The Libertarian Jury Power Fact Sheet, (pdf format)
How Ordinary People can Protect and Restore Our Rights
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We Libertarians base our political philosophy and our solutions to today's problems on a single principle: You have the right to live your life and use your property as you see fit, just so long as you respect the full right of others to do the same.
Libertarians are the only consistent defenders of individual rights. The usual alternatives offered by the left and right merely differ about which areas of human action should be restricted by the government. Liberals tend to be social planners who feel they can plan your life and spend your money more wisely than you can. Conservatives are all too prone to meddle in your private affairs and in the affairs of other countries. We consistently and firmly advocate personal and economic freedom and a noninterventionist foreign policy.
Why do we have this attitude toward governments? For two related reasons. First, we are deeply suspicious of power. We believe that "power corrupts," that politicians can not be counted on to put people's rights ahead of the demands of powerful pressure groups and their own desire for reelection and more power. Second, freedom works well. The free market economic system has proved itself to be far and away the best system for providing consumers with the products and services they want and for dramatically increasing the standard of living, especially for the poor and middle classes. Protection of civil liberties allows for the development of a rich diversity of cultures, opinions, and lifestyles, and increases peace and harmony among diverse people-just as the principle of religious freedom and tolerance ended centuries of religious persecution and warfare.
We strongly support law-enforcement that ensures that everyone obeys the basic rules of not using force against others (except in self-defense) and not committing fraud or theft. Government should not have the power to tell people what type, quantity, or quality of goods and services they must produce or buy; or, the power to prohibit peaceful activities even if some people don't approve of them.
We oppose government attempts to redistribute income from poor to rich or from rich to poor. We oppose all government subsidies and favors to any groups or individuals. We advocate an end to government spying and harassment, and repeal of all "victimless crime" laws, such as laws against recreational drugs, pornography, gambling, any form of sexual activity between consenting adults.
We believe that Americans should have the right to trade with people of other countries, directly and indirectly by buying imported products, without tariffs or quotas. We should be free to travel and invest in other countries if we wish, at our own risk and expense, without subsidies or the military protection of the U.S.
We advocate a foreign policy of noninterventionism. That is, the U.S. government should not be involved with the internal affairs of other countries. We believe that the sole purpose of the American military should be the defense of the U.S. We advocate an end to all tax-financed foreign aid programs, as we believe that charity should be voluntary. We absolutely oppose conscription (the draft) in war or peace-it's a form of slavery.
As the name suggests, the goal of the Libertarian Party is liberty. The principles that guide the Libertarian Party are the same principles that sparked the American Revolution. But why is there a need for a political party dedicated to freedom? Don't Americans enjoy more freedom than any one else?
Americans unquestionably do fare better than people in other countries, but our prosperity is the direct result of freedoms won 200 years ago in the war for independence. Since then, each passing day has seen the gradual erosion of those hard-won freedoms. If Jefferson, Tom Paine and Washington were alive today, would they recognize the liberty they worked to achieve?
The three cornerstones of the Libertarian Party are 1) free market economics, 2) non-interventionist foreign policy, and 3) the sovereign right of individuals to conduct their lives, nonviolently, as they see fit.
A key component to freedom is the right to keep the fruits of your labors. Yet today in America, government on all levels seems to be working with but one goal: the elimination of our right to keep what we produce. Unless we secure our economic liberty, we cannot fully enjoy personal rights, for personal freedom is impossible without economic freedom.
One of the ways the Libertarian Party seeks to restore our freedoms is to eliminate the income tax. Radical? Not really. America did not have an income tax for over 100 years. The Sixteenth Amendment (which gave us the income tax) was passed amid expressions of disbelief that tax rates might go as high as ten percent! You know the rest.
Libertarians would also eliminate inflation and restore the sound money system authorized by the constitution. Often referred to as the "hidden tax," inflation most severely penalizes the thrifty, the poor, and those who have saved for their retirement.
