What is a Libertarian?

I’ve never really identified myself with a given political party. However, after some discussions with my significant other I feel like I can say that libertarianism accurately represents most of my overall beliefs and perspectives on life and liberty. One big area that I do not agree with the libertarian platform is their standpoint on international affairs. The libertarian platform states, “We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid.” Anyone that reads my blog knows that human rights interest me on a global scale. I feel that issues going on in places such as Syria, Uganda, and North Korea (to name a few) need to be addressed on an internationally level and that both military and economic aid should be something that is discussed and considered on an intervening level. That being clarified, I would identify myself as a libertarian conscious of international affairs.

What does a libertarian stand for?

Libertarians seek a world in which all individuals are sovereign (independent authority) over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.

Libertarians defend the rights of the individual:

  • the right to life
    • support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others;
  • the right to liberty of speech and action
    • oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form; and
  • the right to property
    • oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and
    • support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.

Libertarians are also in support of a free market. “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.”

What Side of the Fence for Libertarians Stand on (short version)?

Personal Liberty: Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Abortion: The government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.
  • Crime and Justice: Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty, and property. 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.
  • Self-Defense: Libertarians 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.

Economic Liberty: A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. 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.

  • Property and Contract: 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. Libertarians oppose all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates.
  • Environment: Libertarians 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. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife.
  • Energy and Resources: Libertarians oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production.
  • Government Finance and Spending: All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. Libertarians 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. Government should not incur debt, which burdens future generations without their consent.
  • Money and Financial Markets: Libertarians favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types.
  • Monopolies and Corporations: Libertarians defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of companies based on voluntary association. Industries should be governed by free markets.
  • Labor Markets: Libertarians support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment. Libertarians oppose government-fostered forced retirement.
  • Education: Education is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality, accountability and efficiency with more diversity of choice.
  • Health Care: Libertarians favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system. Libertarians 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.
  • 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.

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.

  • National Defense: Libertarians support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression.
  • 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. Libertarians 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.
  • International Affairs: Libertarians would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid.
  • Free Trade and Migration: Libertarians support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, libertarians support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health, or property.
  • Rights and Discrimination: Libertarians embrace the concept that all people are born with certain inherent rights. Libertarians 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.
  • Representative Government: Libertarians support election systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels.
  • 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.

For more information (full version) please visit Libertarian Party Platform

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