|Free Liberal Party|
|Ideology|| Classical liberalism,|
|International affiliation||Liberal International|
|Close to||CDU, CD|
|Far from||SLP, CvB|
The Free Liberal Party (Dutch: Vrije Liberale Partij) is a major centre-right political party in Brunant. The ideology of the party is based upon classical liberalism, and focuses on the rights of the individual. The Free Liberal Party is currently the oldest party in Brunant (although it has been renamed since its founding), founded in 1883, and the third largest by members, after the Social Democratic Party and Christian Democratic Union. The current party chairman is Eric Peitersson, Senator from Drenthe Parish. Its slogan is "Free Minds, Free Labor, Free Trade".
Founding and early historyEdit
The Free Liberal Party is one of the oldest political parties in Brunant. Founded in 1883 as the Liberal Party two years after the Liberal Revolution, it quickly became a powerful force in Brunanter politics and provided many Presidents and Prime Ministers. Together with its rival, the White Party, they usually formed the largest parties in Congress, up until the Great Depression of the 1930s and the rise of the Social Democratic Party, when the Liberal Party began to lose power.
Between the late 1880s and the Great Depression, the LP had a relationship with the White Party similar to that of the Jacksonian Democrats and the Whigs in American politics. The Liberal Party tended to be composed of the agrarian lower class, yeoman farmers, Anglophiles, Protestants and native-born Brunanters. It was primarily based in the rural areas of the kingdom. Their platform centered around egalitarianism, agrarianism, regionalism, and expanded economic opportunity. The White Party, on the other hand, was based around urban centers and had the most support among wealthy industrialists and landowners, Dutch-speakers, Catholics and immigrants. They, much like the Whigs, advocated a strong central government that would work alongside big business to develop Brunant into an industrialized nation-state.
Due to the founding of the Social Democratic Party in 1930 by trade unionists, the liberals began to fracture. Radical leftist intellectuals and leftists in general joined the SDP, while mainstream Anglophile conservatives and the pious grudgingly switched to the White Party. The LP were left with a small coalition of agrarians (who would later form the CD), liberal intellectuals, ardent free-trade advocates and a trickle of fiscally oriented middle class conservatives. This last group became the primary voting bloc of the LP after the agrarians formed the CD and in concert with thinkers influenced by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, they reformed the party into the libertarian organization it became in 1976, under the Free Liberal Party label.
The FLP todayEdit
Originally a centrist economic party, the liberals gradually re-aligned themselves to a libertarian stance on both social and economic issues by the 1970s and re-branded themselves as the Free Liberal Party in 1976, emphasizing their pro-freedom stance on many issues. In 2010, the Front for Freedom merged with the FLP. Currently, it is the sixth largest party in Congress.
Platform and ideologyEdit
The FLP is generally classified as a liberal party in the old British tradition. Held inviolable are the principles of liberty, rule of law, private property, and free trade. However, the views of its voters range from anarcho-capitalist and paleolibertarian on the far right to social democracy and occasionally socialism on the left. The main focus of the party is on reducing the size and scope of Brunant's government across the board.
- The FLP is the only major party that advocates strongly for localism, meaning that they tend to support having regulations concerning language, land zoning/usage, transportation initiatives, firearms usage etc. to be handled at the municipal and/or parish levels as opposed to at the national level.
The FLP is opposed to "legislating morality". While many members have conservative opinions concerning gay rights, they are opposed to government involvement in private matters, considering it an invasion of privacy.
- Equal rights under the law for LGBT individuals and couples. The official party platform supports same-sex marriage; however, more conservative supporters simply wish for equal rights in civil unions.
- Abortion is a contentious topic in internal FLP politics. Nonreligious voters, radical libertarians, and progressive members support ending the 2011 ban on most abortions, but the majority of the party (right-leaning libertarians and conservatives) tend to oppose abortion in most cases. Party chair Eric Peitersson vehemently opposes the act, considering it murder.
