Justice is the context of the final pillar, where the social system affects each of us. What follows from a society based on reason are two things:
- Unfettered production and trade—we have seen productive work is a requirement of survival and the purpose of work is man’s own fulfillment and happiness; the concept of individual rights is that each individual has the right to take action for life, liberty, and property. The free market economy, where voluntary contracts are recognized, is an essential of life.
- Unforced minds—regardless of how intelligent we are, and how apparently doomed to error are others, the fact of our own natural freedom requires that we do not initiate force against others even if there are no economic values at stake. Everyone gets to make his own mistakes, as well as to benefit from his own solutions.
You can condense the two objectives into a simple concept, the nonaggression principle. Rand, who focused on the economic circumstances, puts it as such: "No one has the right to seek values from others by the initiation of physical force." More generally, the rational libertarian states no one has the right to initiate force against others for any reason whatsoever.
The nonaggression principle is a logical extension of the supremacy of reason in dealing with the world. The question, "Whose reason?" means each individual’s reason, your reason, my reason. Because no one is omniscient, mistakes are possible. If we were to allow one individual to impose his will on others, it could lead to someone’s mistake being imposed on everyone. Reason means having the right to go our separate ways.
Note the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and, especially, the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution all claim the purpose of government is to protect individual rights of life, liberty, and property. The US founding documents are thus far the only ones that explicitly recognize individual rights.
Therefore, government, to be legitimate, must not violate these rights, meaning it must not take money from people against their will (taxation). Robbing citizens is not a proper function of constitutionally limited, libertarian government. Without the right to tax, a coercive government is not possible.
So how do we place the use of force under objective control, and fund it? Voluntary contributions, insurance, contract fees.
Regardless of how the government is funded, its functions are minimal. Its only role is to protect the rights of its citizens. So education, transportation, welfare, retirement all belong in the private sector. No war on drugs; people have the absolute right to ingest the substances they like. Many aspects of the legitimate criminal justice system, certainly tort law, can be devolved upon private firms.
National defense would be precisely that, defense. In a nuclear/terrorist age, the bigger corporations can afford their own security systems, possibly funded through insurance. The budgets of federal and state governments will be at most a tenth of their current levels. And we will be free of the onerous state.
Oh happy day.
Special Note on Rational Libertarian Foreign Policy
Militant Islamic fundamentalism (MIF) as a foreign threat has taken center stage with the attacks of 9/11. We have seen the 9/11 attacks were a federal government black operation that coopted MIF elements. Thus, the salient immediate threat to American liberty and safety is the national security state (NSS) and oil/military industrial complex imperialists in effective control of the US government.
Unfortunately, the anticivilization MIF threat is significant on its own and has to be intelligently met by comparatively procivilization Western governments and defense systems. (As the Indian said to the mermaid) "How?" This is a large issue, warranting an entire column(s), but let me simply offer some strategic concepts for reducing and eventually eliminating the MIF threat. Please refer to the Libertarian Party platform for general principles.
Recognize we’re dealing with pre- or anti-civilization theocratic or dictatorial regimes and, in their absence, roving packs of murderous savages (RPMS), a la Somalia Black Hawk Down (2001) or a large part of the current insurgency in Iraq. RPMS—and I’d include the Taliban in that classification—present no military threat to the West.
For any MIF regime or dictatorship that does not represent a military threat:
The West may provide consulates and enable Western trade to the extent the country grows toward secular constitutional liberalism (i.e. libertarianism). Official policy is handsoff except to prevent the emergence of military threat. Human rights/military intervention is an extragovernmental responsibility; the government’s only role then is to assure private intervention does not grow a military threat.
Any MIF regime or dictatorship that does represent a military threat:
Meaning in today’s context the regime develops WMDs and threatens to use them against the West (usually the United States but it could be any procivilization Western country) has to be met decisively by the community of civilized nations. Today we’re talking for all practical purposes about the UN. Start with isolation of the offending state, then initiate severe military options.
Note, the general approach is cooperation is with other nations who share our values, because the MIF threat transcends national boundaries. Cooperation will not be a problem for a United States government committed to protection of liberties as opposed to unilateral conquest of territory for special interests.
As for terrorist acts on their own, again we have to cut the crap and work together to hammer out the rules. Specifically anti-MIF-terrorist practices will result in a reduction of government bureaucracy: focus on developing civilian watch groups, a well-armed citizenry, and common sense procedures applied to immigration and travel. (For example, abolish the federal TSA in favor of private airport security.)
What Americans have to realize is that current US shadow government policy is to enable terrorist acts, e.g. Al Qaeda, for a larger geopolitical objective. That is why the first step in facing any real terrorist threats is to restore constitutional government in the United States. Take a bite out of big-government crime: join the Impeachment-9/11 project.
Finally, how do we get to this free society?
Activism along the lines of the 10 pillars of reason. Get with your friends. Form a group. Write letters to your representatives. Attend city council meetings. Read books, start book discussion groups to share your opinions and your activism with others. Go online, join the discussion forums, read, read, read, learn, learn, learn, write, write, write. Literally, hundreds of groups are focused on justice and liberty, pick a few. Join Amnesty International or the Libertarian Party. "Take reason into your heart and accept reason as your personal savior." At the end of the day we’ll have the society we deserve.
ReasonToFreedom.com, Reason 101
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