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It’s Time For Everyone To Become A Libertarian

July 18, 2013 by  

The recent onslaught of government scandals has led many of even the most establishment-loyal Americans thinking that the relationship between government and the people in the United States is out of balance.

News that the National Security Agency collects data on virtually every American and that the Internal Revenue Service is used for targeted political attacks, combined with widespread political dysfunction, is increasingly leading Republicans and Democrats to question the true goals of their respective parties with equal vigor.

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According to Libertarian Party officials, American distaste for the Nation’s mainstream political parties is beginning to show in a way that has the potential to change American politics over the next several years. At a Libertarian National Committee meeting last weekend, the party announced that the number of people requesting information about running for political office as Libertarians in upcoming elections has doubled compared to previous election cycles.

And party officials contend that the growing number of political candidates in local and State elections could lead to an American political transformation even greater than getting a Libertarian in a powerful political office, saying, “The more we run, the more we win, and the more we can cut government and promote liberty.”

One reason for growing interest in Libertarian politics that doesn’t stem directly from distrust in big-government policy is that the Nation as a whole has begun to embrace some policies that were once primarily held by Libertarians. A good example of the mainstreaming of Libertarian policy is evident in the Nation’s changing attitude toward marijuana.

Following the Ronald Reagan era, rife with its War on Drugs rhetoric, it was virtual political suicide for mainstream Democrats and Republicans alike to advocate for anything but tough-on-drugs policies, leaving calls for reforming marijuana laws to kooky third-party candidates.

Over time, however, Democrats in more liberal regions of the Nation came under pressure to support efforts to repeal marijuana prohibition. And slowly, 18 States and Washington, D.C., have legalized — or at least decriminalized — possession of marijuana. Federal assaults on some of the initial marijuana-friendly States also gave conservative Republicans — traditionally opposed to the idea of lightening up on marijuana law — reason to support the reforms under the auspice of Constitutionally granted States’ rights.

So, even if for different reasons, conservatives and liberals are largely on the same page with regard to marijuana laws; and their collusion is fully Libertarian. As the Federal government continues to overstep its boundaries and abuse American liberties, the opportunity for conservatives and liberals to come to Libertarian agreement continues to grow.

Recent news of 19 organizations involved in everything from combating human rights abuses, promoting gun rights, advocating for marijuana reform joining forces with the Unitarian church and other faith-based groups in a lawsuit against NSA officials illustrates how Americans, consciously or not, are willing to lay aside some ideological differences in the name of liberty.

If the notion that there is little difference between the most powerful leaders in both major political parties continues to spread, Americans concerned with the damage to liberty done by Democratic and Republican politicians will likely find a perfect ally in the Libertarian Party.

If you still view Libertarians as a bunch of dope-smoking anarchy advocates, it may a good time to look over the Party platform, keeping in mind the recent revelations of Federal abuses equally enabled by Republican and Democratic leaders.

Find below the full Libertarian Party Platform adopted in May 2012:

PREAMBLE

As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.

We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.

Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.

In the following pages we have set forth our basic principles and enumerated various policy stands derived from those principles.

These specific policies are not our goal, however. Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.

STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.

We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.

Governments throughout history have regularly operated on the opposite principle, that the State has the right to dispose of the lives of individuals and the fruits of their labor. Even within the United States, all political parties other than our own grant to government the right to regulate the lives of individuals and seize the fruits of their labor without their consent.

We, on the contrary, deny the right of any government to do these things, and hold that where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual: namely, (1) the right to life — accordingly we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others; (2) the right to liberty of speech and action — accordingly we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form; and (3) the right to property — accordingly we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.

Since governments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights, we oppose all interference by government in the areas of voluntary and contractual relations among individuals. People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others. They should be left free by government to deal with one another as free traders; and the resultant economic system, the only one compatible with the protection of individual rights, is the free market.

1.0 Personal Liberty

Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices.

1.1 Expression and Communication

We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.

1.2 Personal Privacy

Libertarians support the rights recognized by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, and property. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure should include records held by third parties, such as email, medical, and library records. Only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes. We favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes.

1.3 Personal Relationships

Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships.

1.4 Abortion

Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.

1.5 Crime and Justice

Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property.  Criminal laws should be limited to violation of the rights of others through force or fraud, or deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. Individuals retain the right to voluntarily assume risk of harm to themselves. We support restitution to the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer. We oppose reduction of constitutional safeguards of the rights of the criminally accused. The rights of due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must not be denied. We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law.

