Document:Libertarian Party Radical Caucus Platform 2016
National Platform 2016 of the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus
Adopted by the Radical Caucus Platform Committee
Approved April 24, 2016
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.
We support reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and oppose increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose. While recognizing that change often takes the form of increments and transitions, the policies in the planks that follow are to be taken as quickly and efficiently as possible without interruption or delay.
I. The Individual
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 or fraud against any other individual, group, or government.
1. Freedom and Responsibility
Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make provided those choices do not violate the rights of others. Our support of an individual's right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices.
Libertarian policies will promote a society where people are free to make and learn from their own decisions. Personal responsibility is discouraged by government denying individuals the opportunity to exercise it. In fact, the denial of freedom fosters irresponsibility.
2. Freedom of Association and Discrimination
Libertarians embrace the concept that all people are born with certain inherent rights. We reject the idea that a natural right can ever impose a positive obligation upon others to fulfill that right.
Discrimination imposed by government causes a multitude of problems and violates inherent rights. Government should not deny, abridge, or enhance any individual's inherent rights for any reason and any laws which currently do so should be repealed rather than extended to all groups.
Anti-discrimination laws that regulate or prohibit private behavior create the same problems and violate the same inherent rights. We condemn private discrimination as irrational and repugnant; however, we support the abolition of all laws that attempt to limit or ban it.
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 any reasons whatsoever, for exercise of these rights depend upon mutual consent. Individuals and private organizations, including businesses, retain their rights to set whatever standards of association and terms of voluntary interaction they deem appropriate, and other individuals and private businesses are free to respond with ostracism, boycotts, and other free market solutions.
3. Freedom of Communications
The First Amendment to the Constitution is meant as an acknowledgement of an inherent right, rather than a granting of rights that can be restricted or revoked for so-called necessity. This Amendment is meant to limit government interference with this natural right, rather than to confine it to a realm of "acceptable speech." An important corollary to the right to speech is the right to silence.
We defend the rights of individuals to unrestricted freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right of individuals to unfettered expression. We recognize that freedom of expression is possible only as part of a system of full property rights. 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 media. Language that is deemed offensive is not a cause for legal action. We oppose speech codes at all schools that are primarily tax funded, as well as laws against "hate speech."
We call for the abolition of the Federal Communications Commission as we would provide for market ownership of broadcast spectra.
We oppose government ownership or subsidy of, or funding for, any communications organization.
We support the right to individual and group privacy via encryption, and oppose any government efforts to restrict encryption development or deployment.
We oppose court orders or rules restricting news coverage of court proceedings. Members of the media should not have any special protections not available to everyone, including the right not to reveal sources to investigators or courts.
4. Freedom of Religion
We defend the rights of individuals to engage or not engage in any religious activities which do not violate the rights of others. In order to defend religious freedoms, we advocate a strict separation of church and state. We oppose government actions which define, aid or attack any religion or religious membership. We oppose taxation of church property for the same reason we oppose all taxation.
Legislative, regulatory, or judicial decisions about what is a crime must not discriminate on the basis of religious belief or membership; no religious test should ever be required to assert the right to act in a way that does not violate the rights of others, and similarly there must be no religious exemption from responsibility for actions which do violate the rights of others.
5. Families and Children
We believe that families and households are private institutions which should be free from government intrusion and interference. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs, however they do not have a right to abandon or recklessly endanger their children. Whenever they are unable or unwilling to raise their children, they have the obligation to find others willing to assume guardianship. Accordingly, we oppose all laws that impede these processes, notably those restricting private adoption services.
Children are human beings and, as such, have all the rights of human beings. Because the exercise of some rights requires the ability to understand the possible consequences from actions, some rights may not be realized until an appropriate level of comprehension and responsibility is reached. Until such time, rights are placed in the custodianship of a guardian who is entrusted to exercise these rights on behalf of the child. Children should always have the right to establish their maturity by assuming administration and protection of their own rights, ending dependency upon their parents or other guardians and assuming all the responsibilities of adulthood.
Whenever parents or other guardians are unable or unwilling to care for their children, those guardians have the right to seek other persons who are willing to assume guardianship, and children have the right to seek other guardians who place a higher value on their lives. Accordingly, we oppose all laws that impede these processes, notably those restricting private adoption services or those forcing children to remain in the custody or removing them from the custody of their parents against their will.
