Misunderstood Libertarianism

I feel that people do not understand the political ideology of Libertarianism, and that scares them. Libertarianism is often made into a straw man by both Conservatives and Liberals. They claim that Libertarians don’t want schools, roads, housing etc. That is in fact the antithesis of what Libertarianism is all about. Because people misconstrue the mindset behind Libertarianism, they do not understand it, and are afraid.

Penn Jillette, a Libertarian contributor for TheBlaze, stated that “My whole take on Libertarianism is simply that I don’t know what’s best for other people.” What Jillette stated is the essence of the general mindset of Libertarians. Don’t take my words out of context either; there are plenty of college kids that simply want freedom to do anything they want, and could not care less about the true ideology and what it entails. It is not that Libertarians do not care about children, or want poor people to starve; it is simply that the private sector best takes care of those areas of society. Charities and churches are consistently more effective in helping the poor in their times of need than government assistance. Welfare programs instituted by the government tend to create a dependent class, one that politicians can almost always count on for votes.

Simply stated, I do not know what kinds of presuppositions, experiences and beliefs that you have. Because I do not know them, and more than likely I do not share all of them, you should be free to carry out your life as you see fit. If you believe in homeschooling your children, you should have the right to do so. The government’s idea of what children should know can change from different administrations, Conservative or Liberal. Public schooling is antithetical to Libertarian philosophy of education. It is the responsibility of the parents, not the government, to ensure their children obtain the proper education.

Mind you, that it neither picks the pocket, nor breaks the leg of anyone else. If you desire to smoke marijuana, you should have that right, even though many in society would deem it wrong. However, if you drive while high, there should be severe penalties because you could do potentially fatal damage to another person. If you desire to have an automatic weapon, you should have the right to do so, providing that you do not shoot up a shopping mall (appropriate consequences as well).

I would say that Libertarianism is the misunderstood ideology of freedom. Government moralizing is seen as wrong, and people should have the freedom to live how they choose. Ultimately, personal responsibility is the highest attribute for Libertarians. Is this a radical idea?

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6 thoughts on “Misunderstood Libertarianism

  1. The Libertarians have made it very clear over the last 20 years what kind of America they want. I personally don’t want to live in a place where people have legal access to automatic weapons and mind altering narcotics on the same block. The people who are into those things now are on the fringes of society because society has deemed them to be undesirable, we don’t need a government that would legitimize it so the entire country can be like South Central Los Angeles.

    Furthermore they would entirely destroy our values and allow sexual degeneracy to run rampant as well as continue the murder of countless millions of the unborn.

    Libertarianism is also very harsh on the less fortunate and the poor. When we had an entirely unfettered version of Capitalism in this country people didn’t actually get paid in dollars and cents, they were paid in tokens so they could buy food from their company’s store. Many of them lived on property owned by their employer and rented their homes from them as well. It was essentially Feudalism until the government stepped in and established rules by which businesses had to abide.

    I can understand how this philosophy would appeal to young people because it kills the cognitive dissonance between wanting to remain socially liberal at the urging of popular culture, but also wanting to cling to more conservative economic principles, but it’s a dead-end political theory in the same sense as Communism and Socialism are, they are designed to appear as alternatives to the status quo that feel good when you think about them, but in practice would fall apart quickly and painfully.

    1. I still think you’re making the straw man argument. I also think you’re equivocating non governmental interference with irresponsibility. Just because drugs may be decriminalized does not mean we turn into Columbia with cartels running the country. The entire basis of libertarianism is personal responsibility. We don’t have that right now. That’s what has to change, not more banning of drugs or anything else, because it increases the power of the state rather than the people.

      Libertarianism promotes private citizens and institutions promoting responsibility and morality, because if they turn out to be wrong, people can simply choose other institutions/ people to associate with. Whereas if you grant the state power over matters like marriage, drugs, and other issues best left to private parties, the potential for abuse becomes unlimited because the state has a monopoly on force.

      It’s not about license. It’s about living responsibly, not hurting other people, and not taking their stuff. We are not going to fix our problems by involving the government, because at its best, it cannot even create a functioning website for billions of dollars. It’s about accountability, responsibility, and freedom of choice; none of which are mutually exclusive. Bottom line is that the state often corrupts matters best left in a different sphere, and it’s about preventing abuse of power by evil men in the state.

      1. I wouldn’t really say I was using a straw man argument though, because the kinds of things I’m talking about can be viewed through the lens of history. I’m not just taking scattered incidents and blowing them up to make it look like the whole of Libertarianism is insane, you can look back through American history and see how Libertarian policies failed.

        Take gun control, for example. Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s you could purchase firearms almost anywhere in any major American city with little to no supervision or regulation. Compare the firearm-related crime rates in New York or Los Angeles, or even the entire country at large from that time to now. Why would we want to back track into that? The regulations placed on weapons forced anybody who was buying a gun for an illegal purpose into the shadows and out of the mainstream, it made the mere act of possessing a gun for nefarious purposes a crime and the nose dive in violence nationwide pretty much speaks for itself.

        Let’s look at how this drug legalization that the Libertarians are so happy about is going. You have the government regulating pot, selling pot from government-run dispensaries, the government is growing the pot, the government is advertising the pot, the government is policing the people using it…all in the name of what…less government? Libertarianism will create its own bureaucracies, as evidenced here.

        Your second paragraph here just makes no sense at all. It sounds like something from a textbook, I’m not trying to be rude, but I just have no idea what it even means.

        So to wrap it up, look back in history and you’ll see why these policies failed and why regulation was necessary. Read up on the conditions of working people during the industrial revolution. Ask an elderly person of color what it was like not to be able to eat at certain restaurants or even walk down certain streets. Libertarianism, like I said, is just like Communism and Socialism…it sounds really good on paper, but history will show you that it fails all but a select few when put into practice.

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