THE ISSUE: A badly flawed Federal immigration policy has led to the deaths of many would-be Americans in the Arizona deserts, trespass onto private property and state preserve lands, and forced Arizona citizens to shoulder both the humanitarian and financial cost of nominally "closed," but actually open and unregulated borders. The job of protecting private property is not being done by either state or federal government which claims the authority and responsibility to do so, yet when private citizens attempt to protect their own land, they are branded as vigilantes and criminals.
Additionally, the non-status of illegal immigrants results, not only in their de facto denial of equal protection under law, but also results in the inability of hospitals and other providers of mandated public services to collect payment from these individuals, resulting in the closing or bankruptcy of hospitals and hospital units near the border.
Finally Border Patrol has gone to such extremes in its efforts as to shred the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Arizona citizens, with internal checkpoints and other tactics executed in almost paramilitary fashion, resulting in the erosion of the ability of Arizona citizens to travel freely in their own state without being subject to search or showing identification.
THE PRINCIPLE: Protection of private property is one of the fundamental jobs of government, and, failing federal action, the State of Arizona should provide that protection to its citizens and their businesses. But at the most fundamental level, citizens must always have the right to protect their private property. Federal or state employees must not violate the law or the Constitution in the enforcement of either.
All persons within the territory of the United States, whether citizens or illegal aliens, are not only entitled to due process of law, but must be held accountable to the law.
SOLUTIONS: Ultimately border issues will only cease when a truly viable immigration policy is implemented. Foreign nationals will cease to trespass on private land when they may enter at recognized entry points without fear or threat of reprisal. Hospitals and other businesses will not suffer insolvency when entry includes a process of documentation that enables the same legal accountability that citizens already bear. Border Patrol will cease eroding the Constitution when they no longer have illegal activity to pursue and when their improper actions are punished rather than condoned.
TRANSITIONS: Stop the prosecution of private citizens who have taken up the job of private property protection that government has forsaken. We propose changes to state legislation requiring anyone receiving mandated services from a hospital be required to provide identification sufficient for the hospital to be guaranteed access to them in the courts for payment, and to allow hospitals and other service providers to refuse services to those who will not provide such identification. We propose also that constituency groups accept responsibility and create a fund to pay those debts of illegal aliens receiving such services who are unable to pay; we propose the establishment of a tax deduction or credit for donations made to such organizations and funds.
We advocate the establishment of a state level program that includes documentation enabling due process and legal responsibility and accountability.
Remove the immunity from prosecution for violation of state or federal constitutionally guaranteed rights which Border Patrol currently enjoys, and punish severely those individuals who use their position of authority improperly.
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THE ISSUE: Child Protective Services has become more of a threat to families and children than a protector of childrens' rights and family values. The agency has unchecked and unsupervised power to intrude into families and impose its values and social agenda, with no respect for parents' rights to raise their children according to their own values and beliefs. It has become a government boondogle with out of control budget problems and a greater record of failure than of success.
THE PRINCIPLE: Parents have the right to raise their children according to their own values, without interference by government, unless there is clear and present evidence of physical abuse or criminal neglect. The functions of remedying physical abuse of children belong to law enforcement and courts, as with any other case of physical harm of one individual by another.
LIBERTARIAN SOLUTIONS:: Organize a bureau of child abuse in law enforcement, with jurisdiction over physical harm only. The functions of CPS of a social nature would be returned to those social institutions which were displaced by government when it monopolized the social functions of improving peoples' lives.
LIBERTARIAN ACTION/TRANSITION: Abolish Child Protective services, and return its proper functions to law enforcement. Pass legislation mandating severe legal sanctions for child abuse. Empower social institutions and religious groups to once again take up the functions of social intervention in troubled family situations. Models of community action and solidarity, such as those seen in Mormon communities, are viable alternatives to a centralized, bureaucratic institution such as CPS.
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THE ISSUE: Government's effective monopolization of the school system has resulted in Arizona's children receiving poor education, schools that are in many cases war zones, spiraling out of control budgets, school buildings that are in terrible disrepair and parents having no control over the education of their children. Teachers are as much victimized by the system as are their students, having to pay for school supplies out of their own pockets, receiving appallingly low compensation and increasing workloads, having no control over their classrooms, and being abused for their hard efforts.
