Factions in the Libertarian Party (United States)

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The Libertarian Party in the United States is composed of various factions, sometimes described as "left" and "right", although many libertarians reject use of these terms to describe the political philosophy.[1]


A broad coalition of classical liberals, minarchists and anarcho-capitalists founded the Libertarian Party and though many other smaller factions have existed, they did not have any major impact in the party. In 1974, the larger minarchist and smaller anarcho-capitalist factions held the Libertarian National Convention in Dallas and made the "Dallas Accord". It is an implicit agreement to compromise between factions by adopting a platform that explicitly did not say whether it was desirable for the state to exist.[2][3][4]

Over the years, anarchists did continue to debate and clash with minarchists in the party.[5] The anarchist faction has seen an upswing with the re-formalization of the LPRadicals. When Ron Paul sought the 1988 Libertarian Party nomination for president, many saw him as too conservative and supported Native American activist Russell Means to run against him.[6][7][8] Nevertheless, Paul won the nomination and ran a libertarian presidential campaign.[9]

After the campaign, Paul supporters like Murray Rothbard and Lew Rockwell labeled themselves paleolibertarians because of their culturally conservative views.[10] However, they soon left the party and later abandoned the term.[11]

Many conservatives have left the Republicans to join the party.[12] After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, some such conservatives initially supported the war in Afghanistan and the Iraq War.[13]

Over the years, the number of anarchists in the party dropped by about half.[4][14] During the 2006 Libertarian National Convention, delegates deleted a large portion of the very detailed platform. They added the phrase: "Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property".[15] Some took this as meaning the Dallas Accord was dead.[4] Many anarchists in the party left and started the Boston Tea Party, but six years later it disbanded.

In 2020, the Libertarian Party nominated Jeremy "Spike" Cohen for vice president, the first self-described anarchist to be featured on the party's presidential ticket.[16]

Current factions[edit]

Old factions[edit]

See also[edit]

Democratic Party
Republican Party


  1. ^ Duncan Watts, Understanding American government and politics: a guide for A2 politics students, 2nd Revised edition, Manchester University Press, 16 March 2006, p 246 IBN 978-0719073274: "Libertarians feel that neither left nor right can be trusted to defend the rights of individuals."
  2. ^ Mike Hihn, "The Dallas Accord, Minarchists, and why our members sign a pledge", Washington State Libertarian Party, August 2009.
  3. ^ Paul Gottfried, The conservative movement: Social movements past and present , Twayne Publishers, 1993, p. 46.
  4. ^ a b c Less Antman, The Dallas Accord is Dead, Lew Rockwell.com, May 12, 2008.
  5. ^ Walter Block, "Anarchism and Minarchism: No Rapprochement Possible", Journal of Libertarian Studies, at Ludwig Von Mises Institute website.
  6. ^ Gibson, Brad (April 2, 1987), "Libertarian hopefuls visit Penn State", The Daily Collegian, University Park, Pennsylvania, p. 20, archived from the original on October 23, 2017, retrieved December 13, 2019
  7. ^ "Also running". The Ledger. Lakeland, Florida. May 10, 1987. p. 10.
  8. ^ "Texan sees a Libertarian president in political stars", The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington, p. 8, June 29, 1987
  9. ^ Davidson, Lee (August 25, 1988), "Libertarians say Americans want voting alternative", The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, p. B5
  10. ^ Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. "The Case for Paleo-libertarianism" in Liberty, January, 1990, 34-38.
  11. ^ Do You Consider Yourself a Libertarian?, Kenny Johnsson interviews Lew Rockwell for The Liberal Post, as posted on LewRockwell.Com, May 25, 2007.
  12. ^ "Conservative-Libertarian Split: Liberals Get It, Conservatives Don't". IntellectualConservative.com. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  13. ^ Justin Raimondo, Booting Boort: Antiwar Backlash Against Libertarian Convention Speaker Picks Up Steam, Antiwar.com, December 9, 2003.
  14. ^ Knapp, Thomas, "Time for a new Dallas Accord?", Rational Review.
  15. ^ Libertarian Party platform.
  16. ^ Doherty, Brian (May 24, 2020). "Libertarian Party Picks Spike Cohen as Its Vice-Presidential Candidate". Reason. Retrieved September 23, 2020.