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I am always amazed at how inconsistent people are when it comes to their political views.

For example, many of the same people who fight for repealing marijuana prohibition, based on the correct premise that people have a right to their own body, at the same time support draconian government regulation of drug companies by the FDA or support laws giving bureaucrats power to control what health insurance they can buy.

Many of the same people who decry government interference in the economy, under the correct premise that individuals have a right to own and freely trade property, seek to give the government power over women’s bodies to coerce them into unwanted pregnancies or support trampling civil liberties in the name of “fighting terrorism.”

Many of the same activists who attack the power of the so-called “evil corporations” and support anti-trust measures, supposedly to prevent the concentration of power, turn around and seek to create the largest monopoly of all – a socialist government, backed by the power of an armed military, to confiscate and nationalize private property.

Many Democrats properly denounced the Bush administration for usurping individual freedom under the guise of fighting terrorism yet look the other way when perpetrated by Obama’s intelligence apparatus. They oppose government censorship of their own ideas but seek government regulation of right wing talk radio through the fairness doctrine or the implementation of so-called speech codes.  Many Republicans cheered the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security and the implementation of policies aimed at neutering civil liberties under Bush but now, correctly, vilify the NSA and other intelligence agencies for comprising an Orwellian police state.

The root of the problem is ignorance of the true nature of individual rights and the proper function of government.  Freedom means the right to think, produce, and own private property as long as you do not violate another’s rights by initiating physical force.  The function of government is to secure these rights by banishing the use of force except in self-defense. Broadly applying the concept of individual rights was the essence of the Founding Father’s achievement.

Ignorance or evasion of the meaning and nature of rights is why both the mainstream political parties seek to violate individual rights, just at different times and in slightly different forms.  According to a recent report from Gallup, perhaps American are waking up. “Forty-two percent of Americans, on average, identified as political independents in 2013, the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago.” While this poll is a step in the right direction, it’s important for those seeking alternatives to understand the nature of freedom and individual rights and to uphold a non-contradictory platform of ideas.

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Doug Reich blogs at the The Rational Capitalist with commentary, analysis, and links upholding reason, individualism, and capitalism.