1996 National Platform
1996 National Platform of the Libertarian Party
Adopted in Convention
- 1 Preamble
- 2 Statement of Principles
- 3 I. Individual Rights and Civil Order
- 3.1 1. Freedom and Responsibility
- 3.2 2. Crime
- 3.3 3. Victimless Crimes
- 3.4 4. The War on Drugs
- 3.5 5. Safeguards for the Criminally Accused
- 3.6 6. Justice for the Individual
- 3.7 7. Juries
- 3.8 8. Individual Sovereignty
- 3.9 9. Government and Mental Health
- 3.10 10. Freedom of Communication
- 3.11 11. Freedom of Religion
- 3.12 12. The Right to Property
- 3.13 13. Protection of Privacy
- 3.14 14. Government Secrecy
- 3.15 15. Internal Security and Civil Liberties
- 3.16 16. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms
- 3.17 17. Conscription and the Military
- 3.18 18. Immigration
- 3.19 19. Freedom of Association and Government Discrimination
- 3.20 20. Women's Rights and Abortion
- 3.21 21. Family Life
- 3.22 22. Sexual Rights
- 3.23 23. American Indian Rights
- 3.24 II. Trade and the Economy
- 3.25 III. Domestic Ills
- 3.25.1 1. Energy
- 3.25.2 2. Pollution
- 3.25.3 3. Consumer Protection
- 3.25.4 4. Education
- 3.25.5 5. Population
- 3.25.6 6. Transportation
- 3.25.7 7. Poverty and Unemployment
- 3.25.8 8. Health Care
- 3.25.9 9. Resource Use
- 3.25.10 10. Agriculture
- 3.25.11 11. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
- 3.25.12 12. Social Security
- 3.25.13 13. Postal Service
- 3.25.14 14. Civil Service
- 3.25.15 15. Election Laws
- 3.26 IV. Foreign Affairs
- 3.26.1 A. Diplomatic Policy
- 3.26.2 B. Military
- 3.26.3 C. Economic Policy
- 3.26.4 D. International Relations
- 3.27 Omissions
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.
Statement of Principles
We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.
We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.
Governments throughout history have regularly operated on the opposite principle, that the State has the right to dispose of the lives of individuals and the fruits of their labor. Even within the United States, all political parties other than our own grant to government the right to regulate the lives of individuals and seize the fruits of their labor without their consent.
We, on the contrary, deny the right of any government to do these things, and hold that where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual: namely, (1) the right to life -- accordingly we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others; (2) the right to liberty of speech and action -- accordingly we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form; and (3) the right to property -- accordingly we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.
Since governments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights, we oppose all interference by government in the areas of voluntary and contractual relations among individuals. People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others. They should be left free by government to deal with one another as free traders; and the resultant economic system, the only one compatible with the protection of individual rights, is the free market.
I. Individual Rights and Civil Order
No conflict exists between civil order and individual rights. Both concepts are based on the same fundamental principle: that no individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government.
1. Freedom and Responsibility
Members of the Libertarian Party do not necessarily advocate or condone any of the practices our policies would make legal. Our exclusion of moral approval and disapproval is deliberate: people's rights must be recognized; the wisdom of any course of peaceful action is a matter for the acting individual(s) to decide. Personal responsibility is discouraged by government denying individuals the opportunity to exercise it. Libertarian policies will create a society where people are free to make and learn from their own decisions.
The continuing high level of violent crime -- and the government's demonstrated inability to deal with it -- threatens the lives, happiness, and belongings of Americans. At the same time, governmental violations of rights undermine the people's sense of justice with regard to crime. The appropriate way to suppress crime is through consistent and impartial enforcement of laws that protect individual rights. Laws pertaining to "victimless crimes" should be repealed since such laws themselves violate individual rights and also breed other types of crime. We applaud the trend toward private protection services and voluntary community crime control groups. We support institutional changes, consistent with full respect for the rights of the accused, that would permit victims to direct the prosecution in criminal cases.
3. Victimless Crimes
Because only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes, we favor the repeal of all federal, state, and local laws creating "crimes" without victims. In particular, we advocate:
a. the repeal of all laws prohibiting the production, sale, possession, or use of drugs, and of all medicinal prescription requirements for the purchase of vitamins, drugs, and similar substances;
b. the repeal of all laws restricting or prohibiting the use or sale of alcohol, requiring health warning labels and signs, making bartenders or hosts responsible for the behavior of customers and guests, making liquor companies liable for birth defects, and making gambling houses liable for the losses of intoxicated gamblers;
c. the repeal of all laws or policies authorizing stopping drivers without probable cause to test for alcohol or drug use;
d. the repeal of all laws regarding consensual sexual relations, including prostitution and solicitation, and the cessation of state oppression and harassment of homosexual men and women, that they, at last, be accorded their full rights as individuals;
e. the repeal of all laws regulating or prohibiting the possession, use, sale, production, or distribution of sexually explicit material, independent of "socially redeeming value" or compliance with "community standards";
f. the repeal of all laws regulating or prohibiting gambling;
g. the repeal of anti-racketeering statutes such as the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which punish peaceful behavior -- including insider trading in securities, sale of sexually explicit material, and nonviolent anti-abortion protests -- by freezing and/or seizing assets of the accused or convicted; and
h. the repeal of all laws interfering with the right to commit suicide as infringements of the ultimate right of an individual to his or her own life.
We demand the use of executive pardon to free and exonerate all those presently incarcerated or ever convicted solely for the commission of these "crimes." We condemn the wholesale confiscation of property prior to conviction by the state that all too often accompanies police raids, searches, and prosecutions for victimless crimes.
Further, we recognize that, often, the Federal Government blackmails states which refuse to comply with these laws by withholding funds and we applaud those states which refuse to be so coerced.
4. The War on Drugs
The so-called "War on Drugs" is a grave threat to individual liberty, to domestic order and to peace in the world; furthermore, it has provided a rationale by which the power of the state has been expanded to restrict greatly our right to privacy and to be secure in our homes.
