1976 Platform of the Libertarian Party
Adopted in Convention
New York City
August 28-31, 1975
We, the members of the Libertarian party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.
We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.
Governments throughout history have regularly operated on the opposite principle, that the State has the right to dispose of the lives of individuals and the fruits of their labor. Even within the United States, all political parties other than our own grant to government the right to regulate the lives of individuals and seize the fruits of their labor without their consent.
We, on the contrary, deny the right of any government to do these things, and hold that where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual: namely, (1) the right to life – accordingly we support prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others; (2) the right to liberty of speech and action – accordingly we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press as well as government censorship in any form; and (3) the right to property – accordingly we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.
Since governments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights, we oppose all interference by government in the areas of voluntary and contractual relations among individuals. People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others. They should be left free by government to deal with one another as free traders, and the resultant economic system, the only one compatible with the protection of individual rights, is the free market.
Individual Rights and Civil Order
No conflict exists between civil order and individual rights. Both concepts are based on the same fundamental principle: that no individual, group, or government may initiate force against any other individual, group, or government.
A massive increase in violent crime threatens the lives, happiness, and belongings of Americans. At the same time, governmental violations of rights undermine the people’s sense of justice with regard to crime. Impartial and consistent law enforcement protecting individual rights is the appropriate way to suppress crime.
2. Victimless Crime
We hold that only actions which infringe the rights of others can properly be termed crimes. We favor the repeal of all federal, state and local laws creating “crimes” without victims. In particular, we
a. The repeal of all laws prohibiting the cultivation, sale, possession, or use of drugs, and all medical prescription requirements for the purchase of drugs, vitamins, and similar substances.
b. The repeal of all laws regarding consensual sexual relations, including prostitution and solicitation, and the cessation of state oppression and harassment of homosexual men and women, that they, at last, be accorded their full rights as individuals.
c. The repeal of all laws regulating or prohibiting gambling.
d. The repeal of all laws interfering with the right to commit suicide as infringements of the ultimate right of an individual to his or her own life.
e. The use of executive pardon to free all those presently incarcerated for the commission of these “crimes.”
3. Due Process for the Criminally Accused
Until such time as persons are proved guilty of crimes, they should be accorded full respect for their individual rights. We are thus opposed to reduction of present safeguards of the rights of the criminally accused.
Specifically, we are opposed to preventive detention, so-called “no-knock laws” and all other measures which threaten individual rights.
We advocate the repeal of all laws establishing any category of crime applicable to minors for which adults would not be similarly answerable, and an end to the practice in many states of jailing children accused of no crime.
We support full restitution for all loss suffered by persons arrested, indicted, tried, imprisoned, or otherwise injured in the course of criminal proceedings against them which do not result in their conviction. Law enforcement agencies should be liable for this restitution unless malfeasance of the officials is proven, in which case they should be personally liable.
4. Justice for the Victim
The purpose of any system of courts is to provide justice. The present system of criminal law is based on punishment with little concern for the victim. We support restitution of the victim to the fullest degrees possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer.
We accordingly oppose all “no-fault” insurance laws which deprive the victim of the right to recover from the guilty in negligence cases.
5. Government and “Mental Health”
We oppose the involuntary commitment of any person to a mental institution. To incarcerate an individual not convicted of any crime, but merely asserted to be incompetent is a violation of the individual’s rights. We further advocate:
a. The repeal of all laws permitting involuntary psychiatric treatment of any persons, including children, and those incarcerated in prisons or mental institutions.
b. An immediate end to the spending of tax money for any program of psychiatric or psychological research or treatment.
c. An end to all involuntary treatments of prisoners in such areas as psycho-surgery, drug therapy, and aversion therapy.
d. An end of tax-supported “mental health” propaganda campaigns and community “mental health” centers and programs.
