“What do libertarians believe in?” “How are libertarians different from other political parties?“ I hear these questions often and I suspect that many of you hear the same or similar questions. There are a number of good approaches that we can use in responding to these queries. The best ones engage the questioner in a dialogue and the respectful exchange of ideas. This is how we win hearts and minds. This is how we can promote liberty.
Consider the concept of rent seeking behavior the next time you are asked “How are libertarians different?”
To paraphrase Dr. Paul M. Johnson, rent seeking behavior refers to the ”uncompensated transfer of goods or services from another person or persons to one’s self (or special interest group) as the result of a “favorable” decision on some public policy.
Examples of rent-seeking behavior would include all of the various ways by which individuals or groups lobby government for taxing, spending and regulatory policies that confer financial benefits or other special advantages upon them at the expense of the taxpayers or of consumers or of other groups or individuals with which the beneficiaries may be in economic competition.”
Libertarians work to discourage, reduce, and wherever possible, eliminate rent seeking behavior and other such involuntary wealth transfer schemes.
We sign this pledge when we join the libertarian party. “I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.”
This simple and beautiful statement clearly tells others how we are different. We defend the rights of the individual. This is our ideological north star. It is a noble position that clearly separates us from every other political party. We represent hope for our country. Pandering to rent seekers will end. It is unsustainable. We are the future. We are Libertarians.