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The media’s caricature of libertarians is a pendulum that swings from one extreme to another. One minute we’re grasping plutocrats, championing the privileged, and the next minute we’re losers living in our parents’ basements.
Too many libertarians have absorbed the negative and elitist conservative worldview to the effect that our enemy today is the poor, who are robbing the rich; the blacks, who are robbing the whites; or the masses, who are robbing heroes and businessmen. In fact, it is the state that is robbing all classes, rich and poor, black and white, worker and businessman alike; it is the state that is ripping us all off; it is the state that is the common enemy of mankind. And who is the state? It is any group who manages to seize control of the state’s coercive machinery of theft and privilege.
But hasn’t the state lifted up the poor? The state’s efforts to alleviate poverty have had minuscule effects when they haven’t been counterproductive. The vast bulk of the conquest of poverty that took place in the twentieth century occurred well before the federal government had done much of anything. It occurred because the unhampered market naturally leads to an improvement in the general standard of living.edit on 21-9-2013 by greencmp because: (no reason given)
What is Classical Liberalism?
Prior to the 20th century, classical liberalism was the dominant political philosophy in the United States. It was the political philosophy of Thomas Jefferson and the signers of the Declaration of Independence and it permeates the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers and many other documents produced by the people who created the American system of government. Many of the emancipationists who opposed slavery were essentially classical liberals, as were the suffragettes, who fought for equal rights for women.
Basically, classical liberalism is the belief in liberty. Even today, one of the clearest statements of this philosophy is found in Jefferson's Declaration of Independence. At that time, as is the case today, most people believed that rights came from government. People thought they only had such rights as government elected to give them. But following the British philosopher John Locke, Jefferson argued that it's the other way around. People have rights apart from government, as part of their nature. Further, people can form governments and dissolve them. The only legitimate purpose of government is to protect these rights.
reply to post by greencmp
Maybe Jeremiah Johnson. But like the old man told him...."A lot of people come up to the mountains to get away from all the evil down below. But the mountains has its own ways".