Libertarian Party Platform Act V

libertarian-party-sealWell we have certainly had our fair share of interesting conversations about the Libertarian Party platform thus far, haven’t we? A lot of opinions and disagreements. But that is what this is about: talking about our differences. I am finding that I am gaining a much better perspective on each of these issues through the conversation around them. So on to the first section of the Economic Liberties Section…

As always, the direct quotes from the Libertarian Party website are highlighted in orange and I expect everyone to respect each other’s opinions and play nice.

2.0    Economic Liberty

A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.

This is a pretty strong start for the section. A free and competitive market. Is there any better market than that? Time and again we have found a free market to not only self-regulate, but to provide the best opportunity for a fair deal between buyer and seller.

The only role of government is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. Well that says it all. I see this as the government should stay out of business. That means no tax breaks for big companies, no bailouts, and no control over what a company does within the framework of the law.

My one question, and I pose this to all, is whether this also means that there is no government oversight? It would appear so. Which means that there is no government regulation at all and there is no use of laws like the Sarbanes Oxley Act, which requires companies to report earnings honestly (I know that is a simplification of the SOX law, but you get the point).

Does this also mean that there is no OSHA protecting workers? What about the EPA? It would seem so given the statements below in section 2.2 on the environment.

2.1    Property and Contract

Property rights are entitled to the same protection as all other human rights. 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 controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates. We advocate the repeal of all laws banning or restricting the advertising of prices, products, or services. We oppose all violations of the right to private property, liberty of contract, and freedom of trade. The right to trade includes the right not to trade — for any reasons whatsoever. 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.

I see the beginning of this as a simple extension of private rights. Companies have the right to do anything that they want with their property so long as it does not violate the rights of individuals. Individuals have that same right. If I want to build a shithouse next to the kitchen, that is my right, and no inspector or permit should tell me otherwise.

No controls on all of those things. I like it because if you do things poorly, people will simply not work for you or buy from you. This isn’t the 1700’s. If a company is crappy, everyone will know and they won’t last long. The repeal of laws around advertising I am for with the exception of laws that protect consumers implicitly from fraud. You can’t lie in your advertising.

The next part is tough but I think I can agree. The right to trade or not with whomever you choose. I know civil rights advocates would say this is dangerous, but if a company is bigoted everyone will know. And there simply aren’t enough bigots left in this country to support these businesses like there was 60 years ago. It is simply a different world. Besides do you even want to trade with the bigots?

And the last part is AMEN! Eminent domain laws as they are rob the citizens of this country. First of all if you want to build a road and I don’t want to sell, then you should have to build it around me. There should be no seizing of property and if there is an occasion that something is taken, although I don’t know what lawful reason there would be, FULL restitution is only fair.

2.2    Environment

We support a clean and healthy environment and sensible use of our natural resources. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Pollution and misuse of resources cause damage to our ecosystem. Governments, unlike private businesses, are unaccountable for such damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. We realize that our planet’s climate is constantly changing, but environmental advocates and social pressure are the most effective means of changing public behavior.

I also support a clean and healthy environment. I also support the government getting out of the way and letting the public take care of itself on this one. We all want what is best for our environment. And the government can screw anything up so I agree that given the property rights that the Libertarian party would grant, there is no need for government to get in the way.

What I worry about is education. Al Gore, in my opinion, lied through his teeth in that movie he made. I am sorry if that hurt people’s feelings. I just don’t buy the whole global warming myth as far as us causing it. It changes, there is no doubt, but what causes it is certainly debatable. So who sets the “climate rules” that govern when someone’s rights are violated? For example if I believe burning my trash is a good idea for the environment and my neighbor believes that burning it violates his rights, who decides whether burning it is the right thing to do? That is such a bad analogy that I am sure we will discuss further below.

2.3    Energy and Resources

While energy is needed to fuel a modern society, government should not be subsidizing any particular form of energy. We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production.

I agree with this one whole-heartedly. Government should not be choosing the energy that will fuel our country. We have seen where that got us with oil. The free market and people’s conscience will get us where we need to be. The one thing that worries me about this one is the nuclear power debate. It is a clean source of energy. France currently gets over 70% of its power from nuclear energy. But we would be hard pressed to find a community where at least one person would not feel having the plant nearby would violate their personal rights. Would nuclear energy die as a source?

So there is the first part of section two of the LP platform. I continue to be amazed with how sensible this platform is. I certainly don’t see it as a fix-all to the problems we see in government today, but it sure does seem more in line with the Constitution than the other two parties. I hope that all of you are feeling that way too. So let’s discuss!

