A Libertarian Political Platform

[John Howell wrote PlatComm on 2008-01-18: "I wanted to share with you a brief platform I created recently and shared with LP IL leaders, which is what got me appointed to this committee."

A Libertarian Political Platform

"Downsize, De-centralize, Privatize, Legalize, Humanize"

Downsize:
• Shrink the government by starvation. End all Federal taxing
authority and advocate the same at all levels of government. If we
stop the government's fiscal engorgement, it will stop finding ways
to consume more of our capital and regulate more of our lives and
business and will quickly morph into survival mode, saving its
strength for those few functions that a consensus of citizens defers
to it.
• Eliminate all but essential departments, agencies, and
services. Only the following Departments (cabinet level) would
continue at a grossly reduced and streamlined level: Defense, State,
Justice, Systems-Operations.
• Foreign policy would be limited to high level diplomacy on
an as needed basis with a sizable reduction in embassies and
consulates, making the vast majority of such operations virtual, and
national defense in the strictest sense. There would be no
restrictions on trade or immigration. There would be no proactive
military campaigns, no more than an essential handful of downscale
military bases.
• With a dramatically reduced role for Federal Government, it
is likely that Congress would at best be a full-time body with
skeletal staff, or a part time body with a slightly more substantial
staff. Either way, the need or appetite for new legislation would be
minimal.

De-centralize:
• Defer to states, county and municipal governments all
aspects of governing except foreign policy (including national
defense), facilitation of free trade and commerce on an interstate
and international level, Constitutional integrity.
• Regionalization of administration of Federal operations to
achieve the best possible balance of efficiency and subordinate
autonomy.

Privatize:
• Auction off all Federally owned infrastructure with advocacy
of the same at all levels of government. Current and future
technology makes privatization of utilities, transportation,
communication, and miscellaneous infrastructure possible due to the
ability to bill for service with electronic tracking systems.
Marketplace competition ensures increased and consistent quality of
service and constant upgrades. Revenue from the sale of
infrastructure and capital assets will not only pay off the national
debt but will provide enough surplus that if properly managed, will
fund all necessary government operations.
• It can and should be debated whether even the courts, law
enforcement, and corrections should be privatized. Perhaps some
public-private partnership would be optimal for the former two, but
corrections could be provided more efficiently in the private
sector. Once former government services are fully privatized, the
executive branch would serve primarily to coordinate and manage
private providers. Education would be completely private, with
voluntary provisions to ensure equality of educational opportunity.
Health and energy systems would also be fully private, subject to
the marketplace for regulation.
• The end to taxation would also put an end to government
subsidies and tax-incentives. Therefore the market would quickly
demand more efficient and renewable energy sources and systems.
• A privatized infrastructure would add democracy to
creativity in the race to address climate change and sustainability.
Solar, wind, nuclear, battery, and kinetic energy would soon
dominate. A solar panel on every roof, a wind farm in every field, a
reactor in every region.

Legalize:
• Eliminate all Federal laws prohibiting victimless crimes and
advocate the same at all other levels of government. The savings in
humanpower, capital assets, and program costs for this one policy
would be enormous.
• With what few crimes remain on the books, a much smaller and
less heavily armed police force will be necessary. With fewer
prohibitions violence will decline since the bulk of violence in
society is perpetrated by criminals in conflict with law enforcement
agencies enforcing victimless crimes. With the drug and sex trades
legalized the cost of such services will immediately yield to market
conditions, eliminating the need for violence or additional crime to
conceal or defend these activities, collect exorbitant fees, etc.
Local order can be maintained by private unarmed security. An armed
citizenry will further discourage violent attacks on person or
property, and government overreaching.
• Eliminate government regulation of commerce, industry,
trades, professional practices and leave any necessary regulation to
self-regulation by niche organizations and/or consumer services.

Humanize:
• The guiding principles of the equality, dignity and humanity
of all persons should inform and define the purpose and approach to
justice, public safety, and national defense. Neither torture,
capital punishment, nor oppressive confinement are ever acceptable
from this perspective.
• The legal consequences of criminal acts would be a system of
social and financial consequences, with a natural relationship and
proportion to the crime committed. Judges would have maximum
latitude to apply the law, to formulate effective and
equitable "punishment" for all crimes. Those having only a financial
cost to society would be applied financially. Those having non- financial effects would require the most creative and individualized
penalties, which would focus primarily on restitution, and
secondarily on rehabilitation.
• Detention would be a solution only for violent criminals who
remain certifiably violent at the time of judicial disposition.
Detention is done in the interest of public safety, not punishment.
The program would be humane and rehabilitative in focus, but with no
illusions of a high degree of success. Prisoners would be detained
only as long as they remain certifiably violent and would be subject
to mandatory periodic re-evaluation for risk. While detained they
would be allowed frequent conjugal and family visits. They would
have access to education and cultural activity. However they would
be expected to pay for their own accommodations. Detention centers
would be organized as profitable enterprises not only for the
purpose of institutional self-support but also for the purpose of
providing ongoing financial support to the dependents and/or
creditors of the prisoners.

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