Portal:Libertarianism

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Portal:Libertarianism

Introduction

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.

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. In the United States, modern right-libertarian ideologies, such as minarchism and anarcho-capitalism, 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 natural resources.

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Libertarian Marxism refers to a broad scope of economic and political philosophies that emphasize the anti-authoritarian aspects of Marxism. Early currents of libertarian Marxism, known as left communism, emerged in opposition to Marxism–Leninism and its derivatives, such as Stalinism and Maoism.

Libertarian Marxism is also often critical of reformist positions, such as those held by social democrats. Libertarian Marxist currents often draw from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' later works, specifically the Grundrisse and The Civil War in France, emphasizing the Marxist belief in the ability of the working class to forge its own destiny without the need for a revolutionary party or state to mediate or aid its liberation. Along with anarchism, libertarian Marxism is one of the main currents of libertarian socialism.

Libertarian Marxism includes such currents as council communism, De Leonism, Socialisme ou Barbarie, Lettrism/Situationism and workerism/autonomism and parts of the New Left. Libertarian Marxism has often had a strong influence on both post-left and social anarchists. Notable theorists of libertarian Marxism have included Anton Pannekoek, Raya Dunayevskaya, CLR James, E. P. Thompson, Rosa Luxemburg, Antonio Negri, Cornelius Castoriadis, Maurice Brinton, Guy Debord, Daniel Guérin, Fredy Perlman, Ernesto Screpanti and Raoul Vaneigem.

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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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Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand, born Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum, was a Russian-born American novelist, philosopher, playwright and screenwriter. She is widely known for her best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and for developing a philosophical system called Objectivism. Rand advocated rational individualism and laissez-faire capitalism, categorically rejecting altruism, religion and socialism. Her ideas remain both influential and controversial.

Rand considered the initiation of force or fraud to be immoral and held that government action should consist only in protecting citizens from criminal aggression (via the police), foreign aggression (via the military) and in maintaining a system of courts to decide guilt or innocence for objectively defined crimes and to resolve disputes. Her politics are generally described as minarchist and libertarian, though she did not use the first term and disavowed any connection to the second.

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