Table of Contents
As Libertarians, 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 diversity 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 authoritarian power.
In the following pages we have set forth our basic principles and enumerated various policy stands derived from those principles.
These specific policies are not our goal, however. Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.
I. Restoring Basic Freedoms
1. Freedom and Responsibility
The Issue: Personal responsibility is discouraged by government, denying individuals the opportunity to exercise their freedom. This fosters irresponsibility.
The Principle: Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. Individual rights should not be denied, abridged or enhanced at the expense of other people's rights by laws at any level of government based on gender, wealth, race, color, religion, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation.
Solutions: We encourage private sector dissemination of information to help consumers make informed decisions on products and services. We would still enforce laws against fraud and misrepresentation.
Transitional Actions: Promote individual responsibility by repealing all laws that absolve people of the consequences of their actions.
2. The War on Drugs
The Issue: Drug prohibition causes more harm than drug use does. The so-called "War on Drugs" is a grave threat to individual liberty, to domestic order and to peace in the world.
The Principle: Individuals should be able to buy, sell, or use drugs, whether for medical or recreational purposes, without fear of legal reprisals, and must be held legally responsible for the consequences of their actions when they violate the rights of other individuals.
Solutions: Popular education and assistance groups are a better approach than prohibition, and we support the activities of private organizations as the best solution.
Transitional Action: Repeal laws establishing criminal or civil penalties for the use of drugs, laws that infringe upon the Fourth Amendment right to be secure in our persons, homes, and property, and "anti-crime" measures such as profiling or civil asset forfeiture that reduce the standard of proof historically borne by government in prosecutions. Stop prosecuting non-violent drug offenders, and pardon those previously convicted.
3. Sovereignty and Self Defense
The Issue: Citizens are denied their right to sue their government for redress of grievances. Governments at all levels often violate their citizens' right of self-defense with laws that restrict, limit or outright prohibit the ownership and use of firearms. People are forced to be subject to governments and to participate in their programs, usually as providers of financial support, regardless of their wishes to the contrary. In this respect, the rights of Native Americans have been usurped for the longest time.
Principle: The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights — life, liberty, and justly acquired property — against aggression, whether by force or fraud. This right inheres in the individual, who — with his or her consent — may be aided by any other individual or group.
The right of defense extends to defense against aggressive acts of government. The Bill of Rights recognizes that an armed citizenry is essential to a free society. We affirm the right to keep and bear arms.
As all political association must be voluntary, we recognize the right to political secession. This includes the right to secession by political entities, private groups or individuals. Specifically, Native American tribes should be free to select whatever level of autonomy they wish. Exercise of this right, like the exercise of all other rights, does not remove legal and moral obligations not to violate the rights of others.
Solutions: Government must once again be made accountable for its actions to the individual citizen. Individual elected officials and bureaucrats must be held accountable if their actions directly violate the rights of individual citizens. We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, regulating or requiring the ownership, manufacture, transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition.
We oppose all laws requiring registration of firearms or ammunition. We support the repeal of all gun control laws. We support the right to renounce one's affiliation with any government, and to be exempt from the obligations imposed by those governments, while in turn accepting no support from the government from which one has seceded. Native Americans should have their property rights restored, including rights of easement, access, hunting, and fishing.
Transitional Action: We would reinstate the right of an individual to sue the government. Tribal members should be free to determine their own system of governance, making the Bureau of Indian Affairs unnecessary. Negotiations should be undertaken to resolve all outstanding differences between the tribes and the government. We oppose any government efforts to ban or restrict the use of self-protection devices. We would close of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and repeal the Brady Law.
4. Health Care
The Issue: The government – local, state and federal – now pays over fifty percent of the health care costs. Between that and laws tying health insurance to employment, health care costs have soared. To combat this, some propose further expansion of government interference in health care; i.e. socialized medicine, sometimes called universal health care. This lack of meaningful competition is a major reason that our health care is the most expensive in the world.
The Principle: Government solutions are always more expensive than private sector solutions, and the health care industry is no exception. Government's role in any kind of insurance should only be to enforce contracts when necessary, not to dictate to insurance companies and consumers which kinds of insurance contracts they may voluntarily agree upon. Medication must be voluntary, and individuals must retain their full rights in end of life decisions.
Solutions: We favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system. Individuals who are not a threat to others should have the right to determine their own medical care, without government coercion. We oppose government pressure requiring parents to obtain counseling or psychiatric drugs for their children. We also oppose forced treatment of the elderly or those with diminished mental or physical capacity. We are against the invasion of people's homes and privacy by health officials or law enforcement to either require or deny drug taking or other medical treatment. We support the right of individuals to request physician assistance to end their own lives.
Transitional Action: We support legislation that allows employees and employers to determine their own benefit packages and oppose further expansion of government into health care. We would stop both regulation of and spending of tax money on medical research or treatment. We would end to the practice of absolving the criminally guilty of their responsibility based on diminished mental capacity. We would return all medical decisions to the individual. We specifically would allow individuals who are not a threat to others to have full control over their mental health care. We support “Death with Dignity” laws.
5. Freedoms of Religion, Communication, Association, and Assembly
The Issue: We support the freedom of speech without government censorship, regulation or control of communications, regardless of the medium or venue, “obscenity,” or commercial nature of speech. We oppose speech codes at all schools that are tax funded. Language that is deemed offensive to certain groups is not a cause for legal action. We believe the right to publish and broadcast must not be abridged merely for the convenience of the judicial system, as is often the case in “gag” orders. We oppose government control of the media, including anti-trust laws or any other government action in the name of stopping "bias."
