The positions of the WakeLP on these local issues reflect the value we place on individual liberty as well as our opposition to government interference in the lives and private business of all Wake County residents. We urge local government officials and candidates for office to act in accordance with the policies outlined here.
With respect to any issues not discussed here, we favor policies supportive of individual liberty and personal responsibility and defer to the Libertarian Party of North Carolina and the national Libertarian Party platforms for issues affecting us at the state and national levels.
We believe parents deserve more control over where their children go to school. Parents should be able to hold schools accountable for a student-centered educational funding model (aka “backpack budgeting”). Public charter schools, vouchers, and Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) are helpful because they encourage education systems to respond to the needs of each family.
Local school boards and teachers can better serve parents and communities when they have greater control over calendars and curriculum. Vocational training at community colleges is key to keeping our workforce trained and globally competitive and should be able to compete vigorously with other more costly educational options. Competitive pay for teachers must remain a priority if we are to have a high-functioning educational system.
Our population boom in Wake County is creating serious challenges for commuters. As libertarians, we support market-based solutions like autonomous driving cars and non-traditional taxi services, and we encourage relaxing transit regulations. We also support public-private partnerships that work to make our transportation grid operate smoother, leaner, and smarter; however, we remain skeptical of mandatory participation in expensive state-mandated options (for example, light rail). We feel that individual communities should be able to decide what is right for local transportation needs. Traffic is also intrinsically linked with land use development patterns. Reducing state interference via zoning and other ordinances would lead to market-based solutions.
We believe that the major factor driving healthcare costs higher is over-regulation which negatively affects the services patients receive. We support healthcare deregulation at the local level to encourage practitioners to pay more attention to the care their patients actually need, rather than wasting countless hours filling out government-required paperwork. We call on the General Assembly to stand up to special interests, for example, by allowing nurse practitioners a greater role in inpatient treatment.
We further propose ending North Carolina’s “Certificate of Need” laws which put government in charge of doctor’s standards of care and hinders the availability of beds to those with mental illness. We recognize that healthcare reform is a many-faceted undertaking, but we pledge to do everything we can at a local level to ease the regulatory burden and reduce costs.
Libertarians everywhere advocate keeping taxes low in order to maximize opportunities for economic growth. Taxation not only discourages individual work, savings, and investment but also encourages government overreach by providing easy spending money for legislatures. Several states with reasonable budgeting manage to reduce sales taxes altogether. We remain skeptical of bond issuances (borrowing) that obligate future generations to finance today’s special interest programs.
Criminal Justice Reform
Many people are alarmed by the deterioration we see in our criminal justice system today. Constitutional rights such as due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and innocence until proven guilty should be absolute. But the War on Drugs — our generation’s Prohibition — has been a national disaster, and as such, we favor the repeal of laws that create crimes without victims such as the use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes.
Savings realized from reducing our prison population should be employed in training programs that give the incarcerated a fair chance at a more effective and lasting re-entry back into our local communities. We also favor a more flexible and locally controlled juvenile court and detention system and oppose North Carolina’s treatment of 17-year-olds as adults. We call for the repeal of all statutes that assert a crime has been committed in cases where no specific victim or damage to property can be identified.
Guaranteed Rights for All People
Libertarians embrace the concept that all people are born with certain inherent rights. We uphold and defend the rights of every person, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or any other aspect of their identity (a core position of the Libertarian Party since inception in 1971).
We reject the idea that a natural right can ever impose an obligation upon others to fulfill that “right.” Libertarians reject all attempts by federal, state, or local governments to deny any person their natural rights.
We all want to live in safe and prosperous communities and have the right to the peaceful and healthful enjoyment of our property. Polluters such as owners of coal ash pits and hog farms must be held responsible when they cause environmental harm and must not be allowed to unduly influence the drafting of the laws, ordinances, rules, and/or standards that apply to them. We oppose special interests influencing laws in a manner that might deprive victims of their rights to a clean and healthy environment.
We call for all state House and Senate district map lines to be re-drawn by independent non-partisan commissions. Gerrymandering by whichever party is in control of the legislature has a very negative effect on the integrity of our political and democratic processes. All votes — major party, minor party, and independent — must have equal weight.
The acts of registering to vote and voting must remain simple, easy, and valid. Part of the problem is that the current manipulation of the system by the Democratic and Republican parties excludes a third of all Wake County voters —“unaffiliated”— from participation on boards of election and effectively bans them from running for partisan office via prohibitive petition requirements, so that the interests of these voters are not well-represented. We also believe that county voters should retain a high degree of control over local county and school board electoral maps.
It is a core libertarian belief that a fair and competitive economy that is not overly regulated enables people to create new opportunities for themselves and allows businesses to grow. State and local governments should not play favorites by subsidizing particular industries or businesses with our tax dollars. A perfect example of over-regulation in our state is the ABC stores and other alcoholic beverage distribution regulations.
Additional examples include the state dictating how cars may be sold in North Carolina or protecting energy companies from competition, or when licensing laws hinder individuals from entering simple professions (such as barbering), or when restrictive zoning prevents people from creatively re-using downtown properties. All of these restrictions should be removed or greatly reduced. Governments should respect both property rights and the right of individuals to pursue innovative and competitive business opportunities to create a dynamic free market in the great state of North Carolina.
The Right to Bear Arms
Libertarians believe in the irrevocable right to bear arms, which includes all weapons, ammunition, and other associated armaments. We believe that all peaceful people have the right to carry firearms and protective equipment for the purpose of defending persons or property.
Additionally, no person should be forced to join with others for common defense, but individuals have the right to join voluntary self-defense organizations such as armed neighborhood watches, regional militias, and private security firms. Such organizations serve as non-governmental defense forces which keep communities safe without the need for bureaucratic intervention.