Law For Libertarians

I ran for elective office for the Libertarian party in 1979 and 1982. Many people philosophically inclined to a libertarian view, that of less government in our personal and business lives, have come to me for counsel and often representation in litigation. For them I first wrote:

The American passion for liberty has its context in sovereignty. The commands of the sovereign are its laws. My legal advice is: obey the law and pay your taxes. That, however, is the beginning of the discussion. The reason you to want to talk to a lawyer is so that the rest of the discussion can be, forever, privileged and confidential. Your disclosures and even admissions to your lawyer cannot be compelled into testimony (short of expressions of intent to commit future crimes, or employment of counsel to defraud or otherwise violate the law).

We sometimes underestimate the pervasive power of the law, and worse, sometimes fail to take appropriate counsel to preserve rather than risk liberty and its benefits. The Constitution itself makes paramount: Life, Liberty and Property. The phrase of the Declaration, the “pursuit of happiness,” is but a declaration of our continuing practice of the arts of happiness as we may choose to do so. The sovereign’s protection of our Life, Liberty and Property enables our pursuits of happiness.

Yet when the sovereign purports to do more, purports to have the power to do more, than protect Life, Liberty and Property, liberty is compromised. When this unhappy circumstance obtains, by state action or through the instrumentalities of the state, such as the courts, legal counsel and legal representation, all too often in hard-fought litigation, are critical to success and sometimes survival. Before you do anything drastic, talk to your lawyer first.