Comments

  1. I am typing one-handed due to an injury, so I will try to be short.

    OSHA- gone, but a business owner would be personally liable for any harm that was due to conditions he caused.

    Environment- If the smoke from your trash-burning is blowing across another person’s property, you would probably either have to stop burning, find a way to stop the smoke, or compensate the other property owner for the smoke. Same for litter. Eye-sores would not cause actual harm; no one has a right to not be offended. Put up a privacy fence. If you built a tower that blocked sunlight from reaching a neighbor’s property, you have caused harm and would be liable.

    With the nuclear power plants- unless radiation were reaching neighbors, there would be no basis for a claim of harm. Now, if you ran an unsafe plant, your risk of losing everything in case of an accident would be very high. You would want to be sure you were protected. Owners would be personally liable. That should inspire innovative safety measures.

    I kinda wonder if there would continue to be a “grid” or whether most households would generate their own energy.

  2. I would say, no OSHA and no EPA and no FDA. I do like the SOX law, and I do think that there should be truth in advertising laws. Actually, if we could enforce those on politicians, we would have no problem clearing out the current two major parties. Freedom of speech is an important component of the market working in place of things like the EPA, the FDA, OSHA, and other oversight type organizations. Unions are also important, but not the support of unions. Government support of unions is just as bad as government support of business. We need a seperation of business and state, just like we need a seperation of church and state.

    Environmental issues have been overstated at best, Al Gore’s movie is an example of this to the extreme. Even the evidence he uses defies what he is saying. Certainly, care for the environment and the best possible efficiency are key to a successful and long lasting society, but government control of this process is not only unnecessary, but often damaging. Government acts that demand a certain process for environmental care often restrict better options, or delay and demotivate the discovery of them. The one thing I do think is necessary is a strict enforcement of property rights. Without this, a person who chose to ignore the long term effects of his actions, and the pressures of his neighbors’ environmental attitudes would still end up causing issues. If, however, the person’s actions affect the property of others, then they will be forced to be very careful about their actions, and/or negotiate terms with all persons whose property are affected, making greed a lousy motivator for environmental irresponsibility, as it is likely such acts would cost more. The air and water factor is a little more difficult to nail down, decisions of that nature may have to be communal to some extent. I am still working on that one.

    Energy is another area where government support of a certain type of energy causes problems. Not only does it encourage monopolies and corruption by those whose methods are supported, but it restricts and demotivates better options. I cannot garauntee that a better option would have been found by now without government meddling, but I do believe the odds would be better.

    Kent, I think grids would still exist. Many people may be able to afford to create their own energy, and many may have the land area to do so, but some will not wish to do so, either because of the portion of their property that would have to be dedicated to it, or the skillset they would have to learn, or the amount of their resources devoted to energy production versus what they might be able to pay on the open market. There is still some efficiency of scale with energy production, regardless of the method, and so it would be cheaper and more efficient to continue to follow the plant method in most areas. Even solar would not be available to everyone, some people live in multi-story apartments. This sort of building does not have enough sun exposed surface to meet the energy needs of everyone. Certainly, everyone could have a little zero-point energy module in the future that supplied them completely, but why would they need to do that if their energy can still be supplied cheaper by someone else? A power distribution system will not likely ever go away, although I do think Dr. Tesla’s dreams of wireless power transmission will come true, making a traditional grid obsolete.

  3. Kent,

    Once again you give me a post with nothing to argue with you about. I think that personal accountability is something that is severely underrated. Hold a private company owner liable for their actions, and I mean truly liable, and there becomes no need for many of the regulatory agencies that we have created in our country. Eliminate those agencies and our budget gets smaller, hence the government could (note I didn’t say would) lower taxes and everybody wins. This whole personal accountability thing sure does pop up a lot in the Libertarian platform doesn’t it?

  4. Jon Smith,

    I continue to like your posts! I really like the idea of a separation of business and state. If only our founders could have foreseen what would become of the business world today. Separating the two is a primary tenant of what the Libertarians believe, in my opinion. They understand that we cannot just jump out and separate immediately, but we can certainly dramatically reduce the interaction of the two.

    I also agree that grids would still exist. The bottom line is that there is definitely an efficiency of scale, just as you noted, that would make many people choose to use what someone supplied. The difference would be that if the grid supplier became greedy or dishonest, they would have the ability to find another option or convert to doing it themselves.

  5. BlackFlag says:

    In other posts, USWep has complained that I don’t offer solutions.

    It’s not my way – I believe that people can think for themselves – and help themselves.

