As amended at the annual meeting of 25 June 2023.
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 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.
We oppose the existence of any state as having a monopoly on the use of force but agree that governments, when they exist, can only legitimately do so to the extent that their membership is entered into voluntarily and without coercion, and any individual member reserves the right to withdraw from such voluntary association as their conscience dictates. Governments should not stop or constrain such withdrawal, in accordance with individual rights.
Until we reach that end, we support reducing, and not replacing, the size, scope, and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and oppose increasing the size, scope, and power of government at any level, for any purpose. While recognizing that change often takes the form of increments and transitions, the policies in the planks that follow are to be taken as quickly and efficiently as possible without interruption or delay.
1. The Individual
No conflict exists between an orderly society and individual rights. Both concepts are based on the same fundamental principle: that no individual, group, or government may initiate force or fraud against any other individual, group, or government.
1.1 Self-Ownership, Freedom, and Responsibility
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, provided those choices do not violate the rights of others.
1.2 Freedom of Association and Discrimination
Libertarians embrace the concept that all people are born with certain natural rights to life, liberty, and justly-acquired property, including the fruits of their labor. We reject the idea that a natural right can ever impose a positive obligation upon others to fulfill that right. Government must not deny, abridge, or enhance any individual’s inherent rights for any reason and any laws which currently do so must be repealed rather than extended to all groups.
The right to trade includes the right not to trade – for any reasons whatsoever; the right of association includes the right not to associate – for any reasons whatsoever, for exercise of these rights depend upon mutual consent. Individuals and private organizations, including businesses, retain their rights to set whatever standards of association and terms of voluntary interaction they deem appropriate, and other individuals and private businesses are free to respond with ostracism, boycotts, and other free market solutions.
1.3 Freedom to Think
The ability to think – including the abilities to reason, to remember, and to imagine – is a fundamental characteristic of human beings, and the basis of individual, cultural, and economic progress. We oppose all efforts by government to interfere with thought, the ability of individuals to exercise their ability to think, and the use of technology to enhance their ability to think. We oppose any laws which would define certain ideas or ways of thinking to be "criminal", any attempts by government to restrict who can use computer hardware or software, any restrictions on individuals incorporating such technology voluntarily into their own bodies to enhance their ability to think, any attempts to regulate or tax the processing or storage of information, and any government mandate that existing knowledge be destroyed or "forgotten".
1.4 Freedom of Communications
We defend the rights of individuals to unrestricted freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right of individuals to unfettered expression. Language that is deemed offensive is not a cause for legal action. The possibility that some listeners may become disorderly and commit criminal acts is not a valid excuse for censorship. We oppose government-imposed or subsidized speech codes as well as laws against "hate speech."
Freedom of conscience holds that individuals reserve the right to remain silent in any circumstance. Governments should not force anyone to speak, either by torture or any other means. Any attempt to threaten or force someone to speak involuntarily is a serious abridgement of individual rights and human dignity.
We recognize that freedom of expression is possible only as part of a system of full property rights and recognize that freedom of communication does not extend to the use of other people's property to promote one's ideas without the voluntary consent of the owners. We oppose government ownership, control, funding, and subsidization of any communications organization, medium, or spectra and call for the abolition of the Federal Communications Commission.
Government should have no role in regulating, standardizing, or mandating which language people use in schools, places of work, or any other private situation. Although English is the most widely used language in the United States, it is not the official language of the country, despite various states attempting to mandate its use, including instruction in schools. We support complete separation of government and language and leave it to the individuals in question which mode of communication they deem most appropriate.
1.6 Freedom of Religion
We defend the rights of individuals to engage in any religious activities which do not violate the rights of others. In order to defend religious freedoms, we advocate a strict separation of church and state. We oppose government actions which define, aid, or attack any religion or religious membership. We oppose taxation of church property for the same reason we oppose all taxation.
Freedom of religion also includes freedom from religion and the right to not believe or engage in religious activities. Individuals may choose which belief system or lack thereof they find most suitable, provided they do not impose on the rights of others.
Legislative, regulatory, or judicial decisions about what is a crime must not discriminate on the basis of religious belief or membership. No religious test must ever be required to assert the right to act in a way that does not violate the rights of others. Similarly there must be no religious exemption from responsibility for actions which violate the rights of others. Those who choose not to practice a faith should have the same rights and responsibilities as those who do.
Children are human beings and, as such, have all the rights of human beings. Because the exercise of some rights requires the ability to understand the possible consequences from actions, some rights may not be realized until an appropriate level of comprehension and responsibility is reached. Until such time, rights are placed in the custodianship of a guardian who is entrusted to exercise these rights on behalf of the child. Children must always have the right to establish their maturity by assuming administration and protection of their own rights, ending dependency upon their parents or other guardians and assuming all the responsibilities of adulthood. The path for full acceptance of all rights and responsibilities (also known as "emancipation") must be easy and clear.
We oppose all laws that empower government officials to seize children and make them "wards of the state" or, by means of child labor laws and compulsory education, to infringe on their freedom to work or learn as they choose. We oppose all legally created or sanctioned discrimination against (or in favor of) children, just as we oppose government discrimination directed at any other artificially defined sub-category of human beings.
We also support the repeal of all laws establishing any category of crimes applicable to children for which adults would not be similarly vulnerable, such as curfew, smoking, and alcoholic beverage laws, and other status offenses. We seek the repeal of all "children's codes" or statutes which abridge due process protections for young people. Juveniles must be held fully responsible for their crimes in accordance with their maturity and ability to administer their own rights and responsibilities.
We believe that families and households are private institutions which must be free from government intrusion and interference. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs. Specifically, we believe that choices about such matters as education and health care are the proper domain of families and not the government. We believe that delegation of the care of children to other parties when they are not personally able to provide it, whether that be to extended family or another social group, paid help, or a formal day care center, is both the right and responsibility, including financial responsibility, of the family and not the government.
However families do not have a right to abandon or recklessly endanger their children. Whenever they are unable or unwilling to raise their children, they have the obligation to find others willing to assume guardianship. Accordingly, we oppose all laws that impede these processes, notably those restricting private adoption services, or those forcing children to remain in the custody of, or removing them from the custody of, their parents against their will.
Additionally, children are not property. We deplore any action taken by parents, in their role as guardians of their young children, to mutilate or remove a functioning body part from their child without the child's informed consent, whether justified on religious or cultural grounds, as in female genital mutilation, or in order to benefit another, as in organ donation. Children have the right, as all individuals do, to be free from the initiation of violence. Relatives, close friends, or other concerned people should be free to advocate for and protect the rights of children, including removing them from situations where bodily harm is imminent.
1.9 End of Life Decisions
We believe in self-ownership. We support the inherent right of individuals to end their lives with dignity. All persons must have the right to die at the time and place and under the conditions of their own choosing. We support the concept of living wills in which individuals declare the manner in which they are to be treated and the procedures for disposal of their remains. In the absence of such wills and the ability of the individual to choose (e.g., coma) the matter must be decided by the family or such persons the individual may have clearly preferred with whatever guidance they may desire. In keeping with the principle of non-coercion, no individual shall be forced either to continue or terminate life-sustaining care. We oppose the prosecution of physicians and loved ones who participate in consensual assisted suicide.
1.10 Organ Transfers
We assert that every individual has the right to donate their possessions, including blood and bodily organs. We oppose any government decree that forces or prohibits voluntary organ donation for any purpose. Likewise, we support the right of any individual or business to buy or sell blood and organs for any purpose. We further oppose the government restriction of blood donation based purely on sexual orientation or identity.
1.11 Gender and Sexuality
Individuals have the sole authority to determine and express their own sexual and gender identities.
No intrinsic human characteristic such as gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation should be the subject of law or the policy of any level of government.
Government has no right to take such distinctions into account in matters such as marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration, or military service, and there is no need for government to track or classify people in these ways, or even to create definitions for such classifications. We specifically oppose the requirement and use of such classifications on government-issued identification documents.
As long as governments continue to issue birth certificates, any sexual characteristics recorded therein should be used solely for the purpose of later identification of the individual, e.g., in prosecution of real crimes or establishment of property rights, and should not be carried forward into other kinds of government records or used as the basis of any other action by government.
To the degree that distinctions of this type are relevant to personal interactions and relationships, they are only the business of those involved. Government should not be compelling, regulating, or prohibiting any such interaction or relationship.
To the degree that such classifications are considered useful or necessary in various larger-scale activities, such as scientific research, medicine, or sports, they should be determined voluntarily by the organizations involved, using whatever criteria they consider relevant in the particular field.
