What is libertarianism, and what values and beliefs do libertarians hold? What is the goal? The simple answer is in the name: liberty for each individual. But don’t most Americans want that, not just libertarians? Of course! We just have different ways of achieving that goal.
Most Americans would like the government to spend less money (therefore, taking less of ours) and most Americans are socially tolerant of other peoples’ lifestyles. So specifically, what do libertarians believe in terms of current political, economic, and social issues?
At the core of libertarianism is a Non-Aggression Principle, or NAP. No use of aggression or force is legitimate except in self-defense, or defense of property. All other use of force is unjust. Because of this principle, many libertarians tend to believe that the government’s use of force in terms of taxation and programs funded by taxation is illegitimate. This may seem extreme, and in our current political structure it is, so the Libertarian Party structures its platform on limiting government and giving the power back to the individual.
Larry Sharpe is a firm believer in the idea that most people have the same goals when it comes to political hot topics. Libertarians, Republicans, and Democrats all want less poverty and more prosperity. We all want easy and affordable access to healthcare. We all want to live happily and peacefully. Here are some ways Libertarians want to make those goals a reality:
Goal: Anyone can consensually marry whomever they want, regardless of sexuality, religion, race, etc.
How to get there: We do not believe a certificate authenticates a relationship. The government institution of marriage should be abolished. The parties involved can agree to a law-binding contract, or a faith-based contract if they wish. While government is in the business of marriage, Libertarians do support marriage equality.
Goal: Affordable and accessible healthcare for all.
How to get there: Larry Sharpe posted a great video saying that if you ask a libertarian if they support universal healthcare, they’ll shout “no!!!” But, if thinking about the result we want, then yes, we do support universal healthcare for everybody. We want everybody to have easy access to affordable healthcare, just not at the hands of the government. Libertarians support a free market approach to healthcare, with no government involvement, so crony capitalism would not be possible. The market would adjust prices of visits and drugs to what people are willing to pay. Insurance should no longer be based on your job, but purchased in-market, much like auto insurance, and be for unexpected illnesses.
Goal: Ownership of our bodies back in the hands of the people, not the government.
How to get there: Each person owns their own body and have the only legitimate right to do to it what they want. Any laws restricting which substances we can ingest, which medical procedures we elect to undergo, or which profession we choose to engage in should be repealed.
Goal: Reforming criminal justice to ensure fewer lives are harmed by unjust laws.
How to get there: Laws that hinder an individual’s life choices (which do not infringe on others’ rights) are unjust and should be abolished. Because of these unjust laws, the incarceration rate in the US is much larger than other nations. Libertarians call for a reform in criminal justice by ending the racist war on drugs and putting an end to the unconstitutional civil asset forfeiture laws.
Goal: For everyone to live in a safe and healthy environment free from pollution.
How to get there: Considering government is the worst polluter in the world (and rarely gets punished for it), they should not be the ones regulating environmental protections. Enforcing private property rights is a great way to make sure people care for our land, water, and air. If the EPA became a national organization similar to the ACLU, they could do a lot more in protecting our right to live in a healthy environment.
Goal: To have a prospering and innovative economy.
How to get there: Libertarians believe in free market capitalism as the only equitable economic system. Without governmental regulations, subsidies, and arbitrary values, the good products and services that are produced and sold in the free market would flourish, and the bad would fail. Crony capitalism would be very difficult if government involvement was minimal.
Goal: To allow any peaceful person to easily become a US citizen.
How to get there: The US, and especially New York, is a place people dream of immigrating to. We are proud of our melting pot and believe that the path to citizenship should be an extremely easy process. Any peaceful person who wants to become a citizen should have that right, regardless of which country they come from, which language they speak, or which religion they practice.
Goal: To defend the US against attacks and coexist peacefully with the rest of the world.
How to get there: In adherence with the Non-Aggression Principle, Libertarians believe there is no reason to get involved in wars unless in defense of our nation. Also, the US military consumes a very large percentage of our spending budget. The US should stop policing the world and getting involved in decades-long wars that do not improve with our involvement.
Goal: To make abortion a family matter, not a government issue.
How to get there: The Libertarian Party is known to be the pro-choice party on every issue. The party’s view is that government should not decide what medical procedures we elect to do. Understandably so, abortion is a very personal issue, and based on this position, the government should not be involved in making that choice.
Goal: To allow law-abiding citizens the ability to self-defense, defense of property, and defense of liberty.
How to get there: Libertarians support the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Any obstacle from the government to restrict that right in any way is unjust and should be repealed. The more restrictions that are in place, the larger the black market for guns, and the more weapons in the hands of dangerous people.
Goal: To improve education at all levels.
How to get there: The free market, as with any industry, would allow for a flourishing educational system. Great schools would succeed and underperforming schools would be replaced with better ones. Ideally, education would be placed back in the states’ hands and out of the federal government’s. While the government is in the education business, libertarians want to reform education by getting rid of location-based education and blanket regulations. We support school choice as a great stepping stone to a market-based system.
David Boaz of the Cato Institute put it perfectly saying, “libertarianism proposes a society of liberty under law, in which individuals are free to pursue their own lives so long as they respect the equal rights of others.” If that sounds good to you, and you agree with some of the above stances, give Larry and the LP a chance. Larry believes in an 80/20 rule. If you agree with someone on 80% of their platform, then there is enough reason to vote for them. Check out Larry on more specific New York issues here.