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 economic and political 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.

Libertarianism can be 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. Left-libertarian ideologies include anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, egoist anarchism and mutualism, alongside many other anti-paternalist, New Left schools of thought centered around economic egalitarianism. Modern right-libertarian ideologies such as anarcho-capitalism and minarchism co-opted the word libertarian 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 socialism (or socialist libertarianism) is a group of anti-authoritarian political philosophies inside the socialist movement that rejects socialism as centralized state ownership and control of the economy.

Libertarian socialism also rejects the state itself, is close to and overlaps with left-libertarianism and criticizes wage labour relationships within the workplace, instead emphasizing workers' self-management of the workplace and decentralized structures of political organization. It asserts that a society based on freedom and justice can be achieved through abolishing authoritarian institutions that control certain means of production and subordinate the majority to an owning class or political and economic elite. Libertarian socialists advocate for decentralized structures based on direct democracy and federal or confederal associations such as libertarian municipalism, citizens' assemblies, trade unions and workers' councils.

All of this is generally done within a general call for libertarian and voluntary human relationships through the identification, criticism and practical dismantling of illegitimate authority in all aspects of human life. As such, libertarian socialism within the larger socialist movement seeks to distinguish itself both from Leninism/Bolshevism and from social democracy.

Past and present political philosophies and movements commonly described as libertarian socialist include anarchism as well as autonomism, communalism, participism, guild socialism, revolutionary syndicalism and libertarian Marxist philosophies such as council communism and Luxemburgism as well as some versions of utopian socialism and individualist anarchism.

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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 Nolan chart, whose basic form is used in the World's Smallest Political Quiz
Credit: JayCoop

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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. He then 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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