James Leroy Wilson's blog

Saturday, September 15, 2007

If You Asked Me

If somebody asked me what a libertarian was, my brief answer - without getting abstract or philosophical - is that I consider myself a libertarian because I believe:

1. Vices are not crimes (Sheldon Richman and Lysander Spooner got me thinking about this again.)
2. The only just use of force against another person is to defend someone's life and property from attack, and the only just war is to defend against actual or clearly imminent attack or invasion.
3. Individuals have the right to do with their own person and property as they wish, provided they don't infringe on the rights of others to do the same.

What this doesn't really settle is what property is exactly. Differences in the definition of property (in land, in patents and copyrights, etc.) reveal differences of opinion among libertarians.

Also, there is a large variety of opinion on the best means to downsize the State and advance the three values stated above. Smooth transitions? Incremental change? Grand reforms? Abrupt change? All carry risks and unintended consequences.

That's why people who lean libertarian can be found all over the political map, from anti-political anarchists to supporters of whomever they believe is the "lesser evil" among front-running major-party candidates.

No comments:

Post a Comment