What is a Libertarian?

The chairman of the Libertarian Party of Michigan tells us more about the party's views.

What is a Libertarian?

I often get this question from individuals and the media alike. And what I have learned is a short simple answer doesn't always seem to work. But I will try again.

Libertarians by nature are seekers of individual rights protected by limited governmental laws from both fraud and aggression here and abroad, with government's only role being to enforce the contracts made between people.

Now you can, if you are like some, extrapolate that to the Nth degree and say we want anarchy or lawlessness. But nowhere in there did I say that. Often times, I think it is easier to say what we are not.

For example: We are not hypocrites. We are not asking for money from the government for some pet project while denying someone else the fruits of their labor by forcing them to give to my project or idea, etc. This is denying the individual their liberty for the benefit of another or a group. You see your efforts are an outcome of your work with your environment and, as such, a product of your liberty. You see politicians do this often enough to carry favor for the people who put them in office. By doing such, though, they are using and abusing the role of government. Worse yet: It is unconstitutional to do. But I fear as of late that concept is a dirty work.

You see, Libertarians see government as the last resort to settle disputes - because it is a blunt weapon. It always relies on force and you have little or no recourse to protect yourself. Try to tell the IRS next time that you don't want to pay. Or that you don't want your tax dollars going to foriegn countries, etc. You will quickly find that you have no say so and, worse yet, you have no choice.  

In our world, that is a bad thing. In the wrong hands, government is a thing that we have to protect ourselves against and our founding fathers designed a document that limits the powers of our government, not expand them, just to ensure that very thing. Which I'd like to point we as Libertarians couldn't agree more with.

Another is we are not all drug dealing or, for that matter, drug using members of society. But that comes back to the hypocrite thing. We are not about to tell someone you can't do this drug or that drug because we don't like them, all the while drinking caffeine or smoking tobacco or alcohol, etc. You say those are legal. And I say so...your idea is some drugs are okay versus others. Or is it that you can be responsible with this drug or that? That in our book is a conflict of interest. As we believe, you are of the freedom to choose that which you put in your body. Whatever the substance. We believe you own your person. But with that freedom to choose comes the consequences of that choice. Good or bad.

I think at this point you are starting to get the idea.

In closing, there are many things we are not and many that we are. And as I write here week after week, my goal is you introduce you to them. Until then, visit the state's website or contact me on Facebook.  I look forward to you getting to know and understand us.

In Liberty for the Republic,

James H Lewis II
Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Michigan

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Ronald Wolf April 17, 2012 at 06:22 PM
A Libertarian is a breed of cat that defies definition. Kind of reminds me of the tale of the blind men and the elephant. One truism is that while attractive on some issues these cats are extremely dangerous to those that do not meet their standards.
Jordan Genso April 17, 2012 at 06:34 PM
"these cats are extremely dangerous" Signed, Mr. Wolf :-)
Matt Guarnieri April 17, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Who is John Galt?... Basically saying, "What does it matter?" The experiment of "A Republic" is lost. The idea of individuals retaining their individuality, abilities and fruits of their labors to do with as they please has been destroyed, thus destroying the ambition, drive and opportunity of generations of individuals for the welfare of those that can not or will not produce. The "United States of America" has been changed to "USA", the mention of individualism is replaced with a generic acronym to obscure the original purpose of the name. When created, it was the individual states that determined the rights of their citizens and the federal oversight was only to provide protection as a republic, the states determined what powers the federal government would have. Somewhere along the way the federal government decided it should decide the rights of all citizens and tell the states what they should be allowed to do. The individual state just like the individual person no longer has as many rights as when the concept of a republic was developed and those individual rights are eroded further on a daily basis.
Jordan Genso April 17, 2012 at 10:28 PM
"Somewhere along the way the federal government decided it should decide the rights of all citizens and tell the states what they should be allowed to do." Matt, I can help you out there, identifying when the change occurred (although you misrepresent the result). It was on July 9th, 1868, and it was caused by the passage of the 14th Amendment. Well... the 14th probably had nothing to do with that strange "United States of America" v. "USA" concern you seem to have, but it absolutely did change it so that the states did not have as much power as they had prior. It gave the federal government greater ability to protect the citizens from the states. If you want to argue that is a bad thing, I would be interested in seeing such a position explained. And if you want to go back to the way the country was when we were founded, you just have to get the 14th Amendment repealed. Also, what evidence are you using when you state that "[t]he idea of individuals retaining [the]... fruits of their labors to do with as they please has been destroyed"? From what I can tell, the most affluent in our country have never had a larger percentage of the wealth since the gilded age, which would contradict your claim that their ability to retain the fruits of their labors has been destroyed. So I don't know what you're basing that statement on.
Ronald Wolf April 19, 2012 at 04:41 AM
That somewhere along the way was our civil war Jordan. Power is a pendulum and the premise of our democracy is to conteract that pendulum with three branches of government. My somewhere along the line is putting the finger on the evolution of our electoral college system that has degenerated along with our two party system that by the way has nothing do do with our constitution and bill of rights. Nixon was probably the our first president to have Napoleonic ambitions since Andrew Jackson. Eisenhower saw it coming as well, Bob Dylan even wrote a song about it, This country is being parted out and sold on the international market by the same special interests who choose who we CAN vote for. And even then our votes are powerless against the electoral college. By the way these same interests that include big oil have infiltrated with lobbyists every branch of government. Was this the plan of our founding fathers? I think not.


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