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NATIONAL POSITIONS

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Taxes

 

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.

The Economy

 

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.

Civil Liberties

 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:

  • Protect freedom of religion, association, speech, press, and assembly.
  • Reverse the militarization of law-enforcement agencies.
  • Reform asset-forfeiture laws.
  • Restore Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
  • Restore voting and gun rights for those convicted of non-violent drug offenses.
  • Fight against federal overreach and government spying programs.
  • Restrict law-enforcement use of general surveillance technologies.
  • Protect internet freedom & privacy.

Crime and Justice

 

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.

Education

 

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.

Foreign Policy

 

 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.

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Healthcare

 

 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:

  • Government and a handful of insurance companies have a virtual monopoly as payers. Because of this, they make most of the decisions about what kinds of healthcare are available.
  • Government regulates where, when, and who may open new healthcare facilities.
  • Government agencies greatly slow development of and access to new medicines, devices, and technologies that may improve quality of care and reduce cost of care.

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.

Gun Ownership

 

 Libertarians believe that every person has the right to arm themselves

in self-defense.

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.

War on Drugs

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.

Immigration

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.

THE NATIONAL PLATFORM AS ADOPTED BY CONVENTION, JULY 2018.

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PREAMBLE

 

As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty: a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and are not forced to sacrifice their values for the benefit of others.

We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.

Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.

In the following pages we set forth our basic principles and enumerate various policy stands derived from those principles.

These specific policies are not our goal, however. Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.

STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

 

We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.

We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right 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.

Governments throughout history have regularly operated on the opposite principle, that the State has the right to dispose of the lives of individuals and the fruits of their labor. Even within the United States, all political parties other than our own grant to government the right to regulate the lives of individuals and seize the fruits of their labor without their consent.

We, on the contrary, deny the right of any government to do these things, and hold that where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual: namely, (1) the right to life — accordingly we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others; (2) the right to liberty of speech and action — accordingly we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form; and (3) the right to property — accordingly we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.

Since governments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights, we oppose all interference by government in the areas of voluntary and contractual relations among individuals. People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others. They should be left free by government to deal with one another as free traders; and the resultant economic system, the only one compatible with the protection of individual rights, is the free market.

1.0 PERSONAL LIBERTY

 

Individuals are inherently free to make choices for themselves and must accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices. No individual, group, or government may rightly initiate force against any other individual, group, or government. Libertarians reject the notion that groups have inherent rights. We support the rights of the smallest minority, the individual.

1.1 Self-Ownership

Individuals own their bodies and have rights over them that other individuals, groups, and governments may not violate. Individuals have the freedom and responsibility to decide what they knowingly and voluntarily consume, and what risks they accept to their own health, finances, safety, or life.

1.2 Expression and Communication

We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.

1.3 Privacy

Libertarians advocate individual privacy and government transparency. We are committed to ending government’s practice of spying on everyone. We support the rights recognized by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, property, and communications. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure should include records held by third parties, such as email, medical, and library records.

1.4 Personal Relationships

Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, promote, license or restrict personal relationships, regardless of the number of participants. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships. Until such time as the government stops its illegitimate practice of marriage licensing, such licenses must be granted to all consenting adults who apply.

1.5 Abortion

Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.

1.6 Parental Rights

Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs, provided that the rights of children to be free from abuse and neglect are also protected.

1.7 Crime and Justice

Government force must be limited to the protection of the rights of individuals to life, liberty, and property, and governments must never be permitted to violate these rights. Laws should be limited in their application to violations of the rights of others through force or fraud, or to deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. Therefore, we favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as gambling, the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes, and consensual transactions involving sexual services. We support restitution to the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer. The constitutional rights of the criminally accused, including due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must be preserved. We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law. We oppose the prosecutorial practice of “over-charging” in criminal prosecutions so as to avoid jury trials by intimidating defendants into accepting plea bargains.

1.8 Death Penalty

We oppose the administration of the death penalty by the state.

1.9 Self-Defense

The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights — life, liberty, and justly acquired property — against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. We affirm the individual right recognized by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. Private property owners should be free to establish their own conditions regarding the presence of personal defense weapons on their own property. We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.

2.0 ECONOMIC LIBERTY

 

Libertarians want all members of society to have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success. A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. 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. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.

