Saturday, April 03, 2004

What's a Libertarian?


That's not a rhetorical question, and nor is it sarcastic. I
honestly didn't know until a few days ago when I took the time to look
it up.

I would not describe myself as a political person, and so I have
always ignored much of politics and political definitions. But after
recently taking a poltical mini-quiz (,
l became curious as to how the political positions were defined. After
some reading, it turned out I really am a left-libertarian, just like
the quiz said.

I have beeen passionate about freedom and liberty my whole life. As
I entered high school, learned about our current government in horrible
detail, learned about the genius of the founding fathers, it became
very clear to me I wanted as little of the Federal Government
interferring with my life as possible. Years of watching one Government
scandal after another just reinforced this view. With the birth of the
internet and Open Source Software, these strong opinions evolved
naturally into passions. They have become pillars in everything from
how I teach programming and software development to how I help run a

I started poking around tonight (this morning) and found some interesting things I'd like to share:

From the libertarian FAQ (

"Libertarians believe that, on every issue, you have the right to
decide for yourself what's best for you and to act on that belief so
long as you respect the right of other people to do the same and deal
with them peacefully and honestly.

"Self-government is the combination of personal responsibility and
tolerance. Responsibility means you govern yourself. Tolerance means
you don't force your values on peaceful, honest people."

"Actually, true conservatives tend to be libertarian on economic
issues, and true liberals tend to be libertarian on social issues. The
consistency is to the extent to which one believes in individual
liberty..." --Sharon Harris

Here are some good quotes from

I'll put my favorite quote first :-)

"How does one get involved [in libertarianism]? Think about freedom,
and act on your thoughts. Spend your dollars wisely. Oppose the
expansion of state power. Promote 'bottom-up' solutions to public
problems, solutions that empower individuals rather than demanding
intervention by force of government. Give to private charity. Join a
libertarian organization; the Libertarian Party, or the Advocates for
Self-Government, or the Reasonn Foundation. Start your own
business; create wealth and celebrate others who create wealth. Support
voluntary cooperation." --Eric Raymond

"I'm a libertarian. I think a lot of people are libertarians and are afraid to admit it -- or don't know." --Kurt Russel

"The less [government] the better. As far as your personal goals are
and what you actually want to do with your life, it should never have
to do with the government. You should never depend on the government
for your retirement, your financial security, for anything. If you do,
you're screwed... That's all the government should be: Army, Air Force,
Navy, Marines." -- Drew Carey

"Libertarian... Everyone leaves everyone else alone." -- Clint Eastwood, when asked how he saw himself politically

"Milton Friedman is one of this century's most distinguished and
influential economists... His tremendously influential 1979 best-seller
Free To Choose (co-authored with his wife Rose) is a clear and lively
examination of economics and politics. It shows how our freedom has
been eroded and our prosperity undermined through an explosion of laws,
regulations, agencies and government spending, and makes a profound and
convincing argument for repealing most government interference in the
economy... Free to Choose was presented to millions of Americans as a
10-episode series shown on (of all things) PBS."

I wonder if I can still get a hold of that? Sounds like an awesome series.

"Fortunately, we are waking up. We are again recognizing the dangers
of an overgoverned society, coming to understand that good objectives
can be perverted by bad means, that reliance on the freedom of people
to control their own lives in accordance with their own values is the
surest way to achieve the full potential of a great society." --Milton

"We are entering a new era of more representative rule-making. As
just one example, internet technology is changing the way government
works..." --Ron Paul


* Rights belong to individuals, not groups.

* Property should be owned by people, not government.

* All voluntary associations should be permissionable -- economic and social.

* The government's monetary role is to maintain the integrity of the monetary unit, not participate in fraud.

* Government exists to protect liberty, not to redistribute wealth or to grant special privileges.

* The lives and actions of people are their own responsibility, not the government's.

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