Why I'm A Libertarian
by William Stone III
Despite his philosophical failings, the campaign slogan of 1996 and 2000
Libertarian Presidential Candidate Harry Browne's was totally correct:
Government doesn't work!
It doesn't keep our cities safe; it doesn't educate our children; and it
doesn't care for our sick. It just doesn't.
It would be nice to imagine a world it which it did - but it doesn't. It
never has, it never will, and no amount of pushing, cajoling, or tinkering
will change that fact.
Post-September 11, it should be tragically apparent to even the dimmest
bulb that government is utterly ineffectual at protecting anything, least
of all human lives. Indeed, it was immoral government edict that both
incited the September 11 terrorists and made it possible for them to
murder thousands of individual.
Anyone in 2003 who still clings to the notion that government can solve
their problems for them is simply sticking their fingers in their ears,
closing their eyes, and chanting, "Government will solve my problems,
government will solve my problems, government will solve my problems!" at
the top of their lungs - in obvious denial of objective reality.
Government doesn't work. It's time to finally accept this and find
something else that does. Fortunately, that something already exists. It's
working fantastically, considering the constraints under which it operates
- specifically the active opposition of virtually every elected official
in the country.
That something? Individual liberty.
Without millions of elected officials and bureaucrats actively working to
subvert your liberty, we'd be far more prosperous than we can imagine.
Regardless of how wealthy or poor you are, regardless of your marginal tax
rate, government at all levels steals - that's right, steals, there's no
other accurate term - forty-seven percent of your money? Through direct
taxation (income tax, property tax), indirect taxation (sales tax), and
hidden taxation (gasoline tax, "sin" tax, etc), you must work until nearly
the end of June just to satisfy government's demands.
What do your various governments do with that money? No matter who you
are, it's not what you want done with it.
If you're a Liberal (correct terminology: socialist), the Conservatives
squandered it on too much defense, the rich, or stopping a noble social
project. If you're Conservative (correct terminology: fascist), the
Liberals squandered it on some hair-brained junk science project or a
crucifix in urine or on keeping the poor dependent on government.
Only the anarcho-capitalist libertarians have it right: government stole
the money and used it to justify their own existence while in the process
How many people think they get value received from their government? The
number is so tiny as to be statistically insignificant. By its very
nature, government cannot give value received. It cannot even approximate
What would you do with twice the spending money you currently have? Start
a business? Invest? Put your kids through college? Give to your favorite
charity? Stay home and raise your children while your spouse works?
If I could spend all the money I made, I'd do all that and more - and
what's more, only a tiny, statistically insignificant percentage of
individuals in the United States would be poor.
"But," you say, "you're particularly generous! Not everyone will be like
you and we'll have people starving in the street!
To that, I say, "Rubbish! Americans are the most generous and prosperous
people in the world! Each of us currently shells out half of our earnings
to Unconstitutional government 'charities' that perform little or no
charity work. Imagine if each of us gave one percent of our gross income
to our church or other true charity. There wouldn't be a poor person
The real objection to voluntarily donating money private charities money
rather than seeing it stolen by government functionaries is that it would
force all the millions of parasites currently in government employ to
actually go out and work for a living.
All our social and political ills would get solved overnight. All those
who currently have power on the strength of an all-powerful (but inept)
central government would have to find real work for a change.
And that frightens the hell out of them.
Want to know why we're starting to see terrorist activities on American
soil? Why more than fifty percent of respondents in a recent Gallup poll
believe that governments present an immediate threat to American freedom?
Why the Militia Movement has become so popular and is now gearing itself
to defend Americans against tyrannical government intrusion?
Because governments - particularly the United States Federal government
- do pose an immediate threat to the freedoms we've always enjoyed.
As this threat becomes more and more obvious, the lunatic fringe begins to
react in unpredictable ways. The average person reacts to the Federal
government's bloody murder of the Weaver family and the immolation of the
Branch Davidians with shock, disgust, and fear. Those who know the facts
in these cases clamor for justice.
