Portal:Libertarianism

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Portal:Libertarianism

The Libertarianism Portal

Libertarianism 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, individual judgment, and self-ownership.

Some libertarians advocate laissez-faire capitalism and strong private property rights, such as in land, infrastructure, and natural resources. Others, notably libertarian socialists, 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. An additional line of division is between minarchists and anarchists. While minarchists think that a minimal centralized government is necessary, anarchists and anarcho-capitalists propose to completely eliminate the state.

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Anarcho-capitalism (also known as “liberty anarchy” or “market anarchism” or “private-property anarchism”) is a libertarian and individualist anarchist political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the state in favor of individual sovereignty in a free market. Economist Murray Rothbard is credited with coining the term. In an anarcho-capitalist society, law enforcement, courts, and all other security services would be provided by voluntarily-funded competitors such as private defense agencies rather than through taxation, and money would be privately and competitively provided in an open market. According to anarcho-capitalists, personal and economic activities would be regulated by the natural laws of the market and through private law rather than through politics. Furthermore, victimless crimes and crimes against the state would not exist.

Anarcho-capitalists argue for a society based on the voluntary trade of private property and services (including money, consumer goods, land, and capital goods) in order to maximize individual liberty and prosperity. However, they also recognize charity and communal arrangements as part of the same voluntary ethic. Though anarcho-capitalists are known for asserting a right to private (individualized or joint non-public) property, some propose that non-state public or community property can also exist in an anarcho-capitalist society. For them, what is important is that it is acquired and transferred without help or hindrance from the compulsory state. Anarcho-capitalist libertarians believe that the only just, and/or most economically beneficial, way to acquire property is through voluntary trade, gift, or labor-based original appropriation, rather than through aggression or fraud.

Anarcho-capitalists see free-market capitalism as the basis for a free and prosperous society. Murray Rothbard said that the difference between free-market capitalism and "state capitalism" is the difference between "peaceful, voluntary exchange" and a collusive partnership between business and government that uses coercion to subvert the free market. "Capitalism," as anarcho-capitalists employ the term, is not to be confused with state monopoly capitalism, crony capitalism, corporatism, or contemporary mixed economies, wherein market incentives and disincentives may be altered by state action. So they reject the state, based on the belief that states are aggressive entities which steal property (through taxation and expropriation), initiate aggression, are a compulsory monopoly on the use of force, use their coercive powers to benefit some businesses and individuals at the expense of others, create monopolies, restrict trade, and restrict personal freedoms via drug laws, compulsory education, conscription, laws on food and morality, and the like. The embrace of unfettered capitalism leads to considerable tension between anarcho-capitalists and many social anarchists that view capitalism and its market as just another authority. Anti-capitalist anarchists generally consider anarcho-capitalism a contradiction in terms, and vice versa.

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All kinds of people today call themselves “libertarians,” especially something calling itself the New Right, which consists of hippies who are anarchists instead of leftist collectivists; but anarchists are collectivists. Capitalism is the one system that requires absolute objective law, yet libertarians combine capitalism and anarchism. That’s worse than anything the New Left has proposed. It’s a mockery of philosophy and ideology. They sling slogans and try to ride on two bandwagons. They want to be hippies, but don’t want to preach collectivism because those jobs are already taken. But anarchism is a logical outgrowth of the anti-intellectual side of collectivism. I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. Anarchists are the scum of the intellectual world of the Left, which has given them up. So the Right picks up another leftist discard. That’s the libertarian movement.
— Ayn Rand (1905 – 1982)
The Moratorium on Brains Ford Hall Forum, 1971

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Gadsden flag, named after American general and politician Christopher Gadsden, who designed it in 1775 during the American Revolution. The flag is used by some libertarians.
Credit: Lexicon, Vikrum

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Murray Newton Rothbard
Murray Newton Rothbard was an American economist of the Austrian School who helped define modern libertarianism and founded a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism".

An individualist anarchist of the Austrian School of economics, Rothbard associated with the Objectivists in his early thirties before allying with the New Left in the 1960s and eventually joining the radical caucus of the Libertarian Party.

In the course of his life, Rothbard was associated with a number of political thinkers and movements. During the early 1950s, he studied under the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, along with George Reisman. Then he began working for the William Volker Fund. During the late 1950s, Rothbard was an associate of Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden, a relationship later lampooned in his unpublished play Mozart Was a Red. In the late 1960s, Rothbard advocated an alliance with the New Left anti-war movement, on the grounds that the conservative movement had been completely subsumed by the statist establishment. However, Rothbard later criticized the New Left for not truly being against the draft and supporting a "People's Republic" style draft. It was during this phase that he associated with Karl Hess and founded Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought with Leonard Liggio and George Resch, which existed from 1965 to 1968. From 1969 to 1984 he edited The Libertarian Forum, also initially with Hess (although Hess' involvement ended in 1971). In 1977, he established the Journal of Libertarian Studies, which he edited until his death in 1995.

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