Saturday, December 13, 2014

Intimacy, Relationships, and The Problems of Monogamy

What is intimacy?

Intimacy is the creation of genuine connections with people. Some people see that sexual intercourse is the only "real" form of intimacy. However, I think that this is a narrow-sighted view of what intimacy is.

There is a wide array of things that can create intimate connections with people. Simple gestures that convey a loving attitude are intimate. Sharing similar views on certain topics can be intimate. Being excited about an idea can be intimate. And sex for sure can be intimate.

And therefore, when monogamous people insist on the exclusivity of sex I see it as an indirect declaration that sex is the only thing that matters in a relationship. I think sex is important, but by far not the only thing that is important.

So, when we see that restricting sexual intercourse is an indirect attempt to restrict intimacy a large array of problems come into light.

If someone takes seriously the idea of restricting the intimate connections that their partner has with other people, there is far a lot more than just sex that needs to be restricted. A simple conversation can be intimate, and how are you going to control that? Are you going to prohibit your partner from having meaningful conversations with other people?

Let's say a couple had a rule that they are not allowed to have deep meaningful conversations with other people in order to restrict intimate connections. What is the definition of a "deep meaningful conversation"?

For example, you can sit with someone and talk about something mundane... Like say, the weather. Let's imagine the following conversation:

- "Hey, the weather is nice today."
- "Yes, it is a lovely day today."
- "Did you watch the news? Do you have any idea how the weather is going to be tomorrow?"
- "Yeah, it is going to have some light rain tomorrow!"
- "Yay, I love rainy weather!"
- "Me too. Why is it that you love rainy weather?"
- "I just love going out in the rain. The feel of rain drops splashing my face is fantastic!"
- "Oh wow... I have the same feeling too... It's just so liberating!!"
- "Liberating... That's exactly the word I would describe that feeling!"

Looking at the conversation above, it might seem to some people to be about two people just conversing about the weather - nothing intimate about it. However, this conversation can be seen by some as an intimate conversation where people are sharing how they feel. A simple conversation like that can be the start of a great relationship, if the two people felt connected at a deep level, and sharing that attitude towards the rain had deep significance to them.

So, if you were in a monogamous relationship, how would you feel about your partner having that conversation with someone else?!

What if the conversation took a deeper turn? Let's say the two people started talking about the weather, and ended up talking about their dreams and aspirations. Maybe they both were for example atheists, and created a connection when they both became honest about their views of something that goes deep into the human psyche like religion. Maybe even they shared stories of having to fight social pressure to conform to mainstream religion, and so they felt a deep intimate connection?!

What would you think of the following conversation:

- "Hey, the weather is nice today."
- "Yes, it is a lovely day today."
- "Did you watch the news? Do you have any idea how the weather is going to be tomorrow?"
- "Yeah, it is going to have some light rain tomorrow!"
- "Yay, I love rainy weather!"
- "Me too. Why is it that you love rainy weather?"
- "I just love going out in the rain. The feel of rain drops splashing my face is fantastic!"
- "Oh wow... I have the same feeling too... It's just so liberating!!"
- "Liberating... That's exactly the word I would describe that feeling!"
- "Do you know what else I find liberating?"
- "What?"
- "Being honest with other people."
- "I agree. And in that spirit, I want to share something with you about myself."
- "What is that?"
- "I am an atheist, and it plays a huge role in my views about life!"
- "I am not atheist, however I am an agnostic! But wow, that was a really brave thing to say, seeing how much atheists are frowned upon in our society. I face a lot of negative reactions about my agnosticism, to the point of being afraid to tell others that aspect of myself!"
- "I do too, however I felt a good connection with you, and so I felt at ease sharing that with you!"
- "Yes, me too. The feeling is mutual, I also feel ecstatic that we could share that about ourselves."

