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Frequently asked questions

Q

Do Libertarians not believe in social welfare?

Libertarians believe in social welfare in the form of taking care of each other, but not in the current way people use the word. Some people too readily believe that assistance can only come from government or none will be provided.  This is simply a fallacy.  The people of the United States took care of each other for over a hundred years before the ideas of a welfare state even entered into existence here.

The Libertarian's idea of welfare is called volunteerism. It involves private individuals and groups putting their money where they think it works best voluntarily. In our current welfare state system every time a group has an idea of how to spend money on their cause they petition the government. As more and more groups do this they are taking money from others involuntarily and using it for their purposes. It creates a huge battleground for special interests. This involuntary system means you lose power as an individual to control where your money is most needed.  

If you keep your money and donate it to organizations that you believe in then you have complete control over it. If you do not like how that organization works then you can immediately effect the things you care about by changing who you donate to. This puts you in control of who, how and when you help. This is unlike the government programs which bury money in a sluggish bureaucracy that take away your direct control.

A common complaint is also that no one will donate or there are not enough people who care. Looked at another way, if you take the common stereotypes from the right, at least half of them are compassionate Christians, and the left which at least half are socially minded then you have at least half the country willing to help out which is more than enough. Also if it were true that majority of Americans simply did not want to help then really should the majority have to be forced to suffer for the ideas of a few that want to control them?  If we were not really a compassionate country then why do we pretend to be? This argument is amazingly hard to believe though given how we come to each others aid in times of crisis Americans are one of the most giving societies in the world.

Lets stop letting bureaucrats chew up our compassion in overhead and red tape. Unleash the true value of Americas spirit and put power back in the hands of the source - the people. Let us let go of the false ideas of compassion by proxy and the dark promises of the easy path that may ease our minds but do not help our countrymen. Put your morality back in your hands and do not let someone take that power from you.

Q

How are Libertarians any different than the other parties?

Foremost are our set of principles. The principles the party follows have not changed since the LP was founded in 1971. This is not due to any foolish ideas of 'staying the course' but of having an understanding of freedom and the function of government.  Others parties may change with political whims, but the LP has central tenets of smaller government and non aggression towards others' liberty that affects what is represented in the platform.

Another issue that the LP is against is taking government money to run the party. While the two major parties use taxpayer money to fund their campaigns (your money to help them get elected), the LP is against that kind of corruption.

And one of the most important items to know is that our vote or policies cannot be 'bought'. We do not capitulate to any special interest groups or lobbyist since our foundation for making decisions comes from understanding of liberty and the constitution.  Since there is little leeway when following a strong set of principles, a special interest group cannot come in and offer money or votes to change our minds.  Giving in on these items would mean that we deny what it is to be Libertarian.

Feel free to contact us and ask us about items with which you are concerned.  We give straight forward and reasonable answers unlike those "other guys"!

Q

How can I find out if I am Libertarian?

Mostly learning about the ideas and talking with other Libertarians.  Really the simplest way to answer that is by the question: do you believe in liberty?

You can take a quick quiz provided by The Advocates for Self Government (theadvocates.org) which most people seem to enjoy. By taking a simple quick quiz it points out where you are on the political map. We encourage you to browse the site and even come to a meeting and find out more about us. We don't mind answering any questions you have. Or contact us and we can answer your questions by email.

To keep up with events and what is happening locally we have a newsletter. We encourage everyone to sign up for that is interested in what is going on as well.

Q

How come there are no examples of Libertarian utopia?

This is another common falsehood about the ideas of Libertarianism. Unlike other political parties that promise that they can create a better world with just the right set of laws and governance, Libertarians make no such claim. Libertarians do not believe that any single set of ideas can make a perfect world. In fact, we realistically understand that bad things happen in the world and people must be free to deal with them and even help each other out. Libertarians do not claim to be able to build a utopia at all. Upon a strong foundation of a small government that protects life, liberty, and property a society is free to build itself. Each individual is then free to build their own ideal world instead of having another person's ideal of perfection thrust upon them. As long as no one is using aggression or force upon another then all are free to live the lives they want and trade as they see fit.

One mans utopia is another mans hell.  We do not want to impose flippant ideas of utopia on anyone. Historys lesson is that so called utopian societies have lead to great suffering.

Q

I am not sure how Libertarian I am but how can I be involved?

Its ok if you are still exploring the idea of Libertarianism.  We have members that come from many different perspectives and at different paces.  Some may jump right in while others may take years to get comfortable with the ideals of Libertarianism. We offer straight forward ideas that strike at the heart of issues and it can seem quite bold and different to people accustomed to the standard political games.

