It is easy to remember the acronym FLIP: Free trade, Limited government, Individual Liberty, and Private property.
The libertarian political philosophy is adequately explained using just these four basic principles. And working the acronym FLIP backwards from right to left, each one builds upon the other in sequence.
You alone are the owner of your person and the fruits of your labor – that is private property.
You alone are entitled to dispose of your person and property as you see fit – that is individual liberty.
The only just purpose of government is to protect your rights to life, liberty, and property - that is limited government.
And the only just transaction between free sovereign persons is voluntary exchange – that is free trade.
Is there any moral alternative? Does someone else own your person and the fruits of your labor? Does someone else have the right to dispose of your person and property? Should the government have the power to set its own limits? Should someone else hold veto power over your voluntary exchange?
Of course not; yet those are exactly the tenets of the socialist progressive ideology which has transformed our politics over the past century. Government no longer exists to protect the rights of individuals; rather to impose the will of the majority political Party upon all citizens. The language of liberty has been corrupted; its meanings twisted to fit opposite aims.
Trade is not free when it is controlled by the government through regulation, licensure, subsidy, preference, prohibition, monopoly, tariff, quota, and taxation.
A government is not limited that ignores the Constitution, seizes half of the nation’s output and spends it to manipulate markets, change foreign regimes, redistribute earnings, harass citizens, and prosecute victimless crimes.
Individual liberty does not exist when government tells us what we can eat, drink, smoke, wear, own, shoot, say, buy, sell, rent, drive, read, see, teach, display, hear, and earn.
Property is not private when the government can devalue it, confiscate it, assert a public right to it, transfer it to others by decree, and prohibit its voluntary exchange.
You have heard me say it many times; things are not so complicated when you know what you believe. And what do you believe - do you believe that you alone are the rightful owner of your person and property? Do you believe that government should protect your rights, and be constrained from imposing the beliefs of others upon you? Are you a FLIP person?
If so, then ask yourself this question: which political Party has stood resolute in defense of these four principles – Free Trade, Limited Government, Individual Liberty, and Private Property? Which Party has refused to compromise these principles in the face of political expediency, majority opposition, media ridicule, and national crisis?
We Libertarians hope that you will find us to be that Party – the Party of Principle, just as we say we are. We hope you will join us, vote for our candidates, work in our campaigns, come to our events, donate to our cause, and help us to fight for the principles you believe in - FLIP.
We will respect your decision gratefully or gracefully, as the case may be. Because our purpose is not to convince you to change your principles; it is to provide you the opportunity to vote for them.
Tim Nerenz is the Libertarian Party Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives from Wisconsin's 2nd District. To support Dr. Tim's campaign, please visit the campaign website at www.timnerenz.com.