What's in libertarianism for the
(1) Libertarianism would encourage you to
keep all of what you earn, in exchange for giving up most government programs.
(2) Libertarianism is good for you if you
can take full account for your own actions. Libertarianism cares very little
about the "example" you set for others as long as you don't harm
others or deny them their own rights or property.
(3) If you have children or grand-children
or other younger loved ones, libertarianism encourages you to save as much as
possible for your own retirement years, in order to avoid leaving debt for your
(4) Libertarianism encourages efficient
delivery of medical research and products to the market to help those with
AIDS, cancer, physical injuries, or any other medical problems.
(5) Libertarianism maintains that
legitimate use of private property by owners favors the environment. The right
to property means that pollution of another party's property would be
"trespass," actionable as a tort.
(6) Libertarianism keeps government out of
the bedroom and out of the medicine cabinet. Libertarianism opposes punishing
private behaviors without "victims" as crimes.
(7) Libertarianism opposes the imposition
by government or any institution or person of its will on another person.
Therefore libertarianism opposes conscription and forced servitude. Military
service should be voluntary and, within reasonable rules of discipline and
conduct, should not involve the surrender of fundamental human rights.
(8) Libertarianism opposes the use of
government for "social engineering" and the "special
rights" for persons who enter into any particular interpersonal
(9) Libertarianism supports freedom to
contract and the enforcement of contracts. Libertarianism supports tort reform
and the discouragement of frivolous litigation.
(10) Libertarianism supports free speech,
free expression of religious, spiritual, agnostics or atheistic beliefs, the
right to bear arms, due process of law, and the freedom from unreasonable
search and seizure (even when applied to civil and administrative proceedings).
Libertarianism opposes civil forfeiture. Libertarianism welcomes full public
debate about issues, and recognizes there is a healthful tension between
personal self-expression and economic or familial loyalty.
(11) Libertarianism believes the free
market in the long run will force social justice and fairness in the workplace.
Employers and property owners should be free to use their own personal values
in choosing those with whom to do business; most will find that discrimination
is not good business or within their economic interest.
(12) Libertarianism believes that
government programs (particularly welfare) actually destroy families and create
disincentives for families to take care of themselves. These programs can be
replaced by private workfare and enterprise initiatives.
(13)Libertarianism supports the modern
workplace, with its practical emphasis on employer and associate freedom,
employee ownership, and entrepreneurialism.
(14)Libertarianism believes that consumer
responsibility and private "medical savings accounts" can lower the
cost of health care for everybody.
(15)Libertarianism believes in a direct
connection between individual freedom in personal
affairs with freedom in economic markets.
Eight Natural Rights of Man:
(1) The Right to Life
(2) The Right to Be Free from Involuntary
(3) The Right to Be Left Alone (include The
Right to Privacy)
(4) The Right to Speak and to Write Freely
(5) The Right to Property (includes
indirectly the Right to Bear Arms and the right to be dealt with as an
(6) The Right to Religious Belief and
(7) The Right to Parent
(8) The Right to Vote
List of Practical Proposals (both state and
federal)to Move the Country in a More Libertarian
- Eliminate all laws prohibiting sex between
consenting adults in private
- Allow medical marijuana and decriminalize most
private drug use
- Abolish the Selective Service System and end
mandatory registration for the draft of 18-year-old men
- Eliminate all special privileges associated
with marital status
- Replace the current income tax system with a
flat tax that allows only (a) exemptions for dependents (2) exemptions for
some savings (3) exemptions for medical savings accounts. Respect the
libertarian proposal: "End the income tax and replace it with
nothing" (at both federal and state levels).
- Gradually privatize social security
- Reform the tort system to discourage frivolous
- Streamline the regulation of medications and
medical devices to allow consumers more access; allow sale or donation or
organs according to the market.
- Reaffirm the right to free speech: only the
actual perpetrators of crimes are punished
- Respect the right to work. Do not allow
involuntary payroll deductions for union dues that eventually go to
- Install term limits
- Implement ballot access reforms and
proportional representation or immediate runoff
- Allow property owners to defend property with
- Consider the future "cloning" issue
very carefully. Realistically, most parents would not want to
"clone" even if it were legal to do so.