What do you think of THAT? Now imagine that instead of the conversation above, the following conversation happened:

- "Hey, the weather is nice today."
- "Yes, it is a lovely day today."
- "Did you watch the news? Do you have any idea how the weather is going to be tomorrow?"
- "Yeah, it is going to have some light rain tomorrow!"
- "Yay, I love rainy weather!"
- "Me too. Why is it that you love rainy weather?"
- "I just love going out in the rain. The feel of rain drops splashing my face is fantastic!"
- "Oh wow... I have the same feeling too... It's just so liberating!!"
- "Ouch, I am sorry. I have a girlfriend. I sense this conversation is becoming meaningful. I am not interested in any conversation that goes beyond 'That's a nice weather!'... I prefer to only have meaningful conversations with my girlfriend."

What do you think?

I personally would feel abhorred by such over-protective fear of human connections and intimacy, that people feel they have to sabotage any meaningful intimate connections with others.

In my view, sex is an advanced stage of such intimate connections. It's not much different than simply cutting of a conversation that have just become interesting and meaningful. Relationships by their nature advance as people become more accepting and in tune with the other person. So, whether you cut off the conversation just when it has become interesting, or cutting off a relationship just when you feel that sexual intimacy is just few inches away, it all about sabotaging and being afraid of intimate connections happening between people!!

It's just an arbitrary line drawn in the sand!!

Also, if you were a person in the business of disallowing their partner from intimate connections with other people. What is sufficient protection? Even a seemingly innocent conversation about the weather can turn out to have an intimate aspect to it. So, what are you going to do? Ban conversing altogether?!

So, it really does not make sense to think you can simply make a bunch of rules to restrict intimacy.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Human Core: Pansexuality, Polyamory, and Relationship Anarchy

There are three aspects of the human experience that exemplify it's core values: Love, sexuality, and relationships. In this post, I will address those most essential elements of the human experience.

Let's start with a few quick definitions before we delve into the subject.

Pansexuality is a term used to describe undiscriminating choice for sexual and\or romantic partners. Most people are familiar with the term "bisexuality", which includes both "homo" and "hetero" partners for sexual and\or romantic affairs. Pansexuality extends beyond bisexuality, to include the sexes that are usually referred to as "others", including -but not limited to- transsexuals (people who undergone a sex-change operation) and intersexes (people who don't fall in either male or female profiles). I have expressed my admiration for pansexuality in previous posts, like this one.

It is worth noting that pansexuals don't have to actually be attracted to that full spectrum. A pansexual might be someone who is in fact heterosexual, but refuses to identify with that label because they would not repress any attractions towards someone from the same sex (if it happened), although they realistically know that they may never feel such an attraction. The same logic also applies to homosexuals who may or may not experience heterosexual urges.

Relationship anarchy is the practice of forming relationships that are not bound by set rules. Relationship anarchy has strong connections with open relationships, although being distinct from open relationships. It differs from other relationship models by postulating that there need not be a formal distinction between different types of relationships. Relationship anarchists look at each relationship (romantic or otherwise) individually, as opposed to categorizing them according to societal norms such as 'just friends', 'in a relationship', 'in an open relationship', etc.

Polyamory is the belief that it is possible to love more than one person at the same time. I have addressed this topic on multiple occasions in this blog. What follows are three posts that discuss the concept of polyamory:
- Can You Love More Than One Person At The Same Time?
- Polyamory: The Ethical Problems of Monogamy
- Dissecting The Concept of Monogamy

The questions that are at the core of this post are: In what ways are those three concepts connected? What are the common values that those perspectives share? And why I believe that those three concepts work beautifully well together that there is a good chance that someone who subscribes to one is likely to subscribe to the others as well?

The first word that comes to mind to describe those three positions is fluidity! I believe that the common values go much deeper than that, but this is a good place to start. Pansexuality is about being fluid about your sexual preferences. A pansexual person is one who is not willing to limit his or her sexual preferences in a normative manner. This can to be contrasted with self-identified heterosexuals, who may have some homosexual urges, but choose to repress those urges in order to avoid a situation where they might have to question their sexual orientation. A pansexual would give themselves permission to act on their desire without feeling the need to question their attraction.

In a similar fashion, a relationship anarchist would not 'define' and consequently constrain their relationships with other people. They prefer to keep their relationships fluid, and hence lack the need to constrain themselves or others through rules, but even more importantly, roles!

