The central idea of libertarianism is that people should be permitted to run their own lives as they wish. We totally reject the idea that people must be forcibly protected from themselves. A libertarian society would have no laws against drugs, gambling, pornography —and no compulsory seat belts in cars. We also reject the idea that people have an enforceable claim on others, for anything more than being left alone. A libertarian society would have no welfare, no Social Security system. People who wished to aid others would do so voluntarily through private charity, instead of using money collected by force from the taxpayers. People who wished to provide for their old age would do so through private insurance.
People who wish to live in a ‘virtuous’ society, surrounded by others who share their ideas of virtue, would be free to set up their own communities and to contract with each other so as to prevent the ‘sinful’ from buying or renting within them. Those who wished to live communally could set up their own communes. But nobody would have a right to force his way of life upon his neighbor.
This excerpt is from the first chapter of The Machinery of Freedom written by economist David Friedman — son of the Nobel Prize winner legendary economist Milton Friedman. The entire text of this enlightening book is now available online (here). If you have the slightest interest in economics, libertarianism or capitalism, this book is a must read.
[Hat Tip: The Big Questions]