Here is my latest article on LewRockwell.com, Libertarianism and the Libertarian Party
Now that Mary Matalin and the mainstream media have mentioned the Libertarian Party as a possible alternative to the Republicrat Party, already there is misinformation about what libertarianism actually is.
For starters, Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s apparent choice for Vice President is former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. People are actually referring to Weld as a “libertarian” because he is supposedly a “fiscal conservative/social liberal.”
Sorry, folks. But “fiscal conservative/social liberal” means “Let’s make the existing intrusive governmental apparatus more efficient (which is close to impossible), and let’s expand private property-destroying, freedom of association-destroying Civil Rights laws even further.”
Libertarianism, on the other hand, includes the non-aggression principle, self-ownership and self-determination and the right to self-defense, private property rights, voluntary association and freedom of non-association, free markets and voluntary exchange. You know, “Live and let live.”
So libertarianism is about liberty, liberating the people from government’s intrusions, its coercion, threats and criminal violence. As Murray Rothbard wrote in The Anatomy of the State:
The State, in the words of Oppenheimer, is the “organization of the political means”; it is the systematization of the predatory process over a given territory. For crime, at best, is sporadic and uncertain; the parasitism is ephemeral, and the coercive, parasitic lifeline may be cut off at any time by the resistance of the victims. The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively “peaceful” the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society. Since production must always precede predation, the free market is anterior to the State. The State has never been created by a “social contract”; it has always been born in conquest and exploitation. The classic paradigm was a conquering tribe pausing in its time-honored method of looting and murdering a conquered tribe, to realize that the time-span of plunder would be longer and more secure, and the situation more pleasant, if the conquered tribe were allowed to live and produce, with the conquerors settling among them as rulers exacting a steady annual tribute.
This is why true libertarians would want to liberate the people from the State’s criminality, not make reforms to the criminal State or merely rearrange the deck chairs on an inherently flawed centralized bureaucracy.
Alas, since Ron Paul’s 1988 LP campaign for President, the Libertarian Party seems to have lost touch with its actual libertarian roots, and has been stuck in the quagmire of statism.
A problem that the current top-polling Libertarian Party candidates for President have is that they seem to assume that the State and specifically the centralized federal government is a given, like it is some natural institution that has always existed. Not only that but they seem to have the assumption that taxation exists, therefore it is moral and legitimate. Bureaucracies exist, therefore they should continue to exist, but should be “reformed” or “trimmed” and so on.
Nope. The libertarian view is that if an institution such as the U.S. government has power and authority over you and it isn’t a voluntary arrangement, then it is an illegitimate institution.
For instance, consumers choose voluntarily to patronize various businesses, and they voluntarily establish mutually beneficial contracts. However, if one party uses some kind of coercion or threats against the other, we would call that something of a criminal nature.
Libertarians believe in voluntary associations, relationships and contracts. If something is involuntary or coerced, then it is not only illegitimate but it is criminal. Libertarians believe in non-aggression. Obviously it would take the initiation of aggression to force someone to obey the bureaucrats’ authority.
Did you voluntarily consent to some various people or agency having some kind of artificial authority over your life? Did you actually ponder the legitimacy of some politicians making up new laws or rules that you must obey or prohibitions that you must avoid, whether you agree with it or not?
I know, a lot of people really believe that such a system of involuntary submission to the will of artificial elites is a legitimate system, because they were indoctrinated to believe that during their 12 or 16 years of government-controlled schooling, and from heavy influence of their parents and pop culture.
If the people are not ready to consider voluntaryism or libertarianism, then given their current dissatisfaction with the Republicrat Party, perhaps they could give the Libertarian Party a try. I know, I myself have looked upon the LP with contempt, and rightfully so, but I’m willing to be flexible these days.
Murray Rothbard was influential in the Libertarian Party during its first decade of existence. The 1984 LP platform was extremely libertarian in its principles and statements. Very pro-private property and freedom of association, pro-due process and endorsing of self-ownership and voluntaryism, as was the 1988 LP platform that coincided with Ron Paul’s LP candidacy. But you can see how in the LP’s 2005 clueless Iraq “exit strategy” and then in the 2012 LP platform the Party’s principles have been whittled away somewhat, particularly regarding foreign policy. Shameful. Gary Johnson was the nominee that year.
Ron Paul in 1988 was very thorough and consistent in his recognition of libertarian principles of non-interventionism in both foreign and domestic affairs, the rights of self-defense and freedom of speech and religion, due process and so on.
Dr. Paul remained consistent in his 2008 and 2012 Republican Presidential campaigns. Close down all U.S. foreign military bases and bring all the troops home. And good riddance to the unconstitutional CIA, FBI, NSA, FTC, FCC, the Fed, and all the rest.
However, Dr. Paul is not for totally dismantling the entire federal government, as I am. (I know, some people think that would be crazy. That’s because they apparently never thought to question the whole system of central planning. For if they did, they would see how central planning doesn’t work, is immoral and destroying America and the lives of millions of its inhabitants, and will eventually crash and collapse on its own weight, like the Soviet Union did.)
