Note: The following ten stances are taken from the libertarian Advocates for Self-Government center's "World's Smallest Political Quiz", with Calen's additional comments below. Throughout, explanations from renowned libertarian guru and free market economist Milton Friedman, as well as lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and "Champion of Liberty" Ron Paul, are linked.
The ideal solution would be to cut government by 90% or more, but unfortunately this may be a completely impractical goal for the authoritarian statists in today's Congress. The optimal solution would be to repeal the Sixteenth (16th) Amendment; scrap the IRS code, abolish the income tax, and replace it with nothing. However, a flat tax or Fair Tax of no more than 25% (ideally no more than 10%) would be a step in the right direction. At the same time, end the wars and bring all troops around the world home to defend our border, defund most executive departments/Cabinets, eliminate basically all unelected bureaucracies, repeal the majority of government regulations and legislation, and eventually privatize all welfare/charity. That is, return to Constitutional government – just for starters. That's the only kind of "compromise" we should accept.
The government has no business forcing one citizen to pay for another against his will. Objectors will claim that without government welfare, the needy will go unhelped; however, they fail to recognize that everything the government does, it is said to do with the will of the people. This means that if it is the will of the people to give to the needy, they will do so whether or not they are forced, and if it is not their will, the government should not be doing it in the first place.
Government control of the individual’s affairs in any way, including finances, should be called what it is: the Nanny State. Most people can manage their own retirement on a custom basis and much more efficiently than the state as a collective, and if they choose to let it sit in a bank, that is their own prerogative. Besides, Social Security is a complete failure and is nothing more than a tax-and-spend slush fund.
The "powers that be" want to put the means in place to eventually be able to track and control our every move; they think of us as cattle. The states (or the people) should ALWAYS retain the right to choose their own means of identification, and the feds should do what they should usually do: keep their hands to themselves.
Corporations should not be given another single taxpayer dime. The modern US government seems to be primarily run “by the corporations, for the corporations”. This is called fascism, or corporatism. The government should not have a single finger in business; if a business is failing, the invisible hand of the market will do its work. A new business or entrepreneur will come in, buy up the assets, and restructure them in a more useful way. There is no such thing as "too big to fail". This holds true even for “critical” sectors, such as banking (though there are issues there with the FDIC, but that’s a separate issue). Corporate bailouts such as TARP are an affront to every man, woman, and child in this great country. TARP was said to be a program to allow troubled lenders help troubled homeowners retain their homes; however, it is estimated that this money could have directly helped approximately 3.5 million American families buy decent homes outright. Instead, the banks kept the money for themselves, and the foreclosures continue to pile up.
What products the government restricts in order to “save jobs” for businesses, it restricts the citizen (generally, the “little guy”) from obtaining at better prices. Protectionism helps only the corporations by allowing them to artificially inflate prices, creating monopolies. Market competition, even with other countries, is what equalizes costs and spurs innovation. If an entrepreneur can undercut a foreign industry at a profit, he will do so; otherwise, the citizens are obtaining the product at market price, and the entrepreneur’s attention is best suited elsewhere.
ANY government encroachment is always a slippery slope. The state has proven time and again that once they get their foot in the door, they will only open it wider. The First (1st) Amendment guarantees recognition of the right to absolute freedom of these channels of communication and expression, period.
Compulsory military service is an infringement of the individual’s right to freedom. Anything the government enforces involuntarily must be done either directly or indirectly at the point of a gun, with the threat of violence, which is not only immoral but against the spirit of liberty. Besides, anyone forced to do something against their will lacks motivation to perform – and if the people of a country lack the motivation to defend themselves from an impending attack, that country is destined to fail either way.
There should be no laws regarding ANYTHING between consenting adults, as long as it affects no one else. What people choose to do in the privacy of their own homes is up to them only – period. When privacy rights are lost for some, the door is opened to take them from all.
Possession and use of drugs harms nobody except possibly the user. As established previously, what people choose to do with their own bodies is their business only. The federal "War on Drugs" is simply and quite honestly a waste of taxpayer money. Objectors will point out various crimes and hazards stemming from drug use – these issues only exist because of black markets and would be significantly reduced or eliminated altogether with decriminalization. Common sense would of course be used; just as it is illegal to distribute alcohol to minors, it must remain illegal to distribute drugs to minors. Even though I personally have never once used any sort of illegal drug, I support the right of adults to do as they wish with their own person, so long as no one else is affected, and no one else is held responsible for the consequences.
On a similar note, laws regarding prescription drugs should be repealed as well. The FDA, for example, denies individuals the right to take experimental medical drugs of their own accord, even if attempting to quell tremendous pain. The FDA has no incentive to approve new drugs, only to deny or prolong their testing, and who can blame them; the FDA is not rewarded for successful drugs, it can only be censured for approving harmful drugs. One can only imagine how many thousands of individuals per year would be able to fight their pain or prolong their lives, if only they were given the choice.
The Constitution restrains Congress in Article 1, Section 8 to a small number of specifically enumerated powers of regulation and authority. Unfortunately, Congress nowadays sees fit to regulate almost anything except these specific areas, and then if it does accidentally wander inside the bounds of its own powers, only to abuse them. The Libertarian stance can be equated to the Constitutionalist position; restraining the federal government to only a few, Constitutionally defined areas, and leaving the rest up to the States, or to the people. Because, as Libertarian Constitutionalist Michael Badnarik once said, "that is what Liberty is all about".