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What Does It Mean To Be a Libertarian?

Don't Hurt People and Don't Take Their Stuff

Matt Kibbe

||| Vector Tradition SM||| Vector Tradition SMWe libertarians have always preferred to use esoteric arguments, specialized language, and other secret handshakes usually invoking the furthest reaches of Austrian praxeology. Like exclusive membership in any tribe, this can all be great fun. But it can also be politically debilitating in an era where one tweet from the president is capable of changing the course of international relations.

Joanna AndreassonJoanna AndreassonWith all due respect to Adam Smith and Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises, why not make it simple? Don't hurt people and don't take their stuff—that's libertarianism in a nutshell. It's even short enough to work on old 140-character Twitter, before founder Jack Dorsey ruined it. If this sounds like what your mom taught you when she caught you whaling on your little brother, that's because I stole it from her. But she stole it from her mom, as have many generations of moms before. Everyone seems to agree on these rules, save homicidal psychos and politicians.

It's particularly important that we make this commonsense case for libertarianism today, because so much of our public debate has devolved into tribal identitarianismconservative vs. liberal, red vs. blue, us vs. them. But these tribes, mostly motivated by what they don't like about the other side's personal choices, are getting smaller and smaller. The rest of the population is left feeling alienated by the fighting. Can't we all just get along? Most folks want to be left alone to live their lives, raise their families, make a living, maybe take a few risks or practice their faith, and simply pursue happiness as they see fit. They are good people, meaning that they'll do good by you, as long as you don't hurt them or take their stuff.

The nice thing about libertarianism is that you don't really need permission from someone else's cultural or political tribe to adopt it. Of course, the mutual respect, or at least tolerance, that comes with not hurting people and not taking their stuff is the basis for all sorts of prosocial behavior. Binding institutions, accepted rules of conduct, peaceful cooperation, mutually beneficial economic transactions, and yes, helping a neighbor in trouble are all the unplanned results of our time-tested, mom-approved rules.

At lightning speed, technology has allowed us to abandon many of the top-down institutions that used to tell us what to think and know and do. We crowdsource all of these answers for our own selves now. The result is mostly beautiful chaos. But political powerbrokers are doing what they have always done in order to cling to power: They gain by dividing us by our class, or color, or income, or sexual identity, or religion, or which side of the border our parents were born on. It may feel like it's working, but I think this is just a passing phase, a transition to something more democratized and wonderful.

If we libertarians could reach that massive searching middle with a simple storya prospect that gets ever easier in the new world of democratized storytellingthe good folks who just want to get on with their lives might just join up with us. We can help rebuild an awesomely messy community of people, the crazy quilt we call America. As long as we don't hurt people or take their stuff.

Libertarianism: Defined by Ends, Not Means

David Friedman

Vector Tradition SMVector Tradition SMA libertarian is someone who has concluded, for whatever reason, that he prefers a society with a high level of individual freedom and little interference with individual rights. That leaves open the question of what those rights are. Simply put, we believe in negative rights, not positive rights; the right not to be killed, not the right to live; the right of each person to control his own life, but not at the expense of unwilling others.

"Libertarian" is not a binary variablethere is no bright line separating those just libertarian enough to qualify from those not quite libertarian enough. A socialist who believes in government control of heavy industry but private markets for everything else or one who supports a Yugoslavian-style system where workers' co-ops interact with each other through the market may not be very libertarian, but he is more libertarian than a socialist who believes in running everything from the center. Someone who wants to replace the public-school system with education vouchers is probably more libertarian than the vast majority of the population—but less libertarian than someone willing to go all the way to a completely private system.

Not all disagreements can be ordered that neatly. A person who believes in a woman's right to have an abortion is not clearly more or less libertarian than one who believes in the right of a fetus not to be killed. Likewise for the disagreement between those who see copyrights as the least justifiable form of private property and those who see it as the most justifiable. Going further afield, it is possible to construct a libertarian argument along Georgist lines for a government funded by taxes on the site value of land, on the theory that the holder owes compensation to all those deprived of access to his parcel, which, not having been produced by human effort, ought properly to be a commons. It is equally possible to construct a libertarian case in opposition, based either on a Lockean claim of just ownership or on the consequentialist argumentwhich goes all the way back to economist David Ricardo's rejection of Adam Smith's case for land taxesabout how a real-world government can be expected, in practice, to implement such a tax.

"Most folks want to be left alone to live their lives, raise their families, make a living, maybe take a few risks or practice their faith. They are good people, meaning that they'll do good by you, as long as you don't hurt them or take their stuff."

As the final point suggests, many of the disagreements among libertarians depend on the practical implications of alternative institutions. Those who believe, as I do, that private institutions in a stateless society can be expected to do a better job of rights enforcement than a minimal state will conclude that the shift to anarchy would reduce total rights violation. Hence, we see anarchism as more libertarian than minarchism. Those who believe a minimal state provides a large reduction in rights violation by private individuals at the cost of a small amount of rights violation by public actors will reach the opposite conclusion. Both are libertarians.

Love Liberty? Love God.

Deirdre Nansen McCloskey

Vector Tradition SMVector Tradition SMI've been a libertarian since about age 25, just barely satisfying the old formula that someone who is not a socialist by age 16 has no heart but that someone who is still a socialist at age 25 has no brain. (Listen up, Bernie.) Reading Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia when it came out in 1974 eradicated the last remnants of my youthful Marxism. What remains is that these days I'm a "bleeding-heart libertarian"or perhaps a "humane liberal," as I am always on the quest to reclaim the less geeky L word. I also call myself a Christian liberal/libertarian, which gets nearly everyone angry. I must be doing something right.

I've only been a Christian since age 56. Religion is not the Baltimore catechism with the nuns to enforce it. It's not a series of propositions. The former nun and religious writer Karen Armstrong points out in her many excellent books about religious history that until the unhappy attachment of faith to physics, with the development of "natural religion" circa 1700, religion was a practice, not a set of dogmas. Judaism has it right. The word belief comes from the Germanic love or loyalty, while religion comes from the Latin for connect. It's not a list of commandments (even the pesky seventh) but a loving commitment to a path.

Maybe someday I will discover some terrible inconsistency between libertarianism and progressive Episcopalianism. If so, I will have to abandon one of them. But I doubt it. The core of Christian theology is free will. God does not want us to be pets but autonomous individuals, able to choose evil as well as good. We must live, therefore, in a real world in which the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 can happen. If we lived in Eden, we would not suffer such calamities. But we would not be free.

The central notion in Austrian School economics"human action"entails precisely the same point. As against the Marxism I espoused at 16, or the Chicago School economics I taught 10 years later, an active choice is involved both in a Christian life and in the markets. By contrast, orthodox economics nowadays views people as entirely reactive, like grass seeking optimal light and water. No. God made us in Her image. (A side note: My Anglican God is a black lesbian middle-aged overweight single mother with three children who lives in Leeds and works at the Tesco. Get ready.)

Libertarians are commonly atheists. Probably that is because the independent-minded teenager who denies both left and right politically is also likely to have rebelled against all the silly stuff his parents told him about God at an even younger age. My preachment to my libertarian friends is not to rest at any arguments, commitments, or ways of life just because they seemed cool to a 14-year-old boy. (The girls, I find, are less dogmatic.) When I beg them to read a serious book about religion at age 30 or 50 they echo the New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris: "No, why would I do that? I already know it's rubbish. I decided it was at 14." Please, read and reflect as grown-ups.