And finally, let's address polyamory. Monogamy in this context can be seen as a limiting belief, that may cause a person to repress an emotional connection that is developing with another person, due to the fact that they believe that loving more than one person at the same time is somehow not 'real love'!! In the same way that a heterosexual might ignore feeling of attraction to someone of the same gender based on normative considerations, a monogamist might ignore an evolving emotional bond based on normative considerations of a similar nature.

Genuine Connectedness and Freedom of Expression:
In a very similar manner of understanding, those three concepts allow a person have have the freedom to express themselves, and allow others to express themselves openly and honestly. The outcome of an atmosphere of freedom is genuineness.

Since love, sexuality, and relationships are the most profound aspects of the human experience, the expression of those elements expresses the fundamental values of the personal identity. Our inner most values as humans are expressed through love, sex, and relationships. Any act that aims to censor or inhibit the free expression of those values hides away an aspect of our personal identify. The people we enter relationships with are a mirror to our inner most needs, desires, and values.

In order to maximize the genuineness of the interpersonal bonds with our fellow human beings, we need to maximize their ability to express their inner most selves genuinely without manipulation or censorship.

Pansexuality, polyamory, and relationship anarchy are effective tools to guarantee that yourself and others are free to express themselves in the most genuine manner...

Avoiding Self-Limiting Beliefs:
As has been explained in the previous section, adopting the social norms that create normative barriers to self-expression are self-limiting beliefs, that encourage the person holding those beliefs to not fully explore their inner-selves. It shuts down routes that may lead to experiencing life without any barriers.

However, it is my personal belief that the most gratifying relationships are with those who both are willing to be open and honest, and also have done the necessary self-reflection to actually know themselves deeply enough. After all, you cannot share your values if you have not done what is necessary to discover those values.

Acceptance and Celebrating Our Humanity:
Love, sex, and relationships are momentous experiences. Without them life would be dull, and frankly meaningless. When we experience love we feel joy. When we experience sex we feel joy. And when we have genuine relationships we feel joy. Any of those experiences calls for a celebration. It is a celebration that expresses our humanity. Humans are social creatures, and all those experiences exemplify the best aspects of our social selves.

Pansexuality, polyamory, and relationship anarchy demonstrates an acceptance and receptiveness to all those joys of life. It allows us to experience life to its fullest potential without having to feel guilt, shame, or internal conflict while expressing our values.

I shall quote from an article that expresses such concerns quite eloquently:
"[Monogamy] makes a person feel guilty about having a feeling that I consider to be one of the most important feelings of all. Our ability to connect with other people, to admire other people for their greatness, to be attracted to what we value (spiritually and physically), the ability to love – is probably our most vital characteristic in this life. Monogamy takes a somewhat controversial stance towards it – this property is considered wonderful in a person if he is single, but once he already has one romantic relationship, this very same property is labeled as extremely immoral and wrong. [...] So, basically, if you're in a monogamous relationship, and there's this other person that you realize is absolutely awesome, then you should feel somewhat guilty. You should reject this realization." (source)

And within this understanding, the goal is to celebrate our core human values without guilt or repression. To give ourselves and those we are in a relationship with the means to experience the joys of life.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

How To Protect Your Privacy Online

The internet is becoming more and more hostile towards privacy. Did you know that websites like Google, Facebook, and Twitter know about every webpage you visit on the web?!

How do they do that?! There are several techniques for such websites to monitor your every move on the web. The two most important ones are 1- Referers and 2- Cookies. These two tools can be used by any website that has content borrowed from it on another website.

Consider for example the Facebook's "Like" button that is omnipresent all over the internet. Everytime a website shows you the "Like" Facebook knows that you visited that webpage. Facebook knows even that it is precisely YOU who visited if you have a Facebook account because the Facebook cookie is sent along with the request.

What is a cookie?! A cookie is a set of information that is stored by your browser that is sent to websites that you visit. Each website has it's own cookie, and that cookie is sent everytime you visit that website again. For example, if you signed up to Facebook, closed your browser, and at a later point of time visited Facebook again, you'd notice that you visit that page already logged on with the same account you visited Facebook the last time. This is because the browsers sends Facebook a cookie that lets them know it's the same person (or more precisely, it is the same browser being used).