We oppose all laws that empower government officials to seize children and make them "wards of the state" or, by means of child labor laws and compulsory education, to infringe on their freedom to work or learn as they choose. We oppose all legally created or sanctioned discrimination against (or in favor of) children, just as we oppose government discrimination directed at any other artificially defined sub-category of human beings.
We also support the repeal of all laws establishing any category of crimes applicable to children for which adults would not be similarly vulnerable, such as curfew, smoking, and alcoholic beverage laws, and other status offenses. Similarly, we favor the repeal of "stubborn child" laws and laws establishing the category of "persons in need of supervision." We call for an end to the practice in many states of jailing children not accused of any crime. We seek the repeal of all "children's codes" or statutes which abridge due process protections for young people. Juveniles should be held fully responsible for their crimes in accordance with their maturity and ability to administer their own rights and responsibilities.
6. Human Rights
We seek a world adhering to the principles of liberty, ushering in a new age of international harmony. 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 condemn the use of force, especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by government groups.
The violation of rights and liberty by other governments can never justify foreign intervention by the United States government. No government is innocent of violating human rights and liberty, and none can approach the issue with clean hands. Only private individuals and organizations have any place speaking out on this issue.
7. End of Life Decisions
We believe in self-ownership. We support the inherent right of individuals to end their lives with dignity. All persons should have the right to die at the time and place and under the conditions of their own choosing. We support the concept of living wills 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 of the individual to choose (e.g., coma) the matter should be decided by the family or such persons 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 either to continue or terminate life-sustaining care. We oppose the prosecution of physicians and loved ones who participate in consensual assisted suicide.
8. Sexual Rights
Libertarians believe that consenting individuals have the right to private choice in sexual activity. We support the repeal of all laws and policies which are intended to condemn, affirm, encourage, or deny sexual lifestyles or any attitudes about such lifestyles. Further, we oppose any government attempts to dictate, prohibit, control, or encourage any private lifestyle, living arrangement, or contractual relationship.
9. 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. Aggressors should be required to compensate their victims and pay for costs of their trial and apprehension. Those unwilling to make payments towards a court-ordered judgment should be placed in a competitive private prison agreed up on by arbitrarial procedures.
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.
10. The War on Drugs
The so-called "War on Drugs" is in reality a war on people. We deplore the suffering that drug misuse has brought about; however, drug prohibition is more dangerous than drugs themselves and comes with a staggering cost in both money and human lives. The 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.
While we do not advocate drug misuse, we are in favor of alternative solutions that do not increase the power of the state. Additionally, we favor the elimination of all laws establishing criminal or civil penalties for the use of drugs, and the abolition of bureaucracies like the Drug Enforcement Agency.
11. Crime and Victimless Crime
Criminal laws should be limited to violation of the rights of others through force or fraud, or deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. We support restitution to the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer.
We believe individuals retain the right to voluntarily assume risk of harm to themselves. 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;
e. the repeal of all laws regulating or prohibiting the possession, use, sale, production, or distribution of sexually explicit material;
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) that punish peaceful behavior -- including conspiracy to commit acts such as sale of sexually explicit material and non-violent anti-abortion protests â€” 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 individuals to their own lives.
We demand the pardon and exoneration of everyone who has been convicted solely for these "crimes." We condemn the confiscation of property via civil asset forfeiture that all too often accompanies police raids, searches, and prosecutions for victimless crimes.
12. Safeguards for the Criminally Accused
People should be accorded all possible respect for their individual rights until such time as they are proven guilty of a crime. We are thus opposed to reduction of present safeguards for the rights of the criminally accused. The rights of due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must not be denied.
We oppose labeling cases as civil in order to avoid the due process protections of criminal law and we further oppose pretrial seizure of property. We oppose police officers using excessive force, preventive detention, and no-knock raids, and support the right to film police officers.
Whenever malfeasance of government agents results in persons being arrested, indicted, tried, imprisoned, or otherwise injured in the course of criminal proceedings, injured parties should receive full restitution. We look ultimately to the voluntary funding of this restitution.
We call for a reform of the judicial system allowing parties to a court action a reasonable number of challenges to proposed judges, similar to their right under the present system to challenge a proposed juror.
13. Protection of Privacy
The individual's right to privacy, property, and right to speak or not to speak should not be infringed by any government. Governments should not use electronic or other means of covert surveillance of an individual's actions or private property without the express consent of the owner or occupant. Correspondence, bank and other financial transactions and records, medical records, legal records, employment records, and the like should not be open to review without the express consent of all parties involved in those actions.
