IBM Pulls the Plug on Drug-Discovering Watson AI

IBM is halting development and sales of its Watson AI designed to find promising new medications, according to a new STAT story.

Bye, Watson

On Thursday, STAT published a story claiming that IBM is halting sales of Watson for Drug Discovery — a service that uses the company’s Watson AI to analyze connections between genes, drugs, and diseases on the hunt for useful new medications — citing as its source a person familiar with IBM’s internal decision-making.

“We are focusing our resources within Watson Health to double down on the adjacent field of clinical development where we see an even greater market need for our data and AI capabilities,” an IBM spokesperson told STAT — a sign that eight years after launching Watson Health, IBM still isn’t quite sure how AI should factor into the future of healthcare.

Overpromised, Underdelivered

The STAT source cited a “lackluster financial performance” as IBM’s reason for no longer developing and selling Watson for Drug Discovery. That mirrors the “lack of demand” reasoning IBM gave for scaling back the part of Watson Health dedicated to helping hospitals manage certain contracts in June 2018.

It’s hard to imagine why the systems would be in high demand, though — several healthcare experts told IEEE Spectrum earlier in April that IBM had “overpromised and underdelivered” with Watson Health.

“Merely proving that you have powerful technology is not sufficient,” healthcare data strategist Martin Kohn told the publication. “Prove to me that it will actually do something useful — that it will make my life better, and my patients’ lives better.”

READ MORE: IBM halting sales of Watson AI tool for drug discovery amid sluggish growth [STAT]

More on Watson Health: Doctors Are Losing Faith in IBM Watson’s AI Doctor

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IBM Pulls the Plug on Drug-Discovering Watson AI

The Government Wants to Make an Example out of Mark Zuckerberg

The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly considering holding Mark Zuckerberg directly responsible for Facebook's privacy scandals.

Target Acquired

After seemingly countless privacy scandals rocked Facebook in recent years, federal regulators are considering taking a more aggressive approach — including potentially holding CEO Mark Zuckerberg responsible for the social media giant’s misconduct.

The news comes from anonymous sources close to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s ongoing, confidential probe into Facebook’s business practices who spoke to The Washington Post. New governmental oversight for Zuckerberg would send a strong message to Facebook and other Silicon Valley data brokers — though probably not the one Zuckerberg hoped for when he requested new regulations for his industry earlier this month.

Big Stick

In the past, the FTC has considered fining Zuckerberg directly when his company mishandled user data, but never pulled the trigger. That regulators are returning to that option suggests that they’re fed up with Zuckerberg getting off scot-free when his company plays fast and loose with users’ privacy.

“The days of pretending this is an innocent platform are over, and citing Mark in a large scale enforcement action would drive that home in spades,” Facebook investor-turned-critic Roger McNamee told WaPo.

READ MORE: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg under close scrutiny in federal privacy probe, sources say [The Washington Post]

More on Facebook: Facebook “Unintentionally” Uploaded 1.5 Million Email Contacts

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The Government Wants to Make an Example out of Mark Zuckerberg

China’s Military Built an Autonomous Amphibious Landing Vehicle

China has announced what local media is calling the

Marine Lizard

China has announced what local media is calling the “world’s first armed amphibious drone boat.”

The 39-foot-long Marine Lizard is designed to assist land assault operations and can form a web with other drone ships and airborne drones in order to act in tandem with them. It can reach a maximum of 50 knots (roughly 57 mph) in the water thanks to a diesel hydrojet engine — and on land it can reach only 12 mph (20 km/h) thanks to four track units mounted to its underbelly.

Autonomous Drone Ship

The Marine Lizard was built by the state-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Company (CSIC) to be truly autonomous: it can find its own way, maneuver around obstacles, or be remotely controlled via satellites with an impressive operating range of 7,450 miles (1,2000 km). When not in use, the vehicle can go into sleep mode for up to eight months while it’s not in operation, according to the Global Times.

The unusual amphibian drone is touted as a great way to assist recon missions from both aerial drones and other ships — and could do so very efficiently and with a low risk of casualties, according to the company.

READ MORE: China unveils the first autonomous amphibious military landing vehicle [The Verge]

More on unmanned ships: The U.S. Navy Wants to Roll out Autonomous Killer Robot Ships

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China’s Military Built an Autonomous Amphibious Landing Vehicle

From Coffee to Popcorn, Celebrate 420 With These Futuristic CBD Edibles

By now, you’re probably familiar with CBD, a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants that has exploded in popularity. The compound is thought to provide many of the benefits of marijuana, but because it lacks THC, it does not cause a mind-altering high. As such, the pot-alternative (or perhaps “pot companion” is a better description) can now be found in a variety of products, and is being used to treat everything from anxiety to chronic pain – although the scientific community is still divided on the accuracy of these claims.

Still, CBD is wildly popular. But rather than focus on the common CBD products such as oils and vapes, we’ve decided to celebrate 420 with a list of some futuristic novel CBD edibles. From popcorn, to coffee, to honey, these CBD edibles provide a unique way to experience the uber-popular cannabinoid. So take a look for yourself, and add a dose of fun to this year’s 420 celebration.

CBD Popcorn

CBD Edibles - Popcorn
DiamondCBD.com

BlackDiamondCBD offers delicious CBD infused popcorn in a variety flavors. From plain to caramel corn to ranch, there’s something for everyone. It makes a great snack, and it’s a perfect way to spice up your next movie night.

Chill CBD Coffee (4 pack)

CBD Edibles - Coffee
DiamondCBD.com

If you’re looking to add CBD to your morning routine, look no further than Chill CBD Coffee pods. It’s a convenient and delicious way to benefit from 25mg of high-quality CBD. And it’s also available for tea drinkers. You know who you are.

CBD Edibles – Infused Honey Pot – 250mg

CBD Edibles - Honey
DiamondCBD.com

This CBD-infused honey has 250mg CBD derived from industrial hemp oil (cannabidiol), so it’s free of THC. And as the name implies, it also features Grade A all-natural honey. It can be put in tea, added as a topping on food, or even used as an ingredient in your favorite dish. Or you can just pretend you’re a cartoon bear and guzzle this sweet treat all by itself. We won’t judge you… much.

Editor’s note: A non-editorial team at Futurism created this article, and we may receive a percentage of sales from this post. This supplement has not been evaluated by the FDA, and is not intended to cure or treat any ailments. Do not take CBD products if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the product you are consuming. Tell your doctor about all medicines you may be on before consuming CBD to avoid negative reactions. Tell your doctor about all medical conditions. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins and herbal products. Other side effects of CBD include: dry mouth, cloudy thoughts, and wakefulness. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of any drugs to the FDA. Visit http://www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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From Coffee to Popcorn, Celebrate 420 With These Futuristic CBD Edibles

Scientists Create Material With “Artificial Metabolism”

A new biomaterial exhibits metabolism-like behaviors. It appears in some ways to act like a living thing, blurring the line between biology and machinery.

Slime Mold

Scientists just got one step closer to creating living machines — or at least machines that mimic biological life as we know it.

A new biomaterial built in a Cornell University bioengineering lab uses synthetic DNA to continuously and autonomously organize, assemble, and restructure itself in a process so similar to how biological cells and tissues grow that the researchers are calling “artificial metabolism,” according to research published in Science Robotics last week.

 We Can Regrow It

It’s clear that the scientists are dancing around the idea of creating lifelike machinery. They stop short of straight-up claiming that their metabolizing biomaterial is alive, but the research begins by coyly listing the characteristics of life that the material exhibits — self-assembly, organization, and metabolism.

“We are introducing a brand-new, lifelike material concept powered by its very own artificial metabolism,” Cornell engineer Dan Lui said in a university-published press release. “We are not making something that’s alive, but we are creating materials that are much more lifelike than have ever been seen before.”

Worming Along

The biomaterial mimics a biological organism’s endless metabolic cycle of taking in energy and replacing old cells. When placed in a nutrient-rich environment, the material grew in the direction of the raw materials and food it needed to thrive — not unlike how a developing brain’s neurons grow out in the direction of specific molecules.

Meanwhile, the material also let its tail end die off and decay, giving the appearance of a constantly-regrowing slime mold traveling around toward food.

While the little bio-blob isn’t alive, it does appear to move and grow like a living thing, suggesting that scientists are blurring the line between life and machine more and more.

READ MORE: FORGET ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE; THINK ARTIFICIAL LIFE [Hackaday]

More on biomaterials: Scientists Manipulated a Material for Robots That Grows Like Human Skin

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Scientists Find Genetic Variants That Prevent Obesity, Diabetes

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered genetic variants that protect people from obesity and its symptoms.

Drug Discovery

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered genetic variants, or mutations, that protect people from obesity and its symptoms — and they think the discovery could lead to new weight-loss medications.

“A powerful emerging concept is that genetic variants that protect against disease can be used as models for the development of medicines that are more effective and safer,” researcher Luca Lotta said in a news release.

The Weight Gene

In a study published on Thursday in the journal Cell, the team details how it analyzed the MC4R gene in half a million volunteers who participated in the U.K. Biobank study.

They already knew the gene played a role in regulating weight, but through their new research they discovered 61 distinct variants of it, some of which help people avoid becoming obese. Others provided protection against obesity symptoms, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Understanding Obesity

The study does more than just illuminate a path toward new weight-loss medications — it also shines a light on the very nature of obesity.

“This study drives home the fact that genetics plays a major role in why some people are obese,” researcher Sadaf Farooqi said in the news release, “and that some people are fortunate enough to have genes that protect them from obesity.”

READ MORE: Discovery of genetic variants that protect against obesity and type 2 diabetes could lead to new weight loss medicines [University of Cambridge]

More on MC4R: Mutated Animals Show Why Gene Editing Isn’t Ready for Human Trials 

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Scientists Find Genetic Variants That Prevent Obesity, Diabetes

Libertarianism – Wikipedia

“Libertarians” redirects here. For political parties that may go by this name, see Libertarian Party.

Libertarianism (from Latin: libertas, meaning “freedom”) is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle.[1] Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgment.[2][3][4] 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.[5]

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.[6][7][8][9] Classical libertarian ideologies includebut are not limited toanarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, mutualism and egoism, alongside many other anti-paternalist, New Left schools of thought centered around economic egalitarianism. 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.[10][11][12]

The first recorded use of the term libertarian was in 1789, when William Belsham wrote about libertarianism in the context of metaphysics.[13]

As early as 1796, the word libertarian came to mean an advocate or defender of liberty, especially in the political and social spheres, when the London Packet printed on 12 February the following: “Lately marched out of the Prison at Bristol, 450 of the French Libertarians”.[14] The word was again used in a political sense in 1802 in a short piece critiquing a poem by “the author of Gebir” and has since been used with this meaning.[15][16][17]

The use of the word libertarian to describe a new set of political positions has been traced to the French cognate libertaire, coined in a letter French libertarian communist Joseph Djacque wrote to mutualist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1857.[18][19][20] Djacque also used the term for his anarchist publication Le Libertaire, Journal du mouvement social (The Libertarian, Journal of the Social Movement) which was printed from 9 June 1858 to 4 February 1861 in New York City.[21][22] Sbastien Faure, another French libertarian communist, began publishing a new Le Libertaire in the mid-1890s while France’s Third Republic enacted the so-called villainous laws (lois sclrates) which banned anarchist publications in France. Thus, libertarianism has frequently been used as a synonym for anarchism and libertarian socialism since this time.[23][24][25]

The term libertarianism was first used in the United States as a synonym for classical liberalism in May 1955 by writer Dean Russell, a colleague of Leonard Read and a classical liberal himself. Russell justified the choice of the word as follows: “Many of us call ourselves ‘liberals.’ And it is true that the word ‘liberal’ once described persons who respected the individual and feared the use of mass compulsions. But the leftists have now corrupted that once-proud term to identify themselves and their program of more government ownership of property and more controls over persons. As a result, those of us who believe in freedom must explain that when we call ourselves liberals, we mean liberals in the uncorrupted classical sense. At best, this is awkward and subject to misunderstanding. Here is a suggestion: Let those of us who love liberty trade-mark and reserve for our own use the good and honorable word ‘libertarian'”.[26]

Subsequently, a growing number of Americans with classical liberal beliefs began to describe themselves as libertarian. One person responsible for popularizing the term libertarian in this sense was Murray Rothbard,[27] who started publishing libertarian works in the 1960s. Rothbard describes this modern use of the words overtly as a “capture” from his enemies, saying that “for the first time in my memory, we, ‘our side,’ had captured a crucial word from the enemy. ‘Libertarians’ had long been simply a polite word for left-wing anarchists, that is for anti-private property anarchists, either of the communist or syndicalist variety. But now we had taken it over”.[12][11] Robert Nozick was responsible for popularizing this usage of the term in philosophical circles and Europe instead. According to common meanings of conservative and liberal, libertarianism in the United States has been described as conservative on economic issues (economic liberalism) and liberal on personal freedom (civil libertarianism)[28] and it is also often associated with a foreign policy of non-interventionism.[29][30]

All libertarians begin with a conception of personal autonomy from which they argue in favor of civil liberties and a reduction or elimination of the state.

Left-libertarianism encompasses those libertarian beliefs that claim the Earth’s natural resources belong to everyone in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively. Contemporary left-libertarians such as Hillel Steiner, Peter Vallentyne, Philippe Van Parijs, Michael Otsuka and David Ellerman believe the appropriation of land must leave “enough and as good” for others or be taxed by society to compensate for the exclusionary effects of private property. Libertarian socialists (social and individualist anarchists, libertarian Marxists, council communists, Luxemburgists and DeLeonists) promote usufruct and socialist economic theories, including communism, collectivism, syndicalism and mutualism. They criticize the state for being the defender of private property and believe capitalism entails wage slavery.

Right-libertarianism[31] developed in the United States in the mid-20th century from the works of European writers like John Locke, Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig Von Mises and is the most popular conception of libertarianism in the world today.[32] It is commonly referred to as a continuation or radicalization of classical liberalism.[33][34] The most important of these early right-libertarian philosophers was Robert Nozick. While often sharing left-libertarians’ advocacy for social freedom, right-libertarians also value the social institutions that enforce conditions of capitalism while rejecting institutions that function in opposition to these on the grounds that such interventions represent unnecessary coercion of individuals and abrogation of their economic freedom.[35] Anarcho-capitalists[36][37] seek complete elimination of the state in favor of privately funded security services while minarchists defend night-watchman states which maintain only those functions of government necessary to safeguard natural rights, understood in terms of self-ownership or autonomy.[38]

Anarchism envisages freedom as a form of autonomy[39] which Paul Goodman describes as “the ability to initiate a task and do it one’s own way, without orders from authorities who do not know the actual problem and the available means”.[40] All anarchists oppose political and legal authority, but collectivist strains also oppose the economic authority of private property.[41] These social anarchists emphasize mutual aid, whereas individualist anarchists extol individual sovereignty.[42]

Some right-libertarians consider the non-aggression principle (NAP) to be a core part of their beliefs.[43][44]

Libertarians have been advocates and activists of civil liberties, including free love and free thought.[45][46] Advocates of free love viewed sexual freedom as a clear, direct expression of individual sovereignty and they particularly stressed women’s rights as most sexual laws discriminated against women: for example, marriage laws and anti-birth control measures.[47]

Free love appeared alongside anarcha-feminism and advocacy of LGBT rights. Anarcha-feminism developed as a synthesis of radical feminism and anarchism and views patriarchy as a fundamental manifestation of compulsory government. It was inspired by the late-19th-century writings of early feminist anarchists such as Lucy Parsons, Emma Goldman, Voltairine de Cleyre and Virginia Bolten.

Anarcha-feminists, like other radical feminists, criticize and advocate the abolition of traditional conceptions of family, education and gender roles. Free Society (18951897 as The Firebrand, 18971904 as Free Society) was an anarchist newspaper in the United States that staunchly advocated free love and women’s rights, while criticizing “comstockery”, the censorship of sexual information.[48] In recent times, anarchism has also voiced opinions and taken action around certain sex-related subjects such as pornography,[49] BDSM[50] and the sex industry.[50]

Free thought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic and reason in contrast with authority, tradition or other dogmas.[51][52] In the United States, free thought was an anti-Christian, anti-clerical movement whose purpose was to make the individual politically and spiritually free to decide on religious matters. A number of contributors to Liberty were prominent figures in both free thought and anarchism.

In 1901, Catalan anarchist and free-thinker Francesc Ferrer i Gurdia established modern or progressive schools in Barcelona in defiance of an educational system controlled by the Catholic Church.[53] Fiercely anti-clerical, Ferrer believed in “freedom in education”, i.e. education free from the authority of the church and state.[54] The schools’ stated goal was to “educate the working class in a rational, secular and non-coercive setting”.

Later in the 20th century, Austrian Freudo-Marxist Wilhelm Reich became a consistent propagandist for sexual freedom going as far as opening free sex-counseling clinics in Vienna for working-class patients[55] as well as coining the phrase “sexual revolution” in one of his books from the 1940s.[56] During the early 1970s, the English anarchist and pacifist Alex Comfort achieved international celebrity for writing the sex manuals The Joy of Sex and More Joy of Sex.

Many left-libertarians are anarchists and believe the state inherently violates personal autonomy: “As Robert Paul Wolff has argued, since ‘the state is authority, the right to rule’, anarchism which rejects the State is the only political doctrine consistent with autonomy in which the individual alone is the judge of his moral constraints”.[41] Social anarchists believe the state defends private property, which they view as intrinsically harmful, while market-oriented left-libertarians argue that so-called free markets actually consist of economic privileges granted by the state. These latter libertarians advocate instead for freed markets, which are freed from these privileges.[57]

There is a debate amongst right-libertarians as to whether or not the state is legitimate: while anarcho-capitalists advocate its abolition, minarchists support minimal states, often referred to as night-watchman states. Libertarians take a skeptical view of government authority.[58][unreliable source?] Minarchists maintain that the state is necessary for the protection of individuals from aggresion, theft, breach of contract and fraud. They believe the only legitimate governmental institutions are the military, police and courts, though some expand this list to include fire departments, prisons and the executive and legislative branches.[59]

They justify the state on the grounds that it is the logical consequence of adhering to the non-aggression principle and argue that anarchism is immoral because it implies that the non-aggression principle is optional, that the enforcement of laws under anarchism is open to competition.[citation needed] Another common justification is that private defense agencies and court firms would tend to represent the interests of those who pay them enough.[60]

Anarcho-capitalists argue that the state violates the non-aggression principle (NAP) by its nature because governments use force against those who have not stolen or vandalized private property, assaulted anyone or committed fraud.[61][62] Linda and Morris Tannehill argue that no coercive monopoly of force can arise on a truly free market and that a government’s citizenry can not desert them in favor of a competent protection and defense agency.[63]

Left-libertarians believe that neither claiming nor mixing one’s labor with natural resources is enough to generate full private property rights[64][65] and maintain that natural resources ought to be held in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively.[66]

Right-libertarians maintain that unowned natural resources “may be appropriated by the first person who discovers them, mixes his labor with them, or merely claims themwithout the consent of others, and with little or no payment to them”. They believe that natural resources are originally unowned and therefore private parties may appropriate them at will without the consent of, or owing to, others.[67]

Left-libertarians (social and individualist anarchists, libertarian Marxists and left-wing market anarchists) argue in favor of socialist theories such as communism, syndicalism and mutualism (anarchist economics). Daniel Gurin writes that “anarchism is really a synonym for socialism. The anarchist is primarily a socialist whose aim is to abolish the exploitation of man by man. Anarchism is only one of the streams of socialist thought, that stream whose main components are concern for liberty and haste to abolish the State”.[68]

Many right-libertarians argue that socialist values are incompatible with libertarianism.[69] Right-libertarians are economic liberals of either the Austrian School or Chicago school and support laissez-faire capitalism.[70]

Left-libertarianism, also known as left-wing libertarianism, names several related yet distinct approaches to political and social theory which stresses both individual freedom and social equality. In its classical usage, left-libertarianism is a synonym for anti-authoritarian varieties of left-wing politics, i.e. libertarian socialism, which includes anarchism and libertarian Marxism, among others.[71][72] Left-libertarianism can also refer to political positions associated with academic philosophers Hillel Steiner, Philippe Van Parijs and Peter Vallentyne that combine self-ownership with an egalitarian approach to natural resources.[73]

While maintaining full respect for personal property, left-libertarians are skeptical of or fully against private property, arguing that neither claiming nor mixing one’s labor with natural resources is enough to generate full private property rights[74][75] and maintain that natural resources (land, oil, gold and vegetation) should be held in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively. Those left-libertarians who support private property do so under occupation and use property norms or under the condition that recompense is offered to the local or even global community.[75] Many left-libertarian schools of thought are communist, advocating the eventual replacement of money with labor vouchers or decentralized planning.

On the other hand, left-wing market anarchism, which includes Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s mutualism and Samuel Edward Konkin III’s agorism, appeals to left-wing concerns such as egalitarianism, gender and sexuality, class, immigration and environmentalism within the paradigm of a socialist free market.[71] Joseph Djacque was the first to formulate classical libertarian ideas under the term libertarian. Later philosophers on the left would go onto adding detail to his political philosophy to study and document attitudes and themes relating to stateless socialism (for Djacque it was called libertarian communism).

