A brief synopsis of libertarianism (1993)

Taken from a posting I made in 1993 on Uk.Misc regarding Libertarianism:

To dispel some rumours, and correct many misunderstandings I thought I would spell out the libertarian position. This is my view and may differ from other libertarians.

Libertarianism is developed from the Non-Aggression Axiom. This states that no person may initiate aggression against any other. This is a simple statement, from which property rights and other freedoms may be derived. (For a full explanation see Murray Rothbards “For a New Liberty”).

The meaning of not initiating aggression is not the same as pacifism, although there may exist libertarian pacifists. It means that no-one has the right to start any violence or other forms of aggression. If I steal from you, it is the initiation of aggression. If you remove my property to pay for what was stolen from you, that is not the initiation of aggression. It is justified.

Libertarians differ as to how far they personally would take this principle. The libertarian movement covers free-marketeers, minimalists (limited state liberals) and anarcho-capitalists (anarchists like me). There are also Civil libertarians (Amnesty International, Liberty, Charter 88 etc.), the confused bunch that think it’s wrong for the government to interfere with our civil liberties, but OK to dip into our wallets.

What binds most libertarians is the distrust of government as an institution. “Our Enemy the State” as Albert Jay Nock put it. We do not feel that anyone has the right to decide our lives for us. As intelligent animals, we feel that the human race should be able to make choices in life, not have them removed to some obscure ministry of this, that and the other. Who do they think they are that they know better than I do as to what I actually want in life.

The menace of modern society is taxation. This is equated with theft by libertarians. How is it theft? Well who asked your permission to remove however much they feel fit from your wages each week. If you were robbed at gunpoint every week when you received your wages you would call that theft would you not? So why is taxation different? Because the state has defined it thus.

Although in the UK it isn’t something we have to worry about since the 60s, conscription is another pet hate on libertarians. It is nothing less than slavery. Forced labour being used to defend a state. If the state were worth defending would it need to use slaves to fight for it?

© Andy Bolton, 1993.

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