    So, meeting in the middle, I offer this:

    Planning for the Inevitable Government Default

    The first step in understanding the nature of the inevitable default that is coming is to understand this principle: the United States government is not governed by the same legal principles that govern you.

    When you think “default,” you probably think “bankruptcy.” When you think “bankruptcy,” you think about your own situation. You have in mind circumstances in which you cannot pay your monthly bills. You recognize that it will be impossible for you to earn enough income to pay off everyone you will. So, you have several choices.

    Your first choice is to declare bankruptcy. You will lose most of what you own, but you will also get rid of your debts.

    Your second choice is to try to work out a deal with your creditors. Let them know that you are considering bankruptcy, but tell them that if you can get new terms on the loans, you will work out a payment schedule. This will usually get a dramatic decrease in the rate of interest that you were paying on your credit cards and other signature debt.

    The third thing you can do is simply pay some of the creditors selectively. You stall. You hope that something will turn up.

    What you cannot do is print money to pay off all of your creditors. This is a fundamental difference between you and the United States government. The United States government can go to the Federal Reserve System and tell the Federal Reserve System to buy all of its debt at a low interest rate. Then the government can tax the public to pay off the debts owed to the Federal Reserve System.

    No modern government ever defaults on its debt openly. It defaults selectively. It defaults covertly. But it does not default overtly.

    The problem for most newcomers in the investment field, who finally figure out that the United States government is really going to go bankrupt, is that they apply categories of bankruptcy which they derive from their own personal situation or which they read about in the press regarding incorporation. The corporation declares bankruptcy. Creditors get a few cents on the dollar. The corporation disappears. Or, alternatively, the corporation doesn’t take a complete bankruptcy, it takes a partial bankruptcy. It finds a way to pay off its creditors. It stretches out its debt. It renegotiates contracts with its employees. Its stiffs all of its retirees, who will not get the pension promise to them, and who will not get any further money for health insurance.

    This is not how the Federal government works. The Federal Government finds ways to defer the day of reckoning. It can always defer the day of reckoning. It never has to declare bankruptcy. All it has to do is to inflate the currency to pay all of its bills, and, if necessary, pay off all of its debt.

    The only time a modern government declares bankruptcy is after a lost war, followed by hyperinflation, followed by a currency reform. This is what Germany and Austria did after World War I.

    The losers in this operation are all those citizens who expected to be paid by the government in money of constant purchasing power. Anyone so foolish as to believe in that scenario deserves exactly what he’s going to get: nothing.

    When you believe in salvation by the Federal government, you have adopted a foolish religion. When you trust the Federal government to pay you your Social Security pension, your Medicare benefits, and even do this with a cost-of-living escalator to keep you ahead of the rate of inflation, you are so far gone mentally that there is really nothing that can be done for you. You are in Lala land. You are, in short, the typical American voter. You will be destroyed.

    The government can do all kinds of things to defer the day of reckoning. For example, it can raise the retirement age for Social Security. It is already done this: from age 65 to age 67. It will do this again. Another way the government can postpone the collapse is to declare price and wage controls. This creates massive shortages. You cannot buy what you want to buy with the money that the government sends you. Then the government blames hoarders and speculators for the results of the government’s own policy. This works in wartime. This works in almost every society. It destroys productivity. It reduces almost everyone’s standard of living. But the government doesn’t care, because all the government needs to do is print money, declare price controls, and let the free market take away the wealth from the stupid voters.

    People who do not understand the Federal government, who do not understand inflation, and who do not understand the nature of the massive theft that is in store for them, ask the question: “When will the government default?” The answer to this question is obvious: it has been defaulting through price inflation since 1937. It has gotten away with this.

    The government gets bigger. The salaries of the bureaucrats keep going up. The number bureaucrats employed by the government keeps going up. This strategy has worked wonderfully for the government. Meanwhile, the purchasing power of the dollar has declined by about 95%. You can check this on the inflation calculator of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

    This is nothing new. Everyone adjusts to it. Nobody blames the government. The Federal Reserve is given more power. The destroyers win.

    As we approach the final stages of the bankruptcy, the rate of inflation will rise, more people will be hurt, more capital will be destroyed, and fewer ways of escaping the inflation will be available at a price most people can afford.

    This is why you have to start taking advantage of the situation today.

    Allocate 20% of your income or your savings to hedging against the future. If this means drawing down cash reserves, do it.

    Essentially, you need to convert cash to value – value that will not degrade by inflation or time.

    1) Stop watching the junk on TV. Educate yourself in an alternative trade or skill. With the fall, many services may disappear, and many that are no longer valuable proliferate.