Now, the same cookie that is used to identify you when you visit is also sent with every page that you visit over the web that has a Facebook "Like" button. So, every time you see Facebook's "Like" button the Facebook company that you (identified by your user account) has visited that specific page.

The same applies to Google, which is even more omnipresent on the web, even in ways that are hidden and not immediately visible. So, even if you don't see the "Google Plus" icon in a website, there is a good chance that Google knows that you visited that particular page.

Google also tracks which links you clicked when you search using their search engine. They used to hide this fact in the old days, but they are openly admitting it now. If you ever saw the "Search History" feature, you'll know what I am talking about.

So, what's the solution?!

The best available solution is to use Firefox 22 (or later version) and do some tweaking that will be explained now.

Google Chrome users have weaker protection available to their privacy, so Firefox is still recommended, but I will point out the equivalent methods for Google Chrome users.

1- Disable Third-Party Cookies Completely

The first step is to disable 3rd-party cookies. The latest Firefox versions (ie. 22 and later) have stronger protection against 3rd-party cookies than the previous versions. Other web-browsers provide the same level of protection that Firefox 21 (and earlier) used to provide.

Note that the "Accept third-party cookies" option is set to "Never".

For Google Chrome: read here

2- Install Adblock Plus with the additional subscriptions

Installed Adblock Plus. Additionally, install the Popup Blocker.

And finally, add the following subscriptions:
1- Easylist (installed by default, so skip this one)
2- EasyPrivacy
3- Fanboy's Annoyances

For Google Chrome: Install Adblock Plus from here

3- Block Referers:

Install Smart Referer.

For Google Chrome: There is no simple alternative. The best I could find is this. However, this extension requires manual configuration to work.

4- Block Flash-based Cookies:

Install Better Privacy.

(No Google Chrome equivalent)

5- Google search link fix:

If you don't want Google to remember the websites you visited, and have no interest in using the "Search History" feature, this addon stops Google from knowing which websites you visited from their search engine.

(No Google Chrome equivalent)

PS: If anyone knows about Google Chrome equivalents that I am not aware of, please share in the comments section.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Feminist Movement Revised

Check out this video about the flaws of the current feminist ideology, and how it is counter productive to the stated goals of feminism, namely gender equality.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Intellectuals and Society: Poverty And Wealth

Intellectuals have a great tendency to see poverty as a great moral problem to which they have the solution. The human race began in poverty, so there's no mysterious explanation as to why some people are poor. The question is why have some people gotten prosperous, and in particular why some have gotten prosperous to a greater degree than others. But everybody started poor, so poverty is not a mystery to be solved by intellectuals. More than that, intellectuals have no interest in what creates wealth, and what inhibits the creation of wealth. They are very concerned about the distribution of it, but they act as if wealth just exists - somehow. It's like manna from heaven, it's only a question of how we split it up.

[...] Most intellectuals in most countries around the world see the issue as how those who are more prosperous should be brought down, and moreover that the people who are lagging should cling to their culture. I don’t know how you're going to keep on doing what you've always done and get results that are different from what you’ve always gotten.

Thomas Sowell

What is wealth?! This is a basic question one might ask. Paper money is not wealth! Wealth are the actual goods and services that a person has access to. Wealth are the goods and services which can be used to satisfy our human desires and needs.

A fish swimming in the ocean is not wealth. A fish caught in the net of a fisherman is wealth. The difference is that the fish in the ocean is not accessible to anyone, it cannot satisfy hunger by the virtue of existing. However, once that fish is caught, it becomes accessible and can satisfy hunger. Then, and only then, that fish is considered wealth.

Rocks found in nature are not wealth. A house that is built with those rocks is wealth, because houses can be used to satisfy the need for shelter.

In other words, our wealth depends on our capacity to transform raw materials found in nature into useful products that we can use in our everyday life. This process requires deliberate actions made by individuals.

