New Jersey Libertarian Party

The Party of Principle

A Case For Individual Liberty

John Locke made the argument that if one person did not have a right to coerce or control another person, that he could not transfer this right, that he did not possess, to a third party. Thus, Locke not only questioned the divine rights of kings and popes, but also the "rights" of democracies. Later, he changed his mind and accepted a version of Thomas Hobbes' "social contract", which was later popularized by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The social contract effectively said that all people are obliged to obey the dictates of whatever political power is in control of a given area, and to "render Caesar's unto Caesar".

Later, Josiah Warren and Lysander Spooner, political activists in the US, argued for Locke's original case, saying that no person could logically delegate a right they did not possess to a third party, and that no group calling itself a government could legitimately claim to have power a person without his or her consent, thus leaving all people as sovereign individuals.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon said:

"To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so."

When we consider that no one wants the above things done to them, we can see that Individual Sovereignty is not only logical but is compatible with The Golden Rule, particularly in the negative version espoused by Rabbi Hillel several decades before Christ's Sermon on the Mount-- "Do not unto others that which is hateful to you." While Christ's positive version, "Do unto others..." is good, it leaves the possibility for such things as a masochist beating another person because this is what he wants done to himself.

Thus, it seems that those people who claim self-ownership and dispute anyone having legitimate authority over them, not only have logic on their side, but also the world's most widely accepted ethical principle, The Golden Rule.

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