LIBERTARIANISM AND SOCIAL JUSTICE:
The “left” likes to view social justice in
terms of working with oppressed groups, and providing restitution or
retroactively reparative remedies for previous wrongs. The affirmative action
and even school bussing debate emphasizes this. Two wrongs make a right in this
view, however the injustice in some individual circumstances. The expressive
welfare of the individual is not as importance as community, fitting in, and
justice for peoples considered as a whole.
The social conservative relies on “family”
as the equalizer, although there are obvious problems with this view. But the
socialization of “normal” males through women and marriage is supposed to be
such an automatic process that it is not perceived as a moralizing one by the
The libertarian is conscious of unfairness,
but is more likely to emphasizing making the rules fair at the individual level
essentially through the marketplace and freedom to contract, and enforcement of
contracts and promises that are made. It gets tricky when you have to think
about the different obligations that people have (for dependents) and whether
these obligations are really chosen “freely.”
LIBERTARIANISM AND MORALITY
Some libertarians subscribe to a very
simple notion of morality. An act is morally wrong only if the act aggresses
upon another person without consent. Any other personal behavior is at worst
morally neutral. There is no principled way to delineate moral consequences
among a number of behaviors: consensual sex acts, drug, alcohol or tobacco use,
Other libertarians (or at least classical
liberals) would recognize areas of moral ambiguity. Some acts and value systems
have unforeseen consequences, especially for more vulnerable people. Therefore
morality properly considers such issues as commitment to and caring for others
("family values"), emotional motivation, and appreciating what is
really one's to have. "Morality" in this sense refers to "karma,"
whether one really is entitled to what one has or aspires to based
on what he or she can offer others. Commitment subsumes limits! Moral values
may properly be developed in conjunction with religious faith. But the
government should not be deciding these issues, even through "representative
democracy." Government cannot be trusted to make sensitive moral
delineations without becoming corrupted by the political barter that such
determinations require. Such a viewpoint could be called
"neo-conservatism." (DADT, section 1 of Chapter 5).
One other aspect of morality is whether
there is "absolute" right and wrong (whether there is knowledge of
good and evil). In the sense of non-aggression on contract fulfillment, there
should be no compromise. Suppose you sign a contract with party A, and know
that fulfilling the contract to the letter will cost you much more than you
thought and that "cheating" a little will save you much and not be
noticed by party A in practice. Is it all right to break the promise? It is not
all right without Party A's permission. To do so would sound like
"situational ethics," to avoid interpreting a well-intended rule in
an obviously unreasonable manner. But it is still breaking a promise, and that
must be "absolutely" wrong.
"Promise keeping" (and this
comment isn't limited to the "Promise Keepers") might be seen as a
sub-principle of the Honor Principle so well stated in Joseph Steffan's Honor Bound, that "personal honor is an
absolute" (Villard 1992 edition, p. 145). This
idea, for me, has always been the justification to bringing down moral
discussions to an individual level. Otherwise we are left with evaluating
people's behaviors just in terms of their collective motivational effects, as
in the writings of "conservatives" such as George Gilder, Robert
Bork, and William Murchison.
There are two main strategies for expanding
the influence of libertarianism. The first is advocated by presidential
candidate Harry Browne. The strategy is to recruit members as quickly as
possible by telling people in very simple terms what libertarianism offers them
for their own lives. Essentially, if the income tax is ended and various other
government intrusions are ended, people will have more money to make adaptive
choices on their own.
The second approach, advocated in my own
DADT book, would stress focused debate on the policy issues associated with
government regulations, particularly in personal areas. People would learn
that, even as government butts out, the stakes for personal responsibility are
very high, and that added personal responsibility, for one's own health and for
making and keeping family commitments, might be great indeed.
A newer approach now advocated by the
Libertarian Party of Minnesota would support “beacon groups” and help them
apply libertarian principles to specific issues. The Libertarian Party itself would focus on
“ideology”—personal liberty and associated personal responsibility.
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