6. Freedom of Speech and the Press
We oppose all forms of government censorship, including anti-pornography laws, whatever the medium involved. Events have demonstrated that the already precarious First Amendment rights of the broadcast industry are becoming still more precarious. Regulation of broadcasting, including the “fairness doctrine” and “equal-time” provisions, can no longer be tolerated. We support legislation to repeal the Federal Communications Act, and to provide for private ownership of broadcasting rights, thus giving broadcasting First Amendment parity with other communications medial. Government ownership or subsidy of broadcast band radio and televison stations and networks – in particular, the tax funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting – must end. We oppose government restriction of the expansion of “pay TV” and cable broadcasting facilities.
7. Government Secrecy
We condemn the government’s use of secret classifications to keep from the public information which it should have. We favor substitution a system in which no individual may be convicted for violating government secrecy classifications unless the government discharges its burden of proving that the publication:
a. Violated the right of privacy of those who have been coerced into revealing confidential or proprietary information to government agents, or
b. Disclosed defensive military plans so as to materially impair the capability to respond to invasion.
It should always be a defense to such prosecution that information divulged shows that the government violated the law.
8. Freedom of Religion
We defend the rights of individuals to engage in any religious activities which do not violate the rights of others. In order to defend religious freedom, we advocate a strict separation of church and state. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion. We oppose taxation of church property for the same reason that we oppose all taxation.
9. Protection of Privacy
The individual’s privacy, property, and right to speak or not to speak should not be infringed by the government. The government should not use electronic or other means of covert surveillance of an individual’s actions on private property without the consent of the owner or occupant. Correspondence, bank and other financial transactions and records, doctors’ and lawyers’ communications, employment records, and the like, should not be open to review by government without the consent of all parties involved in those actions. So long as the National Census and all federal, state, and other government agency compilations of data on an individual continue to exist they should be conducted only with the consent of the persons from whom the data are sought.
10. Internal Security and Civil Liberties
We call for the abolition of all federal secret police agencies. In particular, we seek the abolition of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and we call for a return to the American tradition of local law enforcement. We support Congressional investigations of criminal activities of the CIA and of wrongdoing by other government agencies.
We support the abolition of the subpoena power as used by Congressional committees against individuals or firms. We hail the abolition of the House Internal Security Committee and call for the destruction of its files on private individuals and groups. We also call for the abolition of the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security.
11. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Maintaining our belief in the inviolability of the right to keep and bear arms, we oppose all laws at any level of government requiring registration of, or restricting, the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition. We also oppose any government efforts to ban or restrict the use of tear gas, “mace,” or other non-firearm protective devices.
We support the efforts of certain members of Congress to repeal the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 and to prevent federal agencies from banning or regulating the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition and urge passage of their bills for those purposes.
We favor the repeal of laws banning the concealment of weapons or prohibiting pocket weapons. We also oppose the banning of inexpensive handguns (“Saturday night specials”).
12. Amnesty and the Military
We support the immediate and unconditional exoneration of all who have been accused or convicted of draft evasion, desertion from the military, and other acts of resistance to such transgressions as imperialistic wars and aggressive acts of the military. Members of the military should have the same right to quit their jobs as other persons, but will be liable for whatever consequences they contracted for when they enlisted. We call for the end of the Defense Department practice of discharging armed forces personnel for homosexual conduct when such conduct does not interfere with their assigned duties. We further call for retraction of all less-than-honorable discharges previously assigned for such reasons and deletion of such information from military personnel files. We oppose the draft (Selective Service), believing that the use of force to require individuals to serve in the armed forces or anywhere else is a violation of their rights. We recommend repeal of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the recognition and equal protection of the rights of all members of the armed forces in order to promote thereby the morale, dignity, and sense of justice within the military.
13. Property Rights
There is no conflict between property rights and human rights. Indeed, property rights are the rights of humans with respect to property and, as such, are entitled to the same respect and protection as all other individual rights.
We further hold that the owners of property have the full right to control, use, dispose of, or in any manner enjoy their property without interference, until and unless the exercise of their control infringes the valid rights of others.
Where property, including land, has been taken from its rightful owners by government or private action in violation of individual rights, we favor restitution to the rightful owners.
