One of the major differences between Libertarians and the rest of the political scene is that Libertarians believe in “freedom of choice”. That you, not the government, the professions, or any other group should be allowed to deny people the freedom of choice as to their lives. Drug laws, prescription laws, all take away our freedom of choice. Deny us the choice as to “how” we take care of our health. How we live our lives. What decisions we make. This is the major difference between us Libertarians and everyone else. The only restrictions upon our freedom of choice is how our actions, decisions, effect other people. Anything that you do that harms others is generally wrong (outside of the issue of self defense where you are defending yourself from harm).
The “other side of the picture” is that you have to accept responsibility for your own actions. Freedom and Responsibility are the two sides of the same standard. If you are “not” willing to accept responsibility for yourself, you can hardly claim freedom of choice. Children for example do not have the same freedom of choice that adults do because children due to their youth have not yet developed both mentally and physically to the point that they have the ability to be legally responsible for themselves. The age at which they are considered to be “responsible” varies with the culture. In the “Age of Sail” this in some cases was as low as the age of 13 where they could serve aboard a ship of war as a midshipman. This probably seems to be almost unbelievable today, but back in the 18th Century it was not all that uncommon. The culture was “different” than ours is today, and the practical aspects of it may have been a quicker path to adulthood than we have now… Nor was this limited to the navies of the time. Boys in their teens often served in the military forces of the era. We also forget that children often also worked in factories, on the farms, something that was common until the 20th Century. The idea of a “childhood” that lasted until the age of 18 is actually not all that “old”. It certainly wasn’t true back in the past. Most likely because people matured faster, started families earlier, and lived less long for the most part. On the other hand government played a far smaller role in their lives for the most part. FDR created Social Security at a time when the average life span was less than 65. It was only a little over 70 when LBJ created Medicare (and Medicaid). Prior to this seniors relied to a great deal upon their children for their last years of life.
Today of course things are “different”. We have Social Security, Medicare (Medicaid). But there is a growing problem with these programs as the “baby boomers” move into their retirement. The generations following are smaller, and in many cases, effectively earn less than their parents did. This means that there is less revenue coming in to support these programs at a time when there are more collecting benefits than paying into these programs. We also have an increasingly “expensive” government thanks to increasing regulation of more and more of what we buy, use, and so forth. We have more people working for government (local, state, federal) than those producing things. Both of our political parties have been busy “growing government”. And the average government worker now earns close to twice (in pay & benefits) what the average American worker does today… Then there is the increasing amount of interest we are paying on the national debt. Both China and Japan each own over a trillion dollars of our national debt. Increased regulation of the economy, the decrease in jobs that pay much more than “minimum” also means that our “overhead” is increasing much faster than our revenues are! We are not only now a debtor nation, but our level of debt is increasing with time! Plus we have lost control of our borders, which means a greater and growing flood of poorly educated (for the most part) are streaming into the USA seeking any sort of work at any wage they can get. Without the minimum wage we’d probably see wage levels lower than those of the 1980’s. Our true level of unemployment is at least twice what the administration will admit to!
Adding to this is an increasingly regulatory environment that saps the growth of our economy. The “licensed professions and occupations” increase the cost of services through monopoly. The drug companies seek more and more government “protection” which also raises costs. In effect, the “politically powerful” have done very well for themselves at the expense of everyone else. We now have a gap between rich and poor that is much more like that of some “third world” country than a “first world” developed nation. With our very own “government” now effectively serving only a small minority of privileged people…
What comes as a surprise is how many Americans now want yet a bigger and more regulatory government! If “Uncle Sam” was a person, he’d weigh 500 pounds! We have the world’s highest health care costs, less and less “choice”, and have turned the professions into legal monopolies that increasingly rely upon “Uncle Sam” for their growing incomes. We are going in the WRONG DIRECTION! The American people are becoming less free! We are being overwhelmed by professional politicians who seek the favor of an economic elite, not the citizen voters who elected them! The Republicans we voted in are no better than the Democrats we voted out. Both of our major parties today are composed of “statists”. Of people who believe in “BIG GOVERNMENT”!