The Gadsden Flag “Don’t Tread on Me” is beloved by Libertarians. To us, it means “Individual Liberty.” However, a question arises, does “Don’t Tread on ME” suggest that treading on others is acceptable. To us, the answer is an emphatic “No.” Therefore, “Don’t Tread on ANYONE” has been popping up on Libertarian (big “L”) Gadsden Flags. Obviously, the new rendition of the iconic motto is not as a propos—that snake would not be much concerned about someone treading on the nearby lizard – but it is effective in distinguishing Libertarian principles from the generic libertarian ones.
We hear much today about “libertarians” and “libertarianism,” and Libertarians (big “L”) wonder if the general public clearly distinguishes small from big “l’s.” Although it is absolutely essential that both factions of the liberty movement work together in areas of common principles, it is equally essential that differences be acknowledged and kept transparent.
Therefore, we Libertarians make clear that we do not tread on ANYONE. That means we do not intervene by force – in foreign lands, in personal relationships, in acts between consenting adults, in spiritual choices, or in lifestyle options. To emphasize the principle of not treading on others is as important as emphasizing that of others not treading on us.
In many ways, Libertarians behave more like porcupines (another favorite Libertarian symbol) than snakes. Porcupines are particularly peaceful and non aggressive – unless threatened! They personify the Libertarian principle of Live and Let Live. Perhaps we should start unfurling Porcupine Flags, instead of traditional Gadsden Flags more often!