We condemn any legislation that interferes with the lives of gender and sexual minority (GSM) individuals. Transgender individuals possess full self-ownership, as all people do, and cannot rightly be prevented from or coerced into receiving gender-affirming care. We oppose all laws which mandate or forbid the use of an individual's preferred name or pronouns.
1.12 Sexual Rights
Consenting individuals have the right to private choice in sexual activity.
We support the repeal of all laws and policies which are intended to condemn, affirm, encourage, or deny sexual lifestyles or any attitudes about such lifestyles. Further, we oppose any government attempts to dictate, prohibit, control, or encourage any private lifestyle, living arrangement, or contractual relationship.
We support the repeal of all laws prohibiting or regulating sex work including prostitution, whether practiced by individuals or in the form of businesses such as those operating brothels, massage parlors, or other facilities.
Who or how many somebody loves is none of the government's business. Government must acknowledge the right of all consenting adults to form marriages without regard to gender, sexual preference, blood relationship, or number of parties.
We support separation of marriage and state. Government marriage license regimes were introduced as tools of control like any other license, and therefore we call for their immediate abolition. No free individual should be expected to obtain a "permission slip" from the state in order to marry.
Those who want to formally define their relationship should do so by contract – either one of their own devising or, if they prefer some "traditional" arrangement, by making use of a standard contract offered by an institution of their choice. With respect to control and disposition of financial assets, married people can also make use of the same kinds of shared ownership options used by unmarried people.
To implement these principles, we advocate recognition in law of marriage contracts, repeal of all other marriage and marriage dissolution laws, removal of provisions that make "community property" the default, and repeal of all alimony laws.
1.14 Reproductive Rights
No level of government should regulate, prohibit, subsidize, or encourage any reproductive choice. We defend the right of all persons to privacy in and control over this aspect of their biological nature, including decisions about contraception, termination of pregnancy, designer babies, surrogate motherhood, artificial insemination, and cloning.
1.15 Justice for the Individual
As violators of foundational principles, aggressors must be required to compensate their victims and pay for costs of their trial and apprehension. We support restitution to the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or wrongdoer and oppose any laws which deprive the victim of the right to recover damages from those responsible in the case of injury. Those unwilling to make payments towards a court-ordered judgment must be placed in a competitive private prison agreed upon by arbitration, in lieu of the state-subsidized Prison Industrial Complex whose sole motive is profit with little concern for making the victim whole. We support private arbitration wherever possible as an alternative to, and replacement of, the government-run system. We also support the right of the victim to pardon the criminal or wrongdoer, barring threats to the victim for this purpose.
1.16 The War on Drugs
The so-called "War on Drugs" is in reality a war on people. We deplore the suffering that drug misuse has brought about; however, drug prohibition is more dangerous than drugs themselves and comes with a staggering cost in both money and human lives. The War on Drugs is a grave threat to individual liberty, to domestic order, and to peace in the world; furthermore, it has provided a rationale by which the power of the state has been expanded to restrict greatly our right to privacy and to be secure in our homes. Therefore, we call for a complete end to the War on Drugs.
While we do not advocate drug misuse, we are in favor of alternative solutions that do not increase the power of the state. We favor the elimination of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, the Controlled Substances Act, and all other laws establishing criminal or civil penalties for the use of drugs, and the abolition of bureaucracies like the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Alcohol fits the definition of a drug just as much as any other drug, legal or illegal, but gets a free pass and is widely promoted, sold, and consumed. Big Alcohol, in bed with Big Government, not only shuts out competition from other drugs but makes government inconsistent and hypocritical as to who gets locked into a cage for their choice of recreational substances.
Many states have recently legalized recreational marijuana. However it is heavily regulated and highly taxed. Some sales at marijuana stores are ultimately taxed over 70%. So now marijuana is being relied upon to support the same governments which label it as a "gateway drug". The fact that marijuana is now legal in some situations but illegal in other situations, within the same state, makes it very hard for users to navigate the system legally – another reason why we favor the elimination of all laws establishing criminal or civil penalties for the use of drugs. We advocate the total and swift repeal of all taxes and regulations associated with these substances for the same reasons we oppose taxes and regulations on all other goods and services.
1.17 Criminal and Civil Laws
We hold that any action which does not infringe on the rights of others cannot properly be deemed a crime or civil violation and believe that individuals retain the right to voluntarily assume risk of harm to themselves. We therefore favor the repeal of all laws that create penalties without actual victims. In particular, we advocate:
a. the repeal of all laws prohibiting the production, sale, possession, or use of drugs and alcohol, and of all medicinal prescription requirements for the purchase of vitamins, drugs, and similar substances and call for the abolition of any agencies that exist to enforce any of these restrictions including the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Food and Drug Administration;
b. the repeal of all laws regarding consensual sexual relations, including prostitution and solicitation;
c. the repeal of all laws regulating or prohibiting gambling; and
d. the repeal of all laws interfering with the right to commit suicide as infringements of the ultimate right of individuals to their own lives.
We demand the pardon and exoneration of everyone who has been convicted solely for these "crimes." We condemn the confiscation of property via civil asset forfeiture that all too often accompanies police raids, searches, and prosecutions for victimless crimes.
1.18 Safeguards for the Criminally Accused
People must be accorded all possible respect for their individual rights until such time as they are proven guilty of a crime. The rights of due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty must not be denied.
We oppose labeling cases as civil in order to avoid the due process protections of criminal law and we further oppose pretrial seizure of property. We oppose police officers using excessive force, preventive detention, and no-knock raids, and support the right to film police officers.
Whenever malfeasance of government agents results in persons being arrested, indicted, tried, imprisoned, or otherwise injured in the course of criminal proceedings, injured parties must receive full restitution.
1.19 Civil Asset Forfeiture
The only just case for involuntarily seizing another's property is to set right an injustice such as theft. Civil asset forfeiture takes the property of individuals before any criminal guilt is found and often deprives them of that property far longer than is reasonable, if not indefinitely. Civil asset forfeiture is legal plunder in the most literal sense; it is the law stealing that which it wishes without the burden of proof or the necessity of a crime. We call for an end to legal plunder and the return of all property stolen by the state under civil asset forfeiture.
1.20 Protection of Privacy
The individual's right to privacy must not be infringed. Governments must not use electronic or other means of covert surveillance of an individual's actions or private property without the express consent of the owner or occupant. Correspondence, financial transactions and records, medical records, legal records, employment records, and the like must not be open to review without the express consent of all parties involved in those actions.
We support the natural rights of individuals to be secure in their persons and property against unreasonable searches and seizures and oppose any government use of search warrants to examine or seize materials belonging to innocent third parties. We also oppose and call for the abolition of police roadblocks and practices of testing drivers for intoxicants, stopping mass transit vehicles and searching passengers, and Terry stops (also called "stop-and-frisk") in the absence of probable cause.
All federal, state, local, and other government compilations of data must be conducted only with the express consent of the persons from whom the data is sought. To this end, we call for the abolition of the National Security Agency and all other agencies that conduct unwarranted mass surveillance; the abolition of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which rubber-stamps secret warrants that can't be challenged; and the abolition of the USA PATRIOT Act, USA FREEDOM Act, Alien and Sedition Acts, Espionage Act, and any other legislation, executive orders, or regulations which authorize violations of rights.
When government agencies violate privacy rights, people who are knowledgeable of these violations have a duty to inform the public. To that end, we support protections for whistleblowers and oppose efforts to charge whistleblowers with espionage for exposing governmental wrongdoing.
If a private employer screens prospective or current employees for drugs or medical conditions, that is a term of that employee's labor contract with the employer. Such screening does not violate the rights of employees, who have the right to boycott such employers if they choose. Private contractual arrangements, including labor contracts, must be founded on mutual consent and agreement in a society that upholds freedom of association. We oppose any use of such screening by government; we also oppose mandating it of private employers.
We oppose the requirement to possess an identity card, for any purpose, such as employment, voting, or border crossing, and call upon the Congress to repeal REAL ID which in effect creates a national identification system.
We further oppose the nearly universal requirement for use of Social Security number(s) as personal identification codes, whether by government agencies or by intimidation of private companies by governments.
Encryption technology is an essential tool for protecting the privacy of communication. It can also be used to protect the integrity and privacy of stored information and financial transactions, and to establish the authenticity of documents and their sources (e.g., "digital signatures").
