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This was found in an undated file but had been typed up using a typewriter (so we know it’s old school). There was a newsletter attached, called The Freedom Fighter, which stated it was “dedicated to the restoration of our American constitutional liberties”. The copyright on the newsletter was 1977 so we’ll assume that’s around the time I wrote this piece.

Libertarianism defined

Libertarianism represents profoundly radical and profoundly important ideas that are wider than normal political ideas. They are moral and political ideas, most simply expressed as follows.

If someone uninitiated were to ask you “what is libertarianism all about”, I would say that first and foremost, libertarianism is a moral, political position primarily concerned with the rights of the individual, with the freedom of the individual. It holds as its primary, most central tenet that it is morally wrong and should be politically forbidden for one individual or any group to initiate force of violence against others. I think that is the central and most radical idea of libertarianism — the opposition to the initiation of physical force.

Now, that is a very difficult idea for most people to understand because in our culture and in most societies of the world, the permissibility of some groups forcing their ideas and wishes on others is so much taken for granted that most people don’t think of contesting it. They only think of which ideas should be enforced on whom.

A related libertarianism concept is that of ‘victimless crimes’. What is a ‘victimless crime’? It is something that the government calls a crime when the individual does or takes an act which in no way infringes the rights of any other human being. The essence of a ‘victimless crime’ is that an act is called a crime yet it is an act which does not involve a violation of of the rights of anyone else, does not involve coercion against anyone else. It is an act in which no-one’s rights are violated but the government simply says “you cannot do it”. That makes it a ‘victimless crime’.

If the essence of the libertarianism position is with regard to crime, that the concept of crime can only be justified, can only make sense, can only be morally justified in the context of force — force on another human being, a violation of his rights, of infringing his freedom — then we realise of course that the notion of a ‘victimless crime’ is of course a contradiction in terms, as, in ‘victimless crimes’ there are victims — the victim is the person falsely accused of a crime.

A clear understanding of the above concepts, an ability to apply them in the context of today’s society (where governments have been allowed to trespass beyond their proper role i.e. provision of external defence, police force and law courts) is the starting point for any libertarian to understand the nature of today’s problem and plan an alternate course.

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