2.1 Property and Contract

As respect for property rights is fundamental to maintaining a free and prosperous society, it follows that the freedom to contract to obtain, retain, profit from, manage, or dispose of one’s property must also be upheld. Libertarians would free property owners from government restrictions on their rights to control and enjoy their property, as long as their choices do not harm or infringe on the rights of others. Eminent domain, civil asset forfeiture, governmental limits on profits, governmental production mandates, and governmental controls on prices of goods and services (including wages, rents, and interest) are abridgements of such fundamental rights. For voluntary dealings among private entities, parties should be free to choose with whom they trade and set whatever trade terms are mutually agreeable.

2.2 Environment

Competitive free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Governments are unaccountable for damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights and responsibilities regarding resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Where damages can be proven and quantified in a court of law, restitution to the injured parties must be required.

2.3 Energy and Resources

While energy is needed to fuel a modern society, government should not be subsidizing any particular form of energy. We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production.

2.4 Government Finance and Spending

All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution. We oppose any legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors. We support any initiative to reduce or abolish any tax, and oppose any increase on any taxes for any reason. To the extent possible, we advocate that all public services be funded in a voluntary manner.

2.5 Government Debt

Government should not incur debt, which burdens future generations without their consent. We support the passage of a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes.

2.6 Government Employees

We favor repealing any requirement that one must join or pay dues to a union as a condition of government employment. We advocate replacing defined-benefit pensions with defined-contribution plans, as are commonly offered in the private sector, so as not to impose debt on future generations without their consent.

2.7 Money and Financial Markets

We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. Markets are not actually free unless fraud is vigorously combated. Those who enjoy the possibility of profits must not impose risks of losses upon others, such as through government guarantees or bailouts. We support ending federal student loan guarantees and special treatment of student loan debt in bankruptcy proceedings. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity or item. We support a halt to inflationary monetary policies and unconstitutional legal tender laws.

2.8 Marketplace Freedom

Libertarians support free markets. We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of entities based on voluntary association. We oppose all forms of government subsidies and bailouts to business, labor, or any other special interest. Government should not compete with private enterprise.

2.9 Licensing

Libertarians support the right of every person to earn an honest and peaceful living through the free and voluntary exchange of goods and services. Accordingly, we oppose occupational and other licensing laws that infringe on this right or treat it as a state-granted privilege. We encourage certifications by voluntary associations of professionals.

2.10 Sex Work

The Libertarian Party supports the decriminalization of prostitution. We assert the right of consenting adults to provide sexual services to clients for compensation, and the right of clients to purchase sexual services from consenting sex workers.

2.11 Labor Markets

Employment and compensation agreements between private employers and employees are outside the scope of government, and these contracts should not be encumbered by government-mandated benefits or social engineering. We support the right of private employers and employees to choose whether or not to bargain with each other through a labor union. Bargaining should be free of government interference, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.

2.12 Education

Education is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality, accountability and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Recognizing that the education of children is a parental responsibility, we would restore authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. Parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.

2.13 Health Care

We favor a free market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want (if any), the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions. People should be free to purchase health insurance across state lines.

2.14 Retirement and Income Security

Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government. Libertarians would phase out the current government-sponsored Social Security system and transition to a private voluntary system. The proper and most effective source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals. We believe members of society will become even more charitable and civil society will be strengthened as government reduces its activity in this realm.

3.0 SECURING LIBERTY

 

The protection of individual rights is the only proper purpose of government. Government is constitutionally limited so as to prevent the infringement of individual rights by the government itself. The principle of non-initiation of force should guide the relationships between governments.

3.1 National Defense

We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression. The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world. We oppose any form of compulsory national service.

3.2 Internal Security and Individual Rights

The defense of the country requires that we have adequate intelligence to detect and to counter threats to domestic security. This requirement must not take priority over maintaining the civil liberties of our citizens. The Constitution and Bill of Rights shall not be suspended even during time of war. Intelligence agencies that legitimately seek to preserve the security of the nation must be subject to oversight and transparency. We oppose the government’s use of secret classifications to keep from the public information that it should have, especially that which shows that the government has violated the law. We oppose the use of torture and other cruel and unusual punishments, without exception.

3.3 International Affairs

American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid. We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups.

3.4 Free Trade and Migration

We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.

3.5 Rights and Discrimination

Libertarians embrace the concept that all people are born with certain inherent rights. We reject the idea that a natural right can ever impose an obligation upon others to fulfill that “right.” We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should neither deny nor abridge any individual’s human right based upon sex, wealth, ethnicity, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Members of private organizations retain their rights to set whatever standards of association they deem appropriate, and individuals are free to respond with ostracism, boycotts and other free market solutions.

