What is Progressive Libertarianism?
We stand for:
Constitutional Law & Proper Role of Government
Local, from the ground up policy
Consumer Info Regulations
Sound Monetary Policy
Electoral Reform & Voter Activism
Peaceful Foreign Policy & Friendly Trade
End the War on Drugs
Gun & Privacy Rights
Promoting Adoption & Contraception Education
Alternative Energy & Sustainability
Progressive Libertarianism at first glance is typically looked upon by people as an oxymoron. How can such radically different ideologies be consolidated?
The immediate problem here is that a name has been perceived to be something based on appearance alone.
Most words have more than one meaning and how one perceives a word is often based on its context. However, context alone is not always enough. Short of a closer inspection, that is, going beyond judging the cover, assumptions can be wildly wrong.
Progressive in the sense that is used here is the standard dictionary definition of being flexible and pragmatic, not the political ideology. The libertarianism aspect is a bit more straight-forward in the sense that often less is more and that individual liberty must be respected as much as possible.
Essentially, Progressive Libertarianism is the practical, liberty oriented approach to political matters, taking into consideration the various methods that coincide with this approach which will also be acceptable enough to a majority of people, even if it is believed that there is a better way. Realistic progress is the concern.
We are here to encourage the critical thinking and discussion of ideas as it pertains to political and cultural society. We welcome everyone to join in our discussions, be forewarned, that span a diverse and sometimes taboo set of topics.
Why Progressive Libertarianism?
The dictionary defines progressive as: favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are. This simply means that as Progressive Libertarians, we are observers of the libertarian philosophy, but recognize that we cannot stand still in time or rely on what we’ve always done, or not done in some cases, as a means to solve new age problems. This does not necessarily mean that something always has to be done, as free enterprise and charitable organizations can often offer a solution superior to that of government, and of course, this isn’t always the case.
We seek to advance society as a whole through education and information which can demonstrate how consumers can hold power over businesses and also show how government intrusion into the market is usually on behalf of businesses trying to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors, which creates unequal economic environments, decreases competition, puts consumers at a disadvantage, increases unemployment, hinders the entry of business start-ups, causes environmental destruction, and helps to create and inflate booms and busts.
A Progressive Libertarian “from this point to be referred to as PL” is a person who advocates for individual liberties both socially and economically, enabling people to interact with one another in both facets in a manner consistent with liberty, and supports the idea that prosperity is most easily achieved when people are peacefully left to themselves. A PL also seeks a society based on helping one another, recognizing that the plight of others affects us all. No person is an island and we must work together as individuals to build and maintain social structures for the benefit of everyone, ideally through non-profit work.
They believe that the ultimate creator of wealth and well-being is liberty, the freedom to do as you wish so long as you do not restrict the liberty of others; that coming together as a group to work towards enabling more liberty for more people through education, political activism, and community involvement is the key to all of this.
It is our aim to decrease at a stable and steady pace the amount of government involvement in our lives, involvement which does more to hinder us than help, while leaving in place and strengthening the areas in which government is needed. We recognize that our focus is best placed on local communities where we can have the most impact.
This means following a peaceful and honest foreign policy, getting rid of military profiteering, moving towards a sound monetary system that increases the purchasing power of the dollar and makes banking an honest profession, bringing competition and quality back to the marketplace by getting rid of corporate welfare, and no longer putting people in jail for victimless crimes.
Most people who consider themselves PL’s are those who find it hard to commit allegiance to a political party and are more interested in voting for the best candidate and getting things accomplished. Knowing all of this, what does it mean to be a Progressive Libertarian? What does this sort of view look for in life, politically speaking?
First and foremost this type must understand that even if they don’t agree with someone’s actions, so long as their actions aren’t preventing other people from exercising their own rights to liberty, they cannot use the force of government to prevent that action. This isn’t to say that they cannot protest against actions they don’t like, or that they cannot choose to not associate with people whose actions they don’t agree with. It simply means a belief in “to each their own.” This is the foundation from which we build on.
So what type of world does the PL work towards? A world in which everyone is free of coercion from others, can make decisions for themselves, practice their own beliefs freely, and to be secure in their choice of lifestyle. A society in which people succeed or fail, not by the will of others, but of their own merit so that they can do as they wish while not having to worry about whether or not they can pay the bills. Where those who just simply wish to be left alone so that they may go about their lives in peace may do so.
We must reflect on our actions and how they directly and indirectly affect others, recognize massive inequality in social and power structures, come together for the common good and act as a loving community.
You may ask, how is this different from a regular libertarian?