Government routinely invades personal privacy rights based solely on individuals' religious beliefs. Arbitrary tax structures are designed to give aid to certain religions, and deny it to others. Discrimination imposed by government has caused a multitude of problems. Anti-discrimination laws create the same problems.
The Principle: We defend the rights of individuals to unrestricted freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the right of individuals to freely associate, including dissent from the government itself. The freedom to use one's own voice; the freedom to hire a hall; the freedom to own a printing press, a broadcasting station, or a transmission cable; the freedom to host and publish information on the Internet; the freedom to wave or burn one's own flag; and similar property-based freedoms are precisely what constitute freedom of communication. At the same time, we recognize that freedom of communication does not extend to the use of other people's property to promote one's ideas without the voluntary consent of the owners. We defend the rights of individuals to engage in (or abstain from) any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. The right to trade includes the right not to trade — for any reasons whatsoever. The right of association includes the right not to associate, since exercise of this right depends upon mutual consent.
Solutions: We would provide for free market ownership of airwave frequencies with full First Amendment protection. We would support diversity and innovation in the media by ending government ownership or subsidy of, or funding for, any communications organization. The First Amendment must be recognized to protect full, unconditional freedom of communication. To defend freedom, we advocate a strict separation of church and state. Government should neither aid nor attack any religion. We would exempt churches from taxation for the same reason that we would exempt all voluntary associations from taxation. Government harassment or obstruction of religious groups for their beliefs or non-violent activities must end. While we do not advocate private discrimination, we do not support any laws that attempt to limit or ban it.
Transitional Action: We would close the Federal Communications Commission. We would allow churches and other nonprofit associations to keep their tax-exempt status without requiring disclosure of massive amounts of information about themselves to the government. We would restore the unlimited right of free association by ending laws that ban discrimination in the private sector.
6. Property Rights
The Issue: The right to property and its physical resources, which is the fundamental cornerstone of a free and prosperous society, has been severely compromised by government at all levels. Eminent domain, zoning laws, building codes, rent control, regional planning, property taxes, resource management and public health legislation remove property rights from owners and transfer them to the state, while raising costs of property ownership. Public ownership of real property creates scarcity and conflict where none would otherwise exist.
The Principle: Only individuals and private entities have the full right to control, use, dispose of, or in any manner enjoy their property without interference, until and unless the exercise of their control infringes on the valid rights of others.
Solutions: Public lands and resources should be returned to private ownership, with the proceeds of sale going to retire public liabilities. All publicly owned infrastructures including dams and parks should be returned to private ownership, and all taxing authority for such public improvements should sunset. Property related services should be supplied by private markets and paid for by user fees. The government should be held as liable as any individual for pollution or other transgression against property or resources.
Transitional Action: Rescind all taxation of real property. Property, resources and rights taken from their legitimate owners by government should be restored to the rightful owners. Restore property rights by reversing the Kelo Supreme Court decision. Repeal all legislation that transfers property rights to the state, including those enacted in the name of aesthetic values, risk, moral standards, cost-benefit estimates, the promotion or restriction of economic growth, health or national security claims. Sunset all federal agencies that own, regulate or administer property, as well as agencies at the local level which exercise control over private property and resources.
7. The Right to Privacy
The Issue: Privacy protections have been eroded gradually over many years. The Social Security Number has become a universal ID number, causing rampant and massive identity theft. Government routinely keeps records on the bank accounts, travel plans, and spending habits of law-abiding civilians.
The Principle: The individual's right to privacy should not be infringed by the government. The government should not use any means of covert surveillance of an individual's actions or private property without the consent of the owner or occupant.
Solutions: We support the privacy protections provided by the Fourth Amendment. We support the private development, sale, and use of encryption technology and oppose any government regulation of encryption methods or keys. We support private employers’ rights to screen prospective or current employees via questionnaires, polygraph tests, urine and blood tests, or other means, as a condition of voluntary employment, but oppose involuntary screening of this type by government.
We oppose the issuance by the government of an identity card, to be required for any purpose, such as employment, voting, or border crossing. We further oppose the nearly universal requirement for use of the Social Security Number as a personal identification code, whether by government agencies or by intimidation of private entities by governments. We also oppose police roadblocks randomly, and without probable cause, testing drivers for intoxication, and the search of mass transit passengers without probable cause.
The National Census should only be used for apportionment of the House of Representatives, not to force citizens to divulge personal information to the benefit of corporations. We oppose government regulations that require employers to provide health insurance coverage for employees, which often encourage unnecessary intrusions by employers into the privacy of their employees.
Transitional Action: We affirm the Fourth Amendment, oppose the Patriot Act and Real ID Act, and would scale back the Census Bureau to its Constitutional limits.
8. Reproductive Rights and Population
The Issue: The tragedies caused by unplanned, unwanted pregnancies are aggravated and sometimes created by government policies of censorship, restriction, regulation and prohibition. Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on both sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to individuals for their conscientious consideration.
The Principle: The American people are not a collective national resource. Individual rights should not be denied nor abridged on the basis of gender, age, dependency, or location. Taxpayers should not be forced to pay for other people's abortions, nor should any government or individual force a woman to have an abortion. It is the right and obligation of the pregnant woman, not the state, to decide the desirability or appropriateness of prenatal testing, Caesarean births, fetal surgery, voluntary surrogacy arrangements and/or home births.
