I started to research this thread because I see the term “libertarian” tossed around quite a bit in the US society, and tried to nail down what
exactly it means.
Essentially, I opened a can of worms both large and small. It seems that the meaning, and the political and economic baggage that goes along with, are
immense over time.
My initial thinking, as inferred from folks who espoused “libertarian view,” was that it was a belief in limited government and maximized freedom
from interference. In part that is true, but that little “elevator” synopsis is very deceptive, and requires close inspection, some research, and
some really deep introspection.
So I am posting this thread to explore the historical, political and economic aspect of libertarian philosophy. I am ask ATS members to help me out
here, add their perspectives, and maybe have a laugh or two.
As always, I would appreciate everyone considering if their posts are in scope and on topic. And that we try to be polite, despite that inevitable
reality that this topic could cause some folks to bump heads in a personal way.
I am paraphrasing from a bunch of source here. Libertarianism is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core
principle. The philosophy seeks to gain political freedom, reject overreaching state authority, and may call for dissolving all forms of the state.
Now this is interesting.
Traditionally, "libertarianism" was a term for a form of left-wing politics—such left-libertarian ideologies seek to abolish capitalism and
private ownership of the means of production, or else to restrict their purview or effects, in favor of common or cooperative ownership and
management, viewing private property as a barrier to freedom and liberty (1)
No private property? No personal ownership? What the heck is this?
The philosophical thinking here is that the state (government) is the entity that enforces private ownership, deeds, contracts, etc. and that
enforcement is required whether an individual agrees with it or not. We are born into a society, and cannot readily opt out of preexisting laws,
rules, forms of government. In this sense, we are not “born free,” but a shacked with the history that predated our birth, and are not often able
to relinquish the society we were born into. The argument goes that even if we were born to wealth, that wealth is only recognized and accessible
because of the state (which privileges our private ownership, enforces our holding of currency through monetary standards, and denies others access to
our holding through coercion and threats of violence).
This is pretty far out stuff. Reminds me of hippy communes, but taken to the ultimate extreme.
OK, most of us are familiar with the concept of “The Social Contract,” where we agree to give up some liberty to live in a community. People
thought about that for a long time. Then came John Stuart Mill, who disregarded social contract in favor of a theory that used his moral imperatives
as its basis. His theory serves as the alternative to this hippy thinking, and led to the next phase of libertarianism, when the movement co-opted the
term in the mid-20th century to instead advocate laissez-faire capitalism and strong private property rights such as in land, infrastructure and
Wow! Complete Turn around!
So now we have right and left libertarians .Both share advocacy for social freedom, but the right value the social institutions that enforce
conditions of capitalism, while rejecting institutions that function in opposition to capitalism on the basis of economic freedom.
Then there is a group called the Anarcho-capitalists who want the complete elimination of the state in favor of privately funded security services
while and some who defend "night-watchman states", which maintain only those functions of government necessary to maintain conditions of capitalism
and personal security.
Pretty wide range of folks in this group of so called “libertarians.”
I am going to stop at this point because you folks can look up aspects of libertarian philosophy as you are inclined. I have listed a WIKI source
below that gives a good and somewhat detailed background on all things libertarian.
I look forward to a fine discussion, and learning from my fellow ATS'ers on their take on libertanianism, and how it appies to them.
As we can see, it means different things to different people at different times.
What does it mean to you?
edit on 10-1-2019 by FilthyUSMonkey because: (no reason given)