From his quintessential work For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto:
The most viable method of elaborating the natural-rights statement of the libertarian position is to divide it into parts, and to begin with the basic axiom of the “right to self-ownership.” The right to self-ownership asserts the absolute right of each man, by virtue of his (or her) being a human being, to “own” his or her own body; that is, to control that body free of coercive interference. Since each individual must think, learn, value, and choose his or her ends and means in order to survive and flourish, the right to self-ownership gives man the right to perform these vital activities without being hampered and restricted by coercive molestation.
Consider, too, the consequences of denying each man the right to own his own person. There are then only two alternatives: either (i) a certain class of people, A, have the right to own another class, B; or (2) everyone has the right to own his own equal quotal share of everyone else. The first alternative implies that while Class A deserves the rights of being human, Class B is in reality subhuman and therefore deserves no such rights. But since they are indeed human beings, the first alternative contradicts itself in denying natural human rights to one set of humans. Moreover, as we shall see, allowing Class A to own Class B means that the former is allowed to exploit, and therefore to live parasitically, at the expense of the latter. But this parasitism itself violates the basic economic requirement for life: production and exchange.
The second alternative, what we might call “participatory communal-ism” or “communism,” holds that every man should have the right to own his equal quotal share of everyone else. If there are two billion people in the world, then everyone has the right to own one two-billionth of every other person. In the first place, we can state that this ideal rests on an absurdity: proclaiming that every man is entitled to own a part of everyone else, yet is not entitled to own himself. Secondly, we can picture the viability of such a world: a world in which no man is free to take any action whatever without prior approval or indeed command by everyone else in society. It should be clear that in that sort of “communist” world, no one would be able to do anything, and the human race would quickly perish. But if a world of zero self-ownership and one hundred percent other ownership spells death for the human race, then any steps in that direction also contravene the natural law of what is best for man and his life on earth.
Finally, however, the participatory communist world cannot be put into practice. For it is physically impossible for everyone to keep continual tabs on everyone else, and thereby to exercise his equal quotal share of partial ownership over every other man. In practice, then, the concept of universal and equal other-ownership is Utopian and impossible, and supervision and therefore control and ownership of others necessarily devolves upon a specialized group of people, who thereby become a ruling class. Hence, in practice, any attempt at communist rule will automatically become class rule, and we would be back at our first alternative.
A Redditor notable only for his unhealthy fixation on slinging pathetic criticism at libertarianism and its adherents recently linked to an article entitled “I’m Still Not a Libertarian … so I guess that means I’m opposed to personal freedom“. I began reading it out of curiosity, and when I shortly discovered the poor quality of the piece my first inclination was to move on to other things; however, the Redditor noted that he “had several people tell [him] they are no longer Libertarians based on this one article.”
So I kept reading … and reading and reading. At around 70 paragraphs, it stands as one of the tallest straw men I have ever encountered, a straw man built haphazardly upon a slew of other logical fallacies that just kept coming. The article itself is argumentum verbosium as it challenges the reader to stay awake and suspend their sense of logic long enough to even make it through.
I do not wish to make the same mistake as the author by making my response as verbose; my purpose in writing this is rather to provide a handful of points that can be successfully used to refute most of the irrational objections raised by him and similar objections raised by the poor souls who managed to be convinced by them. Read more >>
I came across this brief news article in the Salt Lake Tribune the other day, which made me literally laugh out loud:
The head of a Utah County marketing business has been ordered to pay $241,000 in restitution for stealing his employees’ payroll taxes.
Between 2005 and 2009, Stephen Zimmerman, 58, did not pay the state taxes his family and employees owed, and he covered up the crime by submitting false tax forms, according to the Utah Attorney General’s Office.
Zimmerman, who was the owner of Professional Marketing Data Services Inc., was sentenced earlier this month to up to five years in prison on charges of unlawful dealing with property by a fiduciary and filing false tax documents.
But 3rd District Judge Randall Skanchy suspended that prison term, providing Zimmerman completes probation and pays back the $241,000 he owes.
Allow me to explain why I laughed at this. Read more >>
A fellow Redditor gave me some inspiration when he came up with his “libertarian welcome pack.” It’s nothing more than a handful of links to short YouTube videos that explain some basic principles of libertarianism in simple terms.
The usefulness of this cannot be overstated. When you’re introducing a friend to libertarianism, such introductions can quickly bring your friend up to speed on what it is you advocate, weeding out a significant amount of misunderstanding. Also, the brevity of the media reduces the likelihood that your friend will become bored and lose interest.
I think most libertarians have those certain videos, articles, books or speeches that were “Aha!” moments for us in our own philosophical paths. When a great deal of communication and activism occurs online in our day and age, I believe that developing our own welcome packs and sharing them with curious friends, family members and acquaintances can be an invaluable part of our advocacy. Here’s mine:
- The speech that finally made me cross over from liberalism to conservatism was Ezra Taft Benson’s “The Proper Role of Government”
- The book that finally made me cross over from conservatism to libertarianism was Ron Paul’s The Revolution
- The book that finally helped me abandon statism and adopt anarcho-capitalism and voluntaryism was Murray Rothbard’s For a New Liberty (html | pdf | mp3 | epub)
- The Philosophy of Liberty
- George Ought to Help
- The Social Contract: Defined and Destroyed in Under 5 Minutes
- “Society Without a State” by Murray Rothbard
- “The Reluctant Anarchist” by Joseph Sobran
- Fundamentals of Voluntaryism
I invite our readers to share your own welcome packs in the comments section of this post.
Boxing is an unnatural act. Cos everything in it is backwards. You wanna move to the left, you don’t step left, you push on the right toe. To move right, you use your left toe. Instead of running from the pain – like a sane person would do, you step into it.
– Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris in Million Dollar Baby
I love the movie Million Dollar Baby for many reasons, but one of them is the portrayal of the training itself. Boxing, like many disciplines, requires one to actively abandon many natural inclinations and replace them with behavior that works. As humans, we have an impressive set of instincts, instincts that have served us well as a species for thousands of years; however, those same instincts can sometimes hinder us, sometimes fatally.
As a Latter-day Saint, liberty is a means to an end. In order to achieve the goals I have for myself and my family, I must be able to choose. Liberty is a prerequisite.
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
– Benjamin Franklin
However, as a libertarian, liberty is not a means to an end, but the end itself. I believe that the only legitimate function of what we know as “government” is to maintain and protect individual liberty. This is what defines my political philosophy. In fact, I have found that every political philosophy can be defined by what it values more than liberty.
Take conservatism, for example. Living in Utah necessarily means interacting with a lot of conservatives, and I’ve noticed lately (with the rise in popularity of the liberty movement) that conservatives initially react very positively when I tell them I am a libertarian.
“Oh, really?” they respond enthusiastically. “I actually kinda consider myself a libertarian. I’ve read Atlas Shrugged and am a big believer in free markets. I think the government should just leave us all alone and let us run our own lives.”
“That’s great,” I reply. I then ask the only question you’ll ever need to know to flush out a fake libertarian. “So you are all for legalizing drugs, gambling and prostitution then?”
Utah Liberty Alliance seeks to bring about a free society through journalism and activism, starting right here at home.
Recent Forum Posts
In development: Utah Copwatch (utahcopwatch.org)
posted in forum Incubator by Dallin Crump on August 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm
In development: Utahns for Privatized Education (u4pe.org)
posted in forum Incubator by Dallin Crump on April 30, 2012 at 1:54 pm
Utah juror information
posted in forum Incubator by Nicholas Hooton on April 30, 2012 at 8:56 am