Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Learning about liberty can be confusing, as many people who talk about it and describe it often use terms differently from what most people are used to. Therefore, I decided to create a glossary to assist students of liberty to navigate a new perspective on common terms. Any underlining indicates a defined term within the glossary. If you believe any important terms are missing, please let me know in the comments. Happy learning!
Aggression - The initiation of force or the threat of force. If one party commits aggression, it is implied that no other party used force or the threat of force before the aggression occurred. Aggression usually includes breaking the terms of a contract and fraud.
Anarchist - One who subscribes to the belief in anarchy. Some self-proclaimed "anarchists" simply want to replace one type of government with another, contradicting the entire concept of anarchy.
Anarcho-Capitalism - A political philosophy which advocates the complete elimination of the state in order to maximize property rights, the free market, human freedom, and voluntary cooperation.
Anarchy - From the Greek anarkhos, an- meaning "without" and arkhos meaning "ruler". The term literally means "absence of a ruler" or "without rulers". In an etymological and literal sense, anarchy does not mean "chaos" or "the absence of laws".
Arbitration - An institution that provides the service of judging conflicts between parties in any previously agreed-upon format. Arbitration is often monopolized (see Monopoly) by the state wherein it is partly financed through taxation, parties to the conflict are barred from deciding upon an alternative format, restitution is ignored, and the state arbitrarily sets fines and other sentences (see Laws) as punishment for disobeying the state.
Bankruptcy - A tool the state uses to prohibit creditors from using defensive force to compel a debtor to pay what is owed.
Centralization - The idea that all rights to act within a given sphere must be authorized by an infallible central authority. When applied to the state, this idea is contrary to the idea that individuals have rights.
City/Town Council - (see Ruler)
Classical Liberal - An individual who subscribes to the philosophy of classical liberalism.
Classical Liberalism - A retroactive label to describe the late 18th to 19th century philosophy dedicated to securing individual freedom and limiting the power of the state (see Libertarianism).
Congress - (see Ruler)
Conservative - Typically, an individual who advocates a regulated market, a strong national military, foreign intervention, and restrictions on certain behaviors.
Constitution - A document that the state uses to justify its constant violations of the non-aggression principle.
Contract - A tool through which two or more parties may explicitly agree upon specific terms and conditions as part of a voluntary exchange. After a contract is signed or otherwise agreed upon, each party is bound to fulfill their part of it. Failure to abide by the terms of a contract is a form of aggression.
Court of Law - (see Arbitration)
Currency - An object, usually made of paper or cheap metal, that can represent money. In very recent history, the state has monopolized (see Monopoly) currency wherein the official currency is based on debt and not on money, and the use of money is discouraged.
Defense Agency - An institution which provides the service of utilizing defensive force in order to compel aggressors to pay restitution to victims. Defense agencies are often monopolized (see Monopoly) by the state wherein they are financed through taxation, and commit aggression against individuals by forcing (see Force) them to stop disobeying arbitrary rules (see Laws) decreed by the state.
Defensive Force - The application of violence in order to defend against aggression, or the application of violence in order to compel an aggressor to make restitution to a victim.
Democratic Party - A political party in the United States whose sole objective is to put people (see Ruler) in office, primarily by exploiting the sentiments of modern liberals.
Dictator - (see Ruler)
Federal Reserve - The central bank, monetary authority, and licensed counterfeiter of the United States government, used to finance state activities through money printing (see Inflation).
Fiat Currency - Currency based on the debt of the state and printed or minted by the state. The US Dollar is a fiat currency. Every single fiat currency in human history eventually lost 100% of its value.
Force - The application of violence in order to accomplish a desired end. The threat of force is often included in the definition of force.
Fraud - The deliberate deception of an individual or institution in order to gain unlawfully (see Unlawful). Fraud is usually considered aggression.
Free Market - The exchange of goods and services through completely voluntary means, unobstructed by any institutionalized aggression.
Government - (see State)
Governor - (see Ruler)
Illegal - Contrary to the arbitrary rules that the state dictates to the individuals within its jurisdiction.
Immigration - The act of peacefully moving from one location to another using voluntary means. Immigration usually involves purchasing or renting property from willing sellers or landlords, selling labor to willing employers, and engaging in economic exchanges with willing buyers and sellers. Immigrants are often the target of state aggression as the state uses force to discourage certain individuals from crossing arbitrary lines on the ground.
Independence - (see Secession)
Individual - (see Sovereign)
Inflation - The phenomenon that occurs when a central bank prints massive amounts of money in order to finance the state, which then lowers the value of each unit of currency held by every individual around the world. Inflation is the tool with which the Federal Reserve transfers massive amounts of wealth (see Taxation) from some sectors of society to politically-connected individuals or institutions.
Insurance - A service through which individuals and businesses may protect themselves against risk. A free market gives incentive to each individual and business to purchase insurance since bankruptcy would not be an option and financial assistance would not be guaranteed in case of an emergency. Insurers are also interested in protecting their business against risk which is why they can, as a condition of issuing a policy, ask the insured to allow inspections of property. This insurance environment provides for the voluntary regulation of businesses which minimizes any risks to individuals.
