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Essence of Liberty

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  • ftully
    Delivered-To: brojim@infowestI received this today from Jim Lorenz and felt compelled to forward it. I hope someone will see fit to add it to the files
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 31, 2003
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      Delivered-To: brojim@infowestI received this today from Jim Lorenz and felt
      compelled to forward it. I hope someone will see fit to add it to the
      "files" section of the forum.

      This was published in the Utah Liberator a few years ago. Perhaps it’s
      timely today?

      <snip> I’m proud to know Mr. Nolan and count him among my Libertarian
      friends. Jim Lorenz

      The Essence of Liberty

      by David F. Nolan (Copyrighted)

      As a founder of the Libertarian Party and Editor-in-Chief of California

      Liberty, I am often asked how to tell if someone is "really" a libertarian.

      There are probably as many different definitions of the word "libertarian"

      as there are people who claim the label. These range from overly broad

      ("anyone who calls himself a libertarian is one") to impossibly doctrinaire

      ("only those who agree with every word in the party platform are truly

      anointed"). My own definition is that in order to be considered a

      libertarian, at least in the political context, an individual must adhere

      without compromise to five key points.

      Ideally, of course, we'd all be in agreement on everything. But we're not,

      and probably never will be. Debate is likely to continue indefinitely on

      such matters as abortion, foreign policy and whether, when and how various

      government programs can be discontinued or privatized. But as far as I'm

      concerned, if someone is sound on these five points, he/she is de facto a

      libertarian; if he fails on even one of the five, he isn't.

      What, then, are the "indispensable five" - the points of no compromise?

      1. You Own Yourself-- First and foremost, libertarians believe in the

      principle of self-ownership. You own your own body and mind; no external

      power has the right to force you into the service of "society" or "mankind"

      or any other individual or group for any purpose, however noble. Slavery is

      wrong, period.

      Because you own yourself, you are responsible for your own well-being.

      Others are not obligated to feed you, clothe you, or provide you with health

      care. Most of us choose to help one another voluntarily, for a variety of

      reasons - and that's as it should be - but "forced compassion" is an

      oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.

      2. The Right to Self-Defense-- Self-ownership implies the right to

      self-defense. Libertarians yield to no one in their support for our right as

      individuals to keep and bear arms. We only wish that the Second Amendment to

      the U.S. Constitution said "The right to self-defense being inalienable..."

      instead of that stuff about a "well-regulated militia". Anyone who thinks

      that any government has the right to disarm its citizens is NOT a

      3. No "Criminal Possession" Laws-- In fact, libertarians believe that

      individuals have the right to own and use anything--gold, guns, marijuana,

      sexually explicit material--as long as they do not harm others through force

      or the threat of force. Laws criminalizing the simple possession of anything

      are tailor-made for police states; it is all too easy to plant a forbidden

      substance in someone's home, car or pocket. Libertarians are as tough on

      crime. . . real crime . . . as anyone. Criminal possession laws are an

      affront to liberty, whatever the rhetoric used to defend them.

      4. No Taxes on Productivity-- In an ideal world, there would be no taxation.

      All services would be paid for on an as-used basis. But in a less-than-ideal

      world, some services will be force-financed for the foreseeable future.

      However, not all taxes are equally deleterious, and the worst form of

      taxation is a tax on productivity (i.e. an "income" tax) and no libertarian

      supports this type of taxation.

      What kind of taxation is least harmful? This is a topic still open for

      debate. My own preference is for a single tax on land. Is this "the"

      libertarian position on taxes? No. But all libertarians oppose any form of

      income tax.

      5. A Sound Money System-- The fifth and final key test of anyone's claim to

      being a libertarian is their support for an honest money system (i.e., one

      where the currency is backed by something of true value, usually gold or

      silver). Fiat money (money with no backing, whose acceptance is mandated by

      the State) is simply legalized counterfeiting and is one of the keys to

      expanding government power.

      The five points enumerated here are not a complete, comprehensive

      prescription for freedom . . . but they would take us most of the way. A

      government which cannot conscript, confiscate or counterfeit, and which

      imposes no criminal penalties for the mere possession and peaceful use of

      anything, is one that almost all libertarians would be comfortable with.

      Copyright, 1995, 1996, David F. Nolan

      What’s a Real Libertarian

      by Jim Lorenz, LP Washington County Utah Chair Emeritus

      First I agree with the honorable David Nolan’s five points. But I am

      sometimes asked: what is a (big L) Libertarian compared to a (little l)

      My answer is: Libertarians, are pledge-signing, card-carrying, dues-paying
      libertarian members in good standing of their local, state and national


      Honest Libertarians believe in and act out the Libertarian way of life by

      saying what they mean and doing what they say they will do, without

      initiating force or fraud on any fellow human being.

      Well-read Libertarians make every effort to speak and write the truth, and

      to discover the verifiable truth in every point at issue. Libertarians hold

      honest scholarship and thorough research in the highest regard.

      Thinking Libertarians, being human and fallible, are not always totally

      correct, but they are not mentally lazy and rely on sweet reason and the

      logical placement of facts to buttress their arguments, in place of

      pandering, playing the race card or promising other people’s money in

      exchange for votes.

      Independent Libertarians reserve their right to change their opinions on

      issues when new or better facts become apparent. Libertarians work always

      from the principle of mutual respect, not from the merely popular side of

      public opinion.

      Focused Libertarians are implacably anti-racist, anti-slavery,

      anti-fascist and anti-communist, especially, when the tendrils of these evil

      schemes are found within opposing American parties.

      Fearless Libertarians are members of the only political party that

      requires a Pledge, as a condition of membership, to disavow the initiation

      of force and fraud by a single person or a mob as large as Congress, or even

      as many as the non-Libertarian majority of their fellow beings.

      Forthright Libertarians respect the rights of others as they expect their

      rights to be respected.

      Active Libertarians pay their modest party dues in advance and proudly

      carry their proof of membership on their persons.

      My thanks to the honorable David Nolan for stepping up to the plate and not

      only helping to found the Libertarian Party, but for inventing the Nolan

      which has proven to be invaluable in introducing libertarianism to hundreds

      of thousands of the politically confused.

      (Publish with attribution.)

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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