14. Unions and Collective Bargaining
We support the right of free persons to voluntarily establish, or associate in, labor unions. An employer should have the right to recognize, or refuse to recognize, a union as the collective bargaining agent of some or all of his or her employees. Therefore we oppose “right to work” laws as they prohibit employers from making voluntary contracts with unions.
Unions should have the right to organize secondary boycotts if they so choose.
We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.
We urge repeal of the National Labor Relations Act, which infringes upon individual rights by restricting voluntary labor negotiations.
No individual rights should be denied or abridged by the laws of the United States or any state, or locality on account of sex, race, color, creed, age, national origin, or sexual preference. We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant.
Nonetheless, we oppose any government attempts to regulate private discrimination, including discrimination in employment, housing, and privately owned so-called “public” accommodations. The right to trade include the right not to trade for any reasons whatever.
We support recognition of the right to political secession. Exercise of this right, like the exercise of all other rights, does not remove legal and moral obligations not to violate the rights of others.
Trade and the Economy
Because each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market, and because government interference can only harm such free activity, we oppose all intervention by government into the area of economics. The only proper role of existing governments 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.
We call for the repeal of all legal tender laws and reaffirm the right to private ownership of, and contracts for, gold. We favor the abolition of government fiat money and compulsory governmental units of account. We favor the use of a free market commodity standard, such as gold coin denominated by units of weight.
2. The Economy
Government intervention in the economy imperils both the personal freedom and the material prosperity of every American. We therefore support the following specific immediate reforms:
a. drastic reduction of bot taxes and governmental spending;
b. an end to deficit budgets;
c. a halt to inflationary monetary policies, and elimination of the Federal Reserve System;
d. the removal of all governmental impediments to free trade – including the repeal of all transportation regulations, all “anti-trust” laws, such as the Robinson-Patman Act, which restricts price discounts, and the abolition of farm subsidies, as the most pressing and critical impediments; and
e. the repeal of all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production and interest rates.
In order to achieve a free economy in which government victimizes no one for the benefit of anyone else, we oppose all government subsidies to business, labor, education, agriculture, science, broadcasting, the arts, and any other special interest. Relief of exemption from involuntary taxation should not be considered a subsidy. We oppose any resumption of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, or any similar plan which would force the taxpayer to subsidize and sustain uneconomic business enterprises.
4. Tarriffs and Quotas
Like subsidies, Tarriffs and quotas serve only to give special treatment to favored interests and to diminish the welfare of other individuals. These measures also reduce the scope of contacts and understanding among different peoples. We therefore support abolition of all tariffs and quotas as well as the Tariff Commission and the Customs Court.
5. Postal Service
We propose the abolition of the governmental Postal Service. The present system, in addition to being inefficient, encourages governmental surveillance of private correspondence. Pending abolition, we call for an end to the monopoly system and for allowing free private competition in all aspects of postal service.
Since we believe that all persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor, we oppose all government activity which consists of the forcible collection of money or goods from individuals in violation of their individual rights. Specifically, we:
a. recognize the right of any individual to challenge the payment of taxes on moral, legal, and constitutional grounds;
b. oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes;
c. support repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, and oppose any increase in existing tax rates and the imposition of any new taxes;
d. support the eventual repeal of all taxation; and
e. support a declaration of unconditional amnesty for all those who have been convicted of, or who now stand accused of tax resistance.
We oppose as involuntary servitude any legal requirements forcing employer or business owners to serve as tax collectors for federal, state, or local tax agencies.
We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production, such as that imposed by the Federal power Commission, the Federal Energy Administration, state public utility commissions, and state pro-rationing agencies. Thus, we advocate decontrol of the prices of oil, petroleum products, and natural gas. We oppose all government subsidies for energy research, development, and operation. W favor repeal of the Price-Anderson Act through which the government limits liability of nuclear accidents. We favor privatization of the atomic energy industry.
We oppose all attempts to compel “national self-sufficiency” in oil or any other energy source, including any attempts to raise oil tariffs, revive oil import quotas, or to place a floor under world oil prices. We favor the creation of a free market in oil by repeal of all state pro-ration laws, which impose compulsory quotas reducing the production of oil. We call upon the government to turn over the public domain of land resources to private ownership, including the opening up of coal fields, the naval oil resources, offshore oil drilling, shale oil deposits, and geothermal sources.