    The ability to earn is your most important survival tool.

    To do that, you may have to move to an geographical location where your skill is needed. This may be extremely difficult in harsh economic times. By extending your skills into a different area, you may forestall being forced to move, and instead re-build capital where you are. You do not need to be the best, but be simply adequete – you will be way in the a head of anyone else who didn’t plan.

    This includes your spouse and your children. Everyone may have to find jobs in order for the family unit to survive.

    Remember this parable: Two people on a trail come across a grizzly. One starts to run away, while the other is putting on his running shoes. “What are you doing, you can’t out run the bear!” “True, but all I have to do is out run you!”

    2) Buy tools. Buy the tools of your trade that will set you apart from your competition – be the person that people call because you can do the job faster, cheaper, better with the best tools. Invest in them now before the price of the tools explodes in inflation. You also will save taxes in two ways – one, an expense item today, two, avoid paying the progressive tax increase that inflation causes.

    3) Consumables. Be careful though. Make sure it doesn’t rot. This is more than simply biology. Obsolescence is a ‘rotting’ too. For example, buying the electronics today, may be worthless when something better – significantly better – comes along. Portability – can you easily take it with you if you have to move?

    One of the best ideas is buy for your home. Maintaining your home may be your most important re-investment. Paint supplies, grass supplies, lawnmowers, gardening tools – anything that you may need to maintain your home for the next (quite a few) years. Light bulbs, nails, screws, hammers, saws, garden hoses, tape. Most unprepared others will not be able to afford the maintenance and their homes, along with their wealth, will dissolve underneath them. Preparing right now, stocking up on those items for the future, will help keep the value of your home. Regardless of any economic turmoil, your home is the most important investment you may have.

    4) Food and Water (and toilet paper).
    Most people in cities have a hard time believing they will run out of water. But what will happen if your government run utility cannot pay its government employees? Literally, and instantly, your water may be shut off as a harsh strike strategy. Clean water is very hard to find when you need it. Store up at least 1 week of drinking water for everyone in your house – washing is a luxury.

    Food, too. If there is a harsh strike of State or corporate employees, shortages may occur and gridlock the economy. Suddenly a panic buying spree. Overnight the stores could be emptied. If you’re a late shopper – too bad. Therefore, be the first shopper, now. There are plenty of good resources on the web regarding food storage.

    Key things like toilet paper, coffee, tea, wine – some things you can’t live without, and some things gain value very fast when the marketplace shortages abound.

    Soap, cleaning supplies, toothpaste etc. – they last nearly forever, and keeping clean is important to keeping healthy – you can’t afford to be sick or have a tooth ache after the fall.

    5)Gold. About 10% of your wealth holdings should be in gold IN HAND. Buying paper gold (certificates, ETF etc.) is like buying government dollars – good luck in cashing in when you need it. Keeping gold in safety deposit boxes is risky – more risky then the threat of theft at home. Banks may close – and when they do, they also close access to safety deposit boxes. When you need your gold is exactly when they lock the doors. Gold coins are easy to store, buy and sell. Get a assay tool – a simple mechanical device that can confirm gold coins are what they are.
    Many say buy silver too – but it is far more volatile then gold, and you need to buy a lot of it to make it worth while – so storage is an issue.

    7) Exercise and healthy living. As above, getting sick might be a death sentence. And this investment pays off whether the government falls or not.

    Hope that helps.

  6. Google:
    100 things to disappear first

  7. BF,

    Very interesting, thanks for sharing. I will take the time to google that later when I have a spare minute.

  8. That was a very interesting list. Of course, most of those things I either have already secured, or I don’t think are necessary for myself. It is good to know, though. Things can always be used for barter if you don’t need them.

  9. BlackFlag says:

    Followup:

    Remember this very important thing.

    If you wait until after the ‘fall’ to try to accumulate these items, you will be labeled a “hoarder” – and by government decree, you will lose all your goods to either the government or others.

    If you do it now, you will be labeled a “exuberant shopper” – what exactly this economy needs …

    Timing is everything.

  10. BlackFlag says:

    Follow up #2:

    You don’t have that much capital.

    Start buying the things you need to preserve your lifestyle. Buy bulk. Buy cheap. Buy steadily.

    Your #1 threat today is procrastination.

    Do what you understand. Skip the things you don’t understand until you have solved your problems with the things you understand.

    Do something simple. Then do it again. Keep moving forward. Don’t get hung up on the complexity of things you don’t understand.