Solutions: We oppose government actions that either compel or prohibit abortion, sterilization or any other form of birth control. Specifically we condemn the practice of forced sterilization of welfare recipients, or of individuals with diminished mental or physical capacity. We support the voluntary exchange of goods, services or information regarding human sexuality, reproduction, birth control or related medical or biological technologies. We oppose government laws and policies that restrict the opportunity to choose alternatives to abortion. We oppose all coercive measures for population control.
Transitional Action: We support an end to all subsidies for childbearing built into our present laws, including welfare plans and the provision of tax-supported services for children. We would eliminate special tax burdens on single people and couples with few or no children.
9. Families and Children
The Issue: Government involvement in traditional parenting responsibilities has weakened families and replaced family-taught values with government-taught values.
The Principle: Families and households are private institutions, which should be free from government intrusion and interference. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs, without interference by government — unless they are abusing the children. Because parents have these rights, a child may not be able to fully exercise his or her rights in the context of family life. However, children always have the right to emancipate by assuming administration and protection of their own rights, ending dependency upon their parents or other guardians, and assuming all responsibilities of adulthood. We condemn the attempts by parents or any others — via kidnappings or conservatorships — to force children to conform to any religious views. A child is a human being and, as such, deserves to be treated justly. Parents have no right to abandon or recklessly endanger their children. Whenever they are unable or unwilling to raise their children, they have the obligation to find other(s) willing to assume guardianship.
Solutions: We recognize that the determination of child abuse can be very difficult. Only local courts should be empowered to remove a child from his or her home, with the consent of the community. This is not meant to preclude appropriate action when a child is in immediate physical danger.
Transitional Action: We support the use of private adoption services. In particular, we call for the repeal of all adoption laws based on the race, gender, sexual orientation or religion of the adoptive parents. We oppose laws infringing on children's rights to work or learn, such as child labor laws and compulsory education laws. We also oppose the use of curfews based on age. We call for an end to the practice in many states of jailing children not accused of any crime. We call for repeal of all "children's codes" or statutes which abridge due process protections for young people.
10. Sexuality and Gender
The Issue: Government regularly denies rights and privileges on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Principle: Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships. Government does not have legitimate authority to define or license personal relationships. Sexuality or gender should have no impact on the rights of individuals.
Solutions: Marriage and other personal relationships should be treated as private contracts, solely defined by the individuals involved, with government discrimination not allowed.
Transitional Action: Repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act and state laws and amendments defining marriage. Oppose any new laws or Constitutional amendments defining terms for personal, private relationships. Repeal any state or federal law assigning special benefits to people based on marital status, family structure, sexual orientation or gender identity. Repeal any state or federal laws denying same-sex partners rights enjoyed by others, such as adoption of children and spousal immigration. End the Defense Department practice of discharging armed forces personnel for sexual orientation. Upgrade all less-than-honorable discharges previously assigned solely for such reasons to honorable status, and delete related information from military personnel files. Repeal all laws discriminating by gender, such as protective labor laws and marriage, divorce, and custody laws that deny the full rights of each individual.
II. Establishing Justice and Ensuring Domestic Tranquility
1. Crime and Justice
The Issue: Government's ability to protect individuals from crimes of violence and fraud is compromised when resources are focused more on vice than on real crimes. The United States has one of the highest percentages of population in prison of any country in the world, while real crime remains prevalent in many parts of the country. The present system of criminal law is based almost solely on punishment with little concern for the victim. The right to a trial by a citizen jury, an important check on the infringement of rights by government, has been eroded.
Principle: Criminal laws should be limited to those involving force or fraud, or deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. Until such time as persons are proved guilty of crimes, they should be accorded full respect for their individual rights. The purpose of a justice system is to provide restitution to those suffering a loss at the expense of those who caused that loss. In the case of violent crimes, an additional purpose is to defend society from the continued threat of violence. Juries should be composed of volunteers, not forced jurors. In addition, the common-law right of juries, to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law, should be recognized and encouraged.
Solutions: Limit the justice system to consistent and impartial enforcement of laws against true crime. Cases must no longer be treated as "civil" strictly to avoid the due process protections of criminal law. Government must no longer be allowed to seize property for criminal offenses, prior to civil or criminal proceedings. Full restitution must be made for all losses suffered by persons arrested, indicted, tried, imprisoned, or otherwise injured in the course of criminal proceedings against them that do not result in their conviction. When they are responsible, government police employees or agents must be personally liable for this restitution. We support restitution for the victim at the expense of the criminal or wrongdoer. We call for an end to the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense.
Transitional Action: Repeal mandatory sentencing policies and laws that work against the protection of the rights and freedom, particularly those laws that create a crime where no victim exists. Police officers must be prohibited from using excessive force on the disorderly or the criminally accused, handing out what they may consider to be instant punishments on the streets, or using preventive detention and no-knock laws. Parties to a court action should be given a reasonable number of peremptory challenges to proposed judges, similar to their right under the present system to challenge a proposed juror. We would end "no-fault" insurance laws. We would end the practice of prosecutors pursuing an indictment when the “victim” claims consent to the supposed crime. We would end the practice in capital cases of excluding jurors who are opposed to the death penalty.
2. Employment in the Free Market
Issue: Government interference in the employer/employee relationship has imposed undue burdens on our economy, destroying the rights of both to contract in the free market. The arbitrary and high-handed actions of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration invade property rights, raise costs and unjustly impose upon the business community.