Being involved is the best way to learn. Everyone has a different way they can help.  Contact us or come to a meeting and discuss how you can help. Some ways you can help are: supporting a candidate block walking, bringing friends to meetings, or you can donate if you are to busy to commit time. We all have unique abilities and was we can contribute.  Great ideas unfortunately do not spread themselves and It is a tough job so we appreciate all that want to join the effort. We are sure we can find a way that you can help in a comfortable and convenient manner.

Come find out where you fit in!

Q

Is Libertarian related to Liberal or Liberalism?

Only by the root of the word which is "liber" meaning free. The similarities break apart when you look at modern political philosophies. Liberals are open to free expression and social ideals, but fall short when going into economic freedoms which are just as important. Libertarians apply the idea of freedom equally across the full spectrum of social and governmental ideas.  

So the Libertarian party is is own seperate and distrinct set of principles that make it stand out in comparison despite the similar root in the name. So next time you see (Lib) on a ballot it means Libertarian and not liberal.

Q

Is Libertarianism the same as Anarchy?

Libertarianism is rooted in the idea of liberty and non aggression. Anarchy, which is commonly seen as violence and destruction of property is the opposite of Libertarianism. The Libertarian platform is based on an idea of very limited government. Libertarians realize that government has one real power and that is the power of force. That force should not be used to try to build society but instead it should be there to protect individual liberty, property, and contracts. When these things are secure we are free to live our lives as we each see fit. We are not allowed to impose our will upon fellow humans and the same goes for others against us. With that liberty secure we can voluntarily work together to build upon a solid foundation of liberty and real justice.

Q

Is Somalia and example of a Libertarian utopia?

This is an unfortunate argument (attack) used against Libertarians sometimes and is completely unfounded.

Somalia is more of an anarchist state with no government and broken up into regions of different types of law based on local customs or religion. With no real organized government to use force to protect life, liberty, and property people and groups are free to use aggression on what another to enact changes. This goes against the very idea of liberty that Libertarians fight for.  

If you ever hear this argument used it is by someone completely uninformed or being malicious to spread falsehoods about Libertarian principles. This is also related to the 'falsehoods' of the Libertarian 'utopia'. Please refer to the FAQ on that for further details.

Q

My vote does not really matter.

This is a self fulfilling prophecy. You can certainly make sure that your ideas do not matter by not voting, but even then you are supporting candidates. Not voting is the same as assenting to the majority will. You support the majority by not using your vote and this allows the majority, which is usually less than 40% of the voters), to make decisions about your government for you. 

What this is really about is whether you care to vote or not. If you don't mind other people making decisions about your government without your consent then they will gladly do so. You cannot expect a system to improve by not being involved. The only way to make it start to matter to you is to participate.

Finding out the who, where, when, and what of voting can certainly be confusing. Votexas.org was setup to help with that. Libertarian candidates are willing to discuss issues you may have concerns with as well during election times. If you have general questions then please contact us.

Make sure you are registered to vote!

Q

This is the most important election ever!

Some people use this as reasoning to not vote for libertarians. Doesn't it seem like every election ends up being 'the most important'.  If every one is more important than the last then doesn't it seem like something is wrong? If voters keep voting the same way and elections keep getting more dire it seems like past votes didn't really do as was intended.  If one has to sacrifice their own ideals for a 'lesser evil' then it seems like it just sets up the next election to be 'the most important ever' again. This is a self defeating behavior.  What is always most important is the candidate you vote for as a statement of what you think is right. If you do not make that statement then you actually missed an opportunity to say just how important what you believe really matters.

Q

What is Libertarianism?

Let's start with Webster's definition:

libertarian: A person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action.
Libertarian: a member of a political party advocating libertarian principles. 

Libertarians believe in, and pursue, personal freedom while maintaining personal responsibility.  The Libertarian Party itself serves a much larger pro-liberty community with the specific mission of electing Libertarians to public office.

Libertarians strongly oppose any government interfering in their personal, family and business decisions.  Essentially, we believe all Americans should be free to live their lives and pursue their interests as they see fit as long as they do no harm to another.

In a nutshell, we are advocates for a smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.

(from LP site)

The philosophy of libertarianism is against the use of force to achieve political or social goals.  Government only a tool that should be used for the protection of liberty, property, and life.

Q

Whats wrong with straight ticket voting?

