The Libertarian Pledge, which all must agree to in order to join the Libertarian Party, declares, "I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals." Supposedly, LP founder David Nolan created the pledge in 1971. The pledge statement has sometimes been mistakenly interpreted as prohibiting violent revolution, but it does not. It is actually a prohibition against supporting any government activities, except perhaps court, police, and defense functions, which are held by minarchists to be necessary for opposing force initiated by others. Anarcho-capitalists would go even further, to state that even those functions are an unjustifiable use of force, since citizens are forced to purchase those services from the government rather than choosing a private vendor of their liking. They see it as forbidding Libertarian officeholders from even accepting salaries paid for by taxes forcibly extracted from the people. Thus, the pledge means different things to different people. Regardless of its meaning, it is an important aspect of Libertarian culture.
There have been many proposals to change or eliminate the pledge. The pledge has been criticized for allowing only pure anarchists to join and for stopping members from advocating incremental changes towards freedom. Another criticism of the pledge is that it does not prohibit the use of force for goals other than political and social ones. Ray Roberts proposed changing it to, "I believe force should only be used to protect life, liberty and property from attack." Another proposed pledge is, "The Libertarian Party will always stand for more liberty and less government on every issue. As a member of the Libertarian Party, I will NOT attempt to change this."
The pledge is required by Section 5.1 of the national bylaws and many state affiliates of the Libertarian Party also have bylaw provisions requiring it. At the 2006 Libertarian National Convention, the Libertarian Reform Caucus attempted to repeal the pledge but failed to obtain the necessary two-thirds vote.
The current contributor newsletter now known as Liberty Pledge used to be known as Libertarian Pledge.
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