When you pay taxes, do you do so voluntarily? Or do you do so because you are forced to do so?
If you don’t pay your taxes, what will happen? Will you be fined further? Harassed by the IRS or other government entities? Jailed?
The Libertarian Party is fundamentally opposed to the use of force to coerce people into doing anything. We think it is inherently wrong and should have no role in a civilized society.
Thus we think that government forcing people to pay taxes is inherently wrong.
Libertarians advocate for voluntary exchange, where people are free to make their own choices about what to do with their lives, their time, their bodies, their livelihood, and their dollars.
If Americans want to give money to the government for one reason or another, they should be free to do so. If Americans prefer to spend their money on other things, then they should be free to do that also.
Libertarians believe that all people have the right to freely offer goods and services on the market and that free-market approaches are the most effective at improving people’s lives.
Our current economy is more crony capitalist than it is free, and that is responsible for the majority of problems that some try to blame on capitalism.
The free market, when it is allowed to do so, provides tremendous opportunity for people of all backgrounds, interests, and abilities.
Crony capitalism, however, benefits the wealthy, powerful, and special interests who know how to influence policy makers.
Libertarians default towards freedom in all things, including economics. When people are allowed to run their businesses the way they see fit, without inappropriate government interference and meddling, those businesses are able to innovate and create tremendous value for consumers and more jobs for employees.
Libertarians believe that the only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. Unfortunately, the vast majority of regulations on the books do not do that. These regulations are heavy burdens on businesses and people who are just trying to make a living, and often prevent new businesses from starting, prevent existing businesses from hiring new employees, and even force businesses to close. This violates the rights of people to engage in peaceful and honest trade. Additionally, it actively hurts people by stifling human energy, innovation, and well-being.
Libertarians believe that taxes have the same effect as over-reaching regulations and are a confiscation of the property of other people. Libertarians advocate reducing and eliminating taxes whenever possible to free people and businesses to do what they do best, so that everyone can have a chance to succeed.
In summary, Libertarians advocate removing unproductive regulation, reducing and eliminating taxes, and getting government out of the way of innovation and job creation.
Libertarians believe that the equal rights of all people matter all the time. No exceptions.
Other political parties prioritize the rights of some, but not others. Libertarians value the right of all to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.
We also believe that the government must treat all people fairly and equally before the law.
Towards this end, we seek to:
Libertarians believe that the existing justice system is seriously flawed.
One of the biggest problems we face today is that many things that should not be considered crimes are labeled as crimes. Worse yet, many of these actions are punished more harshly than are violent crimes.
Libertarians believe that the label of “crime” should be limited to actions of force or fraud against another individual or group. We believe that such crimes should be prosecuted and punished by our justice system but that actions that don’t involve force or fraud should not be criminalized or penalized in the first place.
We believe that ending the racist War on Drugs is an essential part of any plan to improve our justice system. Millions of people, disproportionately people of color, are arrested, jailed, and given a criminal record because they voluntarily chose to consume something. Not only is it immoral for the government to decide what is and is not acceptable for people to consume, criminalizing drugs does nothing to reduce the scourge of drug addiction and abuse. The War on Drugs hurts the people we should be trying to help and diverts criminal justice resources away from prosecuting actual crimes committed against people and property. For more information on Libertarian opinions on the War on Drugs, visit here.
Libertarians also believe that our current justice system has many punishments that far outweigh the crimes committed. We believe that punishments should be proportional to the crime committed and should be fair and humane. Prison systems across the country are commonly reported in the news for their terrible living conditions. Libertarians believe this must change. All people’s rights matter, whether they are incarcerated or not. Our prisons need to be as safe, clean, and humane as possible.
Additionally, our justice system currently sets up former inmates for failure. When someone is released from prison, the goal is for them to find a steady job, stable living situation, and avoid criminal activity. Evidence shows that overly long prison terms do very little to reduce recidivism and may actually make it more likely for someone to re-offend. Currently, recidivism rates are very high. These rates could be easily reduced by making prisons more humane (so that prisoners are not physically and psychologically traumatized by the experience), making sentences more reasonable and proportional to the offense, and welcoming offenders who have served their sentences back into society and the workforce.