We call for the repeal of all laws establishing criminal or civil penalties for the use of drugs and of "anti-crime" measures restricting individual rights to be secure in our persons, homes, and property, or limiting our rights to keep and bear arms.
5. Safeguards for the Criminally Accused
Until such time as persons are proved guilty of crimes, they should be accorded full respect for their individual rights. We are thus opposed to reduction of constitutional safeguards of the rights of the criminally accused.
We oppose labeling cases as "civil" strictly to avoid the due process protections of criminal law and we further oppose governmental civil and criminal pretrial seizure of property for criminal offenses.
We oppose police officers using excessive force on the disorderly or the criminally accused, handing out what they may consider to be instant punishments on the streets, preventive detention, and no-knock laws. Instant-punishment policies deprive the accused of important checks on government power -- juries and the judicial process. We oppose any concept that some individuals are by nature second-class citizens who only understand instant punishment and any claim that the police possess special insight into recognizing persons in need of punishment.
We support full restitution for all loss 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 should be liable for this restitution.
We call for a reform of the judicial system allowing criminal defendants and civil parties to a court action a reasonable number of peremptory challenges to proposed judges, similar to their right under the present system to challenge a proposed juror.
6. Justice for the Individual
The present system of criminal law is based almost solely on punishment with little concern for the victim. We support restitution for the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or wrongdoer.
We oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense.
We oppose all "no-fault" insurance laws, which deprive the victim of the right to recover damages from those responsible in the case of injury. We also support the right of the victim to pardon the criminal or wrongdoer, barring threats to the victim for this purpose. We applaud the growth of private adjudication of disputes by mutually acceptable judges.
We support a change in rape laws so that cohabitation will no longer be a defense against a charge of rape.
We oppose the current practice of forced jury duty and favor all-volunteer juries. In addition, we urge the assertion of the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law. In all cases to which the government is a party, the judge should be required to inform the jurors of their common law right to judge the law, as well as the facts, and to acquit a criminal defendant, and to find against the government in a civil trial, whenever they deem the law unjust or oppressive.
8. Individual Sovereignty
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. We favor an immediate end to the doctrine of "Sovereign Immunity" which ignores the primacy of the individual over the abstraction of the State, and holds that the State, contrary to the tradition of redress of grievances, may not be sued without its permission or held accountable for its actions under civil law.
9. Government and Mental Health
We oppose the involuntary commitment of any person to or involuntary treatment in a mental institution.
We advocate an end to the spending of tax money for any program of psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral research or treatment.
We favor an end to the acceptance of criminal defenses based on "insanity" or "diminished capacity" which absolve the guilty of their responsibility.
10. Freedom of Communication
We defend the rights of individuals to unrestricted freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the right of individuals to dissent from government itself. We recognize that full freedom of expression is possible only as part of a system of full property rights. 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 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 oppose any abridgment of the freedom of speech through government censorship, regulation or control of communications media, including, but not limited to, laws concerning:
-- Obscenity, including "pornography", as we hold this to be an abridgment of liberty of expression despite claims that it instigates rape or assault, or demeans and slanders women;
-- Reception and storage equipment, such as digital audio tape recorders and radar warning devices, and the manufacture of video terminals by telephone companies;
-- Electronic bulletin boards, communications networks, and other interactive electronic media as we hold them to be the functional equivalent of speaking halls and printing presses in the age of electronic communications, and as such deserving of full freedom;
-- Electronic newspapers, electronic "Yellow Pages", and other new information media, as these deserve full freedom.
-- Commercial speech or advertising.
We oppose speech codes at all schools that are primarily tax funded. Language that is deemed offensive to certain groups is not a cause for legal action.
We favor the abolition of the Federal Communications Commission as we would provide for free market ownership of airwave frequencies, deserving of full First Amendment protection.
We oppose government ownership or subsidy of, or funding for, any communications organization.
We strongly oppose the government's burgeoning practice of invading newsrooms, or the premises of other innocent third parties, in the name of law enforcement. We further oppose court orders gagging news coverage of criminal proceedings -- the right to publish and broadcast must not be abridged merely for the convenience of the judicial system. We deplore any efforts to impose thought control on the media, either by the use of anti-trust laws, or by any other government action in the name of stopping "bias."
Removal of all of these regulations and practices throughout the communications media would open the way to diversity and innovation. We shall not be satisfied until the First Amendment is expanded to protect full, unconditional freedom of communication.
11. Freedom of Religion
We defend the rights of individuals to engage in (or abstain from) any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. In order to defend freedom, we advocate a strict separation of church and State. We oppose government actions that either aid or attack any religion. We oppose taxation of church property for the same reason that we oppose all taxation. We oppose the harassment of churches by the Internal Revenue Service through threats to deny tax-exempt status to churches that refuse to disclose massive amounts of information about themselves.
We condemn the attempts by parents or any others -- via kidnappings or conservatorships -- to force children to conform to any religious views. Government harassment or obstruction of religious groups for their beliefs or non-violent activities must end.
12. The Right to Property
There is no conflict between property rights and human rights. Indeed, property rights are the rights of humans with respect to property, and as such, are entitled to the same respect and protection as all other human rights.
All rights are inextricably linked with property rights. Such rights as the freedom from involuntary servitude as well as the freedom of speech and the freedom of press are based on self-ownership. Our bodies are our property every bit as much as is justly acquired land or material objects.
We further hold that the owners of property 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 the valid rights of others. We oppose all violations of the right to private property, liberty of contract, and freedom of trade done in the name of national security. We also condemn current government efforts to regulate or ban the use of property in the name of aesthetic values, riskiness, moral standards, cost-benefit estimates, or the promotion or restriction of economic growth. We specifically condemn all government interference in the operation of private businesses, such as restaurants and airlines, by either requiring or prohibiting designated smoking or non-smoking areas for their employees or their customers.
We demand an end to the taxation of privately owned real property, which actually makes the State the owner of all lands and forces individuals to rent their homes and places of business from the State. We condemn attempts to employ eminent domain to municipalize sports teams or to try to force them to stay in their present location.
