| The Liberator Online
Volume 15, No. 4 February 22, 2010
for everyone who loves liberty
published by the Advocates for Self-Government
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In This Issue
* Don't Argue with Me on This One!
Vegas July 7-11: Our 25th Anniversary Celebration
NEWS, BAD NEWS, UNBELIEVABLE NEWS
Study: U.S. No Longer Has a "Free" Economy
Majority of Americans "Live at Expense of the Rest"
Most Americans Unhappy with Federal Gov't
Americans Want Incumbents Tossed Out
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....
POWER POINT #284
Private Enterprise Lesson from the Fable of the Golden Goose
by Michael Cloud
libertarians support research on drugs the government has declared useless?
Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax: Part 3
by Sharon Harris
HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
OPH KITS for libertarian student groups!
* Las Vegas July 7-11: Our 25th Anniversary Celebration!
the Advocates on Twitter.
the Advocates Facebook Fan Club.
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.)
us exactly why being able to win arguments isn't enough.
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.
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.
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.
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
* * * * * * * *
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!
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,
by James W. Harris
Study: U.S. No Longer Has a
amount of economic freedom in the United States fell significantly in 2009,
a respected annual survey.
more than ten years the Index of Economic Freedom, a joint publication of The
Journal and the conservative Heritage Foundation, has ranked the
countries of the world by the amount of economic freedom they have.
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.
2010 Index was released last month, covering the year 2009.
United States dropped to number eight on the list, its lowest ranking ever.
for the first time the U.S. dropped out of the Index's "Free"
category into the next category of "Mostly Free."
ahead of the United States in economic liberty are, starting with the freest,
Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland, and, yes,
plunge in the rankings is due to a variety of anti-market policies, including
increasing tax rates and government spending.
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."
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."
Index clearly shows that economic liberty is vital not just for prosperity, but
for personal freedom and protecting the environment.
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
Study: Majority of Americans "Live at
the Expense of the Rest"
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."
libertarian journalist John Stossel in a recent column. (The Tax
Foundation is a non-partisan tax research group in Washington, D.C.)
are more details, from
the Tax Foundation study Stossel cites:
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.
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.
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..."
& 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."
will it mean for America when 70% or more of citizens are Pauls? Poll: Most Americans Are Unhappy with the
two-thirds of Americans are "dissatisfied" or "angry" with
the federal government.
one of the findings of a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, reported
the highest level of public unhappiness the poll has found since March 1996.
with both the Democratic and Republican parties is also at near-record highs.
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.)
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?
nearly two-thirds of those polled say they don't know much about the movement,
they nonetheless find it appealing.
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."
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.""
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."
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
News-New York Times poll taken Feb. 3-9 indicates
deep discontent with the
8 percent of Americans want the current members of Congress re-elected.
80 percent said members of Congress are more interested in serving special
interests than the people they represent.
percent disapproved of the job Congress is doing.
Congress's job approval rating was 15 (out of a possible 100).
brings us to a great paradox. For years, polls have indicated that Americans
favor "throwing the rascals out" of Congress -- voting out the
when it comes to their own "rascals," they almost invariably reelect
them. As Katherine Mangu-Ward of the libertarian magazine Reason notes
same majority that wants congressional incumbents tossed out "will almost
undoubtedly return about 90 percent of incumbents running for reelection to
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. ---------------------------------------------
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
speaking this week at the annual CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee)
REPUBLICANS FOR SOCIALIZED MEDICINE:
"In the middle of the recent fight
against socialized medicine, Republicans fought hard to protect the chunk of
our 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.
LENO ON THE GOV'T AND GAMBLING:
"For the second time since he became
Obama 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."
Private Enterprise Lesson from the Fable of the Golden Goose
by Michael Cloud
Aesop's fable of the Golden Goose?
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.
we kill the goose," they reasoned, "we can get all the gold inside
killed it, cut it open, and discovered that there was no gold inside. They had
destroyed the source of their wealth.
the obvious lesson? "Don't kill the golden goose."
people get it.
almost everyone misses
the private enterprise lesson hidden in the fable.
private enterprise business asks: "Why settle
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
entrepreneurs and private enterprise businesses breed golden geese. They
increase the population of golden geese.
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.
explore this second lesson.
private sector of the economy is the golden goose habitat. The place where
wealth is created and expanded. Produced and traded. Invested, saved, and
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
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.
total federal, state, and local government spending as a percentage of gross
domestic product (GDP).
GDP: $10 trillion. Total government spending: $3.4 trillion -- 34.1% of the
GDP: $14.6 trillion. Total government spending: $6.5 trillion -- 44.5% of the
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
think numbers. Just think of golden geese and golden eggs.
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.
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.
lower the percentage, the faster the golden goose population grows. The higher
and stronger the compound interest effect. The bigger the golden goose population.
we reduced and limited total federal, state, and local government spending from
today's 44.5% of the gross domestic product -- to 10%?
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?
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%?
quickly would America become a country brimming with a hundred million
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.
libertarians support research on drugs the government has declared useless?
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?
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.
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 such research, if they are made aware of the risks and thus able to give
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
if someone chooses to take something that makes them ill, they shouldn't demand
that their neighbors pay, through taxation, for their medical care.
are the conditions under which such research would take place in a libertarian
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.
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.
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.
* * * * * * * *
Dr. Ruwart has answers! If you'd like answers to YOUR "tough
questions" on libertarian issues, email Dr. Ruwart at:
Due to volume,
Dr. Ruwart can't personally acknowledge all emails. But we'll run the best
questions and answers in upcoming issues.
previous Liberator Online answers are archived in searchable form.
outstanding books Healing Our World and Short Answers to the Tough Questions are available from the Advocates.
the Case for Ending the Income Tax: Part Three
by Sharon Harris
Part Three of my series on persuading Americans that abolishing the personal
income tax is sensible, desirable, and realistic.
past two issues I've given seven ways to begin that argument. If you haven't
read them, you can find them here
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.
it's time to do what every good salesperson -- and political persuader -- must
do: sell the benefits of the idea.
your listeners *feel* the desirability of income
tax 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!
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
an example of how Browne made the idea come alive for his listeners:
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.
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...
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.
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.
dollar you earn will be yours -- to spend, to save, to give away as you see
what will you do with that money when they no longer take it away from you?
you put your children in private schools -- where you could get exactly the
kind of education you believe best for them? ...
you start that business you've always dreamed of?
you move into a better neighborhood, take your family on a better vacation,
arrange a much more comfortable and much more secure retirement?
you help your church or your favorite cause or charity in a way you've never
been able to do before?
will you do with that money?
last, it will all be yours -- and the government will no longer have a claim on
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.
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.
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."
Harry really gives flesh and bones to this abstract political idea.
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.
excerpt is from Harry's great 2003 article "Freedom from the Income
Tax." You can read the entire article here
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.
also wrote Liberty A-Z: 872 Libertarian Soundbites You Can Use Right
, 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
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.
with the Advocates
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