Update as of June 1, 2015: Some might say that possibly libertarianism is kind a false hope that traps people in a bit of fantasy–as with other ideologies. The numbers are not there and there is so much disagreement. People are trained to think they are free already for one thing! Finding common ground on a few issues is maybe the more realistic approach. I still agree with the basic gist of these ideas I expressed. But we need to defend our freedoms and rights in the real world, and hold on to what we can in the real world.
From June 2, 2006:
The Ontario Libertarian Party takes part at the provincial level of government as a voice of opposition to the way things are done.
We would certainly plan to reduce taxes, but the platform explains how we would allow those services to be provided through other means and not by the government running them at all.
For example, the platform on Day Care: http://libertarian.on.ca/platform/daycare.htm says more choice can be achieved by “reducing the need for both parents to work by reducing taxes. The cost of day care can be reduced by restoring a free market which will also put the service closer to those who need it.”
So one part of the solution for some parents in that example would be to allow them the ability to live on a single income so that one parent could look after the children. And for other parents, freeing up regulations that prevent ordinary people from opening daycare businesses provide those parents with more choices at lower prices. This example can be extended to other areas of life. Removing restrictions can make life easier. Removing taxes can make life easier.
Libertarianism puts the responsibility for welfare and social cooperation on individuals rather than government.
The platform for the OLP is derived from the Party’s principles which are expressed here: http://libertarian.on.ca/principles.htm
There are different ways to explain the basic principle of liberty.
What we want to see is a society where everyone is free to live as they please as long as they respect the basic individual rights of others. In other words, in a free society, all social arrangements are voluntary.
Individual liberty means a person has ownership over their person (self-ownership) and by extension, ownership over their rightfully acquired property.
A libertarian society would recognize the right to life, liberty and property and these rights would be absolute.
The government would be minimized and transformed so that it was limited to protecting people against aggression, against genuine crimes – meaning acts that violate a person’s rights. “Crimes” that did not have victims would not be recognized as crimes. The police and courts would also be accountable to those they serve for their mistakes. A system of restitution – a victim-focused system – is mentioned in the LP platform (in the Objectives in the case of the federal LP). Anyone – government or citizen – who violated the rights of another – theft, murder, pollution, fraud – would have to make up for their infraction or crime (prison would also be necessary in the case of violent offenses) and pay the costs of that crime or infraction, justice being included in those costs.
Health care and welfare would not be funded through government, as these are not legitimate functions of government. Government is the use of force, and the only legitimate use of force is to help people defend themselves against aggression. Force should not be used to take money from people against their will. In the current system, people are regulated and taxed, and are required to do what the government says, being severely restricted in choice. In a libertarian society, people would be free to do what they like with their money and their lives, and would focus their resources on their own priorities – for themselves, for their families, for the poor, for medical research, etc.
Their resources would not be wasted by government, but would be used to achieve their goals and values through a real free market, through private charity and non-coercive voluntary social structures. The current system we live under is not a genuine free market system. A lot of empty words about “freedom” cloak the reality of a domineering, coercive system of neo-mercantilism where special interests – political, corporate or otherwise – benefit at the expense of individual liberty.
I recommend reading “The Law” by Frederic Bastiat, which can be found at www.bastiat.org. And other books at that site. Another good site is www.mises.org. Rothbard’s “For a New Liberty” can be found there. Another helpful book is “Healing our World” by Mary Ruwart, which can also be found online.