The main problem is that its impossible to select good candidates by voting for parties instead of candidates. Even though political parties are a practical part of the process, voting based on stereotypes of what that party represents can really backfire in the voting booth. A knowledgeable voter should know where their candidate stands and vote for the person and not the party. Even candidates in the same party can sometimes have very different approaches to dealing with issues.  

The other issue is actually voting against yourself in some elections by straight party voting. On the ballot it is easy to miss the races that only have 2 candidates running instead of 3. So if you are a Republican and vote straight ticket but do not go through all the races you may miss one that is a Democrat vs Libertarian. The same thing goes for Republican vs Libertarian.  Because that race was skipped no vote is recorded at all for it and you are essentially assenting to the majority. A Libertarian may actually be closer to what you want for that office but you missed an opportunity.

Work towards electing representatives we can be proud of and not parties we just follow blindly. Showing up to the ballot booth is a big step but without being informed about who is on the ballot you can't be a whole voter. Vote smart, vote informed.

Q

Why don't I see more LP ads?

Money is the simple answer.

The main parties have been long entrenched and have their funding sources from individuals, companies, and special lobby groups.They have created a system where groups need to 'buy into' them in order to succeed. They even get taxpayer dollars to help run their campaigns.  

Its nice to think that reporting requirements mean that these political groups have watchdogs on them but in reality voters pay very little attention to funding sources. Who does pay attention are the parties themselves and lobbyist. You often see a large corporation making donations to both parties so they will be favored by whomever wins. This also hurts 3rd parties because that same idea keeps some from donating to them.  Donors are scared of being perceived as supporting an 'outside' group.

Libertarians do the best with what they have and also have the highest vote totals per dollar of any party. This means we get more votes for each dollar spent.  Even so, it is very hard to get large or numerous donors.  Libertarians are often just hard working families that want to live their life in peace and take care of the ones they love.  Giving money can be a struggle for those families.

Politics costs a tremendous amount of money.  It is hard to 'buy into' the game.  Many media sources will not even take a party or candidates seriously until they have spent enough money buying advertising.  This in turn means its harder to get your name out and get donations.  

There are people working very hard on this and we ask everyone that can to give what they are capable and help in the cause of spreading great principles.

Click here to donate now!

Q

Why is there a need for a 3rd party?

Are two choices always the answer?  There are complicated questions out there and choice is always the answer.

It makes it easier to think that things come down to a right way or a wrong way. A right turn or a left turn.  Should we really be thinking about government so simplistically? There is so much power that we yield to government and so many issues going on all the time that it is important to have many choices.  It might make things seems a little more complicated than we are comfortable with but choice is what solves problems and presents us with a real ability to be involved and control what is happening around us.

People like to think that there is a variable scale of right and left but Libertarians do not view it so simply. We see a scale from no government to tyranny. The Libertarian philosophy is on the lower end of the scale near minimal but necessary government while Republicans and Democrats are racing to the other end with their own ideas of control over people. This means that a 3rd choice is actually critical for voters to have a voice to say they want less control and more freedom.  

Even for those that do not necessarily agree with all of the Libertarian ideals, it is always important to have another option to say, "None of the above". Assuming that the Republicans or Democrats always provide candidates that give us a real option just doesn't make sense.  Even core Republicans or Democrats sometimes need to make a 'protest' vote without outright voting for someone they disagree with completely.

There are many reason to have a 3rd party. Mostly it comes down you, as a voter, must seriously weigh your options and decide how to make your vote matter. A smart vote is a knowledgeable choice and part of being a responsible citizen..

Q

Will I be wasting my vote?

Principles cannot be compromised - only abandoned.

The simple answer is that you are never wasting your vote as long as you are voting on the principles you believe in. Principled ideas are based on knowledge and understanding of the purpose of government. If you are not voting for those ideals then the message that you are sending with your vote is that you do not want the politicians to uphold your principles. The only way to put good ideas into politics is to use your vote to show you are behind them.

The complicated answer is still no, but many people 'play politics' with their vote and choose 'the lesser of two evils'. This is a fallacy that some voters use because they do not want to 'lose'. If you are a principled voter then the only way you can lose is by not voting for those principles that you hold.  If you believe one option is leading down a bad path, but another option is moving down a bad path but slightly slower then you are still going down the same path. Principled voters choose the best option even if they might 'lose' a single election because that is the only way to really fix the problem. If you want to make the best choice that means you have to stop making the wrong choices completely. The ideology and principle of your vote and voice is only heard when it is used, and silenced when it is compromised in hollow attempts of victory.