We support the rights protected 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 and call for the abolition of police roadblocks aimed at randomly, and without probable cause, testing drivers for intoxicants, police practices to stop mass transit vehicles and search passengers without probable cause, and Terry stops (also called "stop-and-frisk").
All federal, state, local, and other government compilations of data should be conducted only with the express consent of the persons from whom the data is sought. To this end, we call for the abolition of the National Security Agency and any other agencies that conduct unwarranted mass surveillance; the abolition of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which rubber-stamps secret warrants that can't be challenged; and the abolition of the USA PATRIOT Act, USA FREEDOM Act, Alien and Sedition Acts, Espionage Act, and any other legislation, executive orders, or regulations which authorize violations of rights.
Current Census forms are lengthy, invasive, and costly to send and tabulate. The Census form should be on a postcard asking only how many people live at the address. That would raise response rates dramatically, protect Americans' privacy, and comply with the Constitution. It's inexpensive, obvious, and practical.
We support the rights of people to develop, sell, and use encryption technology and distributed software that allows users to protect their privacy. Specifically, we oppose any requirement for disclosure of encryption methods or keys (â€œback doorsâ€) and any requirement for use of government-specified devices or protocols. We also oppose government classification of civilian research on encryption methods, and we oppose any attempts to regulate virtual currencies.
When government agencies violate privacy rights, people who are knowledgeable of these violations have a duty to inform the public. To that end, we support protections for whistleblowers and oppose efforts to charge whistleblowers with espionage for exposing governmental wrongdoing.
If a private employer screens prospective or current employees for drugs or medical conditions, that is a term of that employee's labor contract with the employer. 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. We oppose any use of such screening by government; we also oppose mandating it of private employers.
We oppose the requirement to possess an identity card, for any purpose, such as employment, voting, or border crossing, and call upon the Congress to repeal REAL ID which in effect creates a national identification system.
We further oppose the nearly universal requirement for use of Social Security number(s) as personal identification codes, whether by government agencies or by intimidation of private companies by governments.
14. The Right to Self-Defense
The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights â€” life, liberty, and justly acquired property â€” against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may seek to be, or agree to be, aided by any other individual or group in the exercise of the right to self-defense. Private property owners shall be free to establish their own conditions regarding weapons. The right of defense extends to defense against aggressive acts of government.
Maintaining our belief in the inviolability of the right to keep and bear arms and that individuals are their own best source of self-defense; we oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, transport, or transfer of firearms, ammunition, or any other tool that could be used for self-defense. In addition, we oppose all laws requiring registration of firearms or ammunition. We also oppose any government efforts to ban or restrict the use of other self-defensive tools, including (but not limited to) pepper spray, stun guns, tear gas (mace). We further oppose all attempts to ban weapons or ammunition.
Libertarians view background check laws as a back-door method for the government to acquire information on gun buyers â€” which history has shown is often later used as a confiscation list. Therefore, we support abolishing all government-required background checks.
Finally, we support repeal of all gun and weapon control laws. We favor the implementation of "Constitutional Carry" (fully-legal carry of weapons, open or concealed, without any permit requirement). We support abolishing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE).
15. The Right to Property
We hold that property rights are individual rights and, as such, are entitled to the same protections as all other individual rights. Individuals have the right to homestead unowned resources, both within the jurisdictions of governments and within any unclaimed territory. 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.
Eminent domain, civil asset forfeiture, governmental limits on profits, governmental production mandates, and governmental controls on prices of goods and services (including wages, rents, and interest) are abridgments of such fundamental rights.
Where property, including land, has been taken from its rightful owners in violation of individual rights, we favor restitution to the rightful owners.
We specifically 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 demand an end to the taxation of privately owned real property, which makes the state the de facto owner of all lands and forces individuals to rent their homes and places of business from the state.
II. The Market
We believe that each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. Therefore we oppose all intervention by government into the area of economics. The only justifiable 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 and an exploited class.
We believe that all individuals have the right to dispose of the fruits of their labor as they see fit and that governments have no right to take such wealth. We oppose government-enforced charity such as welfare programs and subsidies, but we heartily applaud those individuals and private charitable organizations that help the needy and contribute to a wide array of worthwhile causes through voluntary activities.