A Political System Rooted in Truths About Human Nature

John Allison

Vector Tradition SMVector Tradition SMLibertarians are a big umbrella group whose primary agreement is that the state should interfere minimally in the lives of individuals. During my time as head of the Cato Institute, I would tell people that our mission is to create a free and prosperous society based on the principles of individual liberty, free markets, limited government, and peace. Unlike many on both left and right, we think the state should stay out of your pocketbook and we also think the state should stay out of your bedroom.

Libertarians believe government has one important, but limited, purpose: to protect individual rights. Its job is to keep me from using force or fraud to take what you have earned and to keep you from using force or fraud to take what I have earned. In this context, it has three legitimate practical functions: national defense to protect us from foreign invasions, police to protect us from criminals, and an effective court system so that when you and I have a dispute, we can resolve it without recourse to force.

The reason government power must be limited is that governments have a unique authority to initiate the use of force. Walmart can offer you low prices and special deals; it can beg you to buy its products, but it cannot make you. The state can make you. It can take your property, lock you up, or kill you. And in fact, governments have killed hundreds of millions of people throughout history.

Our life experiences tell us that agreements based on mutual consent are more effective than those based on force. Yet government is only necessary if force is necessary. When thinking about a proposed piece of legislation, even if you agree with its goal, ask yourself whether you would personally be willing to use a gun to make someone who disagrees with the legislation obey it. If not, you should oppose turning it into a law.

I'm also an Objectivist, so I strongly believe that politics must be rooted in a proper understanding of metaphysics and epistemology. In other words, I think the contours of a good political system are derived from the laws of nature and human nature.

Naturethe reality of the world around usis a given. But so is human nature. Everything that is alive has a means of survival. A lion has claws to hunt. Deer have speed to avoid predators. Our means of survival is the capacity to thinkto reason objectively from facts.

"In the libertarian view, the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have not themselves used force—actions such as murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud."

Because of Mother Nature and our nature, certain principles are necessary for us to survive and prosper qua mankind. In order to achieve happiness, in the Aristotelian context of a life well lived, one must have a sense of purpose and exhibit certain virtuesrationality, independent thinking, productivity, honesty, integrity, pride, justicein the pursuit of one's long-term self-interest. The only political system that allows individuals to live out these virtues is a system based on liberty.

Different libertarians defend limited government from different perspectives. Unfortunately, we sometimes lose arguments because we are not clear on the above premises, which form the foundation for defending liberty. Still, since we are so outnumbered, whatever our disagreements, it is critically important for those of us who are rational defenders of a free society to work together to protect our freedom.

Civil Libertarianism and the Commitment to Equal Justice

Nadine Strossen

Vector Tradition SMVector Tradition SMThe core principle of civil libertarianism is that all human beings are equally entitled to fundamental freedoms. We all have inherent human rights, and it is government's responsibility to protect those rights.

Moreover, all of our rights are indivisible, so civil libertarians must neutrally resist any rights violation. To cite some current examples, we must secure fundamental due process rights for both those who are gunned down by police officers and the police officers, and for both sexual assault victims and those they accuse. As Martin Luther King Jr. famously phrased it, "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality."

To be sure, we civil libertarians recognize that no right (beyond the purely internal freedom of thought) is absolute. However, we insist that government not restrict any right unless it can show that the restriction is necessary to promote a countervailing goal of great importance, such as public safety. While authorities can easily assert that rights-restricting measures are designed to promote such important goals, it is much harder to show that a measure is necessary. If the state could promote its goal through an alternative measureone that's less restrictive of individual freedomit must do so.

These core civil liberties principles are well illustrated by the First Amendment cases that bar government from shutting down speech solely because its message is hated, feared, or distressing. Censorship efforts are often struck down because the potential adverse impact of such speech can be countered in other ways, such as through protests and editorials denouncing the problematic view.

Yes, government may regulate speech when necessary to avert certain specific, immediate, serious harms, for example when the speech constitutes a genuine threat or intentional incitement of imminent violence. Short of such an emergency, thoughwhen speech poses only an indirect, speculative danger of potential harmthen the remedy is more speech, "counterspeech," not enforced silence.

Much evidence demonstrates that "hate speech," which conveys discriminatory ideas, can be countered more effectively through education and persuasion than through suppression. Indeed, censoring such speech can well be counterproductive for many reasons, including by increasing attention and sympathy for the hatemongers.

While it has been fashionable in recent decades to distinguish civil liberties from civil rights and freedom from equality, in fact these are all mutually reinforcing concepts. It is difficult even to draw a meaningful distinction between liberty and equality, let alone to regard them as inalterably oppositional. How could we possibly claim to have secured individual liberty if some individuals are denied their rights for discriminatory reasons? Conversely, how could we possibly claim to have secured meaningful equality if it does not encompass the exercise of individual freedom?

As the University of California, Los Angeles constitutional law professor Kenneth Karst has noted, egalitarian movements have long recognized the symbiotic relationship between liberty and equality. Accordingly, the 1960s civil rights movement "marched under the banner of 'Freedom,' even though its chief objective was equal access[including] to the vote [and] to education," he wrote. Likewise, "liberation" has been the watchword for movements for equal rights for both women and LGBT people.

The Declaration of Independence's famous proclamation that we're all created equal aspired to equality in terms of our "unalienable rights." Abraham Lincoln rightly exhorted us to strive ceaselessly to bridge the gap between this civil libertarian ideal and the actual lived reality of everyone in the U.S., stating that the goal "should be…constantly labored for…thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence…augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors everywhere."

The Presumption of Liberty

David Boaz

Vector Tradition SMVector Tradition SMLibertarianism is the philosophy of freedom. More specifically, it's the political philosophy that rests on the presumption of liberty: Like the presumption of innocence, this places the burden of proof on those who would restrict liberty, not those who would exercise it. Alternatively, it can be understood as the philosophy that seeks to minimize the use of coercion in ordering social relations, with the burden of proof resting on those who would exercise coercion, not on those on whom it is exercised. Liberty is realized through well-defined and legally secure equal rights, on the basis of which people can create voluntary associations and engage in mutually beneficial exchanges.

We believe each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Accordingly, no one may initiate aggression against the person or property of anyone else. Libertarians defend each person's right to life, liberty, and propertyrights that people possess naturally, before governments are instituted, as laid out in the Declaration of Independence. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should be voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have not themselves used forceactions such as murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud.

Most people believe in and live by that code of ethics. We don't hit people, break down their doors, take their money by force, or imprison them if they live peacefully in ways that we don't like. Libertarians believe this code should be applied consistentlyand specifically, that it should be applied to actions by governments as well as by individuals. Governments should exist to safeguard rightsto protect us from others who might use force against us. That generally means police to prevent crime and arrest criminals, courts to settle disputes and punish wrongdoers, and national defense against external threats.

Few people, of course, think in terms of such strict and abstract definitions. When I talk to popular audiences, I say that libertarianism is the idea that adult individuals have the right and the responsibility to make the important decisions about their own lives.

