I thought this deserved a separate post from my recent review of Ron Paul’s Liberty Defined.
At the end of the book, Ron Paul listed “ten principles of a free society” and I have slightly edited them below:
- Rights belong to individuals, not groups; they’re derived from nature, not political agreements
- Consent is the basis of social order; any arrangements built on voluntary consent are permissible
- Private property is owned by individuals and their voluntary organizations; it is not rented or permitted by political organizations
- Government is not a tool for redistributing wealth or granting special social privileges to certain individuals or groups
- Individuals are responsible for their own actions and can not be protected from their consequences without shifting the cost to others
- Money should be determined by the market and not monopolized and counterfeited by government fiat
- Aggressive and preventive wars are incompatible with the voluntary social order of the free society; embargoes are a form of warfare
- Juries may nullify (judge the laws, not just the facts) at will
- Involuntary servitude is not permissible, this includes: slavery, conscription, forced association, and forced welfare distribution (ie, taxation and “deputizing” private businesses and their resources to perform regulatory functions such as tax collection, immigration enforcement, etc.)
- Government agents must obey the same laws and moral codes as private citizens
I think this is a pretty good list. It definitely could get a conversation going. However, I wonder about some of the items on this list being redundant. I think the list might be able to be further circumscribed. I also think that the list goes back and forth between prohibitions, and declarations of principles or conditions or reality (thankfully, it doesn’t contain any positive obligations!) While the list seems fairly complete, I wonder if it captures all essential issues of a free society.