A caveman no matter how much wealthier he is compared to his fellow cavemen is much less wealthier than most of the people we consider as poor in our day and age. There are two fundamentally different ways to measure poverty and wealth. The first is absolute measurement; Such measurement would lead us to see how the poor individuals of today are indeed much wealthier than their predecessors. The second way is comparative; That is comparing the wealth of one person to another. However, the second way can lead to disasters in terms of human progress. Most intellectuals on the left-wing of politics focus on the question of wealth in the comparative sense, but without the faintest understanding of how their type of analysis affects wealth in the absolute sense.

Having millions of dollars means nothing if there were no fish to eat, no houses to live in, no cars to drive, or no mobiles to use. In a world without goods and services, it does not make a difference if you have a million dollars or no money at all, because there is nothing to buy in the first place. Money derives its value from the goods and services you can buy, not from any intrinsic value that money has.

Without Microsoft Inc. there would be no MS Windows to buy; Without Apple Inc. there would be no iPads to buy; Without GM Ford Inc. there would be no cars to buy; And without IBM Inc. there would be no computers. Without the effort the individuals behind those companies invested, the products which we take for granted would not have existed. So, is it reasonable to claim that it is unfair that Bill Gates owns more money than other people, when the reason he became rich is that individuals found the products and services his company provided beneficial to billions of people around the globe?! Every single individual who bought MS Windows has participated in creating Bill Gate's wealth: His wealth is proportional to the amount of service he provided to individual people.

There is general fallacy that people generally commit when thinking that paper money is a measure of wealth. For example, let's say a person bought a car for 4000$; Did that person lose wealth or gain wealth?! Most people would say that this person lost wealth because he now has 4000$ less. This is the fallacy of thinking that money is a measure of wealth. 4000$ sitting in a bank account is worthless if you do not benefit from it. So, the person who bought the car has converted "virtual" wealth in the form of paper money into real wealth which is the car. The car itself is the real wealth, not the paper money.

Real wealth is a function of technology (also called "capital"). Real wealth depends on our ability to convert raw materials found in nature into useful products that we can use in our real life. A fishing net is technology: It enables fishermen to extract fish found in the ocean into fish that we can consume. Before the invention of fishing nets, people had to catch fish by their bare hands. Such a method might require numerous hours to get 4 or 5 fishes to eat. Using fishing nets we can now get hundreds of fish to eat in a small amount of time. The fishing net is thus called capital.

It can be easily seen that in a primitive society that has not invented fishing nets would be much poorer (even if the fish were evenly distributed among members of that society) than one where fishing nets have been invented (even if the fish is not evenly distributed) because the second society has higher yield of fish. Yield is the amount of resources required to obtain certain goods; Time is one of the resources that is required obtain goods; So, the higher yield in the second society is because they were able to produce more fish in a given amount of time. This increased efficiency would improve the wealth of society as a whole and the individuals within that society.

In a primitive society, if an oil field exploded in your farm, this would be a disaster, because the crude oil would destroy your crops. In that case, oil is not wealth because the technology that makes use of oil has not been discovered yet. On the other hand, in today's world this would be great fortune, because that oil can be used to run cars or be used in industry; Oil is now a commodity that serves our human needs. In other words, a primitive society cannot convert the natural resource of oil into a valuable commodity, but an industrial society does.

In short, wealth is a function of technology. The discoveries that improve our use of scarce raw materials that are found in nature. Whether it is a fish that you don't have the tools to hunt, or the oil that you cannot put to use in your day-to-day life. And those technological advancements are what creates real wealth.

Technology makes it possible to divide labor and makes better use of our time. In a primitive society (assuming it depended on fishing to eat), all people would be busy fishing because each individual can barely feed himself and his family. However, once the technology of fishing nets are discovered, only a handful of people would become fishermen and the rest would go about their day trying to make other kinds of products that they desire or need. Those individuals can then trade their products with the fishermen to satisfy their hunger, and the fishermen would have excess fish and food that they would be glad to trade their fish for the other services that have now become possible due to the process of freeing up people's time to provide new services. In this scenario, those new products -that were not possible before- are how a society as a whole become more wealthy and prosperous than another society that is not using that technology.

In other words, the technology of fishing nets freed up the time of the people in that society. They can now think about philosophy, make up theories about geometry and math, or make scientific discoveries. All of these endeavors would consequently be used to invent new technologies that would bring that society even more technological advancements that is needed to create more wealth.

