Libertarianism is a political philosophy that holds that a person should be free to do whatever he wants in life, as long as his conduct is peaceful. Thus, as long a person doesn’t murder, rape, burglarize, defraud, trespass, steal, or inflict any other act of violence against another person’s life, liberty, or property, libertarians hold that the government should leave him alone. In fact, libertarians believe that one primary purpose of government is to prosecute and punish anti-social individuals who initiate force (or fraud) against others.
With the tragic exception of slavery and several minor exceptions, the philosophy on which the United States was founded was, by and large, founded on libertarianism, especially with the ideas in the Declaration of Independence and the limitation on government powers in the Constitution.
What are some policy ramifications of what has become known as the libertarian “non-aggression principle”?
People should be free to engage in any economic enterprise without permission or interference from the state. Thus libertarians oppose all economic regulation of business activity, including occupational licensure. Libertarians also believe that people have the right to keep whatever they earn and decide for themselves what to do with their own money–spend it, invest it, save it, hoard it, or donate it.
This then means, necessarily, that libertarians are ardent advocates of laissez-faire capitalism and the free market, which is simply a natural process by which people interact peacefully with each other for mutual gain.
Today: Jails are bursting at the seams with non-violent drug offenders. With limited space for incarceration, and state and local budgets in jeopardy due to economic concerns, it makes sense to allow non-violent drug offenders out of jail first, followed by those who commit property crimes. Those who do physical harm to others should never be released early, in lieu of a non-violent drug offender.
Tomorrow: The decades-long war on drugs has proven to be highly injurious to a free society. People have a natural right to engage in peaceful, even self-destructive behavior as long as their conduct harms no others, even if some disapprove. Addiction should be viewed as a social, medical, and/or psychological problem; not a criminal one. Legalizing drugs would put an end to drug lords, street gangs, corruption, and the violence associated with the drug war–that is, the burglaries, robberies, thefts, etc. associated with the exorbitant black-market prices that drug users must pay to finance their habits.
Today and tomorrow: The crisis in health care, especially with respect to ever-rising prices, is due to heavy government involvement in health care. Medicare, Medicaid, and licensure laws directly increase the cost to the consumer. The federal government created the now-problematic HMOs in the 1970s–why would new government regulation or nationalized health-care do any better today? These laws and programs should be repealed in favor of a totally free market in health care.
Today: Governments should not kill people. Democide or ‘death by government’ is state sponsored murder and was the leading cause of death in the 20th century; it should not be in the 21st century. In the circumstance that the state is complicit or enables the termination of life of civilians, those state sanctioned actions shall be condemned as democide and government actors held judicially accountable .
Tomorrow: We envision a society free from the terrorism of state sponsored murder. The Constitution reserves the power to determine the definitions of murder, manslaughter and justifiable homicide to the states; therefore, any means by which democide is employed should be immediately refunded on the federal level & delegated to the states for independent legislation.
Today: Given the state of education in Kentucky, The Libertarian Party of Kentucky calls for a voucher system, to open the school systems to the free market. The funds that Kentucky has already allocated for your children’s education could then be redirected into an educational program of your choice. This will quickly improve the quality and lower the price of education in the state of Kentucky.
Tomorrow: In the long-term, libertarians call for the complete separation of school and state, which means the repeal of school compulsory-attendance laws and school taxes –- that is, the complete end of all governmental involvement in education. This would mean a completely free market in education, in which consumers decide the best educational vehicles for their children and entrepreneurs (both for-profit and charitable) are meeting the demands of the consumers.
Today: No person has the right to pollute the property of another. Therefore, we support the use of courts to sue those who destroy the property of another.
Tomorrow: Governments are the largest destroyers of the environment. In fact, most environmental problems can be traced to public, not private, ownership of resources. The solution is to reduce the scope of government, and privatize public property to the maximum extent possible.
Today: We should begin to bring home any and all military operations not currently engaged in any direct war-time operations. We should continue to encourage a timely exit from those countries in which we are currently engaged militarily. No country, including the United States, has the responsibility, nor do they have the right, to impose their way of thinking on another country. It would have cost less to bring the peace-loving people of Iraq and Afghanistan to the United States than to “liberate” their country; both in dollars and in lives.
Tomorrow: Libertarians oppose involvement in all foreign wars as well as all foreign aid. The U.S. government should be limited to only protecting itself from direct invasion. We should learn the lessons of Vietnam and Iraq, and not involve ourselves in the affairs of other nations.
Today and Tomorrow: People have a right to resist the tyranny of their own government and to protect themselves from the violent acts of private criminals. The second amendment is about protection of self from all who would do harm, including government. We call for a repeal of all laws which violate our right to bears arms. This does not, contrary to those who often argue against this freedom, include munitions (such as nuclear weapons).
Today: Currently there are criminal offenses which have no victim. As Libertarians we believe that criminal behavior is constituted by using force against the rights of another, or through coercing them by means of fraud to willfully accede. If a “crime” is committed with neither element of force nor fraud, it should not be a crime. Likewise, anyone convicted of such an offense should have their constitutional and civil rights restored. These rights are rescinded by a jury of peers but can only be restored by a single executive.