A lunatic reacts by filling a truck full of fuel oil and fertilizer and
blowing up a Federal building.
As the Federal government commits more atrocities and crushes more
American freedoms under its tyrannical boot, we'll see more lunatic
terrorism by the unbalanced.
This is not to condone bloodshed, but to state a fact: some people are a
Take, for example, some of the homeless people you see muttering to
themselves on street corners in Chicago, where I lived the majority of the
1990s. They're obviously suffering from some grade of mental illness; if
you just leave them alone, they're fairly harmless. Intrude too far into
their private world, and some of them will react violently.
That's what's happening right now. The Federal government has started to
push people. Some of the ones who should be left alone are reacting
The rest of us simply wonder when our turn to be pushed will come - and
how we'll react when it happens.
In general, Americans just want to be left the hell alone to live our
lives as it pleases us. When we're allowed to do so (as was the case prior
to the early part of the 20th century), you find that we're fairly
peaceful. We have their vices and ills, but as Utopia is not one of the
options, we cope and survive as well as they can.
The American Federal government was clearly and specifically formed with
severe restrictions on what it could do. During the 20th century, the
major political parties quietly colluded to ignore these restrictions.
Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, the FedGov is now involved in
activities that are so obviously and undeniably beyond the scope of its
power that no American is truly able to be left alone to live as it
pleases him or her.
In the shadow of Bloody Tuesday, the FedGov has actively begun its
conversion of the country into a banana republic police state.
At the very least, fifty percent of what we earn is confiscated by
governments. If you think there's no link between economic liberty and
personal liberty, then you're a fool.
Our would-be slaveholders (government functionaries at all levels) tell us
they're doing it for the best of reasons: "The needs of the many outweigh
the needs of the few," we are told.
In reality, they could care less about anyone's needs but their own.
Beyond a local level, government functionaries do not get into the game
for any reason other than to increase their personal power.
If you doubt this, ask yourself one question: what happened to all the
lofty goals of the Republican "revolutionaries" of 1994?
Subverted to the cause of increasing their personal power, that's what.
The root of any government is raw, naked force - and some people will
The government will be forced to kill them - and the FedGov has already
brutally murdered at least two sets of dissidents. Never mind that most of
us wouldn't want Randy Weaver or the Branch Davidians as neighbors.
There's no evidence that they were hurting anyone, they were just
Their murders had the full support of both the Democratic and Republican
Parties. This should tell you everything you need to know about the
supposed "differences" between them. When push comes to shove, there is no
I'm a philosophical libertarian. I believe that no human being has the
right - under any circumstances - to initiate force against another
human being, nor to threaten or delegate its initiation.
That includes individuals in government. In fact, it most especially
includes individuals in government. Indeed, the moment you cede control of
any kind to government is the moment you'd headed down the path to
There are individuals who believe government can be limited, that by
prescribing strict bounds for it, the individuals drawn to it will never
seek additional power. While this is an interesting notion, in all of
human history, government power has never been permanently curbed.
Having "a little government" is precisely identical to being "a little
pregnant." At first, it doesn't show. After a while, it gets a little
bigger. Ultimately, it causes a lot of unavoidable pain - and never
really goes away for the rest of your life.
Government in this country has become like the parasitic 35-year-old son
living in his parents' basement. They can ignore him, they can pretend he
doesn't exist, but ultimately it's clear that the only thing he's doing is
sucking away their money and providing precious little in return.
What do you do with such a government? The same thing you do with a
recalcitrant child: you kick it out. Except in the case of government,
there's no reason to ever check on its progress from time to time.
No human being has the right - under any circumstances - to initiate
force against another human being, nor to threaten or delegate its
initiation. The moment an individual grasps this concept is the moment he
begins the process of kicking out the parasitic child.
William Stone III
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