Lower and middle income Arizonans are effectively denied freedom of choice in education because they are taxed to support the government schools and cannot afford to pay twice for the same service. Like any coercive monopoly without any real competition, the government schools therefore produce an inferior product at an exorbitant price.
THE PRINCIPLE:: Free Markets are able to provide education services like any other service, and can do so with better results at lower cost and deal more effectively with education related needs. Parents must be allowed to have complete control over, while being held completely responsible for, their children’s education.
LIBERTARIAN SOLUTIONS: All education should remain entirely within the private sector. Indeed there are students of limited financial means, but the remedies can and will come from private sector programs such as scholarships and private aid.
We oppose the tax support of universities, colleges, and junior colleges, which forces lower income taxpayers to fund the higher education of children of upper income families. All tax support of such institutions should cease, and the role of higher education should be returned to the private sector.
The bitter disputes over curriculum and teaching methods are the inevitable result of the existence of a coercive government monopoly on education. Just as centuries of religious warfare in Europe were ended by separating church and state, the solution to fights over schools is to privatize education and separate school and state. Decisions about educational issues such as prayer, sex education, evolution, etc. will no longer cause conflict when supporters of all views have a real choice of schools.
LIBERTARIAN ACTION/TRANSITION:: We call for the abolition of the Arizona State Board of Education Textbook Committee and the end of centralized state purchasing of textbooks. The political and religious demagoguery involved in these enormous purchasing decisions has had a disastrous effect on the quality of textbooks throughout the United States.
We support the repeal of all existing state and local regulations concerning schools, whether government or private, including home schools. Such regulations involve teacher certification or training, textbook approval, curriculum requirements, student-teacher ratios, and general impediments to all businesses, such as zoning ordinances. We particularly condemn restrictions at all levels designed to preclude entry or restrict competition in the field of day care and pre-school centers. These regulations do nothing to guarantee quality of service and cause considerable burden on qualified individuals who wish to provide a needed service at an affordable price.
As an interim measure to restore choices to parents and students and to encourage development of private alternatives, we support the continuation and the expansion of existing tax credits for tuition and other expenditures related to education. This is fiscally wise for the state, since the cost of the tax credits is substantially less than the savings resulting from taking children out of the public school system.
We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit. We oppose denial of tax-exempt status to schools because of their private policies on admissions, hiring, or student deportment.
We oppose the imposition of any religious views on existing government schools as a violation of the freedom of individual conscience.
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THE ISSUE: Government at all levels has abused eminent domain to take property for private purposes, many times where government may benefit financially. In so doing, government has become the primary threat to private property rights, rather than the protector of them.
THE PRINCIPLE: Private property is the foundation of freedom and prosperity; the proper function of government is to protect private property from threat of force or fraud.
LIBERTARIAN SOLUTIONS: Eminent Domain ultimately should be abolished since it is a threat to the institution of private property and an inevitable source of abuse of power by politicians and bureaucrats. Where public needs are recognized as clear and present, private entities must be free to supply those needs in a market framework, as they have proven capable throughout history of doing.
LIBERTARIAN ACTION/TRANSITION: The recent victories over eminent domain abuse by groups such as the Institute for Justice are the model for rewriting the eminent domain laws. While not the ultimate solution, stopping all eminent domain proceedings that do not demonstrate a clear and present public need such as a road will recover much of the sound basis of property rights that has been lost in recent years.
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THE ISSUE: Most environmental problems - air and water pollution, land erosion, ground water depletion - are due to the lack of private property rights in the air and water and public ownership of much of the land in the United States. The federal and state governments have seized almost all of the land in the State of Arizona for the purpose of protecting this land; and yet the greatest amount of resource depletion has occurred under the supervision of government.
THE PRINCIPLE: Private property ownership is the best means of land stewardship. A private property owner is the most likely to actively preserve the long-term value of his own property, including preservation, preventing and cleaning up pollution, maintaining the natural beauty, and retaining habitats. Government ownership is always accompanied by short-sighted and wrong-headed solutions which fail to uphold the values most prized by individuals.
LIBERTARIAN SOLUTIONS: All government-owned land should be sold, and the proceeds should be used to settle outstanding government bonds and other debts, with the balance returned to the citizens within the jurisdictional boundary of that government. We oppose Arizona game laws which arbitrarily restrict or prohibit hunting of birds or wildlife on private property with the permission of the owner. We oppose the creation of any new government parks or government operated public recreation areas. We call for the sale of all existing government parks and recreation areas, with the proceeds to go to the taxpayers.