Current problems in such areas as crime, pollution, health care delivery, decaying cities, and poverty are not solved, but are primarily caused, by government. The welfare state, supposedly designed to aid the poor, is in reality a growing and parasitic burden on all productive people, and injures, rather than benefits, the poor themselves.
We support the development of an objective system defining individual property rights to air and water. We hold that ambiguities in the area of these rights (e.g., the concept of “public property”) are a primary cause of our deteriorating environment. Present legal principles which allow the violation of individual rights by polluters must be reversed. The laws of nuisance and negligence should be modified to cover damages done by air, water, and noise pollution. While we maintain that no one has the right to violate the legitimate property rights of others by polluting, we strenuously oppose all attempts to transform the defense of such rights into any restriction of the efforts of individuals to advance technology, to expand production, or to use their property peacefully, we therefore support the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.
2. Consumer Protection
We support strong and effective laws against fraud and misrepresentation. However, we oppose paternalistic regulations which dictate to consumers, impose prices, define standards for products, or otherwise restrict free choice. We oppose all so-called “consumer protection” legislation which infringes upon voluntary trade. We advocate the repeal of all laws banning or restricting the advertising of prices, products, or services. We specifically oppose laws requiring an individual to buy or use so-called “self-protection” equipment such as safety belts, air bags, or crash helmets. Likewise, we advocate the immediate repeal of the federally imposed 55 mile-per-hour speed limit. We advocate the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration. We advocate an end to compulsory fluoridation of water supplies. We specifically oppose government regulation of the price, potency, or quantity able to be produced of purchase do drugs or other consumer goods. There should be no laws regarding what substances (nicotine, alcohol, hallucinogens, narcotics, vitamin supplements, or other “drugs”) a person may ingest or otherwise use.
We support the repeal of all compulsory education laws, and an end to government operation, regulation and subsidy of schools and colleges. We call for an immediate end to compulsory busing.
As an interim measure to encourage the growth of private schools and variety in education, we support both a tax-credit system and a steady reduction of tax support for schools. We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether they are profit or non-profit. We further support immediate relief fro the burden of school taxes for those not responsible for the education of children.
5. Poverty and Unemployment
We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment – including, but not limited to, minimum wage laws, so-called “protective” labor legislation for women and children, governmental restrictions on the establishment of private day-care centers, the National Labor Relations Act, and licensing requirements. We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and “aid to the poor” programs. All aid for the poor should come from private sources.
6. Medical Care
We support the right of individuals to contract freely with practitioners of their choice, whether licensed by the government or not, for all medical services. We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services. We favor the abolition of Medicaid and Medicare programs. We further oppose governmental infringement on the doctor-patient relationship through regulatory agencies such as the Professional Standards Review Organization. We oppose any state or federal area planning boards whose stated purpose is to consolidate medical service or avoid their duplication. We oppose laws limiting the liability of doctors for negligence, and those regulating the supply of legal aid on a contingency fee basis. We oppose laws which invalidate settlements of malpractice suits through the use of private arbitration services. We also favor the deregulation of the medical insurance industry.
We call for the repeal of laws compelling individuals to submit to medical treatment, testing or to the administration of drugs or other substances.
7. Land Use
The role of planning is properly the responsibility and right of the owners of the land. We therefore urge an end to governmental control of land use through such methods as urban renewal, zoning laws, building codes, eminent domain, regional planning, or purchase of development rights with tax money, which not only violate property rights, but discriminate against minorities and tend to cause higher rents and housing shortages. We are further opposed to the use of tax funds for the acquisition of maintenance of land or other real property. We recognize the legitimacy of private, voluntary land use covenants.
8. Occupational Safety and Health Act
We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. This law denies the rights to liberty and property to both employer and employee, and it interferes in their private contracted relations. It denies to employers their proper rights to immunity from search and seizure, due process of law, jury trial in a court of law, and confrontation of witnesses.