Some people worry that improved technology like automated industries are not good because then the people who worked in those factories would lose their jobs. But in reality, this is how real wealth is created; Those people are now freed up and can make better use of their productive capacity and employ that capacity in new services that were not possible before, or in places they are needed more. Those automated industries can now produce more products in less time at a cheaper prince, and the workforce is now available to provide their services in other products and services.

Technology does have the short-term effect of causing some people to lose their jobs. Another example is the email. The mailman might be upset that his job is now obsolete since people can now use the email, but if every new technological advancement had to be discouraged due to it's short-term impact on a small sector of individuals nothing would ever be accomplished.

Wealth creation generally tends to improve society as a whole. And the wealth distribution generally remains roughly constant among different sectors of society like say, business owners and employees. The wealth gap might increase, but this should not be considered as a serious problem.

To give a numerical example, let's suppose that a certain sum of money is going to be divided between you and another person (say, 30% to you and 70% to the other person). In that setup, which is better: Splitting 100$ such that you get 30$ and 70$ for the other person?! Or splitting 1000$ such that you get 300$ and 700$ for the other person?! If you focus on the wealth gap, you would conclude that splitting a 100$ is better because the gap is 40$ compared to 400$. On the other hand, if you focus on absolute wealth you conclude that splitting 1000$ is better because you got more money. [Of course, we should not focus on paper money, but real wealth in terms of products and services, but let's assume that the purchasing power of money in this example is constant.]

Empirical evidence generally shows that the best way to improve the quality of life for all people (regardless of economic class) in the long-term is not to redistribute wealth, but to increase the wealth of the nation in absolute terms. Wealth does naturally flow around, and the more wealth that exists the more there is to go around.

It is a known fact (although not commonly understood and sometimes deliberately ignored) that socialism and communism have negative impact on real wealth. Socialism destroys real wealth (for many reasons that will be explained in later posts), and in the long-run all wealth would ultimately be destroyed, leaving society in dire poverty in terms of absolute wealth. One of the reasons is that our wealth depends on our capacity to transform raw materials found in nature into useful products that we can use in our everyday life. Socialism and communism interfere with the natural mechanisms that enables us to put natural resources into their most efficient use. This in turn would turn the natural progress towards more wealth in the opposite direction of less wealth, until wealth runs out completely.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Libertarianism: Grounds Up Formulation

Introduction and Basic Definition:
In this post, I will informally describe the philosophy of libertarianism from the basic foundations. This is not meant to be comprehensive definition and analysis, however it presents the philosophy from it's foundational principles.

The beauty of libertarianism is it's simplicity. It is the simplest political philosophy to understand, because it rests essentially on a single axiom. Everything else is made through extrapolation from that single axiom.

The axiom of libertarianism is self-ownership: You own yourself. Your body is your property.

Owning property means that you have an exclusive right to control and make decisions about the use and function of the property you own.

With that in mind, this means by definition that owning your body means that you have an exclusive right to control and make decisions about the use and function of your body. Your body is the first property you own once you are born.

By careful analysis and study of the implications of the concept of self-ownership, we reach three further theoretical constructs that are conclusions from the axiom of self-ownership. Theory of property rights, theory of contracts, and theory of crime. I will not go into details of how those theories are formally derived from the concept of self-ownership; I will address that in future posts. Let's briefly discuss those theoretical constructs.

The Theory of Property Rights:
The major question of property rights is how does a person go from owning one property (his body) to owning external things in the world. There are two principles that need to be in place to answer this question.

1- The homesteading principle: The homesteading principle describes how a person might acquire what is previously unowned by anyone else. The principle states that a person gains property by mixing his labor with nature. Since a person owns his body, he also owns his labor. This means that a person can appropriate those parts of nature which he invested labor in.

2- Legitimate title transfer: The legitimate title transfer describes how one person might acquire the legitimate property of another person. A legitimate title transfer is defined as a voluntary transfer of property authorized by it's legitimate owner. There are many ways to transfer property: Giving someone a gift; Exchanging items through trade or barter (buying and selling); Inheritance; Or contractual agreements; All of these are examples of legitimate title transfer.

