My Own Pie

Libertarian Thoughts from Renaissance Guy

Libertarian Platform #2

with 4 comments

This is part of a series on the platform of the Libertarian Party. I plan to post quotations from the platform and comment on them. I will explain where I agree, where I disagree, and perhaps share my personal thoughts on each item. The statements are from the platform adopted in May of 2008.


We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.

     This plank is fundamentally a restating of the First Amendment.  Most Americans agree with it in principle.  However, most Americans are willing to put up with a few violations of it for reasons that happen to be convenient or advantageous to them.

     For me it would require the abolition of the FCC.  Whoever decided that the government owns the airwaves or the electronic signals that travel through the air?  It would include the prohibition of speech codes in any public institution.  It would require a continuation of a free, unregulated, untaxed Internet.   It would prohibit all campaign finance regulation that says how much money people can spend on campaigns, when and where their ads can run, and whom money can be donated to (political campaigns versus political parties).  It would also mean an end to the “equal time” doctrine.  Media outlets could run any ads they want without being forced to run certain ones for the sake of being fair and balanced.  They could also report on issues in any way they choose and could broadcast or publish political speeches without having to present the opposing view.

     This part of the platform would also preclude the concept of “hate speech” as a crime, although it would not, in and of itself, do away with the category “hate crimes,” which I also oppose.

     As I understand this statement, the Libertarian Party is for restoring the Free Exercise Clause.  If a student wants to pray at a graduation ceremony, that person is free to do so, and if another student wants to give a speech denying the existence of a god, then that person is also free to do so.  It doesn’t mean that the school, or the Congress, have set up an established state religion.  For the school to ban the expression of students’ religious beliefs not only violates the clear meaning of the First Amendment, but it establishes a kind of “anti-church” as the official church.

     I’m sure that some Libertarians interpret the words of this plank differently than I have here.  These are my views, and I would choose to interpret them myself.


Written by ambrosianideas

January 26, 2010 at 7:48 am

Posted in Libertarian Party

4 Responses

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  1. Two practical issues: If we eliminate the FCC, how do we organize who gets to broadcast on particular frequencies?

    Second: I think with the Libertarian plank there would be limits on what schools could do in an organized fashion. No one says a student can’t pray, but giving public speeches either praising or denying the existence of God seems inappropriate. What people do privately is their business. The school cannot support pro- or anti- religious activities as organized events. Practically: all speeches at graduation are approved by administrators. If you have a religious administrator, he or she might approve a devout speech. If you have an atheist administrator, he or she might approve a speech ridiculing religion. Neither would be appropriate for an event sponsored by a government body, each would find the government representative biasing an event based on his or her personal belief system.

    Scott Erb

    January 26, 2010 at 2:00 pm

  2. Scott is right. If frequencies were unregulated, then you could, and most likely would, end up with cell phones broadcasting over the same frequencies emergency personnel are using, which would be disastrous.

    Personal Failure

    January 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm

  3. Why would people duplicate frequencies? Customers wouldn’t like it, and businesses would realize, as you say, that it could be dangerous.

    Private businesses would WANT to form there own policing agency and some sort of independent body to assign frequencies. That’s how the free market works.

    It’s silly to think that only governments can take care of us.


    January 26, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    • I don’t think private businesses would want to create their own policing agency, and many would refuse to join it, perhaps wanting to undercut others. You seem to have faith that if you think it would make sense for people to want things to work out voluntarily, it will. But history shows that doesn’t happen. I think it’s rather naive to think that private businesses could really work that out. Maybe if they were all virtuous, honest, self-interested and decent…but if everyone were like that, then we’d not have crime, corruption, and a whole host of evils. If everyone were virtuous we’d need no government. But people are sometimes irrational, dishonestly selfish, destructive, self-destructive, and vengeful.

      Scott Erb

      January 27, 2010 at 2:48 am

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