Many people share the broad libertarian principles of personal and economic freedom, which in U.S. politics are sometimes described as "fiscally conservative and socially liberal." When the political researcher David Kirby and I study the "libertarian vote," we find that about 15 percent of Americans answer survey questions in a way that cuts across contemporary liberal and conservative axes in a libertarian direction. In the past few decades, as the word liberal has come (at least in the United States) to mean an advocate of expansive government power, libertarian has increasingly been applied to scholars and political leaders who share "classical liberal" values such as support for individual rights, freer markets, and peace. Thus, Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, and the editors of The Economist are libertarians in contemporary American parlance. Around the globein China, South Africa, the Muslim world, South America, and morepeople with those ideas are still generally called liberals, although the more ideologically committed sometimes describe themselves as libertarians.

Photo Credit: saratm/Fiverr

Matt Kibbe is president and chief community organizer at the nonprofit Free the People.

 

David Friedman is an academic economist and professor emeritus at the Santa Clara University School of Law. He is author of The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to Radical Capitalism (Harper & Row). For more on his work, see his Web page.

Deirdre McCloskey is emerita professor of economics, history, English, and communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author most recently of Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World

John Allison is executive in residence at the Wake Forest School of Business, a former president and CEO of the Cato Institute, and a retired CEO of BB&T.

Nadine Strossen, is the John Marshall Harlan II Professor Law at New York Law School, a past president of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the author of Hate: Why We Should Resist It With Free Speech, Not Censorship (Oxford University Press).

David Boaz is executive vice president of the Cato Institute and author of The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom (Simon & Schuster), and editor of The Libertarian Reader.

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  • SIV||

    Libertarians are commonly atheists.

    Is there data to support this?

  • tlapp||

    Of course not. Believing in freedom and liberty would include religious freedom.

  • DiegoF||

    It also means freedom to buttsex whoever will let you and look how the gays are. Both groups--all groups--have been pretty shitty to the extent that they've been in the driver's seat. Freedom and liberty also means you don't get to boss around the other guy. There's ample evidence that a society can work and prosper under liberty, if you can get it, but its long-term political viability is a different story.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    One can be an atheist and still believe in religous freedom. A true libertarian would defend your right to believe in the Easter bunny, for example.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The Easter Bunny is quite real. In fact, I have it on good authority that Hugh Hefner had a whole harem of bunnies every Easter.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I support SIV's right to worship Alectryon.

  • Wise Old Fool||

    It's very true. Libertarians tend to believe in science and not skywizards. They are happy to recognize your right to believe in skywizards though. That's part of wanting to respect everyone's liberty.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    If you see God as a 'skywizard' You have a very limited mind. Bitter atheists always do. The more enlightened ones don't.

  • Austen Heller||

    Up to about 30 secs ago your posts were generally interesting, funny and intelligent.

  • jello.beyonce||

    It never hurts to dream.
    "Libertarianism" is just that, a, idealist dream.

    Human nature makes "Libertarianism" wholly unworkable.
    It is steeped in visions of Utopia.

    Most humans will most always put their wants & need ahead of the wants & needs of others.
    That the fundamental flaw of "Libertarianism".

    EVERYONE forms opinions and thoughts that are based on biases and prejudices.
    This fact is inescapable.

    In "Conservative" places like Wyoming, there is a myth of the "Cowboy Way". That is the belief that deals can be made & sealed merely with a persons word, and handshake.
    No complicated legal paperwork, contracts, or Lawyers.
    Just human working one-on-one with human.

    Yet it's way more complicated than that.
    1. Humans often can't comprehend all the possible complications that may arise in transactions.
    If I agree to buy your land, does that include water & mineral rights?
    What about any pollution that may have existed on that land? Am I now responsible for that?

    There is an endless list of possible complications.

    2. Humans are not machines, and verbal contracts lead to misunderstandings.
    I heard you say that mineral rights are included, but you say you said they weren't. So who's right?
    I heard you say there was enough ground water to supply my cattle, but the well ran dry. You say you never said that. Who's right, and how is this settled?

    Everyone is looking to preserve their own self-interests first.

  • jello.beyonce||

    Another "Libertarian" myth is that private landowners are the best stewards of their land, that they will provide appropriate care for that land.
    Yet humans seek wealth, above most all else.

    Where the extraction of minerals, or gold, or oil, or whatever is more profitable than the land, minus those resources, humans will destroy that land to extract those more valuable resources.

    Years prior to the early 1970's were an ecological and environmental disaster.

    The stupid EPA was created in response to those few that were creating long term environmental disasters, for the sake of short term profit.
    Just do a quick search on "environmental disasters before the epa".

    The "Dust Bowl" is a prime example.
    Dumping raw sewage into oceans, creating "dead zones" is another.

    Sometimes regulations do exist at the behest of power-hungry Bureaucrats.
    Most often though, those regulations exist out of necessity. The few engage in actions that affect the many.
    The many pay, via laws and regulations, because of the acts of those few.

    "Libertarianism" is more frequently being used as a propagandist campaign for the already ultra-wealthy and corporatocrats to pursue ever-greater wealth, in spite of the many.

    The corporate Lords are those that most called for protectionist policies, like copyrights, and patents, and other wholly NON-Libertarian policies.

    "Libertarianism" is a complete farce.

  • jello.beyonce||

    Read the books "Propaganda" by Edward Bernays.
    "Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War" by Wilfred Trotter.

    "Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country."

    "In almost every act of our lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons"

    "The public relations counsel, therefore, is a creator of news for whatever medium he chooses to transmit ideas. It is his duty to create news no matter what the medium which broadcasts this news. "

    "The only difference between "propaganda" and "education," really, is in the point of view. The advocacy of what we believe in is education. The advocacy of what we don't believe in is propaganda."

    "Who are the men, who, without our realizing it, give us our ideas, tell us whom to admire and whom to despise, what to believe about the ownership of public utilities"

    "If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it?"

    "If you can influence the leaders, either with or without their conscious cooperation, you automatically influence the group which they sway."

    Jesus, even Founder David Nolan became sharply critical of the direction the "Libertarian" party had taken.

    "Libertarianism" is a complete farce.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    Well, I'm convinced.

  • antiestablismentarianism||

    What are you smoking dude? Who said that Libertarians want to abolish the EPA? Maybe some do, but not all of us because we know the EPA has a purpose, but that purpose has been bastardized by bureaucracy and needs to be reigned in. Did you even read the article? Ultra-wealthy and corporatocrats? Give me a break! If that was true, then we'd be a major party by now with massive donations! Also, copyrights and patents are not necessarily anti-Libertarian and nobody is threatening them that I know of. Copyrights and patents protect intellectual property and this is a property that I think most Libertarians would be happy to stop someone else from taking (don't take their stuff). Get a clue!

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Most humans will most always put their wants & need ahead of the wants & needs of others.
    That the fundamental flaw of "Libertarianism".

    You don't seem to know much about liberarianism. Assuming that people are selfish is one of the assumptions of this philosophy.

    If I agree to buy your land, does that include water & mineral rights?
    What about any pollution that may have existed on that land? Am I now responsible for that?

    This has been covered so many times. What rights and responsibilities you get with the land depends on what rights and responsibilities you buy. It's called a contract. If there are disagreements later, that's why we have courts.

  • Eric H.||

    Yes, libertarianism is idealist, as is communism, socialism, fascism, and democracy. American conservatives and modern liberals are idealist as well. You are right that an ideal libertarian society is unworkable due to human nature, for the same reasons that any political ideology is unworkable in it's strictest sense. But the rest of your post is, well, the same worn out arguments I hear all the time.

