Libertarian Guidelines for Legislation

As the Indiana General Assembly session rolls on, Libertarians across Indiana are examining and discussing bills being considered by legislators. This facebook group can be found here.

Several helpful guidelines have been written by the group to be used when examining legislation:

LPIN Purpose and Principles:

  • That all people possess certain unalienable natural rights, and that among these are rights to life, liberty, justly acquired property, and self-governance.
  • That the only moral basis of government is the preservation and protection of unalienable natural rights.
  • That no person or institution, public or private, has the right to initiate the use of physical force or fraud against another person, and that all people are bound, without contract, to abstain from infringing upon the natural rights of other people.
  • That all people are entitled to choose their own lifestyles, as long as they do not forcibly impose their values on others.
  • That the voluntary and unrestricted exchange of goods and services is fundamental to a peaceful and harmonious society.

Source: LPIN By-laws, Article II – Statement of Purpose and Principles;

LP Statement of Principles

We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.

We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.

Governments throughout history have regularly operated on the opposite principle, that the State has the right to dispose of the lives of individuals and the fruits of their labor. Even within the United States, all political parties other than our own grant to government the right to regulate the lives of individuals and seize the fruits of their labor without their consent.

We, on the contrary, deny the right of any government to do these things, and hold that where governments exist, they must not violate the rights of any individual: namely, (1) the right to life — accordingly we support the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others; (2) the right to liberty of speech and action — accordingly we oppose all attempts by government to abridge the freedom of speech and press, as well as government censorship in any form; and (3) the right to property — accordingly we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain, and support the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation.

Since governments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights, we oppose all interference by government in the areas of voluntary and contractual relations among individuals. People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others. They should be left free by government to deal with one another as free traders; and the resultant economic system, the only one compatible with the protection of individual rights, is the free market.

Source: Libertarian Party 2010 Platform, Statement of Principles;

YES, sign me up as a member of the Libertarian Party. To validate my membership, I certify that I oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.


Maurice McTigue’s Accountable Legislation Test, a simple filter for responsible lawmaking:

  1. Where is the proof that the problem that this proposal/legislation seeks to remedy actually exists?
  2. Is any program or activity currently …working to address the same problem?
  3. Where is the proof that the remedy suggested by this legislation (allocation of funds or resources) will actually solve the problem?
  4. Is there any evidence to show that the value of fixing this problem is such that it is a higher priority to solve it than to use the same resources to solve another problem?
  5. When do we expect the problem to be fixed and when will we finish funding this activity or program?

Jerry Titus’s (current LPIN Vice Chairman) condensed list of Libertarian guidelines for legislation

  • Are any of our stated principles being violated? Force, coercion?
  • Are the rights of the individual being protected or violated, served by this law?
  • Is the Rule of Law, the Constitutions, being followed and protected? Violated?
  • Can laws be repealed rather than new laws passed?
  • Does this legislation promote more individual freedom?
  • Does this legislation promote less government?
  • Does this legislation identify/favor/harm a class of specific people?
  • Is this legislation being passed to fix bad legislation?
  • Are we moving further away, or closer to a government based on Libertarian ideals?
  • When all else fails, apply the Golden Rule – is this something I’d like done to, or for me.
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