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Defining "Libertarians"

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Everyone knows what ideals each of the Old Parties is supposed to stand for in the modern context, but do you know what the Libertarians stand for (aside from whatever horror story the Old Parties have mesmerized you into believing)?

Well, David Nolan, one of the founders of the Libertarian Party, suggested that, in order to be considered a "real" Libertarian, at least in the political context, and individual must adhere - without compromise - to five key points. As far as he was concerned, if someone is sound on these five points, he or she is a de facto Libertarian; if they fail on even one of the five, they are not.


First and foremost, Libertarians believe in the principle of  self-ownership. You own your body and mind; no external power has the right to force you into the service of "society", or "mankind", or any other individual or group for any purpose, however noble. Slavery is wrong. Period

Because you own yourself, you are responsible for your own well-being. Others are not obligated to feed you, to clothe you, or provide you with health care, Most of us choose to help each other voluntarily, for a variety of reasons - and that's as it should be - but "forced compassion" is an oxymoron

Self Defense

Self-ownership implies the right to self-defense. Libertarians yield to no one in their support for our right as individuals to keep and bear arms. We only wish that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution said, "The right to self-defense being inalienable … " instead of all of that stuff about a "well-regulated militia".

Anyone who thinks that government - any government - has the right to disarm its citizens is not a Libertarian.

No "Criminal Possession" Laws

In fact, Libertarians believe that individuals have the right to own and use anything - gold, guns, marijuana/cannabis, sexually-explicit material - as long as they do no harm to others through force or threat of force.

Laws criminalizing the simple possession of anything are tailor-made for police states. It is all too easy to plant a forbidden substance in someone's home, car, or pocket. Libertarians are as tough on crime - real crime as anyone, but criminal possession laws are an affront to liberty, whatever the rhetoric used to defend them.

No Taxes on Productivity

In an ideal world, there would be no taxation; all services would be paid for on an as-used basis. But in a less-than-ideal world some services will be force-financed for the foreseeable future. However, not all taxes are equally deleterious, but the worst form of taxation is one on productivity - i.e., an income tax - and no Libertarian supports this type of taxation.

What type of taxation is the least harmful? That topic is still open for debate. My own preference is for a single tax on land. Is that the Libertarian position on taxes? No, but all Libertarians oppose any form of income tax,

An Honest Money System

The fifth and final key test of anyone's claim to being a Libertarian is their support for an honest money system, i.e., one where the currency is backed by something of true value - usually gold or silver. Fiat money - money with no backing but whose acceptance is mandated by the state - is simply legitimized counterfeiting and is one of the keys to expanding government power.


The five points enumerated here are not a complete, comprehensive prescription for freedom, but they would take us most of the way. A government which cannot conscript, confiscate, or counterfeit, and which imposes no criminal penalties for the mere possession and peaceful use of anything is one that almost all Libertarians would be comfortable with.

Committee to Elect Darren Hamilton
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