Now, the three top-polling Libertarian Party candidates for President in 2016 are good with some libertarian rhetoric, but are inconsistent in their views and, in the end, are statists. They are Gary Johnson, who wants to cut “43%” from the defense budget but not close down all the hundreds of foreign U.S. military bases which shouldn’t be there overseas; Austin Petersen, who clearly doesn’t understand Ron Paul’s criticism of the blowback of U.S. military invasions and occupations overseas, who disagrees with the non-aggression principle, and who wants to make a mere 1% cut to federal programs rather than eliminating them completely; and security software entrepreneur John McAfee.
But there are other candidates who will be considered at the party’s national convention May 26-30.
Among some of lesser-polling Libertarian Party candidates for President, there’s Marc Allan Feldman, a Cleveland anesthesiologist. In his “Progressive plan to shrink the federal government,” Dr. Feldman states: “I will declare a National Fiscal Emergency and, by executive order, direct every government agency to apply (strict) controls to limit spending to available revenue.”
Sorry, Dr. Feldman. Instead of directing every government agency to limit spending, the true libertarian act would be to dismantle every one of those damned government agencies! Or just about every one, as most of the federal governmental apparatus as it currently exists is not authorized by the U.S. Constitution and, more important, doesn’t have the moral authority to exist and exert power over the people compulsorily.
Dr. Feldman writes, “For every agency and every federal law, objective measurable survey instruments will be used to give evidence whether they are working, making people safer, more secure, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, or sheltering the homeless.”
Huh? Are you serious? The government “feeding the hungry, healing the sick, or sheltering the homeless”? What’s this guy doing in the “Libertarian” Party?
Dr. Feldman also wants to make Kanye West be his Vice President. (I am not. Making. This. Up.)
And Derrick Michael Reid seems to have an understanding of the criminality of the State especially the federal government, but still seems to have this “Restore American Greatness” thing (sounding like Donald Trump).
But I just want our freedom restored. “Freedom First” is my motto, not “America First.” But that’s just me. And this Reid quotes the Pledge of Allegiance (to the flag, etc., etc.) on his website. The Pledge of Allegiance is really a Pledge of Obedience to the government, as far as I’m concerned. And why is his campaign website domain “Totalitariandemocracy.com”?
Jack B. Robinson, Jr. wants to “end poverty and provide healthcare for all Americans; and then worldwide,” and “protect Social Security and Medicare, strengthen our military, transform the poorest of countries with infrastructure, healthcare.” Not particularly libertarian, this guy. Are you sure you are on the right planet, Mr. Robinson?
But one candidate in particular, Darryl Perry, is clearly the most libertarian of the candidates. He states:
that all coercive forms of taxation should be eliminated, and government programs should be funded voluntarily.
that people should be allowed to travel freely without government interference; this includes the right of individuals to choose where they decide to live.
in the right of self-determination; that is the right of “determination by the people of a territorial unit of their own future political status.”
that every person and/or group of people should be allowed to decide for themselves if and/or how they will be governed.
that men do not need leaders, we are all capable of leading ourselves. Governments only get in the way of allowing this to happen.
that the United States government, as it exists today, should be abolished!
Hey! Perry is the one candidate here who actually distinguishes between voluntary contracts and forced, coerced or compelled contracts. And he also believes that the U.S. government should be abolished.
But as America stands right now, I don’t think that the masses have any understanding of what damage the U.S. government has done to the country and that it needs to be dismantled forthwith. The masses mainly believe the propaganda dished out by government officials as repeated by their lapdogs in the mainstream media. Thus, they flock to Trump, Hillary, Bernie, and Ted Scruz. The masses really believe that the central planners of the Regime will protect them from foreign aggression, or that they will actually be protected from those very central planners’ aggressions.
So, it is unlikely that Perry could make sense to those people no matter how well he might communicate such important ideas.
Unlike the other “Libertarians,” Perry has a clear understanding of libertarianism. He also states: “All peaceful prisoners should be released, so long as their offense does not have a victim. Police should no longer arrest or ticket people for offenses with no victim, and such crimes should be eliminated from federal statutes, state statutes and local ordinances.”
And, “I oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, transport, or transfer of firearms, ammunition, or any other tool that could be used for self-defense. Additionally, I oppose all laws requiring registration of firearms or ammunition, and oppose any government efforts to ban or restrict the use of other self-defensive tools, including (but not limited to) pepper spray, stun guns, tear gas (mace). I further oppose all attempts to ban weapons or ammunition.”
But in the end, I don’t know whether Perry’s hard-core libertarian message is what today’s American sheeple are ready for, even though that is exactly what they need to restore their freedom.
Perhaps a compromise could consist of the LP drafting Ron Paul to be its nominee, especially given that so many people really did vote for him and he received many Republican delegates in 2012. Dr. Paul’s message of peace and freedom resonates with millions. And while voluntaryist libertarians such as myself disagree, Dr. Paul does believe that the federal government should continue to exist. It’s just that he would cut most of it away as not authorized by the Constitution — definitely a plus.
In any event, some people see America as headed toward a real, terrible collapse. Like Venezuela is experiencing right now. But we can avoid that at the very least by abolishing Leviathan. So, in the event that we ever do see the actual dismantling of the U.S. federal government, thus bringing about the largest period of human liberation, economic growth and prosperity in World History, Murray Rothbard has some important advice on how to go about the desocializing process.