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.[76] Right-libertarians strongly support private property rights and defend market distribution of natural resources and private property.[77] 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.[78] Right-libertarianism includes anarcho-capitalism and laissez-faire minarchist liberalism.[note 1]

Libertarian paternalism is a position advocated in the international bestseller Nudge by the economist Richard Thaler and the jurist Cass Sunstein.[79] In the book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman provides the brief summary: “Thaler and Sunstein advocate a position of libertarian paternalism, in which the state and other institutions are allowed to Nudge people to make decisions that serve their own long-term interests. The designation of joining a pension plan as the default option is an example of a nudge. It is difficult to argue that anyone’s freedom is diminished by being automatically enrolled in the plan, when they merely have to check a box to opt out”.[80] Nudge is considered an important piece of literature in behavioral economics.[80]

Elements of libertarianism can be traced as far back as the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu and the higher-law concepts of the Greeks and the Israelites.[81][82] In 17th-century England, libertarian ideas began to take modern form in the writings of the Levellers and John Locke. In the middle of that century, opponents of royal power began to be called Whigs, or sometimes simply “opposition” or “country” (as opposed to Court) writers.[83]

During the 18th century, liberal ideas flourished in Europe and North America.[84][85] Libertarians of various schools were influenced by liberal ideas.[86] For libertarian philosopher Roderick T. Long, both libertarian socialists and libertarian capitalists “share a commonor at least an overlapping intellectual ancestry[…] both claim the seventeenth century English Levellers and the eighteenth century French encyclopedists among their ideological forebears; and […] usually share an admiration for Thomas Jefferson[87][88][89] and Thomas Paine”.[90]

John Locke greatly influenced both libertarianism and the modern world in his writings published before and after the English Revolution of 1688, especially A Letter Concerning Toleration (1667), Two Treatises of Government (1689) and An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). In the text of 1689, he established the basis of liberal political theory, i.e. that people’s rights existed before government; that the purpose of government is to protect personal and property rights; that people may dissolve governments that do not do so; and that representative government is the best form to protect rights.[91]

The United States Declaration of Independence was inspired by Locke in its statement: “[T]o secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”.[92] Nevertheless, scholar Ellen Meiksins Wood says that “there are doctrines of individualism that are opposed to Lockean individualism […] and non-Lockean individualism may encompass socialism”.[93]

According to Murray Rothbard, the libertarian creed emerged from the liberal challenges to an “absolute central State and a king ruling by divine right on top of an older, restrictive web of feudal land monopolies and urban guild controls and restrictions” as well as the mercantilism of a bureaucratic warfaring state allied with privileged merchants. The object of liberals was individual liberty in the economy, in personal freedoms and civil liberty, separation of state and religion and peace as an alternative to imperial aggrandizement. He cites Locke’s contemporaries, the Levellers, who held similar views. Also influential were the English Cato’s Letters during the early 1700s, reprinted eagerly by American colonists who already were free of European aristocracy and feudal land monopolies.[92]

In January 1776, only two years after coming to America from England, Thomas Paine published his pamphlet Common Sense calling for independence for the colonies.[94] Paine promoted liberal ideas in clear and concise language that allowed the general public to understand the debates among the political elites.[95] Common Sense was immensely popular in disseminating these ideas,[96] selling hundreds of thousands of copies.[97] Paine would later write the Rights of Man and The Age of Reason and participate in the French Revolution.[94] Paine’s theory of property showed a “libertarian concern” with the redistribution of resources.[98]

In 1793, William Godwin wrote a libertarian philosophical treatise, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Morals and Happiness, which criticized ideas of human rights and of society by contract based on vague promises. He took liberalism to its logical anarchic conclusion by rejecting all political institutions, law, government and apparatus of coercion as well as all political protest and insurrection. Instead of institutionalized justice, Godwin proposed that people influence one another to moral goodness through informal reasoned persuasion, including in the associations they joined as this would facilitate happiness.[99][100]

Modern anarchism sprang from the secular or religious thought of the Enlightenment, particularly Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s arguments for the moral centrality of freedom.[101]

As part of the political turmoil of the 1790s in the wake of the French Revolution, William Godwin developed the first expression of modern anarchist thought.[102][103] According to Peter Kropotkin, Godwin was “the first to formulate the political and economical conceptions of anarchism, even though he did not give that name to the ideas developed in his work”[104] while Godwin attached his anarchist ideas to an early Edmund Burke.[105]

Godwin is generally regarded as the founder of the school of thought known as philosophical anarchism. He argued in Political Justice (1793)[103][106] that government has an inherently malevolent influence on society and that it perpetuates dependency and ignorance. He thought that the spread of the use of reason to the masses would eventually cause government to wither away as an unnecessary force. Although he did not accord the state with moral legitimacy, he was against the use of revolutionary tactics for removing the government from power. Rather, Godwin advocated for its replacement through a process of peaceful evolution.[103][107]

His aversion to the imposition of a rules-based society led him to denounce, as a manifestation of the people’s “mental enslavement”, the foundations of law, property rights and even the institution of marriage. Godwin considered the basic foundations of society as constraining the natural development of individuals to use their powers of reasoning to arrive at a mutually beneficial method of social organization. In each case, government and its institutions are shown to constrain the development of our capacity to live wholly in accordance with the full and free exercise of private judgment.

In France, various anarchist currents were present during the Revolutionary period, with some revolutionaries using the term anarchiste in a positive light as early as September 1793.[108] The enrags opposed revolutionary government as a contradiction in terms. Denouncing the Jacobin dictatorship, Jean Varlet wrote in 1794 that “government and revolution are incompatible, unless the people wishes to set its constituted authorities in permanent insurrection against itself”.[109] In his “Manifesto of the Equals”, Sylvain Marchal looked forward to the disappearance, once and for all, of “the revolting distinction between rich and poor, of great and small, of masters and valets, of governors and governed”.[109]

Libertarian socialism, libertarian communism and libertarian Marxism are all phrases which activists with a variety of perspectives have applied to their views.[110]

Anarchist communist philosopher Joseph Djacque was the first person to describe himself as a libertarian.[111] Unlike mutualist anarchist philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, he argued that “it is not the product of his or her labor that the worker has a right to, but to the satisfaction of his or her needs, whatever may be their nature”.[112][113]

According to anarchist historian Max Nettlau, the first use of the term “libertarian communism” was in November 1880, when a French anarchist congress employed it to more clearly identify its doctrines.[114] The French anarchist journalist Sbastien Faure started the weekly paper Le Libertaire (The Libertarian) in 1895.[115]

Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and their will over any kinds of external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems.[116][117] An influential form of individualist anarchism called egoism[118] or egoist anarchism was expounded by one of the earliest and best-known proponents of individualist anarchism, the German Max Stirner.[119] Stirner’s The Ego and Its Own, published in 1844, is a founding text of the philosophy.[119] According to Stirner, the only limitation on the rights of the individual is their power to obtain what they desire,[120] without regard for God, state or morality.[121]

Stirner advocated self-assertion and foresaw unions of egoists, non-systematic associations continually renewed by all parties’ support through an act of will,[122] which Stirner proposed as a form of organisation in place of the state.[123] Egoist anarchists argue that egoism will foster genuine and spontaneous union between individuals.[124] Egoism has inspired many interpretations of Stirner’s philosophy.

It was re-discovered and promoted by German philosophical anarchist and LGBT activist John Henry Mackay. Josiah Warren is widely regarded as the first American anarchist,[125] and the four-page weekly paper he edited during 1833, The Peaceful Revolutionist, was the first anarchist periodical published.[126] For American anarchist historian Eunice Minette Schuster, “[i]t is apparent […] that Proudhonian Anarchism was to be found in the United States at least as early as 1848 and that it was not conscious of its affinity to the Individualist Anarchism of Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews… William B. Greene presented this Proudhonian Mutualism in its purest and most systematic form.”.[127]

Later, Benjamin Tucker fused Stirner’s egoism with the economics of Warren and Proudhon in his eclectic influential publication Liberty. From these early influences, individualist anarchism in different countries attracted a small yet diverse following of bohemian artists and intellectuals,[128] free love and birth control advocates (anarchism and issues related to love and sex),[129][130] individualist naturists nudists (anarcho-naturism),[131][132][133] free thought and anti-clerical activists[134][135] as well as young anarchist outlaws in what became known as illegalism and individual reclamation[136][137] (European individualist anarchism and individualist anarchism in France). These authors and activists included mile Armand, Han Ryner, Henri Zisly, Renzo Novatore, Miguel Gimenez Igualada, Adolf Brand and Lev Chernyi.

In 1873, the follower and translator of Proudhon, the Catalan Francesc Pi i Margall, became President of Spain with a program which wanted “to establish a decentralized, or “cantonalist,” political system on Proudhonian lines”,[138] who according to Rudolf Rocker had “political ideas, […] much in common with those of Richard Price, Joseph Priestly [sic], Thomas Paine, Jefferson, and other representatives of the Anglo-American liberalism of the first period. He wanted to limit the power of the state to a minimum and gradually replace it by a Socialist economic order”.[139]

On the other hand, Fermn Salvochea was a mayor of the city of Cdiz and a president of the province of Cdiz. He was one of the main propagators of anarchist thought in that area in the late 19th century and is considered to be “perhaps the most beloved figure in the Spanish Anarchist movement of the 19th century”.[140][141] Ideologically, he was influenced by Bradlaugh, Owen and Paine, whose works he had studied during his stay in England and Kropotkin, whom he read later.[140] The revolutionary wave of 19171923 saw the active participation of anarchists in Russia and Europe. Russian anarchists participated alongside the Bolsheviks in both the February and October 1917 revolutions.

However, Bolsheviks in central Russia quickly began to imprison or drive underground the libertarian anarchists. Many fled to the Ukraine.[142] There, in the Ukrainian Free Territory they fought in the Russian Civil War against the White movement, monarchists and other opponents of revolution and then against Bolsheviks as part of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine led by Nestor Makhno, who established an anarchist society in the region for a number of months. Expelled American anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman protested Bolshevik policy before they left Russia.[143]

The victory of the Bolsheviks damaged anarchist movements internationally as workers and activists joined Communist parties. In France and the United States, for example, members of the major syndicalist movements of the CGT and IWW joined the Communist International.[144] In Paris, the Dielo Truda group of Russian anarchist exiles, which included Nestor Makhno, issued a 1926 manifesto, the Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft), calling for new anarchist organizing structures.[145][146]

The Bavarian Soviet Republic of 19181919 had libertarian socialist characteristics.[147][148] In Italy, from 1918 to 1921 the anarcho-syndicalist trade union Unione Sindacale Italiana grew to 800,000 members.[149]

In the 1920s and 1930s, with the rise of fascism in Europe, anarchists began to fight fascists in Italy,[150] in France during the February 1934 riots[151] and in Spain where the CNT (Confederacin Nacional del Trabajo) boycott of elections led to a right-wing victory and its later participation in voting in 1936 helped bring the popular front back to power. This led to a ruling class attempted coup and the Spanish Civil War (19361939).[152] Gruppo Comunista Anarchico di Firenze held that the during early twentieth century, the terms libertarian communism and anarchist communism became synonymous within the international anarchist movement as a result of the close connection they had in Spain (anarchism in Spain) (with libertarian communism becoming the prevalent term).[153]

Murray Bookchin wrote that the Spanish libertarian movement of the mid-1930s was unique because its workers’ control and collectiveswhich came out of a three-generation “massive libertarian movement”divided the republican camp and challenged the Marxists. “Urban anarchists” created libertarian communist forms of organization which evolved into the CNT, a syndicalist union providing the infrastructure for a libertarian society. Also formed were local bodies to administer social and economic life on a decentralized libertarian basis. Much of the infrastructure was destroyed during the 1930s Spanish Civil War against authoritarian and fascist forces.[154]

The Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth[155] (FIJL, Spanish: Federacin Ibrica de Juventudes Libertarias), sometimes abbreviated as Libertarian Youth (Juventudes Libertarias), was a libertarian socialist[156] organization created in 1932 in Madrid.[157]

In February 1937, the FIJL organized a plenum of regional organizations (second congress of FIJL). In October 1938, from the 16th through the 30th in Barcelona the FIJL participated in a national plenum of the libertarian movement, also attended by members of the CNT and the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI).[158] The FIJL exists until today. When the republican forces lost the Spanish Civil War, the city of Madrid was turned over to the Francoist forces in 1939 by the last non-Francoist mayor of the city, the anarchist Melchor Rodrguez Garca.[159] During autumn of 1931, the “Manifesto of the 30” was published by militants of the anarchist trade union CNT and among those who signed it there was the CNT General Secretary (19221923) Joan Peiro, Angel Pestaa CNT (General Secretary in 1929) and Juan Lopez Sanchez.

They were called treintismo and they were calling for libertarian possibilism which advocated achieving libertarian socialist ends with participation inside structures of contemporary parliamentary democracy.[160] In 1932, they establish the Syndicalist Party which participates in the 1936 Spanish general elections and proceed to be a part of the leftist coalition of parties known as the Popular Front obtaining 2 congressmen (Pestaa and Benito Pabon). In 1938, Horacio Prieto, general secretary of the CNT, proposes that the Iberian Anarchist Federation transforms itself into a “Libertarian Socialist Party” and that it participates in the national elections.[161]

The Manifesto of Libertarian Communism was written in 1953 by Georges Fontenis for the Federation Communiste Libertaire of France. It is one of the key texts of the anarchist-communist current known as platformism.[162] In 1968, in Carrara, Italy the International of Anarchist Federations was founded during an international anarchist conference to advance libertarian solidarity.

It wanted to form “a strong and organized workers movement, agreeing with the libertarian ideas”.[163][164] In the United States, the Libertarian League was founded in New York City in 1954 as a left-libertarian political organization building on the Libertarian Book Club.[165][166] Members included Sam Dolgoff,[167] Russell Blackwell, Dave Van Ronk, Enrico Arrigoni[168] and Murray Bookchin.

In Australia, the Sydney Push was a predominantly left-wing intellectual subculture in Sydney from the late 1940s to the early 1970s which became associated with the label “Sydney libertarianism”. Well known associates of the Push include Jim Baker, John Flaus, Harry Hooton, Margaret Fink, Sasha Soldatow,[169] Lex Banning, Eva Cox, Richard Appleton, Paddy McGuinness, David Makinson, Germaine Greer, Clive James, Robert Hughes, Frank Moorhouse and Lillian Roxon.

Amongst the key intellectual figures in Push debates were philosophers David J. Ivison, George Molnar, Roelof Smilde, Darcy Waters and Jim Baker, as recorded in Baker’s memoir Sydney Libertarians and the Push, published in the libertarian Broadsheet in 1975.[170] An understanding of libertarian values and social theory can be obtained from their publications, a few of which are available online.[171][172]

In 1969, French platformist anarcho-communist Daniel Gurin published an essay in 1969 called “Libertarian Marxism?” in which he dealt with the debate between Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin at the First International and afterwards suggested that “libertarian Marxism rejects determinism and fatalism, giving the greater place to individual will, intuition, imagination, reflex speeds, and to the deep instincts of the masses, which are more far-seeing in hours of crisis than the reasonings of the ‘elites’; libertarian Marxism thinks of the effects of surprise, provocation and boldness, refuses to be cluttered and paralyzed by a heavy ‘scientific’ apparatus, doesn’t equivocate or bluff, and guards itself from adventurism as much as from fear of the unknown”.[173]

Libertarian Marxist currents often draw from Marx and Engels’ later works, specifically the Grundrisse and The Civil War in France.[174] They emphasize the Marxist belief in the ability of the working class to forge its own destiny without the need for a revolutionary party or state.[175] Libertarian Marxism includes such currents as council communism, left communism, Socialisme ou Barbarie, Lettrism/Situationism and operaismo/autonomism and New Left.[176][unreliable source?]

From 1970 to 1981, in the United States there existed the publication Root & Branch[177] which had as a subtitle A Libertarian Marxist Journal.[178] In 1974, the Libertarian Communism journal was started in the United Kingdom by a group inside the Socialist Party of Great Britain.[179] In 1986, the anarcho-syndicalist Sam Dolgoff started and led the publication Libertarian Labor Review in the United States[180] which decided to rename itself as Anarcho-Syndicalist Review in order to avoid confusion with right-libertarian views.[181]

The indigenous anarchist tradition in the United States was largely individualist.[182] In 1825, Josiah Warren became aware of the social system of utopian socialist Robert Owen and began to talk with others in Cincinnati about founding a communist colony.[183] When this group failed to come to an agreement about the form and goals of their proposed community, Warren “sold his factory after only two years of operation, packed up his young family, and took his place as one of 900 or so Owenites who had decided to become part of the founding population of New Harmony, Indiana”.[184] Warren termed the phrase “cost the limit of price”[185] and “proposed a system to pay people with certificates indicating how many hours of work they did. They could exchange the notes at local time stores for goods that took the same amount of time to produce”.[186] He put his theories to the test by establishing an experimental labor-for-labor store called the Cincinnati Time Store where trade was facilitated by labor notes.

The store proved successful and operated for three years, after which it was closed so that Warren could pursue establishing colonies based on mutualism, including Utopia and Modern Times. “After New Harmony failed, Warren shifted his ideological loyalties from socialism to anarchism (which was no great leap, given that Owen’s socialism had been predicated on Godwin’s anarchism)”.[187] Warren is widely regarded as the first American anarchist[186] and the four-page weekly paper The Peaceful Revolutionist he edited during 1833 was the first anarchist periodical published,[126] an enterprise for which he built his own printing press, cast his own type and made his own printing plates.[126]

Catalan historian Xavier Diez reports that the intentional communal experiments pioneered by Warren were influential in European individualist anarchists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries such as mile Armand and the intentional communities started by them.[188] Warren said that Stephen Pearl Andrews, individualist anarchist and close associate, wrote the most lucid and complete exposition of Warren’s own theories in The Science of Society, published in 1852.[189] Andrews was formerly associated with the Fourierist movement, but converted to radical individualism after becoming acquainted with the work of Warren. Like Warren, he held the principle of “individual sovereignty” as being of paramount importance. Contemporary American anarchist Hakim Bey reports:

Steven Pearl Andrews… was not a Fourierist, but he lived through the brief craze for phalansteries in America and adopted a lot of Fourierist principles and practices… a maker of worlds out of words. He syncretized abolitionism in the United States, free love, spiritual universalism, Warren, and Fourier into a grand utopian scheme he called the Universal Pantarchy… He was instrumental in founding several ‘intentional communities,’ including the ‘Brownstone Utopia’ on 14th St. in New York, and ‘Modern Times’ in Brentwood, Long Island. The latter became as famous as the best-known Fourierist communes (Brook Farm in Massachusetts & the North American Phalanx in New Jersey)in fact, Modern Times became downright notorious (for ‘Free Love’) and finally foundered under a wave of scandalous publicity. Andrews (and Victoria Woodhull) were members of the infamous Section 12 of the 1st International, expelled by Marx for its anarchist, feminist, and spiritualist tendencies.[190]

For American anarchist historian Eunice Minette Schuster, “[i]t is apparent that Proudhonian Anarchism was to be found in the United States at least as early as 1848 and that it was not conscious of its affinity to the Individualist Anarchism of Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews. William B. Greene presented this Proudhonian Mutualism in its purest and most systematic form”.[191] William Batchelder Greene was a 19th-century mutualist individualist anarchist, Unitarian minister, soldier and promoter of free banking in the United States. Greene is best known for the works Mutual Banking, which proposed an interest-free banking system; and Transcendentalism, a critique of the New England philosophical school.

After 1850, he became active in labor reform.[191] “He was elected vice-president of the New England Labor Reform League, the majority of the members holding to Proudhon’s scheme of mutual banking, and in 1869 president of the Massachusetts Labor Union”.[191] Greene then published Socialistic, Mutualistic, and Financial Fragments (1875).[191] He saw mutualism as the synthesis of “liberty and order”.[191] His “associationism […] is checked by individualism. […] ‘Mind your own business,’ ‘Judge not that ye be not judged.’ Over matters which are purely personal, as for example, moral conduct, the individual is sovereign, as well as over that which he himself produces. For this reason he demands ‘mutuality’ in marriagethe equal right of a woman to her own personal freedom and property”.[191]

Poet, naturalist and transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau was an important early influence in individualist anarchist thought in the United States and Europe. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings; and his essay Civil Disobedience (Resistance to Civil Government), an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state. In Walden, Thoreau advocates simple living and self-sufficiency among natural surroundings in resistance to the advancement of industrial civilization.[192]

Civil Disobedience, first published in 1849, argues that people should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences and that people have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. These works influenced green anarchism, anarcho-primitivism and anarcho-pacifism[193] as well as figures including Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Buber and Leo Tolstoy.[193]

For George Woodcock this attitude can be also motivated by certain idea of resistance to progress and of rejection of the growing materialism which is the nature of American society in the mid-19th century”.[192] Zerzan included Thoreau’s “Excursions” in his edited compilation of anti-civilization writings, Against Civilization: Readings and Reflections.[194] Individualist anarchists such as Thoreau[195][196] do not speak of economics, but simply the right of disunion from the state and foresee the gradual elimination of the state through social evolution. Agorist author J. Neil Schulman cites Thoreau as a primary inspiration.[197]

Many economists since Adam Smith have argued thatunlike other taxesa land value tax would not cause economic inefficiency.[198] It would be a progressive tax,[199] i.e. a tax paid primarily by the wealthy, that increases wages, reduces economic inequality, removes incentives to misuse real estate and reduces the vulnerability that economies face from credit and property bubbles.[200][201]

Early proponents of this view include Thomas Paine, Herbert Spencer and Hugo Grotius,[73] but the concept was widely popularized by the economist and social reformer Henry George.[202] George believed that people ought to own the fruits of their labor and the value of the improvements they make, thus he was opposed to income taxes, sales taxes, taxes on improvements and all other taxes on production, labor, trade or commerce.

George was among the staunchest defenders of free markets and his book Protection or Free Trade was read into the Congressional Record.[203] Yet he did support direct management of natural monopolies as a last resort, such as right-of-way monopolies necessary for railroads. George advocated for elimination of intellectual property arrangements in favor of government sponsored prizes for inventors.[204][not in citation given]

Early followers of George’s philosophy called themselves single taxers because they believed that the only legitimate, broad-based tax was land rent. The term Georgism was coined later, though some modern proponents prefer the term geoism instead,[205] leaving the meaning of geo (Earth in Greek) deliberately ambiguous. The terms Earth Sharing,[206] geonomics[207] and geolibertarianism[208] are used by some Georgists to represent a difference of emphasis, or real differences about how land rent should be spent, but all agree that land rent should be recovered from its private owners.

Individualist anarchism found in the United States an important space for discussion and development within the group known as the Boston anarchists.[209] Even among the 19th-century American individualists there was no monolithic doctrine and they disagreed amongst each other on various issues including intellectual property rights and possession versus property in land.[210][211][212] Some Boston anarchists, including Benjamin Tucker, identified as socialists, which in the 19th century was often used in the sense of a commitment to improving conditions of the working class (i.e. “the labor problem”).[213]

Lysander Spooner, besides his individualist anarchist activism, was also an anti-slavery activist and member of the First International.[214] Tucker argued that the elimination of what he called “the four monopolies”the land monopoly, the money and banking monopoly, the monopoly powers conferred by patents and the quasi-monopolistic effects of tariffswould undermine the power of the wealthy and big business, making possible widespread property ownership and higher incomes for ordinary people, while minimizing the power of would-be bosses and achieving socialist goals without state action. Tucker’s anarchist periodical, Liberty, was published from August 1881 to April 1908.

The publication, emblazoned with Proudhon’s quote that liberty is “Not the Daughter But the Mother of Order” was instrumental in developing and formalizing the individualist anarchist philosophy through publishing essays and serving as a forum for debate. Contributors included Benjamin Tucker, Lysander Spooner, Auberon Herbert, Dyer Lum, Joshua K. Ingalls, John Henry Mackay, Victor Yarros, Wordsworth Donisthorpe, James L. Walker, J. William Lloyd, Florence Finch Kelly, Voltairine de Cleyre, Steven T. Byington, John Beverley Robinson, Jo Labadie, Lillian Harman and Henry Appleton.[215] Later, Tucker and others abandoned their traditional support of natural rights and converted to an egoism modeled upon the philosophy of Max Stirner.[211]

A number of natural rights proponents stopped contributing in protest. Several periodicals were undoubtedly influenced by Liberty’s presentation of egoism, including I published by Clarence Lee Swartz and edited by William Walstein Gordak and J. William Lloyd (all associates of Liberty); and The Ego and The Egoist, both of which were edited by Edward H. Fulton. Among the egoist papers that Tucker followed were the German Der Eigene, edited by Adolf Brand; and The Eagle and The Serpent, issued from London. The latter, the most prominent English language egoist journal, was published from 1898 to 1900 with the subtitle A Journal of Egoistic Philosophy and Sociology.[216]

Henry George was an American political economist and journalist who advocated that all economic value derived from land, including natural resources, should belong equally to all members of society. Strongly opposed to feudalism and the privatisation of land, George created the philosophy of Georgism, or geoism, influential among many left-libertarians, including geolibertarians and geoanarchists. Much like the English Digger movement, who held all material possessions in common, George claimed that land and its financial properties belong to everyone, and that to hold land as private property would lead to immense inequalities, including authority from the private owners of such ground.

