This election cycle has presented the American people with the prospect of choosing between authoritarian A or authoritarian B. It seems like most other election cycles to me, but for some reason people dislike these authoritarians more than in the past. Because of the contempt for these candidates, many are looking for a third option, and are starting to ask “What is a libertarian?”. This was a perfect moment for the Libertarian party to make their case to the voting public. In response to this incredible opportunity, they nominated Gary Johnson, the libertarian equivalent of Jeb Bush. I was really hoping we could get someone more articulate than Jeb Bush to present our message, but at least he’s not Trump or Clinton right? Listening to Gary Johnson talk about liberty is like listening to someone butchering your favorite song. You know that the song is really good but you just wish they would stop singing it.
I want to answer people’s question of what is a Libertarian, because I know neither Gary Johnson or Bill Weld will. First off, we are not fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Our philosophy is not made up of a little of the left and a little of the right. Our beliefs come from a consistent principle: do not initiate physical force against a peaceful person. Another way to put it that everyone can relate to, is simply, don’t hurt others and don’t take their stuff. This is what we teach our children as soon as they can understand what we’re saying. Everyone above the age of three understands this basic principle. The difference between libertarians and the two major parties is that we consistently apply it.
As libertarians we believe the same moral principles apply to everyone. If you personally have no moral right to do something, then neither does anyone else, even if they have the title of “government official”. For example, if I can’t put you in a cage for consuming a substance I disapprove of, then some guy in a fancy blue suit can’t do it either. If I can’t use violence to get you to contribute to a charity, even if it is for a worthy cause, then a whole group of people called “government” cannot either.
Both the left and the right think the government should be run according to their beliefs. They use the government as the medium through which they force their beliefs upon everyone. The problem is, when you allow or promote government to force your morals upon someone else, you will inevitably have someone else’s morals forced upon you. When you believe this is the proper function of government, you allow whoever is in power to “grant liberty” where they see fit or to restrict whatever liberties they see as unfit. This is how you get a government that decides who can use what bathroom, or who should bake what cakes, or who wins or loses in the free market.
It is time to ditch the left-right paradigm and stop trading off who gets to use government force for whatever they want. It is time to stop believing in liberty only for what you think is acceptable. The third option is no one restricting your free agency, just because they would have acted differently. The third option is Liberty for all.