Libertarians typically see absolutely no need for the majority of government action and prefer to let things work themselves out. They interpret the non-aggression principal very narrowly, whereas we take a much broader view and see the need for a little more government action to help protect this principal. For those not familiar with the non-aggression principal, it is the practice of engaging others peacefully, using aggression for self defense purposes only.
Socially, we support people being able to do just about anything they want on private property so long as they are not preventing others from exercising their own liberty. This isn’t giving a green light to those who would do things such as make and distribute child pornography, as this is an infringement on the rights of children who are not yet old enough to make many decisions for themselves. Laws must be put in place to protect the rights of children, however these laws must not infringe on the rights of others. The value of a life does not vary between arbitrary borders, and neither do rights.
Economically, we support a small degree of regulation in order to ensure that the market functions in a transparent and honest manner in order to foster an environment in which businesses have a low barrier of equal entry to the market, environmental concerns are addressed, and businesses provide consumers with adequate information concerning their products and business practices so that people have the opportunity to make an informed decision.
This means that people may freely start and run businesses, sell any product or service, and the only regulations that are placed on them are ones that require honesty and transparency, while ensuring businesses adequately compensate those who they infringe on the liberties of.
All too often there are regulations put in place that only serve to keep those on top secured in their positions by preventing other businesses from effectively competing, which only serves to harm everyone else in society so that those at the top can profit.
We realize that the marketplace doesn’t always police itself. No one always does what is in the best interest of others, there will be bad apples, and this cannot be entirely prevented by laws criminalizing force and fraud. Access to resources which will allow people to fight back against those who would harm them or commit fraud is necessary to ensuring that businesses are less likely to have bad business practices and the people they harm have a means of recourse against them.
Victims already have access to lawyers when individuals commit crimes against them in the form of a district attorney, so there is no reason why victims of businesses cannot obtain representation from a government agency if they can’t afford to hire their own lawyers. More on this subject in our platform concerning the FDA.
Politicians and favorable regulations should not be up for sale to corporations and other special interests, lobbyists shouldn’t be writing legislation, and politicians must be more accountable to the people they represent. While it is nearly impossible to prevent all of this by writing more laws without infringing on the rights of honest people, there are other ways of minimizing the impact of this.
A strong-willed, active, informed electorate is first and foremost necessary, and it is our goal to provide the needed resources to achieve this. Most politicians are elected by a small minority of voters, as many voters fail to turn out for primaries and general elections, and even more don’t bother to register. We must take back the system by getting people first to the primaries, and then to the general elections, voting not for a candidate based on party or lack thereof, but based on what they stand for. It is far better to be optimistic and make an attempt than to be pessimistic and believe that we hold no power and not bother.
A major step we must take as a society is in understanding that the past is the past, and that while it is important to know history and learn its mistakes so that we will not repeat them, we must move forward as equals in rights instead of pursuing policy which grants special privileges to various groups in an attempt to compensate for the mistakes of past generations. We will never end this cycle of hatred as long as one group is given favor over another. We must be mindful of those who have essentially been forced into a system of inequality and recognize that just because someone is down, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s their fault. We must work to help everyone in any way we can.
Essentially PL’s want peace, equality, and prosperity for everyone, for those who cannot help themselves to be helped, for everyone to be free to pursue what they want in life, a world where everyone rises and falls on their own merits, and for everyone to not be at the mercy of others due to the power structure conferring special privileges on the elite.
Various issues are further addressed in our platform.
So what are the first few steps you can take, you ask? You can begin by no longer accepting the lesser of two evils. Vote for the person you think is right, not the person with the best chance to win; evil is evil. If there aren’t any good choices that have been served up to you by the two-party system, search for your own candidate. Get involved in your community through local groups including the Green and Libertarian parties, participate in marches and protests, help campaign for good candidates, even run for office yourself! Above all else, donate money to those groups and politicians who are trying to serve you. It’s a money game and even a little bit can go a long ways.
Call and/or write your representatives in office, whether it be local, state, or federal, and talk to them about your concerns. If enough people demand attention to an issue, it will be raised. Do your research, and find out more about the people you elect and the legislation that your government passes. Talk to your friends and family and get them involved, don’t be bashful about speaking up; there is absolutely nothing wrong in talking about these important issues with people, be courageous!
Above all though, be a critical, open minded thinker! Don’t be afraid to challenge what you believe is wrong and be open to the possibility that you could be wrong yourself. By practicing objective, open-minded critical thinking in all aspects of your life, you will begin to move mountains and see things as they really are, and not the illusion it appears to be.
This is not a political party, but an ideology which seeks to empower the individual and promote positive change in every aspect possible. We do not endorse any particular political party, only the ideas which are presented in our platform.
“Just because you do not take an interest in politics, it doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” – Pericles