Platform of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina As revised by the 2014 Convention of the LPNC
PREAMBLE We hold that every person has a natural right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness; that economic freedom and property rights are essential to personal liberty; and that individual liberty, personal responsibility, and a free-market economy form the basis for a peaceful, prosperous society. While individuals have a duty to respect the rights of one another, governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Governments must not violate individual rights. Therefore, we oppose attempts by governments to either manipulate the economy or interfere in the private moral decisions of individuals. When private businesses, charitable organizations, and other voluntary associations are allowed to provide services in a truly free market, they do so more economically than a government monopoly while allowing freedom of choice and the exercise of true compassion. We envision an increased role for voluntary associations to accompany a dramatic reduction in the role of compulsory government. Our goal is a freer and more prosperous society based on respect for individual rights, acknowledgment of the creative potential of a free market, and optimism for a future in which voluntary associations provide many of the services currently provided by the state. In this platform, we demonstrate how our libertarian principles apply to public policy and briefly present our positions on the issues with an emphasis on state and local concerns that are not necessarily addressed in the national Libertarian Party platform.
I. JUSTICE The Law The LPNC advocates a code of law that defines crime only for acts that result in specific harm to a person or property. The LPNC calls for repeal of all statutes that assert a crime has been committed in cases where no specific victim or damage to property can be identified. We also call for the immediate pardon and expungement of charges made under such laws from all criminal records. The Law Should Know No Exception No person should have to endure victimization without recourse. No government official, even when acting in pursuance of his official duties, should have immunity from the law. Prisons Prisons should exist to separate those who would violate the rights of others from civil society. Imprisonment should be considered a last resort to prevent violent offenders from continuing to inflict violence against others. The constitutional rights of prisoners and ex-prisoners should be abridged only where it is necessary to accomplish this purpose. The LPNC calls for prisons that are humane, with programs designed to provide inmates the discipline and skills required to become productive and law-abiding citizens upon release. For minor offenses, we support replacing prison sentences with less expensive and more just alternatives, such as restitution and community service. Criminal Justice The proper focus of a system of criminal justice is to require criminals to provide restitution to the victims of their crime. We recognize the right of the victim to pardon or come to a private settlement with the criminal. Death Penalty The LPNC opposes execution of prisoners. State-sanctioned revenge never serves the cause of justice. End the War on Drugs Since the beginning of the LPNC, we have called for the end to the policy of drug prohibition. While we do not advocate the use of recreational drugs, it has become obvious that the enforcement of drug prohibition is more harmful to society than the legal use of recreational drugs could ever be. We call for the legalization of all recreational drugs and the pardon of individuals convicted solely on nonviolent drug charges. As a first step to proving the value of lifting these prohibitions, we call for the immediate legalization of marijuana production and use for medical and recreational purposes in North Carolina. Takings The LPNC opposes the taking or seizure of private property by government or by agencies acting upon governmental authority. We support compensation for owners whose property is devalued or made inaccessible by government regulations. Environment and Pollution It is a fundamental tenet of civil society that citizens are free to use their property as they deem best, so long as that use does not infringe on the rights of others. Environmental laws in particular must balance the rights of all property owners. We call for the repeal of any laws that inhibit property owners from taking action to legally protect and defend their property. Exposing people to pollution without their consent is a violation of rights and should be treated as such. Polluters, either public or private, should be required to make full compensation for any personal injuries or property damages that they cause. Criminal penalties are appropriate only when deliberate or willfully negligent pollution poses a serious threat or causes serious harm to innocent people or their property. Roadblocks and Searches The LPNC calls for a halt to random roadblocks or searches of any kind. Roadblocks should only be used to stop known fleeing criminals. Searches should only be conducted in strict adherence to the Constitution. Militarization of Police The LPNC decries the increasing militarization of police. Police SWAT teams increasingly violate our rights and terrorize innocent civilians in a manner that is blatantly unconstitutional. Police departments exist to protect and serve their citizens, and military style raids have no place in a civil society. The LPNC calls for an end to no-knock searches and hooded officers. Trial by Jury The LPNC fully supports the right of every person accused of a public offense to a trial by jury, regardless of the nature or severity of the crime. Therefore, the LPNC opposes attempts to replace trial by jury with trial by military tribunals, trial by executive and administrative agency, or detention without trial. Cases of alleged contempt of court (civil or criminal) should be tried by jury, rather than by judges with an institutional bias in favor of asserting their own authority. We favor the right of juries to judge not only the accused but also the law through jury nullification, and we favor requiring judges to inform juries of this right. II. SOCIAL ISSUES