While investigating the Libertarian Party of Florida’s website, I was struck by the adherence that this state’s party has made to the Constitution of the United States and of Florida. Principles espoused by Founders such as Madison and Jefferson are on display throughout the platform of the Florida Libertarian Party. As we move to grow the party it is of vital importance for everyone to be on the same page as to what principles guide us and what we fight for here in Florida.
On the front page of the Libertarian Party of Florida’s website, one encounters this list of principles right away:
- Recognizing freedom of speech, religion, and association
- Demanding Constitutionally-limited government
- Ensuring minimal taxation and balanced budgets
- Defending property rights
- Asserting sovereignty of the State from unconstitutional federal interference
- Asserting sovereignty of the Republic from unconstitutional international interference
- Upholding the Second Amendment and the absolute right to self defense
- Promoting a true free market economy
- Defending personal privacy and the Fourth Amendment
- Promoting strong national defense through a Constitutional foreign policy
- Ending government corruption
- Ensuring no individual, corporation or government is above the rule of law
- Ending prohibitions on all personal activities that do not infringe upon the rights of others.
Of course the Non Aggression Policy is in effect and must be agreed to to join the party. But more on that later.
The above principles detail what the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Florida define. Each line above makes an important point about the belief structure of Libertarians. I will detail each point below.
“Recognizing freedom of speech, religion, and association”
This is straight out of the 1st Amendment. Popular speech needs no protecting. Religion is an important part of the founding of this country and must be protected. The last part about freedom of association needs to be expounded on. Realize that freedom of association like the other two points are natural rights. They are inalienable- not given by government nor other people but are our right for just being human. The right to association means I can associate freely with anyone I choose to. It also means that I cannot be forced to associate with people with whom I do not wish to associate. Business by definition is a peaceable assembly. Pretty simple concept but definitely not what we are seeing in the laws today. Political correctness has replaced the rule of law.
Demanding Constitutionally-limited government
One would need to understand the Constitution for this to make sense. I will not expound on the Constitution here but do say that if you haven’t read it in a while then you should do so. The Constitution of the United States created a federal government of specific enumerated powers that were delegated by the states to handle the tasks which would be cumbersome to the states to try and handle individually. Think of treaties. One central authority which would have the treaty power representing the states and insuring the general welfare of the states be observed in the treaties is one of the rightful powers of the federal government. Bottom line is that the duties of the federal government and the state government are spelled out in detail in the corresponding documents. If the duty is not spelled out in either of these documents then it is reserved to the people. Another idea that has been lost over time is the idea that the powers we give to government must first be possessed by the people. If we the people cannot do something then how do we properly give government that power to perform?
Ensuring minimal taxation and balanced budgets
Note that it does NOT say that taxation is theft. I do agree (and the Constitution agrees with this) that individual taxation is wrong. We later backed off of that idea with the 16th Amendment but that is a discussion for a future article. Realize a government does need to be funded and taxes are the avenue we have chosen. Understand that the reason a convention was called in 1787 was not to write a new Constitution but to strengthen the Articles of Confederation. The Articles did not give the central authority the power to raise money to pay off war debts that had accrued in the Revolutionary War. The idea of collecting taxes is not for the government to redistribute wealth, it is exclusively to fund the constitutional activities of the government. Period. Any money used for anything else IS theft and needs to end. Balanced budgets speak for themselves. We need to live within our means so future generations have the same shot at liberty that we have been bequeathed.
Defending property rights
Private property ownership is the backbone of a free society. We have moved away from that ideal. Think of property taxes. Do you think that you own your home? Try not paying property taxes and see who really owns your house. We are merely renters to the state- which was not a founding principle of this country. You cannot have freedom without private property ownership. Period. This idea also extends to eminent domain. The taking of someone’s property must only be done when there is an overriding reason to do so and then appropriate compensation must be given. Lastly think of civil asset forfeiture. The idea that law enforcement can take your property without due process is abhorrent.
Asserting sovereignty of the State from unconstitutional federal interference
This is nullification as espoused by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in their famous Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. The simple idea is that laws that are passed in pursuance of the Constitution and only those passed in such a way are truly laws. If Congress passes a bill that is against the clear and simple meaning found in the Constitution then it does not have the force of law. This idea has a rich history and is THE tried and true constitutional remedy for an out of control federal government. Remember that the reason we institute government is to protect our rights. The state has the primary responsibility to maintain law and order within its borders. The state’s fundamental responsibility is to protect its citizens from anyone who would infringe on our rights no matter the source of that infringement, whether it is foreign or domestic. It is the state’s responsibility to protect us from the tyranny originating out of Washington DC.
Asserting sovereignty of the Republic from unconstitutional international interference
This is self explanatory. The United Nations nor any other international organization has anything to do with the internal workings of the United States or here in the State of Florida. International courts and any agenda coming from international bodies do not have any relevance in a Floridian’s life. No treaties but those made in pursuance of the Constitution have any force of law either.
