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The Essence of Liberty

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  • The Essence of Liberty



        
    The "indispensable five"- the points of no compromise


    YOU OWN YOURSELF

    First and foremost, libertarians believe in the principle of self-ownership. You own your own body and mind; no external power has the right to force you into the service of "society" or "mankind" or any other individual or group for any purpose, however noble. Slavery is wrong, period.

    Because you own yourself, you are responsible for your own well-being. Others are not obligated to feed you, clothe you, or provide you with health care. Most of us choose to help one another voluntarily, for a variety of reasons -- and that's as it should be -- but "forced compassion" is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.


    THE RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE

    Self-ownership implies the right to self-defense. Libertarians yield to no one in their support for our right as individuals to keep and bear arms. We only wish that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution said "The right to self-defense being inalienable..." instead of that stuff about a "well-regulated militia". Anyone who thinks that government -- any government -- has the right to disarm its citizens is NOT a libertarian!


    NO "CRIMINAL POSSESSION" LAWS

    In fact, libertarians believe that individuals have the right to own and use anything- gold, guns, marijuana, sexually explicit material- so long as they do not harm others through force or the threat of force. Laws criminalizing the simple possession of anything are tailor-made for police states; it is all too easy to plant a forbidden substance in someone's home, car or pocket. Libertarians are as tough on crime- real crime- as anyone. But criminal possession laws are an affront to liberty, whatever the rhetoric used to defend them.


    NO TAXES ON PRODUCTIVITY

    In an ideal world, there would be no taxation. All services would be paid for on an as-used basis. But in a less-than-ideal world, some services will be force-financed for the foreseeable future. However, not all taxes are equally deleterious, and the worst form of taxation is a tax on productivity -- i.e., an income tax -- and no libertarian supports this type of taxation.

    What kind of taxation is least harmful? This is a topic still open for debate. My own preference is for a single tax on land. Is this "the" libertarian position on taxes? No. But all libertarians oppose any form of income tax.


    A SOUND MONEY SYSTEM

    The fifth and final key test of anyone's claim to being a libertarian is their support for an honest money system; i.e. one where the currency is backed by something of true value (usually gold or silver). Fiat money -- money with no backing, whose acceptance is mandated by the State -- is simply legalized counterfeiting and is one of the keys to expanding government power.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The five points enumerated here are not a complete, comprehensive prescription for freedom... but they would take us most of the way. A government which cannot conscript, confiscate, or counterfeit, and which imposes no criminal penalties for the mere possession and peaceful use of anything, is one that almost all libertarians would be comfortable with.

    Ideally, of course, we'd all be in agreement on everything. But we're not, and probably never will be. Debate is likely to continue indefinitely on such matters as abortion, foreign policy, and whether, when, and how various government programs can be discontinued or privatized.
    by David F. Nolan
    Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

  • #2
    Property Rights Form Foundation of Freedom

    "A man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.” — James Madison on Property, (1792).
    Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

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    • #3
      Great contribution to the education of the masses, lazy.

      No. 5 is the most important, because so few people understand it and because it is paramount for big government to be able to confiscate people's wealth without them knowing about it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by lazydaze@Mar 25 2004, 09:11 AM
        [i]"A man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.
        Unless he was a native american man of course. ;-(
        Damn these electric sex pants!

        26+31+34+42+44+46+64+67+82+06 = 10

        Bring back the death penalty for corporations!

        Comment


        • #5
          And truth be told, property rights form the foundation of corporate mastery.
          Damn these electric sex pants!

          26+31+34+42+44+46+64+67+82+06 = 10

          Bring back the death penalty for corporations!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by dredbyrd+Mar 25 2004, 08:16 AM-->
            QUOTE (dredbyrd @ Mar 25 2004, 08:16 AM)

          • #7
            Originally posted by lazydaze+Mar 25 2004, 09:17 AM-->
            QUOTE (lazydaze @ Mar 25 2004, 09:17 AM)
            Originally posted by [email protected] 25 2004, 08:16 AM

          • #8
            Originally posted by King in KC@Mar 25 2004, 09:13 AM
            Great contribution to the education of the masses, lazy.

            No. 5 is the most important, because so few people understand it and because it is paramount for big government to be able to confiscate people's wealth without them knowing about it.
            There is not nearly enough gold and silver in this country to back our money, so a "sound money" system is impossible.