Prior to states assigning property owners slices of either once populated or uninhabited land, the world’s earth was held in common. When all resources that derive from land are put to achieving a higher quality of life, not just for employers or landlords, but to serve the general interests and comforts of a wider community, Geolibertarians claim vastly higher qualities of life can be reached, especially with ever advancing technology and industrialised agriculture.

The Levellers, also known as the Diggers, were a 17th century anti-authoritarian movement that stood in resistance to the English government and the feudalism it was pushing through the forced privatisation of land around the time of the First English Civil War. Devout Protestants, Gerrard Winstanley was a prominent member of the community and with a very progressive interpretation of his religion sought to end buying and selling, instead for all inhabitants of a society to share their material possessions and to hold all things in common, without money or payment. With the complete abolition of private property, including that of private land, the English Levellers created a pool of property where all properties belonged in equal measure to everyone. Often seen as some of the first practising anarchists, the Digger movement is considered extremely early anarchist communism.

By around the start of the 20th century, the heyday of individualist anarchism had passed.[217] H. L. Mencken and Albert Jay Nock were the first prominent figures in the United States to describe themselves as libertarians;[218] they believed Franklin D. Roosevelt had co-opted the word liberal for his New Deal policies which they opposed and used libertarian to signify their allegiance to individualism.[citation needed] In 1914, Nock joined the staff of The Nation magazine, which at the time was supportive of liberal capitalism. A lifelong admirer of Henry George, Nock went on to become co-editor of The Freeman from 1920 to 1924, a publication initially conceived as a vehicle for the single tax movement, financed by the wealthy wife of the magazine’s other editor, Francis Neilson.[219] Critic H. L. Mencken wrote that “[h]is editorials during the three brief years of the Freeman set a mark that no other man of his trade has ever quite managed to reach. They were well-informed and sometimes even learned, but there was never the slightest trace of pedantry in them”.[220]

Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute David Boaz writes: “In 1943, at one of the lowest points for liberty and humanity in history, three remarkable women published books that could be said to have given birth to the modern libertarian movement”.[221] Isabel Paterson’s The God of the Machine, Rose Wilder Lane’s The Discovery of Freedom and Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead each promoted individualism and capitalism. None of the three used the term libertarianism to describe their beliefs and Rand specifically rejected the label, criticizing the burgeoning American libertarian movement as the “hippies of the right”.[222] Rand’s own philosophy, Objectivism, is notedly similar to libertarianism and she accused libertarians of plagiarizing her ideas.[222] Rand stated:

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.[223]

In 1946, Leonard E. Read founded the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), an American nonprofit educational organization which promotes the principles of laissez-faire economics, private property and limited government.[224] According to Gary North, former FEE director of seminars and a current Ludwig von Mises Institute scholar, FEE is the “granddaddy of all libertarian organizations”.[225] The initial officers of FEE were Leonard E. Read as president, Austrian School economist Henry Hazlitt as vice president and David Goodrich of B. F. Goodrich as chairman. Other trustees on the FEE board have included wealthy industrialist Jasper Crane of DuPont, H. W. Luhnow of William Volker & Co. and Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch Society.[227][228]

Austrian School economist Murray Rothbard was initially an enthusiastic partisan of the Old Right, particularly because of its general opposition to war and imperialism,[229] but long embraced a reading of American history that emphasized the role of elite privilege in shaping legal and political institutions. He was part of Ayn Rand’s circle for a brief period, but later harshly criticized Objectivism.[230] He praised Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and wrote that she “introduced me to the whole field of natural rights and natural law philosophy”, prompting him to learn “the glorious natural rights tradition”.[231](pp121, 132134) He soon broke with Rand over various differences, including his defense of anarchism. Rothbard was influenced by the work of the 19th-century American individualist anarchists[232] and sought to meld their advocacy of free markets and private defense with the principles of Austrian economics.[233] This new philosophy he called anarcho-capitalism.

Karl Hess, a speechwriter for Barry Goldwater and primary author of the Republican Party’s 1960 and 1964 platforms, became disillusioned with traditional politics following the 1964 presidential campaign in which Goldwater lost to Lyndon B. Johnson. He parted with the Republicans altogether after being rejected for employment with the party, and began work as a heavy-duty welder. Hess began reading American anarchists largely due to the recommendations of his friend Murray Rothbard and said that upon reading the works of communist anarchist Emma Goldman, he discovered that anarchists believed everything he had hoped the Republican Party would represent. For Hess, Goldman was the source for the best and most essential theories of Ayn Rand without any of the “crazy solipsism that Rand was so fond of”.[234] Hess and Rothbard founded the journal Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought, which was published from 1965 to 1968, with George Resch and Leonard P. Liggio. In 1969, they edited The Libertarian Forum 1969, which Hess left in 1971. Hess eventually put his focus on the small scale, stating that “Society is: people together making culture”. He deemed two of his cardinal social principles to be “opposition to central political authority” and “concern for people as individuals”. His rejection of standard American party politics was reflected in a lecture he gave during which he said: “The Democrats or liberals think that everybody is stupid and therefore they need somebody… to tell them how to behave themselves. The Republicans think everybody is lazy”.[235]

The Vietnam War split the uneasy alliance between growing numbers of American libertarians and conservatives who believed in limiting liberty to uphold moral virtues. Libertarians opposed to the war joined the draft resistance and peace movements, as well as organizations such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). In 1969 and 1970, Hess joined with others, including Murray Rothbard, Robert LeFevre, Dana Rohrabacher, Samuel Edward Konkin III and former SDS leader Carl Oglesby to speak at two Left-Right conferences which brought together activists from both the Old Right and the New Left in what was emerging as a nascent libertarian movement.[236] As part of his effort to unite right and left-libertarianism, Hess would join the SDS as well as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), of which he explained: “We used to have a labor movement in this country, until I.W.W. leaders were killed or imprisoned. You could tell labor unions had become captive when business and government began to praise them. They’re destroying the militant black leaders the same way now. If the slaughter continues, before long liberals will be asking, ‘What happened to the blacks? Why aren’t they militant anymore?'”.[237] Rothbard ultimately broke with the left, allying himself instead with the burgeoning paleoconservative movement.[238] He criticized the tendency of these left-libertarians to appeal to “‘free spirits,’ to people who don’t want to push other people around, and who don’t want to be pushed around themselves” in contrast to “the bulk of Americans,” who “might well be tight-assed conformists, who want to stamp out drugs in their vicinity, kick out people with strange dress habits, etc”.[239] This left-libertarian tradition has been carried to the present day by Samuel Edward Konkin III’s agorists, contemporary mutualists such as Kevin Carson and Roderick T. Long and other left-wing market anarchists.[240]

In 1971, a small group of Americans led by David Nolan formed the Libertarian Party,[241] which has run a presidential candidate every election year since 1972. Other libertarian organizations, such as the Center for Libertarian Studies and the Cato Institute, were also formed in the 1970s.[242] Philosopher John Hospers, a one-time member of Rand’s inner circle, proposed a non-initiation of force principle to unite both groups, but this statement later became a required “pledge” for candidates of the Libertarian Party and Hospers became its first presidential candidate in 1972.[243] In the 1980s, Hess joined the Libertarian Party and served as editor of its newspaper from 1986 to 1990.

Modern libertarianism gained significant recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University professor Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974, for which he received a National Book Award in 1975.[244] In response to John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice, Nozick’s book supported a minimal state (also called a nightwatchman state by Nozick) on the grounds that the ultraminimal state arises without violating individual rights[245] and the transition from an ultraminimal state to a minimal state is morally obligated to occur. Specifically, Nozick writes, “We argue that the first transition from a system of private protective agencies to an ultraminimal state, will occur by an invisible-hand process in a morally permissible way that violates no one’s rights. Secondly, we argue that the transition from an ultraminimal state to a minimal state morally must occur. It would be morally impermissible for persons to maintain the monopoly in the ultraminimal state without providing protective services for all, even if this requires specific ‘redistribution.’ The operators of the ultraminimal state are morally obligated to produce the minimal state”.[246]

In the early 1970s, Rothbard wrote. “One gratifying aspect of our rise to some prominence is that, for the first time in my memory, we, ‘our side,’ had captured a crucial word from the enemy. ‘Libertarians’ had long been simply a polite word for left-wing anarchists, that is for anti-private property anarchists, either of the communist or syndicalist variety. But now we had taken it over”.[247] Indeed, the project of spreading libertarian ideals in the United States has been so successful that some Americans who don’t identify as “libertarian” seem to hold libertarian views.[248] Since the resurgence of neoliberalism in the 1970s, this modern American libertarianism has spread beyond North America via think tanks and political parties.[249][250]

A surge of popular interest in libertarian socialism occurred in Western nations during the 1960s and 1970s.[251] Anarchism was influential in the counterculture of the 1960s[252][253][254] and anarchists actively participated in the late sixties students and workers revolts.[255] In 1968, the International of Anarchist Federations was founded in Carrara, Italy during an international anarchist conference held there in 1968 by the three existing European federations of France, the Italian and the Iberian Anarchist Federation as well as the Bulgarian federation in French exile.[164][256] The uprisings of May 1968 also led to a small resurgence of interest in left communist ideas. Various small left communist groups emerged around the world, predominantly in the leading capitalist countries. A series of conferences of the communist left began in 1976, with the aim of promoting international and cross-tendency discussion, but these petered out in the 1980s without having increased the profile of the movement or its unity of ideas.[257] Left communist groups existing today include the International Communist Party, International Communist Current and the Internationalist Communist Tendency. The housing and employment crisis in most of Western Europe led to the formation of communes and squatter movements like that of Barcelona, Spain. In Denmark, squatters occupied a disused military base and declared the Freetown Christiania, an autonomous haven in central Copenhagen.

Around the turn of the 21st century, libertarian socialism grew in popularity and influence as part of the anti-war, anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation movements.[258] Anarchists became known for their involvement in protests against the meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Group of Eight and the World Economic Forum. Some anarchist factions at these protests engaged in rioting, property destruction and violent confrontations with police. These actions were precipitated by ad hoc, leaderless, anonymous cadres known as black blocs and other organizational tactics pioneered in this time include security culture, affinity groups and the use of decentralized technologies such as the Internet.[258] A significant event of this period was the confrontations at WTO conference in Seattle in 1999.[258] For English anarchist scholar Simon Critchley, “contemporary anarchism can be seen as a powerful critique of the pseudo-libertarianism of contemporary neo-liberalism. One might say that contemporary anarchism is about responsibility, whether sexual, ecological or socio-economic; it flows from an experience of conscience about the manifold ways in which the West ravages the rest; it is an ethical outrage at the yawning inequality, impoverishment and disenfranchisment that is so palpable locally and globally”.[259] This might also have been motivated by “the collapse of ‘really existing socialism’ and the capitulation to neo-liberalism of Western social democracy”.[260]

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Libertarianism – Wikipedia

libertarianism | Definition, Doctrines, History, & Facts …

Libertarianism, political philosophy that takes individual liberty to be the primary political value. It may be understood as a form of liberalism, the political philosophy associated with the English philosophers John Locke and John Stuart Mill, the Scottish economist Adam Smith, and the American statesman Thomas Jefferson. Liberalism seeks to define and justify the legitimate powers of government in terms of certain natural or God-given individual rights. These rights include the rights to life, liberty, private property, freedom of speech and association, freedom of worship, government by consent, equality under the law, and moral autonomy (the ability to pursue ones own conception of happiness, or the good life). The purpose of government, according to liberals, is to protect these and other individual rights, and in general liberals have contended that government power should be limited to that which is necessary to accomplish this task. Libertarians are classical liberals who strongly emphasize the individual right to liberty. They contend that the scope and powers of government should be constrained so as to allow each individual as much freedom of action as is consistent with a like freedom for everyone else. Thus, they believe that individuals should be free to behave and to dispose of their property as they see fit, provided that their actions do not infringe on the equal freedom of others.

Liberalism and libertarianism have deep roots in Western thought. A central feature of the religious and intellectual traditions of ancient Israel and ancient Greece was the idea of a higher moral law that applied universally and that constrained the powers of even kings and governments. Christian theologians, including Tertullian in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, stressed the moral worth of the individual and the division of the world into two realms, one of which was the province of God and thus beyond the power of the state to control.

Libertarianism also was influenced by debates within Scholasticism on slavery and private property. Scholastic thinkers such as Aquinas, Francisco de Vitoria, and Bartolom de Las Casas developed the concept of self-mastery (dominium)later called self-propriety, property in ones person, or self-ownershipand showed how it could be the foundation of a system of individual rights (see below Libertarian philosophy). In response to the growth of royal absolutism in early modern Europe, early libertarians, particularly those in the Netherlands and England, defended, developed, and radicalized existing notions of the rule of law, representative assemblies, and the rights of the people. In the mid-16th century, for example, the merchants of Antwerp successfully resisted the attempt by the Holy Roman emperor Charles V to introduce the Inquisition in their city, maintaining that it would contravene their traditional privileges and ruin their prosperity (and hence diminish the emperors tax income). Through the Petition of Right (1628) the English Parliament opposed efforts by King Charles I to impose taxes and compel loans from private citizens, to imprison subjects without due process of law, and to require subjects to quarter the kings soldiers (see petition of right). The first well-developed statement of libertarianism, An Agreement of the People (1647), was produced by the radical republican Leveler movement during the English Civil Wars (164251). Presented to Parliament in 1649, it included the ideas of self-ownership, private property, legal equality, religious toleration, and limited, representative government.

In the late 17th century, liberalism was given a sophisticated philosophical foundation in Lockes theories of natural rights, including the right to private property and to government by consent. In the 18th century, Smiths studies of the economic effects of free markets greatly advanced the liberal theory of spontaneous order, according to which some forms of order in society arise naturally and spontaneously, without central direction, from the independent activities of large numbers of individuals. The theory of spontaneous order is a central feature of libertarian social and economic thinking (see below Spontaneous order).

The American Revolution (177583) was a watershed for liberalism. In the Declaration of Independence (1776), Jefferson enunciated many liberal and libertarian ideas, including the belief in unalienable Rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness and the belief in the right and duty of citizens to throw off such Government that violates these rights. Indeed, during and after the American Revolution, according to the American historian Bernard Bailyn, the major themes of eighteenth-century libertarianism were brought to realization in written constitutions, bills of rights, and limits on executive and legislative powers, especially the power to wage war. Such values have remained at the core of American political thought ever since.

During the 19th century, governments based on traditional liberal principles emerged in England and the United States and to a smaller extent in continental Europe. The rise of liberalism resulted in rapid technological development and a general increase in living standards, though large segments of the population remained in poverty, especially in the slums of industrial cities.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many liberals began to worry that persistent inequalities of income and wealth and the tremendous pace of social change were undermining democracy and threatening other classical liberal values, such as the right to moral autonomy. Fearful of what they considered a new despotism of the wealthy, modern liberals advocated government regulation of markets and major industries, heavier taxation of the rich, the legalization of trade unions, and the introduction of various government-funded social services, such as mandatory accident insurance. Some have regarded the modern liberals embrace of increased government power as a repudiation of the classical liberal belief in limited government, but others have seen it as a reconsideration of the kinds of power required by government to protect the individual rights that liberals believe in.

The new liberalism was exemplified by the English philosophers L.T. Hobhouse and T.H. Green, who argued that democratic governments should aim to advance the general welfare by providing direct services and benefits to citizens. Meanwhile, however, classical liberals such as the English philosopher Herbert Spencer insisted that the welfare of the poor and the middle classes would be best served by free markets and minimal government. In the 20th century, so-called welfare state liberalism, or social democracy, emerged as the dominant form of liberalism, and the term liberalism itself underwent a significant change in definition in English-speaking countries. Particularly after World War II, most self-described liberals no longer supported completely free markets and minimal government, though they continued to champion other individual rights, such as the right to freedom of speech. As liberalism became increasingly associated with government intervention in the economy and social-welfare programs, some classical liberals abandoned the old term and began to call themselves libertarians.

In response to the rise of totalitarian regimes in Russia, Italy, and Germany in the first half of the 20th century, some economists and political philosophers rediscovered aspects of the classical liberal tradition that were most distinctly individualist. In his seminal essay Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth (originally in German, 1920), the Austrian-American economist Ludwig von Mises challenged the basic tenets of socialism, arguing that a complex economy requires private property and freedom of exchange in order to solve problems of social and economic coordination. Von Misess work led to extensive studies of the processes by which the uncoordinated activities of numerous individuals can spontaneously generate complex forms of social order in societies where individual rights are well-defined and legally secure.

Classical liberalism rests on a presumption of libertythat is, on the presumption that the exercise of liberty does not require justification but that all restraints on liberty do. Libertarians have attempted to define the proper extent of individual liberty in terms of the notion of property in ones person, or self-ownership, which entails that each individual is entitled to exclusive control of his choices, his actions, and his body. Because no individual has the right to control the peaceful activities of other self-owning individualse.g., their religious practices, their occupations, or their pastimesno such power can be properly delegated to government. Legitimate governments are therefore severely limited in their authority.

According to the principle that libertarians call the nonaggression axiom, all acts of aggression against the rights of otherswhether committed by individuals or by governmentsare unjust. Indeed, libertarians believe that the primary purpose of government is to protect citizens from the illegitimate use of force. Accordingly, governments may not use force against their own citizens unless doing so is necessary to prevent the illegitimate use of force by one individual or group against another. This prohibition entails that governments may not engage in censorship, military conscription, price controls, confiscation of property, or any other type of intervention that curtails the voluntary and peaceful exercise of an individuals rights.

A fundamental characteristic of libertarian thinking is a deep skepticism of government power. Libertarianism and liberalism both arose in the West, where the division of power between spiritual and temporal rulers had been greater than in most other parts of the world. In the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), I Samuel 8: 1718, the Jews asked for a king, and God warned them that such a king would take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day. This admonition reminded Europeans for centuries of the predatory nature of states. The passage was cited by many liberals, including Thomas Paine and Lord Acton, who famously wrote that power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Libertarian skepticism was reinforced by events of the 20th century, when unrestrained government power, among other factors, led to world war, genocide, and massive human rights violations.

Libertarians embrace individualism insofar as they attach supreme value to the rights and freedoms of individuals. Although various theories regarding the origin and justification of individual rights have been proposede.g., that they are given to human beings by God, that they are implied by the very idea of a moral law, and that respecting them produces better consequencesall libertarians agree that individual rights are imprescriptiblei.e., that they are not granted (and thus cannot be legitimately taken away) by governments or by any other human agency. Another aspect of the individualism of libertarians is their belief that the individual, rather than the group or the state, is the basic unit in terms of which a legal order should be understood.

Libertarians hold that some forms of order in society arise naturally and spontaneously from the actions of thousands or millions of individuals. The notion of spontaneous order may seem counterintuitive: it is natural to assume that order exists only because it has been designed by someone (indeed, in the philosophy of religion, the apparent order of the natural universe was traditionally considered proof of the existence of an intelligent designeri.e., God). Libertarians, however, maintain that the most important aspects of human societysuch as language, law, customs, money, and marketsdevelop by themselves, without conscious direction.

An appreciation for spontaneous order can be found in the writings of the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu (6th century bce), who urged rulers to do nothing because without law or compulsion, men would dwell in harmony. A social science of spontaneous order arose in the 18th century in the work of the French physiocrats and in the writings of the Scottish philosopher David Hume. Both the physiocrats (the term physiocracy means the rule of nature) and Hume studied the natural order of economic and social life and concluded, contrary to the dominant theory of mercantilism, that the directing hand of the prince was not necessary to produce order and prosperity. Hume extended his analysis to the determination of interest rates and even to the emergence of the institutions of law and property. In A Treatise of Human Nature (173940), he argued that the rule concerning the stability of possession is a product of spontaneous ordering processes, because it arises gradually, and acquires force by a slow progression, and by our repeated experience of the inconveniences of transgressing it. He also compared the evolution of the institution of property to the evolution of languages and money.

Smith developed the concept of spontaneous order extensively in both The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). He made the idea central to his discussion of social cooperation, arguing that the division of labour did not arise from human wisdom but was the necessary, though very slow and gradual, consequence of a certain propensity in human nature which has in view no such extensive utility: the propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another. In Common Sense (1776), Paine combined the theory of spontaneous order with a theory of justice based on natural rights, maintaining that the great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of government.

According to libertarians, free markets are among the most important (but not the only) examples of spontaneous order. They argue that individuals need to produce and trade in order to survive and flourish and that free markets are essential to the creation of wealth. Libertarians also maintain that self-help, mutual aid, charity, and economic growth do more to alleviate poverty than government social-welfare programs. Finally, they contend that, if the libertarian tradition often seems to stress private property and free markets at the expense of other principles, that is largely because these institutions were under attack for much of the 20th century by modern liberals, social democrats, fascists, and adherents of other leftist, nationalist, or socialist ideologies.

Libertarians consider the rule of law to be a crucial underpinning of a free society. In its simplest form, this principle means that individuals should be governed by generally applicable and publicly known laws and not by the arbitrary decisions of kings, presidents, or bureaucrats. Such laws should protect the freedom of all individuals to pursue happiness in their own ways and should not aim at any particular result or outcome.

Although most libertarians believe that some form of government is essential for protecting liberty, they also maintain that government is an inherently dangerous institution whose power must be strictly circumscribed. Thus, libertarians advocate limiting and dividing government power through a written constitution and a system of checks and balances. Indeed, libertarians often claim that the greater freedom and prosperity of European society (in comparison with other parts of the world) in the early modern era was the result of the fragmentation of power, both between church and state and among the continents many different kingdoms, principalities, and city-states. Some American libertarians, such as Lysander Spooner and Murray Rothbard, have opposed all forms of government. Rothbard called his doctrine anarcho-capitalism to distinguish it from the views of anarchists who oppose private property. Even those who describe themselves as anarchist libertarians, however, believe in a system of law and law enforcement to protect individual rights.