1. The Economy
Government intervention in the economy imperils both the personal freedom and the material prosperity of every American. To ensure the economic freedom and enhance the economic well-being of people residing in the United States, we would implement the following policies:
a. Opposition to all taxation and government spending;
b. Opposition to deficit budgets;
c. Opposition to the Federal Reserveâ€™s monetary policies;
d. Opposition to government road blocks to free trade; and
e. Opposition of all government controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, interest rates, competition, alternative currencies, and anything else that may be beneficial to the economic wellbeing of people living within our nation.
2. Finance and Capital Investment
We call for the abolition of all regulation of financial and capital markets â€” specifically, the abolition of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Regulations have created a system whereby what is legal for the elites in Congress is illegal for anyone else this will include all insider trading laws. The SEC epitomizes the corruption that exists within the area of capital investment.
We oppose any attempts to ban or regulate investing in stock-market index futures or new financial instruments which may emerge in the future. In particular, Blue Sky laws which limit small and risky investments need to be repealed.
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 own and use as money any mutually agreeable item: such as commodity based currency, like gold coins denominated by units of weight, or cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin. 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 can be open to the competition of the free market. We call for the state to desist attempts to regulate cryptocurrency as well as the abolition of all state usury laws.
We favor free-market banking. We call for the abolition of 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. There should be unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types, including private insurance agencies competing for the business of protecting investors deposits that is current granted as limited and without competition by the the National Credit Union Administration and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
We call for the legalization of domestic deposits denominated in foreign currencies.
Above all we call for the abolition of the unaccountable Federal Reserve that issues its own money created without oversight and lends it at interest to the government and other banking institutions.
We therefore call for the repeal of all legal tender laws and of all compulsory governmental units of account.
4. Trade Barriers
Free trade does not require a treaty, rather a lack of government involvement. Tariffs and quotas give special treatment to favored interests and diminish the welfare of everyone. We therefore support abolition of all trade barriers and all government-sponsored export-promotion programs. We affirm this as a unilateral policy, independent of the trade policies of other nations.
In order to achieve a free economy in which government victimizes no one for the benefit of any other, we oppose all government subsidies. Subsidies can take the form of so-called public-private partnerships, government contracting, mandatory insurance, and similar polices.
We oppose all government guarantees of 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. All national, state, and local government agencies whose primary function is to guarantee loans should be abolished.
Relief or exemption from taxation or from any other involuntary government intervention should not be considered a subsidy.
6. Unions and Collective Bargaining
Private sector labor unions, when they are organized as non-coercive and voluntary associations for such purposes as peaceful negotiations, are a part of everyone's freedom of association.
We support the right of people to associate or not associate in labor unions, just as we recognize that the existence of a union does not grant powers that the individuals within the union do not posess. The existence of boycotts, strikes, and lockouts does not justify the initiation of violence against other workers, employers, strike-breakers, or innocent bystanders.
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 laws that prohibit employers from making voluntary contracts with unions. We oppose all government back-to-work orders as the imposition of a form of forced labor.
Libertarians view licensing as a method for government to convert a natural right into a privilege â€” one that involves paying fees to the government to exercise. Privileges can be and often are revoked by government. Rights must be held inviolate, and no one should be forced to pay to exercise a right.
Governments, through grants of legal privilege to special interests, are the source of monopolies across the nation. Furthermore, throughout our nation's history, Antitrust laws have served monopolies by limiting competition.
Therefore, we condemn all coercive monopolies; including public utilities and the United States Postal Service because competition has brought better products at lower prices. In order to facilitate their elimination, we advocate a strict separation of business and state, and we call for the repeal of all antitrust laws, including the Sherman Anti Trust Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, Robinson-Patman Act, and Celler-Kefauver Act. We further call for the abolition of the Federal Trade Commission and the anti-trust division of the Department of Justice. 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. Government has demonstrated that it is unable to compete in the market for such services as cable television, electricity, fire protection, garbage collection, natural gas, postal service, telephone, or water supplies unless it has monopolistic protections on those services.
Antitrust measures would be unnecessary in a market free of state-imposed distortions. In addition we defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives, and other types of companies based on voluntary association. We favor the elimination of state or federal limits on the size of private companies and on the right of companies to merge. We also favor the elimination of efforts to expand federal chartering as a pretext for government control of business, particularly those involving industries where government could attempt to create its own monopoly.
