Me and the Libertarian Platform


As a Libertarian, I seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.
I believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.
Consequently, I defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world I seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.
In the following pages the Libertarian Party has set forth their basic principles and enumerated various policy stands derived from those principles, and where I differ from the official party opinion I have indicated this in italics. Also, wherever I feel clarification is needed I have added italics.
Please, if you have any questions or reservations about any of these planks, feel free to contact me about them. I love having discussions with people, especially those that I wish to represent.
1.0 PERSONAL LIBERTY
Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and must accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices. No individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government.
This plank is what I and we refer to as the non aggression principle.
1.1 Self-Ownership
Individuals own their bodies and have rights over them that other individuals, groups, and governments may not violate. Individuals have the freedom and responsibility to decide what they knowingly and voluntarily consume, and what risks they accept to their own health, finances, safety, or life.
1.2 Expression and Communication
We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.
As a Christian, this plank is particularly important to me on an individual level, but I support the right of any individual to practice or abstain, as stated above.
I think it’s equally important here to indicate the clear distinction between church and state. My religion informs my worldview and therefore my politics, but my religion is not my politics.
1.3 Privacy
Libertarians advocate individual privacy and government transparency. We are committed to ending government’s practice of spying on everyone. We support the rights recognized by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, property, and communications. Protection from unreasonable search and seizure should include records held by third parties, such as email, medical, and library records.
1.4 Personal Relationships
Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships.
Marriage and interpersonal relationships are a manufacture of culture and society. Many times they are dictated by religion, especially in the case of marital relations. Therefore, I hold that the state has no right, and never had the right, to define marriage. Any distinction concerning marital status in government, whether it be taxes or anything else, should be dissolved.
While I, as a Christian, hold that marriage is defined strictly as between a man and a woman, I, as a Libertarian, will not interfere with the right of anyone else to practice otherwise.
1.5 Abortion
Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.
I, as a candidate, but foremost as a Christian, recognize that life begins at conception. Because of this, the fetus is entitled to all the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and property that our constitution ensures. Any attempt to terminate a fetus, is a violation of his/her rights as a human being.
1.6 Parental Rights
Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs. This statement shall not be construed to condone child abuse or neglect.
1.7 Crime and Justice
The prescribed role of government is to protect the rights of every individual including the right to life, liberty and property. Criminal laws should be limited in their application to violations of the rights of others through force or fraud, or to deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. Therefore, we favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes. We support restitution to the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer. The constitutional rights of the criminally accused, including due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must be preserved. We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law.
1.8 Death Penalty
We oppose the administration of the death penalty by the state.
Life is given and taken by God, and any attempt by the state to usurp that authority is wrong. Besides that, the state was intended to protect people and their rights to life, liberty, and property not take them away.
1.9 Self-Defense
The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights—life, liberty, and justly acquired property—against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. We affirm the individual right recognized by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. Private property owners should be free to establish their own conditions regarding the presence of personal defense weapons on their own property. We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.
As a candidate, I will always vote against measures designed to restrict the second amendment rights of Montanans.
2.0 Economic Liberty
Libertarians want all members of society to have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success. A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.
For concerns about the environment, see 2.2 below.
2.1 Property and Contract
As respect for property rights is fundamental to maintaining a free and prosperous society, it follows that the freedom to contract to obtain, retain, profit from, manage, or dispose of one’s property must also be upheld. Libertarians would free property owners from government restrictions on their rights to control and enjoy their property, as long as their choices do not harm or infringe on the rights of others. Eminent domain, civil asset forfeiture, governmental limits on profits, governmental production mandates, and governmental controls on prices of goods and services (including wages, rents, and interest) are abridgements of such fundamental rights. For voluntary dealings among private entities, parties should be free to choose with whom they trade and set whatever trade terms are mutually agreeable.
2.2 Environment
Competitive free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Governments are unaccountable for damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights and responsibilities regarding resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Where damages can be proven and quantified in a court of law, restitution to the injured parties must be required.
In our national history, and in Montana’s history, there have been those that caused harm, whether intentionally or by negligence, to the environment in the name of economic success/monetary gain. The role of the state is to protect the rights of the individual. Damage to the environment can put individuals’ health, property, and livelihoods in jeopardy. So, certain policies by the state are necessary to protect the rights of the individual.
2.3 Energy and Resources
While energy is needed to fuel a modern society, government should not be subsidizing any particular form of energy. We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production.
Montana is rich with untapped natural resources. With the leaps and bounds in the science and technology behind the industries of forestry and mining, there is no reason that Montanans should not benefit from the natural resources that abound, as long as care is taken to make sure these resources last, and that the environment is not irreparably harmed.
A caveat, however, is this: environmental protection groups that have blocked mining and specifically logging projects for decades are personally responsible for the destruction of countless acres of forest and wildlife habitat, and the hampering of the economy of Montana. As a candidate, I hold that the term, “environmental terrorist,” is an apt description of these groups, and their efforts further what can only be described as a misled ideology.
2.4 Government Finance and Spending
All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution. We oppose any legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors. Government should not incur debt, which burdens future generations without their consent. We support the passage of a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes.
This applies to the Montana State government. In recent areas of discussion, such as infrastructure, funding should not be from raising taxes like the gas tax, but from cutting unnecessary funding, and removing wasteful spending from the budget. Certain funding practices that encourage wasteful spending should especially be changed.
2.5 Government Employees
We favor repealing any requirement that one must join or pay dues to a union as a condition of government employment. We advocate replacing defined-benefit pensions with defined-contribution plans, as are commonly offered in the private sector, so as not to impose debt on future generations without their consent.
2.6 Money and Financial Markets
We favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. Markets are not actually free unless fraud is vigorously combatted. Those who enjoy the possibility of profits must not impose risks of losses upon others, such as through government guarantees or bailouts. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money any mutually agreeable commodity or item. We support a halt to inflationary monetary policies and unconstitutional legal tender laws.
2.7 Marketplace Freedom
Libertarians support free markets. We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of entities based on voluntary association. We oppose all forms of government subsidies and bailouts to business, labor, or any other special interest. Government should not compete with private enterprise.
2.8 Labor Markets
Employment and compensation agreements between private employers and employees are outside the scope of government, and these contracts should not be encumbered by government-mandated benefits or social engineering. We support the right of private employers and employees to choose whether or not to bargain with each other through a labor union. Bargaining should be free of government interference, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.
2.9 Education
Education is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality, accountability and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Recognizing that the education of children is a parental responsibility, we would restore authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. Parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.
I support school choice, but I do not support state funding of private education, whether that be religious or not, and whether that funding be in the form of grants or tax levies. However, I hold, as did the founding fathers of this nation, that education is imperative to the survival of liberty. Education of the masses, and therefore equal opportunity for access to education is absolutely necessary for liberty of a society. However, I don’t think that the education system should be run by the government, especially not the federal government. A free market system would be the best solution, and with the resources that the internet provides, this is very possible for people of all economic and social status.
2.10 Health Care
We favor a free-market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want (if any), the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions. People should be free to purchase health insurance across state lines.
2.11 Retirement and Income Security
Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government. Libertarians would phase out the current government-sponsored Social Security system and transition to a private voluntary system. The proper and most effective source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals. We believe members of society will become even more charitable and civil society will be strengthened as government reduces its activity in this realm.
3.0 Securing Liberty
The protection of individual rights is the only proper purpose of government. Government is constitutionally limited so as to prevent the infringement of individual rights by the government itself. The principle of non-initiation of force should guide the relationships between governments.
3.1 National Defense
We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression. The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world. We oppose any form of compulsory national service.
3.2 Internal Security and Individual Rights
The defense of the country requires that we have adequate intelligence to detect and to counter threats to domestic security. This requirement must not take priority over maintaining the civil liberties of our citizens. The Constitution and Bill of Rights shall not be suspended even during time of war. Intelligence agencies that legitimately seek to preserve the security of the nation must be subject to oversight and transparency. We oppose the government’s use of secret classifications to keep from the public information that it should have, especially that which shows that the government has violated the law.
3.3 International Affairs
American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid. We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups.
3.4 Free Trade and Migration
We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property.
3.5 Rights and Discrimination
Libertarians embrace the concept that all people are born with certain inherent rights. We reject the idea that a natural right can ever impose an obligation upon others to fulfill that “right.” We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should neither deny nor abridge any individual’s human right based upon sex, wealth, ethnicity, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Members of private organizations retain their rights to set whatever standards of association they deem appropriate, and individuals are free to respond with ostracism, boycotts and other free-market solutions.
3.6 Representative Government
We support election systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels. As private voluntary groups, political parties should be free to establish their own rules for nomination procedures, primaries and conventions. We call for an end to any tax-financed subsidies to candidates or parties and the repeal of all laws which restrict voluntary financing of election campaigns. We oppose laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties, deny ballot access, gerrymander districts, or deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives. We advocate initiative, referendum, recall and repeal when used as popular checks on government.
3.7 Self-Determination
Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of individual liberty, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty.
4.0 Omissions
Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval.