We support the right of individuals and groups to protect their privacy and secure their documents via encryption. We support the rights of people and businesses to develop and sell encryption technology and distributed software that allows users to protect their privacy.
We oppose any government efforts to restrict development, deployment, import, or export of encryption technologies, or that would weaken their effectiveness. We oppose any requirement for disclosure of encryption methods or keys and any requirement for use of government-specified devices or protocols. We specifically oppose any requirement that equipment manufacturers, software developers, or service providers include "back doors" that would allow government access to encrypted communications. We also oppose government classification of civilian research on encryption methods.
1.22 The Right to Self-Defense
The only legitimate use of force is in self-defense. This right inheres in the individual, who may seek to be, or agree to be, aided by any other individual or group. Private property owners shall be free to establish their own conditions regarding weapons. The right of defense extends to defense against aggressive acts of government.
We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, sale, manufacture, transport, or transfer of firearms, firearm accessories, ammunition, or any other tool that could be used for self-defense, including any requirements for background checks. Accordingly, we support abolishing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) and favor the implementation of fully-legal carry of weapons, open or concealed, without any permit requirement.
1.23 The Right to Property
We hold that property rights are individual rights and, as such, are entitled to the same protections as all other individual rights. We oppose any recognition of fiat claims by national governments or international bodies to unclaimed territory. Individuals have the right to homestead unowned resources, both within the jurisdictions of national governments and within such unclaimed territory as the ocean, Antarctica, and the volume of outer space. We further hold that the owners of property, including land, have the full right to control, use, rent, collateralize, 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.
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 abridgments of such fundamental rights.
Where property, including land, has been taken from its rightful owners in violation of individual rights, we favor restitution to the rightful owners.
We specifically condemn current government efforts to regulate or ban the use of property in the name of aesthetic values, riskiness, moral standards, cost-benefit estimates, or the promotion or restriction of economic growth. We demand an end to the taxation of privately owned real property, which makes the state the de facto owner of all lands and forces individuals to rent their homes and places of business from the state.
We support the right of individuals to defend their private property, including the right to terminate perceived threats such as surveillance balloons or drones operated by domestic or foreign governments or other hostile entities.
We support the right of individuals to own land and property collectively, if they so choose, for the purpose of living together (e.g., hippie communes, Israeli kibbutzim) or other activities (e.g., community gardens), and to decide amongst themselves how that collective ownership works in practice.
We support the right of individuals to engage in gambling in any form they deem appropriate (e.g., online betting markets), with the understanding that it is the responsibility of each individual to accept the outcome of their actions and to incur such wins or losses they receive. The debts of private individuals should never be the burden of taxpayers. Accordingly, we oppose all efforts of the government to prohibit, restrict, or undermine in any way people's ability to gamble in person or online. We further oppose all legally-mandated age restrictions on such activities.
2. The Market
Every individual has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. Where governments exist, the only justifiable role in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected.
Efforts to forcibly redistribute wealth or forcibly manage trade are intolerable. We believe that all individuals have the right to dispose of the fruits of their labor as they see fit and that governments have no right to take such wealth. We oppose government-enforced charity such as welfare programs and subsidies, but we support those individuals and private charitable organizations that help the needy and contribute to a wide array of worthwhile causes through voluntary activities.
2.1 Social Services
We oppose government funded social services. However, we support the right of individuals to voluntarily form mutual aid and philanthropic societies to help those in need. These voluntary support services are more responsive and effective than government bureaucracies that have an incentive to prolong and even worsen existing social problems, for the sake of their job security and program funding.
2.2 Finance and Capital Investment
We call for the removal of all regulation of financial and capital markets and the abolition of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
We oppose any attempts to ban or regulate investing in stock-market index futures or new financial instruments which may emerge in the future. In particular, Blue Sky laws which limit small and risky investments must be repealed.
2.3 Money and Inflation
We recognize that government control over money and banking is the primary cause of inflation and depression. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange must be free to own and use as money any mutually agreeable item. We favor the elimination of all government fiat money and call for the repeal of all legal tender laws and of all compulsory governmental units of account.
We call for recognition of the right of individuals to use gold and other commodities, cryptocurrencies, and foreign currencies as money, and the legalization of domestic deposits denominated in foreign currencies. Restrictions upon the private minting of coins must be abolished so that minting can be open to the competition of the free market.
We call for an end to attempts to regulate or limit use of these other forms of money, and an end to taxes imposed on "gains" in their value that are actually a reflection of a decrease in the value of U.S. government-managed fiat money.
We favor free-market banking. We call for the abolition of the national banking system, and all similar national and state interventions affecting banking and credit. Our opposition encompasses all controls on the rate of interest. There must be unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types, including private insurance agencies competing for the business of protecting investors' deposits, without competition by the National Credit Union Administration and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Above all we call for the abolition of the unaccountable Federal Reserve that issues its own money created without oversight and lends it at interest to the government and other banking institutions.
2.5 Universal Basic Income
Any government-supported universal basic income scheme is another form of welfare, and we object to it for the same reasons. "Guaranteeing" income to everybody inevitably will involve taking income or assets from other people through taxation or inflation, violating their rights, and making the overall economy less productive.
Moreover, the universality of this form of welfare doesn't make it better – if anything it makes it worse. By making welfare a part of everyone's financial life, UBI would obscure the natural relationship between work and income, making it harder for average citizens to understand basic economic principles. Money magically appearing in an arbitrary, politically-determined amount will encourage the idea that goods and services and the prices we pay for them are also arbitrary, and should also be determined by government. Future generations will be unable to envision life without it, leading the population as a whole further toward a condition of serfdom.
In addition, we oppose government sponsored "demonstrations" of UBI even where the funds are provided by non-government sources. While we recognize and support the right of private individuals to provide financial assistance to anyone they deem deserving, private organizations don't need government help to provide such assistance. Such "trials" are not serious experiments, since by their nature they can measure neither the true costs nor the overall effect on society as a whole of a full-scale program. They are, rather, propaganda vehicles the transparent purpose of which is to build political support for government-funded versions.
In order to achieve a free economy in which government victimizes no one for the benefit of any other, we oppose all government subsidies. Subsidies can take the form of so-called public-private partnerships, government contracting, mandatory insurance, and similar policies.
We oppose all government guarantees of loans. Such guarantees transfer resources to special interests as effectively as actual government expenditures and, at the national level, exceed direct government loans in total amount. Such government meddling also distorts decisions about lending risk, as we have seen with recent crises relating to housing and student loans. All national, state, and local government agencies whose primary function is to guarantee loans must be abolished.
Relief or exemption from taxation or from any other involuntary government intervention must not be considered a subsidy.
2.7 Universal Service
We oppose any concept of "Universal Service" by which people would be conscripted into performing work chosen by government. Just as with conscription for military service, such a program is not only a violation of individual rights but an interference with normal economic processes.
That an expanded draft might provide workers for causes that are more popular than war is not a good reason to adopt this approach to allocating labor. That an expanded draft might help end the historical discrimination against men by including women is not the right way to end that discrimination. The right way is to end all conscription of anybody, for any purpose.
The entire concept of "universal service" is based on a faulty model of the role of young people in our economy. Every young person who takes a job in the private sector, or who invests in education to become better qualified for such a job, is "serving" the community, in ways that the community itself has defined through the market. By contrast, government programs, being less efficient, on average represent less "service" per hour worked. Treating young people as a "means of production" that can be better managed by government than by their own choices is a state-socialist idea that is inconsistent with a free market.
2.8 Employer/Employee Rights
To protect the rights of both employees and employers, their relationship must be based on voluntary agreement. Forcing a person to work against his/her will is commonly understood to be wrong – slavery. Forcing somebody to hire a person is equally wrong. We oppose any government scheme based on the idea of "a right to a job".
Compensation for work is properly determined by employees deciding what their time and effort are worth to them and employers deciding what having that work done is worth to their business. Jobs exist because they are mutually beneficial to both parties. This relationship does not automatically create any obligation on the part of an employer to fully support an employee or his/her family, any more than it automatically creates an obligation on the part of an employee to ensure that a business is successful or profitable. We oppose minimum wage laws and any government schemes based on the idea of "a living wage".
The structure of compensation is similarly a choice properly made by the employer and employee, not government. Whether compensation is based on hours worked, output produced, or some other measure, and whether it includes "benefits" such as insurance, day care, or paid vacation, are matters which should be left to the parties involved to decide, by mutual agreement. We oppose all laws which mandate specific employee benefits, as well as subsidies and tax policies which attempt to impose standard benefit packages which may not be in the best interests of particular employers or employees.