    Self interest, put in proper context, is not a flaw. Remember that libertarianism isn't about self interest at the cost of others but self interest without harm or cost to others. Modern day liberals (progressives) have a hard time understanding that their ideals of compassion and their moral outrage over equality of results is self serving. Taxing the rich to pay for the welfare state isn't compassion or serving others, its compassion by proxy. It's using others (means) to accomplish your political agenda (ends). Same thing can be said of social conservatives except using different examples of course.

    Sure we all have biases, the trick is to be aware of them and trying to keep the mind open. This doesn't mean that we can't have discussions and compromises when we come together to solve a common problem.

    You talk as though libertarians are against legal contracts between two entities, they are not.

    You seem to have an incomplete opinion of egoism and classic liberalism, an opinion I have read in countless articles, mostly from progressives.

  • Juice||

    Most humans will most always put their wants & need ahead of the wants & needs of others.

    Most, but not all. Obviously not the saints who are members of the coercive monopoly state.

  • DrZ||

    "Most humans will most always put their wants & need ahead of the wants & needs of others.
    That the fundamental flaw of "Libertarianism"."

    How disgusting. These people must be forced to give up the fruits of their labor and their property. If they resist, send them to indoctrination camps. If they resist further, send them to the Gulags. People just don't know what is best for themselves, only elected politicians know what is best for each of us.

  • CE||

    Human nature makes "Libertarianism" wholly unworkable.
    It is steeped in visions of Utopia.

    Seems like it is democracy that is steeped in visions of Utopia.
    Libertarians know better than to trust popular people with unlimited power.

  • n00bdragon||

    According to Reason I'm pretty sure it just means agitating for drug legalization while being careful not to spoil elections for one's Democrat overlords.

  • SIV||

    Reason is generally pretty squishy on any liberty other than the government-subsidized movement of labor (which itself is pretty squishy). On second thought (and to their credit), they're pretty damn solid pro-liberty for whores.

  • DiegoF||

    They are good on criminal justice and moral panics generally, from what I've seen. And it's a good thing too since there's really no one else doing it that comprehensively and consistently, of any ideological persuasion within libertarianism. (Places like Mother Jones and the Village Voice and other traditional lefty "alternative media" traditionally do a lot of good high-quality work in targeted areas like that. But as Sevo has pointed out, that sector is moribund. Just as the Left in general is consolidating around certain establishmentarian consensuses, so is lefty media. Goodbye Voice hello Vox.)

  • SIV||

    traditional lefty "alternative media" traditionally do a lot of good high-quality work in targeted areas like that.

    If by "traditionally" you mean in the previous century.

  • DiegoF||

    Maybe the 2000s too. In fact I'd be highly surprised if not. The great scope of history, especially post-'60s, had been the ongoing bougiefication and consolidation of all sectors of the Left; but there were counter-tendencies that set in in the '90s; and the 2000s were not far off the low-water mark of upper-middle-class prog hobbyhorses like woke culture, antiporn, bougie environmentalism, and other church-lady nonsense. Plus there were the wars, which while people actually paid attention to served as something to keep the focus on things that actually mattered for once. Remember Ron Paul mania? It was so intense a lot of libertarians really came to believe in the Moment™. Electing a handsome smooth talking upper-middle-class mixed-race kid who would smile while the bombs fell became in large part (the rest is about bougie-prog culture re-incubating deep within the university departments) what ended that false dawn once and for all.

  • JoeJoetheIdiotCircusBoy||

    Where are they squishy on gun rights? or free speech? or your ability to determine what substances you do/do not put into your body?

  • vek||

    Well, there were all those times they were fine with "common sense" gun laws in theory. Mind you they tended to say most of the options wouldn't work, but not that the concept was bad itself.

    Reason squishes all the time dude. They're absolutist on most of the left friendly or degenerate friendly positions, and squish like motherfuckers on everything else. It is the way of the Cosmotarian. It is known!

  • No Longer Amused||

    You forgot "The Right To Be Left Alone"

  • jello.beyonce||

    Interesting that Reason espouses the "freedoms" of "Libertarianism" in one article, yet calls for regulation in another.

    The Reason article titled "The FDA's Plan to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes From Most Stores Is Unfair and Dangerous" states:
    "there are other ways to reduce access by minors (such as more enforcement and better age verification)"

    So which way do you want it Reason, regulation or none?

    You seem to be admitting that eliminating regulations doesn't work (increased vaping use by teens), but call for the "freedom" of eliminating regulations, via "Libertarianism".

    YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.
    THIS IS EXACTLY WHY "LIBERTARIANISM" IS A FARCE.

    "Libertarians" are simply those hypocritical few that don't want regulations that affect them, but want regulations that affect others.

    Just as teens lack the moral and intellectual judgement to always make reasonable decisions, so do many adults.
    Regulations exist mainly for those that can't do the right thing, on their own accord.

    I think the folks at Reason need to learn to do a little better REASONING themselves.
    THINK THROUGH YOUR OWN BELIEFS.

    Your logic is completely failing here.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Libertarianism has long faced a bit of complexity in dealing with the fact that not everybody is an adult, or mentally competent. It's not alone in having this problem.

    Authoritarian philosophies deal with it by just treating everybody like a child, of course.

  • Qsl||

    Further, you can pull from the Nadine Strossen school of thought and state any regulation should have to justify itself in terms of supposed benefit verses costs (reducing juvenile consumption vs. increased cigarette consumption of both adults and juveniles). Also, any regulation should be the least restrictive to individual freedom.

    Age verification seems to check both boxes, although the ideal would be "police your own damn child".

    In fact, Strossen's approach could be used as a good starting point for any number of issues raised by Brett.

  • Nuwanda||

    "Libertarianism has long faced a bit of complexity in dealing with the fact that not everybody is an adult..."

    It has? Perhaps you're confusing libertarianism with anarchism. Even minarchists don't think it's OK for 40-year-old men to have sex with 10-year-olds, or to sell them drugs, or otherwise do those things that children don't possess mentally capacity to decide upon.

    Debate the age of consent all you like. All that matters between sane people is that there is an age of consent.

  • Eric H.||

    What a poor argument. Your strawman is that libertarians favor NO regulation so you call out Reason for wanting stricter regulations for selling e-cigs to minors and say that is hypocritical to their position that an all out banning of flavored e-cigs is unfair. Who claimed that libertarians were against all regulations? The libertarian choice in this matter would be to enact regulation that would be effective without impinging on the rights of those that are of an age to make their own decisions about smoking.

    The logic fail is on you.

  • Juice||

    you call out Reason for wanting stricter regulations for selling e-cigs to minors

    Maybe I'm splitting hairs here, but I don't think that was an outright "call" for stricter regulations. I think they were just saying that if you want the outcome to be X, there is a less restrictive way to do it than full on prohibition.

  • vek||

    One could also make the argument that most Reason articles aren't really even very libertarian on such subjects...

    I would say "Give no fucks, let people sling their vapes how the fuck ever they want!" Maybe make possession by those under 18 a slap on the wrist crime... IF their parents didn't consent.

    That's a proper libertarian position.

