In the United States, liberalism took strong root because it had little opposition to its ideals, whereas in Europe liberalism was opposed by many reactionary interests. In a nation of farmers, especially farmers whose workers were mainly slaves, little attention was paid to the economic aspects of liberalism. Thomas Jefferson adopted many of the ideals of liberalism but, in the Declaration of Independence, changed Locke’s “life, liberty, and property” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.
As libertarian-liberals. As anarcho-liberals. As individualist liberals. As true liberals. Let us correct that alteration at once. Let us all agree that from now on, American liberalism shall also include property as essential as life and liberty. Let the former period wherein property rights were an unknown ideal be known as the Great Deviation.
As industry became a larger and larger part of American life; beginning in 1829, during the term of president Andrew Jackson, economic questions rose to the forefront. The economic positions of the time were almost universally the ideas of classical liberalism. Freedom was maximised because the government took a “hands off” attitude toward industrial development and supported the value of the currency by freely exchanging paper money for gold.
The ideas of classical liberalism remained essentially unchallenged until a series of depressions, led to economic hardships from which many residents demanded government relief. Classical liberalism remained the orthodox belief among American businessmen until 1929, the beginning of the Great Depression. The Great Depression saw a sea change in liberalism, leading to hijacking of liberalism by egalitarian socialists and advocates of government provided public relief of the poor funded by currency devaluations and personal income taxation.
Gaining in power and influence, the egalitarian welfare socialists saw an opportunity to further harness the mechanisms of government because of the growing complexity of industrial conditions. They further began to restrict the rights of industrialist property owners by engaging in increasing government intervention. They claimed to violate these property rights in order to assure more equal opportunities and a more egalitarian outcome for all. The social welfarists continued to devalue the currency and confiscate private property in order to build an even larger social welfare state. A state in which the national government has unlimited authority to maintain high levels of employment in the economy, to supervise standards of life and labour, to regulate the methods of business competition, and to establish comprehensive patterns of wealth redistribution to the poor and to workers of an advanced age.
As Liberals, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.
We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.
Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the unlimited range of endeavors that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any other authoritarian power.
In the following paragraphs we have set forth our basic principles and enumerated various policy stands derived from those principles.
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
We, the Liberals, 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. All other political associations 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 wherever government actors and resources exist, these must not violate the rights of any individual: namely, (1) the right to life — accordingly we support the 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.
Government, when instituted, must not violate individual rights, and therefore we oppose all interference by government in the areas of voluntary and contractual relations among individuals. People must not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others. They must 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.
1.0 Personal Liberty
Individuals must be free to make their own choices and must be made to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices. No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government.
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.
1.2 Expression and Communication
We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious or other associations that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion or association.
Liberals advocate individual privacy and government transparency. We are committed to ending government’s practice of spying on everyone. We support the rights recognized by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, property, and communications. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure must include records held by third parties, such as email, medical, and library records.
1.4 Personal Relationships
Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity must have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults must be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships. Any government involvement in personal relationships will be greatly curtailed, and both parties will be required to conduct their use of the government using their own labor or the labor of experts paid for by themselves.
Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government must be kept completely out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.
1.6 Crime and Justice
Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property. Criminal laws must be limited to violation of the rights of others through force or fraud, or deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. We will repeal all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes, since only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes. Individuals are have the right to voluntarily assume risk of harm to themselves and to bear the sole responsibility for any hardships such risks impose. We support restitution and making the victim whole to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer. We oppose reduction of constitutional safeguards of the rights of the criminally accused. The rights of due process, a speedy trial, access to legal self-help resources, trial by jury of peers, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must not be denied. We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law.
The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights — life, liberty, and justly acquired property — against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. We affirm the absolute right of the individual to keep and bear arms and other self and property protection tools, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. Private property owners must be free to establish their own conditions regarding the presence and use of personal defense weapons on their own property. We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.
2.0 Economic Liberty
Liberals allow for all members to pursue opportunities to achieve economic success. A free and competitive market is proven to allocate resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, act as the last resort to adjudicate disputes where no private solution is available, and provide a straightforward legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are herefore abolished.
2.1 Property and Contract
As respect for property rights is fundamental to maintaining a free and prosperous society, it follows that the freedom to contract to obtain, retain, profit from, manage, or dispose of one’s property must also be upheld. Liberals would free property owners from government restrictions on their rights to control and enjoy their property, as long as their choices do not harm or infringe on the 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) and other abridgements of such fundamental rights will cease. For voluntary dealings among private entities, parties will remain free to choose with whom they trade and set whatever trade terms are mutually agreeable.
We support an ordered and natural environment and open source access to all natural resources wherever it is possible to allow mining and harvesting. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources not claimed by individuals interested in living off the land. Pollution and misuse of resources causes damage to the ecosystem. Governments, unlike private businesses, are unaccountable for whatever damage the do to the environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental stewardship. Protecting the environment requires technical expertise and a wide variety of skills. There will be an extensive and consistent enforcement of individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Experts and stewards will be paid by a percentage of proceeds of whatever is extracted from the land. Free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to better care for the environment and ecosystems. The air, water, space, and mantle resources will also be monitored and maintained at the expense of those making a living off the commons and unihabited lands. Environmental scientists, laborers, and conservation associations have been proven to be the most effective means of encouraging good stewardship by the public at large.
