A specter is haunting the world – the specter of liberty. The ruling elite of bureaucrats, politicians, unions, academics and the media have entered a holy alliance to exorcise this specter. Who have not been decried as selfish by its opponents in power? Have you not heard that free markets are to blame for our economic problems? Two things result from this fact:
I. Liberty is already acknowledged by the establishment to be a power itself.
II. It is high time that the friends of liberty openly, in the face of the whole world published their views, their aims, their tendencies, and met this nursery tale of specter of liberty with a manifesto of the aims of the movement itself.
The enlightenment broke down the guild system and released enormous productive forces, the industrial revolution. Within a few generations life changed from bottomless misery to relative ease for large parts of the population.
Advanced methods of production and trade made the connection between effort and result more difficult to see. People with different abilities acquire wealth differently. Manipulation of the banks and currencies caused regular crises and alienation. Some men started to take wealth for granted and thought they did not get their fair share. They thought there were flaws in liberty that needed to be fixed. Slowly the view on business changed from an institution creating wealth and jobs to a threat that needed to be controlled and expropriated.
The government was the entity to redistribute wealth and fix the economy. All kinds of bureaus were created to take care of people, cradle to grave. Guilds were created to protect labor and business. Politicians, eager to please, took up debt. Liberty was steadily reduced and business struggled under the pressure of regulations, taxation and inflation. The growing government was a loss to everyone but the electorate was bought with election pork. Wars were waged to ensure national unity and to distract attention away from the everyday problems.
Enough is enough! We have had enough of crises, wars and intrusions in our lives. We demand a limited government!
You say that a limited government is no rules and anarchy. But defending life, property rights and enforcement of contracts is a big intervention in society.
You say that natural resources will be exploited and nature destroyed. But nothing is better taking care of than private property.
You say that people need to be stimulated to produce. But people will produce to seek their own happiness.
You say that workers will be exploited. But production is to the advantage of everyone.
You say that people will rise up in revolutions. But planning the lives of others makes people angry whereas voluntary cooperation makes the best relations.
You say the majority is supporting the system. But many are bought with money taken out of our pockets and no majority has the right to rule other people.
The only tasks of the government are the protection of life, property, freedom of association and freedom of speech. All other activity on part of the government shall be forbidden by default. This means the complete withdrawal of the government from the economic, religious, philanthropic and cultural spheres of society.
Based on the experience of centuries of worldwide abuses on behalf of the government the limits of the sovereignty of the governments should be made unambiguously clear and made law by the constitution. In the government there should be a clear distinction between the executive, legislative and judicial processes. The life and property of each individual shall be protected by courts. The life of each individual is sovereign any conceived “greater good””.
The following is pretty generally applicable to all countries. The idea is not giving the devil a finger, closing the door and throwing away the key for the expansion of the government.
1. All property and all resources shall be owned by civil society.
2. Taxation shall be forbidden by default. Exception shall be approved by courts and be time limited.
3. The exchange of goods and services shall be controlled by the enforcement of property rights and contracts only.
4. The labor markets shall be free with no restrictions of labor contracts.
5. The abolition of all guilds. Anyone is free to enter any occupation.
6. There shall be no limitation in trade, immigration or emigration.
7. The rule of conduct in foreign policy shall be as little political connections as possible.
8. Wars shall only be declared in self defense against aggressors with the case proven in court. War shall never be declared by the executive power only.
9. The government shall be explicitly forbidden to create money, run banks and take up debt.
10. The government shall be explicitly forbidden run or control institutions of education.
11. The government shall be explicitly forbidden run or control institutions of media.
12. The government shall be explicitly forbidden to involve in agriculture, transport, post and energy.
13. Blank-check appropriations to shall be explicitly forbidden.
14. Blank-check legislation shall be forbidden. There shall be no bureaus creating directives, enforcing them and interpreting them rather the lawmaking, law enforcement and law interpretation shall be done in the proper institutions.
15. The government is explicitly forbidden to own companies.
16. There shall be no state religion. There shall be freedom of religion and beliefs also in practicing.
17. The freedom of speech shall be limited only by threats and intimidation.
18. Conscription is forbidden.
19. Prostitution is legal as any other service, drugs are legal as any other commodity, and homosexuality is legal as any other way of living together.
20. There state shall not interfere with languages.
The transition to liberty should be carefully planned to make it economic tenable and as just as possibly, Leading politicians and bureaucrats should be prevented having leading positions or shares in the new enterprises or ownership in the privatized property.
Let Us Now Try Liberty
Human beings are rational animals with all that is necessary for them to accomplish our destinies. We are provided a social form as well as a human form. And these social organs of persons are so constituted that they will develop themselves harmoniously in the clean air of liberty.
Away, then, with quacks and organizers!
Away with their rings, chains, hooks, and pincers!
Away with their artificial systems!
Away with the whims of governmental administrators, their socialized projects, their centralization, their tariffs, their government schools, their state religions, their free credit, their bank monopolies, their regulations, their restrictions, their equalization by taxation, and their pious moralizations!
And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; Because liberty is the only solution for a happy life and a harmonious society.
• The manifest from this point is an almost direct transcript of “The Law” by Bastiat.