Much political analysis deals with conflict and conflict resolution. Libertarians hold that there is a natural harmony of interests among peaceful, productive individuals in a just society. Citing David Ricardos theory of comparative advantagewhich states that individuals in all countries benefit when each countrys citizens specialize in producing that which they can produce more efficiently than the citizens of other countrieslibertarians claim that, over time, all individuals prosper from the operation of a free market, and conflict is thus not a necessary or inevitable part of a social order. When governments begin to distribute rewards on the basis of political pressure, however, individuals and groups will engage in wasteful and even violent conflict to gain benefits at the expense of others. Thus, libertarians maintain that minimal government is a key to the minimization of social conflict.

In international affairs, libertarians emphasize the value of peace. That may seem unexceptional, since most (though not all) modern thinkers have claimed allegiance to peace as a value. Historically, however, many rulers have seen little benefit to peace and have embarked upon sometimes long and destructive wars. Libertarians contend that war is inherently calamitous, bringing widespread death and destruction, disrupting family and economic life, and placing more power in the hands of ruling classes. Defensive or retaliatory violence may be justified, but, according to libertarians, violence is not valuable in itself, nor does it produce any additional benefits beyond the defense of life and liberty.

Despite the historical growth in the scope and powers of government, particularly after World War II, in the early 21st century the political and economic systems of most Western countriesespecially the United Kingdom and the United Statescontinued to be based largely on classical liberal principles. Accordingly, libertarians in those countries tended to focus on smaller deviations from liberal principles, creating the perception among many that their views were radical or extreme. In the early 21st century, self-identified libertarians constituted a major current of the antigovernment Tea Party movement in the United States. However, explicitly libertarian political parties (such as the Libertarian Party in the United States and the Libertarianz Party in New Zealand), where they did exist, garnered little support, even among self-professed libertarians. Most politically active libertarians supported classical liberal parties (such as the Free Democratic Party in Germany or the Flemish Liberals and Democrats in Belgium) or conservative parties (such as the Republican Party in the United States or the Conservative Party in Great Britain); they also backed pressure groups advocating policies such as tax reduction, the privatization of education, and the decriminalization of drug use and other so-called victimless crimes. There were also small but vocal groups of libertarians in Scandinavia, Latin America, India, and China.

The publication in 1974 of Anarchy, State, and Utopia, a sophisticated defense of libertarian principles by the American philosopher Robert Nozick, marked the beginning of an intellectual revival of libertarianism. Libertarian ideas in economics became increasingly influential as libertarian economists, such as Alan Greenspan, were appointed to prominent advisory positions in conservative governments in the United Kingdom and the United States and as some libertarians, such as James M. Buchanan, Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, and Vernon L. Smith, were awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics. In 1982 the death of the libertarian novelist and social theorist Ayn Rand prompted a surge of popular interest in her work. Libertarian scholars, activists, and political leaders also played prominent roles in the worldwide campaign against apartheid and in the construction of democratic societies in eastern and central Europe following the collapse of communism there in 198991. In the early 21st century, libertarian ideas informed new research in diverse fields such as history, law, economic development, telecommunications, bioethics, globalization, and social theory.

A long-standing criticism of libertarianism is that it presupposes an unrealistic and undesirable conception of individual identity and of the conditions necessary for human flourishing. Opponents of libertarianism often refer to libertarian individualism as atomistic, arguing that it ignores the role of family, tribe, religious community, and state in forming individual identity and that such groups or institutions are the proper sources of legitimate authority. These critics contend that libertarian ideas of individuality are ahistorical, excessively abstract, and parasitic on unacknowledged forms of group identity and that libertarians ignore the obligations to community and government that accompany the benefits derived from these institutions. In the 19th century, Karl Marx decried liberal individualism, which he took to underlie civil (or bourgeois) society, as a decomposition of man that located mans essence no longer in community but in difference. More recently, the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor maintained that the libertarian emphasis on the rights of the individual wrongly implies the self-sufficiency of man alone.

Libertarians deny that their views imply anything like atomistic individualism. The recognition and protection of individuality and difference, they contend, does not necessarily entail denying the existence of community or the benefits of living together. Rather, it merely requires that the bonds of community not be imposed on people by force and that individuals (adults, at least) be free to sever their attachments to others and to form new ones with those who choose to associate with them. Community, libertarians believe, is best served by freedom of association, an observation made by the 19th-century French historian of American democracy Alexis de Tocqueville, among others. Thus, for libertarians the central philosophical issue is not individuality versus community but rather consent versus coercion.

Other critics, including some prominent conservatives, have insisted that libertarianism is an amoral philosophy of libertinism in which the law loses its character as a source of moral instruction. The American philosopher Russell Kirk, for example, argued that libertarians bear no authority, temporal or spiritual, and do not venerate ancient beliefs and customs, or the natural world, or [their] country, or the immortal spark in [their] fellow men. Libertarians respond that they do venerate the ancient traditions of liberty and justice. They favour restricting the function of the law to enforcing those traditions, not only because they believe that individuals should be permitted to take moral responsibility for their own choices but also because they believe that law becomes corrupted when it is used as a tool for making men moral. Furthermore, they argue, a degree of humility about the variety of human goals should not be confused with radical moral skepticism or ethical relativism.

Some criticisms of libertarianism concern the social and economic effects of free markets and the libertarian view that all forms of government intervention are unjustified. Critics have alleged, for example, that completely unregulated markets create poverty as well as wealth; that they result in significant inequalities of income and wealth, along with corresponding inequalities of political power; that they encourage environmental pollution and the wasteful or destructive use of natural resources; that they are incapable of efficiently or fairly performing some necessary social services, such as health care, education, and policing; and that they tend toward monopoly, which increases inefficiency and compounds the problem of inequality of income and wealth.

Libertarians have responded by questioning whether government regulation, which would replace one set of imperfect institutions (private businesses) with another (government agencies), would solve or only worsen these problems. In addition, several libertarian scholars have argued that some of these problems are not caused by free markets but rather result from the failures and inefficiencies of political and legal institutions. Thus, they argue that environmental pollution could be minimized in a free market if property rights were properly defined and secured.

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libertarianism | Definition, Doctrines, History, & Facts …

Definitions of Libertarianism – The Advocates for Self …

Libertarianism is, as the name implies, the belief in liberty. Libertarians believe that each person owns his own life and property and has the right to make his own choices as to how he lives his life and uses his property as long as he simply respects the equal right of others to do the same.

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Definitions of Libertarianism – The Advocates for Self …

Libertarianism – definition of libertarianism by The Free …

.

1. One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.

2. One who believes in free will.

libertarian adj.

libertarianism n.

1. one who advocates liberty, especially with regard to thought or conduct.2. the philosophical doctrine of free will. Cf. necessitarianism, determinism, fatalism. libertarian, n., adj.

1. the advocacy of freedom, especially in thought or conduct.2. Theology. the advocacy of the doctrine of free will. See also necessitarianism. libertarian, n., adj.

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Libertarianism – definition of libertarianism by The Free …

Libertarianism (metaphysics) – Wikipedia

Libertarianism is one of the main philosophical positions related to the problems of free will and determinism, which are part of the larger domain of metaphysics.[1] In particular, libertarianism, which is an incompatibilist position,[2][3] argues that free will is logically incompatible with a deterministic universe and that agents have free will, and that, therefore, determinism is false.[4] On of the first clear formulations of libertarianism is found in John Duns Scotus; in theological context metaphysical libertarianism was notably defended by Jesuit authors like Luis de Molina and Francisco Surez against rather compatibilist Thomist Bezianism. Other important metaphysical libertarians in the early modern period were Ren Descartes, George Berkeley, Immanuel Kant, and Thomas Reid.[5] Roderick Chisholm was a prominent defender of libertarianism in the 20th century,[6] and contemporary libertarians include Robert Kane, Peter van Inwagen and Robert Nozick.

The first recorded use of the term “libertarianism” was in 1789 by William Belsham in a discussion of free will and in opposition to “necessitarian” (or determinist) views.[7][8]

Metaphysical libertarianism is one philosophical view point under that of incompatibilism. Libertarianism holds onto a concept of free will that requires the agent to be able to take more than one possible course of action under a given set of circumstances.

Accounts of libertarianism subdivide into non-physical theories and physical or naturalistic theories. Non-physical theories hold that the events in the brain that lead to the performance of actions do not have an entirely physical explanation, and consequently the world is not closed under physics. Such interactionist dualists believe that some non-physical mind, will, or soul overrides physical causality.

Explanations of libertarianism that do not involve dispensing with physicalism require physical indeterminism, such as probabilistic subatomic particle behavior a theory unknown to many of the early writers on free will. Physical determinism, under the assumption of physicalism, implies there is only one possible future and is therefore not compatible with libertarian free will. Some libertarian explanations involve invoking panpsychism, the theory that a quality of mind is associated with all particles, and pervades the entire universe, in both animate and inanimate entities. Other approaches do not require free will to be a fundamental constituent of the universe; ordinary randomness is appealed to as supplying the “elbow room” believed to be necessary by libertarians.

Free volition is regarded as a particular kind of complex, high-level process with an element of indeterminism. An example of this kind of approach has been developed by Robert Kane,[9] where he hypothesizes that,

In each case, the indeterminism is functioning as a hindrance or obstacle to her realizing one of her purposesa hindrance or obstacle in the form of resistance within her will which has to be overcome by effort.

Although at the time quantum mechanics (and physical indeterminism) was only in the initial stages of acceptance, in his book Miracles: A preliminary study C. S. Lewis stated the logical possibility that if the physical world were proved indeterministic this would provide an entry point to describe an action of a non-physical entity on physical reality.[10] Indeterministic physical models (particularly those involving quantum indeterminacy) introduce random occurrences at an atomic or subatomic level. These events might affect brain activity, and could seemingly allow incompatibilist free will if the apparent indeterminacy of some mental processes (for instance, subjective perceptions of control in conscious volition) map to the underlying indeterminacy of the physical construct. This relationship, however, requires a causative role over probabilities that is questionable,[11] and it is far from established that brain activity responsible for human action can be affected by such events. Secondarily, these incompatibilist models are dependent upon the relationship between action and conscious volition, as studied in the neuroscience of free will. It is evident that observation may disturb the outcome of the observation itself, rendering limited our ability to identify causality.[12] Niels Bohr, one of the main architects of quantum theory, suggested, however, that no connection could be made between indeterminism of nature and freedom of will.[13]

In non-physical theories of free will, agents are assumed to have power to intervene in the physical world, a view known as agent causation.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21] Proponents of agent causation include George Berkeley,[22] Thomas Reid,[23] and Roderick Chisholm.[24]

Most events can be explained as the effects of prior events. When a tree falls, it does so because of the force of the wind, its own structural weakness, and so on. However, when a person performs a free act, agent causation theorists say that the action was not caused by any other events or states of affairs, but rather was caused by the agent. Agent causation is ontologically separate from event causation. The action was not uncaused, because the agent caused it. But the agent’s causing it was not determined by the agent’s character, desires, or past, since that would just be event causation.[25] As Chisholm explains it, humans have “a prerogative which some would attribute only to God: each of us, when we act, is a prime mover unmoved. In doing what we do, we cause certain events to happen, and nothing or no one causes us to cause those events to happen.”[26]

This theory involves a difficulty which has long been associated with the idea of an unmoved mover. If a free action was not caused by any event, such as a change in the agent or an act of the will, then what is the difference between saying that an agent caused the event and simply saying that the event happened on its own? As William James put it, “If a ‘free’ act be a sheer novelty, that comes not from me, the previous me, but ex nihilo, and simply tacks itself on to me, how can I, the previous I, be responsible? How can I have any permanent character that will stand still long enough for praise or blame to be awarded?”[27]

Agent causation advocates respond that agent causation is actually more intuitive than event causation. They point to David Hume’s argument that when we see two events happen in succession, our belief that one event caused the other cannot be justified rationally (known as the problem of induction). If that is so, where does our belief in causality come from? According to Thomas Reid, “the conception of an efficient cause may very probably be derived from the experience we have had…of our own power to produce certain effects.”[28] Our everyday experiences of agent causation provide the basis for the idea of event causation.[29]

Event-causal accounts of incompatibilist free will typically rely upon physicalist models of mind (like those of the compatibilist), yet they presuppose physical indeterminism, in which certain indeterministic events are said to be caused by the agent. A number of event-causal accounts of free will have been created, referenced here as deliberative indeterminism, centred accounts, and efforts of will theory.[30] The first two accounts do not require free will to be a fundamental constituent of the universe. Ordinary randomness is appealed to as supplying the “elbow room” that libertarians believe necessary. A first common objection to event-causal accounts is that the indeterminism could be destructive and could therefore diminish control by the agent rather than provide it (related to the problem of origination). A second common objection to these models is that it is questionable whether such indeterminism could add any value to deliberation over that which is already present in a deterministic world.

Deliberative indeterminism asserts that the indeterminism is confined to an earlier stage in the decision process.[31][32] This is intended to provide an indeterminate set of possibilities to choose from, while not risking the introduction of luck (random decision making). The selection process is deterministic, although it may be based on earlier preferences established by the same process. Deliberative indeterminism has been referenced by Daniel Dennett[33] and John Martin Fischer.[34] An obvious objection to such a view is that an agent cannot be assigned ownership over their decisions (or preferences used to make those decisions) to any greater degree than that of a compatibilist model.

Centred accounts propose that for any given decision between two possibilities, the strength of reason will be considered for each option, yet there is still a probability the weaker candidate will be chosen.[35][36][37][38][39][40][41] An obvious objection to such a view is that decisions are explicitly left up to chance, and origination or responsibility cannot be assigned for any given decision.

Efforts of will theory is related to the role of will power in decision making. It suggests that the indeterminacy of agent volition processes could map to the indeterminacy of certain physical events and the outcomes of these events could therefore be considered caused by the agent. Models of volition have been constructed in which it is seen as a particular kind of complex, high-level process with an element of physical indeterminism. An example of this approach is that of Robert Kane, where he hypothesizes that “in each case, the indeterminism is functioning as a hindrance or obstacle to her realizing one of her purposes a hindrance or obstacle in the form of resistance within her will which must be overcome by effort.”[9] According to Robert Kane such “ultimate responsibility” is a required condition for free will.[42] An important factor in such a theory is that the agent cannot be reduced to physical neuronal events, but rather mental processes are said to provide an equally valid account of the determination of outcome as their physical processes (see non-reductive physicalism).

Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher, argued that as atoms moved through the void, there were occasions when they would “swerve” (clinamen) from their otherwise determined paths, thus initiating new causal chains. Epicurus argued that these swerves would allow us to be more responsible for our actions, something impossible if every action was deterministically caused.

Epicurus did not say the swerve was directly involved in decisions. But following Aristotle, Epicurus thought human agents have the autonomous ability to transcend necessity and chance (both of which destroy responsibility), so that praise and blame are appropriate. Epicurus finds a tertium quid, beyond necessity (Democritus’ physics) and beyond chance. His tertium quid is agent autonomy, what is “up to us.”

…some things happen of necessity (), others by chance (), others through our own agency ( ).

…necessity destroys responsibility and chance is inconstant; whereas our own actions are autonomous, and it is to them that praise and blame naturally attach.[43]

Lucretius (1st century BC), a strong supporter of Epicurus, saw the randomness as enabling free will, even if he could not explain exactly how, beyond the fact that random swerves would break the causal chain of determinism.

Again, if all motion is always one long chain, and new motion arises out of the old in order invariable, and if the first-beginnings do not make by swerving a beginning of motion such as to break the decrees of fate, that cause may not follow cause from infinity, whence comes this freedom (libera) in living creatures all over the earth, whence I say is this will (voluntas) wrested from the fates by which we proceed whither pleasure leads each, swerving also our motions not at fixed times and fixed places, but just where our mind has taken us? For undoubtedly it is his own will in each that begins these things, and from the will movements go rippling through the limbs.

However, the interpretation of Greek philosophers is controversial. Tim O’Keefe has argued that Epicurus and Lucretius were not libertarians at all, but compatibilists.[44]

Robert Nozick put forward an indeterministic theory of free will in Philosophical Explanations (1981).[45]

When human beings become agents through reflexive self-awareness, they express their agency by having reasons for acting, to which they assign weights. Choosing the dimensions of one’s identity is a special case, in which the assigning of weight to a dimension is partly self-constitutive. But all acting for reasons is constitutive of the self in a broader sense, namely, by its shaping one’s character and personality in a manner analogous to the shaping that law undergoes through the precedent set by earlier court decisions. Just as a judge does not merely apply the law but to some degree makes it through judicial discretion, so too a person does not merely discover weights but assigns them; one not only weighs reasons but also weights them. Set in train is a process of building a framework for future decisions that we are tentatively committed to.

The lifelong process of self-definition in this broader sense is construed indeterministically by Nozick. The weighting is “up to us” in the sense that it is undetermined by antecedent causal factors, even though subsequent action is fully caused by the reasons one has accepted. He compares assigning weights in this deterministic sense to “the currently orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics”, following von Neumann in understanding a quantum mechanical system as in a superposition or probability mixture of states, which changes continuously in accordance with quantum mechanical equations of motion and discontinuously via measurement or observation that “collapses the wave packet” from a superposition to a particular state. Analogously, a person before decision has reasons without fixed weights: he is in a superposition of weights. The process of decision reduces the superposition to a particular state that causes action.

One particularly influential contemporary theory of libertarian free will is that of Robert Kane.[30][46][47] Kane argues that “(1) the existence of alternative possibilities (or the agent’s power to do otherwise) is a necessary condition for acting freely, and that (2) determinism is not compatible with alternative possibilities (it precludes the power to do otherwise)”.[48] It is important to note that the crux of Kane’s position is grounded not in a defense of alternative possibilities (AP) but in the notion of what Kane refers to as ultimate responsibility (UR). Thus, AP is a necessary but insufficient criterion for free will.[49] It is necessary that there be (metaphysically) real alternatives for our actions, but that is not enough; our actions could be random without being in our control. The control is found in “ultimate responsibility”.

Ultimate responsibility entails that agents must be the ultimate creators (or originators) and sustainers of their own ends and purposes. There must be more than one way for a person’s life to turn out (AP). More importantly, whichever way it turns out must be based in the person’s willing actions. As Kane defines it,

‘UR:’ An agent is ultimately responsible for some (event or state) E’s occurring only if (R) the agent is personally responsible for E’s occurring in a sense which entails that something the agent voluntarily (or willingly) did or omitted either was, or causally contributed to, E’s occurrence and made a difference to whether or not E occurred; and (U) for every X and Y (where X and Y represent occurrences of events and/or states) if the agent is personally responsible for X and if Y is an arche (sufficient condition, cause or motive) for X, then the agent must also be personally responsible for Y.

In short, “an agent must be responsible for anything that is a sufficient reason (condition, cause or motive) for the action’s occurring.”[50]

What allows for ultimacy of creation in Kane’s picture are what he refers to as “self-forming actions” or SFAsthose moments of indecision during which people experience conflicting wills. These SFAs are the undetermined, regress-stopping voluntary actions or refraining in the life histories of agents that are required for UR. UR does not require that every act done of our own free will be undetermined and thus that, for every act or choice, we could have done otherwise; it requires only that certain of our choices and actions be undetermined (and thus that we could have done otherwise), namely SFAs. These form our character or nature; they inform our future choices, reasons and motivations in action. If a person has had the opportunity to make a character-forming decision (SFA), they are responsible for the actions that are a result of their character.

Randolph Clarke objects that Kane’s depiction of free will is not truly libertarian but rather a form of compatibilism. The objection asserts that although the outcome of an SFA is not determined, one’s history up to the event is; so the fact that an SFA will occur is also determined. The outcome of the SFA is based on chance, and from that point on one’s life is determined. This kind of freedom, says Clarke, is no different than the kind of freedom argued for by compatibilists, who assert that even though our actions are determined, they are free because they are in accordance with our own wills, much like the outcome of an SFA.[51]

Kane responds that the difference between causal indeterminism and compatibilism is “ultimate controlthe originative control exercised by agents when it is ‘up to them’ which of a set of possible choices or actions will now occur, and up to no one and nothing else over which the agents themselves do not also have control”.[52] UR assures that the sufficient conditions for one’s actions do not lie before one’s own birth.

Galen Strawson holds that there is a fundamental sense in which free will is impossible, whether determinism is true or not. He argues for this position with what he calls his “basic argument”, which aims to show that no-one is ever ultimately morally responsible for their actions, and hence that no one has free will in the sense that usually concerns us.

In his book defending compatibilism, Freedom Evolves, Daniel Dennett spends a chapter criticising Kane’s theory.[53] Kane believes freedom is based on certain rare and exceptional events, which he calls self-forming actions or SFA’s. Dennett notes that there is no guarantee such an event will occur in an individual’s life. If it does not, the individual does not in fact have free will at all, according to Kane. Yet they will seem the same as anyone else. Dennett finds an essentially indetectable notion of free will to be incredible.

Link:

Libertarianism (metaphysics) – Wikipedia

Libertarianism – Wikipedia

“Libertarians” redirects here. For political parties that may go by this name, see Libertarian Party.

Libertarianism (from Latin: libertas, meaning “freedom”) is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle.[1] Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgment.[2][3][4] 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.[5]

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.[6][7][8][9] Classical libertarian ideologies includebut are not limited toanarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, mutualism and egoism, alongside many other anti-paternalist, New Left schools of thought centered around economic egalitarianism. 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.[10][11][12]

The first recorded use of the term libertarian was in 1789, when William Belsham wrote about libertarianism in the context of metaphysics.[13]

As early as 1796, the word libertarian came to mean an advocate or defender of liberty, especially in the political and social spheres, when the London Packet printed on 12 February the following: “Lately marched out of the Prison at Bristol, 450 of the French Libertarians”.[14] The word was again used in a political sense in 1802 in a short piece critiquing a poem by “the author of Gebir” and has since been used with this meaning.[15][16][17]

The use of the word libertarian to describe a new set of political positions has been traced to the French cognate libertaire, coined in a letter French libertarian communist Joseph Djacque wrote to mutualist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1857.[18][19][20] Djacque also used the term for his anarchist publication Le Libertaire, Journal du mouvement social (The Libertarian, Journal of the Social Movement) which was printed from 9 June 1858 to 4 February 1861 in New York City.[21][22] Sbastien Faure, another French libertarian communist, began publishing a new Le Libertaire in the mid-1890s while France’s Third Republic enacted the so-called villainous laws (lois sclrates) which banned anarchist publications in France. Thus, libertarianism has frequently been used as a synonym for anarchism and libertarian socialism since this time.[23][24][25]

The term libertarianism was first used in the United States as a synonym for classical liberalism in May 1955 by writer Dean Russell, a colleague of Leonard Read and a classical liberal himself. Russell justified the choice of the word as follows: “Many of us call ourselves ‘liberals.’ And it is true that the word ‘liberal’ once described persons who respected the individual and feared the use of mass compulsions. But the leftists have now corrupted that once-proud term to identify themselves and their program of more government ownership of property and more controls over persons. As a result, those of us who believe in freedom must explain that when we call ourselves liberals, we mean liberals in the uncorrupted classical sense. At best, this is awkward and subject to misunderstanding. Here is a suggestion: Let those of us who love liberty trade-mark and reserve for our own use the good and honorable word ‘libertarian'”.[26]

Subsequently, a growing number of Americans with classical liberal beliefs began to describe themselves as libertarian. One person responsible for popularizing the term libertarian in this sense was Murray Rothbard,[27] who started publishing libertarian works in the 1960s. Rothbard describes this modern use of the words overtly as a “capture” from his enemies, saying that “for the first time in my memory, we, ‘our side,’ had captured a crucial word from the enemy. ‘Libertarians’ had long been simply a polite word for left-wing anarchists, that is for anti-private property anarchists, either of the communist or syndicalist variety. But now we had taken it over”.[12][11] Robert Nozick was responsible for popularizing this usage of the term in philosophical circles and Europe instead. According to common meanings of conservative and liberal, libertarianism in the United States has been described as conservative on economic issues (economic liberalism) and liberal on personal freedom (civil libertarianism)[28] and it is also often associated with a foreign policy of non-interventionism.[29][30]

All libertarians begin with a conception of personal autonomy from which they argue in favor of civil liberties and a reduction or elimination of the state.