Where property, including land, has been taken from its rightful owners by the government or private action in violation of individual rights, we favor restitution to the rightful owners.
13. Protection of Privacy
The individual's right to privacy, property, and right to speak or not to speak should not be infringed by the government. The government should not use electronic or other means of covert surveillance of an individual's actions or private property without the consent of the owner or occupant. Correspondence, bank and other financial transactions and records, doctors' and lawyers' communications, employment records, and the like should not be open to review by government without the consent of all parties involved in those actions.
We support the protections provided by the Fourth Amendment and oppose any government use of search warrants to examine or seize materials belonging to innocent third parties. We also oppose police roadblocks aimed at randomly, and without probable cause, testing drivers for intoxication and police practices to stop mass transit vehicles and search passengers without probable cause.
So long as the National Census and all federal, state, and other government agencies' compilations of data on an individual continue to exist, they should be conducted only with the consent of the persons from whom the data is sought.
We oppose all restrictions and regulations on the private development, sale, and use of encryption technology. We specifically oppose any requirement for disclosure of encryption methods or keys, including the government's proposals for so-called "key escrow" which is truly government access to keys, and any requirement for use of government-specified devices or protocols. We also oppose government classification of civilian research on encryption methods.
If a private employer screens prospective or current employees via questionnaires, polygraph tests, urine tests for drugs, blood tests for AIDS, or other means, this is a condition of that employer's labor contracts. Such screening does not violate the rights of employees, who have the right to boycott such employers if they choose. Private contractual arrangements, including labor contracts, must be founded on mutual consent and agreement in a society that upholds freedom of association. On the other hand, we oppose any use of such screening by government or regulations requiring government contractors to impose any such screening.
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.
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 companies by governments.
14. Government Secrecy
We condemn the government's use of secret classifications to keep from the public information that it should have. We favor substituting a system in which no individual may be convicted for violating government secrecy classifications unless the government discharges its burden of proving that the publication:
a. violated the right of privacy of those who have been coerced into revealing confidential or proprietary information to government agents, or
b. disclosed defensive military plans so as to materially impair the capabilities to respond to attack.
It should always be a defense to such prosecution that information divulged shows that the government has violated the law.
15. Internal Security and Civil Liberties
We call for abolition of secret police, such as the Central Intelligence Agency. We support Congressional investigation of criminal activities of the CIA and FBI and of wrongdoing by other governmental agencies.
We support the abolition of the subpoena power as used by Congressional committees against individuals or firms. We oppose any efforts to revive the House Internal Security Committee or its predecessor the House Un-American Activities Committee, and call for the destruction of its files on private individuals and groups. We also call for the abolition of the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security.
16. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms
The Bill of Rights recognizes that an armed citizenry is essential to a free society. We affirm the right to keep and bear arms and 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 also oppose any government efforts to ban or restrict the use of tear gas, "mace," or other self-protection devices. We further oppose all attempts to ban weapons or ammunition on the grounds that they are risky or unsafe.
We support repeal of all gun control laws and we demand the immediate abolition of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
We favor the repeal of laws banning the concealment of weapons or prohibiting pocket weapons. We also oppose the banning of inexpensive handguns ("Saturday night specials"), and semi-automatic or so-called assault weapons and their magazines or feeding devices.
17. Conscription and the Military
Recognizing that registration is the first step toward full conscription, we oppose all attempts at compulsory registration of any person and all schemes for automatic registration through government invasions of the privacy of school, motor vehicle, or other records. We call for the abolition of the still-functioning elements of the Selective Service System, believing that impressment of individuals into the armed forces is involuntary servitude. We call for the destruction of all files in computer-readable or hard-copy form compiled by the Selective Service System. We also oppose any form of national service, such as a compulsory youth labor program.
We oppose adding women to the pool of those eligible for and subject to the draft, not because we think that as a rule women are unfit for combat, but because we believe that this step enlarges the number of people subjected to government tyranny.
We support the immediate and unconditional exoneration of all who have been accused or convicted of draft evasion, desertion from the military, and other acts of resistance to such transgressions as imperialistic wars and aggressive acts of the military. Members of the military should have the same right to quit their jobs as other persons.
We call for the end of the Defense Department practice of discharging armed forces personnel for homosexual conduct. We further call for retraction of all less-than-honorable discharges previously assigned for such reasons and deletion of such information from military personnel files.
We recommend the repeal of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the recognition and equal protection of the rights of armed forces members. This will thereby promote morale, dignity, and a sense of justice within the military.
We hold that human rights should not be denied or abridged on the basis of nationality. We condemn massive roundups of Hispanic Americans and others by the federal government in its hunt for individuals not possessing required government documents. We strongly oppose all measures that punish employers who hire undocumented workers. Such measures repress free enterprise, harass workers, and systematically discourage employers from hiring Hispanics.
We welcome all refugees to our country and condemn the efforts of U.S. officials to create a new "Berlin Wall" which would keep them captive. We condemn the U.S. government's policy of barring those refugees from our country and preventing Americans from assisting their passage to help them escape tyranny or improve their economic prospects.
Undocumented non-citizens should not be denied the fundamental freedom to labor and to move about unmolested. Furthermore, immigration must not be restricted for reasons of race, religion, political creed, age, or sexual preference.
We therefore call for the elimination of all restrictions on immigration, the abolition of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Border Patrol, and a declaration of full amnesty for all people who have entered the country illegally. We oppose government welfare and resettlement payments to non-citizens just as we oppose government welfare payments to all other persons.
19. Freedom of Association and Government Discrimination
Individual rights should not be denied, abridged, or enhanced at the expense of other people's rights, on the basis of sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference, or sexual orientation by the laws at any level of government. Protective labor laws, Selective Service laws, and other laws that violate rights selectively should be repealed entirely rather than be extended to all groups.