- Revision and/or replacement of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in the military.
- Removal of most restrictions to gun ownership and usage. Supports a 'Castle Doctrine' law in regards to self-defense while on one's property or in one's home. There is a growing movement within the party to support carry laws for handguns for self-defense.
- Revising welfare laws and funding to ensure a streamlined and lower-cost welfare system. There is a wide spectrum of thought within the party in regards to the issue, ranging from those wishing to end most programs altogether to moderates who simply call for a reduction of wasteful spending.
- Supports legalization of marijuana as well as a reduction in regulation of other "soft" drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco. In general, the FLP does not support additional "morality taxes" on such drugs, preferring them to be regulated like all other commodities.
- Keeping the tax burden at a minimum for all tax brackets.
- Leave the Eurozone in order to mantain sound financial and monetary policy. Supports the Thaler as opposed to the Euro.
- Repealing the death and capital gains tax, and making up for lost revenue with a national progressive sales tax.
- Free trade, with reduced import-export restrictions.
- While not actively hostile to unions, the FLP is the most anti-organized labor party in mainstream Brunanter politics. The libertarian and conservative wing of the party strongly advocates for ending or at least severely curtailing the power of public unions.
Foreign policy, immigration and militaryEdit
The FLP is softly Eurosceptic, and as detailed above they generally support leaving the Eurozone. Many members are now moving towards the position of wishing to leave the EU entirely, though they remain in the minority.
- The FLP leans isolationist, though in a Eurosceptic and not xenophobic manner.
- Though liberal, the party generally does not support immigration of non- English or Dutch speakers, and wishes to drastically limit immigration to only those who are educated and willing to immigrate to Brunant permanently and assimilate fully.
- Supports a downsized but better-equipped fighting force, focused on territorial defense rather than international endeavors such as participating in UN peacekeeping forces.
The Young Liberals are the youth wing of the FLP, and are roughly analogous with the youth organizations of the other parties. Total membership is roughly 7,000. The YL's main activities include charity work, fundraising, and picketing.
Brunanter Enterprise InstituteEdit
The Brunanter Enterprise Institute is a policy-writing organization and think tank founded in 2006 by a collaboration of FLP/FFF leadership and certain segments of the business community. The primary purpose of the BEI is to put forth scholarly work and research in support of the FLP's platform, as well as to act as an outreach organization between the party and Brunant's business community. Much of the FLP's funding is thanks to the close ties between these two groups.
New Century FoundationEdit
Founded in 1999, the New Century Foundation is a think tank that assists the FLP in formulating its overall platform. The NCF is focused more on social and philosophical issues than is the BEI, which is more commerce-oriented. The foundation has close ties to the Cato Institute in London.
While not a true affiliate or subset of the party, Cerberus Solutions is a small firm that provides miscellaneous consulting and public relations support to the FLP. It was instrumental in helping unite the Front For Freedom and the FLP in 2010.
Constituency and demographic makeupEdit
The FLP's current members consist primarily of three demographics: young urban and suburban professionals generally supportive of the Christian Democratic Union's economic policies but dissatisfied with its social positions, libertarians and human rights activists fearful of government power, and rural voters who identify strongly with the party's position on gun control and the death tax. While most of the FLP tends to be somewhat right-wing, there are left-wingers in the party who prefer the FLP's no-compromise focus on individual rights and equality to the Social Democrats's more mainstream left-wing politics.
The FLP is often seen by the mainstream right as being morally bankrupt, as the FLP endorses complete separation between church and state in addition to equal rights for LGBT individuals and couples.
The Left (the CD, SLP` and SD) is also critical of the Free Liberal Party's support of non-interventionist economic policies, fearing they favor the upper class at the expense of the middle class and the impoverished.
The FLP is also criticized by the far right as being sellouts for supporting "nontraditional" social values, as well as being "pansies" for advocating for a smaller military.