What is a Libertarian?

I am quite often asked “What is a Libertarian?”

Simply put, a Libertarian is someone who believes the best possible outcomes are from voluntary associations.  Volunteers have much more incentive to produce the highest quality result with the fewest resources expended because they are the ones directly providing the resources and are committed to the cause.

Often when people think about voluntary associations they think of institutions like the St. Francis House, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the United Way.  But Libertarians use the term volunteer more broadly.  A small business owner, for example, voluntarily opens a business.  No one forced them to do it, but because the owner believed it to be in their best interest they took it on themselves and are serving the interests of the community.  And an employee who applied at that small business also did so voluntary.  No one is forcing them to work for that small business, and they have the choice to apply somewhere else, but because at that moment having gainful employment with that small business was in their best interest, as it was in the owner’s best interest to hire them, a voluntary association was made.

The opposite of volunteerism is force, and in our society the only entity who can apply force on us is government.  Government divides the schools into zones and chooses the curriculum instead of letting the parents choose which school is best for their child and family needs.  Government outlaws vices, such as gambling and recreational marijuana use, instead of letting grown adults decide how they spend their leisure time and money (unless it’s the government itself running the enterprise like the Lottery).  And it is government who chooses how your money will be spent by taking it from you in taxation and spending it on whatever the special interest group who funded the politician’s campaign desires.

Libertarians believe government has a purpose, which is to protect our rights to life, liberty and property.  Any other activity of government is beyond its scope and violates the rights of the citizens it is entrusted to protect.

As I was reasoning out a political philosophy that was coherent and consistent I considered both the Democrat and Republican parties.  Joining these parties would make running for office simpler, but I couldn’t understand why Democrats would say “my body my choice” when supporting pro-choice positions and then at the same time force people to buy health insurance.  If it’s my body my choice, shouldn’t I be allowed to decide what level of healthcare, if any, I should have?  And Republicans demand religious freedoms, which they have every right to do, but then they try to force their religious views on others through law.  In our own county, for example, you can’t buy alcohol on Sunday morning.  Isn’t this a violation of the religious (or non-religious) rights of our neighbors?

The more I looked into the two major parties the more I saw what they stood for over time constantly changes.  Democrats would argue for tax cuts under President Kennedy and Republicans won’t repeal government regulated healthcare today.  There is no consistent philosophy of government applied to either party.  Whereas on every issue the Libertarian asks “Does this choice make people more free?”  If the answer is yes, then the Libertarian supports it.  And I support it.

I invite you to learn more about the Libertarian Party, connect with the Alachua County Libertarian Party and change your voter registration to Libertarian which tells the other two parties that voters demand better.  And maybe then they’ll even give better.

Thanks for your Support,