Our rights do not originate with government, but they are to be "secured" by government.
Formerly: Libertarian Party of Citrus county

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What do Libertarians Believe

By Tom Rhodes,  7/10/2011

About a week ago on the Liberty Underground radio show, the Florida Chair of the Libertarian Party called out anarchists to defend their position.  He wisely noted that the acceptance of anarchist positions was hurting the acceptance of libertarian ideas.  The Libertarian Party must shed its acceptance of anarchy as a legitimate form of government and distance itself from anarchists if it is ever to gain acceptance in the eyes of the American People.



This is going to be very difficult.  Prominent “libertarians” with no association with the Libertarian Party are consistently putting out libertine and anarchist positions as libertarian. Here it is important to note that libertarianism is not synonymous with libertinism. While some libertines (and some libertarians) find nothing at all morally wrong with prostitution, most libertarians believe that while it is morally wrong they understand that because it is a victimless crime the state has no legitimate role in enforcing it. Prostitution, like drug use and abuse, directly harms only the voluntary participant.

As Libertarians we often reference organizations such as The Ludwig von Mises Institute It is an online journal for libertarian scholarship.  It has been and is a great source of scholarly work concerning libertarian philosophy.  It is not associated with the Libertarian Party.  The problem is that accepting and promoting articles from the Mises Institute we are left having to defend ideas that are clearly libertine not libertarian or acceptable to the general public.  The vast majority of the work at the Mises Institute is great, but some articles, like Stateless in Somalia, and Loving It, hurt us.

The idea that the anarchy of Somalia is acceptable is absurd.  With good reason Somalia is noted for its piracy, chaos, poverty and oppression not for its liberty. Clearly it is easy to see that in Somalia the reality is that the only rights individuals have are those that they can protect themselves. The kidnapping, murder, and lack of any protection for the rights of those not favored by the local war lord are clearly not the type of government the people of the USA want to even consider.  The Utopian ideas of anarchists when actually implemented resulted in dystopic Somalia.Just as the utopian ideas of communism where implemented result in poverty and oppression and the murder of millions of citizens by their communist governments.
The idea that anarchy will ever function is a utopic ideology based on the same idea liberals use to promote socialism; the idea that people are basically good.  It is contrary to the foundations of the USA, which was based on the idea that people are not basically good, and that even the people in government cannot be trusted, so power is limited, distributed, and dispersed.  This country was founded on the idea that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

The reality is that in an anarchy only those with the wealth, strength, or power to secure their own rights have any rights.  In an anarchy the guy who is the strongest, or has the fastest gun, or most ruthless, has power over those who are not as strong, as fast, or ruthless.  Freedom is not free, the cost is measured in many things not just money but also blood and acceptance of a certain amount of uncertainty.  Our society which used to believe in liberty for all, was built with the understanding that the people instituted a government for the purpose of protecting the natural rights of everybody equally.  As Libertarians we cannot accept or promote anarchist ideology. This ideology is contrary to the foundations of the USA, and contrary to the entire history of mankind.  Like other utopian philosophies the reality of its implementation is not acceptable.

Libertarian Philosophy is being attacked right now from both the Left and the Right.  We no longer have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  The statists both left and right who want power and control are again in charge. It took time, a short time in the history of man, but once again the majority of people have property and wealth at the benevolence of the ruling elite.  Self-rule and freedom is fleeting. Freedom is not the natural condition for man. History has shown that freedom has occasionally existed for short periods of time but has never lasted long. The natural condition is for a few powerful elite to live in relative ease with armies to back them up through force or threat of force to control the resources and people with the vast majority living in poverty.  Today the government determines what portion of your labor (as measured by income) you are allowed to keep, they do allow the people to keep most of their wages, but there is nothing stopping them from taking it all.  They carefully weight and measure what will maximize the peoples output, they know if they take too much the people will quit working, but the goal is never to see how little they can take but always how to maximize the power and wealth of government.  This is a far cry from the form and type of government envisioned at our founding.

Our condition is rapidly deteriorating back to some form of feudalistic oligarchy.  Libertarians recognize this but the Libertarian Party has historically presented not only the recognition that we no longer live in a free society, but we stupidly have allowed anarchist ideas into our midst.  These ideas hurt not help the cause of liberty; they make libertarians look like either kooks, or cruel heartless robber barons. Check out this site Make Or Break Views Of Libertarianism. This site clearly states the image problem of the Libertarian Party. “Many libertarian statements take consistancy (sic)to such extreme positions, that it can make or break the acceptance of the ideas.”  The site starts with an attack on the LP Platform, saying;
National Platform of the Libertarian Party
The 2004 platform is still as ridiculously extreme as its predecessors. It calls for legalization of baby selling, polygamy, secession, child prostitution, all drugs, insider trading, etc. It calls for abolition of public schools, medicaid, and Social Security, patents, and copyrights. And even privatization of air. All that and lots more, cloaked in vague statements of "liberty", and now carefully sanitized so that non-libertarians won't realize how truly extreme it is.

Now the critic does use huge laps in logic and equates wanting to end government welfare to baby selling, but the essence of what the critique says is that Libertarians are anarchist libertine kooks who want to allow big business to pollute your air, and take away your rights.  Of course the 2010 party platform doesn’t advocate baby selling and is significantly different than the 2004 platform.  Making this critique almost libelous.

The changes to our national platform over the years, removing the extremist anarchist positions are helping and a good thing.  Compare the LP Florida platform to the national LP platform, and you will see differences which reflect libertarian vs libertine ideology.  Libertarian philosophy, is understood and accepted by most Americans.  The massive rise of the TEA Party is proof, the fact that the people are rising under the auspices of libertarian philosophy but not joining the Libertarian Party should cause the LP to reflect upon itself.

The LP needs to embrace completely the ideas which were the foundation of this country.  Take to heart that we the people instituted a government to secure the natural rights of the people.  We as a party need to denounce and distance ourselves from anarchist ideology. Adrian Wyllie, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida made a good start on Liberty Underground.

As Libertarians, we need to counter wherever we find it, and call out those who would lie about our objectives and ideas.  Allowing anarchist ideology, or statist twisting of our objectives to put fear and doubt into the American people about what Libertarians are, is only hurting the LP.  We in the LPF must work at getting the LP to recognize that it’s acceptance of anarchism as a legitimate libertarian viewpoint is hurting the party, and is not acceptable by the American people for good reason. Don’t let others tell you what Libertarians are, ask Libertarians.  These are the Objectives of the Libertarian Party,  You can see them for yourselves at www.lpf.org. The Objectives of the LPF are to:

  • Recognizing absolute freedom of speech, religion, and association


  • Demanding Constitutionally-limited government


  • Ensuring minimal taxation and balanced budgets


  • Defending property rights


  • Asserting sovereignty of the State from unconstitutional federal interference


  • Asserting sovereignty of the Republic from unconstitutional international interference


  • Upholding the Second Amendment and the absolute right to self defense


  • Promoting a true free market economy


  • Defending personal privacy and the Fourth Amendment


  • Promoting strong national defense through a Constitutional foreign policy


  • Ending government corruption


  • Ensuring no individual, corporation or government is above the rule of law


  • Ending prohibitions on all personal activities that do not infringe upon the rights of others


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