1.6 Self-Defense

The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights — life, liberty, and justly acquired property — against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. We affirm the individual right recognized by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. We oppose all laws at any level of government requiring registration of, or restricting, the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition.

2.0 Economic Liberty

Libertarians want all members of society to have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success. A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.

2.1 Property and Contract

Property rights are entitled to the same protection as all other human rights. The owners of property have the full right to control, use, dispose of, or in any manner enjoy, their property without interference, until and unless the exercise of their control infringes the valid rights of others. We oppose all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates. We advocate the repeal of all laws banning or restricting the advertising of prices, products, or services. We oppose all violations of the right to private property, liberty of contract, and freedom of trade. The right to trade includes the right not to trade — for any reasons whatsoever. Where property, including land, has been taken from its rightful owners by the government or private action in violation of individual rights, we favor restitution to the rightful owners.

2.2 Environment

We support a clean and healthy environment and sensible use of our natural resources. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources.  Pollution and misuse of resources cause damage to our ecosystem. Governments, unlike private businesses, are unaccountable for such damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. We realize that our planet’s climate is constantly changing, but environmental advocates and social pressure are the most effective means of changing public behavior.

2.3 Energy and Resources

While energy is needed to fuel a modern society, government should not be subsidizing any particular form of energy. We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production.

2.4 Government Finance and Spending

All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution. We oppose any legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors. Government should not incur debt, which burdens future generations without their consent. We support the passage of a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes.

2.5 Money and Financial Markets

We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity or item. We support a halt to inflationary monetary policies and unconstitutional legal tender laws.

2.6 Monopolies and Corporations

We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of companies based on voluntary association. We seek to divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals. We oppose government subsidies to business, labor, or any other special interest. Industries should be governed by free markets.

2.7 Labor Markets

We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment. We oppose government-fostered forced retirement. We support the right of free persons to associate or not associate in labor unions, and an employer should have the right to recognize or refuse to recognize a union. We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.

2.8 Education

Education is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality, accountability and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Recognizing that the education of children is a parental responsibility, we would restore authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. Parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.

2.9 Health Care

We favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want (if any), the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions. People should be free to purchase health insurance across state lines.

2.10 Retirement and Income Security

Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government. Libertarians would phase out the current government-sponsored Social Security system and transition to a private voluntary system. The proper and most effective source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals. We believe members of society will become more charitable and civil society will be strengthened as government reduces its activity in this realm.

3.0 Securing Liberty

The protection of individual rights is the only proper purpose of government. Government is constitutionally limited so as to prevent the infringement of individual rights by the government itself. The principle of non-initiation of force should guide the relationships between governments.

3.1 National Defense

We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression. The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world. We oppose any form of compulsory national service.

3.2 Internal Security and Individual Rights

The defense of the country requires that we have adequate intelligence to detect and to counter threats to domestic security. This requirement must not take priority over maintaining the civil liberties of our citizens. The Constitution and Bill of Rights shall not be suspended even during time of war. Intelligence agencies that legitimately seek to preserve the security of the nation must be subject to oversight and transparency. We oppose the government’s use of secret classifications to keep from the public information that it should have, especially that which shows that the government has violated the law.

3.3 International Affairs

American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements.  We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid. We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups.

3.4 Free Trade and Migration

We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.  However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property.

3.5 Rights and Discrimination

Libertarians embrace the concept that all people are born with certain inherent rights. We reject the idea that a natural right can ever impose an obligation upon others to fulfill that “right.” We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant.  Government should neither deny nor abridge any individual’s human right based upon sex, wealth, ethnicity, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs.  This statement shall not be construed to condone child abuse or neglect.

3.6 Representative Government

We support election systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels. As private voluntary groups, political parties should be allowed to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries and conventions. We call for an end to any tax-financed subsidies to candidates or parties and the repeal of all laws which restrict voluntary financing of election campaigns. We oppose laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties, deny ballot access, gerrymander districts, or deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives.  We advocate initiative, referendum, recall and repeal when used as popular checks on government.

3.7 Self-Determination

Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of individual liberty, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty.

4.0 Omissions

Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval.

Sounds pretty nice, huh?

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • IsThisAmerica

    Yeah except for one thing if I understand it correctly. What about everyone that is on S.S. and S.S.D.? Will these people lose their monthly checks? Otherwise I guess your pretty close to conservatives. I’m all for a 3rd party. But that 3rd party must be for the people and small government. No more b.s. that’s going on now. Take charge and protect this country, because we are being invaded by everyone. We have to many people here that we know nothing about. Including Obama. Save the United States of America, before it’s to late.

