do with as you see fit.
"If yours is the average American family, that means over 10,000 dollars a year that's been going to the politicians that will stay in your hands.
"Every dollar you earn will be yours -- to spend, to save, to give away as you see fit...
"So what will you do with that money when they no longer take it away from you?
"Will you put your children in private schools -- where you could get exactly the kind of education you believe best for them? ...
"Will you start that business you've always dreamed of?
*Will you move into a better neighborhood, take your family on a better vacation, arrange a much more comfortable and much more secure retirement?
"Will you help your church or your favorite cause or charity in a way you've never been able to do before?
"What will you do with that money?
"At last, it will all be yours -- and the government will no longer have a claim on it." ...
"There will be a similar increase in take-home pay for everyone you do business with -- your customers or your employer -- meaning that people will have more money to spend on what you have to offer.
"A similar increase in take-home pay will occur throughout America, unleashing the biggest boost in prosperity that America has ever seen. There will be a job for everyone who can work and charity for everyone who can't.
"Your life will be your own again: an end to government snooping into your finances, an end to keeping books for the IRS, an end to fear of an audit, an end to rearranging your financial life to minimize your tax burden."
Wow! Harry really gives flesh and bones to this abstract political idea.
Notice, too, that he doesn't just appeal to narrow self-interest. He realizes that many people want to keep more of their own money so they can help others -- by giving to churches and charities, improving education, and so forth.
That excerpt is from Harry's great 2003 article "Freedom from the Income Tax." You can read the entire article here.
Use this example to create your own way to make your listeners feel, at a deep emotional level, the benefits of being completely free from the income tax.
(Harry also wrote Liberty A-Z: 872 Libertarian Soundbites You Can Use Right Now, a book of his campaign-tested, highly effective soundbites on this and many other issues. It is published by the Advocates, and available from us here.)
Next issue I'll share some final thoughts on persuading listeners 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.

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