Principle: We support the right of free persons to voluntarily establish, associate in, or not associate in, labor unions. An employer should have the right to recognize, or refuse to recognize, a union as the collective bargaining agent of some, or all, of its employees. Coercive labor law denies the right to liberty and property to both employer and employee, and interferes in their private contractual relations.
Solutions: We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or the imposition of an obligation to bargain. Private sector consumer activism groups must be created to replace ineffective government agencies like OSHA.
Transitional Action: Government-mandated waiting periods for closure of factories or businesses hurt, rather than help, the wage earner. Workers and employers should have the right to organize secondary boycotts if they so choose. Nevertheless, boycotts or strikes do not justify the initiation of violence against other workers, employers, strike-breakers and innocent bystanders. Therefore, we urge repeal of the National Labor Relations Act, and all state right-to-work laws that prohibit employers from making voluntary contracts with unions. We oppose all government back-to-work orders as the imposition of a form of forced labor. We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
3. Consumer Protection
Issue: Government consumer protection regulation restricts the competition of the free market and replaces the individual's right to make independent choices with government-determined, "one size fits all" standards.
Principle: Consumer demand rather than legislative mandate should drive consumer safety and protection. We support strong and effective laws against fraud and misrepresentation. However, we oppose paternalistic regulations, which dictate to consumers, impose prices, define standards for products, or otherwise restrict risk-taking and free choice.
Solutions: We encourage consumer activism that would boycott and economically sanction those businesses that adversely affect human health and/or damage the environment. We look to independent entities such as Underwriters Laboratories, Consumer Reports and other testing organizations as models for grassroots consumer-driven certification.
Transitional Action: End governmental interference in consumer affairs by eliminating the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Food and Drug Administration and other governmental organizations. Repeal laws mandating use of safety equipment such as seat belts or crash helmets, which should be driven by consumer action in the marketplace.
4. Social Security
Issue: Social Security is a bankrupt, immoral pyramid-scheme that has trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities and yields below average returns for those trapped in it. Any financial advisor who suggested investing in a program like this would go to jail. In practice, Social Security is a transfer of wealth from young, black men to elderly white women, and that is wrong.
Principle: In a free society, retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government.
Solutions: We favor replacing the current fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, government sponsored Social Security system with a private voluntary system.
Transitional Action: Pending that replacement, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary. We also support the sale of government owned property to fund payments as we move towards a totally voluntary system.
5. Elections and Civil Service
Issue: Electoral systems matter. Many state legislatures have established gerrymandered districts and prohibitively restrictive laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties from their rightful places on election ballots. Such laws wrongfully deny ballot access to political candidates and groups, and further deny the voters their right to consider all alternatives. Electronic voting without voter-verifiable hardcopy ballots (“black box” voting) eliminates transparency in the voting system and permits manipulation of election results. Various laws enable the federal and state governments to control the elections of their own administrators and beneficiaries, thereby further reducing accountability to citizens. We recognize that the Civil Service is inherently a system of concealed patronage, which entrenches a permanent and growing bureaucracy upon the land.
Principle: Elections at all levels should be in the control of those who wish to participate in or support them voluntarily. As private voluntary groups, political parties should be allowed to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries and conventions. No state has an interest to protect in this area except for the fair and efficient conduct of elections. Many, if not most “public sector” goods and services can be provided by the private sector, generally more efficiently and at lower cost.
Solutions: We propose electoral systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels. There should be no state or federal restriction of ballot access. Voters may submit their own choices including the option of using "tickets" or cards printed by candidates or political parties. We recommend private companies taking over so-called public services.
Transitional Action: End government control of political parties, consistent with First Amendment rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression. We urge repeal of the Federal Election Campaign Act and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which suppress voluntary support of candidates and parties, particularly newer parties. Primary elections should be returned to political party convention rather than being a taxpayer subsidized public event. Add the alternative "none of the above" to all ballots. In the event that "none of the above" receives a plurality of votes in any election, either the elective office for that term should remain unfilled and unfunded, or there should be a new election in which none of the losing candidates shall be eligible. In order to grant voters a full range of choice in federal, state and local elections, we propose proportional voting systems with multi-member districts for legislative elections and instant runoff voting (IRV) for single winner elections. To avoid fraud and manipulation, electronic voting systems must use a voter verified paper ballot as the ballot of count, recount, audit and record. We propose ending the Civil Service system.
III. Defending the United States
1. Internal Security and Government Secrecy
Issue: Lacking appropriate citizen oversight, government bureaucracies have deprived citizens of their privacy, property, and freedom, under the pretense that such action is necessary to protect us from our enemies. Such actions include the current suspension of the right of habeas corpus, the Patriot Act, Real ID and the classification of "enemy combatants" today. We condemn the government's use of secret classifications to keep from the public information that it needs to rein in government abuse.
Principle: Government is the servant of the individuals who own this country; withholding information that the public has a right to know is dishonest, deceptive and a perversion of the proper relationship between government and its employers. The Bill of Rights provides no exceptions in a time of war.
Solutions: Agencies, public or private, duly constituted to preserve the security of the nation must be subject to independent oversight, accountable to the citizenry whom they serve, and subject to the law, including full responsibility for any violations of individual rights.
Transitional Action: We opposed the establishment of a new cabinet level Department of Homeland Security and now call for its elimination. We oppose any efforts to revive the House Internal Security Committee (or its predecessor the House Committee on Un-American Activities), and call for the destruction of its files on private individuals and groups. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies like the CIA, NSA, and FBI must be prevented from abusing individual rights. Replace the entrenched system of classification of information with one based on a private sector citizen review board that determines whether a matter is a true case of national security. Repeal the USA Patriot Act.
