The Libertarian Party Platform

This is a quick and easy guide to America's leading third party

Signpost of political parties
David Johnston Getty Images

Like most political platforms, the Libertarian party platform is turgid, vague, and abstract. It also tends to be a little bit utopian in its approach, and this can make it difficult to ascertain where the Party stands on specific issues facing the country at any given time. 

This is not a criticism specific to the Libertarian party, mind you. The Democratic and Republican party platforms are much, much more turgid, to the point where they can't be read in one sitting. They're much vaguer – they often sound as if they're advocating the same policies – and much more abstract. They rely on mom-and-apple-pie patriotic rhetoric instead of concrete policy proposals.

The difference is that the Democratic and Republican parties have enough money to pay people to run campaigns that give us an idea of what the parties stand for. The Libertarian party doesn't have that much money, so I'm proud to have compiled the world's shortest platform summary of the party.  

  • Fiscal policy: The Libertarian party opposes taxation in pretty much all forms, and it deals with the revenue loss by opposing entitlement programs in pretty much all forms. This means that people keep more of what they earn, but it also means that there is no social safety net. And ambitious new proposals – such as universal pre-kindergarten and universal health care – are obviously not compatible with this objective.
  • Corporations: The party would eliminate all federal subsidies to private corporations, as well as all antitrust laws.
  • Public services: The Libertarian party would like to eliminate the U.S. Postal Service. It wants to transfer all government services, from public schools to landfills, to private ownership.
  • Property rights: The party would restrict the public domain to immediate public use and sell or give away most public property to private owners.
  • Criminal justice: It would eliminate all anti-drug laws and legalize prostitution, as well as end random police roadblocks.
  • Free speech: The party would abolish the FCC and allow private ownership of broadcast frequencies. It opposes all restriction of free speech, including that in the name of national security.
  • Church and state: The Libertarian party calls for reduced IRS regulation and monitoring of tax-exempt churches.
  • The Second Amendment: The party strongly opposes all gun control, as well as regulation of alternative weapon technologies such as mace and Tasers. 
  • The draft: It calls for the abolition of the Selective Service System and amnesty for any citizen who has ever resisted the draft.
  • Reproductive rights: The Libertarian party is pro-choice. It opposes all federal funding of abortion and most federal entitlements for women who choose to carry their pregnancies to term, including the child tax credit. it opposes involuntary or fraudulent sterilization.
  • LGBT rights: The party opposes the "don't ask, don't tell." doctrine. It believes that marriage is a private contract, and as such, it should yield no government benefits regardless of the gender of the partners.
  • Immigrants' rights: The Libertarian party argues that borders should be open but surveilled. Everyone who does not pose a threat to public health or national security should be allowed to enter the country legally. It would deny all federal benefits to undocumented immigrants.