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YC Magazine, Libertarian Commentary, December 2010

By Brian Smith

On November 21st the Libertarian Party lost one of its guiding lights with the passing of David Nolan. Mr. Nolan was the most influential founder of the LP in 1971. He also designed the “Nolan Chart” which served as the basis for the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz”.

Relatively few Americans were familiar with David Nolan or his philosophy. Although more people are aware of the Libertarian Party, most base their opinions on sound bites, inaccurate, or incomplete information.

Reporters often write, “Libertarians want to legalize drugs”, while there is some truth in this statement, it is incomplete. The LP views the “War on Drugs” as a failure. In spite of the nearly 40 year “war”, drug use is still high, civil liberties have been trampled, and our per capita prison population has become one of the worst in the world.

Due to drug possession cases, America loses billions of dollars in law enforcement, court, and incarceration costs. Drug screenings have become so common place that most Americans no longer see them as a violation of their civil liberties. When these issues are compounded by ineffective court ordered rehabilitation and the innocent treated as guilty until they can prove their innocence, any objective person should see a need for dramatic change.

Republican commentators will often portray Libertarians as pacifists due to the LP’s principle of non-aggression. This portrayal is inaccurate. Libertarians support a military sufficient to defend against any foreign force. At the same time our military budget should be seen as a primary target for cuts, in order to balance the general budget. America currently spends as much as the next 27 countries combined, 26 of these are our allies.

Libertarians call for an end to the occupation of Iraq, and the unwinnable adventures in Afghanistan. America must end attempts to expand her empire, and ill-advised attempts at nation building. The U.S. should stop being the policeman of the world.

A sound bite that is heard from time-to-time, is that Libertarians don’t have opinions on civil rights. This is a false statement. The LP is totally against any form of discrimination. Evey American shares the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities.

The LP views this equality to extend to gays in the military and same sex marriage. No government entity should be allowed to discriminate against a group of citizens, and no law should be allowed to stand which allows for, or dictates, discrimination.

A statement by Mr. Nolan during his last political campaign sums up most Libertarians over-all views. “I heartily endorse Thomas Jefferson’s call for ‘Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.’ We must control (not seal) our borders to make it easier for honest productive people to enter the USA, while excluding terrorists and criminals.”

“…we must restore our lost freedoms and end police-state measures including the “Patriot Act”. Our right to self-defense must be protected; we have a fundamental right to keep and bear arms. Anyone accused of a crime should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.”

As we come to the end of another year, the Libertarian Party would like to wish everyone a Happy Holiday season!

Bryan Smith, Chair, York County LP

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