Issue: Any form of coerced national service program is a type of involuntary servitude. Examples include conscription into the military and compulsory youth labor programs.
Principle: Coerced national service programs presume the government can claim ownership of the lives of individuals. Such programs are a form of involuntary servitude and are a clear violation of the US Constitution’s 13th Amendment.
Solutions: All forms of national service will be staffed by willing participants without the need for conscription or other means of mandating such service. When people perceive a just cause, history has shown that they willingly volunteer to serve.
Transitional Action: All schemes for automatic registration through government invasions of the privacy of school, motor vehicle or other records should be immediately eliminated. The still-functioning elements of the Selective Service System should be abolished and all associated records should be destroyed. The President should immediately pardon, with unconditional exoneration, all who have been accused or convicted of draft evasion, desertion from the military in cases of conscription or fraud and other acts of civil resistance.
3. Military and Foreign Intervention
Issue: Recent Presidents have — with the assistance of Congress via the War Powers Act — expanded the role of Commander-in-Chief to assume the power to wage war without the Constitutionally required Declaration of War by Congress. United States colonialism has left a legacy of property confiscation, economic manipulation and over-extended defense boundaries. The federal government has used foreign aid as a tool of influencing the policy of other sovereign nations, forcing American taxpayers to subsidize governments and policies of which they may not approve. Intervention in the affairs of other countries has provoked resentment and hatred of the United States among many groups and nations throughout the world, putting our citizens at risk of retaliatory attacks. The protection of U.S. foreign investments is an unjust tax-supported subsidy. Participation in any form of world or international government threatens the sovereignty of the United States, and its citizens.
Principle: Any U.S. foreign policy should have the objective of providing security for the lives, liberty and property of the people in the U.S. against attack by a foreign power. This objective should be achieved as inexpensively as possible and without undermining the liberties it is designed to protect. We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups. We abhor the widespread and increasing use of torture for interrogation and punishment (including torture committed by our own government). However, the violation of rights and liberty in other countries can never justify foreign intervention by the United States government. Furthermore, individuals should not be coerced via taxes into funding a foreign nation or group. All U.S. citizens should know that they travel, live and invest abroad at their own risk.
Solutions: U.S. weapons of indiscriminate mass destruction should be replaced with smaller weapons, aimed solely at military targets and not designed or targeted to kill millions of civilians. We call for developing cost-effective defensive systems so that the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal eventually can be eliminated. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid, guarantees, and diplomatic meddling. Instead, we would repeal all U.S. neutrality laws, thus allowing voluntary private and personal foreign aid, both military and economic, that does not directly threaten the United States. We favor a drastic reduction in cost and size of the diplomatic establishment. We would negotiate with any foreign government without necessarily conceding moral legitimacy to that government.
Transitional Action: We support a program of reductions in nuclear armaments, consistent with similar verifiable programs in other nuclear armed countries. We would remove all U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe. We call for the orderly withdrawal of all American military personnel stationed abroad. We call for the withdrawal of the U.S. from commitments to engage in war on behalf of other governments and for abandonment of doctrines supporting military intervention. We call for the reform of the Presidential War Powers Act to end the President's power to initiate military action. We favor immediate self-determination for all people living in colonial dependencies, such as American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands. We call for the end of the government underwriting of arms sales. Terminate all federal agencies that make American taxpayers guarantors of export-related loans, such as the Export-Import Bank and the Commodity Credit Corporation. Voluntary cooperation with any economic boycott should not be treated as a crime. We favor the repeal of the Logan Act, which prohibits private American citizens from engaging in diplomatic negotiations with foreign governments. We support withdrawal of the United States government from, and an end to its financial support for, the United Nations. We also oppose any U.S. policy designating the United Nations as policeman of the world, committing U.S. troops to wars at the discretion of the U.N., or placing U.S. troops under U.N. command.
IV. Achieving Prosperity
Issue: Our borders are currently neither open, closed, nor secure. This situation restricts the labor pool, encouraging employers to hire undocumented workers, while leaving those workers neither subject to nor protected by the law. A completely open border allows foreign criminals, carriers of communicable diseases, terrorists and other potential threats to enter the country unchecked. Pandering politicians guarantee access to public services for undocumented aliens, to the detriment of those who would enter to work productively, and increasing the burden on taxpayers.
Principle: The legitimate function and obligation of government to protect the lives, rights and property of its citizens, requires awareness of and control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a threat to security, health or property. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demands that individuals not be constrained unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of labor as well as products across national borders, especially now that services contribute more to our economy than production does.
Solutions: Borders will be secure, with free entry to those who have demonstrated compliance with certain requirements. The terms and conditions of entry into the United States must be simple and clearly spelled out. It is the obligation of the prospective immigrant to demonstrate compliance with these requirements. Once effective immigration policies are in place, general amnesties will no longer be necessary. We look forward to an era in which American citizens and foreigners can travel anywhere in the world without a passport. We aim to restore a world in which there are no passports, visas or other papers required to cross borders.
Transitional Action: Ensure immigration requirements include only appropriate documentation, screening for criminal background and threats to public health and national security. Simplifying the immigration process and redeployment of surveillance technology to focus on the borders will encourage the use of regular and monitored entry points, thus preventing trespass and saving lives. End government requirements that benefits and services be provided to those in the country illegally. Repeal all measures that punish employers for hiring undocumented workers. Repeal all immigration quotas.
