The Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies Principles

I – Individual Liberty

  • The first principle of Liberalism is that Man is born absolutely free, his one and only path to happiness is to live free, or as close as possible.

 

  • What we mean by freedom in this context is Individual Liberty, the opposite of servitude, i.e. freedom from restrictions imposed by another human being.

 

II – Minimal Government

  • Man invented Government to protect his personal freedom from the harms others might do him, but he had to give up some of this freedom to Government so that it may perform its task, namely, he gave up his freedom to use force to achieve his interest.

 

  • The original task of Government is to monopolize the legitimate use of force, as the only party which may apply force without punishment. However, Government does not use force arbitrarily, rather, according to a set of rules that we call the Law. The law is ordained as a Social Contract between individual human beings. All individuals endorsing a Social Contract must stand before the Law as equals of no rank or distinction. This principle is what we call: the Rule of Law.

 

  • There are two possible guarantees that a Government will obey the law:

  1. That Government has no source of income other than Taxes paid by the individuals under this Government’s authority, devised and appropriated by these very individuals or their elected representatives.

  2. That the individuals are able to monitor, hold accountable and dismiss those responsible for running their Government.

These two guarantees combined can be called: Representative Democracy.

  • Government is evil, since it detracts from Individual Liberty, but a necessary evil, to maintain the larger part of that Liberty. Therefore, Individual Liberty and Size of Government (the fields in which Government may intervene) are inversely proportional. The larger Government gets, the more Individual Liberty is restricted and vice versa. Government, as the monopolist on force, is always the stronger side in a conflict with an individual. Thus, Government should always be kept as small as possible.

 

  • The closest Government model to perfection – least evil – is that of the Minimal State which intervenes only in three cases to prevent or amend:

  1. Physical harm done to an individual

  2. Damage to individual property

  3. Violation of a contract

 

III – Free Market

  • Liberalism supposes that Man’s ultimate goal is happiness. Since Man is and should be absolutely free, he is the only one capable of defining what will bring him happiness, i.e. defining his interest, and the means by which he will seek to realize this interest.

 

  • Liberalism sees the Market as the medium through which individuals seek to achieve their material interest with scarce resources. Free Market means that this medium is open for everyone without restriction.

 

  • Government should not intervene in the Market but within the limits of its three aforementioned tasks. This includes intervention to protect the Free Market value of individual property (e.g. Anti-Trust Law) and preservation of implicit contracts (e.g. Printing Money and subsequent Monetary Policies).