This is a continuation of ‘What is a Libertarian? Pt. 1’. In this installment of the series, we will address the varying beliefs on self-defense, gun rights, and the rule of law held by the three ideologies/parties.
Unrestricted Self-Defense Anarchists believe that the right to property is absolute. Some libertarians concede that the government has the power to levy a minuscule and appropriate amount of taxation against the citizen’s will. ‘Absolute property rights’ mean that whether a person rightfully obtains a house, a car, a shirt, an AR-15, a pistol, a knife, or a phone, it belongs to them – and nobody can justly take it from them. This is a natural right. Another natural right is the right to self-defense. All humans retain the natural right to defend themselves against anyone who seeks to harm them. Libertarians often cite the right to defend oneself – in any manner the defender chooses – as the basis for their rejection of all gun laws. Furthermore, libertarians believe that allowing the government to control how/when people can have firearms is a recipe for tyranny.
Minimal Rule of Law
Anarchists generally believe that no government official should ever have any authority to create laws and send men with guns to enforce those laws, regardless of whether the laws are created to ‘protect people’ or ‘fund infrastructure’. Libertarians tend to support having a weak, tiny, accountable government which uses enforcement only to arrest criminals and protect life, liberty, and property. The courts would then determine whether a crime has been committed against another human, and if so, deliver a punishment, generally involving compensation for the victim. Anarchists believe that when a person murders or steals from another, society will deal with them appropriately without government. Neither libertarians nor anarchists tend to believe that armed government agents should punish people for non-violent crimes (crimes that hurt nobody but the offender).
The belief in gun rights varies pretty widely among conservatives. Some believe that according to the Constitution and/or the principle of freedom and natural rights, the government should not impose any restrictions on individual ownership of weapons or self-defense whatsoever. Some moderate Republicans believe that individuals should have access to firearms only once they pass government background checks, take a government-approved class, obtain a permit, and follow any number of restrictions on firearms, magazine capacities, ammunition, and more.
Strong Rule of Law
Conservative Republicans tend to believe that ‘Law & Order’ is critical to a safe and prosperous society. As such, they support law enforcement (especially local law enforcement), often while cops enforce unconstitutional laws that take freedom away from people.
Democrats vary quite a bit on this issue, as well. Moderates seem to believe in the same restrictions as the moderate Republicans do. The current Democrats in leadership seem to support increasing firearms restrictions until no citizen can own a firearm – or any weapon – unless they work for the government. Those on the left side of the spectrum seem to view property as communal and governmental rather than private and personal. They generally encourage homeowners to rely on police to protect them, whereas those on the right generally want personal control over the defense of their private property.
Authoritarian Rule of Law
Liberal Democrats tend to believe that having numerous laws is a key component of a safe and prosperous society. As such, they support law enforcement (especially federal law enforcement), though some liberals believe that law enforcement enforces fascist, unconstitutional laws that take freedom away from people.