3.6 Representative Government

We support election systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels. As private voluntary groups, political parties should be free to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries and conventions. We call for an end to any tax-financed subsidies to candidates or parties and the repeal of all laws which restrict voluntary financing of election campaigns. We oppose laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties, deny ballot access, gerrymander districts, or deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives. We advocate initiative, referendum, recall and repeal when used as popular checks on government.

3.7 Self-Determination

Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of individual liberty, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty.

4.0 OMISSIONS

 Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval. 

PLATFORM OF THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF PENNSYLVANIA

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Statement of Principles Revised June 8, 2013

 

Simply stated, the libertarian philosophy is, “Live and let live.”  Each individual must be free to do as she or he pleases as long as she or he does not infringe upon the equal rights of others.  This is the central idea of our Declaration of Independence.

More specifically, “live and let live” means that force must not be used on an individual, unless that person has initiated the use of force or fraud.  This is the simple but powerful principle from which Libertarian Party's positions on all issues are logically and consistently derived. 

All laws empower the government to use force on people.  Some laws deter and punish those who would initiate force, as in murder, robbery or assault, for example. These laws are entirely consistent with the legitimate purpose of government, which is to protect and secure our rights.  However, many other laws just restrict or even violate our rights, quite the opposite of protecting and securing them.  Thus, our governments, as they grow ever larger, utilize oppressive force on peaceful people through their complex thicket of laws.

Libertarians advocate maximizing liberty by eliminating the use of force on honest, peaceful people.

Free and Open Society


  1. Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make.  No individual, group, corporation or government may initiate force or fraud against any other individual, group, corporation or government.  Our support of an individual's right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices.
  2. The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights — life, liberty, and justly acquired property — against aggression.  This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group.  We affirm the individual right to keep and bear arms without being questioned as recognized by Article I, Section 21, of the PA Constitution and also the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.  We oppose all laws at any level of government requiring registration of, or restricting the ownership, manufacture, transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition.
  3. We support full freedom of expression and oppose all government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology.  We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others.  We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.
  4. Libertarians support the right to be secure in our persons, homes, and property.  Protection from unreasonable search and seizure or warrantless spying should include records held by third parties, such as email, medical, and library records.  Only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes.  We favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims.
  5. We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant.  Government should not deny or abridge any individual's rights based on sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation.  Parents or legal guardians have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs, provided the child’s rights are not being violated.  Government has no power to define social institutions such as marriage or to impose any restrictions thereon.
  6. The so-called “war on drugs” has failed utterly.  In addition to its huge cost, it has incarcerated millions for victimless “crimes” and easy availability of potentially harmful substances is still widespread.  End the war on drugs.

Free and Open Markets


  1. Libertarians want all members of society to have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success.  A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner which produces the most wealth and best satisfies everyone’s wants.  Any person or group has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market.  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.
  2. Property rights are entitled to the same protection as all other human rights.  The owners of property have the full right to control, use, dispose of, or in any manner enjoy their property without interference, until and unless the exercise of their control infringes the valid rights of others.  We oppose all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates.  Competing currencies should not be prohibited.
  3. Education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality and efficiency with more diversity of choice at lower cost.  Schools should be managed locally to achieve greater accountability and parental involvement.  We support the right of parents to home school their children.
  4. We favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system, thus achieving higher quality and efficiency with more diversity and lower costs. We support the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want, the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use, and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions.

Free and Open Government


  1. The legislative process, and the administration of government, should be open and transparent.  Accordingly, all proposed legislation should be available for review and comment at least 5 days before being voted on by the legislature.  Before voting for or against any bill, it is the duty of each legislator to have personally read and understood the bill in its entirety.  Also, all state government budgets and expenditures should be available for review by the citizens on the Internet.
  2. Article I, Section 5 of the Pennsylvania Constitution specifies that all elections shall be free and equal.  We oppose publicly funded primaries and laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties, deny ballot access, gerrymander districts, or deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives.  As private voluntary groups, political parties should be allowed to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries and conventions, all of which should be funded by the political parties themselves.
  3. Criminal laws should be limited to dealing with violations of the rights of others through force or fraud, or deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm.  We support restitution of the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer.  The rights of due process, habeas corpus, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must not be denied.  We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law.