When you pay taxes, do you do so voluntarily? Or do you do so because you are forced to do so?
If you don’t pay your taxes, what will happen? Will you be fined further? Harassed by the IRS or other government entities? Jailed?
The Libertarian Party is fundamentally opposed to the use of force to coerce people into doing anything. We think it is inherently wrong and should have no role in a civilized society.
Thus we think that government forcing people to pay taxes is inherently wrong.
Libertarians advocate for voluntary exchange, where people are free to make their own choices about what to do with their lives, their time, their bodies, their livelihood, and their dollars.
If Americans want to give money to the government for one reason or another, they should be free to do so. If Americans prefer to spend their money on other things, then they should be free to do that also.
Libertarians believe that all people have the right to freely offer goods and services on the market and that free-market approaches are the most effective at improving people’s lives.
Our current economy is more crony capitalist than it is free, and that is responsible for the majority of problems that some try to blame on capitalism.
The free market, when it is allowed to do so, provides tremendous opportunity for people of all backgrounds, interests, and abilities.
Crony capitalism, however, benefits the wealthy, powerful, and special interests who know how to influence policy makers.
Libertarians default towards freedom in all things, including economics. When people are allowed to run their businesses the way they see fit, without inappropriate government interference and meddling, those businesses are able to innovate and create tremendous value for consumers and more jobs for employees.
Libertarians believe that 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. Unfortunately, the vast majority of regulations on the books do not do that. These regulations are heavy burdens on businesses and people who are just trying to make a living, and often prevent new businesses from starting, prevent existing businesses from hiring new employees, and even force businesses to close. This violates the rights of people to engage in peaceful and honest trade. Additionally, it actively hurts people by stifling human energy, innovation, and well-being.
Libertarians believe that taxes have the same effect as over-reaching regulations and are a confiscation of the property of other people. Libertarians advocate reducing and eliminating taxes whenever possible to free people and businesses to do what they do best, so that everyone can have a chance to succeed.
In summary, Libertarians advocate removing unproductive regulation, reducing and eliminating taxes, and getting government out of the way of innovation and job creation.
Libertarians believe that the equal rights of all people matter all the time. No exceptions.
Other political parties prioritize the rights of some, but not others. Libertarians value the right of all 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.
We also believe that the government must treat all people fairly and equally before the law.
Towards this end, we seek to:
- Protect freedom of religion, association, speech, press, and assembly.
- Reverse the militarization of law-enforcement agencies.
- Reform asset-forfeiture laws.
- Restore Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
- Restore voting and gun rights for those convicted of non-violent drug offenses.
- Fight against federal overreach and government spying programs.
- Restrict law-enforcement use of general surveillance technologies.
- Protect internet freedom & privacy.
Crime and Justice:
Libertarians believe that the existing justice system is seriously flawed.
One of the biggest problems we face today is that many things that should not be considered crimes are labeled as crimes. Worse yet, many of these actions are punished more harshly than are violent crimes.
Libertarians believe that the label of “crime” should be limited to actions of force or fraud against another individual or group. We believe that such crimes should be prosecuted and punished by our justice system but that actions that don’t involve force or fraud should not be criminalized or penalized in the first place.
We believe that ending the racist War on Drugs is an essential part of any plan to improve our justice system. Millions of people, disproportionately people of color, are arrested, jailed, and given a criminal record because they voluntarily chose to consume something. Not only is it immoral for the government to decide what is and is not acceptable for people to consume, criminalizing drugs does nothing to reduce the scourge of drug addiction and abuse. The War on Drugs hurts the people we should be trying to help and diverts criminal justice resources away from prosecuting actual crimes committed against people and property.
Libertarians also believe that our current justice system has many punishments that far outweigh the crimes committed. We believe that punishments should be proportional to the crime committed and should be fair and humane. Prison systems across the country are commonly reported in the news for their terrible living conditions. Libertarians believe this must change. All people’s rights matter, whether they are incarcerated or not. Our prisons need to be as safe, clean, and humane as possible.
Additionally, our justice system currently sets up former inmates for failure. When someone is released from prison, the goal is for them to find a steady job, stable living situation, and avoid criminal activity. Evidence shows that overly long prison terms do very little to reduce recidivism and may actually make it more likely for someone to re-offend. Currently, recidivism rates are very high. These rates could be easily reduced by making prisons more humane (so that prisoners are not physically and psychologically traumatized by the experience), making sentences more reasonable and proportional to the offense, and welcoming offenders who have served their sentences back into society and the workforce.
In summary, Libertarians want to see crimes that are truly crimes prosecuted and punished. Libertarians also want behavior that does not involve force or fraud legalized and dealt with outside the criminal justice system. We want to see justice for victims and also justice for the accused and convicted. The rights of every person matter and we must not turn a blind eye to the rights of the accused or the convicted.
Libertarians believe that every person has the right to arm themselves
The right to self defense is one of our most fundamental rights. Few people will argue against that. However, some believe that people should not be allowed to arm themselves. Libertarians strongly disagree.
Imagine a small person, walking home after a late shift at work. Imagine that person is attacked by someone twice their size. The victim fights back but is unable to defend themselves against the much larger attacker.
Now imagine if the victim was armed. With the help of a gun, the victim has a chance at self defense against the much larger attacker.
Gun rights are important for everyone, but especially those that are physically weaker.
Banning guns would not curb violence or deaths…it will just change the nature of violence and deaths. It would result in violent criminals having more power to perpetrate violence against innocent people. Violent criminals will be emboldened if they know that average Americans are unable to defend themselves.
And banning guns would mean people who should be free to go about their business, for example traveling home from work after dark, will live in greater fear. It will mean that people who live in more dangerous areas (and who are typically poorer) have fewer options to defend themselves and their families.
Libertarians support people’s rights to defend themselves and to arm themselves. We see it as immoral for government to try to prevent someone from doing so.
Libertarians advocate free-market education where parents, teachers, and students, not the government, should make their own choices on education.
One-size-fits-all education, as mandated by the Department of Education, is holding America’s children back.
Every child is different. Every community is different.
Education should be chosen to fit the needs of each child and situation and teachers, parents, and students should be able to make their own choices. They are far better able to assess the needs of a particular child than an agency far off in Washington.