Libertarian Party of South Africa (LiPSA)
The Liberty Charter
As adopted at the 2013 Inaugural Conference of the Libertarian Party of South Africa (LiPSA) on 20th October 2013 in Prince Albert in the Western Cape.
None may deny the hunger of the common people for a peaceful and prosperous life. A life free from rulers and tyrants, from taxes and tolls, from duties undesired and burdens unwanted.
It is in the nature of human beings that they gather in groups for their mutual benefit. Regulating these groups to minimise conflict and promote cooperation has been our great and ongoing challenge. We have slowly developed better forms of governance, advancing from the divine right of kings to the limited right of the majority. But conflict and corruption remain the order of the day, even in the best democracies.
The libertarian philosophy of individual rather than group rights, of respect for life, liberty and property, of consent and non-aggression, represents a giant step forward on the human path to civilisation. This is not a new philosophy, tracing its roots to ancient Greece and early China. Many of the basic ideas were developed 300 years ago in the age of enlightenment by visionaries such as Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson and John Stuart Mill. Most of the American founding fathers would be described as libertarians today. Although few in number, the influence of libertarian thought has been profound and is taking root amongst modern youth.
More and more individual citizens are demanding a departure from the limiting and divisive nature of modern representative democracy, which elevates powerful groups at the expense of the interests and rights of individuals.
As the Internet and modern technology allows every man and woman to express their individual preferences and choice of lifestyle, so will modern libertarianism allow every man and woman to own and control their own lives. Currently most people cannot see or comprehend an alternative to the winner-takes-all brand of democracy by which they are ruled. It is the mission of libertarians worldwide to make the ideas of individual liberty and consent as widely known as the ideas of democracy. It is to this mission that The Libertarian Party of South Africa is committed.
The principles set forth in this document shall constitute the basis of the policy positions and political actions of the organization known as the “Libertarian Party of South Africa” hereinafter referred to as the Party or LiPSA.
Members of the Party may be referred to as Libertarians.
We recognize the existence of the South African Constitution as the fundamental law governing South Africa, despite its limitations.
As Libertarians, our vision is of a South Africa in which
all individuals are the sole owners of their lives
no one is forced to sacrifice his or her interests for the benefit of others
citizens enjoy a world-class, globally competitive economy
the inhabitants are free to choose as they see fit, to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.
As Libertarians, we believe that the only just system is that in which every person enjoys unfettered individual liberty as a natural right, limited only by the need to respect the equal right of others to such liberty.
We believe in the fundamental right of all individuals to have no action taken against them without their consent, provided they respect this right for others.
We defend each person's right to engage in any consensual activity and welcome the diversity that this freedom brings.
We libertarians hold that each individual enjoys the following fundamental human rights, namely
the right to life
the right to pursue personal growth and happiness
the right to resist actions against you to which you do not consent
the right to own and profit from property.
The right to life
Every individual has the right to life and bodily integrity. No action by any other individual or group may lawfully compromise this right. Individuals have the right to resist policies, laws, or actions that abridge this right.
The right to pursue personal growth and happiness
Every individual has the right to use the attributes and resources of their life, their energy, intelligence and will, to improve their circumstances, provided they do not use force or fraud. No one may be deprived of the opportunity to profit from the exercise of their human potential in the name of the collective good.
The right to consent
No action may be taken against law-abiding individuals without their prior, informed consent.
The right to property
Every individual has the right to fully own property lawfully acquired through effort, trade, inheritance, or gift. No action by any other individual or group may lawfully compromise this right. No property owned by law-abiding individuals may be taken without their prior, informed consent.
4. Protecting these rights
Rule of law
No individual or institution, regardless of rank, is above the law. All individuals are equal before the law. The integrity of an independent and impartial judiciary, underpins the rule of law. The basis of law must be consent rather than coercion.
Free trade is based on the right of individuals to freely use their faculties or attributes to the best of their ability and on their right to fully own the property resulting from such use. These rights guarantee the freedom of choice of individuals, including their choice to freely associate with other individuals and to engage in trade. The exercise of these rights in conditions of scarcity makes competition, and cooperation, inevitable.
The role of government
The rights to life, to growth, to consent, and to property are natural rights, and are thus not granted by a government. A government that does not recognise these rights lacks legitimacy. The duty of government is to protect these rights for individuals within the jurisdiction of the state. Government has an obligation of service to the people.
Taxation as currently coerced by the government violates the right to consent and the right to fully own property.
The migration to non-coercive revenue collection is an essential component in achieving truly accountable and responsive public bodies in a constitutional democracy.
As a Party we strive towards the abolition of counter-productive and coercive taxation measures by the state. Every citizen has an obligation to pay for those state provided services and infrastructure which they choose to use. As in normal business practice, no citizen has an obligation to pay for services and infrastructure which they do not use. The common law shall naturally develop to ensure appropriate restitution for any public bodies for services and infrastructure provided.
Any entity receiving public funds must be fully transparent in its accounting practices and must be held fully accountable to contributors.
In order to ensure a free society individuals must take responsibility to ensure their own well being, be it economic, political, or social while respecting the rights of others. No one may be compelled to assist another, no matter how urgent the other’s need. An individual exists within the context of his or her family and community, who should assist when necessary. Individuals may gather in groups to assist one another on a voluntary basis, but such groups may not be used as a justification for encroachment on an individual’s rights.