Discrimination imposed by the government has brought disruption in normal relationships of people, set neighbor against neighbor, created gross injustices, destroyed voluntary communities, and diminished human potential. Anti-discrimination laws enforced by the government are the reverse side of the coin, and will for the same reasons create the same problems. Consequently, we oppose any government attempts to regulate private discrimination, including choices and preferences, in employment, housing, and privately owned businesses. The right to trade includes the right not to trade -- for any reasons whatsoever; the right of association includes the right not to associate, for exercise of the right depends upon mutual consent.
20. Women's Rights and Abortion
We hold that individual rights should not be denied or abridged on the basis of sex. We call for repeal of all laws discriminating against women, such as protective labor laws and marriage or divorce laws which deny the full rights of men and women. We oppose all laws likely to impose restrictions on free choice and private property or to widen tyranny through reverse discrimination. Recognizing that abortion is a very sensitive issue and that libertarians can hold good-faith views on both sides, we believe the government should be kept entirely out of the question, allowing all individuals to be guided by their own consciences. We oppose all restrictions on the sale of RU 486, and on the sale of menstruation-inducing contragestive pills, which block fertilized eggs from attaching themselves to the womb. We oppose legislation restricting or subsidizing women's access to abortion or other reproductive health services; this includes requiring consent of the prospective father, waiting periods, and mandatory indoctrination on fetal development, as well as Medicaid or any other taxpayer funding. It is particularly harsh to force someone who believes that abortion is murder to pay for another's abortion.
We also condemn state-mandated abortions.
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.
21. Family Life
We support protection of the integrity of families and households as contractual institutions against government intrusion and interference. Such governmental interference has undermined the value of families and households as cultural institutions of love, nurture, companionship, kinship, and personal development by forcing them to conform to a rigid, inflexible design. Moreover, we condemn the usurpation by government through morals laws, government welfare programs, and government schools, of activities long carried on by families and households. We further accuse government of designing educational programs that place civic and moral education under the control of politicians and of designing welfare laws that destroy families and households.
22. Sexual Rights
We believe that adults have the right to private choice in consensual sexual activity.
We oppose any government attempt to dictate, prohibit, control, or encourage any private lifestyle, living arrangement or contractual relationship.
We support repeal of existing laws and policies which are intended to condemn, affirm, encourage, or deny sexual lifestyles or any set of attitudes about such lifestyles.
23. American Indian Rights
The major factors underlying the unconscionable plight of America's Indians may be summarized as follows: (1) the unresolved complexity of dual national citizenship; (2) the attrition of reservation lands and abridgement of Indian rights to remaining properties; (3) the subjugation of individual Indians to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and tribal governmental authority; and (4) various federal commitments to provide the tribes with health, education, and welfare benefits "forever" in exchange for expropriated lands. We favor the following remedies, respectively: (1) individual Indians should be free to select their citizenship, if any, and tribes should be allowed to choose their level of autonomy, up to absolute sovereignty; (2) Indians should have their just property rights restored, including rights of easement, access, hunting and fishing; (3) the Bureau of Indian Affairs should be abolished and tribal members allowed to decide the extent and nature of their government, if any; and (4) negotiations should be undertaken to exchange various otherwise unclaimed and unowned federal properties for any and all remaining governmental obligations to the tribes.
We further advocate holding fully liable those responsible for any and all damages which have resulted from authorization of, or engagement in, resource development on reservation lands, including damages done by careless disposal of uranium tailings and other mineral wastes.
II. Trade and the Economy
Because each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market, and because government interference can only harm such free activity, we oppose all intervention by government into the area of economics. The only proper role of existing governments in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. Efforts to forcibly redistribute wealth or forcibly manage trade are intolerable. 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.
1. The Economy
Government intervention in the economy imperils both the personal freedom and the material prosperity of every American. We therefore support the following specific immediate reforms:
a. drastic reduction of both taxes and government spending;
b. an end to deficit budgets;
c. a halt to inflationary monetary policies;
d. the removal of all governmental impediments to free trade; and
e. the repeal of all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates.
Since we believe that all persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor, we oppose all government activity that consists of the forcible collection of money or goods from individuals in violation of their individual rights. Specifically, we:
a. recognize the right of any individual to challenge the payment of taxes on moral, religious, legal, or constitutional grounds;
b. oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes;
c. support the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, and oppose any increase in existing tax rates and the imposition of any new taxes;
d. support the eventual repeal of all taxation; and
e. support a declaration of unconditional amnesty for all those individuals who have been convicted of, or who now stand accused of, tax resistance.
As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.
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.
We oppose any and all increases in the rate of taxation or categories of taxpayers, including the elimination of deductions, exemptions, or credits in the spurious name of "fairness," "simplicity," or alleged "neutrality to the free market." No tax can ever be fair, simple, or neutral to the free market.
In the current fiscal crisis of states and municipalities, default is preferable to raising taxes or perpetual refinancing of growing public debt.
3. Inflation and Depression
We recognize that government control over money and banking is the primary cause of inflation and depression. 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 therefore call for the repeal of all legal tender laws and of all compulsory governmental units of account. We support the right to private ownership of and contracts for gold. We favor the elimination of all government fiat money and all government minted coins. All restrictions upon the private minting of coins should be abolished so that minting will be open to the competition of the free market.
We favor free-market banking. We call for the abolition of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Banking System, and all similar national and state interventions affecting banking and credit. Our opposition encompasses all controls on the rate of interest. We also call for the abolition of the Federal Home Loan Bank System, the Resolution Trust Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the National Credit Union Central Liquidity Facility, and all similar national and state interventions affecting savings and loan associations, credit unions, and other depository institutions. There should be unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types.
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. The only further necessary check upon monetary inflation is the consistent application of the general protection against fraud to the minting and banking industries.
Pending its abolition, the Federal Reserve System, in order to halt inflation, must immediately cease its expansion of the quantity of money. As interim measures, we further support:
a. the lifting of all restrictions on branch banking;
b. the repeal of all state usury laws;
c. the removal of all remaining restrictions on the interest paid for deposits;
d. the elimination of laws setting margin requirements on purchases and sales of securities;
e. the revocation of all other selective credit controls;
f. the abolition of Federal Reserve control over the reserves of non-member banks and other depository institutions; and
g. the lifting of the prohibition of domestic deposits denominated in foreign currencies.
