Platform of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire
Revised January 28, 2023
As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others. We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.
Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.
In the following pages we have set forth our basic principles and enumerated various policy positions derived from those principles. These specific policies are not our goal, however. Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.
Statement of Principles
We, 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.
I. The Individual
1.0 Individual Rights
Individuals are inherently free to make choices for themselves and must accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. Our support of an individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices. No individual, group, or government may rightly initiate force against any other individual, group, or government. Libertarians reject the notion that groups have inherent rights. We support the rights of the smallest minority, the individual.
1.1 Natural Rights
We believe that every human is born with certain unalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness; and that no individual, group, or government may violate or void these rights. We believe that all people are endowed with such inherent, natural rights regardless of age, sex, gender, orientation, race, nationality, creed, or religion.
1.2 Self Ownership
We recognize that individuals own their bodies and have exclusive rights over them which other individuals can not exercise. We do not believe that individuals, groups, or governments may ever legitimately claim ownership of other individuals. To these ends, we reject and oppose all laws which allow for the subjugation of individuals by other individuals or groups without just cause or due process.
We support every individual’s right to self-defense and, by extension, the right to keep and bear arms. We believe that every person may exercise their right to self-defense wherever they have a right to be. We reject all laws at any level of government restricting, prohibiting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, modification, transport or transfer of any item, tool, or accessory that may be used for self-defense.
Just as it is true that the only economic situation consistent with individual rights is the free market, so is it also true that life, liberty and happiness cannot prosper under continuous state surveillance. We oppose the use by the state of people or technology to monitor, account for, and keep Granite Staters under surveillance, especially where there is no evidence of criminal behavior, and thereby restrict the normal interaction of people. We oppose passive surveillance legislation, such as laws that require individuals and businesses to report legal activities without evidence of criminal acts.
II. The Market
The ownership of property is essential to the function of the market. We hold that rights to property are integral to the individual. We recognize that owners of real property have the full and exclusive right to control, use, improve, dispose of, or in any manner enjoy it without interference, until and unless their exercise infringes the rights of others. We firmly reject the practices of eminent domain and asset forfeiture for either private or public purposes.
We recognize that, due to its coercive nature, taxation is unequivocally an aggressive, violent practice tantamount to theft. We further understand that no tax can ever be fair, simple, or neutral in a given market. Therefore, we oppose any and all new tax burdens, including any wage, salary, income, or sales tax. We seek the reduction or elimination of all existing taxes including those upon real property and its transfer.
2.3 Money, Exchange, & Currency
Individuals and businesses engaged in commerce ought to be free to use and accept any mutually agreed upon commodity, service, or item as a means of exchange. The issuance of debt-based monies is an inherently inflationary and fraudulent practice. We support the acceptance and proliferation of competing forms of currency and money and reject government monopolies in the currencies market. Innovation and competition in the market for currencies will deliver cheaper, faster, and more efficient means of storing and transferring value among individuals.
2.4 Marketplace Freedom
Libertarians support free markets. We defend the right of individuals to form commercial enterprises based on voluntary association. We oppose all forms of government subsidies and bailouts to business, labor, or any other special interest. Government should not compete with private enterprise. We call for a separation of business and state.
2.5 Labor & Licensing
Each person has the right to earn a living by the fruits of their labor. The contract between an employer and employee is a voluntary relationship, that both sides choose to enter and can only fairly negotiate on the terms of the contract without interference by government. We support the elimination of all state run boards and license requirements for all professions. Professionals are best regulated when they are forced to compete for consumers without interference from the state. State licensing subverts these rights, and acts as a protectionist guard against competition and does not achieve the goal of protecting the safety of individuals. Requiring professionals to carry licenses restricts worker mobility and competition which leads to higher consumer prices. We support the right of employers and employees to freely choose whether or not to bargain with each other through a third party, such as a labor union. There is no inherent “Right to Work” nor a “Right to Unionize”, merely the freedom for all to negotiate conditions of employment.
All individuals have the right to determine their own health care needs and treatment. We support a truly free market healthcare system and oppose government mandates in insurance and healthcare as well as government interference with the relationship between patient and medical practitioner.