Tomorrow: When a person has served their sentence for a non-violent felony conviction, upon their release or the completion of such probation or parole requirements, their constitutional and civil rights should be automatically restored without any requirement for action from a government official.
Libertarians support free markets. We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of entities based on voluntary association. We oppose all forms of government subsidies and bailouts to business, labor, or any other special interest. Government should not compete with private enterprise.
We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. Markets are not actually free unless fraud is vigorously combated. Those that enjoy the possibility of profits must not impose risks of losses upon others, such as through government guarantees or bailouts. 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.
All individuals are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income, and inheritance taxes, and the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and Kentucky Department of Revenue.
Today: People work in one municipality, and live and vote in another. Yet they are taxed by the municipality in which they work, and have no say in how it is governed nor how it taxes its residents. Special Taxing districts are ruled by unelected boards, generally appointed by the Judge/executive or Mayor or a combination of those or other unelected members. Unelected persons have no accountability to the public and should not have authority to levy taxes.
Tomorrow: “Taxation without representation” was one of the prime issues that the American Revolution was fought over. Why would we let it continue today? We absolutely cannot support any municipality taxing anyone who cannot vote for or against that taxing body. All special district taxes should be voted by elected representatives or by the people at large who will be paying the taxes.
Today: The Libertarian Party of Kentucky calls for an immediate end to taxation on Social Security payments. Social Security was promised as a retirement plan, and has delivered barely enough for our seniors to survive. This should also be an important lesson for all who believe that government-provided benefits are the best solution.
Tomorrow: Libertarians believe that it is morally wrong for a person to use the state to take what doesn’t belong to them, and therefore seek a repeal of Social Security.
Today: The Libertarian Party of Kentucky recognizes that multiple generations have grown up in the welfare system, and have no actual concept of a life outside of that system. Therefore, we propose that all basic civil service jobs that require minimal education or skill be given to those on welfare roles, as a term of their continued receipt of welfare. Additionally, welfare should not pay more than minimum wage, as this provides a disincentive for those on welfare to exit the welfare system.
Tomorrow: Libertarians seek a repeal of all welfare primarily on moral grounds but also on the terribly destructive aspects of government welfare programs. Government welfare creates a sense of hopeless dependency on the welfare recipient — no one is made a better person because the state is taking money from one person in order to give it to another person. People have a right to their own earnings and no one has the right to take money from someone else against their will.
Today: Anyone can sell vegetables, fruits, nuts and herbs fructus naturales from their backyard or commercial gardens without government interference. On the other hand, direct sales of meat from farmers to consumers is unconscionably cost prohibitive. Currently all animals slaughtered for sale for human consumption in Kentucky are subject to USDA Inspection. For small producers this is a costly impediment which requires taking the live animal to a slaughterhouse, often a hundred miles or more away. Processing of the animal can then take 23 weeks and the farmer must then make the round trip again. Farmers can sell whole live animals then process the animal as a favor to the customer, but the customer must own the animal and the farmer cannot charge for the processing. Consumers often do not want to buy an entire animal, particularly in the case of pigs or cattle because of the upfront costs and the amount of meat and the storage required. This produces a burden both for the producer and the consumer.
Tomorrow: Meat should be direct to consumer, not for retail or commercial use, and the consumer should be informed. This will allow consumers to buy from a direct source whom they are confident in, and allow the producers to sell their produce with less overhead.
Today: The Kentucky Bill of Rights, Section 6 states: “All elections shall be free and equal.” Kentucky’s primaries are publicly funded but have become biased regarding non-establishment candidates and/or minor parties.
Tomorrow: We envision a more egalitarian ballot access system, employing representative democracy to adhere to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. These processes should be wholly self-funded by their respective parties.
Today: Many laws on the books are archaic and based solely on the religious views of the lawmakers.
Tomorrow: Laws should be impartial to religion, as they are with race, gender and social status; therefore having a law based solely on a particular religion would be discriminatory to those of other religions, or of no religion. Forcing people to superficially follow the laws of a religion does nothing to further one’s faith in any meaningful sense. Courts also should not base rulings on religious law, whether it be Levitical law, Shariʿah Law, or any other religious code of conduct.
Today: Government entities, from taxing bodies, legislatures and law enforcement, regularly confiscate property and money from their citizens without due process, and by force, without even charging, much less convicting, a person of a crime. The use of civil asset forfeiture, escheat, eminent domain, as well as price and wage fixing to enforce laws circumvents constitutional protections and should be ended.
Tomorrow: The 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution states: “No person shall… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” As respect for property rights is fundamental to maintaining a free and prosperous society, it follows that the freedom to contract to obtain, retain, profit from, manage, or dispose of one’s property must also be upheld. Libertarians would free property owners from government restrictions on their rights to control and enjoy their property, as long as their choices do not harm or infringe on the rights of others. For voluntary dealings among private entities, parties should be free to choose with whom they trade and set whatever trade terms are mutually agreeable.