Sunday, June 7, 2015

Suddenly "it's cool to use the term libertarian". But what does it mean?

Al Westerfield: True libertarians want everyone free of coercion - Knoxville News Sentinel:

June 6, 2015 - "A staunchly Democratic friend is pushing a candidate as a civil libertarian. Another, a tea party sympathizer, hopes to promote a fiscal libertarian. All of a sudden, it's cool to use the term libertarian.

"But let's be blunt.... In reality, civil libertarians have no problem confiscating money from those who earn it. Fiscal libertarians will try to enforce their morals on everyone else. A true libertarian is extreme on both fiscal and civil matters....

"On the civil side, we believe all personal decisions should be free from government interference. We're for gay marriage, pro choice and against drug, gun and gambling laws. On the fiscal side, we're for free markets and against the income tax, the Federal Reserve and wealth transfers. As one wit said, there's something in the libertarian philosophy for everyone to hate. But when you think about it, it's very simple: we are anti-aggression.

"Does this mean we want to do away with government? No. The vast majority of libertarians accept the need for a body that is the sole possessor of force. We have delegated this force for the protection from enemies without (a standing army) and within (police) while establishing a court system to adjudicate disputes. The purpose of government is to prevent force or fraud and to remedy those affected to the greatest extent possible. Anything else infringes on the unalienable rights of life, liberty and property.

"Does this mean we are uncaring of the needs of the less fortunate? No. We believe that free enterprise and private charity work best to raise the fortunes of all. Certainly the War on Poverty has failed miserably — the poor are no better off now than 60 years ago. Combined with regulations that hinder economic growth by favoring established businesses, the government is directly responsible for the widening gap of incomes.

"Does this mean libertarians are 'rugged individualists'? Certainly not. Libertarians believe that everyone benefits from free association and trade. When two parties agree on a purchase it is for the benefit of both. But when government artificially raises or lowers the price, only one side benefits....

"Libertarians are what liberals once were. We're fighting for the rights of everyone to be free of coercion, whether it be economic or personal. It is a reflection on the right and left that such liberty is so reviled."

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