With Liberty and Justice For All
The aim of any justice system should be to prevent crime, protect the innocent, and, when possible, reform offenders so that they can become productive, law-abiding members of society. Our current justice system fails all of these measures. Non-violent drug offenders are disproportionately punished, taking up resources better devoted to violent criminals who directly threaten society. Mandatory prison sentences convert low-level offenders to career criminals, and juveniles are treated in ways that are often cruel and detrimental to their development.
Free the People supports reforms to make the justice system more efficient, more effective, and more, well, just. This includes reforming federal and state prison systems and sentencing procedures, ending mandatory minimum sentencing, and ending unconstitutional practices like civil asset forfeiture, in which private property is taken without due process.
Stop Political Cronyism
Conventional wisdom holds that business and government are enemies, each trying to restrain the other’s power. In fact, businesses have always taken advantage of government authority to stifle competition and protect their own profits. The people who really lose under such an arrangement are consumers, taxpayers and start-up entrepreneurs. Crony capitalism—the opposite of free enterprise—empowers government-granted monopolies, props up inefficient and unprofitable companies with subsidies, and stifles new ideas and market innovation.
At Free the People, we understand the difference between being pro-market and being simply pro-business. Free markets give each of us a vote on the best solution to any given problem, a solution that will never be reached as long as governments impede competition and restrain trade. We strive to sever the link between business and government by opposing bailouts, state-created monopolies, subsidies, and cronyism in all its forms.
Owning a gun used to be our choice, protected by the Second Amendment. Now it feels like a responsibility, an unfortunate necessity in dangerous times.
The natural tendency of governments to grab power from citizens is exacerbated during times of crisis by the political imperative to “do something.” Progressive politicians prefer to grab guns, and “neocons” prefer to grab your iPhone’s data and your due process. Demands to restrict speech and the practice of religion come from across the political spectrum. But in defending us from a decentralized, and increasingly homegrown, threat, more centralized power has a bad track record.
At Free the People, we know you have a fundamental right to defend yourself, your family, and your community. The right to bear arms, and all of our essential liberties, are least pliable during times of crisis.
Mind Your Own Business
Civil liberties are those bedrock freedoms from government interference with your life, enshrined in the Bill of Rights. But many of these rights—from the right to free expression and dissent, to freedom from unjust searches and seizures, and to due process of law—are under constant assault by the government.
Many of the most urgent battles for civil liberties are online. The internet is the greatest tool for human communication and innovation the world has ever seen, but it also offers the government new ways to invade your privacy and trample on your rights. Federal agencies like the FBI and the NSA spy on innocent people without due process, bully companies into compromising the security of their users, and treat Americans as guilty until proven innocent. Your rights don’t stop at the border between the physical and digital worlds.
At Free the People, we believe in defending the entire bill of rights, not just selective rights defended when politically expedient.
Be Free To Choose
Free choice is the foundation of individual liberty. In today’s disintermediated world, millennials curate everything; friends, spontaneous institutions, music, and even employment. But while military conscription is (hopefully) an artifact of the past, government still conscripts young people into a variety of mandatory programs that make little sense. One-size-fits-all programs designed long before the internet conscript the next generation against their will. With government run health care and retirement programs running out of money and promising a negative return for young people, it’s time to let each of us choose our own future.
When government controls your health care, it will seek to control your life choices as well. What you eat, how you exercise, what kind of insurance plan you can buy. Your health is the most personal thing about you, and no one else should have a say in how you choose to maintain it. This includes promoting food freedom, battling insurance mandates, and exploring new and innovative ways to deliver medical care to patients without government intervention.
At Free the People, we embrace choice in all aspects of life. No one knows your life better than you do, and no one else has the right to make your choices for you.
End the War on Drugs
You own your body, and it’s nobody’s business what substances you want to consume, as long as you don’t hurt other people, or take their stuff. Apart from issues of privacy and individual choice, the drug war has had many serious unintended consequences. Just as alcohol prohibition in the 1920s gave rise to organized crime and dangerous bathtub gin, marijuana prohibition has fed gang warfare and powerful drug cartels, resulting in misery and the loss of innocent lives every day.
The policy of incarcerating casual users of marijuana has ruined young lives and transformed non-violent offenders into hardened criminals, whose status as convicted felons makes it difficult or impossible to re-enter society as productive and law-abiding citizens. At Free the People, we believe that it’s time to end the failed War on Drugs.
Embrace The Sharing Economy
Technology and universal choice has democratized capitalism and allowed millions of new entrepreneurs to leverage “capital equipment” like a car or a spare bedroom into profits. The sharing economy shifts power and money away from old, controlling institutions, including governments, unions, monopolists, and corporations. That’s a very good thing—free people exchanging goods and services with one another. It’s time to get rid of the middlemen and entrenched interests that hold back competition, innovation, and the ability of individuals to control their own destinies.
Free the People will work to support the efforts of entrepreneurs who break the old molds and find new ways of earning a living, and to remove barriers to prosperity everywhere.
Defending our nation from outside threats is the most important job of the federal government, but that doesn’t mean defense bureaucrats, or an imperial president, should have carte blanche authority. Per Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution, the power to declare war sits solely with Congress, the branch of government most accountable to the people.
A strong foreign policy should respect the human rights we as Americans hold dear. This includes condemning the use of torture and striving to avoid civilian casualties whenever possible. This also means learning from the failures of nation building abroad, and reining in our meddling with other countries’ governments. It may also mean reevaluating whether the enemies of our enemies should always be supported as if they were our friends. Contrary to what some “neoconservative” hawks aver, a smarter, saner foreign policy makes us stronger, not weaker.
Free the People stands for peace, not permanent war, as the only foreign policy consistent with liberty.
Break The Education Industrial Complex
Contrary to the belief of powerful education bureaucrats, there is no one-size-fits-all formula to learning. Attempts to impose a single, top-down approach to education at any level has always failed, quite simply because no two students are the same. The technology disruptor Peter Thiel has gone so far as to encourage innovative students to drop out of college. Students can greatly benefit from the advantages of modern technology. Some children thrive in group settings, while others require one-on-one interaction. It all depends on the student.
At Free the People, we believe that parents should be free to choose the education best for their children, from traditional public or private schools, to various styles of homeschooling, to private lessons with tutors, to online academies; whatever works best.