            We only wish that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution said "The right to self-defense being inalienable..." instead of that stuff about a "well-regulated militia".
            Darn those Founding Fathers!

            Anyone who thinks that government -- any government -- has the right to disarm its citizens is NOT a libertarian!
            Drat. Rules me out. :(

            Comment


            • #9
              so a "sound money" system is impossible.
              Now that is funny on so many levels.
              Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

              Comment


              • #10
                Originally posted by lazydaze@Mar 25 2004, 09:21 AM
                so a "sound money" system is impossible.
                Now that is funny on so many levels.
                ROFLMAO

                Comment


                • #11
                  Originally posted by lazydaze@Mar 25 2004, 09:21 AM
                  so a "sound money" system is impossible.
                  Now that is funny on so many levels.
                  Really? So your position is that there are enough precious metals in this country to back our currency? Is Fort Knox bigger than they've been letting on?

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Originally posted by King in KC+Mar 25 2004, 09:22 AM-->
                    QUOTE (King in KC @ Mar 25 2004, 09:22 AM)

                  • #13
                    Originally posted by kah2523@Mar 25 2004, 09:24 AM

                    Hard to counter the incisive logic of "ROFLMAO".

                    I await evidence that there is enough precious metals in this country to back our money, according to the definition of "sound money":

                    The fifth and final key test of anyone's claim to being a libertarian is their support for an honest money system; i.e. one where the currency is backed by something of true value (usually gold or silver).
                    You never disappoint, kah. Never.

                    What I cannot wait for is your lecture to me on monetary and macroeconomic issues.

                    I don't have time today, but I would very much like to debate this in detail because it is a worthy topic.

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Originally posted by kah2523@Mar 25 2004, 09:19 AM
                      Anyone who thinks that government -- any government -- has the right to disarm its citizens is NOT a libertarian!
                      Drat. Rules me out. :(
                      When your life is saved by an armed free citizen delivering you from an armed criminal, you will still be welcomed into the fold, brother.

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        Whatever Happened to Sound Money?
                        by George F. Smith
                        Imagine a thief so skilled he can take your money without it ever leaving your hands. If this sounds impossible, you underestimate the power of central planners.

                        How does it happen?

                        We know money as a medium of exchange. Over the centuries, just about everything was used for money, including tobacco, sugar, cattle, beads, and fishhooks. Two commodities — gold and silver — eventually supplanted all the others. Not only did most people prize them for their ornamental characteristics, they were easily divisible, durable, and transportable.

                        Two points we should always remember: 1) In a free market, money is first a highly marketable commodity, a concrete good people want for its own sake and not just as a medium of exchange; and 2) people buying and selling in a free market chose gold and silver to serve as money because those commodities best fulfilled their need for an exchange media. [1]

                        People often say we were once on the gold standard. What this means is the dollar was just a name for 1/20 of an ounce of gold, just as a British pound sterling was a name for 1/4 of an ounce of gold. Dollars, sterling and other currencies did not exist independently from their designation of a certain weight and fineness of gold. Paper money was not money per se, but a legal claim for a specific amount of precious metal, either gold or silver. It was well-understood that these certificates carried with them the promise of payment without delay in their respective metals, from any bank or the U.S. Treasury itself. [2]

                        The government has always influenced the money system, even under the de facto gold standard of the 19th century. In addition to monopolizing the mint, government intervened through legal tender laws, the creation of paper money, and the development of inflationary banking. In spite of these interventions, the business cycle of inflations and recessions were relatively short-lived because recovery was market-driven, not government-controlled.

                        For the most part, Americans enjoyed a robust economy that carried into the 20th century. Then in 1913, the government passed two major pieces of economic legislation: the Federal Reserve Act and the income tax amendment. The Federal Reserve Act created a central bank, the Federal Reserve, which began issuing Federal Reserve Notes. When these notes appeared in 1914, they carried the message that they were not directly redeemable in gold. Furthermore, the income tax amendment stated that the revenue collected would not be shared with the states.

                        This was a major shift toward central control of the economy. The income tax legislation allowed government to aggrandize power while appeasing widespread "soak the rich" sentiment. When explaining the Federal Reserve Act, President Wilson said it was needed to promote higher employment, stabilize the dollar, grow the country, and increase consumption. Yet, industrial production increased 534% in the U.S. from 1878 to 1913. [3] Does this characterize an economy crying out for help?