2. The Economy
Issue: Government intervention in the economy imperils both the personal freedom and the material prosperity of every American. Government control over money and banking is the primary cause of inflation and depression. The national debt imposes debt upon Americans without their consent, and loads our economy with a fiscal anchor that will burden many future generations. Our escalating national debt is nothing less than theft from our grandchildren. The federal government's involvement in international currency markets undermines the stability of the dollar, artificially inflates and deflates our currency and undermines the free market.
Principle: The free market, which respects individual rights in voluntary trade with other individuals, should be allowed to function unhindered by government. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity or item, such as gold coins denominated by units of weight. We support the right to private ownership of and contracts for gold. The government should operate on a "pay as you go" basis, and not incur debt. Individuals voluntarily trading in free markets should be the only determining factor in the value of goods and services.
Solutions: To ensure the economic freedom and enhance the economic well-being of Americans, we would dramatically reduce both taxes and government spending, end budget deficits, halt inflationary monetary policies, eliminate all government impediments to free trade; and repeal of all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates. We call for the repeal of all legal tender laws as well as the elimination of all government fiat money and all government minted coins. We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. The only further necessary check upon monetary inflation is the consistent application of the general protection against fraud. A debt-free government frees up economic resources, allowing for lower taxes, economic growth and lower interest rates. We would eliminate the national debt using an incremental approach, being careful to avoid social disruption. The government involvement in international money markets along with the Federal Reserve System should cease, and private sector trading should be the only influence in the value of money.
Transitional Action: We call for the repeal of the income tax, ending the need for the Internal Revenue Service. We would end the Federal Reserve System’s monopoly on monetary supply and close all national and state interventions affecting banking, credit, and depository institutions excluding prohibitions against fraud. To complete the separation of bank and state, we favor the Jacksonian independent treasury system, in which all government funds are held by the government itself and not deposited in any private banks. As interim measures, we further support the lifting of all restrictions on branch banking, the repeal of all state usury laws, the elimination of laws setting margin requirements on purchases and sales of securities, ending Federal Reserve control over the reserves of non-member banks and other depository institutions, and lifting of the prohibition of domestic deposits denominated in foreign currencies. We support the passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the US Constitution that restricts Congress from spending any more than it collected in revenue the previous year. We would eliminate earmarks, pork-barrel spending, and other forms of political corruption. Congress should sell assets and reduce spending on non-essential functions to pay off the national debt as quickly as possible. The United States must withdraw from all international paper money and other inflationary credit schemes, and from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. We strongly oppose any bailout of foreign governments or American banks by the United States, either by means of the International Monetary Fund or through any other governmental device.
Issue: Government manipulation of the economy creates an entrenched privileged class — those with access to tax money — and an exploited class — those who are net taxpayers.
Principle: All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. Government activity should not include the forcible collection of money or goods from individuals in violation of their individual rights. No tax can ever be fair, simple or neutral to the free market.
Solutions: We support the right of any individual to challenge the payment of taxes on moral, religious, legal or Constitutional grounds, support ending all taxation, and support the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment. We oppose as involuntary servitude any legal requirements forcing employers or business owners to serve as tax collectors for federal, state, or local tax agencies. Criminal and civil sanctions against tax evaders should stop.
Transitional Action: We would end the capital gains tax and oppose any increase in existing tax rates and the imposition of any new taxes.
4. Finance and Capital Investment
Issue: Government regulation of capital markets inhibits investment, and creates marketplace advantage for those with political access, through exemptions to laws against fraud and breach of contract.
Principle: Free markets should operate unhindered by government regulation, while government should punish fraud, theft and contractual breach without exception.
Solutions: We call for the end of all regulation of financial and capital markets. What should be punished is the theft of information or breach of contract to hold information in confidence, not trading on the basis of valuable knowledge.
Transitional Action: We call for the elimination of the Securities and Exchange Commission, of state "Blue Sky" laws that repress small and risky capital ventures, and of all federal regulation of commodity markets. We oppose any attempts to ban or regulate investing in stock-market index futures or new financial instruments that may emerge in the future. We call for repeal of all laws based on the concept of insider trading. We support the right of third parties to make stock purchase tender offers to stockholders over the opposition of entrenched management, and oppose all laws restricting such offers.
5. Corporate Welfare, Monopolies & Subsidies
Issue: Subsidies, government-granted monopolies, and other forms of corporate welfare today exist as privileges granted by government to those with political access. These destroy the level playing field that free markets depend on, and create a corrupt relationship between government authority and special interests. Furthermore, the loans by government-sponsored entities, even when not guaranteed by the government, constitute another form of subsidy. Federal, state and local governments have created inefficient service monopolies throughout the economy. From the US Postal Service to municipal garbage collection and water works, government is forcing citizens to use monopoly services. These are services that the private sector is already capable of providing in a manner that gives the public better service at a competitive price.
America's free market in agriculture, the system that feeds much of the world, has been plowed under by government intervention. Government subsidies, regulations and taxes have encouraged the centralization of agricultural business. Government export policies hold American farmers hostage to the political whims of both Republican and Democratic administrations. Government embargoes and tariffs on grain sales and sugar, and other obstacles to free trade, have frustrated the development of free and stable trade relationships between peoples of the world. They subsidize huge corporate interests to the detriment of small farmers across the world and American consumers.