9. Intellectual Monopoly and File Sharing
The phrase â€œintellectual propertyâ€ is a misnomer. What the state calls intellectual property is more accurately referred to as â€œintellectual monopolyâ€ as the state grants a monopoly on the use of an idea or goods and services derived from an idea to a certain limited group. We call for the elimination of the protection of such monopoly thereby freeing the market, encouraging content providers and product developers to improve on existing products thereby bringing more and better choices to the market.
In particular, we call for the end of the prohibition of online file sharing, just as we oppose all victimless crimes. When content is shared it is not stolen as no one looses any property, only a potential loss of some future revenue, which is natural in any open market.
10. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
We call for the repeal of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act and any state level equivalent. These laws deny the right to liberty and property to both employer and employee, and interfere in their private contractual relations. The arbitrary and high-handed actions of OSHA invade property rights, raise costs, and are an injustice imposed on business. Instead, we promote free market solutions to help increase employee safety.
11. Space Exploration
The development of space and the establishment of a spacefaring civilization, being in the greatest common good of the human race, should not be restricted by governments.
We oppose all government restrictions upon voluntary peaceful use of outer space. We condemn all international attempts to control, prevent, or limit private exploration, industrialization, and colonization of the moon, planets, asteroids, satellite orbits, Lagrange points, or any other extra-terrestrial resources.
It is important to allow free market entrants to create innovative launch systems and business models, and for them and their customers to determine their own acceptable levels of risk.
Therefore, we support the abolition of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and replacing its functions with private-sector alternatives.
III. The Community
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.
1. Consumer Protection
The right to produce and purchase products and services must not be restricted by law.
Regulations intended to protect consumers have often had the opposite effect, since government rarely knows as much about consumers' needs as they do. So-called consumer protection laws are often used by established businesses to stifle innovative rivals.
In addition, such laws have caused considerable harm by lulling consumers into assuming that government would protect them from bad products and services. In the free market, consumers would be protected because:
a. A good name is an asset to a business and it can best be maintained by fair and honest dealing.
b. The use of certificates, guarantees, and warranties issued by manufacturers and suppliers of goods and services is a protection to the consumer.
c. Both professional and non-professional people can voluntarily form associations for the specific purpose of maintaining high standards both in work and behavior.
d. Privately-owned consumer protection organizations producing journals and magazines would proliferate in a free market.
We therefore endorse and advocate the following:
a. The elimination of all government consumer affairs bureaus or departments such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the Food and Drug Administration, (FDA).
b. The repeal of all laws regulating the production, transportation, sale, possession, advertising, quality, safety, or use of any product or service.
America's once-free market in agriculture has been largely plowed under by a century of government-facilitated manipulation. Subsidies, price controls, price supports, quotas, farm-confiscating inheritance taxes, misleading yet mandated labels, approved pollution and contamination levels, suppression of politically undesired products, and more have stifled free market choices and innovations.
We seek a return to a free, dynamic market with every possible and desirable crop being produced and sold by as many market participants as possible, using any method that meets with the approval of the buying public that does not spread external harm.
Private sector labeling must be allowed to replace government-mandated labeling; consumers will be better served with competitive certification and labels and the ability to reject products whose labeling fails to meet their personal standards.
Make private individuals or corporations bear full responsibility for damages they inflict on their neighbors with unwanted externalities including pesticides, herbicides, and genetic modifications.
Pollution of air, water, and land violates the rights of individuals to their lives and property. We support the development of an objective legal system defining property rights to air and water and a modification of the laws governing such torts as trespass and nuisance to cover damages done by pollution. Strict liability, not government agencies and arbitrary government standards, should regulate pollution. Current government measures concerned with pollution often bypass court proceedings, without concern for restitution to the victims of pollution or the rights of the accused. Governments have been among the worst polluters due to the fact that they are seldom held liable. This will change, and governments will be held liable like any private person or corporation.
We support holding property owners fully liable for damages done by their toxic waste. We oppose the creation of governmental funds, backed by the taxing power, to finance toxic waste clean-up.
We call for the repeal of environmental regulations and call for the abolition of the federal and state Environmental Protection Agencies and the return of all questions of violations of the rights to life and property to the jurisdiction of the courts.
The transportation industry should not be treated differently from any other industry, and should be governed by free markets and held to strict liability.
We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation â€” 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 â€” and the transfer of their legitimate functions to competitive private firms. We call for the privatization of airports, air traffic control systems, passenger rail, and all public roads.