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5 comments on “Me and the Libertarian Platform

  1. March 2, 2018 growerjenn

    I’m curious as to your stance on education funding. You say that parents should have control of any money spent on their child’s education, but that it should not be spent on private education. I see a disconnect there. As I see it your stance is that the state will pay to educate a child, but only at the public school — which is fine, but then the parent doesn’t really have any control at all.

    Reply
    • March 2, 2018 oconnor4montana

      I’ll have to clarify that. I didn’t realize it was confusing. I don’t think that the government should be running education at all. I think right now the public school system can be a good option, but I think we should phase it out. The internet, for one, has brought on so many options for quality, free primary and secondary education. The free market is the best way to regulate education. It may sound crazy right now, but it’s a cultural shift that needs to happen. I mean, in all seriousness, when you consider the government and the scope of powers it ought to have, do you really want the government deciding what your kid should learn? When you consider the acts that governments, even representative ones like ours, have been capable of doing in the past, do you really want government ultimately forming the world view of its citizens? It’s the ultimate form of propaganda.

      Reply
      • March 2, 2018 growerjenn

        As a homeschooler, I agree with you. I’m just trying to understand the funding part of you stance. You say parents should be in control of the funds, but that they can only be used for public school.

  2. March 3, 2018 oconnor4montana

    I guess what I was trying to say is that, I think parents should be able to use the funds they would normally be spending in taxes to educate their children however they see fit. I do not think that the government should be in charge of education. I could see the value of a government program that helps with school access or something, but only once the government is completely absent from the organization and primary funding of education. I hope that clarifies it the rest of the way. If running for national office, I would advocate for a bill that gradually abolishes the Dept. of Education, and all the activities it does. Control would revert to the states, and each state could decide what they wanted to do from there. I think that even at the state level I would advocate for complete free market. But, if the states were in charge instead of the federal government, it would be a much better picture than it currently is.

    Reply
    • March 3, 2018 growerjenn

      thanks for the reply — I agree, the more local, the better

      Reply

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