In summary, Libertarians want to see crimes that are truly crimes prosecuted and punished. Libertarians also want behavior that does not involve force or fraud legalized and dealt with outside the criminal justice system. We want to see justice for victims and also justice for the accused and convicted. The rights of every person matter and we must not turn a blind eye to the rights of the accused or the convicted.
Libertarians advocate free-market education where parents, teachers, and students, not the government, should make their own choices on education.
One-size-fits-all education, as mandated by the Department of Education, is holding America’s children back.
Every child is different. Every community is different.
Education should be chosen to fit the needs of each child and situation and teachers, parents, and students should be able to make their own choices. They are far better able to assess the needs of a particular child than an agency far off in Washington.
Libertarians seek a United States at peace with the world.
The United States relies too heavily on our military might in foreign policy. For more than a decade, our country has been waging active wars in the Middle East. This has left our military tired, with several thousand dead, and many more thousands wounded physically and mentally.
A decade ago, the United States entered into nation building thinking that it would help improve corners of the world that terrorists find opportunistic. Sadly, some of the nation building which our country entered into with genuinely good intentions has backfired. We now know that no matter how sophisticated our military is and no matter how much money we spend, nation building is far more complicated that we originally thought. Additionally, it may likely create more terrorists than it quells.
Imagine if China had a military base in Montana. Or Russia had a military base in Texas. How would Americans feel about that? We would likely feel insulted, oppressed, and mad. Some Americans would likely seek to actively opposed those bases. And the escalation would continue. That is what we have seen in the Middle East with our involvement there.
Libertarians believe that war is justified only in defense. We are opposed to a draft. If a war is just and necessary, Americans of all backgrounds will volunteer to fight it. We believe that a draft enforced by law is no different from slavery.
Libertarians believe that American foreign policy should focus more heavily on developing communications among peoples and finding peaceful resolutions to disagreements. We believe in maintaining a military that can defend us well if we are attacked and we believe part of that is ensuring that our troops are not so war-weary as they have been in recent years.
Libertarians believe that healthcare prices would decrease and quality and availability of healthcare would increase if providers were freed from government meddling and control.
Virtually every person wants access to quality healthcare at an affordable price. Libertarians think the best way to achieve this is by removing government interference and enabling free markets.
Government inappropriately controls our healthcare in many ways:
Currently, the healthcare industry is virtually monopolized by the government and a handful of insurance companies. They hold the checkbook and wield it for their own benefit.
Each year, the government sets prices that they will pay providers including doctors and hospitals. Each year, these payments increase at less than the cost of inflation, while the cost of providing medical care increases by a far greater amount. This has unpleasant consequences for everyone. Providers are incentivized to do what is quick and cheap, not what is in the best interest of a particular patient. Doctors are forced to reduce the time they spend with patients, and this reduces quality of care. Hospitals are discouraged from upgrading facilities, and this reduces quality of care. Worse yet, insurance companies often set their payments according to the government’s prices. This regular ratcheting down on payments to providers, while actual costs to provide care increases, makes providers less able to provide high quality healthcare.
Government also regulates where medical facilities can be built, who can build them, and when. The process for applying for permission to build facilities is very costly and very slow, thus it favors the biggest corporations and prevents smaller organizations from opening new facilities that could serve patients. This greatly limits patients’ access to medical care and increases costs compared to a system where government permission was not required.
Institutions such as the Food and Drug Administration also limit cost-effective access to quality care. The approval processes for new drugs and technology is lengthy and expensive. Because of this, the process favors the biggest companies with the most lawyers. There are many stories of patients dying while waiting for approval of a new device or medicine. Instead, Libertarians call for free-market testing which will be inherently incentivized to be efficient and fair in their processes. Additionally, Libertarians believe in the “Right to Try”, especially in situations with a terminal diagnosis. The government must not be permitted to deny patients access to new medical advances.
