Since releasing my book, FREEDOM! I’ve gone on three national tours and everywhere I go, I ask people, “How did you wake up?” As you can see from my prior post, How did you first respond to the message of freedom? just the existence of the Libertarian Party was a critical part of my awakening. For most Americans, they first hear the word “Libertarian” because of a Libertarian Party candidate.
The Libertarian Party is the party of principle, which obviously sets it apart from the two old parties. Here is the Statement of Principles (which you can read on the party’s platform page)as adopted at the second national convention in 1974:
We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual. (I love this line!)
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.
This statement is so ingrained in the party itself that Article 3, Section 1 of the bylaws reads: The Statement of Principles affirms that philosophy upon which the Libertarian Party is founded, by which it shall be sustained, and through which liberty shall prevail. The enduring importance of the Statement of Principles requires that it may be amended only by a vote of 7/8 of all registered delegates at a Regular Convention.
These are principles that unite people because they speak to the core of our universal human nature. To quote FREEDOM!, “We all know life is better with freedom – that our own individual experiences don’t mean nearly as much without the ability to assert our will, rather than having our choices limited by force. … We all want to live peacefully. We all want fair treatment. We all want to be able to prosper. We all need freedom. We all need love. We all suffer under statism.” If presented properly to the American people, these principles will unite left, right, and center against the common enemy that is big, centralized government.
One of the features of the Libertarian Party being a political party is that by it’s nature it is inclusive. While this has it’s obvious downsides, the upsides far outweigh them. While there are plenty of people in the party who don’t understand the Statement of Principles, disgust with the old parties is a great gateway for people to join the party and thus to be exposed to libertarian principles for the first time. That was the case with me. If it wasn’t for the Libertarian Party, I would never have become an anti-war activist with Iraq Veterans Against the War, never would have started doing civil disobedience activism, never have started ADAM VS THE MAN, and never would have written FREEDOM!, which has woken up millions to the ideas of freedom.
Of course no true love comes without integrity, and I could not in good conscience make this post without acknowledging the recent failures of the party, specifically failing to nominate a candidate for President in the last three election cycles who represents our Statement of Principles. Some people look at the small scale of the party and think that the corruption involved is only on the scale of millions of dollars. But if you really believe in this message, than you know that if we just got these principles in front of the American people, it would be game over for government one way or another. The truth is, there are trillions of dollars at stake and there are a lot of powerful people who would prefer this message never gets in front of the American people properly.
I have been a lifetime member of the party since I could first afford it when I got back from Iraq in 2004. I was involved in college as President of Libertarians of the Claremont Colleges. For many years, I thought that my best avenues to spreading the message were outside of the party, and that I could let others run for office and play politics and deal with the drama incumbent with it. But witnessing the failures of the party over the last three cycles, I have seen that it’s time for “the libertarian takeover of the Libertarian Party” to ensure that our top of the ticket candidates represent our principles. As you probably know, I am running for the party’s nomination for President. Whether or not you support my campaign and the platform of dissolving the federal government in a peaceful, orderly, responsible manner, I hope you’ll join me in working within the party to ensure that we can use the platform of the presidential election to bring a message of principle to the American people.
There are so many other reasons to love the LP, but I’ll just close with one more here. Despite the petty factionalism, much of which I believe is fueled by plants and people who don’t share our principles anyway, the party is LOVING! The party is inclusive. The party lifts up and supports all kinds of activists. I have never met a group of activists more welcoming and supportive and encouraging of all freedom-seeking activism than the people who make up the heart and soul of the LP. At almost every LP event I’ve been to, there is a speaker from outside the party sharing their views and inspiring action. Ingrained in the culture of the LP is the idea that we should attack the state on every front possible and be supportive of everyone doing good work to advance the cause of freedom. Everywhere else you go, there are petty tyrants defending their fiefdoms (and we have few in the LP too!) and pushing others down. In most other activism circles, you would think that everyone wants to be the center of attention and be the sole savior of humanity. Advancing freedom is a team sport. No one plays better with others than the LP and I am proud to seek its nomination and to be a lifetime member. I hope that until all coercive government is abolished, the Libertarian Party can be the hub of the freedom movement. Please join us by going to LP.org.