  11. BlackFlag,

    I like the list. Interesting reading and certainly something to keep in mind. Is it that you really feel that the country is soon going to devolve into complete chaos or that you merely hope so? I tend to think it isn’t coming anytime soon. But I was wondering how we got to this point in a conversation about the Libertarian Platform?

    I have to say that I am surprised that I have not seen more action on these subjects. Energy is a big topic today but no thoughts being shared there. Same with the environment. The property law and contracts we covered a bit earlier so I understand that one. Are people just not interested in this topic? I have Act VI scheduled for tomorrow night!

  12. It is my sincere hope that the country doesn’t fall into ‘complete’ chaos. If it does that, then those without at least a small army are completely doomed. It won’t matter how much gold, food, etc. – the odds will be that you will die badly. Armageddon helps no one.

    Will the country and the world go into chaos – yes, there is no doubt.

    Put this into mind – the entire world’s US$ supply held in foreign hands, in 2007, was a bit above $7 trillion. The entire US$ supply in 2007 was $10 trillion. In 2008 the US government via the FED added $7.5 trillion. It took 300 years to get to $10 trillion and 60 days to nearly double it. These trillions are being dumped directly into the US – moving the internal money supply from about $3 trillion to $10 trillion plus.

    Put this into mind: (inflation adjusted figures)

    The bailout has cost more than all of these big budget government expenditures – combined:

    • Marshall Plan: Cost: $12.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $115.3 billion
    • Louisiana Purchase: Cost: $15 million, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $217 billion
    • Race to the Moon: Cost: $36.4 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $237 billion
    • S&L Crisis: Cost: $153 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $256 billion
    • Korean War: Cost: $54 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $454 billion
    • The New Deal: Cost: $32 billion (Est), Inflation Adjusted Cost: $500 billion (Est)
    • Invasion of Iraq: Cost: $551b, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $597 billion
    • Vietnam War: Cost: $111 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $698 billion
    • NASA: Cost: $416.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $851.2 billion

    TOTAL: $3.92 trillion

    ______________________________________________________________________

    That is $686 billion less than the cost of the credit crisis thus far.

    The only single American event in history that even comes close to matching the cost of the credit crisis is World War II: Original Cost: $288 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $3.6 trillion

    The $4.6165 trillion dollars committed so far is about a trillion dollars ($979 billion dollars) greater than the entire cost of World War II borne by the United States: $3.6 trillion, adjusted for inflation (original cost was $288 billion).

    Go figure: WWII was a relative bargain.

    Most pundits figure the cost of the bailouts will reach $10 trillion.

    Now, calculate the inflation rate – we are talking about Zimbabwean magnitudes here. And this is with the world’s currency base. All countries use the US$ for their own financial reserves – the inflation of the US$ will inflict massive damage to every economy on earth.

    —-

    It is my fault that we got here in the conversation – you asked for ‘solutions’, so I gave some; but frankly I had no idea where to put them so they landed here.

    —-

    Anthropogenic Global Warming is a bad myth. Humans are puny – we couldn’t change the climate if we wanted to.

    AGW is the prime example of government science. Without government money, this myth would have faded years ago. Now, it is the single largest government expenditure in science -dwarfing all other research in all other science fields – including all medical research, combined. It is obvious why the myth perpetuates – there are a lot of people living well from it.

    Government loves it – it is the watermelon strategy – green on the outside, but red on the inside. By mobilizing the people’s natural want for clean nature, it is a very convenient way to achieve socialism – control the access to energy and ration it – not based on limited supply, but by government control based on social need – socialism.

  13. BlackFlag,

    Finally something that we agree on. I also believe that Global Warming being caused by man is a complete farce. This planet, by most people’s calculations, can repair itself fairly quickly. The one thing I remember reading a couple months ago was a story about the area that was used for US Nuclear testing. It appears that an area nuked over and over in the ocean, in the course of just 50 or so years, has healed and now houses a spectacular coral reef. I can’t help but feel as though if that can happen, then what makes us think we can have such a dramatic effect? I believe that the earth is quite resilient and should we ever get to the point where we can truly hurt it, it will shake us off like bugs.

    I also agree that the global warming myth is being driven by government as a means of control. Create a situation so big that no one person feels as though they can fix it, and the masses look to the government to do what they cannot. They sacrifice freedoms and money willingly because they think that is the only way to “save” themselves. This isn’t the only example of the government using this tactic, obviously, but it is one that is recent and overpowering these days. Another would be the Patriot Act and its throwing liberties out the window.

    I intend to do a post on both global warming and the Patriot Act in the near future. These are things that need to be discussed intelligently by folks who are willing to rationally look at both sides.

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