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I have heard some of my good republican friends make some pretty disparaging comments about libertarians recently. Unable to determine if my friends were talking about people who belong to the libertarian party or people who simply identify with the libertarian philosophy, I asked them to clarify, and they couldn’t. This is disturbing. Unfortunately for conservatives in America, the word libertarian is misunderstood but only because we have accepted the term as defined by a society of lazy thinkers. Most people think that a libertarian is someone who belongs to the libertarian party or they think it’s a soft word for anarchists. The problem with this is that society has taken a word that identifies an important concept and twisted it so that popular culture defines and uses the word the wrong way. I see the same problem with the way popular culture uses the word, "truther," to identify people that society thinks are crazy for their thoughts on what happened on September 11, 2001. TRUTH is a GOOD word but we have found a way to attribute it to an idea that so many people hate. Historian and author, Paul Johnson once wrote,  “Those who treasure the meaning of words will treasure truth… The correct and honorable use of words is the first and natural credential of civilized status.”

A true libertarian is someone who basically believes that the sole purpose of government is to protect the God-given liberties that we are each endowed with and that our laws should provide equal protection of those liberties for everybody. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution reinforce this fundamental idea. I believe that the Founding Fathers would have no problem being identified as libertarian if they were alive today. Thomas Jefferson, for example, and the rest of the founders at the 2nd Continental Congress believed that government should only go about business so long as its aim is to protect natural rights. Anyone can easily come to this conclusion by reading the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence where it states that, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among me…” This concept was approved unanimously.

Our Founders often referred to “natural law,” “laws of nature” or the “laws of nature's God.” They reasoned that since we are naturally born under the laws of nature and the laws of God that our liberty is inherent and therefore, by virtue of being alive, we have natural rights to freedom. For example, our thoughts are inherent in us and they can by no means be taken from our minds. The government cannot possibly execute laws to take away our thoughts; in fact, the very notion sounds absurd! The same God that gave us an mind and the ability to think also gave us a tongue and the ability to articulate the thoughts in our minds. To follow this logic a little further we would come to the natural conclusion that our freedom of speech is just as natural as our natural ability to speak. For government to deprive us of our freedom of speech is really quite as absurd as if they were to write a law to deprive us of our thoughts.

Constitutions and laws do not create the restraints of government. The government has restraints placed on it by the higher laws of nature; governments cannot take away our natural rights.  Just as they have no authority to take our rights from us they likewise cannot create natural rights. The reason governments around the world get in so much trouble is that they all too often attempt to attribute natural rights beyond the parameters of natural law. For example, the welfare state continues to pull people into unproductive behavior because governments generate laws that tell people that they have a right to other people's labor and property and basically send a message to the people that, “It’s a good idea to spread the wealth around.”  As America's welfare state has continued to expand so has its loss of manufacturing until ultimately we have become a consumer nation and not a producer nation and we have more debt than can be paid off. The welfare state isn’t the only contributor to this economic trend, of course, but it has played a significant role in incentivizing poor behavior for some people.

Ronald Reagan once said that libertarianism is the heart of conservatism. What he was saying is that in order to advocate true conservatism, it is paramount that we understand the principles of liberty; liberty is eternal, it transcends any party platform and is grounded in perfect truth. A person who studies and adheres to the principles of liberty is, in every sense, a libertarian. It isn’t a bad thing, it is a good thing and the security of our freedom in American depends on our ability to grasp that concept. It is OK for libertarians to disagree on policy and candidates and many do. Many libertarian thinkers can mainly be found in the Republican party but there are some in the Democrat party as well.

As a Republican, I believe that my party platform has its roots in policy designed with libertarian influence to protect the liberty of the people. I strive for constitutionality but it only works if I understand and adhere to the libertarian philosophy to some degree or another. Regardless of what party I align to the truth of the matter is that the greater grasp I have on the idea of liberty, the more apt I am to follow the Constitution in its entirety and help keep Americans free.

Libertarianism has become a dirty word among conservatives and I for one am not going to keep running from definitions that RINOs or the left keep rewriting. I would strongly suggest that anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of the founding principles, read some of the writings from the authors that our Founders read and studied from. If you want to restore the Constitution and secure our liberties and keep us from this crippling debt, don't be preoccupied with PARTY - be preoccupied with the PRINCIPLE of Liberty.


Shaun Simms
5/10/2012 11:29:12 am

I very much appreciate this post, especially as I mull over the benefits of voting for Romney, as oppossed to someone I respect more, agree with more, and would like to see in the mainstream debates, Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate, Gary Johnson. I have always appreciated your honesty, and willingness to call out those who seek to slowly trudge away from liberty. Thank you for your service.

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Marvin Stehr
5/14/2012 10:44:55 am

Amen! Very well said!

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Mark Ogier ( CHUCKtheFED )
5/14/2012 10:52:00 am

Thank you Rep. Curtman for standing tall, and speaking the truth as you see it. If every man approached societal interconnections in this manner, we would indeed see the likes of the founding fathers, who obviously did NOT always agree... ( yes there were the anti federalist papers too )
Honor comes from being able to face the problems of the day, rather than to attempt to minimalism them to another, to an ear one would rather just become... a predictable vote.
Thank you, for taking your oath to heart, and directing your life by it.
Thank you for reaching out, to whomever might be entertaining questions. Hopefully? we all are.

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Zach Kidder
5/15/2012 01:51:56 am

This is so eloquently stated! We run from labels that have specifically been connotated to be dirty of malicious. For example, if I espouse to believe the 9/11 Truth Theory, I am many times labeled as un-American or unpatriotic when in fact my motive to knowing the truth is very motivated in my patriotism and support for those that paid their lives for our lies. This is a great article on libertarianism. Very detailed and well-written. thank you

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Valerie Bate
5/15/2012 02:44:28 am

I call myself a republican with libertarian philosphies (I stole this description from Jason Lewis :) I very much applaud your handling of this subject and the comments too! Too many people are incapable of having discussion and debate with others of differing opinions without lowering themselves to name calling and hatefulness. Keep up the good work!

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