The Essence of Liberty

from A Wolf in a Sheeple’s Worldom: November 23 2013 would have been David Nolan’s 70th birthday (he died in 2010). If you don’t know that name, it’s okay; most people don’t either. Mr. Nolan is one of the founders of the Libertarian Party. He actually hosted the party in 1971 in which the party was formed. So, in honor of that I wanna’ share one of his writings with you from 1995 called “Essence of Liberty”…. – Wolf

The Essence of Liberty

by David F. Nolan

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?

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.

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 government — any government — has the right to disarm its    citizens is NOT a libertarian!

No “Criminal Possession” Laws

In fact, libertarians believe that individuals have the right to own and use anything    — gold, guns, marijuana, sexually explicit material — so 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. But criminal possession laws are an affront to liberty, whatever the rhetoric used    to defend them.

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.

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.


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6 Responses to The Essence of Liberty

  1. Gunny G says:

    Reblogged this on BLOGGING BAD ~ DICK.G: AMERICAN ! and commented:
    GUNNY G!


  2. budm303 says:

    Tweeted. FB, as appropriate. Mr. Nolan doesn’t need a memorial. “Throw the bums (in the LNC) out!” } and in Congress, too. Term limits for all governmental scabs … .


    • How about just throwing all the government scabs out. We don’t need ’em and most of us don’t want ’em. When is the last time government ever did anything for you that you could not have done for yourself.

      And Mr. Nolan does need to be remembered. He did more for the liberty movement than most people ever will. Granted, he was one step shy of anarcho-capitalism. Probably one of those nice guys that still (erroneously) believed that we could ever free ourselves through peaceful political processes. Admirable but naive.


  3. budm303 says:

    You’d better hope that peaceful political process prevails.


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