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The Fundamental Beliefs Of The Libertarian Party
And Positions On Current Issues
Thomas Jefferson's words: "A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread which it has earned", describe the philosophy of the Libertarian Party.
The Fastest Growing Third Party In America
Limited Government - Libertarians believe that the fundamental ideas of restraint of government, embodied in the United States Constitution, are what makes America different and better than most other countries. Legitimate government is created when citizens give it specific limited powers to provide for protection of their persons and property through the creation of court systems and laws. Governments do not have rights, only citizens have rights. The most important lesson of America is not democracy, it is limitation of the power of government.
Avoidance of Government Programs - Libertarians understand that government agencies are the only organizations that grow when they fail, and that have a built in bias against truly solving problems. Government problem solving programs create government employees whose jobs may go away if they succeed, but whose jobs and power will expand if the problem gets worse. Libertarians are committed to finding practical ways to get government out of everything possible.
Individual Liberty - Libertarians want to take back government, not to make it work better or use it to fix certain problems, but to reduce and limit it. Activist government is a drag on the economy and a threat to individual freedom. Libertarians do not believe in legislating morality. The separation of church and state embodied in the Constitution has kept America free from the ravages of religious zealotry that afflict much of the world. Private behavior is private. No one has the right to force private behavior or belief on someone else, and government should never be given this power.
Abortion - Libertarians do not believe that government should have the power to interfere in a woman's decision concerning abortion. Libertarians do not advocate abortion, and many do not find it personally acceptable, but they are absolutely committed to keeping the government out of this issue. Libertarians are also against using tax dollars for abortions.
Drugs - Libertarians understand that the only amendment to the constitution ever to be repealed was the 18th amendment prohibiting alcohol. Libertarians do not advocate drug use, but they believe that the war on drugs should be stopped. Tax dollars and government power should not be used to protect people from themselves. The war on drugs is having no real affect on actual drug use, is causing crime and creating an incredibly wealthy criminal class, is corrupting the court system and police, and is endangering civil liberties.
Guns - Libertarians believe that all law abiding citizens have the right to own guns. The right of self protection is a fundamental human right. The right to own guns is not about hunting, as the Democrats and some misguided Republicans would have us believe, but is based on the right of self defense. The criminal misuse of guns should be punished severely. Libertarians support concealed carry laws.
Free Trade - Free Markets - Libertarians believe in free trade. It is not foreign competition, but high taxes and excessive government regulations, that is preventing American workers from doing as well as they should financially. Free trade has created an abundance of affordable consumer goods unparalleled in human history. The idea that low foreign wages cause low wages here is wrong. It is based on the incorrect idea that there is a certain fixed number of jobs in the world. Foreign workers doing some jobs for less allow American workers to do different jobs that pay more. Blocking imports of foreign goods, in the mistaken belief that this will save American jobs, only makes everyone poorer. Free markets, free enterprise, and private property are the foundations of civilized societies.
Foreign Affairs and National Defense - Libertarians believe in limited involvement in the affairs of foreign governments. Government to government foreign aid is almost always a waste of money. Libertarians believe the purpose of the U. S. Military is to protect America, not to police the world. The Japanese, South Koreans, Europeans, and others are capable of protecting themselves, and probably don't need nearly as much protecting as we are providing. The best way to improve the world is through promotion of free trade, free interchange of ideas, and setting an example by showing the benefits of limited government.
Pollution and The Environment - Libertarians are against pollution and for a clean environment. However, they are against the current methods of dealing with these problems by creating new government agencies with sweeping powers. Those managing and working in these agencies often believe that humans are the problem, and that everything that humans have done in building civilization should be undone. Libertarians believe that pollution problems can be understood by normal people, and should be addressed by legislators on a case by case basis, after study and public debate about each actual problem. Libertarians totally reject the idea that growth must be stopped.
Government Limited To Assisting Citizens In Self Defense - Government is about the use of force, controlled by law. Libertarians believe that the simplest test of which laws are legitimate is whether they bring government force to the aid of citizens protecting themselves from the aggression of others. Laws against fraud, robbery, trespass, assault, murder, rape, etc. are obviously legitimate. Victimless crimes are not real crimes. Laws which do not meet this self defense test expand government power improperly. This leads to situations where some can enrich themselves unfairly, force their views on others, entrench themselves in power, and turn government into the master instead of the servant.
Restitution As The Primary Objective Of Law Enforcement - Libertarians believe that compelling criminals to pay restitution to their victims should be the most important outcome of law enforcement. Fining criminals puts the government in the position of receiving stolen property, and locking them up without also forcing them to work to repay their victims, only adds additional burdens on taxpayers. Forcing criminals to actually repay their victims, allowing no evasion or escape, is the most effective means the government has to deter crime, reform criminals, and maintain a fair and orderly civil society.
The Libertarian Party Is About Politics, Not Lifestyles - The Libertarian Party does not advocate any specific lifestyle, and it is not unusual for individual Libertarians to disapprove of the lifestyles of other members. Libertarians are united only by their agreement with the concept of limited government. Libertarians cover the lifestyle spectrum from atheists to evangelists, from Christian Scientists to open heart surgeons, and from hunters to vegetarians. They support the Libertarian Party not to promote some specific lifestyle, but to elect Libertarians and put the philosophy of limited government into practice. Tolerance is a fundamental Libertarian characteristic.
The Differences Between Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians
Democrats are the party of total government. They search constantly for problems, so they can start tax supported programs, which create government jobs for Democrats. They view politics as a career, and have voted in outrageously high pay scales, benefits, and retirement packages for elected officials and government employees. They will say anything to get elected. They fear, and fight against, non government solutions to problems. They ridicule self sufficient people and work to make everyone dependent on government in some way.
Republicans are the party of enforced morality. Republicans believe that government should take sides in religious issues, such as outlawing abortion. Most profess to believe in limited government. They often cut out the more ridiculous Democrat programs when they come into office, but they almost never actually reduce government. They usually become captives of the government agencies and programs they are trying to reform, and wind up enjoying the gravy train created by Democrats. They support a large military and believe that America should police the world. When Republicans have large majorities, they try to pass laws to force their views of proper behavior on others. This usually brings the return of Democrats, and the size of government ratchets up another notch.
Libertarians believe that most people do well in spite of, not because of, government involvement in their lives. Libertarians want to actively downsize and limit government. Libertarians believe in free market solutions, individual liberty, and personal responsibility.