We advocate an immediate end to government regulation of private transit organizations and to government favors to the transportation industry. In particular, we support the immediate repeal of all laws restricting and regulating transit competition, such as the granting of taxicab and bus monopolies and the regulation or prohibition of ride-share services. We call for the repeal of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 which restrict the carriage of goods or passengers between United States ports to US-built and flagged vessels, and urge immediate deregulation of the trucking industry.
Education is best provided by the free market. 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. There has never been any justification for using tax dollars for education, in the information age, people can study and learn a variety of subjects more easily than ever before, largely for free. We call for the repeal of the guarantees of tax-funded, government-provided education, which are found in most state constitutions. We also oppose any attempts to regulate privately funded education, including but not limited to any attempts to fund or regulate homeschooling.
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. 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.
The provision of energy should be left to the free market. We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, distribution, and production. We oppose all government subsidies for energy research, development, and operation. We support abolition of the Department of Energy and its component agencies.
We oppose all government conservation schemes through the use of taxes, subsidies, and regulation. We oppose any attempt to compel national energy self-sufficiency. The government should not be in the business of stockpiling natural resources; therefore we call for the disbursement of the national strategic oil reserve.
We favor the creation of a free market all forms of energy by respect for property rights and by the repeal of all government controls over output in the energy industry. All government-owned energy resources should be returned to private ownership.
We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law. Without the ability judge the law, juries can do nothing to protect the people against government oppression. Since the jury trial is a crucial element to the judicial system of checks and balances against some of the more ludicrous legislative creations, juries need to be informed of their right to nullify all laws that are unjust or oppressive, and find against the government and the law by voting â€œnot guilty.â€
We oppose the current practice of forced jury duty and favor all-volunteer juries.
8. Government and Mental Health
We oppose the involuntary treatment or commitment of any person for mental health concerns as well as government pressure requiring parents to obtain counseling or psychiatric drugs for their children. We advocate an end to the spending of tax money for any program of psychiatric, psychological, behavioral research, or treatment.
9. Health Care
Government involvement causes most of the problems we face in the health care system today. Therefore, we advocate a complete separation of medicine from the state, support a free market health care system, and oppose government mandates, such as insurance and healthcare. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the services they want (if any) and all other aspects of their medical care. We advocate replacing compulsory or tax supported plans to supply health services or insurance with voluntarily supported efforts. We oppose any government restriction or funding of private medical or scientific research.
Recognizing that the American people are not a collective national resource, we oppose all subsidies and coercive measures aimed at increasing or decreasing birthrates.
11. Poverty and Unemployment
We oppose all attempts to criminalize the victims of coercion, such as the homeless. We therefore call for the immediate repeal of all laws against sleeping, camping, eating, feeding, or solicitation.
Traditional, voluntary sources of emergency support from families, churches, private charities, and mutual aid societies have always been more humane, more effective, and willingly borne by the givers. Therefore call for the complete disbandment of the welfare state.
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.
While we are being oppressed by the current tax system, we propose shortening the time when governmental programs are replaced by effective private institutions we advocate dollar-for-dollar tax credits for all charitable contributions.
12. Social Security
Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual not the government. Therefore, we call for the elimination of the coercive government sponsored Social Security system.
13. 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 via taxes, incentives, or regulations.
We call for the homesteading or other just transfer to private ownership of government controlled lands and other resources. 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.
The allocation of water should be governed by unrestricted competition and unregulated prices. We call for the divestment 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. Only the complete separation of water and the state will prevent future water crises.
IV. The State
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.
1. Sovereign Immunity
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.
Government agents should be subject to civil and criminal liability for any injuries caused by their actions, without regard to whether those actions occurred during the course of their duties. Neither government agencies nor their representatives shall be exempted from laws, statutes and regulations applicable to everyone else.
Government agents should be personally responsible for satisfying judgments against them, and the agency should never directly pay such settlements.
2. Government Secrecy
We oppose the government's use of secret classifications to keep information from the public, especially that which exposes government malfeasance.
3. Death Penalty
The death penalty is irreversible and no recompense can be made for an execution later found to be in error. Given the fallibility of any judicial system, punishments that cannot be reversed or compensated for should not be levied. Even if the death penalty were morally appropriate, it cannot be implemented without risking the execution of innocents. Since it is impossible to trust any government with this kind of power we oppose any state sanctioned death penalty.
4. Internal Security and Civil Liberties
In order to best protect the residents of the United States, it is necessary to remove the monopoly over domestic security concerns from the government, and allow open and honest discussion of potential security information with competing private contractors. In particular we call for the abolition of the Department of Homeland Security.