Tort reform would also greatly reduce the cost of health care. The current tort system raises the cost of care by
encouraging unnecessary testing and procedures which increase the cost of medical care by forcing medical teams to devote significant time and resources to preventing or defending against unwarranted legal actions. When legitimate claims arise, they should be taken seriously and resolved fairly through the courts. However, frivolous and fraudulent claims should not be tolerated, as our current system does. These disparage our healthcare providers and the quality of medical care they can provide and that we can receive. Libertarians oppose fraud in all forms.
In short, Libertarians believe that each person has the right to make their own medical decisions. Libertarians support removing government meddling from healthcare. We think this and tort reform are the best ways to improve quality of healthcare, increase access to healthcare, and decrease prices of healthcare in our country.
Libertarians believe that every person has the right to arm themselves
The right to self defense is one of our most fundamental rights. Few people will argue against that. However, some believe that people should not be allowed to arm themselves. Libertarians strongly disagree.
Imagine a small person, walking home after a late shift at work. Imagine that person is attacked by someone twice their size. The victim fights back but is unable to defend themselves against the much larger attacker.
Now imagine if the victim was armed. With the help of a gun, the victim has a chance at self defense against the much larger attacker.
Gun rights are important for everyone, but especially those that are physically weaker.
Banning guns would not curb violence or deaths…it will just change the nature of violence and deaths. It would result in violent criminals having more power to perpetrate violence against innocent people. Violent criminals will be emboldened if they know that average Americans are unable to defend themselves.
And banning guns would mean people who should be free to go about their business, for example traveling home from work after dark, will live in greater fear. It will mean that people who live in more dangerous areas (and who are typically poorer) have fewer options to defend themselves and their families.
Libertarians support people’s rights to defend themselves and to arm themselves. We see it as immoral for government to try to prevent someone from doing so.
Libertarians believe that the War on Drugs is ineffective, unfair, and immoral. We advocate ending it. on Drugs is ineffective at limiting access to dangerous drugs and, instead, empowers dangerous gangs that make incredible fortunes on the black market for these illegal drugs.
The War on Drugs has imprisoned millions of non-violent people. This is unfair to these people and also uses up resources that would be better spent prosecuting and imprisoning people who are violent.
The War on Drugs is largely responsible for the militarization of police forces in America. It has pitted police against citizens and this is unfair to both. Police need to be able to focus on protecting the American public from violent offenders and fraud.
Lastly, Libertarians believe that it is immoral for the government to dictate which substances a person is permitted to consume, whether it is alcohol, tobacco, herbal remedies, saturated fat, marijuana, etc. These decisions belong to individual people, not the government.
Because of all of these things, Libertarians advocate ending the War on Drugs.
Libertarians believe that if someone is peaceful, they should be welcome to immigrate to the United States.
Libertarians believe that people should be able to travel freely as long as they are peaceful. We welcome immigrants who come seeking a better life. The vast majority of immigrants are very peaceful and highly productive.
Indeed, the United States is a country of immigrants, of all backgrounds and walks of life…some families have just been here for more generations than others. Newcomers bring great vitality to our society.
A truly free market requires the free movement of people, not just products and ideas.
Whether they are from India or Mexico, whether they have advanced degrees or very little education, immigrants have one great thing in common: they bravely left their familiar surroundings in search of a better life. Many are fleeing extreme poverty and violence and are searching for a free and safe place to try to build their lives. We respect and admire their courage and are proud that they see the United States as a place of freedom, stability, and prosperity.
Of course, if someone has a record of violence, credible plans for violence, or acts violently, then Libertarians support blocking their entry, deporting, and/or prosecuting and imprisoning them, depending on the offense.
Libertarians do not support classifying undocumented immigrants as criminals. Our current immigration system is an embarrassment. People who would like to follow the legal procedures are unable to because these procedures are so complex and expensive and lengthy. If Americans want immigrants to enter through legal channels, we need to make those channels fair, reasonable, and accessible.