4. Finance and Capital Investment
We call for the abolition of all regulation of financial and capital markets -- specifically, the abolition of the Securities and Exchange Commission, of state "Blue Sky" laws which 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 which may emerge in the future.
We call for repeal of all laws based on the muddled concept of insider trading. 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. 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. Government Debt
We support the drive for a constitutional amendment requiring the national government to balance its budget, and also support similar amendments to require balanced state budgets. To be effective, a balanced budget amendment should provide:
a. that neither Congress nor the President be permitted to override this requirement;
b. that all off-budget items are included in the budget;
c. that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes; and
d. that no exception be made for periods of national emergency.
The Federal Reserve should be forbidden to acquire any additional government securities, thereby helping to eliminate the inflationary aspect of the deficit. Governments facing fiscal crises should always default in preference to raising taxes. At a minimum, the level of government should be frozen.
We condemn all coercive monopolies. We recognize that government is the source of monopoly, through its grants of legal privilege to special interests in the economy. In order to abolish monopolies, we advocate a strict separation of business and State.
"Anti-trust" laws do not prevent monopoly, but foster it by limiting competition. We therefore call for the repeal of all "anti-trust" laws, including the Robinson-Patman Act which restricts price discounts, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and the Clayton Anti-Trust Act. We further call for the abolition of the Federal Trade Commission and the anti-trust division of the Department of Justice.
We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives, and other types of companies based on voluntary association. Laws of incorporation should not include grants of monopoly privilege. In particular, we oppose special limits on the liability of corporations for damages caused in noncontractual transactions. We also oppose state or federal limits on the size of private companies and on the right of companies to merge. We further oppose efforts, in the name of social responsibility, or any other reason, to expand federal chartering of corporations into a pretext for government control of business.
In order to achieve a free economy in which government victimizes no one for the benefit of any other, we oppose all government subsidies to business, labor, education, agriculture, science, broadcasting, the arts, sports, or any other special interest. In particular, we condemn any effort to forge an alliance between government and business under the guise of "reindustrialization" or "industrial policy." The unrestricted competition of the free market is the best way to foster prosperity. We therefore oppose any resumption of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, or any similar plan that would force the taxpayer to subsidize or sustain any enterprise.
We call for the abolition of the Federal Financing Bank, the most important national agency subsidizing special interests with government loans. We also oppose all government guarantees of so-called private loans. Such guarantees transfer resources to special interests as effectively as actual government expenditures and, at the national level, exceed direct government loans in total amount. Taxpayers must never bear the cost of default upon government-guaranteed loans. All national, state, and local government agencies whose primary function is to guarantee loans, including the Federal Housing Administration, the Rural Electrification Administration, and the Small Business Administration, should be abolished or privatized.
The loans of government-sponsored enterprises, even when not guaranteed by the government, constitute another form of subsidy. All such enterprises -- the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, the Federal National Mortgage Association, the Farm Credit Administration, and the Student Loan Marketing Association -- must either be abolished or completely privatized.
Relief or exemption from taxation or from any other involuntary government intervention, however, should not be considered a subsidy.
8. Trade Barriers
Like subsidies, tariffs and quotas serve only to give special treatment to favored special interests and to diminish the welfare of consumers and other individuals, as do point-of-origin or content regulation. These measures also reduce the scope of contracts and understanding among different peoples. We therefore support abolition of all trade barriers and all government-sponsored export-promotion programs, as well as the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. Court of International Trade. We affirm this as a unilateral policy, independent of the trade policies of other nations. Concurrent with the adoption of this policy shall be the complete and unilateral withdrawal from all international trade agreements including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
9. Public Utilities
We advocate the termination of government-created franchise privileges and governmental monopolies for such services as garbage collection, fire protection, electricity, natural gas, cable television, telephone, or water supplies. Furthermore, all rate regulation in these industries should be abolished. The right to offer such services on the market should not be curtailed by law.
10. Unions and Collective Bargaining
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.
We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or the imposition of an obligation to bargain. Therefore, we urge repeal of the National Labor Relations Act, and all state Right-to-Work Laws which 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.
Government-mandated waiting periods for closure of factories or businesses hurt, rather than help, the wage-earner. We support all efforts to benefit workers, owners, and management by keeping government out of this area.
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.
III. Domestic Ills
Current problems in such areas as energy, pollution, health care delivery, decaying cities, and poverty are not solved, but are primarily caused, by government. The welfare state, supposedly designed to aid the poor, is in reality a growing and parasitic burden on all productive people, and injures, rather than benefits, the poor themselves.
We oppose all 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. We oppose all government subsidies for energy research, development, and operation.
We oppose all direct and indirect government participation in the nuclear energy industry, including subsidies, research and development funds, guaranteed loans, waste disposal subsidies, and federal uranium enrichment facilities. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission should be abolished; full liability -- not government agencies -- should regulate nuclear power. The Price-Anderson Act, through which the government limits liability for nuclear accidents and furnishes partial payment at taxpayer expense, should be repealed. Nuclear energy should be denationalized and the industry's assets transferred to the private sector. Any nuclear power industry must meet the test of a free market.
We support abolition of the Department of Energy and the abolition of its component agencies, without their transfer elsewhere in the government. 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. 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.
We favor the creation of a free market in oil by instituting full property rights in underground oil and by the repeal of all government controls over output in the petroleum industry. All government-owned energy resources should be turned over to private ownership.
Pollution of other people's property is a violation of individual rights. Present legal principles, particularly the unjust and false concept of "public property," block privatisation of the use of the environment and hence block resolution of controversies over resource use. We support the development of an objective legal system defining property rights to air and water. 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. Strict liability, not government agencies and arbitrary government standards, should regulate pollution. We therefore demand the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency. We also oppose government-mandated smoking and non-smoking areas in privately owned businesses.
