As a follow-up to my recent posting of Thom Hartmann speaking at Politics & Prose, here is a clip from his show The Big Picture, in which ‘Austin Petersen, FreedomWorks.com, joins Thom Hartmann: What part of “right to life” don’t libertarians understand? Only in America would someone have to threaten to kill the President in order to get life-saving healthcare. Isn’t it time we made healthcare a basic human right – so sick Americans don’t have to take such drastic measures? (25 January 2013)’.
On the Libertarian Party’s website this blurb summarizes the party line: “The Libertarian Party is America’s third largest political party, founded in 1971. Our vision is for a world in which all individuals can freely exercise the natural right of sole dominion over their own lives, liberty and property by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office, and moving public policy in a libertarian direction”. Whereas, the Libertarian Party 2014 Platform holds that “[w]e, 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”.
The phrase “People should not be forced to sacrifice their lives and property for the benefit of others” speaks volumes and discloses that Libertarianism arguably appears to be nothing but institutionalized egoism and egotism, as, to use that well-worn American phrase, “It is what it is” . . . And now for the other side of the story, here is Penn Jillette (@pennjillette), a magician and entertainer known for being half of the comedy duo Penn & Teller, explaining why he is a Libertarian.