Principle: Individuals must be free to compete and form corporations, cooperatives and other types of companies based on voluntary association in the market place, and must enjoy no state-sponsored advantage. Those who best supply a good or service in the market will enjoy natural dominance only as long as they continue to benefit consumers. Subsidies and government-granted monopolies protect the non-competitive from market forces. A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Consumers of services should not have their choices arbitrarily limited by law. Specifically, farmers and consumers alike should be free from the meddling and counterproductive measures of the federal government — free to grow, sell and buy what they want, in the quantity they want, when they want.
Solutions: Replace all government-granted monopolies and subsidies with deregulated free markets and informed consumers will benefit both consumers and producers, eliminate political favoritism, and maintain a strict separation of markets and state authority. Genuine crimes committed to create a monopoly, such as blackmail, bribery, fraud, libel or slander are prosecuted as any other crime. Our policies will seek to divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals. Farmers, ranchers and all other purveyors of goods and services in the agricultural free market must operate unhindered by government regulation, while being monitored by private sector consumer protection agencies for quality, and held strictly liable by government only for fraud and deception. The Department of Agriculture should be closed.
Transitional Action: Eliminate all federal grants of monopoly or subsidy to any private companies, such as utilities, airlines, energy companies, agriculture, science, medicine, broadcasting, the arts and sports teams. Repeal all anti-trust laws. All federal agencies whose primary function is to make or guarantee corporate loans must cease or be privatized. Specifically, we call for an end to the US Postal Service’s monopoly and for free competition in all aspects of postal service. State and local monopoly services should be opened to free-market competition. Local and state governments can auction assets such as utility systems and landfills to private industry, thereby immediately reducing the tax burden on their citizens. All rate regulation in utilities should transition to free market pricing. Eliminate of all government farm programs, including price supports, direct subsidies and all regulation on agricultural production. Deregulate the transportation industry and repeal of the Interstate Commerce Commission.
6. Trade Barriers
Issue: Tariffs, quotas, and import regulations serve only to give special treatment to favored interests and to diminish the welfare of consumers and other individuals.
Principle: All trade barriers are unnecessary and burdensome constraints.
Solutions: We support free trade but oppose government-sponsored export-promotion programs and international trade agreements.
Transitional Action: We advocate a complete and unilateral withdrawal of the United States from all international trade agreements, including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). We oppose the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). We also would end the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. Court of International Trade. Any agreement consisting of hundreds of pages is not about “free trade.”
Issue: Government regulation of the energy industry has resulted in high prices, shortages, lack of competition, stunted exploration and hindered development of alternative energy sources, and displaced responsibility for wrongdoing in the energy markets, while granting advantage in existing markets to those with political access.
Principle: All government-owned energy resources should be turned over to private ownership. We favor the creation of a free market in energy by removing government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production, such as that imposed by the Department of Energy, state public utility commissions, and state pro-rationing agencies.
Solutions: We would restore full property rights in underground oil and repeal all government controls over output in the petroleum industry. Any nuclear power industry must meet the test of a free market. Full liability — not government agencies like the Nuclear Regulatory Commission — should regulate nuclear power. We oppose the creation of any emergency mobilization agency in the energy field, which would wield dictatorial powers in order to override normal legal processes. Nuclear energy should be denationalized and the industry's assets transferred to the private sector. We oppose all government subsidies for energy research, development, and operation. We oppose all direct and indirect government participation in the energy industry, including subsidies, research and development funds, guaranteed loans, waste disposal subsidies, and federal uranium enrichment facilities.
Transitional Action: We support restoring a free market in the energy industry by repealing the Price-Anderson Act, through which the government limits liability for nuclear accidents and furnishes partial payment at taxpayer expense. We support eliminating the Department of Energy and its component agencies. We oppose all government conservation schemes through the use of taxes, subsidies and regulation. We oppose the "strategic storage" program, any attempt to compel national self-sufficiency in oil, any extension of cargo preference law to imports and any attempt to raise oil tariffs or impose oil import quotas.
Issue: Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Compulsory education laws spawn prison-like schools with many of the problems associated with prisons.
The Principle: Education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality and efficiency with more diversity of choice.
Solutions: We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended. We call for the repeal of the guarantees of tax-funded, government-provided education, which are found in most state constitutions. We condemn compulsory education laws…and we call for an immediate repeal of such laws. Until government involvement in education is ended, we support elimination, within the governmental school system, of forced busing and corporal punishment. We further support immediate reduction of tax support for schools, and removal of the burden of school taxes from those not responsible for the education of children.
Transitional Action: As an interim measure to encourage the growth of private schools and variety in education, including home schooling, we support tax credits for tuition and other expenditures related to an individual's education. We likewise favor tax credits for child care and oppose nationalization of the child-care industry. We oppose denial of tax-exempt status to schools because of those schools' private policies on hiring, admissions and student deportment. We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit.
Issue: Government interference in transportation is characterized by monopolistic restriction, corruption and gross inefficiency. We condemn the re-cartelization of commercial aviation by the Federal Aviation Administration via rationing of take-off and landing rights and controlling scheduling in the name of safety.
Principle: The transportation industry should not be treated differently from any other industry, and should be governed by free markets and held to strict liability.
Solutions: We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation — including the Department of Transportation, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Coast Guard, and the Federal Maritime Commission — and the transfer of their legitimate functions to competitive private firms. We demand the return of America's railroad system to private ownership. We call for the privatization of airports, air traffic control systems, public roads and the national highway system.
Transitional Action: As interim measures, we advocate an immediate end to government regulation of private transit organizations and to governmental favors to the transportation industry. In particular, we support the immediate repeal of all laws restricting transit competition such as the granting of taxicab and bus monopolies and the prohibition of private jitney services. We urge immediate deregulation of the trucking industry.