Toxic waste disposal problems have been created by government policies that separate liability from property. 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. Claiming that one has abandoned a piece of property does not absolve one of the responsibility for actions one has set in motion. 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.
3. Consumer 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. We oppose governmental promotion or imposition of the metric system.
We oppose all so-called "consumer protection" legislation which infringes upon voluntary trade, and call for the abolition of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. We advocate the repeal of all laws banning or restricting the advertising of prices, products, or services. We specifically oppose laws requiring an individual to buy or use so-called "self-protection" equipment such as safety belts, air bags, or crash helmets.
We advocate the abolition of the Federal Aviation Administration, which has jeopardized safety by arrogating to itself a monopoly of safety regulation and enforcement. We call for privatizing the air traffic control system and transferring the FAA's other functions to private agencies.
We advocate the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration and particularly its policies of mandating specific nutritional requirements and denying the right of manufacturers to make non-fraudulent claims concerning their products. We advocate an end to compulsory fluoridation of water supplies. We specifically oppose government regulation of the price, potency, or quantity able to be produced or purchased of drugs or other consumer goods. There should be no laws regarding what substances (nicotine, alcohol, hallucinogens, narcotics, Laetrile, artificial sweeteners, vitamin supplements, or other "drugs") a person may ingest or otherwise use.
We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. 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.
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 for profit or non-profit.
We condemn compulsory education laws, which spawn prison-like schools with many of the problems associated with prisons, 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.
Recognizing that the American people are not a collective national resource, we oppose all coercive measures for population control.
We oppose government actions that either compel or prohibit abortion, sterilization, or any other forms of birth control. Specifically, we condemn the vicious practice of forced sterilization of welfare recipients or of mentally retarded or "genetically defective" individuals.
We regard the tragedies caused by unplanned, unwanted pregnancies to be aggravated, if not created, by government policies of censorship, restriction, regulation, and prohibition. Therefore, we call for the repeal of all laws that restrict anyone, including children, from engaging in voluntary exchanges of goods, services, or information regarding human sexuality, reproduction, birth control, or related medical or biological technologies.
We equally oppose government laws and policies that restrict the opportunity to choose alternatives to abortion.
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 urge the elimination of special tax burdens on single people and couples with few or no children.
Government interference in transportation is characterized by monopolistic restriction, corruption and gross inefficiency. We therefore 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. 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."
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.
7. Poverty and Unemployment
Government fiscal and monetary measures that artificially foster business expansion guarantee an eventual increase in unemployment rather than curtailing it. We call for the immediate cessation of such 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.
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. No worker should be legally penalized for lack of certification, and no consumer should be legally restrained from hiring unlicensed individuals.
We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and "aid to the poor" programs. All these government programs are invasive of privacy, paternalistic, demeaning, and inefficient. The proper source of help for such persons is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.
To speed the time when governmental programs are replaced by effective private institutions we advocate dollar-for-dollar tax credits for all charitable contributions.
8. Health Care
We favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system. We oppose the efforts of Washington politicians to place all the spending on health in American society within a federally-planned overall health budget. A new national health budget will necessitate not only federal price controls on health care services -- with all the waiting lines and distortions that accompany price controls -- but also rationing of health care. The bureaucratic, top-down system called "managed competition" that is to determine what-gets-spent-on-what cannot escape being a political scramble by special interests seeking health dollars and could never be an adequate substitute for completely free competition in the medical marketplace. We advocate the complete separation of medicine and State. Recognizing the individual's right to self-medication, we seek the elimination of all government restrictions on the right of individuals to pursue alternative forms of health care. Individuals should be free to contract with practitioners of their choice for all health care services. We oppose any government infringement upon the practitioner-patient relationship through regulatory agencies or contracted review organizations. We condemn the practice of criminally prosecuting medical practitioners under the anti-trust laws.
We oppose any form of compulsory National Health Insurance, including mandatory health insurance benefits required of employers by the government. We favor abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs. We also oppose any state or federal area planning boards whose stated purpose is to consolidate health services or avoid their duplication. We support the removal of all government barriers to medical advertising, including prohibition of publication of doctors' fees and drug prices. We further support the elimination of laws requiring prescriptions for the dispensing of medicines and other health-related items.
We condemn efforts by government to impose a medical orthodoxy on society. We specifically condemn attempts by the F.D.A. to restrict the use of vitamins, herbs, and other supplements. Until such time as the tyrannical and futile drug prohibition is repealed, we advocate immediate reclassification of all drugs, particularly marijuana and heroin, to make them available for medicinal use.
We oppose the attempt by state and local governments to deny parents the right to choose the option of home births and to discourage the development of privately funded women's clinics. We call for the repeal of all laws that restrict the practice of lay midwifery or that permit harassment of lay midwives and home birth practitioners. We also call for the repeal of all medical licensing laws, which have raised medical costs while creating a government-imposed monopoly of doctors and hospitals.
Since a person's body is his or her own property, we favor repeal of the existing prohibition on the commercial sale and purchase of body parts.
We favor the deregulation of the health insurance industry, and oppose government-imposed limits on its use of genetic and other screening and testing methods. We oppose laws that limit the freedom of contract of patients and health care professionals, and laws regulating the supply of legal aid on a contingency fee basis. We also oppose subsidy of malpractice insurance through public funds. We call for the repeal of laws forcing health care professionals to render medical services in emergencies or other situations.
We recognize that AIDS is a dread disease of epidemic proportions. But governmental proposals to combat it present an unprecedented threat to individual liberty and often encourage the spread of the disease. We oppose all government-mandated AIDS testing. We are opposed to FDA restrictions which make it difficult for individuals to secure treatment for this disease. We also call for the decriminalization of hypodermic syringes, especially since sharing needles is now a major means of transmission of the disease. We oppose government-mandated contact tracing and state intervention into the private medical records of individuals. We are opposed to efforts by the government, especially the postal service, to restrict the dissemination of AIDS education material. We support the rights of all individuals to freedom of association including the right not to associate.
