You are Libertarian.
This was one of the slogans employed by Gary Johnson in the last election. I’d wager that most people didn’t understand it. It might have been confusing to them. In fact, when I first heard it, it threw me off to. I first saw it in an add on Facebook, and it sounded to me like “Hey, we posted this ad for you because we noticed that you’ve identified yourself as a Libertarian. So vote for Gary Johnson.”
But that’s not what Johnson meant. What Johnson meant, and what I mean today is that You, yes you my reader, are Libertarian. You just don’t know it yet. It doesn’t matter how you voted in the last or any election. You are Libertarian.
All I have to do to prove my case is to define what it means to be a Libertarian. Thankfully, I don’t have to do that. I’ll let Murray Rothbard do the heavy lifting.
The fundamental axiom of libertarian theory is that no one may threaten or commit violence (“aggress”) against another man’s person or property. Violence may be employed only against the man who commits such violence; that is, only defensively against the aggressive violence of another. In short, no violence may be employed against a non-aggressor. Here is the fundamental rule from which can be deduced the entire corpus of libertarian theory.
Libertarianism holds that the only proper role of violence is to defend person and property against violence, that any use of violence that goes beyond such just defense is itself aggressive, unjust, and criminal. Libertarianism, therefore, is a theory which states that everyone should be free of violent invasion, should be free to do as he sees fit except invade the person or property of another.
If you agree with the above principal, as every Christian should*, then you are Libertarian. And I’d be willing to strongly wager that very very few of you would be willing to claim that you don’t agree with this. When is it right to commit violence upon an otherwise non-violent person?
And since we believe in the rule of law (we do, don’t we?), no person, organization, group, institution, official or government agency is above the law, meaning that no such entity has the right to commit aggression on another. No king, politician, president, representative, senator or bureaucrat, no matter how democratically elected or constitutionally appointed has the right to commit force or fraud.
The difference between Libertarians and others is that Libertarians use this as the primary principal on all political issues. Since we recognize, as the Apostle Paul did in Romans 13, that government activity is equivalent to violence, we limit those activities of government to defending, or providing remuneration for, acts of violence.
So really, you are Libertarian. You just don’t know it yet. And when you violate the Non Aggression Principal on any particular issue, you are not proving yourself to not be a Libertarian, you are merely being inconsistent.
Unless, of course, you hold violence to be a good thing.
But isn’t Libertarianism about Anarchy?
No. Libertarianism is about Freedom, but not simply freedom to do whatever you want, rather freedom from the aggression of others, whether they be individual neighbors or government organizations.
* Note, my primary audience is Christians. I don’t mean to exclude atheists and those of other faiths. I simply believe that Biblical Christianity has no room to disagree with this principal.