2.9 Unions and Collective Bargaining
We support the right of people to freely associate in labor unions, just as we recognize that the existence of a union does not grant powers that the individuals within the union do not possess. The existence of boycotts, strikes, and lockouts does not justify the initiation of violence against other workers, employers, strike-breakers, or innocent bystanders.
We oppose government interference in bargaining such as compulsory arbitration or the imposition of an obligation to bargain. Therefore, we urge repeal of the National Labor Relations Act and all laws that prohibit employers from making voluntary contracts with unions. We oppose all government back-to-work orders as the imposition of a form of forced labor.
Licensure is a method for government to convert a natural right into a privilege – one that involves paying fees to the government to exercise. Privileges can be and often are revoked by government. Rights must be held inviolate, and no one must be forced to pay to exercise a right.
We condemn all coercive and government-granted monopolies including public utilities and the United States Postal Service. In order to facilitate their elimination, we advocate a strict separation of business and state, and call for the repeal of all antitrust laws, including the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Robinson-Patman Act, and the Celler-Kefauver Act. We further call for the abolition of the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. Laws of incorporation must not include grants of monopoly privilege. In particular, we oppose special limits on the liability of corporations for damages caused in non-contractual transactions. We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives, and other types of companies based on voluntary association and favor the elimination of state or federal limits on the size of private companies and on the right of companies to merge. We also favor the elimination of efforts to expand federal chartering as a pretext for government control of business, particularly those involving industries where government could attempt to create its own monopoly.
2.12 Postal Service
The United States Postal Services is a monopoly. Only the United States Postal Service can legally deliver mail to mailboxes.
The United States Postal Service loses billions of dollars year after year – totaling tens of billions over recent years. Technologies such as telephone, fax, e-mail, the Internet, online banking, smart phones, streaming, and on-demand delivery services such as Amazon have replaced most of the need for paper mail to be delivered to both homes and businesses. Often less than 20% of home-delivered mail is considered relevant by the recipient, while 80% or more is considered "junk mail". In other words, billions of tax dollars are at risk, and tons of vehicle emissions used, with unsustainable employee retirement liabilities building up, so that Americans can have worthless, unwanted paper delivered to them daily.
Meanwhile other countries have privatized mail services entirely.
There is no reason to continue this outdated boondoggle monopoly. To allow a small fraction of the individuals receiving payments from government to keep the option of getting physical checks once a month is no excuse for it. Keeping post offices in small outlying rural communities so they can feel connected to the outside world is no excuse for it. Providing a delivery service for online retailers, when those businesses already have other alternatives or can come up with other solutions to deliver goods on their own, is no excuse for it. When the monopoly is abolished, competition and innovation will provide more efficient services.
We call for the immediate elimination of the United States Postal Service and removal of reference to it from the U.S. Constitution.
2.13 Intellectual Monopoly and File Sharing
The phrase "intellectual property" is a misnomer. What the state calls intellectual property is more accurately referred to as "intellectual monopoly" as the state grants a monopoly on the use of an idea, or goods and services derived from an idea, to a certain limited group. We call for the elimination of the protection of such monopoly thereby freeing the market, encouraging content providers and product developers to improve on existing products thereby bringing more and better choices to the market.
In particular, we call for the end of the prohibition of online file sharing, just as we oppose all victimless crimes. When content is shared it is not stolen as no one loses any property, only a potential loss of some future revenue, which is natural in any open market.
2.14 Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
We advocate the complete separation of employment from state. We therefore call for the repeal of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act and any state level equivalent. These laws deny the right to liberty and property to both employer and employee, and interfere in their private contractual relations. Instead, we promote free market solutions to help increase employee safety.
2.15 Space Exploration and Development
The development of space and the establishment of a spacefaring civilization, being in the greatest common good of the human race, should not be restricted by governments.
We oppose all government restrictions upon voluntary peaceful use and exploration of outer space. We condemn all international attempts to control, prevent, or limit private exploration, industrialization, and colonization of the moon, planets, asteroids, satellite orbits, Lagrange points, or any other extra-terrestrial resources.
It is important to allow free market entrants to create innovative launch systems and business models, and for them and their customers to determine their own acceptable levels of risk.
We support the replacement of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration with private-sector alternatives.
Should extraterrestrial life be discovered, we support the right of individuals to decide for themselves whether to interact with or host these lifeforms. We oppose any government law or action that forbids humans from interacting with, hosting, or otherwise supporting intelligent extraterrestrial life in mutual peaceful exchange.
3. The Community
Current problems in such areas as energy, pollution, health care delivery, decaying cities, and poverty are not solved, but are primarily caused, by government. The welfare and protection state, supposedly designed to aid the poor and protect the public, is in reality a growing and parasitic burden on all productive people, and injures, rather than benefits, the poor themselves, while violating the rights of peaceful persons to be free to keep the fruits of their labors and to trade freely.
3.1 Consumer Protection
The natural right to produce and purchase products and services must not be restricted by law. We advocate the elimination of all government consumer affairs agencies such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the repeal of all laws regulating the production, transportation, sale, possession, advertising, quality, safety, or use of any product or service.
These functions would be better served, in a truly free market, because:
a. a good name is an asset to a business that can best be maintained by fair and honest dealing;
b. certificates, guarantees, and warranties issued by manufacturers and suppliers of goods and services would be enforced;
c. both professional and non-professional people would voluntarily form associations for the specific purpose of maintaining high standards both in work and behavior; and
d. privately-owned consumer protection organizations producing reviews, ratings, and recommendations would proliferate.
We seek a return to a free, dynamic market with every desirable crop being produced and sold by as many market participants as possible, using any method that meets with the approval of the buying public that does not spread external harm.
Private sector labeling must be allowed to replace government-mandated labeling – consumers will be better served with competitive certification and labels and the ability to reject products whose labeling fails to meet their personal standards.
Private individuals or corporations must bear full responsibility for damages they inflict on their neighbors with unwanted externalities including pesticides, herbicides, and genetic modifications.
Good stewardship of our natural world is best accomplished through a system of voluntary exchange with a clear definition and enforcement of property rights and responsibilities. Through market-based incentives, private property owners and conservation groups can maintain natural resources, protect the environment, and make restitution to injured parties where damages are proven and quantified through legal procedures. Pollution of air, water, and land violates people's rights to their lives and property, since harm to health or property due to pollution is as real as harm due to assault or theft.
Therefore, we support:
a. the ability of private individuals and organizations to acquire natural resources for the purpose of conservation, provided they do not violate individual rights in the process;
b. the use of private deed restrictions to conserve natural resources;
c. the transfer of all currently unowned and government-owned property, including waterways and airspace, to private ownership;
d. an extension of the laws governing torts, such as trespass and nuisance, to include substantial damage caused by air, water, soil, radiation, and noise pollution;
e. the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency and similar state agencies and a return of all questions related to violations of the rights to life and property to the jurisdiction of the courts;
f. holding property owners fully liable for damages caused when they pollute; and
g. holding governments legally responsible for being major contributors to pollution.
In addition, we oppose:
a. government-mandated conservation and laws that control or regulate the use, development, sale, or production of resources – e.g., land, minerals, and woodlands;
b. laws providing for governmental protection of endangered species – private wildlife and conservancy groups should assume responsibility for such efforts;
c. laws mandating the recycling of waste products, imposing anti-litter taxes or bottle deposits, and offering government loans to finance recycling plants; and
d. the creation of governmental funds, backed by the taxing power, to finance pollution clean-up.
The transportation industry must not be treated differently from any other industry, and must be governed by free markets and held to strict liability.
We call for the privatization of airports, air traffic control systems, railroads, rail passenger services, seaports, canals, and all public roads.
We advocate an immediate end to government regulation of private transit organizations and to government favors to the transportation industry. We advocate an immediate end to all government subsidies related to transportation.
We support the immediate repeal of all laws restricting and regulating transit competition such as the granting of taxicab and bus monopolies.
We support the immediate repeal of any regulation or prohibition of ride-share transportation services such as Uber and Lyft.
We urge immediate deregulation of the trucking industry.
We call for the repeal of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 which restricts the carriage of goods or passengers between United States ports to US-built and flagged vessels.
We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation – including the Department of Transportation, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Coast Guard, and the Federal Maritime Commission – and the transfer of their legitimate functions to competitive private firms.
3.5 Fire Services
We favor the complete abolition of government-operated fire services, for the same reasons we want government out of all other markets: so that services can be provided more efficiently by the private sector, without coercive funding. In addition, fire unions have disproportionate power to manipulate gold-plated salaries and benefits, to the point of threatening bankruptcy of local governments.