Left-libertarianism encompasses those libertarian beliefs that claim the Earth’s natural resources belong to everyone in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively. Contemporary left-libertarians such as Hillel Steiner, Peter Vallentyne, Philippe Van Parijs, Michael Otsuka and David Ellerman believe the appropriation of land must leave “enough and as good” for others or be taxed by society to compensate for the exclusionary effects of private property. Libertarian socialists (social and individualist anarchists, libertarian Marxists, council communists, Luxemburgists and DeLeonists) promote usufruct and socialist economic theories, including communism, collectivism, syndicalism and mutualism. They criticize the state for being the defender of private property and believe capitalism entails wage slavery.

Right-libertarianism[31] developed in the United States in the mid-20th century from the works of European writers like John Locke, Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig Von Mises and is the most popular conception of libertarianism in the world today.[32] It is commonly referred to as a continuation or radicalization of classical liberalism.[33][34] The most important of these early right-libertarian philosophers was Robert Nozick. While often sharing left-libertarians’ advocacy for social freedom, right-libertarians also value the social institutions that enforce conditions of capitalism while rejecting institutions that function in opposition to these on the grounds that such interventions represent unnecessary coercion of individuals and abrogation of their economic freedom.[35] Anarcho-capitalists[36][37] seek complete elimination of the state in favor of privately funded security services while minarchists defend night-watchman states which maintain only those functions of government necessary to safeguard natural rights, understood in terms of self-ownership or autonomy.[38]

Anarchism envisages freedom as a form of autonomy[39] which Paul Goodman describes as “the ability to initiate a task and do it one’s own way, without orders from authorities who do not know the actual problem and the available means”.[40] All anarchists oppose political and legal authority, but collectivist strains also oppose the economic authority of private property.[41] These social anarchists emphasize mutual aid, whereas individualist anarchists extol individual sovereignty.[42]

Some right-libertarians consider the non-aggression principle (NAP) to be a core part of their beliefs.[43][44]

Libertarians have been advocates and activists of civil liberties, including free love and free thought.[45][46] Advocates of free love viewed sexual freedom as a clear, direct expression of individual sovereignty and they particularly stressed women’s rights as most sexual laws discriminated against women: for example, marriage laws and anti-birth control measures.[47]

Free love appeared alongside anarcha-feminism and advocacy of LGBT rights. Anarcha-feminism developed as a synthesis of radical feminism and anarchism and views patriarchy as a fundamental manifestation of compulsory government. It was inspired by the late-19th-century writings of early feminist anarchists such as Lucy Parsons, Emma Goldman, Voltairine de Cleyre and Virginia Bolten.

Anarcha-feminists, like other radical feminists, criticize and advocate the abolition of traditional conceptions of family, education and gender roles. Free Society (18951897 as The Firebrand, 18971904 as Free Society) was an anarchist newspaper in the United States that staunchly advocated free love and women’s rights, while criticizing “comstockery”, the censorship of sexual information.[48] In recent times, anarchism has also voiced opinions and taken action around certain sex-related subjects such as pornography,[49] BDSM[50] and the sex industry.[50]

Free thought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic and reason in contrast with authority, tradition or other dogmas.[51][52] In the United States, free thought was an anti-Christian, anti-clerical movement whose purpose was to make the individual politically and spiritually free to decide on religious matters. A number of contributors to Liberty were prominent figures in both free thought and anarchism.

In 1901, Catalan anarchist and free-thinker Francesc Ferrer i Gurdia established modern or progressive schools in Barcelona in defiance of an educational system controlled by the Catholic Church.[53] Fiercely anti-clerical, Ferrer believed in “freedom in education”, i.e. education free from the authority of the church and state.[54] The schools’ stated goal was to “educate the working class in a rational, secular and non-coercive setting”.

Later in the 20th century, Austrian Freudo-Marxist Wilhelm Reich became a consistent propagandist for sexual freedom going as far as opening free sex-counseling clinics in Vienna for working-class patients[55] as well as coining the phrase “sexual revolution” in one of his books from the 1940s.[56] During the early 1970s, the English anarchist and pacifist Alex Comfort achieved international celebrity for writing the sex manuals The Joy of Sex and More Joy of Sex.

Many left-libertarians are anarchists and believe the state inherently violates personal autonomy: “As Robert Paul Wolff has argued, since ‘the state is authority, the right to rule’, anarchism which rejects the State is the only political doctrine consistent with autonomy in which the individual alone is the judge of his moral constraints”.[41] Social anarchists believe the state defends private property, which they view as intrinsically harmful, while market-oriented left-libertarians argue that so-called free markets actually consist of economic privileges granted by the state. These latter libertarians advocate instead for freed markets, which are freed from these privileges.[57]

There is a debate amongst right-libertarians as to whether or not the state is legitimate: while anarcho-capitalists advocate its abolition, minarchists support minimal states, often referred to as night-watchman states. Libertarians take a skeptical view of government authority.[58][unreliable source?] Minarchists maintain that the state is necessary for the protection of individuals from aggresion, theft, breach of contract and fraud. They believe the only legitimate governmental institutions are the military, police and courts, though some expand this list to include fire departments, prisons and the executive and legislative branches.[59]

They justify the state on the grounds that it is the logical consequence of adhering to the non-aggression principle and argue that anarchism is immoral because it implies that the non-aggression principle is optional, that the enforcement of laws under anarchism is open to competition.[citation needed] Another common justification is that private defense agencies and court firms would tend to represent the interests of those who pay them enough.[60]

Anarcho-capitalists argue that the state violates the non-aggression principle (NAP) by its nature because governments use force against those who have not stolen or vandalized private property, assaulted anyone or committed fraud.[61][62] Linda and Morris Tannehill argue that no coercive monopoly of force can arise on a truly free market and that a government’s citizenry can not desert them in favor of a competent protection and defense agency.[63]

Left-libertarians believe that neither claiming nor mixing one’s labor with natural resources is enough to generate full private property rights[64][65] and maintain that natural resources ought to be held in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively.[66]

Right-libertarians maintain that unowned natural resources “may be appropriated by the first person who discovers them, mixes his labor with them, or merely claims themwithout the consent of others, and with little or no payment to them”. They believe that natural resources are originally unowned and therefore private parties may appropriate them at will without the consent of, or owing to, others.[67]

Left-libertarians (social and individualist anarchists, libertarian Marxists and left-wing market anarchists) argue in favor of socialist theories such as communism, syndicalism and mutualism (anarchist economics). Daniel Gurin writes that “anarchism is really a synonym for socialism. The anarchist is primarily a socialist whose aim is to abolish the exploitation of man by man. Anarchism is only one of the streams of socialist thought, that stream whose main components are concern for liberty and haste to abolish the State”.[68]

Many right-libertarians argue that socialist values are incompatible with libertarianism.[69] Right-libertarians are economic liberals of either the Austrian School or Chicago school and support laissez-faire capitalism.[70]

Left-libertarianism, also known as left-wing libertarianism, names several related yet distinct approaches to political and social theory which stresses both individual freedom and social equality. In its classical usage, left-libertarianism is a synonym for anti-authoritarian varieties of left-wing politics, i.e. libertarian socialism, which includes anarchism and libertarian Marxism, among others.[71][72] Left-libertarianism can also refer to political positions associated with academic philosophers Hillel Steiner, Philippe Van Parijs and Peter Vallentyne that combine self-ownership with an egalitarian approach to natural resources.[73]

While maintaining full respect for personal property, left-libertarians are skeptical of or fully against private property, arguing that neither claiming nor mixing one’s labor with natural resources is enough to generate full private property rights[74][75] and maintain that natural resources (land, oil, gold and vegetation) should be held in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively. Those left-libertarians who support private property do so under occupation and use property norms or under the condition that recompense is offered to the local or even global community.[75] Many left-libertarian schools of thought are communist, advocating the eventual replacement of money with labor vouchers or decentralized planning.

On the other hand, left-wing market anarchism, which includes Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s mutualism and Samuel Edward Konkin III’s agorism, appeals to left-wing concerns such as egalitarianism, gender and sexuality, class, immigration and environmentalism within the paradigm of a socialist free market.[71] Joseph Djacque was the first to formulate classical libertarian ideas under the term libertarian. Later philosophers on the left would go onto adding detail to his political philosophy to study and document attitudes and themes relating to stateless socialism (for Djacque it was called libertarian communism).

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.[76] Right-libertarians strongly support private property rights and defend market distribution of natural resources and private property.[77] 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.[78] Right-libertarianism includes anarcho-capitalism and laissez-faire minarchist liberalism.[note 1]

Libertarian paternalism is a position advocated in the international bestseller Nudge by the economist Richard Thaler and the jurist Cass Sunstein.[79] In the book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman provides the brief summary: “Thaler and Sunstein advocate a position of libertarian paternalism, in which the state and other institutions are allowed to Nudge people to make decisions that serve their own long-term interests. The designation of joining a pension plan as the default option is an example of a nudge. It is difficult to argue that anyone’s freedom is diminished by being automatically enrolled in the plan, when they merely have to check a box to opt out”.[80] Nudge is considered an important piece of literature in behavioral economics.[80]

Elements of libertarianism can be traced as far back as the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu and the higher-law concepts of the Greeks and the Israelites.[81][82] In 17th-century England, libertarian ideas began to take modern form in the writings of the Levellers and John Locke. In the middle of that century, opponents of royal power began to be called Whigs, or sometimes simply “opposition” or “country” (as opposed to Court) writers.[83]

During the 18th century, liberal ideas flourished in Europe and North America.[84][85] Libertarians of various schools were influenced by liberal ideas.[86] For libertarian philosopher Roderick T. Long, both libertarian socialists and libertarian capitalists “share a commonor at least an overlapping intellectual ancestry[…] both claim the seventeenth century English Levellers and the eighteenth century French encyclopedists among their ideological forebears; and […] usually share an admiration for Thomas Jefferson[87][88][89] and Thomas Paine”.[90]

John Locke greatly influenced both libertarianism and the modern world in his writings published before and after the English Revolution of 1688, especially A Letter Concerning Toleration (1667), Two Treatises of Government (1689) and An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). In the text of 1689, he established the basis of liberal political theory, i.e. that people’s rights existed before government; that the purpose of government is to protect personal and property rights; that people may dissolve governments that do not do so; and that representative government is the best form to protect rights.[91]

The United States Declaration of Independence was inspired by Locke in its statement: “[T]o secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”.[92] Nevertheless, scholar Ellen Meiksins Wood says that “there are doctrines of individualism that are opposed to Lockean individualism […] and non-Lockean individualism may encompass socialism”.[93]

According to Murray Rothbard, the libertarian creed emerged from the liberal challenges to an “absolute central State and a king ruling by divine right on top of an older, restrictive web of feudal land monopolies and urban guild controls and restrictions” as well as the mercantilism of a bureaucratic warfaring state allied with privileged merchants. The object of liberals was individual liberty in the economy, in personal freedoms and civil liberty, separation of state and religion and peace as an alternative to imperial aggrandizement. He cites Locke’s contemporaries, the Levellers, who held similar views. Also influential were the English Cato’s Letters during the early 1700s, reprinted eagerly by American colonists who already were free of European aristocracy and feudal land monopolies.[92]

In January 1776, only two years after coming to America from England, Thomas Paine published his pamphlet Common Sense calling for independence for the colonies.[94] Paine promoted liberal ideas in clear and concise language that allowed the general public to understand the debates among the political elites.[95] Common Sense was immensely popular in disseminating these ideas,[96] selling hundreds of thousands of copies.[97] Paine would later write the Rights of Man and The Age of Reason and participate in the French Revolution.[94] Paine’s theory of property showed a “libertarian concern” with the redistribution of resources.[98]

In 1793, William Godwin wrote a libertarian philosophical treatise, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Morals and Happiness, which criticized ideas of human rights and of society by contract based on vague promises. He took liberalism to its logical anarchic conclusion by rejecting all political institutions, law, government and apparatus of coercion as well as all political protest and insurrection. Instead of institutionalized justice, Godwin proposed that people influence one another to moral goodness through informal reasoned persuasion, including in the associations they joined as this would facilitate happiness.[99][100]

Modern anarchism sprang from the secular or religious thought of the Enlightenment, particularly Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s arguments for the moral centrality of freedom.[101]

As part of the political turmoil of the 1790s in the wake of the French Revolution, William Godwin developed the first expression of modern anarchist thought.[102][103] According to Peter Kropotkin, Godwin was “the first to formulate the political and economical conceptions of anarchism, even though he did not give that name to the ideas developed in his work”[104] while Godwin attached his anarchist ideas to an early Edmund Burke.[105]

Godwin is generally regarded as the founder of the school of thought known as philosophical anarchism. He argued in Political Justice (1793)[103][106] that government has an inherently malevolent influence on society and that it perpetuates dependency and ignorance. He thought that the spread of the use of reason to the masses would eventually cause government to wither away as an unnecessary force. Although he did not accord the state with moral legitimacy, he was against the use of revolutionary tactics for removing the government from power. Rather, Godwin advocated for its replacement through a process of peaceful evolution.[103][107]

His aversion to the imposition of a rules-based society led him to denounce, as a manifestation of the people’s “mental enslavement”, the foundations of law, property rights and even the institution of marriage. Godwin considered the basic foundations of society as constraining the natural development of individuals to use their powers of reasoning to arrive at a mutually beneficial method of social organization. In each case, government and its institutions are shown to constrain the development of our capacity to live wholly in accordance with the full and free exercise of private judgment.

In France, various anarchist currents were present during the Revolutionary period, with some revolutionaries using the term anarchiste in a positive light as early as September 1793.[108] The enrags opposed revolutionary government as a contradiction in terms. Denouncing the Jacobin dictatorship, Jean Varlet wrote in 1794 that “government and revolution are incompatible, unless the people wishes to set its constituted authorities in permanent insurrection against itself”.[109] In his “Manifesto of the Equals”, Sylvain Marchal looked forward to the disappearance, once and for all, of “the revolting distinction between rich and poor, of great and small, of masters and valets, of governors and governed”.[109]

Libertarian socialism, libertarian communism and libertarian Marxism are all phrases which activists with a variety of perspectives have applied to their views.[110]

Anarchist communist philosopher Joseph Djacque was the first person to describe himself as a libertarian.[111] Unlike mutualist anarchist philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, he argued that “it is not the product of his or her labor that the worker has a right to, but to the satisfaction of his or her needs, whatever may be their nature”.[112][113]

According to anarchist historian Max Nettlau, the first use of the term “libertarian communism” was in November 1880, when a French anarchist congress employed it to more clearly identify its doctrines.[114] The French anarchist journalist Sbastien Faure started the weekly paper Le Libertaire (The Libertarian) in 1895.[115]

Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and their will over any kinds of external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems.[116][117] An influential form of individualist anarchism called egoism[118] or egoist anarchism was expounded by one of the earliest and best-known proponents of individualist anarchism, the German Max Stirner.[119] Stirner’s The Ego and Its Own, published in 1844, is a founding text of the philosophy.[119] According to Stirner, the only limitation on the rights of the individual is their power to obtain what they desire,[120] without regard for God, state or morality.[121]

Stirner advocated self-assertion and foresaw unions of egoists, non-systematic associations continually renewed by all parties’ support through an act of will,[122] which Stirner proposed as a form of organisation in place of the state.[123] Egoist anarchists argue that egoism will foster genuine and spontaneous union between individuals.[124] Egoism has inspired many interpretations of Stirner’s philosophy.

It was re-discovered and promoted by German philosophical anarchist and LGBT activist John Henry Mackay. Josiah Warren is widely regarded as the first American anarchist,[125] and the four-page weekly paper he edited during 1833, The Peaceful Revolutionist, was the first anarchist periodical published.[126] For American anarchist historian Eunice Minette Schuster, “[i]t is apparent […] that Proudhonian Anarchism was to be found in the United States at least as early as 1848 and that it was not conscious of its affinity to the Individualist Anarchism of Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews… William B. Greene presented this Proudhonian Mutualism in its purest and most systematic form.”.[127]

Later, Benjamin Tucker fused Stirner’s egoism with the economics of Warren and Proudhon in his eclectic influential publication Liberty. From these early influences, individualist anarchism in different countries attracted a small yet diverse following of bohemian artists and intellectuals,[128] free love and birth control advocates (anarchism and issues related to love and sex),[129][130] individualist naturists nudists (anarcho-naturism),[131][132][133] free thought and anti-clerical activists[134][135] as well as young anarchist outlaws in what became known as illegalism and individual reclamation[136][137] (European individualist anarchism and individualist anarchism in France). These authors and activists included mile Armand, Han Ryner, Henri Zisly, Renzo Novatore, Miguel Gimenez Igualada, Adolf Brand and Lev Chernyi.

In 1873, the follower and translator of Proudhon, the Catalan Francesc Pi i Margall, became President of Spain with a program which wanted “to establish a decentralized, or “cantonalist,” political system on Proudhonian lines”,[138] who according to Rudolf Rocker had “political ideas, […] much in common with those of Richard Price, Joseph Priestly [sic], Thomas Paine, Jefferson, and other representatives of the Anglo-American liberalism of the first period. He wanted to limit the power of the state to a minimum and gradually replace it by a Socialist economic order”.[139]

On the other hand, Fermn Salvochea was a mayor of the city of Cdiz and a president of the province of Cdiz. He was one of the main propagators of anarchist thought in that area in the late 19th century and is considered to be “perhaps the most beloved figure in the Spanish Anarchist movement of the 19th century”.[140][141] Ideologically, he was influenced by Bradlaugh, Owen and Paine, whose works he had studied during his stay in England and Kropotkin, whom he read later.[140] The revolutionary wave of 19171923 saw the active participation of anarchists in Russia and Europe. Russian anarchists participated alongside the Bolsheviks in both the February and October 1917 revolutions.

However, Bolsheviks in central Russia quickly began to imprison or drive underground the libertarian anarchists. Many fled to the Ukraine.[142] There, in the Ukrainian Free Territory they fought in the Russian Civil War against the White movement, monarchists and other opponents of revolution and then against Bolsheviks as part of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine led by Nestor Makhno, who established an anarchist society in the region for a number of months. Expelled American anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman protested Bolshevik policy before they left Russia.[143]

The victory of the Bolsheviks damaged anarchist movements internationally as workers and activists joined Communist parties. In France and the United States, for example, members of the major syndicalist movements of the CGT and IWW joined the Communist International.[144] In Paris, the Dielo Truda group of Russian anarchist exiles, which included Nestor Makhno, issued a 1926 manifesto, the Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft), calling for new anarchist organizing structures.[145][146]

The Bavarian Soviet Republic of 19181919 had libertarian socialist characteristics.[147][148] In Italy, from 1918 to 1921 the anarcho-syndicalist trade union Unione Sindacale Italiana grew to 800,000 members.[149]

In the 1920s and 1930s, with the rise of fascism in Europe, anarchists began to fight fascists in Italy,[150] in France during the February 1934 riots[151] and in Spain where the CNT (Confederacin Nacional del Trabajo) boycott of elections led to a right-wing victory and its later participation in voting in 1936 helped bring the popular front back to power. This led to a ruling class attempted coup and the Spanish Civil War (19361939).[152] Gruppo Comunista Anarchico di Firenze held that the during early twentieth century, the terms libertarian communism and anarchist communism became synonymous within the international anarchist movement as a result of the close connection they had in Spain (anarchism in Spain) (with libertarian communism becoming the prevalent term).[153]

Murray Bookchin wrote that the Spanish libertarian movement of the mid-1930s was unique because its workers’ control and collectiveswhich came out of a three-generation “massive libertarian movement”divided the republican camp and challenged the Marxists. “Urban anarchists” created libertarian communist forms of organization which evolved into the CNT, a syndicalist union providing the infrastructure for a libertarian society. Also formed were local bodies to administer social and economic life on a decentralized libertarian basis. Much of the infrastructure was destroyed during the 1930s Spanish Civil War against authoritarian and fascist forces.[154]

The Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth[155] (FIJL, Spanish: Federacin Ibrica de Juventudes Libertarias), sometimes abbreviated as Libertarian Youth (Juventudes Libertarias), was a libertarian socialist[156] organization created in 1932 in Madrid.[157]

In February 1937, the FIJL organized a plenum of regional organizations (second congress of FIJL). In October 1938, from the 16th through the 30th in Barcelona the FIJL participated in a national plenum of the libertarian movement, also attended by members of the CNT and the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI).[158] The FIJL exists until today. When the republican forces lost the Spanish Civil War, the city of Madrid was turned over to the Francoist forces in 1939 by the last non-Francoist mayor of the city, the anarchist Melchor Rodrguez Garca.[159] During autumn of 1931, the “Manifesto of the 30” was published by militants of the anarchist trade union CNT and among those who signed it there was the CNT General Secretary (19221923) Joan Peiro, Angel Pestaa CNT (General Secretary in 1929) and Juan Lopez Sanchez.

They were called treintismo and they were calling for libertarian possibilism which advocated achieving libertarian socialist ends with participation inside structures of contemporary parliamentary democracy.[160] In 1932, they establish the Syndicalist Party which participates in the 1936 Spanish general elections and proceed to be a part of the leftist coalition of parties known as the Popular Front obtaining 2 congressmen (Pestaa and Benito Pabon). In 1938, Horacio Prieto, general secretary of the CNT, proposes that the Iberian Anarchist Federation transforms itself into a “Libertarian Socialist Party” and that it participates in the national elections.[161]

The Manifesto of Libertarian Communism was written in 1953 by Georges Fontenis for the Federation Communiste Libertaire of France. It is one of the key texts of the anarchist-communist current known as platformism.[162] In 1968, in Carrara, Italy the International of Anarchist Federations was founded during an international anarchist conference to advance libertarian solidarity.

