The Libertarian Philosophy in 7 Points

1. Each person has five fundamental rights, the first two of which are the rights to life and liberty. The right to life means that no person may harm another. The right to liberty lets each person do as he chooses. Thus, a free civilization’s premise is, each person can do as he chooses provided he does not harm another.

2. Property is the fruit of one’s labor. A dwelling gives liberty a place to exist. The property line establishes the protected sphere. It separates public (majority rule) from private (personal choice). Property is a mini sovereignty in which the owner is autonomous within common law, where he may act without asking permission or giving explanation. Property shields the individual from government’s tendency to treat every issue as a public concern.

3. Property also enables liberty by increasing the number of choices. More money, more choices. Higher taxes, less net income, fewer choices. When the individual is permitted to spend his money, he buys what he wants. When government takes and allocates his earnings, he’s forced to serve the ends of others.

4. It is not government’s role to produce model citizens. Whereas common law and rules of organization are needed to protect rights, directives of government policy are intended to make private citizens healthier or more productive, or, to force some individuals to contribute to others. But these virtues – self-improvement and generosity – cease to be virtues when they’re imposed.

5. Every personal choice is up to the chooser alone. It’s irrelevant if others find his actions foolhardy or self-destructive: their findings are not silage for legislation. The area between actions that harm others and those that merely offend requires defense, however, because individuals have a double standard that reduces to, what I do is my business; what you do is your business unless I have a real problem with it.

6. The libertarian’s opponent is the dominator. His position is, if I’m right, why shouldn’t others have to act as I recommend? He seeks to manage adult strangers as if they were his children, imposing “correct” behavior. Dominators in and out of government try to tell us what foods and drugs we can’t have, how we must raise our children, what safety devices we must wear, and what things we can’t do even within our four walls.

7. Libertarians don’t try to restrict or ban personal choices, even those they find objectionable. Whereas many Democrats and Republicans say, “I don’t like it so you can’t do it,” libertarians say, “I don’t like it but the choice is yours to make.” In the larger view, libertarians want government to avoid wars, abolish bad laws, cut spending and taxes, and protect the rights to property and privacy.

From The Five Rights of the Individual.


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