    But, in the context of reality, there's nothing wrong with arguing for a LESS BAD law versus a MORE BAD law too. But arguing against ANY BAD LAW is the proper full tilt position.

  • Eric H.||

    I personally agree with your "give no fucks" argument and the parental consent for minors as well. Thanks for your post.

  • DesigNate||

    Oh look, another person come to tell us how we are incompetent and have no logic in our thinking because somehow liberty = total anarchy.

  • Juice||

    Interesting that Reason espouses the "freedoms" of "Libertarianism" in one article, yet calls for regulation in another.

    When did Reason call for regulation of anything other than agents of the state?

  • antiestablismentarianism||

    I don't know about the rest of my fellow Libertarians here, but completely eliminating regulation is not that answer, in my opinion. Overly restrictive regulation is just as dangerous as no regulation though. It's long been established in our country that ADULTS (the Declaration of Independence says MEN, not boys) are created equal. Children do not have the same rights as adults and for good reason. They do not have the maturity to determine choices that may affect their entire life. I don't think any Libertarian disputes that. Interesting how you name and quote the article that called for regulation, but only espouse the idea that Libertarianism is "eliminating regulation" without any source that's what we stand for.

  • buybuydandavis||

    When you use an alias like jello.beyonce, no one reads a word you say. Too busy visualizing.

  • markm23||

    "Just as teens lack the moral and intellectual judgement to always make reasonable decisions, so do many adults." Including the ones in government. It often seems to be _especially_ the ones in government, but not when you consider their motivations - which are not to serve the public well, but rather to increase their power and opportunity to enrich themselves, right up to the point where the public kicks them out of those cushy jobs. So you can vote for a Democrat who promises to increase the size of government, or a Republican who promises to reduce it - but 99% of the Republicans will actually work to increase the size of government once they are on the inside of it.

  • BioBehavioral_View||

    Death of a Nation?

    "An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide." -Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975)

    The following is an excerpt from the novel, Retribution Fever:

    Science tells us that the ultimate factors controlling behavior are context and consequences. So, let us look at the current context . . . a context representing the consequence of our past behavior.
    "Gone is proud dedication to national strength in favor of a whimpering subservience to national weakness. Gone is grim determination for victory in battle in favor of guilt-ridden acceptance of self-inflicted defeat. Gone is proud fidelity to permanent principles in favor of shameful infidelity controlled by temporary expediencies. Gone is rule of law in favor of rule by lawyers. Gone is age-old humility taught by Judeo-Christian religions in favor of newly-found arrogance of agnostic/atheistic secular relativism. Gone is absolute morality resting firmly upon time and scripture in favor of self-proclaimed, arbitrary standards of conduct shifting capriciously to reflect momentary whims.

  • apedad||

    "Gone is age-old humility taught by Judeo-Christian religions in favor of newly-found arrogance of agnostic/atheistic secular relativism."

    I'm going to guess that you don't see the irony in your statement.

  • BioBehavioral_View||

    Point taken. To be fair to viewers of the comment, the excerpt actually was dialogue by one of the characters who views libertarianism with less than a favorable eye. Later in the novel, he criticizes libertarianism for floating in an ether of abstract ideology not grounded in empirical data and violating scientific law. His argument is presented in detail therein.

    "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." -George Orwell (1903-1950)

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Death of a Nation was done pretty well.

    he had some facts wrong but overall clearly laid out how the Democratic Party is the Party of slavery, KKK, and Jim Crowe and still is but using different methodology to enslave Americans and keep the blacks in line.

    The Lefties hate D'Souza. He is another race traitor to them. I bet Shikha hates him too.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    Do you just cut and past the Big Fat Idiot's newsletter talking points, LC1789?

  • skellmeyer||

    Libertarianism has no specific issue with slavery. According to libertarian theory, if one person wants to sell his freedom to another (the slaver-owner), in perpetuity, that is his right. It's a freely-entered contract, and from that point hence, the slave-owner can do whatever he wants to his newly-purchased slave, and the slave, having sold his rights, has no right to complain.

    So, Libertarianism is ALSO the party of slavery.

    As for Jim Crow and all the rest, insofar as the population accepted it, then they entered into a contract to accept it. That's their decision, so how can anyone complain about it? If you agree to be bound by the rules of democracy, and democracy votes to impose Jim Crow, then - by libertarian principles - you are bound to observe the democratic rules you accepted, and you are bound to agree with and enforce Jim Crow.

    There's nothing in the list you provide which contravenes libertarian principles.

  • markm23||

    If you believe that slaves voluntarily sold themselves, your history teacher should be hanged. The slaves in America were kidnapped from Africa, or bred from slaves here. Their only choices were work or death.

    It was possible for a pauper in Rome to sell himself into slavery - although far more common for one to sell his children, which is NOT freedom of contract - but most slaves became so either by birth, or as war captives. The only contracts involved were sales contracts between owners or kidnappers and the buyers - NOT contracts agreed to by the slaves.

    Or perhaps you are thinking of the bond servants in the American colonial era? They were distinct from slaves because they sold themselves for a limited time, and their children were free. At any rate, they were often a bad deal for the buyers. Among other things, they could easily run away with little chance of ever getting caught - they looked just like all the free people, and the frontier was near. That custom faded away faster than outright chattel slavery.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    To me, being a libertarian means applying libertarian principles to your personal life. Respect other people's preferences, do not force others to do things against their will, as much as possible, only engage in interactions that are by mutual consent, treat others as individuals rather than as members of some group, do not delegate coercion to others on your behalf, do not mistake value judgements for facts, encourage bottom up solutions and decentralized decision making when possible, and remember that each trade, whether financial or otherwise, is a double inequality of wants in which each participant seeks to be better off than before.

  • Wanderer||

    From David Friedman
    A libertarian is someone who has concluded, for whatever reason, that he prefers a society with a high level of individual freedom and little interference with individual rights

    That is a very good argument against immigration

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    No, it is not.

  • CE||

    What about the individual right to live where you want, rent or sell your real estate to whomever you want, work where you want, or hire whomever you want? Seems pretty pro-immigration to me.

  • vek||

    In theory? Yes.

    In practice? No.

    As fucked as Americans are, we're the most freedom oriented culture on earth. Sad, but true.

    I was actually reading an article the other day, and LBJ was THE LAST Democratic politician who would have won with only the native born American vote.

    Think about that for a second.

    Our whole political spectrum has been shifted DRAMATICALLY away from conservative/libertarian values towards the left/progressive values. Whether you want to admit it or not, according to the math this has mostly happened because of immigrants. They all vote far to the left of native born Americans.

    So in practice, immigration has probably been the greatest destroyed of freedom in America over the last several decades.

    PS. Supposedly even the great FDR would have lost his first run for pres without the immigrant vote!

  • Fancylad||

    "Libertarianism means to me a massive state infrastructure regulating everything from sexual interactions between the 86.334 genders, to drinking straws, to importing a new, cheaper population to replace a less compliant one."
    - t. Shikha Dalmia

  • Harvard||

    And butt sex and reefers,don't forget butt sex and reefers.

  • perlchpr||

    Wait, OBL is actually being penned by Shikha? I wouldn't have figured her to have that much talent.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Shikha is penned by loveconstitution1789 to discredit Open Borders.

