The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines libertarianism as:
“Libertarianism, in the strict sense, is the moral view that agents initially fully own themselves and have certain moral powers to acquire property rights in external things. In a looser sense, libertarianism is any view that approximates the strict view. This entry will focus on libertarianism in the strict sense. For excellent discussion of the liberty tradition more generally (including classical liberalism), see Gaus and Mack (2004) and Barnett (2004).
Libertarianism is sometimes identified with the principle that each agent has a right to maximum equal empirical negative liberty, where empirical negative liberty is the absence of forcible interference from other agents when one attempts to do things. (See, for example, Narveson 1988, 2000, Steiner 1994, and Narveson and Sterba 2010.) This is sometimes called “Spencerian Libertarianism” (after Herbert Spencer). It is usually claimed that this view is equivalent to above “self-ownership” version of libertarianism. Kagan (1994), however, has cogently argued that the former (depending on the interpretation) either leads to radical pacifism (the use of force is never permissible) or is compatible with a wide range of views in addition to the above “self-ownership” libertarianism. I shall not, however, attempt to assess this issue here. Instead, I shall simply focus on the above “self-ownership” version of libertarianism.”
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CHRISTOPHER NAWOICHIK: Since libertarian principles are based upon the premise that individuals have total sovereignty over their personal affairs, then maximum freedom provisions are inherently theirs — within limits, however. In other words, in a constitutional free society a person can do virtually whatever he or she wants, so as long as the actions do not infringe upon or violate the rights of others. This includes any type of theft, deceit, assault, abuse, harm, etc. In such conditions the role of government is limited. The state has absolutely NO business dabbling in the affairs of citizens by monitoring and regulating their everyday activities, with ridiculous restrictions and prohibitions that govern decisions — that they would otherwise be able to make on their own. Hence, the only responsibility that government has is protecting the peoples’ liberty.
Throughout the years the U.S. government has become much too oppressive — on the watch of its own citizens. Many of the founders designed the Bill of Rights specifically for purposes of RESTRAINING governmental powers, so that boundaries are not overreached and tyranny remains nonexistent.
One should not need a license to go fishing, scuba diving, or even to get married. In fact, the whole marriage debate could end if the government simply stayed out of the issue, and considered it a form of First Amendment expression instead. After all, evangelicals and others who oppose gay marriage usually do so for religious reasons; but freedom of ‘any’ religion is already protected in our founding document. Civil unions and any laws granting married couples tax breaks — are rather frivolous — because the state should simply treat citizens as ‘individuals.’ If the courts had to deal with a case involving marital dispute, they could simply treat it as they would any other civil conflict.
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