In scattered markets across the country there are already competing, private fire agencies where the less-effective or more-costly providers tend over time to get squeezed out by the better providers. For-profit fire departments operate more efficiently, and offer more incentives for customers to seek and maintain higher safety standards that, in turn, result in fewer fires.
There are also alternatives aplenty provided by the private sector that reduce or eliminate the need for some services altogether. Some examples include insurance companies providing their own emergency fire service crews to protect homes and private property, especially in targeted areas of wildfires. Insurance-provided fire protection was the standard in 19th century Europe. Subscription-based fire protection agencies are offered more and more in former third-world countries now embracing free markets. These subscriptions offer services ranging from guaranteed response times to minimal yearly check-ups. Lower rates are offered when customers agree to comply with fire preventative maintenance and training.
Advancements in technology are already helping in fire safety. For instance, modern residential and commercial electrical equipment has prevented thousands of potential fires, and modern fire suppression systems have almost eliminated fire department response to high-rise building fires.
3.6 Emergency Medical Services
We favor the complete abolition of government-operated emergency medical (EMS) services. Private EMS companies already exist, proving that such services do not need to be provided by a government entity. Personal emergency response companies take advantage of current technologies such as smartphones, apps, home hardware, or communicative arm bands and neck lanyard devices.
Some of these services can be included in the existing business model of companies that provide other services, such as home alarm companies. Bundling services in this way is cost-effective. Companies that provide faster response times and better service are rated higher, helping them grow market share. Even the recent popularity of ride-share services has noticeably decreased the need for ambulance rides.
We advocate the complete separation of education and state. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. We condemn compulsory education laws and call for their immediate repeal. Government should not be in the business of deciding what is taught, whether in the form of curriculum guidelines, testing requirements, "standards", or approval of textbooks. We call for the abolition of the federal Department of Education and all similar agencies at the state and local level, including school boards.
Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges must end. The responsibility for the cost of education properly belongs with the people being educated or their parents/guardians. Tax funding is a form of welfare, shifts the cost to other households and to businesses without any connection to the services provided, creates bloated and stagnant bureaucracies, and reduces incentives for innovation that could both improve quality and reduce cost. Government loans and other subsidies for higher education distort students' judgement both about what fields they study and the overall value of such education.
We support the rights of parents who choose to educate their children at home. We support the right of businesses and other organizations to operate schools at all levels, whether on a for-profit or non-profit basis, whether following some traditional format or making use of new methods and technology. We applaud those who have chosen to make free or low-cost educational resources available online to students of all ages. We encourage all who want to help families cover educational expenses to do so through voluntary action.
3.8 Subsidized College
The current so-called student loan crisis would have easily been avoided if the government had stayed out of student loans in the first place. Since the 1950s the federal government increasingly and incrementally became more involved with student loans so much that it is now practically a monopoly. The government has been directly lending funds to students for some time.
Colleges know that as they continue to increase tuition, significantly faster than the general rate of inflation, government will continue to cover costs. This has created a subsidized-college-campus-industry where colleges now need to compete to get students, hence more government money. Guaranteed, easy-to-access loans has now created multiple generations of financial ignorance and entitlement.
We call for the abolition of all federal student loan programs.
We call for the end of all student loan relief programs.
We call for an end to subsidization of college.
We advocate that all libraries be 100% private and neither run nor funded by government at all. This could be done in a multitude of ways: subscription-based, donor-based, voluntary staffing, or general philanthropy (which was, historically, the way that many libraries now run by government were originally established).
Voluntary communities, businesses, and individuals should be free to open any type of library they wish, with any kind of lending or content policies they wish. Complete privatization would also eliminate the politicization of such controversies as who is invited to read during a story hour, or whether books on a particular subject should be made available to the public.
As long as governments fund libraries with coercive taxation they have no right to discriminate or base collection policies on personal characteristics such as race, sex, gender, or sexual orientation/identity.
We support the separation of science and state. Science is too important to allow government to manage or control it. Science is an ongoing process by which we increase our understanding of the natural world, always seeking better models, not a set of facts that can properly be the subject of legislation or edict.
Government has no business endorsing scientific theories or findings. Science has its own standards for evaluating, documenting, and sharing such knowledge. Throughout history, attempts by authoritarian institutions to impose "official" views on scientific questions have interfered with progress. Famous examples include suppression of the heliocentric model of our solar system and the promotion of the Lamarckian theory of evolution. Our society today is not exempt from repetition of similar follies.
Similarly, government should not endorse or attempt to discredit scientists or scientific organizations. Experts in various scientific fields are best identified by their peers. Science, like all human endeavors, has enough internal politics, which can be made worse by government interference, and the general public should not be misled by titles bestowed by politicians and bureaucrats.
We oppose government funding of scientific research. In addition to the basic injustice of taking money by force, from people who may have other priorities, government funding creates perverse incentives which can lead to waste of resources, while discouraging research that might lead to both better understanding of the natural world and practical new products and methods.
Scientific research should be privately funded by businesses, universities, and other institutions that allow those interested in various areas of research to pool their resources for this purpose. Government can best facilitate this by cutting taxes, on both businesses and individuals, to allow non-government institutions to put more of their resources into this important activity.
The provision of energy must be left to the free market. We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, distribution, and production. We oppose all government subsidies for energy research, development, and operation. We support abolition of the Department of Energy and its component agencies.
We oppose all government conservation schemes involving taxes, subsidies, and regulation. We oppose any attempt to compel national energy self-sufficiency. The government must not be in the business of stockpiling natural resources; therefore we call for the complete disbursement of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
We favor the creation of a free market in all forms of energy by respecting property rights and repealing all government controls over output in the energy industry. All government-owned energy resources must be returned to private ownership.
3.13 Mental Health
We oppose the involuntary treatment or commitment of any person for mental health concerns, as well as government pressure requiring parents to obtain counseling or psychiatric drugs for their children. We advocate an end to the spending of tax money for any program of psychiatric, psychological, behavioral research, or treatment.
Human beings should not be treated as government test tubes. The treatment of mental health should be a private matter between practitioner and patient and there should be no required reporting of it to government. Government should have no control nor should it provide any funding, which would give it an indirect means of control, over why, from whom, or any other aspect of how a person seeks counseling or any other mental health service.
Government labeling mental health "crises" often ends up blurring the lines between mild conditions and serious disorders such as schizophrenia. This "something for everyone" approach results in those truly needing care going untreated, unmedicated, and often ending up in emergency rooms or jail. Having more hospitals and smaller more-accessible services available would better and more cost-effectively help those who truly need assistance.
3.14 Health Care
We advocate a complete separation of medicine from the state. Accordingly, we support a free market health care system and oppose government mandates in insurance and healthcare. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the services they want (if any) and all other aspects of their medical care.
We advocate replacing compulsory or tax supported plans to supply health services or insurance with voluntarily supported efforts. We also oppose government-imposed insurance mandates for employers, and tax and other incentives to link medical coverage to employment, which distorts the market for health insurance, making it essentially a tool of government policy. This discourages individual or mutual group insurance purchases and job mobility for workers, and hinders companies' ability to grow and to employ workers in full time positions, which hurts both employers and employees.
We oppose expansion of existing tax supported plans to cover more people, including any form of "Medicare for All". We oppose any government restriction or funding of private medical or scientific research. We support the reduction or elimination of state granted drug patent monopolies and protectionist government bans on medication imports, which hurt patients, especially the poor, by prohibiting manufacturing and importation of less expensive pharmaceuticals, resulting in astronomically inflated prices.
We oppose all Certificate-of-Need laws. Such laws only limit access, degrade quality, and increase costs. In a free-market healthcare system, consumers (not state regulatory mechanisms) will decide how many hospitals are needed in a particular region, how many beds are needed at healthcare facilities, and will never obstruct ambulatory services entering a market.
During times of an epidemic, we oppose government, at any level, seizing the opportunity to curtail our liberties. Epidemics present serious problems for individuals and for society which must be addressed, but as with all other challenges they must be addressed while respecting individual rights, and they can best be addressed through the mechanisms of voluntary action and the market. Experience has shown that failure to adhere to these principles has led to widespread violations of rights, loss of life that could have been avoided, poor allocation of resources in addressing the problem, and severe damage to the economy and society as a whole.
We support individuals engaging in self-quarantine, healing and medicating each other through voluntary initiatives, and informing each other on best practices to avoid, contain, and eliminate such biological threats.