We call for the repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the National Defense Authorization Act and all other legislation that authorizes secret evidence, holding people without charge, treating material witnesses like convicted criminals, engaging in searches and seizure without warrants, and other violations of individual rights under the color of national security. Additionally, we oppose the existence of internal Border Patrol checkpoints.
Individuals, companies, and government agencies should use discretion when gathering data during any investigation. Security, national or otherwise, should not be considered an automatic defense to charges against those who collect such data, nor should the protection of personal information be automatically guaranteed by the state as all individuals should be responsible for securing their personal data.
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 Un-American Activities Committee or any related commitees such as House Internal Security Committee or Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security. We call for the government to sell openly data they have collected in the past, that which is not free to be sold openly should be destroyed.
5. Government Debt
No person can rightly enter into a contract on behalf of another person without their consent. When governments accrue debt, they are in essence entering into debt on behalf of their constituents and the children of their constituents. We therefore call upon both houses of the United States Congress to promptly pass, and call upon the state legislatures to ratify, a constitutional amendment repealing Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment, prohibiting future indebtedness and deficit spending on the part of the federal government, and repudiating all federal government debt and debt service obligations accrued prior to the ratification of said amendment.
Until the national debt is repudiated, the federal government should have a balanced budget. To be effective, a balanced budget should provide:
a. that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes;
b. that all spending is included in the budget;
c. that neither the Legislative nor the Executive be permitted to override this requirement; and
d. that no exception be made for periods of national emergency.
Governments facing fiscal crises should always default on their debt obligations in preference to raising taxes. At minimum, the level of government should be frozen. Additionally, the Federal Reserve should be forbidden to acquire any additional government securities, thereby helping to eliminate the inflationary aspect of the deficit
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. support the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, and oppose any increase in existing tax rates and the imposition of any new taxes;
c. oppose all taxation, including but not limited to, personal income, corporate income, capital gains, and inheritance taxes; and
d. 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 including, but limited to, imprisonment and asset forfeiture.
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, default is preferable to raising taxes or perpetual refinancing of growing public debt.
We hold that one of the basic core principles of a free market, is the freedom to move about voluntarily, as such borders are artificial barriers to trade and movement. You cannot have a free market with a closed or restricted border.
We welcome all refugees to our country and condemn the efforts of government officials to create a new "Iron Curtain" which would keep them captive. We condemn the United States 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 nationality, 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 Customs Enforcement and the Border Patrol, and declare a full pardon for all people who are in the country without government permission. We oppose government welfare and resettlement payments to non-citizens just as we oppose government welfare payments to all other persons. 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.
8. World Government
We support the immediate withdrawal of the United States government from, and an end to its financial support for, the United Nations. Specifically, we oppose any policy designating the UN as policeman of the world, committing troops to wars at the discretion of the UN, or placing troops under UN command. We oppose United States government participation in any world or international government. We oppose any treaty under which individual rights would be violated.
9. International Money
We favor withdrawal from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. We oppose any participation in international government-issued currencies whether regional or international in scope. 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. We strongly support all private sector units of trade and their use in international markets. We oppose any participation in international government-issued currencies whether regional or international in scope.
10. 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 American citizens or not.
Any effort, however, to extend the protection of the United States government to American 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 American citizens travel, live, and own property abroad at their own risk. In particular, we oppose â€” as unjust tax-supported subsidy â€” any protection of the foreign investments of American citizens or businesses.
11. Foreign Aid
The federal government has used foreign aid as a tool of influencing the policy of other sovereign nations under the guise of aiding needy people in those nations. This forces American taxpayers to subsidize governments and policies of which they may not approve
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, and oppose the participation of the United States 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.
American 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, to free these people from American dominance, accompanied by the termination of subsidization of them at taxpayers' expense. Land seized by the United States government should be returned to its rightful owners.
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. Additionally, we favor the repeal of the Logan Act, which prohibits American citizens from engaging in private correspondence with foreign governments with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States without authorization of the United States government. However, we acknowledge that individuals involved in such communications do not have the authority to bind other individuals to any agreements.
14. Military Policy
We call for a completely voluntary military in both funding and participation where members of the military could quit any time they choose. While borders and taxpayer funded militaries exist, their purpose should be limited to defending the borders of the United States from attack. The United States has no business being the policeman of the world. We call for the withdrawal of the United States from commitments to engage in war on behalf of other governments and for abandonment of doctrines supporting military intervention such as the Monroe Doctrine.