Education is a matter of conscience, values, and free expression, as much as assembly, press, religion, or speech. Accordingly, we advocate the complete separation of education and state, ending government ownership, operations, regulation, and subsidy of schools, colleges, and universities. By separating education and the state, educational institutions will be able to compete in an open market. Until that time, any government funds allocated for education should be entirely under parental and student control, for use in schools of choice (including, but not limited to, private, parochial, and homeschooling) or to carry forward for education in a future year.
2.8 Welfare & Charity
Recognizing that the needs of one or many can not reasonably constitute a claim against another, we find any system that coercively redistributes wealth or property to be fundamentally destructive to the rights of the individual. Non-voluntary systems of social welfare negatively affect both those who are stolen from and those who receive the stolen goods; creating an environment in which their economic lives are controlled extensively by the state. We therefore oppose the implementation and expansion of all involuntary state welfare systems, support their reduction or abolition, and support voluntary means of welfare, charity, and assistance.
We affirm the right to subvert state controls through black and gray market activity, so long as such activity does not violate individual rights and liberties through theft, fraud, or violence.
III. The Community
3.1 Criminal Justice
Government force must be limited to the protection of the rights of individuals to life, liberty, and property, and governments must never be permitted to violate these rights. Laws should be limited in their application to violations of the rights of others through force or fraud, or to deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. Therefore, we favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as gambling, the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes, and consensual transactions involving sexual services. We support restitution to the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer.
The constitutional rights of the criminally accused, including due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must be preserved. We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law. We oppose the prosecutorial practice of “over-charging” in criminal prosecutions so as to avoid jury trials by intimidating defendants into accepting plea bargains.
Additionally, we support the abolition of qualified immunity so that government officials, employees and their agents are held to the same standard of conduct as all other individuals within the jurisdiction.
3.2 Civil Asset Forfeiture
We support the elimination of civil asset forfeiture, which permits the government to take private property without having to prove any criminal wrongdoing. State law should prohibit receiving funds from federal civil asset forfeiture to remove incentives to seize assets wrongly. State law should require a criminal conviction before the state may seize illegitimately obtained property.
3.3 Death Penalty
We oppose the administration of the death penalty by the state.
3.4 Parents, Children, and Families
We oppose government interference in private family matters. We recognise that children are in many cases incapable of giving fully informed consent. We oppose government licensure of marriage or other personal relationships and special benefits conferred thereby and advocate for their repeal. We support the right of everyone to be free from familial violence or abuse. We support the right of adults to adopt and take responsibility for children without interference by government.
The environment is a shared resource, a treasure, and an important part of the economy. Pollution of air, water, and land violates the rights to health and life, and rights to property. Polluters, including government, should be strictly liable for harms caused by pollution. Competitive free markets and individual property rights stimulate the moral choices and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. Private landowners have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Protecting the environment requires individual rights and responsibilities regarding resources like land, water, air, and wildlife to be protected by individuals. Where damage is inflicted to the environment restitution to the injured parties must be required.
3.6 Electoral Reform
We support the right of the people to determine the process by which their representatives are elected. We advocate for the implementation of an alternative voting system that eliminates the disenfranchisement of constituents who are not members of the factions currently represented within our electoral system. We also advocate for the liberalization of laws restricting access to the ballot for minor political organizations and non-affiliated individuals. We oppose the practice of partisan gerrymandering, on the grounds that it grants undue control over the electoral process to those currently in power by enabling them to marginalize constituents who hold opposing views and nullify the impact of their votes. We support the adoption of electoral practices that would mitigate this problem, such as the implementation of multi-member or at-large Congressional districts.
3.7 Sovereignty & Independence
Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind. The people of New Hampshire have the sole and exclusive right to govern themselves as sovereign, free, and independent individuals. Exercise of this right, like the exercise of all other rights, does not remove legal and moral obligations not to violate the rights of others.
Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, restriction, regulatory agency, activity, or objections should not be construed to imply approval.
Fight for freedom!