9. Social Security
We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system. Pending that repeal, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary. Victims of the Social Security tax should have a claim against governmental property.
10. Civil Service
We call for the abolition of the Civil Service system, which entrenches a permanent and growing bureaucracy upon the land. We recognize that the Civil Service is inherently a system of concealed patronage. We there fore recommend return to the Jeffersonian principle of rotation in office.
11. Campaign Finance Laws
We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, which repress the voluntary support of candidates and parties, compel taxpayers to subsidize politicians and political views they do not wish to support, and entrench the two major political parties. We also call for repeal of restrictive state laws that effectively prevent new parties and independent candidates from being on the ballot.
We support an end to all subsidies for child-bearing built into our present laws, including all welfare plans and the provision of tax supported services for children. We further support the repeal of all laws restricting voluntary birth control or the right of the woman to make a personal moral choice regarding the termination of pregnancy. We call for the elimination of special tax burdens of single people and couples with few or no children. We shall oppose all coercive measures to control population growth.
The principle of non-initiation of force should guide the relationships between governments. We should return to the historic libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, abstaining totally from foreign quarrels and imperialist adventures, and recognizing the right to unrestricted travel and immigration.
1. Foreign Aid
We support the elimination of tax-supported military, economic, technical, and scientific aid to foreign governments. We further support abolition of the federal Export-Import Bank, which presently makes American taxpayers guarantors of loans to foreign governments.
We call for the repeal of all prohibitions on individuals or firms contributing or selling goods and services to any foreign country or organization.
2. Law of the Sea
We oppose recognition of claims by fiat, by nations or international bodies, of ocean property such as: (1) transportation lanes, (2) oyster beds, (3) mineral rights, (4) fishing rights. We urge the development of objective standards for recognizing claims of private ownership in such property.
3. International Money
We favor the withdrawal of the United States from all international paper money and other inflationary credit schemes. We favor withdrawal from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
1. Military Policy
We recognize the necessity for maintaining a sufficient military force to defend the United States against aggression. We should reduce the overall cost and size of our total governmental defense establishment.
We call for the withdrawal of all American troops from bases abroad.
We call for withdrawal from multilateral and bilateral commitments to military intervention (such as NATO and to South Korea) and for abandonment of interventionist doctrines (such as the Monroe Doctrine).
Being opposed to the perils of both nuclear mass destruction and foreign aggression, we favor international negotiations toward nuclear disarmament provided all possible precautions are taken to effectively protect the lives and rights of the American people.
2. Presidential War Powers
We call for reform of the Presidential War Powers Act to end the President’s power to initiate military action, and for the abrogation of all Presidential declarations of “states of emergency.” There must be no further secret commitments and unilateral acts of military intervention by the Executive Branch.
The important principle in foreign policy should be the elimination of intervention by the United States Government in the affairs of other nations. We would negotiate with any foreign government without necessarily conceding moral legitimacy to that government. We favor a drastic reduction in cost and size of our local diplomatic establishment. In addition, we favor the repeal of the Logan Act, which prohibits private American citizens from engaging in diplomatic negotiations with foreign governments.
2. United Nations
We support immediate withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations. We also call for the United Nations to withdraw itself from the United States. We oppose any treaty that the United states may enter into or any existing treaty under which rights would be violated.
3. The Middle East
We call upon the United States government to cease all intervention in the Middle East, including military and economic aid, guarantees, and diplomatic meddling, and to cease its prohibition of foreign aid, both military and economic.
4. Colonial Independence
The United States should grant immediate independence to its colonial dependencies, including Samoa, Guam, Micronesia, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
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.
[sent by Dan Grow to PlatCom Nov 2008]
Who is Paul Darr?
Paul Darr has lived in California, Oregon, Colorado, and currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. Paul is also an Army Veteran, who has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. On the political spectrum Paul is a Libertarian that advocates fiscal responsibility and social tolerance. Paul is currently employed as a Systems Administrator and is a father of a handsome boy and beautiful daughter. In his free time Paul enjoys reading, using and modifying open source software, gaming, and several other geeky pursuits.