We condemn attempts at the federal, state, or local level to cripple the advance of science by governmental restriction of research. We oppose subsidies to, or restrictions of, medical education. We call for an end to government policies compelling individuals to submit to medical experiments, treatment, and testing. We condemn compulsory hospitalization, compulsory vaccination, and compulsory fluoridation. As interim measures, we advocate dollar-for-dollar tax credits to any individual or group providing health care services to the needy or paying for such services. Tax credits should also be made available for private grants to medical education and medical research.
Because all individuals should have full responsibility and control of their own lives, we support the right of terminally or hopelessly ill persons to end their lives. We support the freedom to use living wills and durable medical powers of attorney in which individuals declare the manner in which they are to be treated and the procedures for disposal of their remains. In the absence of such wills and the ability for the individual to choose (e.g. coma) the matter should be decided by such person or persons as the individual may have clearly preferred, with whatever guidance they may desire. In keeping with the principle of non-coercion, no individual shall be forced to either continue or terminate life sustaining care. This right does not entitle individuals to force medical professionals or others to assist them in ending their lives or in continuing life support.
Because existing tax policy has dampened price competition and consumer cost-consciousness in the medical industry, we would provide not only tax breaks for employer-provided health plans (whose value is not currently taxed as income), but also individual tax credits so that families can choose their own health plans.
9. Resource Use
Resource management is properly the responsibility and right of the legitimate owners of land, water, and other natural resources. 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.
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. All government restrictions upon private use or voluntary transfer of water rights or similar despotic controls can only aggravate the misallocation of water.
We also advocate the privatization of government and quasi-government water supply systems. 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. 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 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. Forced surface-mining of privately homesteaded lands in which the government has reserved surface mining rights to itself is a violation of the rights of the present landholders. We recognize the legitimacy of resource planning by means of private, voluntary covenants. 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.
America's free market in agriculture, the system that feeds much of the world, has been plowed under by government intervention. Government subsidies, regulation, 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 on grain sales and other obstacles to free trade have frustrated the development of free and stable trade relationships between peoples of the world.
The agricultural problems facing America today are not insoluble, however. Government policies can be reversed. 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. Five steps can be taken immediately:
a. abolition of the Department of Agriculture
b. elimination of all government farm programs, including price supports, direct subsidies, and all regulation on agricultural production;
c. deregulation of the transportation industry and abolition of the Interstate Commerce Commission;
d. repeal of federal inheritance taxes; and
e. ending government involvement in agricultural pest control. A policy of pest control whereby private individuals or corporations bear full responsibility for damages they inflict on their neighbors should be implemented.
11. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. This law denies the right to liberty and property to both employer and employee, and it interferes in their private contractual relations. OSHA's arbitrary and high-handed actions invade property rights, raise costs, and are an injustice imposed on business.
12. Social Security
We favor replacing the current fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, government sponsored Social Security system with a private voluntary system. Pending that replacement, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary. Victims of the Social Security tax should have a claim against government property.
13. Postal Service
We propose the abolition of the government Postal Service. The present system, in addition to being inefficient, encourages government surveillance of private correspondence. Pending abolition, we call for an end to the monopoly system and for allowing free competition in all aspects of postal service.
14. Civil Service
We propose the abolition of the Civil Service system, which entrenches a permanent and growing bureaucracy upon the land. We recognize that the Civil Service is inherently a system of concealed patronage. We therefore recommend return to the Jeffersonian principle of rotation in office.
15. Election Laws
We call for an end to government control of political parties, consistent with First Amendment rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression. As private voluntary groups, political parties should be allowed to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries, and conventions.
We urge repeal of the Federal Election Campaign Act which suppresses voluntary support of candidates and parties, compels taxpayers to subsidize politicians and political views which many do not wish to support, invades the privacy of American citizens, and protects the Republican and Democratic parties from competition. This law is particularly dangerous as it enables the federal government to control the elections of its own administrators and beneficiaries, thereby further reducing its accountability to the citizens.
Elections at all levels should be in the control of those who wish to participate in or support them voluntarily. We therefore call for an end to any tax-financed subsidies to candidates or parties and the repeal of all laws which restrict voluntary financing of election campaigns.
Many state legislatures have established prohibitively restrictive laws which in effect exclude alternative candidates and parties from their rightful place on election ballots. Such laws wrongfully deny ballot access to political candidates and groups and further deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives. We hold that no state has an interest to protect in this area except for the fair and efficient conduct of elections.
The Australian ballot system, introduced into the United States in the late nineteenth century, is an abridgement of freedom of expression and of voting rights. Under it, the names of all the officially approved candidates are printed in a single government sponsored format and the voter indicates his or her choice by marking it or by writing in an approved but unlisted candidate's name. We should return to the previous electoral system where there was no official ballot or candidate approval at all, and therefore no state or federal restriction of access to a "single ballot." Instead, voters submitted their own choices and had the option of using "tickets" or cards printed by candidates or political parties.
In order to grant voters a full range of choice in federal, state, and local elections, we propose the addition of the alternative "None of the above is acceptable" to all ballots. We further propose that in the event that "none of the above is acceptable" receives a plurality of votes in any election, either the elective office for that term should remain unfilled and unfunded, or there shall be a new election in which none of the losing candidates shall be eligible.
IV. Foreign Affairs
American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world and the defense -- against attack from abroad -- of the lives, liberty, and property of the American people on American soil. Provision of such defense must respect the individual rights of people everywhere.
The principle of non-intervention should guide relationships between governments. The United States government should return to the historic libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, abstaining totally from foreign quarrels and imperialist adventures, and recognizing the right to unrestricted trade, travel, and immigration.
A. Diplomatic Policy
The important principle in foreign policy should be the elimination of intervention by the United States government in the affairs of other nations. We would negotiate with any foreign government without necessarily conceding moral legitimacy to that government. We favor a drastic reduction in cost and size of our total diplomatic establishment. In addition, we favor the repeal of the Logan Act, which prohibits private American citizens from engaging in diplomatic negotiations with foreign governments.