  • cynicalretiree||

    Can Libertarianism utilize some aspects of socialism while maintaining capitalism? I'm thinking of post WW2 Europe and social health care and public transportation for devastated countries. I'm also referring to Israel, 1948, using socialized medicine and kibbutzim agriculture to survive. Combinations of 'isms' appears to have helped after WW2. Who knows what troubles lie ahead for us?

  • DiegoF||

    Libertarianism is a political philosophy centered around the moral status of force, which is why it pays so much attention to limiting the size and scope of government--government is the one party in a society that is authorized to use force where such activities would be serious crimes (robbery, kidnapping, murder, etc.) if committed by any other party.

    Communes and collective farms can indeed be libertarian, but the way they ended up being integrated into the Israeli state was not really so at all. They are basically given what amounts to governmental authority--much as a town would have--and, more importantly, soon became more a matter of national pride and culture than anything genuinely profitable and have had to be increasingly subsidized and bailed out by the state. A group of like-minded people devoted to peaceful, cooperative, selfless collective living "from each according to his ability; to each according to his need" by choice would be awesome--but in practice proved rather stubbornly hard to sustain over time. Their initial conditions were quite specific, but that time is over.

  • DiegoF||

    ...For aforementioned reasons, there is an important sense in which "all government is socialist." You are not really libertarian unless you are committed specifically to very austere limits on its size and scope--the pre-Civil War U.S., the North especially, did one of the most decent jobs by this measure in human history--but today nearly all countries do indeed operate on much more activist "mixed economies" combining capitalism and socialism. Today's U.S. is the most libertarian in the world in many ways--our first two constitutional amendments, to take one of the strongest examples--but in some others it is actually less capitalistic than some of the most infamous "democratic socialist" countries of western Europe.

  • DiegoF||

    Addendum: Religious orders, of course, live communally in exactly the manner described. But they are inevitably bachelors by design. The various utopian socialist communes throughout history were unique in their attempts to integrate ordinary biological families into such a cooperative unit. The kibbutzim (not all, but for many decades most) were in perhaps the most important sense the most radical--they were the only civilization in human history in which children sleep apart from their parents--but they proved to be the closest thing by far to a genuine success. Their members' faith in Zionist socialism came the closest to a civil religion to match the spiritual one of traditional religious orders. But it seems the impulse to view biological families as competing economic units were too much for more than the original, highly self-selecting and highly situationally anomalous "revolutionary" generation or two.

  • Qsl||

    If I were devising a pitch towards making peace with the socialist, I'd pull heavily from the Georgist school and its conception of the citizen's dividend. Markets are left largely intact. Taxation is reduced, simplified, and held to a feedback loop. Welfare is generalized enough to be spent on anything from healthcare to food stamps without having to develop specific programs for each.

    I'd go further and replace any number of regulations with transparency laws.

    Socialist get the lion's share of their concerns addressed; libertarians wince, but it could have been a hell of a lot worse.

  • DiegoF||

    More conventional radical libertarians, such as you see at the Mises Institute, don't care for George's philosophy of natural resources one bit! But they acknowledge that in all other respects, his libertarian credentials were almost unimpeachable.

    Unfortunately today Georgism's group of eccentric defenders tend to be drawn from a very different crowd. There remains a minority of austere "geolibertarians" of the original stripe, but most are centrist-type technocrats ("neoliberals," they are often called, mostly derisively) of the Mike Bloomberg or British LibDem tendency. That is to say, those who like "capitalism" and "business" and low taxation, but who ultimately see freedom as merely one tool of many to be deployed in what is essentially a planned vision (by "smart policy" people such as themselves) of society. So land value tax becomes nothing more than the central part, recruited into the service of, broader agendas of environmentalism, urbanism, even health nannyism and so forth--an "unplanned" part to be sure, but unique only in that. So it becomes less a replacement for the current mixed-economy paternalist statism as it is a supplement--just as Milton Friedman was disappointed to find that his negative income tax did nothing to replace, and everything to supplement at further taxpayer expense, the bureaucratic welfare state.

  • Qsl||

    All the more reason to argue fervently for the original conception (especially if that is more approachable than something like medicare for all).

    There is nothing inherently good about the LVT or UBI but as a replacement for the myriad of programs already in effect (and leaving the Parking Collectives to implement their own further refinements on something other than a national level).

  • TheOriginalDaveH||

    "radical libertarians"?
    There is only one kind of true Libertarian. That is the kind who believe that people have a natural right to control their own bodies and property, absent the coercion of others. Anything else would better be classified as "faux libertarian".

  • DiegoF||

    Well, whatever. I'm trying to communicate here. I use the term, people get what I mean. I don't mean Kochtarians, Beltwaytarians, whatever, which most people call libertarians, and the distinction was important to my point.

  • TheOriginalDaveH||

    There would have been no WW2 if everybody was libertarian.

  • vek||

    Well, there would be no humans if everybody was libertarian... Because it's not really our natural state. We'd be something far different if everybody were libertarian. Probably something better mind you, but surely not human.

    I firmly believe that only a few percent of humans alive today are really capable of being libertarian of their own accord. That said, if TOP MEN of the good variety, like the founding fathers, FORCE libertarianism down peoples throats, most will put up with it for awhile.

    Basically the founders were a bunch of smart badasses who forced the right way to do things on everybody. Unfortunately human stupidity has slowly but surely destroyed all the great things they gave us. It started right from the get go, but got especially bad during the civil war and beyond.

    Oh well. Maybe some more good top men will come along someday soon and force people to live in a just society again.

  • cynicalretiree||

    How does libertarianism abide with potential law like HR 586? [see gov.com]. 586 supports defense of a fertilized egg against potential medical decisions of the mother whose womb the egg is in. At what point do libertarians decide that religion and politics interfering in health care is OK as long as legislators support lowest taxes and unrestricted gun rights?

  • DiegoF||

    Libertarians do not really agree on the moral status of embryos and fetuses. Those that think they are or may have the moral status of persons like you and I, and that their position within the mother does not give them a status of "intruder" or the like that might justify their killing, are likely to insist (if they believe government should exist, and that protecting innocent life from aggression is ever one of its duties) that government make some sort of effort to protect the embryos and fetuses. Those who disagree are likely to see that sort of action as an intrusion upon the most sacred rights of the mother over her own body.

    For the latter sort, no libertarian is going to say that it is "OK." But libertarians do have a wide variety of perspectives on how we should fight for liberty in the real world. How should we react to a country that has been moving over the long term further away from our political philosophy, and in which we are unlikely to find viable candidates for office who are anything close to ideal? These are matters on which libertarians of all stripes naturally differ. And it's just about where they have the least expertise and where their differences and debates are the least interesting to listen to.

  • DesigNate||

    The Libertarian Party is staunchly on the side of women's right to choose. Even most of the people that post here and other places that are against abortion morally don't think the government should interfere.

  • vek||

    There's always a 3rd way!

    Let the mother commit the "murder," and then try and execute her for premeditated murder! That way nobody had their rights interfered with! :)

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    It's libertarian to point to other libertarians and claim they're not libertarian.

  • SIV||

    It's required.

  • TheOriginalDaveH||

    It's propaganda to state that you're a Libertarian when you don't even know what a Libertarian is:
    Read "For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto" by Murray Rothbard.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    A true libertarian wouldn't believe something like that.

  • vek||

    How dare you say that Diane! You're not even a REAL libertarian, so how could you possibly comment!