It wanted to form “a strong and organized workers movement, agreeing with the libertarian ideas”.[163][164] In the United States, the Libertarian League was founded in New York City in 1954 as a left-libertarian political organization building on the Libertarian Book Club.[165][166] Members included Sam Dolgoff,[167] Russell Blackwell, Dave Van Ronk, Enrico Arrigoni[168] and Murray Bookchin.

In Australia, the Sydney Push was a predominantly left-wing intellectual subculture in Sydney from the late 1940s to the early 1970s which became associated with the label “Sydney libertarianism”. Well known associates of the Push include Jim Baker, John Flaus, Harry Hooton, Margaret Fink, Sasha Soldatow,[169] Lex Banning, Eva Cox, Richard Appleton, Paddy McGuinness, David Makinson, Germaine Greer, Clive James, Robert Hughes, Frank Moorhouse and Lillian Roxon.

Amongst the key intellectual figures in Push debates were philosophers David J. Ivison, George Molnar, Roelof Smilde, Darcy Waters and Jim Baker, as recorded in Baker’s memoir Sydney Libertarians and the Push, published in the libertarian Broadsheet in 1975.[170] An understanding of libertarian values and social theory can be obtained from their publications, a few of which are available online.[171][172]

In 1969, French platformist anarcho-communist Daniel Gurin published an essay in 1969 called “Libertarian Marxism?” in which he dealt with the debate between Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin at the First International and afterwards suggested that “libertarian Marxism rejects determinism and fatalism, giving the greater place to individual will, intuition, imagination, reflex speeds, and to the deep instincts of the masses, which are more far-seeing in hours of crisis than the reasonings of the ‘elites’; libertarian Marxism thinks of the effects of surprise, provocation and boldness, refuses to be cluttered and paralyzed by a heavy ‘scientific’ apparatus, doesn’t equivocate or bluff, and guards itself from adventurism as much as from fear of the unknown”.[173]

Libertarian Marxist currents often draw from Marx and Engels’ later works, specifically the Grundrisse and The Civil War in France.[174] They emphasize the Marxist belief in the ability of the working class to forge its own destiny without the need for a revolutionary party or state.[175] Libertarian Marxism includes such currents as council communism, left communism, Socialisme ou Barbarie, Lettrism/Situationism and operaismo/autonomism and New Left.[176][unreliable source?]

From 1970 to 1981, in the United States there existed the publication Root & Branch[177] which had as a subtitle A Libertarian Marxist Journal.[178] In 1974, the Libertarian Communism journal was started in the United Kingdom by a group inside the Socialist Party of Great Britain.[179] In 1986, the anarcho-syndicalist Sam Dolgoff started and led the publication Libertarian Labor Review in the United States[180] which decided to rename itself as Anarcho-Syndicalist Review in order to avoid confusion with right-libertarian views.[181]

The indigenous anarchist tradition in the United States was largely individualist.[182] In 1825, Josiah Warren became aware of the social system of utopian socialist Robert Owen and began to talk with others in Cincinnati about founding a communist colony.[183] When this group failed to come to an agreement about the form and goals of their proposed community, Warren “sold his factory after only two years of operation, packed up his young family, and took his place as one of 900 or so Owenites who had decided to become part of the founding population of New Harmony, Indiana”.[184] Warren termed the phrase “cost the limit of price”[185] and “proposed a system to pay people with certificates indicating how many hours of work they did. They could exchange the notes at local time stores for goods that took the same amount of time to produce”.[186] He put his theories to the test by establishing an experimental labor-for-labor store called the Cincinnati Time Store where trade was facilitated by labor notes.

The store proved successful and operated for three years, after which it was closed so that Warren could pursue establishing colonies based on mutualism, including Utopia and Modern Times. “After New Harmony failed, Warren shifted his ideological loyalties from socialism to anarchism (which was no great leap, given that Owen’s socialism had been predicated on Godwin’s anarchism)”.[187] Warren is widely regarded as the first American anarchist[186] and the four-page weekly paper The Peaceful Revolutionist he edited during 1833 was the first anarchist periodical published,[126] an enterprise for which he built his own printing press, cast his own type and made his own printing plates.[126]

Catalan historian Xavier Diez reports that the intentional communal experiments pioneered by Warren were influential in European individualist anarchists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries such as mile Armand and the intentional communities started by them.[188] Warren said that Stephen Pearl Andrews, individualist anarchist and close associate, wrote the most lucid and complete exposition of Warren’s own theories in The Science of Society, published in 1852.[189] Andrews was formerly associated with the Fourierist movement, but converted to radical individualism after becoming acquainted with the work of Warren. Like Warren, he held the principle of “individual sovereignty” as being of paramount importance. Contemporary American anarchist Hakim Bey reports:

Steven Pearl Andrews… was not a Fourierist, but he lived through the brief craze for phalansteries in America and adopted a lot of Fourierist principles and practices… a maker of worlds out of words. He syncretized abolitionism in the United States, free love, spiritual universalism, Warren, and Fourier into a grand utopian scheme he called the Universal Pantarchy… He was instrumental in founding several ‘intentional communities,’ including the ‘Brownstone Utopia’ on 14th St. in New York, and ‘Modern Times’ in Brentwood, Long Island. The latter became as famous as the best-known Fourierist communes (Brook Farm in Massachusetts & the North American Phalanx in New Jersey)in fact, Modern Times became downright notorious (for ‘Free Love’) and finally foundered under a wave of scandalous publicity. Andrews (and Victoria Woodhull) were members of the infamous Section 12 of the 1st International, expelled by Marx for its anarchist, feminist, and spiritualist tendencies.[190]

For American anarchist historian Eunice Minette Schuster, “[i]t is apparent that Proudhonian Anarchism was to be found in the United States at least as early as 1848 and that it was not conscious of its affinity to the Individualist Anarchism of Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews. William B. Greene presented this Proudhonian Mutualism in its purest and most systematic form”.[191] William Batchelder Greene was a 19th-century mutualist individualist anarchist, Unitarian minister, soldier and promoter of free banking in the United States. Greene is best known for the works Mutual Banking, which proposed an interest-free banking system; and Transcendentalism, a critique of the New England philosophical school.

After 1850, he became active in labor reform.[191] “He was elected vice-president of the New England Labor Reform League, the majority of the members holding to Proudhon’s scheme of mutual banking, and in 1869 president of the Massachusetts Labor Union”.[191] Greene then published Socialistic, Mutualistic, and Financial Fragments (1875).[191] He saw mutualism as the synthesis of “liberty and order”.[191] His “associationism […] is checked by individualism. […] ‘Mind your own business,’ ‘Judge not that ye be not judged.’ Over matters which are purely personal, as for example, moral conduct, the individual is sovereign, as well as over that which he himself produces. For this reason he demands ‘mutuality’ in marriagethe equal right of a woman to her own personal freedom and property”.[191]

Poet, naturalist and transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau was an important early influence in individualist anarchist thought in the United States and Europe. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings; and his essay Civil Disobedience (Resistance to Civil Government), an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state. In Walden, Thoreau advocates simple living and self-sufficiency among natural surroundings in resistance to the advancement of industrial civilization.[192]

Civil Disobedience, first published in 1849, argues that people should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences and that people have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. These works influenced green anarchism, anarcho-primitivism and anarcho-pacifism[193] as well as figures including Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Buber and Leo Tolstoy.[193]

For George Woodcock this attitude can be also motivated by certain idea of resistance to progress and of rejection of the growing materialism which is the nature of American society in the mid-19th century”.[192] Zerzan included Thoreau’s “Excursions” in his edited compilation of anti-civilization writings, Against Civilization: Readings and Reflections.[194] Individualist anarchists such as Thoreau[195][196] do not speak of economics, but simply the right of disunion from the state and foresee the gradual elimination of the state through social evolution. Agorist author J. Neil Schulman cites Thoreau as a primary inspiration.[197]

Many economists since Adam Smith have argued thatunlike other taxesa land value tax would not cause economic inefficiency.[198] It would be a progressive tax,[199] i.e. a tax paid primarily by the wealthy, that increases wages, reduces economic inequality, removes incentives to misuse real estate and reduces the vulnerability that economies face from credit and property bubbles.[200][201]

Early proponents of this view include Thomas Paine, Herbert Spencer and Hugo Grotius,[73] but the concept was widely popularized by the economist and social reformer Henry George.[202] George believed that people ought to own the fruits of their labor and the value of the improvements they make, thus he was opposed to income taxes, sales taxes, taxes on improvements and all other taxes on production, labor, trade or commerce.

George was among the staunchest defenders of free markets and his book Protection or Free Trade was read into the Congressional Record.[203] Yet he did support direct management of natural monopolies as a last resort, such as right-of-way monopolies necessary for railroads. George advocated for elimination of intellectual property arrangements in favor of government sponsored prizes for inventors.[204][not in citation given]

Early followers of George’s philosophy called themselves single taxers because they believed that the only legitimate, broad-based tax was land rent. The term Georgism was coined later, though some modern proponents prefer the term geoism instead,[205] leaving the meaning of geo (Earth in Greek) deliberately ambiguous. The terms Earth Sharing,[206] geonomics[207] and geolibertarianism[208] are used by some Georgists to represent a difference of emphasis, or real differences about how land rent should be spent, but all agree that land rent should be recovered from its private owners.

Individualist anarchism found in the United States an important space for discussion and development within the group known as the Boston anarchists.[209] Even among the 19th-century American individualists there was no monolithic doctrine and they disagreed amongst each other on various issues including intellectual property rights and possession versus property in land.[210][211][212] Some Boston anarchists, including Benjamin Tucker, identified as socialists, which in the 19th century was often used in the sense of a commitment to improving conditions of the working class (i.e. “the labor problem”).[213]

Lysander Spooner, besides his individualist anarchist activism, was also an anti-slavery activist and member of the First International.[214] Tucker argued that the elimination of what he called “the four monopolies”the land monopoly, the money and banking monopoly, the monopoly powers conferred by patents and the quasi-monopolistic effects of tariffswould undermine the power of the wealthy and big business, making possible widespread property ownership and higher incomes for ordinary people, while minimizing the power of would-be bosses and achieving socialist goals without state action. Tucker’s anarchist periodical, Liberty, was published from August 1881 to April 1908.

The publication, emblazoned with Proudhon’s quote that liberty is “Not the Daughter But the Mother of Order” was instrumental in developing and formalizing the individualist anarchist philosophy through publishing essays and serving as a forum for debate. Contributors included Benjamin Tucker, Lysander Spooner, Auberon Herbert, Dyer Lum, Joshua K. Ingalls, John Henry Mackay, Victor Yarros, Wordsworth Donisthorpe, James L. Walker, J. William Lloyd, Florence Finch Kelly, Voltairine de Cleyre, Steven T. Byington, John Beverley Robinson, Jo Labadie, Lillian Harman and Henry Appleton.[215] Later, Tucker and others abandoned their traditional support of natural rights and converted to an egoism modeled upon the philosophy of Max Stirner.[211]

A number of natural rights proponents stopped contributing in protest. Several periodicals were undoubtedly influenced by Liberty’s presentation of egoism, including I published by Clarence Lee Swartz and edited by William Walstein Gordak and J. William Lloyd (all associates of Liberty); and The Ego and The Egoist, both of which were edited by Edward H. Fulton. Among the egoist papers that Tucker followed were the German Der Eigene, edited by Adolf Brand; and The Eagle and The Serpent, issued from London. The latter, the most prominent English language egoist journal, was published from 1898 to 1900 with the subtitle A Journal of Egoistic Philosophy and Sociology.[216]

Henry George was an American political economist and journalist who advocated that all economic value derived from land, including natural resources, should belong equally to all members of society. Strongly opposed to feudalism and the privatisation of land, George created the philosophy of Georgism, or geoism, influential among many left-libertarians, including geolibertarians and geoanarchists. Much like the English Digger movement, who held all material possessions in common, George claimed that land and its financial properties belong to everyone, and that to hold land as private property would lead to immense inequalities, including authority from the private owners of such ground.

Prior to states assigning property owners slices of either once populated or uninhabited land, the world’s earth was held in common. When all resources that derive from land are put to achieving a higher quality of life, not just for employers or landlords, but to serve the general interests and comforts of a wider community, Geolibertarians claim vastly higher qualities of life can be reached, especially with ever advancing technology and industrialised agriculture.

The Levellers, also known as the Diggers, were a 17th century anti-authoritarian movement that stood in resistance to the English government and the feudalism it was pushing through the forced privatisation of land around the time of the First English Civil War. Devout Protestants, Gerrard Winstanley was a prominent member of the community and with a very progressive interpretation of his religion sought to end buying and selling, instead for all inhabitants of a society to share their material possessions and to hold all things in common, without money or payment. With the complete abolition of private property, including that of private land, the English Levellers created a pool of property where all properties belonged in equal measure to everyone. Often seen as some of the first practising anarchists, the Digger movement is considered extremely early anarchist communism.

By around the start of the 20th century, the heyday of individualist anarchism had passed.[217] H. L. Mencken and Albert Jay Nock were the first prominent figures in the United States to describe themselves as libertarians;[218] they believed Franklin D. Roosevelt had co-opted the word liberal for his New Deal policies which they opposed and used libertarian to signify their allegiance to individualism.[citation needed] In 1914, Nock joined the staff of The Nation magazine, which at the time was supportive of liberal capitalism. A lifelong admirer of Henry George, Nock went on to become co-editor of The Freeman from 1920 to 1924, a publication initially conceived as a vehicle for the single tax movement, financed by the wealthy wife of the magazine’s other editor, Francis Neilson.[219] Critic H. L. Mencken wrote that “[h]is editorials during the three brief years of the Freeman set a mark that no other man of his trade has ever quite managed to reach. They were well-informed and sometimes even learned, but there was never the slightest trace of pedantry in them”.[220]

Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute David Boaz writes: “In 1943, at one of the lowest points for liberty and humanity in history, three remarkable women published books that could be said to have given birth to the modern libertarian movement”.[221] Isabel Paterson’s The God of the Machine, Rose Wilder Lane’s The Discovery of Freedom and Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead each promoted individualism and capitalism. None of the three used the term libertarianism to describe their beliefs and Rand specifically rejected the label, criticizing the burgeoning American libertarian movement as the “hippies of the right”.[222] Rand’s own philosophy, Objectivism, is notedly similar to libertarianism and she accused libertarians of plagiarizing her ideas.[222] Rand stated:

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.[223]

In 1946, Leonard E. Read founded the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), an American nonprofit educational organization which promotes the principles of laissez-faire economics, private property and limited government.[224] According to Gary North, former FEE director of seminars and a current Ludwig von Mises Institute scholar, FEE is the “granddaddy of all libertarian organizations”.[225] The initial officers of FEE were Leonard E. Read as president, Austrian School economist Henry Hazlitt as vice president and David Goodrich of B. F. Goodrich as chairman. Other trustees on the FEE board have included wealthy industrialist Jasper Crane of DuPont, H. W. Luhnow of William Volker & Co. and Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch Society.[227][228]

Austrian School economist Murray Rothbard was initially an enthusiastic partisan of the Old Right, particularly because of its general opposition to war and imperialism,[229] but long embraced a reading of American history that emphasized the role of elite privilege in shaping legal and political institutions. He was part of Ayn Rand’s circle for a brief period, but later harshly criticized Objectivism.[230] He praised Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and wrote that she “introduced me to the whole field of natural rights and natural law philosophy”, prompting him to learn “the glorious natural rights tradition”.[231](pp121, 132134) He soon broke with Rand over various differences, including his defense of anarchism. Rothbard was influenced by the work of the 19th-century American individualist anarchists[232] and sought to meld their advocacy of free markets and private defense with the principles of Austrian economics.[233] This new philosophy he called anarcho-capitalism.

Karl Hess, a speechwriter for Barry Goldwater and primary author of the Republican Party’s 1960 and 1964 platforms, became disillusioned with traditional politics following the 1964 presidential campaign in which Goldwater lost to Lyndon B. Johnson. He parted with the Republicans altogether after being rejected for employment with the party, and began work as a heavy-duty welder. Hess began reading American anarchists largely due to the recommendations of his friend Murray Rothbard and said that upon reading the works of communist anarchist Emma Goldman, he discovered that anarchists believed everything he had hoped the Republican Party would represent. For Hess, Goldman was the source for the best and most essential theories of Ayn Rand without any of the “crazy solipsism that Rand was so fond of”.[234] Hess and Rothbard founded the journal Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought, which was published from 1965 to 1968, with George Resch and Leonard P. Liggio. In 1969, they edited The Libertarian Forum 1969, which Hess left in 1971. Hess eventually put his focus on the small scale, stating that “Society is: people together making culture”. He deemed two of his cardinal social principles to be “opposition to central political authority” and “concern for people as individuals”. His rejection of standard American party politics was reflected in a lecture he gave during which he said: “The Democrats or liberals think that everybody is stupid and therefore they need somebody… to tell them how to behave themselves. The Republicans think everybody is lazy”.[235]

The Vietnam War split the uneasy alliance between growing numbers of American libertarians and conservatives who believed in limiting liberty to uphold moral virtues. Libertarians opposed to the war joined the draft resistance and peace movements, as well as organizations such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). In 1969 and 1970, Hess joined with others, including Murray Rothbard, Robert LeFevre, Dana Rohrabacher, Samuel Edward Konkin III and former SDS leader Carl Oglesby to speak at two Left-Right conferences which brought together activists from both the Old Right and the New Left in what was emerging as a nascent libertarian movement.[236] As part of his effort to unite right and left-libertarianism, Hess would join the SDS as well as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), of which he explained: “We used to have a labor movement in this country, until I.W.W. leaders were killed or imprisoned. You could tell labor unions had become captive when business and government began to praise them. They’re destroying the militant black leaders the same way now. If the slaughter continues, before long liberals will be asking, ‘What happened to the blacks? Why aren’t they militant anymore?'”.[237] Rothbard ultimately broke with the left, allying himself instead with the burgeoning paleoconservative movement.[238] He criticized the tendency of these left-libertarians to appeal to “‘free spirits,’ to people who don’t want to push other people around, and who don’t want to be pushed around themselves” in contrast to “the bulk of Americans,” who “might well be tight-assed conformists, who want to stamp out drugs in their vicinity, kick out people with strange dress habits, etc”.[239] This left-libertarian tradition has been carried to the present day by Samuel Edward Konkin III’s agorists, contemporary mutualists such as Kevin Carson and Roderick T. Long and other left-wing market anarchists.[240]

In 1971, a small group of Americans led by David Nolan formed the Libertarian Party,[241] which has run a presidential candidate every election year since 1972. Other libertarian organizations, such as the Center for Libertarian Studies and the Cato Institute, were also formed in the 1970s.[242] Philosopher John Hospers, a one-time member of Rand’s inner circle, proposed a non-initiation of force principle to unite both groups, but this statement later became a required “pledge” for candidates of the Libertarian Party and Hospers became its first presidential candidate in 1972.[243] In the 1980s, Hess joined the Libertarian Party and served as editor of its newspaper from 1986 to 1990.

Modern libertarianism gained significant recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University professor Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974, for which he received a National Book Award in 1975.[244] In response to John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice, Nozick’s book supported a minimal state (also called a nightwatchman state by Nozick) on the grounds that the ultraminimal state arises without violating individual rights[245] and the transition from an ultraminimal state to a minimal state is morally obligated to occur. Specifically, Nozick writes, “We argue that the first transition from a system of private protective agencies to an ultraminimal state, will occur by an invisible-hand process in a morally permissible way that violates no one’s rights. Secondly, we argue that the transition from an ultraminimal state to a minimal state morally must occur. It would be morally impermissible for persons to maintain the monopoly in the ultraminimal state without providing protective services for all, even if this requires specific ‘redistribution.’ The operators of the ultraminimal state are morally obligated to produce the minimal state”.[246]

In the early 1970s, Rothbard wrote. “One gratifying aspect of our rise to some prominence is that, for the first time in my memory, we, ‘our side,’ had captured a crucial word from the enemy. ‘Libertarians’ had long been simply a polite word for left-wing anarchists, that is for anti-private property anarchists, either of the communist or syndicalist variety. But now we had taken it over”.[247] Indeed, the project of spreading libertarian ideals in the United States has been so successful that some Americans who don’t identify as “libertarian” seem to hold libertarian views.[248] Since the resurgence of neoliberalism in the 1970s, this modern American libertarianism has spread beyond North America via think tanks and political parties.[249][250]

A surge of popular interest in libertarian socialism occurred in Western nations during the 1960s and 1970s.[251] Anarchism was influential in the counterculture of the 1960s[252][253][254] and anarchists actively participated in the late sixties students and workers revolts.[255] In 1968, the International of Anarchist Federations was founded in Carrara, Italy during an international anarchist conference held there in 1968 by the three existing European federations of France, the Italian and the Iberian Anarchist Federation as well as the Bulgarian federation in French exile.[164][256] The uprisings of May 1968 also led to a small resurgence of interest in left communist ideas. Various small left communist groups emerged around the world, predominantly in the leading capitalist countries. A series of conferences of the communist left began in 1976, with the aim of promoting international and cross-tendency discussion, but these petered out in the 1980s without having increased the profile of the movement or its unity of ideas.[257] Left communist groups existing today include the International Communist Party, International Communist Current and the Internationalist Communist Tendency. The housing and employment crisis in most of Western Europe led to the formation of communes and squatter movements like that of Barcelona, Spain. In Denmark, squatters occupied a disused military base and declared the Freetown Christiania, an autonomous haven in central Copenhagen.

Around the turn of the 21st century, libertarian socialism grew in popularity and influence as part of the anti-war, anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation movements.[258] Anarchists became known for their involvement in protests against the meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Group of Eight and the World Economic Forum. Some anarchist factions at these protests engaged in rioting, property destruction and violent confrontations with police. These actions were precipitated by ad hoc, leaderless, anonymous cadres known as black blocs and other organizational tactics pioneered in this time include security culture, affinity groups and the use of decentralized technologies such as the Internet.[258] A significant event of this period was the confrontations at WTO conference in Seattle in 1999.[258] For English anarchist scholar Simon Critchley, “contemporary anarchism can be seen as a powerful critique of the pseudo-libertarianism of contemporary neo-liberalism. One might say that contemporary anarchism is about responsibility, whether sexual, ecological or socio-economic; it flows from an experience of conscience about the manifold ways in which the West ravages the rest; it is an ethical outrage at the yawning inequality, impoverishment and disenfranchisment that is so palpable locally and globally”.[259] This might also have been motivated by “the collapse of ‘really existing socialism’ and the capitulation to neo-liberalism of Western social democracy”.[260]

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Libertarianism – Wikipedia

libertarianism | Definition, Doctrines, History, & Facts …

Libertarianism, political philosophy that takes individual liberty to be the primary political value. It may be understood as a form of liberalism, the political philosophy associated with the English philosophers John Locke and John Stuart Mill, the Scottish economist Adam Smith, and the American statesman Thomas Jefferson. Liberalism seeks to define and justify the legitimate powers of government in terms of certain natural or God-given individual rights. These rights include the rights to life, liberty, private property, freedom of speech and association, freedom of worship, government by consent, equality under the law, and moral autonomy (the ability to pursue ones own conception of happiness, or the good life). The purpose of government, according to liberals, is to protect these and other individual rights, and in general liberals have contended that government power should be limited to that which is necessary to accomplish this task. Libertarians are classical liberals who strongly emphasize the individual right to liberty. They contend that the scope and powers of government should be constrained so as to allow each individual as much freedom of action as is consistent with a like freedom for everyone else. Thus, they believe that individuals should be free to behave and to dispose of their property as they see fit, provided that their actions do not infringe on the equal freedom of others.