If you are like most Americans, you probably wonder why our government gives your tax dollars to foreign governments who seem to hate us The sad truth is that the $13 billion in foreign aid we spent last year is a drop in the bucket compared to the $150 billion we spent defending countries such as Japan, Germany, Canada and Korea.
Worse, some of this money also goes to exporting military supplies to one or both sides of civil struggles, and some is spent invasively policing the world with U.S. troops. If you read the news, you know that our foreign policies aren't making us many friends.
The Libertarian Party wants to return to the noninterventionist foreign policy of Thomas Jefferson, who urged, "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none."
Affordable health care has become one of the most important issues of our time. Health care costs continue to increase faster than inflation, and 13% of Americans have no health insurance at all.
Despite the dismal performance of government-run medical services throughout the world, there is considerable lobbying in the U.S. for a government-run national health care system. Politicians offer the utopian promise of universal "free" health care with unlimited access, but don't explain how the enormous costs would be covered.
Libertarians believe we need to eliminate stifling bureaucracy, increase control over our own health care, and create new and innovative health-care choices. Briefly, Libertarians favor the following steps to improve the access to health-care: 1) Privatize health care, 2) Replace law of damages with law of contract in most instances, 3) Deregulate medical research & marketing, 4) End medical monopolies, 5) Teach healthy lifestyles and prevention, and 6) Encourage and expand charitable care for the poor.
Americans are among the most generous people in the world, voluntarily donating over $100 billion a year to a wide range of worthy charities.
But just as libertarians believe it is wrong for the government to give your tax dollars to businesses, we believe that it is wrong for the government to take money from one person and give it to another, no matter how needy that recipient may appear.
Not only do we find government-sponsored welfare wrong, we know from experience that welfare has an overall negative effect on society. The U.S. government's "war on poverty" has been lost, not because too little money has been spent, but because it's inevitable that government-run poverty programs will be used mostly to enrich and empower bureaucrats, to benefit political favorites, and to buy votes that keep politicians in office.
The Libertarian Party believes that voluntary charity and the free market provide the best solutions to supplying the needs of the elderly, the sick and the poor.
America is a nation of immigrants. Most of us can trace our ancestry going back only a few generations to other nations. Most of our ancestors came to America because this was the land of freedom and opportunity.
Now however, the doors are all but closed on immigration. There is a strong anti-immigrant sentiment in our country and other advanced countries of the world and some people are tired of accepting the poor and down-trodden of other lands.
Libertarians would like to remain true to our heritage of welcoming people from other lands. We believe that the great majority of immigrants make a positive contribution to American society. People who brave the perils to reestablish themselves in America have a deep appreciation of what it means to be an American.
We do however oppose government welfare and other public assistance to immigrants just as we oppose them to the native born. Immigrants shouldn't be a burden on the American taxpayer.
We also find the current policy on immigration and the concerned government agencies such as the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Border Patrol conducive to a massive violation of human rights. We believe people should be able to cross political boundaries without concern about their nationalities or the color of their skin.
Not all of our tax dollars are wasted abroad, of course. With billions of dollars of your money at its disposal, the government has plenty of money left over to meddle in the domestic economy. That is why you hear about massive farm subsidies (that keep food prices artificially high), costly environmental clean ups (that allow polluters to go unpunished), and savings and loan bail outs (virtually guaranteeing that con artists can make money robbing banks from the inside).
In each case, the action taken by the government hurts consumers, and they're using your tax dollars to do it!
The Libertarian Party advocates the elimination of all business and farm subsidies, protective tariffs, and price supports, which benefit business interests at the expense of consumers and taxpayers.
Libertarians believe that private ownership is the best defense for the environment.
When something is owned "by the public," meaning the state, actually nobody owns it. Therefore the incentive is to use it up and not preserve it for future use.
When something is owned privately the incentive is to take care of it and to protect the investment for future use. When politicians and bureaucrats control natural resources, they look no further than the next election and a political tug-of-war ensues for favors and special privileges.
Libertarians believe that pollution of other people's property is a violation of individual rights. We believe that strict liability, not government agencies and arbitrary government standards, should regulate pollution.