We oppose actions by any level of government that:
a. "lock down" or otherwise generally limit the freedom of movement in a geographic area;
b. quarantine any individuals absent specific evidence that they are contagious;
c. force businesses, churches, or other organizations to stop operating or limit their hours;
d. prevent individuals from acquiring and using medicines, vaccines, masks, or any other product that they believe may be helpful to them;
e. ration access to such products by age, occupation, or other personal characteristic;
f. require any individuals to make use of any such products or other preventive measures;
g. prevent private businesses and property owners from requiring protective measures they judge necessary for the protection of themselves and their employees, customers, or guests;
h. discriminate against certain businesses or industries by declaring them "non-essential"; and
i. require use of a government-issued medical passport or require businesses to make use of any privately-issued equivalent.
3.16 Poverty and Unemployment
We oppose all attempts to criminalize homelessness. We therefore call for the immediate repeal of all laws against sleeping, camping, eating, feeding, or solicitation.
Traditional, voluntary sources of emergency support from families, churches, private charities, and mutual aid societies have always been more humane, more effective, and willingly borne by the givers rather than being coercively taken from others. Therefore we call for the complete disbandment of the welfare state.
As long as we are being oppressed by the current tax system, we advocate dollar-for-dollar tax credits for all charitable contributions, as a way of shortening the time when governmental programs are replaced by effective private institutions.
We support voluntary efforts and organizations to feed and clothe the homeless as a means of rehabilitation and re-entering society and the workforce. We oppose all laws prohibiting the assistance of homeless individuals and of sleeping or loitering; these decisions are best left to private property and business owners who know their community better than politicians, and would be even more effective if property rights were extended to sidewalks and roads.
Government fiscal and monetary measures that artificially foster business expansion guarantee an eventual increase in unemployment rather than curtailing it. We call for the immediate cessation of such policies as well as any governmental attempts to affect employment levels.
We support repeal of all laws that impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws, so-called "protective" labor legislation for women and children, governmental restrictions on the establishment of private day-care centers, and the National Labor Relations Act. We deplore government-fostered forced retirement, which robs the elderly of the right to work.
3.17 Social Security
Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual not the government. Therefore, we call for the elimination of the coercive government-sponsored Social Security system. In the interim, we support making participation optional as a way to phase-out the program in favor of private alternatives. Individuals who favor a collective retirement scheme should be free to do so voluntarily and independent of the coercion of the state.
3.18 Resource Use
Resource management is properly the responsibility and right of the legitimate owners of land, water, and other natural resources. We oppose government control of resource use via taxes, incentives, or regulations.
We call for the homesteading or other just transfer to private ownership of government-controlled lands and other resources. We recognize the legitimacy of resource planning by means of private, voluntary covenants.
We oppose creation of new government parks or wilderness and recreation areas. Such parks and areas that already exist must be transferred to non-government ownership. Pending such just transfer, their operating costs must be borne by their users rather than by taxpayers.
The allocation of water must be governed by unrestricted competition and unregulated prices. We call for the divestment of government and quasi-government water supply systems. The construction of government dams and other water projects must cease, and existing government water projects must be transferred to private ownership. Only the complete separation of water and the state will prevent future water crises.
Zoning laws need to be abolished, not only because they are a violation of property rights, but because they make many problems worse, especially in busy metropolitan areas.
Zoning laws have racism in their roots and are still a source of racial and class discrimination.
Zoning laws cost the average worker thousands of dollars in annual income potential, drive up property taxes, and are a drain on the local economy.
Zoning imposes artificial patterns of property use, often including "single-use" zones, while areas in which a mix of uses is allowed to develop naturally through market processes tend to offer more affordable housing options and lower crime rates.
Zoning laws contribute to environmental damage with longer commute times and increases in vehicle emissions.
4. The State
We consider the rights of individuals to be paramount, and look to the market and other voluntary institutions as the proper ways for individuals to cooperate with each other as a community. We view the role of the state as subsidiary, and to be reduced as much as possible.
To whatever extent a state exists, it must conduct its affairs without violating the rights of its own citizens, and with rules that are applied fairly to all citizens. Specifically, we demand that these principles be applied to the federal government of the United States and to the governments of its member states.
4.1 Sovereign Immunity
We favor an immediate end to the doctrine of Sovereign Immunity that ignores the primacy of the individual over the abstraction of the state. According to this doctrine, the state may not be sued without its permission or be held accountable for its actions under civil law.
Government agents must be subject to civil and criminal liability for any injuries caused by their actions, without regard to whether those actions occurred during the course of their duties. Neither government agencies nor their representatives shall be exempted from laws, statutes and regulations applicable to everyone else.
Government agents must be personally responsible for satisfying judgments against them, and the agency/taxpayers must never directly pay such settlements.
Taxation is theft.
Since we believe that all persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor, we oppose all government activity that consists of the forcible collection of money or goods from individuals in violation of their individual rights. Specifically, we:
a. recognize the right of any individual to challenge the payment of taxes on moral, religious, legal, or constitutional grounds;
b. support the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment and the elimination of the Internal Revenue Service;
c. oppose any increase in existing tax rates and the imposition of any new taxes;
d. support reductions in existing tax rates;
e. oppose all taxation, including but not limited to, personal income, corporate income, capital gains, inheritance, sales, use, and value-added (VAT) taxes; and
f. support a declaration of unconditional pardon or amnesty for all those individuals who have been convicted of, or who now stand accused of, tax resistance.
As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion must be terminated immediately including, but not limited to, imprisonment and asset forfeiture.
We oppose as involuntary servitude any legal requirements forcing employers or business owners to serve as de facto tax collectors for federal, state, or local tax agencies.
We oppose any and all increases in the rate of taxation or categories of taxpayers, including the elimination of deductions, exemptions, or credits in the spurious name of "fairness", "simplicity", or alleged "neutrality to the free market". No tax can ever be fair, simple, or neutral to the free market.
In the current fiscal situation, default is preferable to raising taxes or perpetual refinancing of growing public debt.
4.3 Government Debt
We oppose government entering into debt obligations on behalf of its constituents and their children for decades to come. No person can rightly enter into a contract on behalf of another person without their consent. When governments accrue debt, they are in essence entering into debt on behalf of their constituents and the children of their constituents. We therefore call upon both houses of the United States Congress to promptly pass, and call upon the state legislatures to ratify, an amendment repealing Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment, prohibiting future indebtedness and deficit spending on the part of the federal government, and repudiating all federal government debt and debt service obligations accrued prior to the ratification of said amendment.
Until the national debt is repudiated, the federal government must have a balanced budget. To be effective, a balanced budget must provide:
a. that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes;
b. that all spending is included in the budget;
c. that neither the Legislative nor the Executive be permitted to override this requirement; and
d. that no exception be made for periods of so-called "national emergency".
Governments facing fiscal crises must always default on their debt obligations in preference to raising taxes. At minimum, the level of government must be frozen. Additionally, the Federal Reserve must be forbidden from acquiring any additional government securities, thereby helping to eliminate the inflationary aspect of the deficit.
4.4 Government Employees
An economy that includes millions of government jobs is not a free market economy.
Having the government acting as an employer distorts the job market as a whole, and creates even greater distortions in those sectors where it dominates. Entire sectors of our economy now operate on what is basically a state-socialist model. This creates a serious conflict of interest for elected officials, who in their role as employers should be looking out for interests of citizens and taxpayers at large, but depend for their re-election on the support of their own employees, who through their privileged position and numbers have in many cases become major political players.
There is no right to a government job. Current government employees do not "own" those jobs. Nor is it a proper role of government to serve as an "employer of last resort". We support eliminating government jobs through privatization of functions now done by government, abolition of agencies and departments, reductions in force, and hiring freezes.
The best way to eliminate the problems caused by government jobs is to eliminate government jobs. But as long as government continues to act as an employer, we advocate the following reforms to limit the damage to our economy:
a. eliminate all special benefits available only to government employees;
b. eliminate defined-benefit pensions, which tempt politicians to satisfy the demands of current employees by burdening future generations of taxpayers, in favor of defined-contribution plans which are increasingly the norm for private employers;
c. cap total compensation including all benefits at levels no higher than comparable private sector jobs;
d. repeal all laws which require or allow collective bargaining with unions of government employees; while government workers have the same right of association as anybody else and should be free to form organizations in which they voluntarily participate for peaceful purposes, they have no right to recognition by government as a special class; and
e. government workers who express dissatisfaction with their compensation through strikes, work slowdowns, or other interference with public business should be fired and thereby be given the opportunity to find productive work in the free-market economy.