10. Poverty and Unemployment
Issue: Government fiscal and monetary measures that artificially foster business expansion guarantee an eventual increase in unemployment rather than curtailing it. Government programs are inefficient, paternalistic, demeaning and invasive of privacy.
Principle: The proper source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals. No worker should be legally penalized for lack of certification, and no consumer should be legally restrained from hiring unlicensed individuals.
Solutions: We seek the elimination of occupational licensure, which prevents human beings from working in whatever trade they wish. We call for the abolition of all federal, state and local government agencies that restrict entry into any profession, such as education and law, or regulate its practice. We oppose all government welfare, relief projects and "aid to the poor" programs.
Transitional Action: We call for the immediate cessation of such fiscal and monetary policies, as well as any governmental attempts to affect employment levels. We support repeal of all laws that impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws, so-called "protective" labor legislation for women and children, governmental restrictions on the establishment of private day-care centers, and the National Labor Relations Act. We deplore government-fostered forced retirement, which robs the elderly of the right to work. To speed the time when governmental programs are replaced by effective private institutions we advocate dollar-for-dollar tax credits for all charitable contributions.
15. Unowned Resources and the Environment
Issue: Governments and international groups claim the right to unowned resources that they have no jurisdiction over, imposing those claims against individuals by force. Toxic waste disposal problems have been created by government policies that separate liability from property ownership. Present legal principles, particularly the unjust and false concept of "public property," block privatization of the use of the environment and hence block resolution of controversies over resource use. We condemn the EPA's Superfund whose taxing powers are used to penalize all chemical firms, regardless of their conduct. Such clean-ups are a subsidy of irresponsible companies at the expense of responsible ones. We oppose government control of resource use through eminent domain, zoning laws, building codes, rent control, regional planning, urban renewal, or purchase of development rights with tax money. Such regulations and programs violate property rights, discriminate against minorities, create housing shortages, and tend to cause higher rents. All government restrictions upon private use or voluntary transfer of water rights or similar controls can only aggravate the misallocation of water. Forced surface mining of privately homesteaded lands, in which the government has reserved surface mining rights for itself, is a violation of the rights of the present landholders. Government has historically asserted a monopoly on space exploration.
Principle: Individuals have the right to homestead unowned resources, both within the jurisdictions of national governments and within such unclaimed territory as the ocean, Antarctica and outer space. Pollution of other people's property is a violation of individual rights. Strict liability, not government agencies and arbitrary government standards, should regulate pollution. Claiming that one has abandoned a piece of property does not absolve one of responsibility for actions one has set in motion.
Resource management is properly the responsibility and right of the legitimate owners of land, water and other natural resources. We recognize the legitimacy of resource planning by means of private, voluntary covenants. Voluntary, peaceful use of outer space should not be regulated by government. Space related activity is not a proper function of any government except for the protection of the terrestrial borders of that nation and its people located within that territory. Resource management and planning are the responsibility and right of the legitimate owners of land, water and other natural resources. Individuals have the right to homestead unowned resources, both within the jurisdictions of governments and within such unclaimed territory as the ocean, Antarctica and extraterrestrial bodies.
Solutions: We oppose any recognition of fiat claims by national governments or international bodies to unclaimed territory. We urge the development of objective international standards for recognizing homesteaded claims to private ownership of such forms of property as transportation lanes, broadcast bands, mineral rights, fishing rights and ocean farming rights. We also support the development of an objective legal system defining property rights to air and water. Rather than making taxpayers pay for toxic waste clean-ups, individual property owners, or in the case of corporations, the responsible managers and employees should be held strictly liable for material damage done by their property. We advocate the establishment of an efficient and just system of private water rights applied to all bodies of water, surface and underground. Such a system should be built upon a doctrine of first claim and use. The allocation of water should be governed by unrestricted competition and unregulated prices. We also advocate the privatization of government and quasi-government water supply systems. Only the complete separation of water and the State will prevent future water crises. We call for the homesteading or other just transfer to private ownership of federally held lands. We support all peaceful, private, voluntary attempts to explore, industrialize and colonize any extra-terrestrial resources. Resource rights shall be defined as property rights, including riparian rights. There will be no legal barriers to peaceful, private, voluntary attempts to explore, industrialize and colonize any extra-terrestrial resources.
Transitional Action: All laws, treaties and international agreements that would prevent or restrict homesteading of unowned resources should be abolished. We specifically hail the U.S. refusal to accept the proposed Law of the Sea Treaty because the treaty excluded private property principles, and we oppose any future ratification. We call for a modification of the laws governing such torts as trespass and nuisance to cover damages done by air, water, radiation, and noise pollution. We oppose legislative proposals to exempt persons who claim damage from radiation from having to prove such damage was in fact caused by radiation.
We demand the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency. We also oppose government-mandated smoking and non-smoking areas in privately owned businesses. The construction of government dams and other water projects should cease, and existing government water projects should be transferred to private ownership. We favor the abolition of the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers' civilian functions. We also favor the abolition of all local water districts and their power to tax. We oppose any use of executive orders invoking the Antiquities Act to set aside public lands. We call for the abolition of the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. We oppose creation of new government parks or wilderness and recreation areas. Such parks and areas that already exist should be transferred to non-government ownership. Pending such just transfer, their operating costs should be borne by their users rather than by taxpayers. We support the privatization of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
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.