LIBERTARIAN ACTION/TRANSITION: We call for the development and implementation of private property rights of existing public lands. Such rights are to be awarded initially on the basis of homesteading; i.e., those who now are benefiting from the use of the property should be the owners until and unless they choose to transfer the property. Efforts should be made to secure bids by people or groups who will maintain their current functions, but no such requirement should be made for sale.
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THE ISSUE: To secure the right of self-defense, against both tyrannical government and individual criminals, we believe in the right to keep and bear arms. We oppose all laws restricting, regulating, or recording the ownership, manufacture, transfer, or sale of firearms or ammunition. We favor the repeal of all laws regulating or banning the means and methods of carrying any type of weapon, or prohibiting pocket weapons.
Arizona laws and the elected and appointed representatives charged with executing and obeying those laws are routinely violating the rights of Arizona citizens with regards to firearms. State employees are prohibited from carrying weapons onto state property while on state business or in state vehicles, regardless of the dangers they may be exposed to while on state business.
THE PRINCIPLE:: One corollary of the right to life is the right to defend life, by any and all means available. As such, we support the right to keep and bear arms as an extension of the individual right to protect the sanctity of human life, whether such defense is needed against tyrannical government or individual criminals. Therefore, we unequivocably support the right to keep and bear arms. We hold as unconstitutional and void all laws restricting the right to carry firearms, whether open or concealed.
Furthermore, in addition to the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, Article II Section 26 of the Arizona Constitution specifically protects the right to keep and bear arms for individuals to defend their lives or the lives of others. Therefore, all laws which restrict the right to carry firearms (open or concealed) are unconstitutional under both the United States and Arizona Constitutions.
LIBERTARIAN SOLUTIONS: We oppose all laws requiring registration of firearms or ammunition. We oppose all laws restricting or recording the ownership, manufacture, transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition as well as those laws requiring maintenance of a firearm. We oppose mandatory waiting periods for the transfer of firearms. We further oppose any attempt to ban or restrict the use of other self-protection devices. We oppose the attempts to further regulate and prohibit the right to keep and bear arms by various levels of government. We support the repeal of all existing laws in conflict with these principles.
LIBERTARIAN ACTION/TRANSITION: We maintain that any elected or appointed official who advocates, introduces, sponsors, or votes for such laws - or has done so in the past - should be removed from office and prosecuted for violating his or her oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution, as well as violating the natural, fundamental and unalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional rights of the people of the United States and the State of Arizona.
We support certain bills proposed in the Arizona legislature as steps in the right direction. One example is the reduction of illegal concealed carry to a petty civil offense (presently it is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a $2,500 fine and 6 months in jail). Another example is the repeal of the prohibition on carrying firearms into restaurants or other establishments with a liquor license, putting the decision making authority in the hands of the private property owners instead of the government. A third example is adding teeth to the requirement that all government buildings be required to "check" personal firearms ("check" means providing a secure storage location near the entrance to a building, such as a locker), or simply permit the carry of personal weapons, so that individuals will not be forced to walk potentially dangerous streets without the means of self-protection. A fourth example is the ongoing effort to establish reciprocal concealed-carry agreements with other states. Just as an Arizona driver's license is honored in any other state, so should an Arizona concealed-carry permit be honored in any other state.
The most common criticism to the libertarian position on this issue is "You make it easier for criminals to get guns." To this we respond that we are opposed to all initiation of force by criminals, and we call for a reform of the criminal justice system that would prohibit releasing violent felons who still pose a danger to the community.
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THE ISSUE: Current state policy does not grant equitable rights and obligations to American Indian populations; the state is either disenfranchising a sovereign people, or it is granting special privileges such as casino gambling to a particular class of American citizens based on racial criteria. The state makes no clear commitment to either scenario. Arizona citizens are unable to enforce contractual, property and other legal rights against American Indian tribes, on the basis of those tribes being sovereign nations and exempt from normal legal redress. Alternatively, tribes receive aid and privileges that they should not be receiving as a sovereign nation, but which they are granted as American minorities.
