Richard Maybury has a very, very concise statement that embodies the basis of Libertarianism as I understand it. Boiled down from old English Common Law, Maybury calls this the “Two Laws,” and the statement forms the basis for tort law and some criminal law:
“Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property.”
Think about that for a moment. What would happen if the federal and state governments were reduced to the absolute minimum necessary to enforce those two laws? I realize that is unacceptably vague language to fully run a legal system, but at least the basis for everything I can think of really wanting the government to be in charge of is all contained in it. Defense, property ownership rights, contract liability.
My simple question is this: Does this fall short? Should government have control to enforce laws that fall outside those general categories?
Note that this doesn’t cover education, healthcare, welfare, the money supply, gay marriage, or many other areas that the government currently manages (or, shall we say, attempts to manage). While obviously based on moral principles, the application of these two laws is strikingly amoral. For government, which I believe should be as small as possible, is it a mistake to go that far?