    • Just me

      I remember Gary Johnson, saying he was in favor of continuing payments to those already receiving payments and to a certain age group that had a lot paid into it already.

      • IsThisAmerica

        OK did not know that as I got injured on the job at 51 and am considered permantly disabled. Thanks Just me.

  • Alex

    People are increasingly tired of this wretched country’s pathetic two-party system, yes—but they are not so stupid as to follow you or any of your Libertarian Lemmings into the sea idiocy that is Amerikan Libertarianism.

    America’s young people will be electing Hillary as our first woman president in 2016, and she is NOT a Libertarian….

    • Blank Reg

      No, Hill-arious is just another CFR-annointed statist tool like Obama was. She’ll take all the the toys he left her with to further bring this nation down to utter ruin. If you haven’t made plans to hit the escape hatch now, you better do it before 2017. The only “lemmings” around here are those who continue, idiotically, to vote the Demopublican party line.

    • Nadzieja Batki

      Why do you have a need for a Woman President? Your Daddy didn’t love you and your Mommy did? Or was your Daddy a weakling and your Mommy was the man of the house?
      Don’t inflict your abnormal family life on the country.

      • Bill

        You are off your meds again, Nad
        Take a chill pill, smell the roses and watch some Lucy re-runs.
        You’ve got some splaining to do

        • Nadzieja Batki

          Why do you want a woman president, because you think it is time we had one? Have you thought out the implication of having one? Have you thought out what Matriarchal societies were like and are like?

    • Bill

      You are right about Hillary,
      The people have gotten that stupid and it shows that the dumbing down of America is alive and well. If you are young, then the joke will be on you

    • vicki

      Argument to ridicule.

    • Conservative Liberterian

      Please don’t make me vomit Alex. Hillary our next president? NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. She is a communist and is second only to Obama in how often she lies.

    • IsThisAmerica

      Wow sure shows how stupid the young are. Proof positive of no education and the dumbing down of our nation. Best look at the facts behind Bill and Hillary.

  • Glen Welch

    The Libertarian Party is NOT the answer. It has contributed to the liberal movement of American society. It has influenced the formerly Conservative Republican Party and the Democrats as well. It’s time for a return to true conservative values under the Conservative Party of the USA. The CPUSA actually stands for the formerly, truly conservative values. If you want to continue to get what you’re getting then continue to support the Republicans, the Democrats, or the Libertarians. If you want to return to the relative stability our grandfathers knew, then consider the Conservative Party. You can see the values of the party as well as how to join at http://home.conservativepartyusa.org/ .

    • Wiley2

      The Conservative Party includes ideas of liberty in some areas but advocates the use of force in others to impose a particular ideology. Consequently, it’s not different from Democrat or Republican in principle, only in the degree and focus of its aggressive intent. In contrast, Libertarians advocate self-governance in all areas to the extent that an individual’s actions do not harm others or interfere with their right of self-governance. The use of force should only be for defense.

      That idea of self-governance as opposed to governance by a ruling individual or group of individuals is what once made this country unique and uniquely prosperous. Unfortunately, that principle has been gradually undermined and the country taken over by those with the same elitist ruling-class mentality that prevailed throughout the world prior to our country’s founding. The big question is whether we can restore that founding principle or whether it will be up to another country to pick up the torch ours dropped long ago.

    • Rocketman

      Mr. Welch, you don’t know what the **** your talking about. The ORIGINAL Republican party was the party of limited government and fiscal responsibility as well as a strong advocate of individual liberty. (Exactly what the LP is today) Up till the 1940’s they had control of the party. Then came along the northeastern bankers and they took control of the Republicans in the Northeast. Look at Howard Buffett (who was Warren’s father) who was a congressman in Nebraska at the time. There is not a nickels worth of difference between Congressman Buffett and Congressman Ron Paul. And what is Ron Paul frequently called?
      Answer: A LIBERTARIAN!

  • Warrior

    Yikes, Libertarians sound like scary types! Do you mean to say, every abled body individual has to “fend” for and be “responsible” for themselves? Hmmm, doesn’t sound to me like a well conceived recipe for “big gubmint”. Now what the hell are we going to do with all the “cameras” we paid taxes for? What a waste.