                        Through a policy of artificial credit, the government inflated the boom of the 1920s that brought about the stock market crash of 1929. While president-elect Roosevelt waited for inauguration in January, 1933, concerned economists sent him a letter that was also printed in the press urging him to take certain measures to restore the economy's health. Part of their letter read: "The gold standard of present weight and fineness should be unflinchingly maintained. We should also encourage and facilitate the prompt restoration of the gold standard abroad . . . With adequate movement of goods across international borders [which the reciprocal lowering of tariffs, another of their recommendations, would encourage], the gold of the United States and of the world is more than adequate for all credit needs." [4]

                        The statement of the economists was consistent with the Democratic platform of 1932. During his campaign, Roosevelt pledged 100% support of the gold standard, as did the Republicans. But on March 9, 1933, Congress abdicated its responsibility and gave Roosevelt full discretionary powers over money and banking. He didn't waste time using them.

                        On March 11, 1933 he issued an order forbidding banks to make gold payments. On April 5, Roosevelt ordered all citizens to surrender their gold — no person could hold more than $100 in gold coins, except for collector's coins. He also made it unlawful to export gold for payment abroad, unless done through the Treasury. The penalty for defying Roosevelt was 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. [5]

                        "It became clear to governments that they could not afford to allow people to own and keep their gold," Murray Rothbard explains. "Government could never cement its power over a nation's currency, if the people, when in need, could repudiate the fiat paper and turn to gold for money." [6]

                        On June 5, 1933 Roosevelt signed a resolution he had introduced in Congress nullifying the gold clause in all government and private contracts. It meant what it said — that no one had the right to demand payment in gold for any debt. [7] The Constitution says that no state shall "make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts" — a clear challenge to the president's actions. When Roosevelt asked Senator Thomas P. Gore from Oklahoma what he thought of the resolution, the blind statesman replied: "Why, that's just plain stealing, isn't it Mr. President?" [8] Roosevelt succeeded in having the Senator unseated in the 1936 elections.

                        On January 30, 1934 Roosevelt signed the Gold Reserve Act into law, which transferred title of the Federal Reserve Banks' deposits of gold to the U.S. Treasury. In exchange, the banks received gold certificates. What did the certificates mean? They meant only that something had been taken from the banks. They were not a claim against the gold in the Treasury. [9] With this act, Roosevelt completed confiscation of the citizens' gold.

                        As James Bovard observes, "citizens had accepted a paper currency based on the government's pledge to redeem it in gold at $20 per ounce; then, when Roosevelt decided to default on that pledge, he also felt obliged to turn all citizens holding gold into criminals." [10] Roosevelt also condemned them as selfish traitors.

                        One day later Roosevelt reduced the gold content of the dollar by 41%, raising the price of gold from $20.67 per ounce to $35.00 an ounce. The devaluation resulted in a $2.8 billion "bonus" for the government.

                        Government's policy of debasing our money, which the U.S. Coinage Act of 1792 made punishable by death [11], hit full stride under Roosevelt. As the world's reserve currency since 1945, the U.S. dollar has been playing the part of gold in international trade. Almost no one seriously questions fiat money anymore. Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan told a House Financial Services Committee last February that "in years past, there's been considerable evidence that fiat currencies have been mismanaged in general and that inflation has been too often the result . . . [But we're] learning how to manage a fiat currency . . . Whether that continues is a forecast which I can't really project on." [12]

                        Has a managed fiat currency enhanced our prosperity?

                        Here's one clue to the answer. Go to "How Much is That Worth Today?" [13] and try a few computations. You'll find that a dollar in 2001 was roughly equivalent to five cents in 1901. But a dollar in 1901 had the same value as $1.50 in 1801!

                        In other words, under a mostly market-driven money system, the dollar actually appreciated in value over the course of the 19th century — a period during which average incomes rose and the population greatly expanded. Under government-controlled fiat money, after nearly a century of war, waste, wealth-theft, and welfare, with many families now needing two incomes to live decently, the dollar today is almost worthless.

                        Next time you think government is completely inept, think again. To rob so many of so much, while keeping complaints relegated to the lunatic fringe, requires uncommon skill of deception.


                        Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

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