Press Conference Prepared Remarks by Casey D. Copeland

Prepared remarks by Casey D. Copeland, Treasurer, Libertarian Party of Arkansas

Ballot Petition Signature Turn-In Press Conference, May 18th, 2011

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas will be the party for those Arkansans who believe in “Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom.”  Arkansans will see that slogan when they visit our web-page, and they will hear it whenever they speak with us about the issues of today, yesterday, or tomorrow.

Many Arkansans may ask, “What is libertarianism?” or “What is a Libertarian?”  Only to find, after a little study and self-examination, that they are a libertarians; or at least they live their lives like libertarians.  And, they will find that America was founded as a libertarian country.

In his book Libertarianism in One Lesson, Mr. David Bergland says, “Libertarianism is grounded in the ‘natural rights’ tradition in western culture.”   That tradition was known and espoused by our Founding Father, and expressed to the world and handed down to us through the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States of America, and the Bill of Rights.

It is the idea that each person has rights that government should not interfere with.  “Among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” as  Thomas Jefferson called them “unalienable rights,” in the Declaration of Independence.

Today we would recognize and acknowledge that these rights include the right to worship as we choose, or not worship at all; the right to speak our minds on any issue without fear;  the right to protect ourselves and our property;  the right to maintain and care for our bodies according to our determinations; and generally the right to live and do as we see fit, without government, or anyone else, forcing us to live as they deem proper.  This is not, of course, an exhaustive list, and libertarians would not say that there is a finite list of individual rights.  Instead, we believe, as our Founders did, that the limit was put on government, not on the people.

The Libertarian philosophy is often presented in the form of the “non-aggression principle.”  According to this cornerstone of libertarianism, the initiation of force to achieve social or political goals is not proper, should be avoided, and, in the end, only leads to more force, more aggression, and less liberty for both sides.  Aggression leads to, and tacitly approves of, the aggression of retaliation and revenge.  Force is only appropriate in defense of self and others; and on a personal level, the defense of family, or those to whom such a duty is owed.

This “good neighbor” ideal, leads Libertarians to leave others to live and do as they choose, and only ask in return to be left to live and do as we choose.  Sometimes those around us may make decisions that we disagree with, or believe are harmful to them, but we must respect their right to do so, so long as they are not harming us or our property.  If those bad decisions lead to dire consequences, our neighbor must respect our right and the rights of others not to be forced to bail out those bad decisions.  With the exercise of rights comes the responsibility for consequences; one without the other would be meaningless.

Of course, there is so much more to libertarianism and being a Libertarian than can be said in this brief setting.  Those who are interested in Minium Government, Maximum Freedom should contact the Libertarian Party of Arkansas by our web-page and on Facebook.  There they can find out where the Libertarian Party of Arkansas stands on issues, and more specifics on our principles.  Thank you.


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