Liberalism and libertarianism have deep roots in Western thought. A central feature of the religious and intellectual traditions of ancient Israel and ancient Greece was the idea of a higher moral law that applied universally and that constrained the powers of even kings and governments. Christian theologians, including Tertullian in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, stressed the moral worth of the individual and the division of the world into two realms, one of which was the province of God and thus beyond the power of the state to control.

Libertarianism also was influenced by debates within Scholasticism on slavery and private property. Scholastic thinkers such as Aquinas, Francisco de Vitoria, and Bartolom de Las Casas developed the concept of self-mastery (dominium)later called self-propriety, property in ones person, or self-ownershipand showed how it could be the foundation of a system of individual rights (see below Libertarian philosophy). In response to the growth of royal absolutism in early modern Europe, early libertarians, particularly those in the Netherlands and England, defended, developed, and radicalized existing notions of the rule of law, representative assemblies, and the rights of the people. In the mid-16th century, for example, the merchants of Antwerp successfully resisted the attempt by the Holy Roman emperor Charles V to introduce the Inquisition in their city, maintaining that it would contravene their traditional privileges and ruin their prosperity (and hence diminish the emperors tax income). Through the Petition of Right (1628) the English Parliament opposed efforts by King Charles I to impose taxes and compel loans from private citizens, to imprison subjects without due process of law, and to require subjects to quarter the kings soldiers (see petition of right). The first well-developed statement of libertarianism, An Agreement of the People (1647), was produced by the radical republican Leveler movement during the English Civil Wars (164251). Presented to Parliament in 1649, it included the ideas of self-ownership, private property, legal equality, religious toleration, and limited, representative government.

In the late 17th century, liberalism was given a sophisticated philosophical foundation in Lockes theories of natural rights, including the right to private property and to government by consent. In the 18th century, Smiths studies of the economic effects of free markets greatly advanced the liberal theory of spontaneous order, according to which some forms of order in society arise naturally and spontaneously, without central direction, from the independent activities of large numbers of individuals. The theory of spontaneous order is a central feature of libertarian social and economic thinking (see below Spontaneous order).

The American Revolution (177583) was a watershed for liberalism. In the Declaration of Independence (1776), Jefferson enunciated many liberal and libertarian ideas, including the belief in unalienable Rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness and the belief in the right and duty of citizens to throw off such Government that violates these rights. Indeed, during and after the American Revolution, according to the American historian Bernard Bailyn, the major themes of eighteenth-century libertarianism were brought to realization in written constitutions, bills of rights, and limits on executive and legislative powers, especially the power to wage war. Such values have remained at the core of American political thought ever since.

During the 19th century, governments based on traditional liberal principles emerged in England and the United States and to a smaller extent in continental Europe. The rise of liberalism resulted in rapid technological development and a general increase in living standards, though large segments of the population remained in poverty, especially in the slums of industrial cities.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many liberals began to worry that persistent inequalities of income and wealth and the tremendous pace of social change were undermining democracy and threatening other classical liberal values, such as the right to moral autonomy. Fearful of what they considered a new despotism of the wealthy, modern liberals advocated government regulation of markets and major industries, heavier taxation of the rich, the legalization of trade unions, and the introduction of various government-funded social services, such as mandatory accident insurance. Some have regarded the modern liberals embrace of increased government power as a repudiation of the classical liberal belief in limited government, but others have seen it as a reconsideration of the kinds of power required by government to protect the individual rights that liberals believe in.

The new liberalism was exemplified by the English philosophers L.T. Hobhouse and T.H. Green, who argued that democratic governments should aim to advance the general welfare by providing direct services and benefits to citizens. Meanwhile, however, classical liberals such as the English philosopher Herbert Spencer insisted that the welfare of the poor and the middle classes would be best served by free markets and minimal government. In the 20th century, so-called welfare state liberalism, or social democracy, emerged as the dominant form of liberalism, and the term liberalism itself underwent a significant change in definition in English-speaking countries. Particularly after World War II, most self-described liberals no longer supported completely free markets and minimal government, though they continued to champion other individual rights, such as the right to freedom of speech. As liberalism became increasingly associated with government intervention in the economy and social-welfare programs, some classical liberals abandoned the old term and began to call themselves libertarians.

In response to the rise of totalitarian regimes in Russia, Italy, and Germany in the first half of the 20th century, some economists and political philosophers rediscovered aspects of the classical liberal tradition that were most distinctly individualist. In his seminal essay Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth (originally in German, 1920), the Austrian-American economist Ludwig von Mises challenged the basic tenets of socialism, arguing that a complex economy requires private property and freedom of exchange in order to solve problems of social and economic coordination. Von Misess work led to extensive studies of the processes by which the uncoordinated activities of numerous individuals can spontaneously generate complex forms of social order in societies where individual rights are well-defined and legally secure.

Classical liberalism rests on a presumption of libertythat is, on the presumption that the exercise of liberty does not require justification but that all restraints on liberty do. Libertarians have attempted to define the proper extent of individual liberty in terms of the notion of property in ones person, or self-ownership, which entails that each individual is entitled to exclusive control of his choices, his actions, and his body. Because no individual has the right to control the peaceful activities of other self-owning individualse.g., their religious practices, their occupations, or their pastimesno such power can be properly delegated to government. Legitimate governments are therefore severely limited in their authority.

According to the principle that libertarians call the nonaggression axiom, all acts of aggression against the rights of otherswhether committed by individuals or by governmentsare unjust. Indeed, libertarians believe that the primary purpose of government is to protect citizens from the illegitimate use of force. Accordingly, governments may not use force against their own citizens unless doing so is necessary to prevent the illegitimate use of force by one individual or group against another. This prohibition entails that governments may not engage in censorship, military conscription, price controls, confiscation of property, or any other type of intervention that curtails the voluntary and peaceful exercise of an individuals rights.

A fundamental characteristic of libertarian thinking is a deep skepticism of government power. Libertarianism and liberalism both arose in the West, where the division of power between spiritual and temporal rulers had been greater than in most other parts of the world. In the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), I Samuel 8: 1718, the Jews asked for a king, and God warned them that such a king would take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day. This admonition reminded Europeans for centuries of the predatory nature of states. The passage was cited by many liberals, including Thomas Paine and Lord Acton, who famously wrote that power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Libertarian skepticism was reinforced by events of the 20th century, when unrestrained government power, among other factors, led to world war, genocide, and massive human rights violations.

Libertarians embrace individualism insofar as they attach supreme value to the rights and freedoms of individuals. Although various theories regarding the origin and justification of individual rights have been proposede.g., that they are given to human beings by God, that they are implied by the very idea of a moral law, and that respecting them produces better consequencesall libertarians agree that individual rights are imprescriptiblei.e., that they are not granted (and thus cannot be legitimately taken away) by governments or by any other human agency. Another aspect of the individualism of libertarians is their belief that the individual, rather than the group or the state, is the basic unit in terms of which a legal order should be understood.

Libertarians hold that some forms of order in society arise naturally and spontaneously from the actions of thousands or millions of individuals. The notion of spontaneous order may seem counterintuitive: it is natural to assume that order exists only because it has been designed by someone (indeed, in the philosophy of religion, the apparent order of the natural universe was traditionally considered proof of the existence of an intelligent designeri.e., God). Libertarians, however, maintain that the most important aspects of human societysuch as language, law, customs, money, and marketsdevelop by themselves, without conscious direction.

An appreciation for spontaneous order can be found in the writings of the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu (6th century bce), who urged rulers to do nothing because without law or compulsion, men would dwell in harmony. A social science of spontaneous order arose in the 18th century in the work of the French physiocrats and in the writings of the Scottish philosopher David Hume. Both the physiocrats (the term physiocracy means the rule of nature) and Hume studied the natural order of economic and social life and concluded, contrary to the dominant theory of mercantilism, that the directing hand of the prince was not necessary to produce order and prosperity. Hume extended his analysis to the determination of interest rates and even to the emergence of the institutions of law and property. In A Treatise of Human Nature (173940), he argued that the rule concerning the stability of possession is a product of spontaneous ordering processes, because it arises gradually, and acquires force by a slow progression, and by our repeated experience of the inconveniences of transgressing it. He also compared the evolution of the institution of property to the evolution of languages and money.

Smith developed the concept of spontaneous order extensively in both The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). He made the idea central to his discussion of social cooperation, arguing that the division of labour did not arise from human wisdom but was the necessary, though very slow and gradual, consequence of a certain propensity in human nature which has in view no such extensive utility: the propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another. In Common Sense (1776), Paine combined the theory of spontaneous order with a theory of justice based on natural rights, maintaining that the great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of government.

According to libertarians, free markets are among the most important (but not the only) examples of spontaneous order. They argue that individuals need to produce and trade in order to survive and flourish and that free markets are essential to the creation of wealth. Libertarians also maintain that self-help, mutual aid, charity, and economic growth do more to alleviate poverty than government social-welfare programs. Finally, they contend that, if the libertarian tradition often seems to stress private property and free markets at the expense of other principles, that is largely because these institutions were under attack for much of the 20th century by modern liberals, social democrats, fascists, and adherents of other leftist, nationalist, or socialist ideologies.

Libertarians consider the rule of law to be a crucial underpinning of a free society. In its simplest form, this principle means that individuals should be governed by generally applicable and publicly known laws and not by the arbitrary decisions of kings, presidents, or bureaucrats. Such laws should protect the freedom of all individuals to pursue happiness in their own ways and should not aim at any particular result or outcome.

Although most libertarians believe that some form of government is essential for protecting liberty, they also maintain that government is an inherently dangerous institution whose power must be strictly circumscribed. Thus, libertarians advocate limiting and dividing government power through a written constitution and a system of checks and balances. Indeed, libertarians often claim that the greater freedom and prosperity of European society (in comparison with other parts of the world) in the early modern era was the result of the fragmentation of power, both between church and state and among the continents many different kingdoms, principalities, and city-states. Some American libertarians, such as Lysander Spooner and Murray Rothbard, have opposed all forms of government. Rothbard called his doctrine anarcho-capitalism to distinguish it from the views of anarchists who oppose private property. Even those who describe themselves as anarchist libertarians, however, believe in a system of law and law enforcement to protect individual rights.

Much political analysis deals with conflict and conflict resolution. Libertarians hold that there is a natural harmony of interests among peaceful, productive individuals in a just society. Citing David Ricardos theory of comparative advantagewhich states that individuals in all countries benefit when each countrys citizens specialize in producing that which they can produce more efficiently than the citizens of other countrieslibertarians claim that, over time, all individuals prosper from the operation of a free market, and conflict is thus not a necessary or inevitable part of a social order. When governments begin to distribute rewards on the basis of political pressure, however, individuals and groups will engage in wasteful and even violent conflict to gain benefits at the expense of others. Thus, libertarians maintain that minimal government is a key to the minimization of social conflict.

In international affairs, libertarians emphasize the value of peace. That may seem unexceptional, since most (though not all) modern thinkers have claimed allegiance to peace as a value. Historically, however, many rulers have seen little benefit to peace and have embarked upon sometimes long and destructive wars. Libertarians contend that war is inherently calamitous, bringing widespread death and destruction, disrupting family and economic life, and placing more power in the hands of ruling classes. Defensive or retaliatory violence may be justified, but, according to libertarians, violence is not valuable in itself, nor does it produce any additional benefits beyond the defense of life and liberty.

Despite the historical growth in the scope and powers of government, particularly after World War II, in the early 21st century the political and economic systems of most Western countriesespecially the United Kingdom and the United Statescontinued to be based largely on classical liberal principles. Accordingly, libertarians in those countries tended to focus on smaller deviations from liberal principles, creating the perception among many that their views were radical or extreme. In the early 21st century, self-identified libertarians constituted a major current of the antigovernment Tea Party movement in the United States. However, explicitly libertarian political parties (such as the Libertarian Party in the United States and the Libertarianz Party in New Zealand), where they did exist, garnered little support, even among self-professed libertarians. Most politically active libertarians supported classical liberal parties (such as the Free Democratic Party in Germany or the Flemish Liberals and Democrats in Belgium) or conservative parties (such as the Republican Party in the United States or the Conservative Party in Great Britain); they also backed pressure groups advocating policies such as tax reduction, the privatization of education, and the decriminalization of drug use and other so-called victimless crimes. There were also small but vocal groups of libertarians in Scandinavia, Latin America, India, and China.

The publication in 1974 of Anarchy, State, and Utopia, a sophisticated defense of libertarian principles by the American philosopher Robert Nozick, marked the beginning of an intellectual revival of libertarianism. Libertarian ideas in economics became increasingly influential as libertarian economists, such as Alan Greenspan, were appointed to prominent advisory positions in conservative governments in the United Kingdom and the United States and as some libertarians, such as James M. Buchanan, Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, and Vernon L. Smith, were awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics. In 1982 the death of the libertarian novelist and social theorist Ayn Rand prompted a surge of popular interest in her work. Libertarian scholars, activists, and political leaders also played prominent roles in the worldwide campaign against apartheid and in the construction of democratic societies in eastern and central Europe following the collapse of communism there in 198991. In the early 21st century, libertarian ideas informed new research in diverse fields such as history, law, economic development, telecommunications, bioethics, globalization, and social theory.

A long-standing criticism of libertarianism is that it presupposes an unrealistic and undesirable conception of individual identity and of the conditions necessary for human flourishing. Opponents of libertarianism often refer to libertarian individualism as atomistic, arguing that it ignores the role of family, tribe, religious community, and state in forming individual identity and that such groups or institutions are the proper sources of legitimate authority. These critics contend that libertarian ideas of individuality are ahistorical, excessively abstract, and parasitic on unacknowledged forms of group identity and that libertarians ignore the obligations to community and government that accompany the benefits derived from these institutions. In the 19th century, Karl Marx decried liberal individualism, which he took to underlie civil (or bourgeois) society, as a decomposition of man that located mans essence no longer in community but in difference. More recently, the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor maintained that the libertarian emphasis on the rights of the individual wrongly implies the self-sufficiency of man alone.

Libertarians deny that their views imply anything like atomistic individualism. The recognition and protection of individuality and difference, they contend, does not necessarily entail denying the existence of community or the benefits of living together. Rather, it merely requires that the bonds of community not be imposed on people by force and that individuals (adults, at least) be free to sever their attachments to others and to form new ones with those who choose to associate with them. Community, libertarians believe, is best served by freedom of association, an observation made by the 19th-century French historian of American democracy Alexis de Tocqueville, among others. Thus, for libertarians the central philosophical issue is not individuality versus community but rather consent versus coercion.

Other critics, including some prominent conservatives, have insisted that libertarianism is an amoral philosophy of libertinism in which the law loses its character as a source of moral instruction. The American philosopher Russell Kirk, for example, argued that libertarians bear no authority, temporal or spiritual, and do not venerate ancient beliefs and customs, or the natural world, or [their] country, or the immortal spark in [their] fellow men. Libertarians respond that they do venerate the ancient traditions of liberty and justice. They favour restricting the function of the law to enforcing those traditions, not only because they believe that individuals should be permitted to take moral responsibility for their own choices but also because they believe that law becomes corrupted when it is used as a tool for making men moral. Furthermore, they argue, a degree of humility about the variety of human goals should not be confused with radical moral skepticism or ethical relativism.

Some criticisms of libertarianism concern the social and economic effects of free markets and the libertarian view that all forms of government intervention are unjustified. Critics have alleged, for example, that completely unregulated markets create poverty as well as wealth; that they result in significant inequalities of income and wealth, along with corresponding inequalities of political power; that they encourage environmental pollution and the wasteful or destructive use of natural resources; that they are incapable of efficiently or fairly performing some necessary social services, such as health care, education, and policing; and that they tend toward monopoly, which increases inefficiency and compounds the problem of inequality of income and wealth.

Libertarians have responded by questioning whether government regulation, which would replace one set of imperfect institutions (private businesses) with another (government agencies), would solve or only worsen these problems. In addition, several libertarian scholars have argued that some of these problems are not caused by free markets but rather result from the failures and inefficiencies of political and legal institutions. Thus, they argue that environmental pollution could be minimized in a free market if property rights were properly defined and secured.

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libertarianism | Definition, Doctrines, History, & Facts …

Libertarianism | Cato Institute

Libertarianism is the belief that each person has the right tolive his life as he chooses so long as he respects the equal rightsof others. Libertarians defend each persons right to life,liberty, and property. In the libertarian view, voluntary agreementis the gold standard of human relationships. If there is no goodreason to forbid something (a good reason being that it violatesthe rights of others), it should be allowed. Force should bereserved for prohibiting or punishing those who themselves useforce, such as murderers, robbers, rapists, kidnappers, anddefrauders (who practice a kind of theft). Most people live theirown lives by that code of ethics. Libertarians believe that thatcode should be applied consistently, even to the actions ofgovernments, which should be restricted to protecting people fromviolations of their rights. Governments should not use their powersto censor speech, conscript the young, prohibit voluntaryexchanges, steal or redistribute property, or interfere in thelives of individuals who are otherwise minding their ownbusiness.

Libertarianism.orgA project of the Cato Institute, Libertarianism.org providesinstant access to writings, multimedia programs, and research fromthe best contemporary and historical minds on individual liberty,limited government, economics, free markets, history, law,philosophy, political science, and more. The site includes onlineaccess to the Encyclopedia ofLibertarianism, as well as free print and audio editions ofLibertarianism.orgs library of books.

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Libertarianism | Cato Institute

Definitions of Libertarianism – The Advocates for Self-Government

Libertarianism is, as the name implies, the belief in liberty. Libertarians believe that each person owns his own life and property and has the right to make his own choices as to how he lives his life and uses his property as long as he simply respects the equal right of others to do the same.

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Definitions of Libertarianism – The Advocates for Self-Government

Libertarianism (metaphysics) – Wikipedia

Libertarianism is one of the main philosophical positions related to the problems of free will and determinism, which are part of the larger domain of metaphysics.[1] In particular, libertarianism, which is an incompatibilist position,[2][3] argues that free will is logically incompatible with a deterministic universe and that agents have free will, and that, therefore, determinism is false.[4] On of the first clear formulations of libertarianism is found in John Duns Scotus; in theological context metaphysical libertarianism was notably defended by Jesuit authors like Luis de Molina and Francisco Surez against rather compatibilist Thomist Bezianism. Other important metaphysical libertarians in the early modern period were Ren Descartes, George Berkeley, Immanuel Kant, and Thomas Reid.[5] Roderick Chisholm was a prominent defender of libertarianism in the 20th century,[6] and contemporary libertarians include Robert Kane, Peter van Inwagen and Robert Nozick.

The first recorded use of the term “libertarianism” was in 1789 by William Belsham in a discussion of free will and in opposition to “necessitarian” (or determinist) views.[7][8]

Metaphysical libertarianism is one philosophical view point under that of incompatibilism. Libertarianism holds onto a concept of free will that requires the agent to be able to take more than one possible course of action under a given set of circumstances.

Accounts of libertarianism subdivide into non-physical theories and physical or naturalistic theories. Non-physical theories hold that the events in the brain that lead to the performance of actions do not have an entirely physical explanation, and consequently the world is not closed under physics. Such interactionist dualists believe that some non-physical mind, will, or soul overrides physical causality.

Explanations of libertarianism that do not involve dispensing with physicalism require physical indeterminism, such as probabilistic subatomic particle behavior a theory unknown to many of the early writers on free will. Physical determinism, under the assumption of physicalism, implies there is only one possible future and is therefore not compatible with libertarian free will. Some libertarian explanations involve invoking panpsychism, the theory that a quality of mind is associated with all particles, and pervades the entire universe, in both animate and inanimate entities. Other approaches do not require free will to be a fundamental constituent of the universe; ordinary randomness is appealed to as supplying the “elbow room” believed to be necessary by libertarians.

Free volition is regarded as a particular kind of complex, high-level process with an element of indeterminism. An example of this kind of approach has been developed by Robert Kane,[9] where he hypothesizes that,

In each case, the indeterminism is functioning as a hindrance or obstacle to her realizing one of her purposesa hindrance or obstacle in the form of resistance within her will which has to be overcome by effort.

Although at the time quantum mechanics (and physical indeterminism) was only in the initial stages of acceptance, in his book Miracles: A preliminary study C. S. Lewis stated the logical possibility that if the physical world were proved indeterministic this would provide an entry point to describe an action of a non-physical entity on physical reality.[10] Indeterministic physical models (particularly those involving quantum indeterminacy) introduce random occurrences at an atomic or subatomic level. These events might affect brain activity, and could seemingly allow incompatibilist free will if the apparent indeterminacy of some mental processes (for instance, subjective perceptions of control in conscious volition) map to the underlying indeterminacy of the physical construct. This relationship, however, requires a causative role over probabilities that is questionable,[11] and it is far from established that brain activity responsible for human action can be affected by such events. Secondarily, these incompatibilist models are dependent upon the relationship between action and conscious volition, as studied in the neuroscience of free will. It is evident that observation may disturb the outcome of the observation itself, rendering limited our ability to identify causality.[12] Niels Bohr, one of the main architects of quantum theory, suggested, however, that no connection could be made between indeterminism of nature and freedom of will.[13]

In non-physical theories of free will, agents are assumed to have power to intervene in the physical world, a view known as agent causation.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21] Proponents of agent causation include George Berkeley,[22] Thomas Reid,[23] and Roderick Chisholm.[24]

Most events can be explained as the effects of prior events. When a tree falls, it does so because of the force of the wind, its own structural weakness, and so on. However, when a person performs a free act, agent causation theorists say that the action was not caused by any other events or states of affairs, but rather was caused by the agent. Agent causation is ontologically separate from event causation. The action was not uncaused, because the agent caused it. But the agent’s causing it was not determined by the agent’s character, desires, or past, since that would just be event causation.[25] As Chisholm explains it, humans have “a prerogative which some would attribute only to God: each of us, when we act, is a prime mover unmoved. In doing what we do, we cause certain events to happen, and nothing or no one causes us to cause those events to happen.”[26]

This theory involves a difficulty which has long been associated with the idea of an unmoved mover. If a free action was not caused by any event, such as a change in the agent or an act of the will, then what is the difference between saying that an agent caused the event and simply saying that the event happened on its own? As William James put it, “If a ‘free’ act be a sheer novelty, that comes not from me, the previous me, but ex nihilo, and simply tacks itself on to me, how can I, the previous I, be responsible? How can I have any permanent character that will stand still long enough for praise or blame to be awarded?”[27]

Agent causation advocates respond that agent causation is actually more intuitive than event causation. They point to David Hume’s argument that when we see two events happen in succession, our belief that one event caused the other cannot be justified rationally (known as the problem of induction). If that is so, where does our belief in causality come from? According to Thomas Reid, “the conception of an efficient cause may very probably be derived from the experience we have had…of our own power to produce certain effects.”[28] Our everyday experiences of agent causation provide the basis for the idea of event causation.[29]

Event-causal accounts of incompatibilist free will typically rely upon physicalist models of mind (like those of the compatibilist), yet they presuppose physical indeterminism, in which certain indeterministic events are said to be caused by the agent. A number of event-causal accounts of free will have been created, referenced here as deliberative indeterminism, centred accounts, and efforts of will theory.[30] The first two accounts do not require free will to be a fundamental constituent of the universe. Ordinary randomness is appealed to as supplying the “elbow room” that libertarians believe necessary. A first common objection to event-causal accounts is that the indeterminism could be destructive and could therefore diminish control by the agent rather than provide it (related to the problem of origination). A second common objection to these models is that it is questionable whether such indeterminism could add any value to deliberation over that which is already present in a deterministic world.