Education The LPNC supports any attempt by parents and students to take control of their education. The state should uphold its NC constitutional mandate to ensure that children have access to a quality education by lifting the burden of regulation from private education and home schooling and by allowing as much school choice as possible. Daycare and Elder Care The LPNC calls for the complete deregulation of the daycare, nursing home, and home health care industries. This will make these services more diverse, plentiful, and inexpensive, eliminating the perceived need for government intervention. Welfare The LPNC envisions a society based on individual responsibility. Government welfare programs, while well intentioned, have created a system that encourages dependency and is subject to abuse and corruption. Once people are free to keep all the money they earn, they will be able to offer direct individual aid that is truly compassionate. We favor ending government welfare programs as quickly as possible. Housing The LPNC advocates a free and unregulated housing market. We call for the elimination of all laws that dictate to homeowners how they will build, inhabit, or use their property, and of all regulations that increase the costs of housing. In no case should the taxpayers subsidize another’s choice of where to build and maintain housing. Healthcare The LPNC calls on government to get out of the healthcare industry entirely. When people are allowed free choice, they will be more able to choose the care they want at a price they can afford. We advocate a compassionate approach towards those currently dependent on government healthcare, and would take care to not increase their suffering in pursuit of this goal. Marriage The idea that governments should give “license” or permission for marriage is inconsistent with the principles of liberty. A person’s union with another is of no concern of the state except for the purpose of establishing next of kin and for that purpose, all adults must be treated equally. Accordingly, the LPNC calls for the state to leave marriage to religious institutions or private contracts and to repeal or amend all laws making distinctions based on a state of marriage. Consensual Relationships The government has absolutely no place telling consenting adults which adults they can love or how they can love one another. The LPNC calls for the immediate repeal of all laws that encourage or discourage any consensual sexual or family relationships. Adoption The LPNC calls for a total deregulation of adoption services. Easily available adoption will significantly lower abortion and child abuse. We support the rights of individuals and non-traditional families to adopt. Immigration We welcome immigrants and migrants. People who are not U.S. citizens should enjoy equal treatment under the law, regardless of their immigration status. No official of the State of North Carolina should cooperate with or assist federal officials in enforcing federal laws which infringe on the liberty of travel, residence, and employment, such as immigration and emigration laws, mandatory identification papers, and work permits. III. THE FREE MARKET Corporate Welfare The free market is far more efficient than government at deciding which businesses most benefit North Carolinians. We oppose any action by state or local government to subsidize the costs of private business. Business and Labor The LPNC calls for the abolition of all state and local business licenses, occupational licenses, and franchise fees thus freeing the members of the public to become clients of whomever they please for whatever price and level of service is mutually acceptable. This action would open the field of voluntary licensing and decrease the short supply of affordable professionals in the areas of health, law, engineering, counseling, real estate, dentistry, embalming, and other services. We call on all levels of government to eliminate all regulations and fees that artificially increase the costs of starting and maintaining a business, or of gaining employment. Commercial Free Speech While the LPNC understands that freedom of speech is freedom of all speech, the LPNC calls for the end to all restrictions on advertising and public relations, except for those which may disallow false representations, or those which protect the right to property or the right to privacy. We specifically call for the repeal of local sign ordinances. We recognize that, just as political free speech is essential to a free political arena, so commercial free speech is essential to a free market. Local Government Monopolies The LPNC challenges local and county governments to seek private solutions for basic needs. We call for free and open competition in all areas that have been previously reserved to government-granted monopolies, including but not limited to public transportation, utilities, and police and fire protection. Zoning The LPNC calls for the repeal of all zoning ordinances. In their place, we uphold the rights of private owners to use and develop their property as they see fit, and the rights of their neighbors to be protected from any direct harm caused by such use. We encourage people to establish private contractual relationships that promote harmonious land use and development. Transportation The LPNC challenges state and local government to stop building new highways or other transportation systems. We propose giving private enterprise the opportunity to come up with innovative transportation solutions without government interference. Current roads should be maintained by private enterprise until such time as they can be transferred to private ownership. Agriculture and Forestry The LPNC supports a free market in agriculture and forestry. People should be free to raise any agricultural product and sell it at market, without government subsidy, support, or interference. Agricultural and forestry research should be conducted privately, without government interference or support. We call for the removal of all taxes on agricultural products at all levels, including production, distribution, storage, transportation, and sale. Alcohol Sales The LPNC calls for government to get out of the business of selling alcohol. The Alcohol Beverage Control system should be privatized and alcohol sales deregulated