The Theory of Contracts:
Contracts are necessary to ensure securing property rights. Contracts can be simply understood as future (possibly conditional) property rights. For example, if you lend your friend a sum of money on the condition that they return it next week; This means that you have a right to that sum of money next week to be provided by that same person. If you buy an item on eBay, this means that you have a right to receive the item in question in the future. If you make a bet with someone on the outcome of a football match, it means that the property rights to certain sums of money are conditional upon the unfolding of a future event.

Contracts are important because they provide the necessary tools to secure property rights. In the case of lending someone a sum of money, the lender would have only agreed to voluntarily give up his property under the conditions of the contract. Violating contracts is a violation of the terms of the voluntary exchange under which one party agreed to transfer the property in question.

The Theory of Crime:
In libertarianism there is one -and only one- type of criminal activity: Violations of the property rights of others. In other words, any activity that violates the property of another person is a crime. Any activity that does not violate the property of another is legal.

In this understanding, we see that crimes generally fall under one of three broad categories of property crimes:

1- Crimes against property of the self: Since by definition every person owns his body, then violating the property rights of the body is a crime. Murder, rape, or physical violence are all crimes against the property rights of that person in his body. Murder, rape, and violence are akin to vandalism of the property rights of others.

2- Crimes against external property: Theft and vandalism are crimes against the property rights of others in external objects in the world.

3- Breach of contract: Since contracts are future property rights, thus breaching contracts is akin to theft in retrospective regard.

Libertarian Analysis of Some Political Issues:
The libertarian perspective is utterly simple as has been discussed earlier. All rights are essentially property rights. And all crimes are property crimes, and anything that is not a property crime should be legal.

Should murder be legal?
Murder is a violation of the property rights of individuals in their own bodies. Murder should not be legal.

Should rape be legal?
Rape is a violation of the property rights of individuals in their own bodies. Rape should not be legal.

Should slavery be legal?
Slavery violates the property rights of the individual slaves to control and decide the use and function of their bodies. Slavery should not be legal.

Should theft be legal?
Theft is a violation of the property rights of individuals in their legitimately acquired property. Theft should not be legal.

Should free speech be legal?
Speech does not violate the property rights of any individuals. All speech should be legal.

Should refusing to pay rent be legal?
Refusing to pay rent is a breach of contract. It violates the property rights of renters through retrospective theft. In other words, that person was given conditional rights to use the rented house, and not satisfying those conditions means that this person was retrospectively illegally using the house which they refused to pay the rent for.

Should homosexuality be legal?
Since individuals are the owners of their bodies, individuals have exclusive right to control and decide the use and function of their bodies. Consequently, they have unrestrained right to practice sexuality with any consenting individuals. Consent is required because without it, it would be a property crime (rape).

On the other hand, banning the practice by means of force or violence is a crime, since it is a violation of the property rights of individual homosexuals in their bodies, and their rights to control and decide the use and function of their property.

Should prostitution be legal?
Prostitution similarly is an exercise of the property rights of the prostitute with respect to her body. Prostitution is a legitimate contract since it does not violate the property rights of any individuals.

On the other hand, banning the practice by means of force or violence is a crime, since it is a violation of the property rights of the individual prostitutes in their bodies, and their rights to control and decide the use and function of their property.

Should drugs be legal?
Buying and selling drugs is a legitimate title transfer of property. The use of drugs by itself does not violate the property rights of anyone, thus it should be legal. The individual has the right control and decide what goes into their bodies.

Should driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs be legal?
This is a borderline issue. While drunk driving is not, in and of itself, a crime, it significantly increases the chance of committing a crime (namely, involuntary manslaughter). This question and other similar questions like "Should polluting the environment be legal?" require analysis of the theory of externalities; A theory I have not discussed in this post. The theory of externalities basically deals with indirect violations of property rights. For example, selling expired food imposes an externality on individuals whose health is damaged by such a practice.

Final Remarks:
There is a common saying that goes: "All you need to know about libertarianism you learnt in kinder garden: Don't hit other people, don't take their stuff, and keep your promises." - That is indeed all you need to know to understand the philosophy of libertarianism.