2. International Travel and Foreign Investments
We recognize that foreign governments might violate the rights of Americans traveling, living, or owning property abroad, just as those governments violate the rights of their own citizens. We condemn all such violations, whether the victims are U.S. citizens or not.
Any effort, however, to extend the protection of the United States government to U.S. citizens when they or their property fall within the jurisdiction of a foreign government involves potential military intervention. We therefore call upon the United States government to adhere rigidly to the principle that all U.S. citizens travel, live, and own property abroad at their own risk. In particular, we oppose -- as unjust tax-supported subsidy -- any protection of the foreign investments of U.S. citizens or businesses.
The issuance of U.S. passports should cease. 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. So long as U.S. passports are issued, they should be issued to all individuals without discrimination and should not be revoked for any reason.
3. Human Rights
We condemn the violations of human rights in all nations around the world. We particularly abhor the widespread and increasing use of torture for interrogation and punishment. We call upon all the world's governments to fully implement the principles and prescriptions contained in this platform and thereby usher in a new age of international harmony based upon the universal reign of liberty.
Until such a global triumph for liberty, we support both political and revolutionary actions by individuals and groups against governments that violate rights. We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We condemn, however, 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 and revolutionary groups.
The violation of rights and liberty by other governments can never justify foreign intervention by the United States government. Today, no government is innocent of violating human rights and liberty, and none can approach the issue with clean hands. In keeping with our goal of peaceful international relations, we call upon the United States government to cease its hypocrisy and its sullying of the good name of human rights. Only private individuals and organizations have any place speaking out on this issue.
4. World Government
We support withdrawal of the United States government from, and an end to its financial support for, the United Nations. Specifically, we 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. We oppose U.S. government participation in any world or international government. We oppose any treaty under which individual rights would be violated.
We recognize the right to political secession. This includes the right to secession by political entities, private groups, or individuals. 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.
1. Military Policy
Any U.S. military policy should have the objective of providing security for the lives, liberty and property of the American people in the U.S. against the risk of attack by a foreign power. This objective should be achieved as inexpensively as possible and without undermining the liberties it is designed to protect.
The potential use of nuclear weapons is the greatest threat to all the peoples of the world, not only Americans. Thus, the objective should be to reduce the risk that a nuclear war might begin and its scope if it does.
We call on the U.S. government to continue negotiations toward multi-lateral reduction of nuclear armaments, to the end that all such weapons will ultimately be eliminated, under such conditions of verification as to ensure multi-lateral security. During arms reduction negotiations, and to enhance their progress, the U.S. should begin the retirement of some of its nuclear weapons as proof of its commitment. Because the U.S. has many more thousands of nuclear weapons than are currently required, beginning the process of arms reduction would not jeopardize American security. 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 on the U.S. government to remove its nuclear weapons from Europe. If European countries want nuclear weapons on their soil, they should take full responsibility for them and pay the cost.
We call for the replacement of nuclear war fighting policies with a policy of developing cost-effective defensive systems. Accordingly, we advocate termination of the 1972 ABM treaty or any future agreement which would prevent defensive systems on U.S. territory or in earth orbit.
We call for the withdrawal of all American military personnel stationed abroad, including the countries of NATO Europe, Japan, the Philippines, Central America and South Korea. There is no current or foreseeable risk of any conventional military attack on the American people, particularly from long distances. 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 such as the Monroe Doctrine.
2. Presidential War Powers
We call for the reform of the Presidential War Powers Act to end the President's power to initiate military action, and for the abrogation of all Presidential declarations of "states of emergency." There must be no further secret commitments and unilateral acts of military intervention by the Executive Branch.
We favor a Constitutional amendment limiting the presidential role as Commander-in-Chief to its original meaning, namely that of the head of the armed forces in wartime. The Commander-in-Chief role, correctly understood, confers no additional authority on the President.
C. Economic Policy
1. Foreign Aid
We support the elimination of tax-supported military, economic, technical, and scientific aid to foreign governments or other organizations. We support the abolition of government underwriting of arms sales. We further support abolition of federal agencies that make American taxpayers guarantors of export-related loans, such as the Export-Import Bank and the Commodity Credit Corporation. We also oppose the participation of the U.S. government in international commodity circles which restrict production, limit technological innovation, and raise prices.
We call for the repeal of all prohibitions on individuals or firms contributing or selling goods and services to any foreign country or organization.
2. International Money
We favor withdrawal of the United States from all international paper money and other inflationary credit schemes. We favor withdrawal 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.
3. Unowned Resources
We oppose any recognition of fiat claims by national governments or international bodies to unclaimed territory. 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 the volume of outer space. 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. 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.
D. International Relations
United States colonialism has left a legacy of property confiscation, economic manipulation, and over-extended defense boundaries. 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, to free these people from U.S. dominance, accompanied by the termination of subsidization of them at taxpayers' expense. Land seized by the U.S. government should be returned to its rightful owners.
We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid, guarantees, and diplomatic meddling. We would end all limitation of private foreign aid, both military and economic. Voluntary cooperation with any economic boycott should not be treated as a crime.
We would repeal the Neutrality Act of 1794, and all other U.S. neutrality laws which restrict the efforts of Americans to aid overseas organizations fighting to overthrow or change governments.
We would no longer incorporate foreign nations into the U.S. defense perimeter. We would cease the creation and maintenance of U.S. bases and sites for the pre-positioning of military material in other countries. We would end the practice of stationing of American military troops overseas.
We make no exceptions to the above.
We oppose all government restrictions upon voluntary peaceful use of outer space. We condemn all international attempts to prevent or limit private exploration, industrialization, and colonization of the moon, planets, asteroids, satellite orbits, Lagrange libration points, or any other extra-terrestrial resources. We repudiate the principles contained in the U.N. Moon Treaty. 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.
1994 Libertarian Party Platform
|1996 Libertarian Party Platform
1998 Libertarian Party Platform