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Libertarian socialist

I wrote the other day about being a socialist.  Today I'd like to talk about being a libertarian and how I think that the two go hand in hand, rather than contradict each other.

I believe in individual liberties.  I think that each member of society has certain rights, and that there are objective and rational reasons these rights should be observed and respected.  I believe that each person has the right to life, the right to own property, and the right to offer goods and services in exchange for goods and services from other people.  I believe that each person has the right to an education to better eir own life.  I believe that each person has the right to perform labor to contribute to society.  We each have the right to pursue happiness and engage in activities which do not infringe on the rights of others.

I believe that libertarianism is the closest approximation of a government system which guarantees individual rights.  The government should not pass laws which infringe upon people's rights, such as laws restricting the sale of raw milk or the collection of rainwater.  I do not believe the government should delve into people's private lives or require excessive amounts of registration.

What property a person owns and what that person does with eir property is eir own business.  It should not be regulated by the government, it should not be controlled by the government.  If the property is used to engage in behavior which infringes upon the rights of others, such as murder or theft, then penal action should be taken.  In other words, a person should be able to buy a gun without registering it with the government, but murder itself (whether with a gun or otherwise) should be illegal.

I think that socialism complements libertarianism well because the libertarian viewpoint, as I have described above, is to keep laws as simple as possible and as noninvasive as possible while on the other hand, socialism provides opportunity to those who may not otherwise have it.  True liberty cannot exist without opportunity.  Without the means to obtain an education, a person wishing to be a pilot may not ever be able to fulfill this dream.  Ey may wish it, but never be able to make it happen.  This is where socialism comes into play.  With a social education system, all people would be able to receive the necessary education to pursue any career of their choice.  With a social welfare system, people who are unable to provide for their families for a period of time may be able to survive those economic hardships which inevitably strike.  With a social healthcare program, people who are struck with sudden and unexpected illness may receive the treatment they need without being declined due to inability to pay or being saddled with insurmountable debt for the remainer of their lives.

Without opportunity, liberty is a mere illusion.  To say that someone has the freedom to become a software engineer when ey don't even have the means to do so, nor could ever legally obtain the means to do so is a farce.  It is superficial freedom.  To say that if someone works hard enough, ey can do anything ey wants is to overlook the scenarios where such is literally impossible.  Opportunities must be provided.  Essential needs must be met.  If not, then a people cannot be free.

And so, I am a libertarian because I feel that the government should minimize the laws which proscribe behaviors which do not infringe upon the rights of other people and I am a socialist because I believe that liberty without opportunity is illusory.

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