THE PRINCIPLE: Rights granted under the Constitution should be granted equally to all citizens, or if an individual is the citizen of a sovereign foreign nation, then that should be recognized along with the treatment appropriate to any citizen of any foreign nation.
LIBERTARIAN SOLUTIONS: The American Indian nations should be given back the land that was forcibly taken from them under the policies of "Manifest Destiny" and recognized as sovereign nations. Specific legal procedures and diplomatic relations must be recognized as with any foreign nation, and due process established by treaty.
LIBERTARIAN ACTION/TRANSITION: Casino gambling should be made legal for all Arizona citizens on Arizona state land. At the same time, the State of Arizona should have no authority whatsoever over Indian casinos. In particular, Proposition 202, which was passed in 2002, should be repealed since it is nothing more than a tax on a sovereign nation. But as sovereign Indian nations are being restored to full sovereignty, the financial aid to those nations must be decreased accordingly.
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THE ISSUE: Police and prosecutorial misconduct is a huge blemish on our society. We routinely hear about police shootings of civilians where the evidence is not aired out publicly, or police stealing millions of dollars in cash from forfeiture seizures, or prosecutors who are willing to subvert the rule of law to get a conviction in court on flimsy evidence. Something must be done so that we can feel safe around the police again.
THE PRINCIPLE: Anyone who violates the individual rights of another must make restitution, to the extent possible. It makes no difference that the rights violation may have been in the course of a misguided attempt to enforce rights-violating laws.
We believe all government employees and elected representatives must be required to comply with the same laws that apply to private citizens. When government is allowed special immunities against wrongdoing that ordinary citizens are not, it should be no surprise that there is so much corruption and abuse of power in our law enforcement departments.
LIBERTARIAN SOLUTIONS: First, we call for the elimination of absolute immunity for prosecutors and qualified immunity for other law enforcement officers. Immunity breeds contempt for the rule of law, and transgressors must be held accountable for their actions even if employed by the government.
Second, we call for strict requirement of restitution and compensation to victims of rights violations, paid out of the pockets of the individuals responsible for the violations. The taxpayers should not be asked to foot the bill on behalf of law enforcement officers who break the law they swore to uphold.
Third, we call for the establishment of an independent citizen review board that would have authority of censure and removal of bad police officers and prosecutors. The power of the citizens over its law enforcement is the only thing that stands in between a free people and a police state.
LIBERTARIAN ACTION/TRANSITION: Arizona law denies the claim of immunity to many government actors who would be protected by immunity laws in other states or in the federal jurisdiction. This is a good start; but it is hardly the entire recipe for eliminating police and prosecutorial misconduct.
The largest abuses tend to revolve around asset forfeitures, where police seize "drug money" or other properties belonging to a suspect, and then keep the property for the local police department regardless of whether the suspect is even charged with a crime, much less convicted. Asset forfeiture laws need to be eliminated, but law enforcement officers caught with their hands in the forfeiture cookie jar deserve to meet with the harshest penalties. Such actions by the police completely undermine society's confidence in the police as protectors of individual rights.
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THE ISSUE: In response to changing social mores which allow for alternatives to the "one man, one woman" marriage, government is escalating its enforcement of the traditional rule of marriage. This is infringing upon the rights of association of those who do not wish to partake in the traditional relationship.
THE PRINCIPLE: Marriage is a social institution whose meaning is given not by the state but by the social mores of those participating in such a union. Most government regulation of marriage is based in the religious mores of those who populate government offices. The concept of separation of church and state requires that the state stay out of defining marriage.
LIBERTARIAN SOLUTIONS: We call for the abolition of all state laws and regulations restricting marriages, including the marriage license. We call for the abolition of all laws prohibiting marriage between any consenting adults, or any number of consenting adults.
LIBERTARIAN ACTION/TRANSITION: In order to achieve freedom to choose one's mate or mates, society as a whole must come to understand that no one person, group or religion has the authority to define "marriage" for everyone else. Separation of church and state necessitates the removal of religious iconography from government regulation to the extent that any citizens are denied equal protection of the laws. Also, we must understand that one person's sin is another person's love, and the law should only concern itself where force or fraud is involved.
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THE ISSUE:: Prison overcrowding is a government-created issue in Arizona. We could clear the overcrowding of our prisons simply by commuting the sentences of all non-violent offenders who committed victimless crimes. Furthermore, there is rampant abuse of prisoners, particularly in Maricopa County where Sheriff Joe Arpaio runs his tent cities.
