The word “libertarian” is used in both a formal sense and an informal sense. When a socialist Liberal politician exclaims that the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation, he is called a civil “libertarian”. When a theocratic Conservative politician calls for a reduction in taxes, he too is called a “libertarian”. And when an “anarcho-capitalist” economist calls for the elimination of government, he is called a “libertarian”. So what does the word actually mean?
Given the broadly varying contexts in which the word “libertarian” is used, it should not come as a surprise that when Ontario’s Freedom Party calls for an end to a ban on holiday retail sales, or calls for elimination of the provincial income tax (which was introduced by the province’s Progressive Conservatives in 1969), or proposes that the budget be balanced and health care fixed by subjecting the province’s government health insurance monopoly to competition, the party gets asked: “What is the difference between Freedom Party and the Libertarian Party?”. A similarity has been assumed since Freedom Party was formed (in 1984). In fact, the province’s Libertarian Party does as much as it can to convince people that Freedom Party is a libertarian party (which is a bit like saying that an atheist is just another type of believer of something about god).
In the early years, Freedom Party saw no point in getting into a discussion of libertarianism: the party instead focused on and stood upon its practical proposals for a better Ontario. Besides, in the early years it regularly repeated a slogan – “The purpose of government is to defend our individual freedom of choice, not to restrict it” – that the Libertarian Party of Ontario would not touch with a ten foot pole…because that party is in no small part comprised of anarchists (who think there is no purpose for government at all).
But in recent years, we’ve come to the conclusion that it is time for people to understand what sort of governing philosophy must prevail if a free society is to result. It is time to demonstrate why a libertarian party cannot deliver a free society, and what a libertarian government would deliver instead, were a population ever hoodwinked into electing one. And a proper understanding of these topics requires that we answer the questions: “How does Freedom Party of Ontario differ from the Libertarian Party of Ontario?”, and “Who should – and who should not – call himself a libertarian?”.
So, on December 20, 2012, Freedom Party of Ontario founder and president Robert Metz, together with Freedom Party of Ontario leader Paul McKeever, tackled those subjects on the “Just Right” radio broadcast (CHRW, 94.9 FM, London). The show is broadcast live and streamed online at 11:00 AM every Thursday, but you’ll find an archive of all past episodes at the show’s web site, www.justrightmedia.org. You’ll find the full recording of the December 20, 2012 show, titled “Freedom’s Principals on Freedom’s Principles” there now. A copy of the audio file has also been added to the Freedom Party of Ontario archive (here’s the URL for that episode’s audio file: http://www.freedomparty.on.ca/archive/audio/2012-12-20.justRIGHT-281-FREEDOMsPRINCIPLES.mp3).
“Freedom’s Principals on Freedom’s Principles”
And, please: if you know anyone else who constantly makes the mistake of thinking that Freedom Party of Ontario is a libertarian party – or who makes the more grave mistake of thinking that a Libertarian government would deliver a free society – share this post, and/or a link to the episode itself.