How I live my (libertarian) life

May 25, 2005 at 01:14 AM | categories: liberty rants | View Comments

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A lot of people I know, know me as a libertarian. I have realized recently, that many people have no idea what that means. Occasionally it is because they have never even heard the term libertarian before, however more often it is because of the limitations a single word description carries.

So let me clarify.

I would classify myself as an anarcho-capitalist libertarian. The reasons for this are:

  1. I have sole dominion over my own life.
  2. I have no right to forcibly interfere with the life of another, without them first doing so to me.
From those two beliefs, I come to these conclusions:
  • All humans have an unlimited ability to contract. Where a contract is defined to be a mutual, explicit, agreement.
  • Contracts, by definition, cannot be initiated by coercion or force.
  • That any form of government is power and force over it's population. Absolute liberty does not and cannot exist under a government. (Note: I do not favor absolute liberty either, see point 2 above.)
  • There are only two types of government. Those which derive power through force, and those which derive power through contract by those it governs.
  • All forms of power over an individual are valid and binding, only if it is in effect by mandate of contract, not force.
  • This means the following (this is non-exhaustive. It's here to show my point):
    • No one gets to take my money unless I give them permission. This includes the government.
    • I have no right to the money of anyone else unless they wish to give it to me or they are contracted to give it to me. This is also true even if the government steals it for me through "taxes" and gives it to me through "welfare" or "grants" (That last part I have failed to refuse in the past. That is something I hope never to fail again.)
    • No one gets to take my time or services unless I draw up a contract with them. This includes a government draft. If I don't give them permission, it is slavery.
    • As long as I don't violate #2, I can do anything I want to in my own home. This means the government can't tell me what I can and can't take into my own body. I didn't give them permission to tell me I can't smoke marijuana, but if they do anyway, then the power they have is not valid and not binding.
    • I have the right to defend myself by any means necessary (again without violating #2). This means I can buy a gun. Any type of gun. I don't have to get some permission slip from someone to get one either, because I didn't give them permission to require one of me in the first place.
    • I can live with whomever I want to. I can marry anyone I choose. Again, I don't need a permission slip. To put it another way: I and the person I love can contract together on any terms we see fit. The government has no authority to grant me a "marriage license".
    All libertarians believe at least some of what I just wrote, but an anarcho-capitalist one should believe in all of it, for an anarcho-capitalist libertarian believes the following:
    • Because governments are force over individuals, individuals would be better off if no government existed at all.
    • If no government existed, individuals would be free to exercise sole dominion over their own lives. This essentially means they would be able to hold allodial title to land and other forms of property. If you have allodial title, you own it, and no one has any other claim to it. No taxes, no rent.
    • If the above two were the state of things, then and only then, would a true free market emerge. With liberty from government regulation, and complete title to property, all transfers of wealth would be voluntary. No coercion (or outright theft) would be possible (and gotten away with that is).

    Many I have talked to are put off with the anarcho part of anarcho-capitalist. Yes, it does mean anarchy. Anarchy does not mean chaos, nor does it mean disorder. Governments are chaos. Governments are disorder. Anarchy is the absence of both. Many people see anarchy as a world where the Mafia and rival gangs take control of the world. While there is always the risk of someone to take over a people by force, anarchy means the complete absence of all forceful agencies, whether they are traditional governments or rouge gangs. If a society is terrorized, then the society is not in a state of anarchy.
    Even if multiple organizations were all fighting for control and not one group ultimately controlled, this would be a polyarchy and not an anarchy.

    Another objection I receive is something like this: "You must believe in a utopian society where everyone is nice to each other and believes everything you believe in. If not, it wouldn't work."

    I believe that if such a society did exist, one without government that is, we would not see a vast change from day to day life. The free-market would take control of all the roles that people demand of government now. People that did not follow rule #2 would again be dealt with by the free market. Someone stole from you? A free market version of justice would emerge, a collection agency would extract retribution on your behalf for a profit (Either by an insurance policy taken out prior to the theft, or even afterward for a percentage of the losses recouped.) For a good example of how this would work take a look at this page on Justice in Anarchy.

    Not all libertarians go this far. About half are so-called Minarchist Libertarians. The society that they would propose I am a full supporter of. What I have written here are things that I have realized must be the rational and ultimate outcome of pure libertarian thought.

    In an attempt to define libertarianism, albeit a bit generally and humorously, Dr Kenneth Bisson wrote: Libertarianism is what your mom taught you: behave yourself and don't hit your sister.

    I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, "That government is best which governs not at all" - Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau;
    Further reading:
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