What is a libertarian?
This is a question that has been asked many times, and answered in nearly as many ways. My personal definition is:
A libertarian is somebody who believes that an individual’s right to act freely is absolute, as long as those actions do not infringe upon another’s person or property
I think, to a lot of people, that sounds reasonable. Obvious, even. But when applied consistently, to all entities, it invokes an entirely different society. In every country in the world, there is one entity that is granted special privilege to act outside of the above principle. One entity that does not respect the right of others to act as they choose, does not restrain itself from infringing upon the person or property of others, without consequence. That entity is, of course, the Government. We grant Government, or the State, rights we give to no other entity. They are able to confiscate our property through taxes, and redistribute it as they see fit. Its agents can enter our homes, take us away and lock us in a cell, for actions that harm nobody and nothing. The State can even kill, legally, without consequence, and with our blessing.
A libertarian believes that the State has no right to this special treatment. It should be held to the same standards as any other entity in society. The Libertarian Party, in all its forms in Canada, supports the position that the only proper role for Government is to assist individuals in protecting themselves, and their property, from aggression by others. That boils down to providing a justice system for when private arbitration fails, and a national defence force to defend against foreign invasion.
Further to that idea, libertarians believe that a truly free market is the only proper way for individuals to engage in trade, and leads to the most prosperity for the most people. While many in the media, and many politicians, claim that our current economy is a free market, they are only partially correct. In Canada we have a heavily regulated capital economy, that is anything but free. Not only does the State limit what may be traded, but in many cases limits by whom, in what quantity and at what price trade can occur. And after those limitations, it adds various taxes, tariffs and fees at all stages. Due to the heavy State regulation of trade, numerous lobbying groups have sprung up to advance their own causes to our elected representatives, which has led to a wide array of competition limiting legislation, usually packaged as protecting either Canadian jobs or Canadian consumers, when all it truly does is enrich the privileged few already entrenched in the industry, at the cost of the wealth of all Canadians.