King - (see Ruler)
Law - (see Natural Law)
Laws - Arbitrary rules (see Ruler) handed down to society by the state that individuals are compelled to obey under the threat of of force. Laws may or may not align with natural law.
Legal Tender - A state-sanctioned medium of exchange which individuals and businesses in the state's jurisdiction are forced (see Force) to accept as a valid payment of any debt.
Legislation - (see Laws)
Legislator - (see Ruler)
Legislature - (see Ruler)
Liberal (Modern Liberal) - Typically, an individual who advocates a heavily regulated market, a strong national military, foreign intervention, and restrictions on certain behaviors.
Libertarian (big L) - A member of the Libertarian Party.
Libertarian (small l) - An individual who desires to maximize human freedom and limit the power of the state (see Libertarianism). A libertarian also subscribes to the non-aggression principle.
Libertarianism - An ideology which seeks to maximize individual freedom by limiting the power of the state.
Libertarian Party - A political party in the United States (the third-largest) with the objective to put rulers in office, with the hope that those rulers will advocate for governmental policies that are consistent with or approach the non-aggression principle.
Liberty - The innate ability that each individual possesses to control his own actions without any coercive force being used against him.
Mayor - (see Ruler)
Military - An institution which provides the service of an armed defense of a given area against invasion or attack. The military is often monopolized (see Monopoly) by the state wherein it is financed through taxation and commits aggression against foreign entities.
Militia - (see Military)
Money - Any object that is accepted as payment for goods, services, or debt. Anything can be used as money but it is common for virtually all individuals in the same area to voluntarily adopt the same object. The most popular object by far to be chosen as money by societies throughout history is gold. In very recent history the state has promoted national currencies (see Currency) to be the only regular money, usually under the threat of force (see Legal Tender).
Monopoly - An institution or business that has special privileges from the state that allow it to operate without competition. Any possible competition is eliminated by the state or regulated out of business.
Muh Roads - A common meme among libertarians that pokes fun at statists who wonder who would build the roads in a stateless society. There are many variations on "Muh Roads" that simply attach a state-provided good or service after the word "Muh" (e.g. Muh Social Security, Muh Courts, Muh Police, etc).
Natural Law - Law that is universal among all individuals, regardless of laws dictated by the state. The debate about whether natural law was instituted by deity or by nature is immaterial. Observation and experience show that the minimum moral standard for any individual is to refrain from aggressing against other individuals, and that any individual is justified in using defensive force against his aggressor.
Non-Aggression Principle - A principle which states that the initiation of force is illegitimate.
Police - (see Defense Agency)
President - (see Ruler)
Property Rights - The idea that an individual may appropriate an unused resource in a state of nature by mixing his labor with it, and that originally or previously appropriated resources may be transferred to another party through voluntary exchanges. Property may never be legitimately seized through aggression.
Regulation - Legislation or bureaucratic decrees that use aggression against individuals and businesses in order to enforce compliance with arbitrary rules (see Laws).
Republican Party - A political party in the United States whose sole objective is to put people (see Ruler) in office, primarily by exploiting the sentiments of conservatives.
Restitution - The debt owed by an aggressor to a victim, equal to the amount of harm done as a result of the aggression. As with any debt, restitution is subject to subrogation, whereby the harmed party may sell or transfer the debt to a third party.
Right - An inalienable liberty that an individual enjoys by virtue of being alive and a self-owner. Since any right, by definition, must be enjoyed to its full potential by every individual, there is only one true right: The right to be free from aggression, the only right that will never conflict with the equal right of others. Any additional "rights" will inevitably conflict with the similar "rights" of others.
Ruler - A person within any type of government (see State) who dictates arbitrary rules that all individuals within a jurisdiction must follow or suffer certain consequences.
Secession - The principle by which one individual or group of individuals politically separate themselves from another group of individuals, usually done in order to escape institutions that violate natural law.
Self-Ownership - The idea that you own yourself.
Sovereign - The ultimate authority, over which no earthly power has greater dominion (see Self-Ownership).
State - Synonymous with government (not to be confused with U.S. states). An organization which presumes to own and rule the people in a particular jurisdiction. Attributes common to every state is a monopoly on violence, a monopoly on laws, and the use of aggression to compel the payment of taxes (see Taxation).
Statist - An individual who promotes the existence of some form of state and approves the use of state aggression.
Supreme Court - (see Ruler)
Taxation - The idea that by simply existing or engaging in a certain activity within a jurisdiction, an individual is obligated to pay money to the state or suffer the consequences. In the eyes of the state, no explicit consent is required to be indentured to the state for life.
Threat of Force - The explicit intention to use violence in order to accomplish a desired end if nonviolent means prove unsuccessful.
Unlawful - Contrary to natural law.
Voluntaryism - The belief that all forms of human association should be voluntary (see Anarcho-Capitalism).
War on Drugs - Also known as the "Narcotics Price Support Program" or the "War on Politically Incorrect Drugs". State policies aimed at directing aggression against individuals who choose to produce, consume, buy, or sell certain goods. Drugs won.
War on Poverty - State policies that have subsidized poverty with tax money (see Taxation) and has lead to multigenerational dependency upon the state. Poverty won.
War on Terror - State policies used to justify aggression against foreign nations and against individuals within the state's jurisdiction. These policies have failed to stop a even a single act of terror. Terror won.