We favor the repeal the Neutrality Act of 1794, and all other United States neutrality laws, which restrict the efforts of Americans to aid overseas organizations fighting to overthrow or change governments. We wish to end the incorporation of foreign nations into the American defense perimeter. Further, we call upon the federal government to cease the creation and maintenance of American installations and bases in other countries, and American military troops stationed overseas should be withdrawn as quickly as practicable.
15. 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.
16. Conscription and the Military
We stand absolutely opposed to involuntary military or nonmilitary servitude. Recognizing that registration is the first step toward full conscription, we oppose all attempts at compulsory registration and all schemes for automatic registration through government invasions of the privacy of school, motor vehicle, or other records.
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. Equality of servitude is not a positive good.
We support the immediate and unconditional exoneration of all who have been accused or convicted of draft evasion, desertion from the military in cases of conscription or fraud, and other acts of resistance. Members of the military should have the same right to quit their jobs as other persons.
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.
17. Weapons of Mass Destruction
We believe that no government agency should be allowed to acquire, purchase, or otherwise accept for use any vehicles, equipment or weapons unless such hardware is readily available in an open commercial market. If any tool in its intended use is deemed too powerful / destructive for any individual to own, i.e. weapons that would destroy towns or neighborhoods in their applications, those tools are also too powerful for any government to own.
18. 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. Political parties are private voluntary groups, and should be allowed to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries, and conventions. At the same time, political parties must not be given any special privileges or subsidies in their internal decision-making process. To that end, we call for the complete abolition of primary elections that are funded or controlled by any government body. "Voters" do not own political parties â€” the people who invest their time and money in them do, and the state should not interfere in their right to run their parties in the manner that suits them.
We urge repeal of all regulations and regulatory structures including the Federal Election Campaign Act and the FEC which suppress voluntary support of candidates and parties, compels taxpayers to subsidize some 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.
We call for an end to all government subsidies to candidates or parties and the repeal of all laws which regulate or 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 a legitimate interest to protect in this area except for the fair and efficient conduct of elections.
Electoral systems matter. The predominant use of "winner-take-all" elections in gerrymandered, single-member districts fosters political monopolies and creates a substantial government-imposed barrier to election of non-incumbent political parties and candidates. We call upon legislative bodies to adopt electoral systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state, and local levels, such as proportional voting systems with multi-member districts for legislative elections and ranked choice or approval voting for single winner elections. Further we oppose implementation of the electoral system known as Top Two.
Competition in ideas and government policies is important to the electoral process and is a cornerstone of fundamental freedoms. At the national level, The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), created in 1987 by the Republican and Democratic national parties for the express purpose of keeping minor party and independent candidates out of debates, intentionally limits participation in the nationally-televised debates to the Democratic and Republican Party nominees. The presidential debates organized by the CPD exert a de facto influence on the outcome of presidential elections, because a presidential candidate who is excluded from presidential debates has virtually zero chance of winning the general presidential election. The right to form a party for the advancement of political goals means little if that party's nominee can be arbitrarily excluded from debates and denied an equal opportunity to win votes. While we support the abolition of all intrusive election and other laws affecting the operation of private political parties, to the extent that these laws exist, they should not be manipulated to benefit the dominant parties to the exclusion of minority parties or independent candidates and to the ultimate detriment of the voters who are not presented with the range of potential choices. This effectively disenfranchises voters and violates First Amendment freedoms. Therefore, in accordance with current ballot access laws, we call upon all organizations that host debates to have fair and objective debate criteria that should: include all candidates who are legally qualified to serve and whose names appear on the ballot. Additionally for Presidential debates, candidates should also appear on enough ballots to potentially secure a majority in the Electoral College.
The Australian ballot system, introduced into the United States in the late nineteenth century, is an abridgment 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 their choice by marking it or by writing in an approved but unlisted candidate's name. We advocate for a strict separation of ballot and state, and call for a 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.
We recognize the right to political secession by political entities, private groups, or individuals. We believe that every person and/or group of people should be allowed to decide for themselves if and/or how they will be governed. 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.
Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination, including the existence of any particular governmental system, should not be construed to imply approval. In every matter, we adhere to the consistent application of the principle of the non-initiation of physical force or fraud.
2002 National Platform
|Libertarian Party Radical Caucus Platform
Radical Caucus Platform 2017