4.5 Government Secrecy
We oppose the government's use of secret classifications to keep information from the public, especially that which exposes government malfeasance.
4.6 Death Penalty
We oppose the administration of the death penalty by the state or any other organization. This shall not be misconstrued to imply that we support vigilante justice or any other act of violence with the intent to kill an individual, for any given reason, that is not in accordance with self defense.
Studies have shown that the death penalty is unevenly applied, is frequently concentrated as the punishment for defendants in unlucky demographics, does not deter criminal action, and that innocents wrongly convicted are not at all immune to a death sentence. This gets worse when one considers prosecutorial misconduct and the added expense to taxpayers that such prosecutions cause.
4.7 Government Police and Law Enforcement
Libertarians favor the abolition of government police departments for the same reasons we favor the abolition of other government services: Government operation means they're inefficient, funded by coercion, have distorted priorities (such as revenue farming and prosecuting unconstitutional prohibitions), and lack accountability. The costs of continuing to allow governments to hire police are simply too high.
At the federal, state, and local levels, Americans spend in the neighborhood of $700 billion every year for law enforcement.
Direct spending, however, only tells part of the story. Police have a horrible record of violation of individual rights; killing well over one thousand individuals every year – a third of them either unarmed or running away, or both. Individuals beaten or otherwise unjustly injured by police action number many times the number killed. Yet for all of those killings and other assaults, the number of officers involved who have been prosecuted is minuscule; convictions are even rarer. Even when killer cops go before courts, prosecutors – who work with those same cops every day and have the same paymaster – routinely throw the case, allowing the killers of innocents such as Daniel Shaver, or Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams to go free.
In contrast, there are two to three times the number of individuals who are employed as private security, and the number of people this larger cohort kills every year is a tiny fraction of the number police kill – and unlike government police, security companies are fully criminally and civilly liable for unjust death or injury.
Another reason the cost of government-run police is simply too high is the effect police brutality has had on race relations. The riots, unrest, protests, racial distrust, and other blowback from brutal policing have an incalculable cost in lives and money. Americans are actually getting along fabulously well, as evidenced by the increasing rates of interracial marriage and other indicators. Police violence, however, has incited racial unrest that undermines the strides peaceful Americans have made in getting along with each other.
The only solution is to abolish the police. Returning the cash back to the private sector will leave that $700 billion of taxpayer wealth with those who earned it – which means neighborhoods and businesses will then be able to use it to hire the security that suits them. Libertarians want individuals to be free to take advantage of all of the benefits a free market in security would offer: Better insurance, better locks and security hardware for one's property, and increasing opportunities for new providers to enter security markets, and other improvements.
4.8 Government Whistleblowers
We support the right of government employees and contractors to expose unethical and unconstitutional government practices to the public, the people the government was intended to serve. The value of such exposure has been shown in such areas as financial corruption, privacy violations (e.g., Edward Snowden), and war crimes (e.g., Chelsea Manning). We oppose government retaliation against such whistleblowers, including revocation of citizenship or passport credentials. We support measures taken, privately or publicly, to promote their safety, including repatriation in such a manner that does not automatically castigate them should they return. We call for a full restoration of rights taken as retaliation for raising an alarm on governmental activity.
4.9 Internal Security and Civil Liberties
In order to best protect individual rights, it is necessary to remove the monopoly over domestic security concerns from the state, and allow open and honest discussion of potential security information with competing private contractors. We therefore call for the abolition of the Department of Homeland Security, the repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the National Defense Authorization Act and all other legislation that authorizes secret evidence, holding people without charge, treating material witnesses like convicted criminals, engaging in searches and seizure without warrants, and other violations of individual rights under the color of national security. Additionally, we oppose the existence of internal Border Patrol checkpoints.
Individuals, companies, and government agencies must use discretion when gathering data during any investigation. Security, national or otherwise, must not be considered an automatic defense to charges against those who collect such data, nor must the protection of personal information be automatically guaranteed by the state as all individuals must be responsible for securing their personal data.
We support the abolition of the subpoena power as used by Congressional committees against individuals or firms. We oppose any efforts to revive the House Un-American Activities Committee or any related committees such as the House Internal Security Committee or Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security. We call for the government to openly disclose data they have collected in the past, and that which is not free to be disclosed openly must be destroyed.
4.10 Emergency Powers
It is fundamental to the idea of an "emergency" that special action is required for a limited time. A problem can certainly be serious even if it isn't an "emergency". But it is an abuse of any "emergency power" to apply it to issues of a longer-term nature.
The fact that citizens have been willing in the past to tolerate some violations of their rights for a limited time in cases of actual emergencies, e.g., earthquakes or floods, cannot be accepted as legitimizing similar violations of rights as a way of dealing with changes of a permanent nature, such as the existence of a new disease, or that are expected to take place over decades or centuries, such as rising sea levels.
The best solutions to serious new problems of an ongoing nature are the same as for serious old problems of an ongoing nature – ones based on the consistent application of individual rights and mechanisms for voluntary trade and assistance. The best way for government to help when an emergency becomes an ongoing problem is to get out of the way as soon as possible and allow the market to function.
a. call for the repeal of all legislation that authorizes "emergency powers";
b. demand the addition of strict time limits to existing legislation that authorizes any kind of "emergency powers";
c. oppose any "emergency" policies which allow the president, governors, or mayors to exercise legislative functions beyond the time that the respective legislative bodies can resume operation, or which allow police, military, or administrative officials to exercise judicial functions beyond the time that regular courts can resume operation; and
d. oppose use of "declarations of emergency" as an excuse to impose any regulations or taxes that do not relate directly to addressing the specific actual emergency.
We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law. Without the ability to judge the law, juries can do nothing to protect the people against government oppression. Since the jury trial is a crucial element to the judicial system of checks and balances against some of the more ludicrous legislative creations, juries need to be informed of their right to nullify all laws that are unjust or oppressive, and find against the government and the law by voting "not guilty."
We oppose the current practice of forced jury duty and favor all-volunteer juries.
We support the elimination of all laws requiring a government-mandated census. While the intent to count the population in order to determine whether more representation is needed might be well-intentioned, it is none of the government's business to know who lives where, how many people reside in a certain location, and their demographic information. Recognizing that a head count is required by the U.S. Constitution (Art. 1, Sec. 2), we advocate that it be completely voluntary if and while that document is in effect.
4.13 Electoral Systems
Electoral systems matter. The predominant use of "winner-take-all" elections in gerrymandered, single-member districts fosters political monopolies and creates a substantial government-imposed barrier to election of non-incumbent political parties and candidates. We call upon legislative bodies to adopt electoral systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state, and local levels, such as proportional voting systems with multi-member districts for legislative elections and ranked choice or approval voting for single winner elections. Further we oppose implementation of the electoral system known as Top Two.
In order to grant voters a full range of choice in federal, state, and local elections, we propose the addition of the alternative "none of the above" (NOTA) to all ballots, to indicate that none of the listed candidates are acceptable. We further propose that in the event that "none of the above" receives a plurality of votes in any election, either the elective office for that term must remain unfilled and unfunded, or there shall be a new election in which none of the losing candidates shall be eligible.
4.14 Political Parties and Ballot Access
We call for an end to government control of political parties, consistent with individual rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression. Political parties are private voluntary groups, and must be allowed to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries, and conventions. At the same time, political parties must not be given any special privileges or subsidies in their internal decision-making process. To that end, we call for the complete abolition of primary elections that are funded or controlled by any government body. "Voters" do not own political parties – the people who invest their time and money in them do, and the state must not interfere in their right to run their parties in the manner that suits them.
Many state legislatures have established prohibitively restrictive laws which in effect exclude alternative candidates and parties from their rightful place on election ballots. Such laws wrongfully deny ballot access to political candidates and groups and further deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives. We hold that no state has a legitimate interest to protect in this area except for the fair and efficient conduct of elections.
The Australian ballot system, introduced into the United States in the late nineteenth century, is an abridgment of freedom of expression and of voting rights. Under it, the names of all the officially approved candidates are printed in a single government sponsored format and the voter indicates their choice by marking it or by writing in an approved but unlisted candidate's name. We advocate for a strict separation of ballot and state, and call for a return to the previous electoral system where there was no official ballot or candidate approval at all, and therefore no state or federal restriction of access to a "single ballot." Instead, voters submitted their own choices and had the option of using "tickets" or cards printed by candidates or political parties.
