Frequently asked questions

The Wasted Vote.
I believe in what the Libertarian Party stands for but you’re never going to win so isn’t voting for you a wasted vote?

When you vote, you’re not voting for who you think is GOING to win, you vote for who best represents your beliefs. A wasted vote is voting for someone who says one thing and does another. If you want a smaller government and lower taxes, you certainly won’t get either by voting Democrat or Republican.

Secondly, ballot access requirements are designed to keep third parties out of politics. Voting can help third parties’ ballot access in future elections. In any given race, if Libertarians get a minimum of 5% of the vote, we are allowed ballot access for the next election. Otherwise, without ensured ballot access, Libertarians are subject to strict ballot access requirements that suck up our time, money, and energies.

Lastly, the swing vote forces the dominant parties to listen to, and conform to, our beliefs. It’s a way of voicing your opinion that you’re entirely fed up with both Democrats and Republicans.

Libertarians want to cut taxes for welfare. Don’t you care if the poor starve?
I think the the poor deserve MORE than welfare — they deserve the chance to become wealthy. History proves that only liberty — not government handouts — can give them that chance.

Seventy-five percent of our welfare dollars, enough for each family of four to receive $50,000 annually, go to the middle class social workers who administer these programs. On the other hand, 75% of each privately donated dollar goes to the needy! Anyone who advocates welfare taxes is lobbying for subsidies for the well to do.

Welfare breaks up families by paying teens to get pregnant and by paying mothers to desert the father of their children. Welfare is a major force in the destruction of family values in minority households.

What makes you so sure that people would help the poor if they weren’t forced to do so through taxation?
We needn’t worry that people wouldn’t help the unfortunate in a libertarian society. If you value volunteer labor at minimum wage, private organizations today still provide twice as much help as public ones, in spite of the high taxes for social services.

If people are willing to help the poor now, wouldn’t they be ever more likely to give generously when they were taxed less?

In a libertarian society, wouldn’t polluters get away with destroying the environment?
Government polluters get away with murder… literally.(1) When courts found the military liable for illness and death after careless nuclear testing in Utah, the government claimed sovereign immunity and refused to pay damages. In a libertarian society, no one would be immune from the consequences of their actions… especially not a government charged with protecting us.

Libertarians believe that people and government should right their wrongs by restoring, as much as possible, what they’ve damaged. Today, our government makes the taxpayers or new owners shoulder the burden. If polluters don’t pay for the damage they do, why should they stop polluting?

(1) “Court Rules U.S. Not Liable in Deaths from Atom Tests,” San Francisco Examiner, January 11, 1988, p. A-1.

How would roads be operated and financed in the ideal libertarian world?
Roads would probably be operated by companies charging tolls (highways), subscription fees (local roads), or condominium dues (neighborhood streets). Even today, some communities finance almost half their roadways privately, saving themselves 50% or more when compared to government alternatives.

How would libertarians secure our national defense without taxes to fund a military?
Our best defense is to have no enemies. We turn enemies into friends by trading with them. Japan, the only nation to attack us in [the 20th] century, bombed Pearl Harbor because of our oil embargo. Trading with Japan has made our economies too interdependent for them to even dream of another attack.

Libertarian military would probably be multi-layered and have several different sources of funding. Local militia might be volunteers or be supported by community fund-raising. Professional, full-time regiments might accept paid assignments in other countries as part of their training. The military might operate a business in peacetime that dovetails (excuse the pun!) with their defense function. Such efforts would likely be quite sufficient if we were not trying to police the world.

If you have an unanswered question, please email us and we just may post it. Thanks!

Excerpts taken from Mary Ruwart’s Libertarian Short Answers to Tough Questions.

2 thoughts on “FAQ”

  1. A few more thoughts on voting…

    Realistically, my single vote is very unlikely to change the outcome, especially at the state or national level, but even in a big city like NYC.

    What I’m doing when I vote is making my voice heard by adding to someone’s total, NOT appreciably changing the overall results.

    This is why it makes sense to approach elections as you would an opinion poll. If you’re taking a multiple choice poll and agree with answer “C” on a particular question, are you going to answer “A” or “B” just because some media outlet recommends those two answers, or because you think other people taking the poll are likely to give one of those two responses?

    If you think for yourself, of course the answer is no!

    It’s basically the same when we vote. When I make my own choice based on my beliefs, I’m helping to ensure that those in power are chosen by the people and not by the elites.

    Democracy (or a republic, if you prefer) only works as it is supposed to when each voter votes his or her conscience for the candidate(s) s/he believes are best.

    Trying to “game the system” by voting “strategically” may seem clever, but voting based on which candidates the media or other organizations say are viable, or how you expect OTHER people to vote, actually undermines democracy.

    Why? Because when this occurs, election outcomes will not reflect the actual views of voters! Instead of WE THE PEOPLE deciding who holds office, the outcome will be effectively be decided by various gatekeepers and power brokers, and democracy is broken.

    In short, each of us have the choice of whether to be part of the problem by letting external factors dictate our choices, or part of the solution by voting our consciences.

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