Publisher's note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com on April 8, 2010. The Examiner.com publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site went dark on or about July 10, 2016. I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to Examiner.com since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.
This was my fourth article published on Examiner.com. Eventually I wrote about 500 articles that appeared on the now defunct news site over the six years between April 2010 and June 2016.
Five reasons to be a libertarian
April 8, 2010 9:15 PM MST
What does it mean to be a libertarian?
Members of the Jefferson Area Libertarians, who are active in and around Charlottesville, Virginia, meet monthly for a happy hour at West Main restaurant, to discuss current affairs and other topics.
At their meeting on April 8, several JAL members answered the questions: What does it mean to be a libertarian? What is the essence of libertarianism?
Here are five of their responses.
Personal and Economic Freedom
“I was reading a book by Harry Browne, Why Government Doesn’t Work, sitting at Dulles Airport, waiting for a flight, when I got to the part about health care and it was like a light bulb went on in my head. It was like, “oh my gosh, government can never solve the problems in health care because it caused them in the first place.”
The essence of libertarianism to Munchmeyer? “Libertarianism is when you believe in personal freedom and economic freedom.”
Respect for True Human Rights
James Curtis is treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Virginia. He said he thinks the essence of libertarianism is “respect for true human rights, recognition that each of us owns our self, that we have the right to do as we choose, that government exists (when we choose to form governments) to protect those rights.”
Liberty and responsibility
Jim Lark, secretary of the Jefferson Area Libertarians and former national chairman of the Libertarian Party, said that libertarianism “means that you believe in individual liberty, that individuals have rights, that they have the right to acquire property, that they have the right to the fruits of their labors. They cannot, however, violate the like rights of others and they must be held responsible for their actions.”
Non-Initiation of Force
Steve LaBianca, an alternate member of the Libertarian National Committee, said that libertarianism “is a political philosophy characterized by the absence of the initiation of physical violence, physical coercion, [or] physical force.” What that means personally, he said, is “to practice not coercing anybody for any reason whatsoever. Obviously, that means I can exert force in defense of myself, if I choose to (not necessarily required).”
He added: “In a political sense, it means institutions which also do not do that, which means governments specifically should not engage in the initiation of force, as well.
‘Leave Me Alone’
Albemarle County resident Tim Hulsey, who is not affiliated with any political party but who attends JAL happy hours for the intelligent conversation, summed things up in few words:
“I hate politics. I hate the way politics always comes around to bite me in the ass, and I want politics to be less important in my life.”
The Jefferson Area Libertarians meet on the second Tuesday of each month from 4:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m. at West Main Restaurant, 333 W. Main Street, in Charlottesville. For more information, visit www.4JAL.org.