  • Egypt Steve||

    It means I can smoke all the dope and have all the gay sex want, and I don't have to pay any taxes.

  • vek||

    d00d!

    Somebody should propose a tax on gay butt sexxx! It would literally make all the Reason writers heads explode!

  • Eric H.||

    2 out of 3 aint bad.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    To me anyway, libertarianism is fundamentally an ethos of respect for the dignity of each individual human being. That none of us can truly understand or know what is best for anyone else given each person's own unique circumstances, and that each individual should have the power and authority to set the direction of his/her own life, as free from the chains of the collective as much as possible.

  • MarkT1967||

    Being a Libertarian means screwing the country because Republicans lose elections due to the fact the 'green' party is dead and no longer offsets your idiocy. If you want to smoke weed and be a quasi- conservative do it on your own time.

  • DiegoF||

    Allow me to acquaint you with the capitalization conventions of the English language, especially as regard to titles. Better yet try reading articles beyond the titles before commenting, to see what they might be discussing.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    "Don't hurt people and don't take their stuff."

    I use this all the time. It is short and easily remembered and it sinks in with people.

  • Generalissimo||

    A short time ago there was a discussion that Libertarians are not halfway between Democrats and Republicans.

    IMO Libertarians are the antithesis of Democrats and Republicans are merely in the middle.

    Democrats < Republicans < Libertarians. Democrats want the largest government, highest taxes, most regulation, restriction on speech, guns, etc. Republicans want slightly less government, slightly lower taxes, slightly fewer regulations and different restrictions on sex, speech, etc. Libertarians want everyone to get off their lawn, out of their bedroom, and our of their checkbook.

    Towards that end, I am in the camp that Libertarians would be better represented by not running candidates and instead focusing on creating a caucus within Federal and State legislatures and providing specific policy ideas and bills to be acted upon.

  • cynicalretiree||

    I worked 30 years with very sick newborns, toddlers, children, teens. Those who live with hard working families that earn low wages have tsunami challenges ahead compared to me who retired with Medicare & supplements.Charity help exists but rarely approaches the entirety of drastic budgets needed for disadvantaged families who have kids with expensive life long health conditions.in hospitals, many of us tepidly supported ACA. It was better than the minimal help in many US states before 2008.
    Childrens' Defense Fund from years before was better than nothing that existed before it.California Children's Supplementary Insurance remains great in California. CDF in other states is great but it got reduced by Clinton whose wife, Hillary helped originate CDF.
    What happened to Romneycare? I never met anyone from Massachusetts who complained about Romneycare.

  • cynicalretiree||

    addendum: ACA helps families with low wages who have sick children and sick adults.CDF and CCS are specific help to children.

  • Rob Misek||

    "Don't hurt anyone and don't take their stuff".

    But do you really mean it? Or when it's time to walk the talk, do you look for an excuse?

    The earths resources are finite. When you take more than you need, there isn't enough for others. Capitalism is a no no.

    Abortion murders a young person. Ouch.

    Where are all the libertarians?

  • Juice||

    When you take more than you need, there isn't enough for others. Capitalism is a no no.

    dafuq? Not only is this zero-sum thinking, which is wrong, it seems to assume there is only just enough "stuff" for every individual to barely survive.

  • Rob Misek||

    The earth is a closed system. It is a vessel that must be here for everyone including future generations.

    It's resources are not endless and some people take preventing others from having any. Idiots mistakenly call it creating wealth. It's a closed system meaning you aren't creating anything. You only use what is available to everyone. Then you die.

  • Nuwanda||

    And thew solar system is a closed system. The sun will go red and fry us before too many billions of years have gone by. And the universe will suffer a cold death billions after that.

    What an asinine viewpoint. So what if you consume resources at a 50% slower rate? What does that give you? Another couple of centuries of existence? Is that your goal? To prolong the moment of finality?

  • Rob Misek||

    Thank you for so clearly demonstrating my point.

  • Nuwanda||

    What? That you're offering up prolonged suffering as an alternative to what you contend is accelerated suffering?

  • TheOriginalDaveH||

    "take more than you need"?
    Libertarians believe in voluntary trade. Taking implies otherwise. Are you against voluntary trading, Rob?

    "When you take more than you need, there isn't enough for others"?
    What better way to decide who gets those "finite" resources than to conduct voluntary trade?

    "Abortion murders a young person"?
    What does that have to do with being a Libertarian, Rob? We simply believe that the mother has a right to refuse servitude to anybody, including an unborn child. Including you.

  • Rob Misek||

    Don't you also have to believe that the living human baby has a right not to be murdererd?

    It was the mother's choice of actions that put the baby inside her, the baby is completely innocent.

    No? What excuse are you looking for?

  • Rob Misek||

    What is voluntary trade when people who want them don't have jobs and the "haves" are fucking the "have nots"?

  • sarcasmic||

    How are the haves fucking the have nots? Seriously.

    By not giving stuff away?

    Maybe the haves fuck the have nots by giving them jobs.

    Maybe they fuck them by offering goods and services.

    Maybe they fuck them by paying the bulk of the taxes.

    I'm just trying to figure this out.

    Because in a capitalist system people only get rich by selling stuff to voluntary buyers, and in employing people to do so. They get rich by making lives better.

    As opposed to socialism which relies upon plunder.

    Your argument is that voluntary trade is immoral, while plunder is moral.

  • Rob Misek||

    You use the word as though it implies justice.

    Criminal behaviour is voluntary.

    Here's your only voluntary choice, die or get fucked, which do you voluntarily choose?

    Whatsa matta, not fair?

  • sarcasmic||

    Argle bargle what?

  • vek||

    You fail to realize, Rob, that humans create new capacity out of our minds. If we were using the same techniques to feed ourselves as 10,000 years ago, 98% of the worlds population would starve overnight. There are theoretically limited resources, but we can find nearly infinite ways to use them.

    Also, there are TONS more resources in our solar system just waiting to be used. Given that the worlds population will be peaking in the next couple decades, all your worries are for not. Between current and reasonably expected future technology, we will be just fine.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    "Mind your own business, and keep your hands to yourself."

  • DiegoF||

    I'm not touching you! I'm not touching you!

  • Rob Misek||

    Does everyone tell you to fuck off?

    Listen to yourself. What an asshole mantra.

    Own it.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    Minding your own business is asshole-ish?

  • Rob Misek||

    Why are you reaching out here desperately wanting to communicate, to share something of yourself with the rest of us?

  • Arizona_Guy||

    Holy non-sequitur.

  • Rob Misek||

    Still not minding your own business?

  • J Neil Schulman||

    What Does It Mean To Be a Libertarian?

    It means being confused with being a conservative or Alt-right.

    It means being trolled by left, right, and other libertarians.

    It means being marginalized, ignored, and black listed.

    It means having your clever ideas cherry picked and used without credit.

    It means the least libertarian among you will be the only ones you see on cable news.

  • vek||

    How now, Stossel is more libertarian than almost anybody else at Reason! So that last one, not so much... At least not 100% of the time.

  • TheOriginalDaveH||

    Don't hurt people and don't take their stuff?
    It's no wonder people are so confused about what a Libertarian is. That would mean different things to every individual. Most people don't believe in hurting other people and taking their stuff. That's why so many vote for Big Government -- in their mind to stop such practices.
    Libertarianism already is defined in a nutshell, and it is a much easier understood description:
    People have a natural right to control their own bodies and property, absent the coercion of others.
    It's hard to rationalize the Force of Government for those who live by that description.