4.15 Campaign Finance
We demand repeal of all campaign finance laws and regulations, including the Federal Election Campaign Act, and the elimination of the Federal Election Commission and similar agencies at the state level. These suppress voluntary support of candidates and parties, compel taxpayers to subsidize politicians and political views which many do not wish to support, invade the privacy of American citizens, and protect the Republican and Democratic parties from competition. We call for an end to all government subsidies to candidates or parties and the repeal of all laws which regulate or restrict voluntary financing of election campaigns.
4.16 Candidate Debates
Competition in ideas and government policies is important to the electoral process and is a cornerstone of fundamental freedoms. At the national level, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), created in 1987 by the Republican and Democratic national parties for the express purpose of keeping minor party and independent candidates out of debates, intentionally limits participation in the nationally-televised debates to the Democratic and Republican Party nominees. The presidential debates organized by the CPD exert a de facto influence on the outcome of presidential elections, because a presidential candidate who is excluded from presidential debates has virtually zero chance of winning the general presidential election. The right to form a party for the advancement of political goals means little if that party’s nominee can be arbitrarily excluded from debates and denied an equal opportunity to win votes. While we support the abolition of all intrusive election and other laws affecting the operation of private political parties, to the extent that these laws exist, they must not be manipulated to benefit the dominant parties to the exclusion of minority parties or independent candidates and to the ultimate detriment of the voters who are not presented with the range of potential choices. This effectively disenfranchises voters and violates First Amendment freedoms. Therefore, in accordance with current ballot access laws, we call upon all organizations that host debates to have fair and objective debate criteria that must include all candidates who are legally qualified to serve and whose names appear on the ballot, or in the case of Presidential debates all candidates who appear on enough ballots to potentially secure a majority in the Electoral College.
We recognize the right to political secession by political entities, private groups, and individuals. We believe that individuals must be allowed to decide for themselves if and how they will be governed, if at all. Exercise of this right, like the exercise of all other rights, does not remove legal and moral obligations not to violate the rights of others.
5. The World
The foreign policy of the United States must seek peace with the world and the defense – against attack from abroad – of the lives, liberty, and property of persons within its territorial borders. Provision of such defense must respect the individual rights of people everywhere.
The principle of non-intervention must guide relationships between governments. The United States government must return to the historic libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, abstaining totally from foreign quarrels and imperialist adventures, and recognizing the right to unrestricted trade, travel, and immigration.
While our focus as a political party is on the United States, our mention of specific laws should not be taken to mean that we are not concerned with similar issues elsewhere in the world. We advocate that the same principles be applied everywhere, and call on like-minded individuals to work toward achieving the same objectives in their own countries.
5.1 Human Rights
The violation of rights and liberty by other states can never justify foreign intervention by the United States government. No state is innocent of violating human rights and liberty, and none can approach the issue with clean hands. Only private individuals and organizations have any place speaking out on this issue.
We abhor the widespread and increasing use of torture for interrogation and punishment. We condemn the use of force, especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by government groups.
5.2 World Government
We support the immediate withdrawal of the United States government from, and an end to its financial support for, the United Nations (UN). Specifically, we oppose any policy designating the UN as the world's police force, committing troops to wars at the discretion of the UN, or placing troops under UN command. We oppose our government’s participation in any world or international government and oppose any treaty under which individual rights would be violated.
5.3 International Money
We strongly support all private sector units of trade and their use in international markets. We oppose any participation in international government-issued currencies whether regional or international in scope.
We favor withdrawal from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. We oppose any bailout of foreign governments or American banks, either by means of the International Monetary Fund or through any other governmental device.
5.4 National Borders
National borders are arbitrary, man-made lines intended to divide and separate people on the artificial concept of "nationality". National borders, to the extent they exist, should simply be marked by a sign or painted line, as is now the case for states within the United States or countries in the Schengen Area of Europe. We support the free flow of persons, goods, and services across national boundaries.
We oppose the building of walls, fences, or any other type of physical barrier by governments. Such barriers are not only a waste of taxpayer money, but also have proven to be ineffective at deterring refugees and contraband. We instead support the right of private property owners to determine who and what may come on their property as an alternative to national borders.
We hold that one of the basic core principles of a free market is the freedom to move about voluntarily. A free market cannot exist with a closed or restricted border.
Non-citizens, whether "documented" or "undocumented", must not be denied the fundamental freedom to labor and to move about unmolested, nor should citizens be denied the right to assist in whatever manner they choose. Furthermore, immigration must not be restricted for reasons of nationality, race, religion, political creed, age, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation/identity.
We therefore call for the elimination of all restrictions on immigration, the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Border Patrol, and the declaration of a full pardon for all people who are in the country without government permission. We oppose government welfare and resettlement payments to non-citizens just as we oppose government welfare payments to all other persons. We aim to restore a world in which there are no passports, visas, or other papers required to cross borders.
We oppose all governmental restrictions on leaving the country, including limits on the amount or value of cash or other monetary commodities that can be physically or electronically brought out of the country, documentation required to exit the country, controls on means of transportation or exit locations, and required government approval associated with changing citizenship and/or tax status.
5.7 Trade Barriers
Free trade does not require a treaty, but only for the government to stay out of the way. Tariffs and quotas give special treatment to favored interests and diminish the welfare of everyone. We therefore support abolition of all trade barriers and all government-sponsored export-promotion programs. We affirm this as a unilateral policy, independent of the trade policies of other governments.
Moreover, tariffs are taxes, which end up being paid by American consumers – and taxation is theft.
5.8 Foreign Aid
We support the elimination of tax-supported military, economic, technical, and scientific aid to foreign governments or other organizations. We call for the repeal of all prohibitions on individuals or firms contributing or selling goods and services to any foreign entity. We oppose government underwriting of arms sales. We call for the abolition of all agencies that make American taxpayers guarantors of export-related loans. We oppose the participation of the United States government in international commodity circles which restrict production, limit technological innovation, and raise prices.
We favor immediate self-determination for all individuals living in colonial dependencies, freeing these individuals from American dominance accompanied by the termination of their subsidization at taxpayers' expense. Land seized by the United States government must be returned to its rightful owners. If they cannot be identified, the land should be open to homesteading.
Anti-colonialism encompasses not only throwing off the shackles of the colonial power(s), but ensuring that such authoritarianism and tyranny does not recur after independence. In the spirit of such freedom, we support all local efforts at ousting local and native tyranny against individual liberty.
The important principle guiding foreign policy must be the elimination of intervention by the United States government in the affairs of other nations. Negotiations with any foreign government do not necessarily concede moral legitimacy to that government. We favor a drastic reduction in cost and size of our entire diplomatic establishment. Additionally, we favor the repeal of all legislation, including the Logan Act, which prohibits American citizens from engaging in private correspondence with foreign governments with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States without authorization of the United States government. However, we acknowledge that individuals involved in such communications do not have the authority to bind other individuals to any agreements.
5.11 Military Policy
We call for a completely voluntary military in both funding and participation where members of the military can quit any time they choose. While borders and taxpayer funded militaries exist, their purpose must be limited to defending the borders of the United States from attack. The United States has no business being the policeman of the world. We call for the withdrawal from commitments to engage in war on behalf of other governments and for abandonment of doctrines supporting military intervention such as the Monroe Doctrine.
We favor the repeal the Neutrality Act of 1794, and all other United States neutrality laws, which restrict the efforts of Americans to aid overseas organizations fighting to overthrow or change governments. We wish to end the incorporation of foreign nations into the American defense perimeter. Further, we call upon the federal government to cease the creation and maintenance of American installations and bases in other countries, and American military troops stationed overseas must be withdrawn as quickly as practicable.
5.12 Presidential War Powers
We call for the reform of the Presidential War Powers Act to end the President's power to initiate military action, and for the abrogation of all Presidential declarations of "states of emergency". There must be no further secret commitments and unilateral acts of military intervention by the Executive Branch.
5.13 Weapons of Mass Destruction
We believe that no government agency must be allowed to acquire, purchase, or otherwise accept for use any vehicles, equipment, or weapons unless such hardware is readily available in an open commercial market. If any tool in its intended use is deemed too powerful or destructive for any individual to own, e.g. weapons that would destroy towns or neighborhoods in their applications, then those tools are also too powerful for any government to own.
Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination, including the existence of any particular governmental system, must not be construed to imply approval. In every matter, we adhere to the consistent application of the principle of the non-initiation of physical force or fraud.