2.3 Energy and Resources
While energy is needed to fuel a modern society, government must not subsidizing any particular form of energy. We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production. The proceeds obtained by providing energy and fuel will be siphoned off at a reasonable level to help fund the government.
2.4 Government Finance and Spending
All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution, any non-essential programs and services,.and all programs and services which can be adequated provided by technological solutions. Such as a national document scanning and email delivery system, instead of the current paper based home delivery system. The post offices will be converted to self-service models, and provide mainly package and good deliveries, wherever private delivery services are unavailable for purchase. Buildings will be staffed by guards and volunteers provided by local citizenry to the extent possible. We oppose any legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors or agents of government authority. Government must not incur debt except in unavoidable strictly limited circumstances as was the case prior to 1913. Debt burdens future generations without their consent and contributes to excessive boom and bust cycles and currency devaluations. We support a pay as you go model, where every bill and obligation that comes due is to be paid by the Friday of that week. A weekly “Balanced Budget Accounting” will be prepared and posted to the federal register and online systems, the budget is to be balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and never by raising taxes or fees.
2.5 Money and Financial Markets
Liberals will ensure free-market competitive banking and commodity based currency options. With unrestricted competition among banks, precious metal coins, and depository institutions of all types. Markets are only free wherever fraud is vigorously combated and neither profits nor losses are socialized. Individuals engaging in voluntary exchange must be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity, precioous metal, digital transaction or other items. We will execute a complete halt to inflationary monetary policies and unconstitutional legal tender laws.
2.6 Marketplace Freedom
Liberals support free markets. We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and any other types of entities based on voluntary association. We oppose all forms of government subsidies and bailouts to business, labor, or any other special interest. Government will never be allowed to compete with private enterprise. It will exist only where no other option is available.
2.7 Labor Markets
Employment and compensation agreements between private employers and employees are outside the scope of government, and these contracts must not be encumbered by government-mandated benefits or social engineering. We will not infringe on the right of private employers and employees to choose whether or not to bargain with each other through labor unions or other mechanisms of association. Bargaining must be free of government interference, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.
Education is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality, accountability and efficiency with more market choices. Recognizing that the education of children is a parental responsibility, we will restore complete authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. Parents will have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education. The current schools will be opened 24 hours a day as a community wide resource of education and daycare with a minimal staff of security and volunteers. All current curriculums will be digitized and preserved online. So that any student can continue in their studies with the courses of their choice. Including courses offered across all state lines.
2.9 Health Care
We favor a free market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health care services they want (if any), the health institutions they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use, and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions. All federal impositions will be removed that prevent people from purchasing health insurance across state lines and in whatever way they want. We will assist local communities in opening up extremely limited health clinics that will be housed in current fire and rescue administrative offices throughout the United States. This will provide a back stop and last line of defense, to ensure the population at large has access to basic third world health care services on a payment plan, with payments to begin after the services have been rendered.
2.10 Retirement and Income Security
Income Security and retirement planning beyond barest essentials is the responsibility of the individual, not the government. Liberals will phase out the current government-sponsored Social Security and complex welfare system and transition to a private voluntary system for all but the direst circumstances. The proper and most effective source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals. We believe members of society will become more charitable and civil society will be strengthened as government reduces its interference and national wealth destruction in this realm.
3.0 Securing Liberty
The protection of individual rights is the only proper purpose of government. Government must be constitutionally limited so as to prevent the infringement of individual rights by the government itself. The principle of non-initiation of force must guide the relationships between our government and other governments. And between our government and the people.
3.1 National Defense
We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression. The United States must both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman outside its borders. We oppose any form of compulsory national service.
3.2 Internal Security and Individual Rights
The defense of the country requires that we have all possible intelligence to detect and to counter threats to domestic security. This requirement must not take priority over maintaining the civil liberties of our citizens. The Constitution and Bill of Rights shall not be suspended even during time of war. Intelligence agencies that are empowered to preserve the security of the nation must be subject to oversight and transparency. We oppose the government’s use of secret classifications to keep from the public information that rightfully belongs to it, especially information that shows that the government has violated the law.
3.3 International Affairs
American foreign policy must seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy must emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements. We will end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military, economic aid, and transnational authoritarian bodies. We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We will abstain from the use of initiative force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether we seek to influence governments, political groups, or revolutionary groups.
3.4 Free Trade and Migration
We will execute the removal of all governmental impediments to free trade. Political and property based freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be constrained by government when crossing political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who may pose a credible threat to security, health or property.
3.5 Rights and Discrimination
Liberals embrace the concept that all people are born with certain inherent rights. We reject the idea that a natural right can ever impose an obligation upon others to fulfill that “right.” We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government must neither deny nor abridge any individual’s human right based upon sex, wealth, ethnicity, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Members of private organizations retain their rights to set whatever standards of association they deem appropriate, and individuals are free to respond with ostracism, boycotts and other free market solutions. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs. Any child shall have the right to a local hearing, should they allege they are subject to child abuse or neglect.
3.6 Representative Government
We support election systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels. As private voluntary groups, political parties must be allowed to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries and conventions. We will end all subsidies to candidates or parties and repeal all laws which restrict voluntary financing of election campaigns. We oppose laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties, deny ballot access, gerrymander districts, or deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives. We advocate initiative, referendum, recall and repeal when used as popular checks on government.
Whenever government becomes destructive of individual liberty, it is the duty of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty.
Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval.