When I was in high school, I only knew about conservatives and liberals. They had a lot of differing opinions on personal and economic issues. Conservatives favored more economic freedoms and more control over personal freedoms. Liberals, on the other hand, favored more personal freedoms and more control over economic freedoms. I've also learned that there was also a statist system where big government controlled both personal and economic freedoms (e.g. Nazi Germany and North Korea).
During my college life, my political persuasion leaned towards the center-left. Only when I entered the workforce and saw the reality of taxation, unwise regulations, unwise government spending and bloated bureaucracies that I gradually moved towards favoring a political philosophy that values liberty and the individual.
It was when I went to the United States a year ago that I found the word for what I believe in: libertarianism. During a random Web surfing session, I found out that there was a Libertarian Party in the United States. I used to think that there were only two political parties: the conservative Republican Party and the liberal Democratic Party. After reading about libertarianism, I found that it resonated with my aspirations and my beliefs. I wished I could be a Libertarian but it's not possible because I'm not an American citizen. So for now, I'm happy with being a small-l libertarian.
Why am I a libertarian?
- I support maximum liberty in personal and economic matters.
- I advocate a much smaller government, which is limited to protecting individuals from coercion, fraud and violence. Less bureaucracy, less waste.
- I value individual responsibility. Responsible people are not governed by mere laws. Free people act responsibly.
- I believe that taxation should at least be made fairer, if not lesser, and that my tax money should be used wisely.
- I strongly believe that Internet censorship and filtering are bullshit and a waste of resources. Education is a better way to address the dangers of the Internet (e.g. child porn) than government intervention.
- I can tolerate diverse lifestyles, belief systems and religions. People should be able to live their lives in a way that makes them happy and that does not harm others. People should be free to choose to belong (or not belong) to a religious or non-religious organization.
- I believe in free markets. Business should have minimal, if not zero government intervention. People should be able to buy products and services that they need and want.
- I find that private charities can do a better job of helping the needy than the so-called "welfare state".
- Civil liberties are important and they should be promoted and defended. The government should be afraid of the people, not the other way around.
One final note: a free and empowered individual is an essential component of a free and empowered society.