    • Bill

      It is such a tragedy that we are going to have to learn how to wipe our own butts. We will have to write a book and get a spot on Oprah

  • FreedomFighter

    Libertarian Party Platform adopted in May 2012 — excellent. Libertarians run on that platform they will win with proper backing. It will be a tuff road though.

    Laus Deo
    Semper FI

    • vicki

      Social Media makes the road smoother and reduces the need for lots of money to buy advertizing on the MSM.

  • $36364326

    YES! YES! and YES! The gops have failed us again and again and again! The republican party are a bunch of rinos who have had the same agenda that the demorats do, but they are going about it from a different direction.

    There is no way libertarians will ever win unless they have the backing of MANY rich money mongers. In this democracy it is so easy to predict the outcome of all important votes just follow the money. The richest always wins because the majority rules and the majority can be bought with a cell phone and bacon!

    • Nadzieja Batki

      Your envy of the “rich” and your malice toward them does not differentiate you from the Dems/Progs/Leftists or from the Fascists, Nazis, Communists, or RCC and Islam (both Marxists).

      • $36364326

        Why do you think I envy rich people? I am rich beyond your wildest dreams.

        I just state facts. If you don’t agree please don’t assume you know who I am.

        Just because I say the richest politicians always win elections, that makes me a fascist?

        Follow me on twitter Jeff Woodman@masmpg. Read some of my tweets, you probably won’t agree with many of them but you will learn something.

    • vicki

      Fortunately the internet and social media is making serious inroads into what once was only for the candidates with lots of money. No longer do you have to spend big bucks on advertizing in the MSM to get your message out there.

      • $36364326

        Ron Paul tried that when he ran. He even won all the debates hands down, but the mainstream megaliars would not acknowledge it. Regardless of how much advertising a candidate can do online the richest still win every election, because the money mongers of the world back the morons they want in office. For example the gops are talking endorsing jeb bush! That is quite an assanine thing to even consider. Look at what two bushes did! To try the same thing expecting different results twice is quite a feat, but three times? WAKE UP AMERICA!

  • Bill

    Great article, Sam
    Libertarianism is really the only hope to save our capitalist society. The question is will we wake up in time?

  • Wellarmed

    I find no room to wiggle with the definitions/positions of the Libertarian Party. It is a straight forward no BS platform on which they stand. As a Libertarian I still reserve the right to vote for whatever candidate I wish in a general election.

    Their focus should be predominately on the state and local level, as the battle for any Federal seat will be largely uphill and an unwise use of limited resources. Once these representatives have proven themselves at the state, and local level, then all the electorate needs to do is look at their record to determine how to cast their vote.

    The need to campaign is largely brought about by the lack of an adequate voting record of the candidate which prevents the voter from inferring their likely course of action if they are elected to office. Until I begin to see otherwise, if their lips are moving then I can only assume that I need to get the hip waders of of storage to be adequately prepared for the onslaught of BS that is coming my way.

    LP candidates do not (contrary to public opinion) need to or should get into bed with big monied interest. Let their actions in previous positions be the only campaigning required. I might add that if challenged to a debate that they should rise to the occasion not to defend their position, but to help educate how their opponents position(s) may be in deference to the oath they will be required to take if they are successful.

    The public need only see the conflict of their positions in relation to their oaths of office to know that a potential candidate may be unfit for service. That is what those in the democrat and republican parties should fear; Truth.

    • vicki

      To know their actions you still need to advertize. Social media now offers that channel to the voter without having to buy expensive MSM advertizing.

  • Vigilant

    Several planks of the Libertarian Party alienate a powerful voting bloc, the group known as the “rule of law” and religious Conservatives. It’s difficult to imagine obtaining a consensus from this group on 1.3, 1.4 and portions of 3.1 through 3.4.

    It would be unlikely to ever coax these people away from their views on an overly-adventuristic military establishment, abortion and homosexuality.

    As well, a large portion of the electorate has become accustomed to big government and the “freebies” it uses to create dependencies. It may take a global financial debacle to sway others to the Libertarian way of thinking, and by that time it may be too late.

    • vicki

      If the rule of law group were truly for the rule of law they would wholeheartedly back the libertarian party.

  • Rocketman

    The LP is known to even it’s enemies as the “Party of Principal” When I was active in the LP (after 1999, I can’t say for sure after that time) no elected Libertarian Party member ever voted to raise taxes and only ONCE did a Libertarian Party member increase the size of government. It was a case where a Libertarian Party state representative voted in a new department while eliminating at the same time another department that had the same function.

  • BHR

    What’s wrong with restoring the American Contitution?

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