Upholding the Second Amendment and the absolute right to self defense
Understand that the 2nd Amendment gives us no rights. You must understand this. It is very important. It is not semantics. It is the basis for most of the Bill of Rights. Our rights come from our creator, not from government or other men. That is a founding principle of this country and this state. Our rights are inalienable. The right to keep and bear arms is a subset of the right to life. No one is responsible for your life other than you. Without life no other rights really matter. Who cares about free speech if one is dead? Because of this no one is allowed to tell you how you are allowed to protect that life. Any bans that infringe on this right to protect oneself is unconstitutional and an affront to anyone who supports liberty.
Promoting a true free market economy
Government needs to remove itself entirely from the free market. There should be no money being distributed to any private organization nor any tax incentives or tax money used to promote one industry or business over another. Tax favoritism should be eliminated. It is not the proper role of government to pick winners and losers in the market. That is rightfully the consumer’s choice. We should also end all government sponsored monopolies. The free market is vastly superior to government run markets though people alive today have no reference as to this idea. The practice of free markets is an idea that needs to be reinvigorated.
Defending personal privacy and the Fourth Amendment
Personal privacy is spelled out in the 4th Amendment. Like many of the rights protected in the Bill of Rights, when government begins to infringe on this right then they are moving in the direction of tyranny, not liberty. Mass surveillance is wrong and not supported by the Constitution. Collection of personal information by the government is also not supported by the Constitution. It is specifically prohibited.
Promoting strong national defense through a Constitutional foreign policy
Though not an activity on the state level per se, the idea that our foreign policy be constitutional is important. We as a party reject the idea of any Floridian being sent off to fight without a declaration of war as prescribed by the Constitution. We also support the idea that militia forces of the state be under the control of the state legislator and Governor of the state. Our Constitution was written for America and Americans. It was not written for the rest of the world and we must reject the idea that we are here to spread democracy (the word of the globalist, not I) around the world.
Ending government corruption
The explanation is simple. Create an environment where government workers and officials feel the need to obey the law. Governments on all levels are out of control. They must be reigned in for us to continue as a republic.
Ensuring no individual, corporation or government is above the rule of law
This also is self explanatory. Any laws which protect monopolies or give any individual, corporate or government entity a special exemption not given to everyone is wrong and must be eliminated. The only thing that can keep a monopoly alive is a corrupt and overbearing government. “Laws” which support a multiple tier justice system must be eliminated.
Ending prohibitions on all personal activities that do not infringe upon the rights of others.
This deals directly from the ideology that formed this nation- there is no such thing as a victimless crime. The state cannot be the victim either. If we embraced this easily understood paradigm then we would instantly see our for-profit prisons empty significantly. and rightfully so.
To get a fuller appreciation of what our principles are, I suggest reading the Platform adopted by the libertarians of this state. In many instances it goes into greater detail about specific ideas expounded in our guiding principles.
One item not espoused by Libertarians nor supportive of liberty is the anarchists we find in our party. Anarchy is idiocy. We create government to protect our rights and without those protections we find ourselves in the state of nature. Nature is brutal. Nature doesn’t recognize the right to life or private property ownership. Might makes right in a natural setting. That is not a libertarian idea and needs to be rejected. Anarchy utilizes the initiation of force as a tool. We want to be inclusive in the party but hard core anarchists who call for no government are a detriment. They also ignore the tenets of liberty and the lessons history has taught us about nature. Anarchists are in no way libertarian in their beliefs.
Another item not mentioned is open borders. This may be a far off future dream in a libertarian utopia but it is not anywhere close to the reality of our times. Allowing the rest of the world to come to our nation unfettered will make us look and act like the rest of the world. We have laws about immigration that need to be adhered to. Immigration is a tool to aid America and Americans. Like I said previously, the Constitution of the United States was written for America, it does not apply to the rest of the world. Many say open borders is alright if we eliminate the welfare state. I say to those people- eliminate welfare first and then we can talk about changing the laws on immigration. What keeps us a free nation is that we are a nation of laws that are applicable equally across the population. As we move away from that ideal we see the results.
Lastly, remember our basic tenet- the Non-Aggression Policy. It does NOT mean we are passive. It does NOT mean we run away from a fight. It means exactly what it says. We do not initiate aggression. What we see in today’s society is multiple aggressions by government initiated against its people. A proper response should not be characterized as aggression. When you are attacked or your rights are abridged, then a proper response is called for. Sometimes force must be met with force. This is reality. Liberty is not a spectator sport and talking is only the starting point for true change.
If we as a group stick to the principles that have been outlined above we will see an influx of people to our cause. The reason we as a party remain relatively obscure is the watering down of our principles or conversing on principles that we do not support. Here in Florida the majority of people have registered as NPA- No Party Affiliation. They outnumber republicans or democrats. These people want to be active but have rejected the two party monopoly we have created in this nation. It is my belief and born out by history that a bold message that espouses our principles will be much more effective that painting our movement with pastel colors and watering down the message. Get educated. Be bold. Be consistent. Tell the truth at all times. Think of the future generations and the billions of people yet to be born who depend on us to get the message of liberty out to the people. They have no voice and depend on us to protect the future so they can have the opportunities we have had.