Libertarianism

  • A Political Ethic
    • Libertarianism is a political ethic that deals with the interaction of people in a society.
    • It is not a complete moral ethic or a complete philosophy of life.
    • The libertarian ethic is based solely on property rights.
  • Property Rights
    • Each person has an inalienable right to their justly owned property.
    • Owned property is first their own body, and then anything else they have acquired through labour or exchange.
    • Justly” refers to the exclusion of acquiring property by illegitimate means, the most blatant of which would be theft.
    • In essence this means that a person is free from assault and vandalism or theft of their property when property rights are respected.
  • Freedom
    • Libertarians speak of choice and responsibility as opposed to some people who think of freedom as being able choose whatever. If anyone can assault another person without consequences, then you have fear and not freedom. Freedom means a person can choose while being responsible for the consequences of their choice as it affects the freedom of others from assault, vandalism, or theft.
  • Self Defence
    • Each person has the legitimate right to defend their property. Legal violence is to defend persons and their property from violent attack, from molestation, or appropriation of their property.
  • Morality
    • Libertarianism has only one moral principle which is to respect everyone’s person and property.
    • A libertarian government would force someone who invaded another person’s property to compensate the victim. This would be justice, but it would not make the criminal moral.
  • Public Goods
    • Libertarians do not recognize anything as a “public good” that the government must provide.
    • In the first place, to be a “good”, people must be willing to pay for it.
    • A public “good” does not invoke rivalry meaning that if one person consumes this service, it does not leave any the less for anyone else.
    • A public “good” cannot be available with the exclusion of certain people meaning that non-payers cannot be excluded from the benefit of the good.
    • Air would qualify as a public good.
  • Economics
    • Wealth and prosperity come from free market exchange, capital savings, and division of labour.
    • Taxes decrease capital savings and lower productivity.
    • Government intervention disrupts markets and lowers economic efficiency.
    • Government banking policies lower the purchasing power of money which is a tax.
    • A libertarian government would minimize taxes, and repeal legislation that interferes in markets and that protects unsound banking practices.

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