Portal:Libertarianism

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Portal:Libertarianism

The Libertarianism Portal

Libertarianism (from Latin libertas, meaning "freedom") is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle.

Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgment. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions.

Most libertarians, specifically left-libertarians, seek to abolish capitalism and private ownership of the means of production in favor of their common or cooperative ownership and management, viewing private property as a barrier to freedom and liberty. Other libertarians, notably right-libertarians, instead advocate laissez-faire capitalism and strong private property rights, such as in land, infrastructure and natural resources.

An additional line of division is between minarchists and anarchists—while minarchists think that a minimal centralized government is necessary, socialist anarchists and anarcho-capitalists propose to completely eliminate the state.

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Right-libertarianism (or right-wing libertarianism) refers to libertarian political philosophies that advocate negative rights, natural law and a major reversal of the modern welfare state. Right-libertarians strongly support private property rights and defend market distribution of natural resources and private property. This position is contrasted with that of some versions of left-libertarianism, which maintain that natural resources belong to everyone in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively. Right-libertarianism includes anarcho-capitalism and laissez-faire, minarchist liberalism.

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Even more remarkably, the Libertarian party achieved this growth while consistently adhering to a new ideological creed—"libertarianism"—thus bringing to the American political scene for the first time in a century a party interested in principle rather than in merely gaining jobs and money at the public trough. We have been told countless times by pundits and political scientists that the genius of America and of our party system is its lack of ideology and its "pragmatism" (a kind word for focusing solely on grabbing money and jobs from the hapless taxpayers). How, then, explain the amazing growth of a new party which is frankly and eagerly devoted to ideology?

One explanation is that Americans were not always pragmatic and nonideological. On the contrary, historians now realize that the American Revolution itself was not only ideological but also the result of devotion to the creed and the institutions of libertarianism. The American revolutionaries were steeped in the creed of libertarianism, an ideology which led them to resist with their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor the invasions of their rights and liberties committed by the imperial British government. Historians have long debated the precise causes of the American Revolution: Were they constitutional, economic, political, or ideological? We now realize that, being libertarians, the revolutionaries saw no conflict between moral and political rights on the one hand and economic freedom on the other. On the contrary, they perceived civil and moral liberty, political independence, and the freedom to trade and produce as all part of one unblemished system, what Adam Smith was to call, in the same year that the Declaration of Independence was written, the "obvious and simple system of natural liberty."

— Murray Rothbard (1926–1995)
For a New Liberty (1973)

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The Statue of Liberty (a figure of a robed woman representing Libertas, a Roman goddess) is often used as a symbol of libertarianism in the United States
Credit: Fitz-Patrick, Bill

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Murray Bookchin.jpg
Murray Bookchin was an American anarchist and libertarian socialist author, orator, historian and political theorist. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin initiated the critical theory of social ecology within anarchist, libertarian socialist and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books covering topics in politics, philosophy, history, urban affairs and ecology. Among the most important were Our Synthetic Environment (1962), Post-Scarcity Anarchism (1971) and The Ecology of Freedom (1982).

In the late 1990s, Bookchin became disenchanted with the increasingly apolitical lifestylism of the contemporary anarchist movement, stopped referring to himself as an anarchist and founded his own libertarian socialist ideology called Communalism.

Bookchin was an anti-capitalist and vocal advocate of the decentralisation of society along ecological and democratic lines. His writings on libertarian municipalism, a theory of face-to-face, assembly democracy, had an influence on the green movement and anti-capitalist direct action groups such as Reclaim the Streets as well as the democratic confederalism of Rojava.

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