THE PRINCIPLE: Government's only legitimate purpose is the protection of individual rights. When someone violates the rights of another, in addition to making restitution, the offender may deserve a prison sentence. However, government prisons are another opportunity for bureaucratic waste, graft, and corruption. Because of this, and many other reasons, the private sector should provide this service.
LIBERTARIAN SOLUTIONS: We oppose the plan of former Governor Jane Dee Hull and current Governor Janet Napolitano to "close the schools and open the jails." Schools today deal with simple problems, such as children fighting, by calling the police, thus creating criminal records. A rational person can expect the result, that such children learn from their incarceration experiences to become more hardened criminals.
There is no reason to stand in the way of privatization of prisons. Prisoners do have rights, but a private prison is no less able to protect those limited rights than a government prison. On the other hand, a private prison, with a profit motivation, will best make use of the labor force in prisons so that actual restitution can be made to victims of the crimes for which these convicts were incarcerated.
LIBERTARIAN ACTION/TRANSITION: Most prisoners in our state were convicted of victimless crimes, and if their sentances were reduced or eliminated, there would be plenty of space for murderers, rapists and child molestors who are presently being released on parole despite the failure to reform.
In the short term, the State of Arizona should continue to outsource its prison operations, which are huge liabilities to the state, to corporations which can run the prisons at a profit without violating the limited rights of their wards.
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THE ISSUE: Government involvement in transportation has been an intolerable burden to everyone, whether as taxpayers, travelers, shippers, or consumers. It has meant massive violations of individual rights, threats to public safety, disruption of neighborhoods and the environment, barriers to economic opportunity, subsidies to special interests, and immeasurable corruption, waste, and inefficiency. We support the privatization of transportation and the end of all government interference in this area.
THE PRINCIPLE: Government interference in transportation is characterized by monopolistic restriction, corruption, and gross inefficiency. We oppose the coercion through taxes and eminent domain necessarily involved in implementing transportation plans.
LIBERTARIAN SOLUTIONS: We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation and the transfer of their legitimate functions to competitive private firms. We demand privatization of railroads, airports, and highways.
LIBERTARIAN ACTION/TRANSITION: The first solution to any transportation problem is to avoid doing any further harm. We oppose all new plans for government spending on public transportation, particularly for the latest fad called “light rail” which is actually nothing but 19th century trolleys with fresh paint jobs. We applaud Tucson’s resounding rejection of a light rail transportation plan in that city’s 2003 election. Though the voters of Phoenix approved a light rail plan in its 2000 election, we hold that it is better to discard a bad idea now than to continue to spend money on a doomed plan. Phoenix should end its taxpayer funding of its transportation plan.
We support the concept of transportation that is available to the public, including but not limited to trains, buses and light rail. The proper way to build, maintain and operate a light rail plan would be to sell an easement for certain public property (for example, a wash) where no other building could take place except for a rail line - and then let a private consortium build the rail line and let the consumers decide if this is what they want.
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THE ISSUE: Arizona is a desert state; it did not have much drinking water to begin with. But government has mismanaged the water supply to such an extent that there will be a serious shortage of drinking water before long.
THE PRINCIPLE: We advocate the establishment of an efficient and just system of private water rights, applied to all bodies of water, surface and underground. Such a system should be built upon a doctrine of first claim and use. The allocation of water should be governed by unrestricted competition and unregulated prices. All government restrictions upon private use, voluntary transfer of water rights, or of the water from such rights, must be eliminated.
LIBERTARIAN SOLUTIONS: Government's monopoly of the water supply has been an exercise in futility. Simple economics tells us that when the supply of a limited resource decreases and demand increases, the price must increase in order to reach equilibrium. Instead, government-managed water companies charge obscenely low prices for water, thereby encouraging citizens to waste a scarce resource. Government water rationing and similar controls only exacerbates the problem.
LIBERTARIAN ACTION/TRANSITION: As a first step, we call for the re-introduction of the basic principles of supply and demand into the management of the water supply. The prices that water companies charge in Arizona are even lower than what can be found in states where water is plentiful. Arizona cannot survive forever like this.
But government is never willing to admit defeat, even against the laws of nature and economics. The survival of the Arizona water supply truly depends on privatization of these resources.