Most Americans have a fairly firm grasp on what it means to be a Republican or a Democrat; but what the heck is a Libertarian? It’s a term you don’t hear often in the media or in the classroom, and libertarian ideas don’t translate well into sound bites. Because of that, I believe there are many misconceptions about libertarianism. The word libertarian has taken on a stigma of being weird or outside of the mainstream. Is it justified?
Libertarians believe in personal freedom and personal responsibility. They believe in a limited federal government, as laid out in the constitution, that secures our rights, protects us from foreign invaders, and creates clear, simple laws to protect individuals from force or fraud. They believe in voluntary transactions in the market place, and that society should be based on cooperation instead of coercion.
Libertarians tend to agree with liberals on matters of personal freedom. We agree that people should be free to choose who they want to love and what they put in their bodies. Libertarians tend to agree with conservatives on matters of economic freedom. We agree that people should be secure in their property and allowed to keep the fruits of their labor, and that a true free-market economy leads to the greatest prosperity for all. As the Libertarian Party’s website puts it, “Think of us as a group of people with a ‘live and let live’ mentality and a balanced checkbook.”
Libertarians agree with just about everyone that special interest lobbyists bribing politicians to gain advantages, is a bad way to create laws. We’re just confused why most people don’t understand that if the Congress stayed within the confines of the Constitution, there wouldn’t be any lobbyists lining up at the trough, because the trough would be empty.
Most Americans revere our country’s founding fathers. They established the greatest system of government in the history of civilization. What many people may not realize, is that most of the founders, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Thomas Paine would be considered Libertarians today.
This post is a brief outline of what it means to be a libertarian. The resources and other posts on this site should help flush out a more complete understanding of libertarian philosophy and help explain why I think it’s the most sustainable, most compassionate, and most consistent philosophy of government.