as quickly as possible. IV. GOVERNMENT AND TAXATION Ballot Access Freedom to vote for the person of one’s choice is an essential element of constitutional government. The General Assembly should enact no law abridging the right of a constitutionally qualified person to be presented to the electorate via the ballot. The members of the General Assembly, being incumbents, should not “tip the scales” to favor themselves and their parties by imposing any burden on others beyond minimal administrative procedures. Representative Government The current system of winner-take-all, single-member district elections serves to perpetuate the two-party system and limit the options available to voters. The state should adopt a proportional representation electoral system for the state legislature in order to better reflect the diversity of voter opinions. The people should have easy access to state their will to the government through as many methods as possible, including initiative, referendum, recall, instant run-off voting, approval voting, Condorcet voting, and write-in votes. The state-wide general ban on write-in voting (GS163-123) should be repealed. Redistricting Voters should choose their legislators, not the other way around. We support a redistricting process conducted by an independent, non-partisan agency for all local, state, and federal electoral districts. The process should be open and transparent. It should involve significant public input with the opportunity for citizens to weigh in on proposed district maps. Party registration, voting history data, and the incumbent’s place of residence should not be used to create the districts. Fair Campaigns The right to freedom of expression must include the unrestricted right to pay for dissemination of one’s opinion. When the government controls the funding of campaigns, it controls the campaigns themselves, and thus the elections. Accordingly, the LPNC calls for an end to all limits on a person’s right to support the candidate of his choice. Legislation Bills issuing from the General Assembly should be as simple and to the point as possible. We challenge the General Assembly to write bills that cover only one topic and that can be understood by the average voter. We oppose riders, unrelated amendments, or any other attempt to pass legislation without a clear, open, and public consideration of the proposed law. Annexation The LPNC opposes forced annexation by municipalities. All annexation should be subject to the direct approval of those living in areas proposed to be annexed. Taxation Taxation is by its very nature a coercive and destructive act against the people. All people have the basic right to keep the fruits of their labor and enterprise. The costs of government should be paid for by voluntary means only. Federal Grants The LPNC challenges state and local governments to turn away all federal grants and the restrictions and mandates that come with them. We call on the federal government to release control and funding over these programs to the state and to the people in accordance with the 9th and 10th amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Bonds To the extent that government bonds are simply deferred taxes, they should be avoided in all circumstances. State and local governments should take action to pay off existing bonds as quickly as possible, and refrain from the issuance of new bonds. Sale of Government Lands and Assets The LPNC challenges state and local governments to privatize as many lands and assets as possible. Many functions of government should be transferred to private ownership, and a necessary reduction in the size of government will generate surplus property. We call for a fair and open process to liquidate these lands and assets at maximum value. The proceeds from these sales should be used to eliminate bond debt, and any remainder should be refunded to the taxpayers. V. FREEDOM Privacy The LPNC opposes any attempts by government to collect information on the people, except in the constitutionally required performance of its duties. All personal information gathered by government must be kept confidential, and not used or shared except directly for the purpose for which it was gathered. National ID The LPNC opposes any form of a national ID card. North Carolina officials should refuse to implement any national identification system that the U.S. Congress may attempt to enact. Right to Self Defense The LPNC acknowledges every individual’s inalienable right to choose to own and carry firearms or other means of self-defense, without government licensing, registration, monitoring, or interference of any kind. Selective Service Compulsory military service is involuntary servitude. The LPNC holds that all aspects of such conscription are both unconstitutional and violations of our unalienable Rights. The State of North Carolina, by making its driver’s license conditional on Selective Service registration, is abetting this human rights violation. This arrangement, and all similar practices, must end. Boating, Hunting and Fishing Rights The LPNC calls for the elimination of state licenses for the purposes of boating, hunting, or fishing. We support the rights of private landowners to allow, ban, or regulate these activities on their property, as they see fit. Free Association The LPNC supports the right of any free association of individuals to conduct their community affairs as they see fit, consistent with individual liberty, without interference from the government. Water Rights Water received from paid water services or from privately-owned wells is the property of the individual who receives it, and that property may be used as the owner sees fit provided that the owner is not infringing on the rights of others. This includes, but is not limited to, the right of individuals to reuse their own water in an effort to conserve water resources. We favor repealing regulations that prohibit the reuse of privately owned water on private property. VI. MISCELLANEOUS National Libertarian Party Platform The LPNC affirms and adopts the platform of the national Libertarian Party. Omissions In all matters where the LPNC does not take a position in this platform, the party shall always be in favor of the position that limits the role of government and protects the freedom of individuals.