  • sarcasmic||

    Libertarianism means taking over the world and then leaving people alone.

  • vek||

    The funny thing is, this is basically what the Founding Fathers did.

    They fought a bloody, violent revolution... Then were HELLA chill man. I suspect the same would need to be repeated to bring another equally (or even more!) libertarian leaning nation into the world.

  • DrZ||

    At a minimum, in order to be a Libertarian, one must have been born in Liberia.

  • DiegoF||

    Those are liberarians. And from my experience since childhood they're the farthest thing from pro-freedom, always shushing you.

  • skellmeyer||

    So, can a libertarian legitimately sell himself into lifelong slavery, sell his freedom in exchange for a set sum of money? Is life-long irreversible slavery acceptable, as long as it is freely entered into by both the slaver and the enslaved?

  • CE||

    SOunds better than what we have now.

  • Rob Misek||

    Sounds like a shithole country's mantra.

  • vek||

    In theory, if the person were mentally sound... I suppose so?

    I would imagine a "But I get 10 years to blow my money before I become a slave!" clause is in the contract!

    FYI, we already have life long slavery for people who commit serious crimes.

  • skellmeyer||

    Thanks for admitting that libertarianism has no serious philosophical opposition to slavery.

  • vek||

    Well, if it's self imposed. It IS adamantly against it being FORCED on somebody against their will.

    We let people trade their lives for reasons, like money, all the time. People can freely choose to do super dangerous jobs where they are likely to DIE, which is arguably even worse than living as a well treated slave.

    If a mentally sound 30 year old wanted to contract themselves into having to work for somebody for the rest of their life, after say receiving 5 million dollars and 10 years to spend it... I don't see what right somebody has to deny them that option. I wouldn't want to do it, but I can theoretically understand how somebody else might.

  • skellmeyer||

    Oh, you can make whatever excuses you like.

    By agreeing to slavery, you have just denied the Declaration of Independence and it's assertion that some rights are "unalienable". If a right cannot be alienated, that means it cannot be abrograted in any way no matter what the circumstances. I cannot give away, sell or in any way be stripped of an unalienable right, because it is inherent to my very being.

    By allowing slavery, you just admitted that you don't think "life" or "liberty" are unalienable.
    So, you've demonstrated that libertarians are anti-American.

    Thanks for playing!

  • Ralph Fucetola JD||

    It's really about the Golden Rule, which in libertarian terms is: "Do with your own as you will." More here: https://tinyurl.com/OK2belibertarian

  • Mr. JD||

    How to be a libertarian:

    1. Cut off your nose
    2. Spite your face

  • Uncle Adolf's Gas and Grill||

  • DRees||

    When I hear libertarians talking as much about restoring the writ of habeas corpus as they do about privatising public education, THEN I'll start to listen. In the meantime, I'm voting for Bernie!!!

  • Rob Misek||

    "Don't hurt anyone and don't take anyone's stuff"

    Why do "libertarians" choose these tenets?

    What values and principles describe them? Be specific and be thorough.

    Wouldn't those same values and principles apply universally, representing other tenets that should be included in libertarianism?

    Only a fucked up ideology would cherrypick those principles which serve an interpretation of narcissistic interests

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm trying really hard to understand what you are saying, and failing miserably.

  • 68W58||

    How about this? Let's say someone was about to do something potentially stupid, the conservative would say "don't do that, there will be terrible consequences", the libertarian would say "do what you like, suffer the consequences", while the leftist would say "do what you like, we'll subsidize the consequences". I think that usefully summarizes each worldview.

  • vek||

    That is actually pretty succinct, and also correct. I may try to remember that!

  • M.L.||

    How about this: Protect and preserve nations and cultures founded on liberty, where liberty flourishes. Speak out against cultures and ideologies in which liberty is virtually non-existent. Respect popular sovereignty and the right of people to consent to and be represented in their governance. Advocate for radical decentralization of government power, e.g. federalism in America.

    And ABOVE ALL -- OPPOSE widespread and fashionable globalist ideologies, which work tirelessly against all of the above, to create globalist power structures which are the very antithesis of liberty.

  • vek||

    The Cosmotarians could NEVER get behind common sense stuff like that! Can you imagine how quickly they'd be un-friended on social media by their pals in DC? How many cocktail parties they would miss out on???

  • vek||

    "It is difficult even to draw a meaningful distinction between liberty and equality, let alone to regard them as inalterably oppositional. How could we possibly claim to have secured individual liberty if some individuals are denied their rights for discriminatory reasons?"

    Of all the things I wanted to gripe about when reading these, this one actually made me do it!

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS EQUALITY! Which is why it is a nonsense goal. Einstein was better than the kid with Down Syndrome you went to school with. Period. Sorry, but it's true. Both are still owed certain basic rights and a degree of respect as a human being... But the retard is simply not "equal" to somebody like Albert Einstein. OR even a normal run of the mill not so bright person with an IQ of 90. Equality of outcomes IS NOT POSSIBLE, therefore is an unachievable goal.

    As far as discriminating against people... Being discriminating USED to be a positive quality in many instances... Meaning one had standards. Discriminating against people who are sketchy is still a good thing, even if it seems "mean" or whatever. Now it's considered a dirty word across the board. That's BS.

  • vek||

    If she's getting at race/gender/etc discrimination, the fact is most groups are discriminated against because they don't actually meet the objective criteria set for certain things. PERIOD. They then complain that they aren't allowed to have XYZ achievement, even though they didn't earn it. Rinse and repeat.

    It's the fact that fewer blacks graduate with top honors at MIT (or other such schools) that makes there be fewer black engineers, not that anybody is out to get them.

    If the evil whitey is just racist against everybody, why is it that them pesky Asians do BETTER than whitey while we try to hold them down??? If it was all racism, then white society would be holding them down just as "well" as blacks, probably even better because they're a smaller group in the US. They would be failures too.

    But that's not the case. It's the fact that blacks/Hispanics/women/etc just can't seem to do as well in certain areas for whatever reasons... But that's not the same thing as them being held back. They just can't hack it in certain fields of endeavor, insert whatever excuse you want, but that's the truth.

    So tired of the whining about this stuff.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The Libertarian Party is the thing Woodstock Nation needed as an alternative to republican national socialism and democratic communism. When voting libertarian, my vote packs a huge multiple of the law-changing power I would otherwise waste on marionettes for Kleptocracy soft machines. For the first time in human history, we (not every nation) have had the option of voting for freedom, and letting the mindless candidates of the Empire of Get scramble to change their party platforms and laws so as to not lose seats to less cruel politicians. The same mechanism the communists used to saddle us with an income tax, and other mystics used to saddle us with prohibitionism and Comstock laws banning ALL birth control, now serves individual rights. Thanks to our real candidates and to voters with the guts and savvy to put integrity into action, and thanks to Ayn Rand for getting the ball rolling.

  • Max Hydrogen||

    Apparently, what it meas to be Libertarian is to be someone who confuses Classical Liberalism with Anarcho-Capitalism.

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  • Yadranko||

    Short Libertarian Minute video about what does it mean to be a libertarian, explained by real everyday libertarians:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZtrEM0HwWY