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Definition of Libertarianism -- what are the core values of libertarianism that will make one a libertarian?

Updated on December 13, 2011
Chart explaining Libertarianism and other political philosophies
Chart explaining Libertarianism and other political philosophies

What is Libertarianism?

Libertarianism is a political philosophy that believes that liberty and individual freedom are the most important characteristics of a free and prosperous society. Although there are many kinds of libertarianism, the one that I will be discussing in this article would advocate the following principles:

  • Maximization of freedom in thought and action
  • Free market and free enterprise
  • Minimal state/government

Libertarians are very weary of the coercive authority of the government and believe that the state should always only be the servant of the people and never the master. Bigger government only leads to bureaucracy, overspending, deficits, and corruption. In our world today, the many governments are getting more authoritarian and there is so much intervention going on and in this article I will be discussing why this should make us worried and at times even outraged.

Consequentialist Libertarianism vs Deontological Libertarianism

There are actually two kinds of libertarianism. Consequentialist Libertarianism believe that the maximization of liberty should be enforced while the advocates Deontological Libertarianism believe that any use of force is corruptive and will lead to fraud regardless of the effects that it will entail.

In Deontological Libertarianism, they believe in the non-aggression principle that states no man has the right to initiate force against man or property of another human being no matter what circumstance. There are some such as Murray Rothbard who believe that governments are institutionalized initiation of force and taxation and should be abolished.

The consequentialists on the other hand believe that liberty should be supported because maximized personal and economical liberty lead to happiness and prosperity. Some notable Consequena

On Personal Liberty

Libertarians believe that every individual has the right to his own decisions and should never be opposed unless his/her actions are interfering with the liberties of others. This is why libertarians strongly oppose punishment of victimless crimes such as the War on Drugs.

There is also strong opposition against any form of intrusion of privacy by the people and most importantly by the government. Libertarians oppose unjust and unconstitutional searches by police or authority. 

On Economic Liberty

Libertarians also believe that taxation is the state's burden to the people. Taxation is legal plunder and the hardworking man's earnings are forcibly taken from him for the supposed welfare of society.

Libertarians, are also in favor of the free market because it gives choice to the people and a chance for the people to freely spend and invest their hard-earned work. The free market is also very beneficial to the consumers because competition will increase quality and lower the price.

Donald Trump 2012


"Those who would sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither liberty nor safety" -Benjamin Franklin

Notable Libertarians

  • Milton Friedman
  • Congressman Ron Paul
  • Ludwig Von Mises
  • Friedrich Hayek
  • Murray Rothbard


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    • Gene J. profile image

      Gene J. 6 years ago from Ireland

      Great hub, sir!

      For proof that the "war on drugs" is a massive failure, just look at the state of Mexico. Here you have two gonvernments (US and Mexico) fighting a catastrophic losing war against a market that is only providing what people want-- which is to do with their own bodies as they wish.

      The consequence for Mexico is that its own citizens are dying in the streets as "collateral damage". It's time to place the blame where it ultimately lies-- with the governments wasting precious lives, not to mention money.