Deliberative indeterminism asserts that the indeterminism is confined to an earlier stage in the decision process.[31][32] This is intended to provide an indeterminate set of possibilities to choose from, while not risking the introduction of luck (random decision making). The selection process is deterministic, although it may be based on earlier preferences established by the same process. Deliberative indeterminism has been referenced by Daniel Dennett[33] and John Martin Fischer.[34] An obvious objection to such a view is that an agent cannot be assigned ownership over their decisions (or preferences used to make those decisions) to any greater degree than that of a compatibilist model.

Centred accounts propose that for any given decision between two possibilities, the strength of reason will be considered for each option, yet there is still a probability the weaker candidate will be chosen.[35][36][37][38][39][40][41] An obvious objection to such a view is that decisions are explicitly left up to chance, and origination or responsibility cannot be assigned for any given decision.

Efforts of will theory is related to the role of will power in decision making. It suggests that the indeterminacy of agent volition processes could map to the indeterminacy of certain physical events and the outcomes of these events could therefore be considered caused by the agent. Models of volition have been constructed in which it is seen as a particular kind of complex, high-level process with an element of physical indeterminism. An example of this approach is that of Robert Kane, where he hypothesizes that “in each case, the indeterminism is functioning as a hindrance or obstacle to her realizing one of her purposes a hindrance or obstacle in the form of resistance within her will which must be overcome by effort.”[9] According to Robert Kane such “ultimate responsibility” is a required condition for free will.[42] An important factor in such a theory is that the agent cannot be reduced to physical neuronal events, but rather mental processes are said to provide an equally valid account of the determination of outcome as their physical processes (see non-reductive physicalism).

Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher, argued that as atoms moved through the void, there were occasions when they would “swerve” (clinamen) from their otherwise determined paths, thus initiating new causal chains. Epicurus argued that these swerves would allow us to be more responsible for our actions, something impossible if every action was deterministically caused.

Epicurus did not say the swerve was directly involved in decisions. But following Aristotle, Epicurus thought human agents have the autonomous ability to transcend necessity and chance (both of which destroy responsibility), so that praise and blame are appropriate. Epicurus finds a tertium quid, beyond necessity (Democritus’ physics) and beyond chance. His tertium quid is agent autonomy, what is “up to us.”

…some things happen of necessity (), others by chance (), others through our own agency ( ).

…necessity destroys responsibility and chance is inconstant; whereas our own actions are autonomous, and it is to them that praise and blame naturally attach.[43]

Lucretius (1st century BC), a strong supporter of Epicurus, saw the randomness as enabling free will, even if he could not explain exactly how, beyond the fact that random swerves would break the causal chain of determinism.

Again, if all motion is always one long chain, and new motion arises out of the old in order invariable, and if the first-beginnings do not make by swerving a beginning of motion such as to break the decrees of fate, that cause may not follow cause from infinity, whence comes this freedom (libera) in living creatures all over the earth, whence I say is this will (voluntas) wrested from the fates by which we proceed whither pleasure leads each, swerving also our motions not at fixed times and fixed places, but just where our mind has taken us? For undoubtedly it is his own will in each that begins these things, and from the will movements go rippling through the limbs.

However, the interpretation of Greek philosophers is controversial. Tim O’Keefe has argued that Epicurus and Lucretius were not libertarians at all, but compatibilists.[44]

Robert Nozick put forward an indeterministic theory of free will in Philosophical Explanations (1981).[45]

When human beings become agents through reflexive self-awareness, they express their agency by having reasons for acting, to which they assign weights. Choosing the dimensions of one’s identity is a special case, in which the assigning of weight to a dimension is partly self-constitutive. But all acting for reasons is constitutive of the self in a broader sense, namely, by its shaping one’s character and personality in a manner analogous to the shaping that law undergoes through the precedent set by earlier court decisions. Just as a judge does not merely apply the law but to some degree makes it through judicial discretion, so too a person does not merely discover weights but assigns them; one not only weighs reasons but also weights them. Set in train is a process of building a framework for future decisions that we are tentatively committed to.

The lifelong process of self-definition in this broader sense is construed indeterministically by Nozick. The weighting is “up to us” in the sense that it is undetermined by antecedent causal factors, even though subsequent action is fully caused by the reasons one has accepted. He compares assigning weights in this deterministic sense to “the currently orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics”, following von Neumann in understanding a quantum mechanical system as in a superposition or probability mixture of states, which changes continuously in accordance with quantum mechanical equations of motion and discontinuously via measurement or observation that “collapses the wave packet” from a superposition to a particular state. Analogously, a person before decision has reasons without fixed weights: he is in a superposition of weights. The process of decision reduces the superposition to a particular state that causes action.

One particularly influential contemporary theory of libertarian free will is that of Robert Kane.[30][46][47] Kane argues that “(1) the existence of alternative possibilities (or the agent’s power to do otherwise) is a necessary condition for acting freely, and that (2) determinism is not compatible with alternative possibilities (it precludes the power to do otherwise)”.[48] It is important to note that the crux of Kane’s position is grounded not in a defense of alternative possibilities (AP) but in the notion of what Kane refers to as ultimate responsibility (UR). Thus, AP is a necessary but insufficient criterion for free will.[49] It is necessary that there be (metaphysically) real alternatives for our actions, but that is not enough; our actions could be random without being in our control. The control is found in “ultimate responsibility”.

Ultimate responsibility entails that agents must be the ultimate creators (or originators) and sustainers of their own ends and purposes. There must be more than one way for a person’s life to turn out (AP). More importantly, whichever way it turns out must be based in the person’s willing actions. As Kane defines it,

‘UR:’ An agent is ultimately responsible for some (event or state) E’s occurring only if (R) the agent is personally responsible for E’s occurring in a sense which entails that something the agent voluntarily (or willingly) did or omitted either was, or causally contributed to, E’s occurrence and made a difference to whether or not E occurred; and (U) for every X and Y (where X and Y represent occurrences of events and/or states) if the agent is personally responsible for X and if Y is an arche (sufficient condition, cause or motive) for X, then the agent must also be personally responsible for Y.

In short, “an agent must be responsible for anything that is a sufficient reason (condition, cause or motive) for the action’s occurring.”[50]

What allows for ultimacy of creation in Kane’s picture are what he refers to as “self-forming actions” or SFAsthose moments of indecision during which people experience conflicting wills. These SFAs are the undetermined, regress-stopping voluntary actions or refraining in the life histories of agents that are required for UR. UR does not require that every act done of our own free will be undetermined and thus that, for every act or choice, we could have done otherwise; it requires only that certain of our choices and actions be undetermined (and thus that we could have done otherwise), namely SFAs. These form our character or nature; they inform our future choices, reasons and motivations in action. If a person has had the opportunity to make a character-forming decision (SFA), they are responsible for the actions that are a result of their character.

Randolph Clarke objects that Kane’s depiction of free will is not truly libertarian but rather a form of compatibilism. The objection asserts that although the outcome of an SFA is not determined, one’s history up to the event is; so the fact that an SFA will occur is also determined. The outcome of the SFA is based on chance, and from that point on one’s life is determined. This kind of freedom, says Clarke, is no different than the kind of freedom argued for by compatibilists, who assert that even though our actions are determined, they are free because they are in accordance with our own wills, much like the outcome of an SFA.[51]

Kane responds that the difference between causal indeterminism and compatibilism is “ultimate controlthe originative control exercised by agents when it is ‘up to them’ which of a set of possible choices or actions will now occur, and up to no one and nothing else over which the agents themselves do not also have control”.[52] UR assures that the sufficient conditions for one’s actions do not lie before one’s own birth.

Galen Strawson holds that there is a fundamental sense in which free will is impossible, whether determinism is true or not. He argues for this position with what he calls his “basic argument”, which aims to show that no-one is ever ultimately morally responsible for their actions, and hence that no one has free will in the sense that usually concerns us.

In his book defending compatibilism, Freedom Evolves, Daniel Dennett spends a chapter criticising Kane’s theory.[53] Kane believes freedom is based on certain rare and exceptional events, which he calls self-forming actions or SFA’s. Dennett notes that there is no guarantee such an event will occur in an individual’s life. If it does not, the individual does not in fact have free will at all, according to Kane. Yet they will seem the same as anyone else. Dennett finds an essentially indetectable notion of free will to be incredible.

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Libertarianism (metaphysics) – Wikipedia

Libertarianism – definition of libertarianism by The Free …

.

1. One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.

2. One who believes in free will.

libertarian adj.

libertarianism n.

1. one who advocates liberty, especially with regard to thought or conduct.2. the philosophical doctrine of free will. Cf. necessitarianism, determinism, fatalism. libertarian, n., adj.

1. the advocacy of freedom, especially in thought or conduct.2. Theology. the advocacy of the doctrine of free will. See also necessitarianism. libertarian, n., adj.

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Libertarianism – definition of libertarianism by The Free …

Libertarianism – RationalWiki

One of the more pretentious political self-descriptions is Libertarian. People think it puts them above the fray. It sounds fashionable, and to the uninitiated, faintly dangerous. Actually, its just one more bullshit political philosophy. George Carlin[1]

Libertarianism is, at its simplest, the antonym of authoritarianism.[2] The term has been around since the beginning of the 19th century, first appearing in Joseph Dejacque’s letter to Proudhon titled “On the Human Being, Male and Female”[3] and was primarily used for self-identification with anarcho-communism and labor movements. Albert Jay Nock and H. L. Mencken were some of the first prominent figures in the United States that used the term libertarianism[4]. However Murray Rothbard was the person most responsible for popularizing libertarianism as term to describe a political and social philosophy that advocates laissez-faire capitalism as a panacea for virtually everything[5]. Non-libertarians view this as synonymous with oligarchic plutocracy after the fashion of the American Gilded Age, while the reality-based community tends to realize that one cannot just yank economic theories out of the air and magically expect them to work.

This anti-government phenomenon is found primarily throughout most Western countries, particularly in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. In reference to the latter, the term “liberal” is generally used to define the American and Canadian meaning of neoclassical libertarianism, while the word “libertarian” itself generally refers to the general support of individual freedoms, regardless of economic policy. Historically, the term has been associated with libertarian socialism and even sometimes anarchism in its more extreme case, but this article mainly covers the libertarianism in the United States, or what’s also called “right-libertarianism” (as in “right-wing”, not being right).

The US political party most aligned with libertarianism is the Libertarian Party, “America’s Third Largest Party,”[6] whose candidate obtained 4.5 million, or 3.27 percent, of the vote in the 2016 presidential election.[7] This total was greater than their 1 million vote (0.99%) of the popular vote in the 2012 presidential election.[8] and 0.32% of the popular vote[9] in the 2004 presidential election (though, if any amount of fairness is to be given to them, first-past-the-post election methods are mathematically predetermined to trend towards a two-party system).[10]

There is also an “Objectivist Party,” formed as a spin-off from the Libertarian Party by those who thought that the party’s 2008 presidential candidate, Bob Barr, was too left-wing,[11] and a Boston Tea Party (no connection other than ideological to that other tea party) formed as a spin-off by those who thought the Libertarian Party had become too right-wing on foreign policy and civil liberties after the LP deleted much of its platform in 2006. Even so, that, again, due to the arbitrary definition of the word itself, makes little sense, as the general notion of libertarianism specifically emphasized on social liberties, with economics having little to do with the definition itself. The term “liberal”, however, has come to primarily be associated with the left, due to the moderate left’s support of social liberties, which played into the term “libertarian” becoming popularized in the United States in order to differentiate between the two. Even so, it is to be said that the definitions of “left” and “right” are incredibly arbitrary, seeing as, fundamentally, capitalism, despite its many flaws, is, both historically and definitively, more compatible with social progressivism than modern iterations of socialist thought, referring specifically to command-style economics.

Basically everyone agrees with libertarians on something, but they tend to get freaked out just as quickly by the ideologys other stances.

The dominant form of libertarianism (as found in the US) is an ideology based largely on Austrian School economics and Chicago School, or neoclassical, economics. The Austrian School relies on normative axioms, rather than hard empirical analysis, primarily concerned with what is ideal as opposed to “what is”. That said, the branch of libertarianism that has had the most success in influencing public policy is primarily informed by the Chicago School.

Proponents of modern libertarianism frequently cite the “Non-Aggression Principle” (NAP) as the moral basis of their ideology. The NAP states that everyone is free to do whatever they want with their lives and property, so long as it does not directly interfere with the freedom of others to do the same. Under this rule, you may only use “force” in response to prior inappropriate force against the life and/or property of yourself or others. Compare and contrast with John Stuart Mill’s “The Harm Principle.” The critical difference between the two is that libertarians completely oppose the preemptive use of force. By contrast, Mill and other classical liberals believe that the preemptive use of force to prevent likely future harm can be justified, so long as it is for the greater good. Despite this, Mill believed that it should be seen as a last resort. Morally, modern libertarianism, specifically “classical liberals” of the Chicago School, have primarily been influenced by the concept of Utilitarianism on an ethical level, which combines both individualist and some aspects of collectivist thought.

Under any logical scrutiny it becomes evident that the precise definition of aggression is highly subjective and supposes a strict libertarian definition of property.[15] The NAP can therefore be used in almost any way its user intends, by changing the definition of aggression to suit their particular opinion/agenda. For example, throwing someone in prison for massive tax evasion is seen as an act of aggression by the state, whereas selling someone cigarettes knowing they will kill that person is not seen as aggression.

Libertarians secretly worry that ultimately someone will figure out that the whole of their political philosophy boils down to “get off my property”. News flash: This is not really a big secret to the rest of us.

Many libertarians, who do not identify as either classically liberal or more left-wing branches, believe that government is the largest threat to the freedom of an individual. For this reason, they are closely associated with opposition to gun control, government surveillance, entitlements, and prohibitory drug policy.

The primary functions of government that most (emphasis: most) libertarians believe should be permissible elements of the state are:

This brand of the ideology, often referred to as “minarchism”, is as close to pure anarchy one could get while still getting away with calling themselves “libertarian”. This governmental structure is often referred to as a “Night-Watchman State”. However, instead of dedicating their lives to defending the lands of Westeros from the Wildlings, these folk focus on dedicating their lives to defending the lands of Western Civilization from anyone whom they deem a “statist”, whatever that means.

But it doesn’t end there. If one moves down the spectrum towards the extremes, more and more things normally handled by the police and criminal courts are instead handled by civil courts, and eventually even the civil courts are privatized.[17] This is a very ironic philosophy, and, in a sense, makes so-called “libertarians” who believe in this ideology look extremely incoherent for various reasons, other than the fact that “anarchism” is literally the root word of anarcho-capitalism, there are some differences between the latter model and mainstream libertarianism, including minarchism, which is commonly seen as being a halfway point of sorts.

Libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism are often erroneously associated with one-another due to a vast misunderstanding of both philosophies. First of all, it is important to understand the difference between both economic structures. To start, “libertarian” is more of a political label than a specific ideology. In fact, libertarianism is a term that encompasses a very wide range of political ideologies that advocate limited government, on a variety of scales and across the political spectrum. Anarcho-capitalists, which is a specific thought school encompassed within the “anarchist” belief system. By definition, anarcho-capitalism is “right wing” anarchism, although this really only exists on paper. If one takes a closer look at anarcho-capitalism, they will realize that it is basically a sham. Anarcho-capitalists will virulently argue against their corporatist agenda, but if one takes a closer look at the system they will realize that it is nothing more than crony capitalism, if it can even be considered capitalism at all. Over time, trusts and monopolies would continue to merge, with a single major corporate powerhouse running the economy, making the laws, enforcing the laws, and levying taxes to help support its upkeep. There is really nothing libertarian about this, as libertarianism opposes big government and a regulated economy. Anarcho-capitalism is basically just a gateway to a political brand of corporatism where worldwide business conglomerates become a stand-in for the state. Anarcho-capitalism is a clever way to label an ideology catered to line the pockets of robber barons, industrialists, and business executives in order to abolish total protectionism as a means to instill their own personal interests upon those of lower economic status. The whole idea and result of the concept is that, by abolishing the state, that enables the opportunity to establish a new state disguised as a private corporation. Libertarians, on the other hand, are generally for the free market, speaking of those on the more moderate to right wings. Competition and consumer choice are key elements of the free market, as well as an emphasis on small business and firms owned on a more local level.

Most libertarians, even those on the hard left, oppose most forms of taxation (as taxes are “theft of property by force”), and any function of government outside of a general wish list, although, hereby proving that it is not a singularly consistent ideology relating pure policy, there are often-times layers of hypocrisy, as they have a number of things they like over others. Additionally, they are against the use of taxes to deal with externalities, commons, or free rider problems. Their most common remedy for these problems involve the use of civil suits to deal with (negative) externalities, and, in the case of minarchists, the privatization of commons, which allows for civil suits to handle harms to this private property. Of course, these answers are, many times, woefully inadequate in practice.[18]

Libertarians advocate extensive individual rights – an ideological stance that has always been consistent to their core beliefs. Libertarians advocate a society where “anything that’s peaceful and voluntary” is allowed so long as it does not infringe on anyone else’s life, liberty, or property, or engender force or fraud. However, the exact nature of a right as “positive” or “negative” differs among libertarians, as some may believe that paying taxes for certain social programs is a necessary evil for the sake of national utility (sometimes a view espoused by both classical liberals and left libertarians), while many others on the right believe that the government has no right to take a person’s hard earned money to contribute to programs like healthcare, which, while, in its own way, a fair argument from an individual liberty standpoint, is not necessarily for the “greater good”, which has always been a principle of libertarian ethical philosophy. It is to be said, that many libertarians are opportunists who hate taxes, often seeing themselves as special and hip for lambasting taxes to the rest of society, when, in reality, everyone, except for maybe masochists hate taxes. That being said, most standard libertarians, left-libertarians, and classical liberals seem to agree that the state and taxes are unfortunate necessities.

All libertarians have an intertwined ethical and moral philosophy that derives from Millian Utilitarianism, in that one should be able to do as they please so long as they don’t hurt others or the equally important collective. If one wants to pursue faux pleasure, particularly in the hedonistic sense, they should have a right to live their own life as they please, even if those choices have negative, even harmful, consequences. The idea is that those choices are life’s natural learning experiences as a means to do something in a different way in the future. Unfortunately, and while a libertarian state (which are ironically funny words to use together) would (hopefully) never endorse such, actions that can harm the body physically and mentally would be allowed under a free society. For example, one might say smoking in public is a personal liberty that affects nobody, whereas another would say it forces second-hand smoke upon those around them, interfering with their own right to not inhale smoke (note that most libertarians who are fed their talking points from think tanks fall into the former category thanks to second-hand smoke denialism). This is where a divide would rise between classical liberals who believe in a minimal state and minarchists, who believe in a microstate. A classical liberal would most likely appeal to the utilitarian idea that the good of a few people is better for overall utility as opposed to the individual person’s desire to smoke a cigarette at that exact location at that exact moment. It inconveniences the non-smokers more than it does the smoker. Mill’s liberalism proposed that everyone is entitled to his or her own self-interest (yes, women too) up until he or she impede upon another person’s right to exercise their own personal self-interest. The self-interest of classical liberalism, which is also economically applied to policy in Chicago School neoclassicism, differs from the self-interested notions espoused by many run-of-the-mill (No, not John Stuart Mill) conservatives and wingnut libertarians, who seem to misinterpret basic economic and social egoism with egotism. Many minarchists, and even certain Republicans who have never expressed a belief in any libertarian policy or platform in their entire political career have this weird fetish with the novel Atlas Shrugged, by Russian author and self-proclaimed “philosopher” Ayn Rand. To be fair, her anti-communist opinions and literal hatred of even the mixed economy of the free world’s democratic system are semi-understandable, in view of her homeland’s descent into tyranny under Lenin and Stalin, but she was hardly reasonable. Later on, she garnered a cult of personality that would constantly rave about her half-baked ideology, known as “Objectivism”, which itself seems to be based on half-baked interpretations of Aristotle’s (somewhat pro-government and ironically somewhat altruistic) philosophies and bad Friedrich Nietzsche readings.

Atlas isn’t a terrible book per se, and Rand’s ideas sound like gimmicky Evil fun, but then, once finishing it, it becomes clear that, after about a day or so of pondering its content, a logical person will come to realize that the Hobbit has a plot far more grounded in reality. Although, it is to be said that the Dwarves and that Dragon are goldbugs.

Objectivism and Utilitarianism are two completely contrasting philosophies, although both are often applied to modern libertarianism, and the pro-market factions differ in how their views on the topic are expressed. Classical liberals and moderate libertarians are generally more influenced by utilitarianism and other enlightenment philosophers, while objectivism is at the heart of many minarchism circles and paleolibertarianism, and it has since found its way into mainstream conservatism for some reason. Some Republicans, including the more religious folk, seem to have some fetish for Rand, seeming to, on their own, have half-baked interpretations of an already half-baked philosophy, also seeming not to take into account that Rand was an atheist and that objectivism is not all that compatible with Jesus Christ’s teachings.

Most libertarians, with only a handful of exceptions, are generally opposed to expansionism and preemptive military aggression, with most being rather skeptical of globalism. This libertarian belief against the prior use of force also extends into foreign policy. This is sometimes referred to as a “non-interventionist” foreign policy. That does not automatically make them pacifists, necessarily. Some camps strongly promote the concept of self-defense, and usually accept national defense as one of the few legitimate functions of government, although they tend to agree that the size of the standing military needs to be drastically reduced.

Libertarianism, as a term, has become a sort of buzz-word used to describe anyone who wants to lower taxes and dislikes government oversight, both on the right and left. Many right-wingers often refer to themselves as libertarians, specifically because they have some obsessive vendetta against the federal government, and, in some cases, the establishments of their own party. Even so, this is pretty much “faux-libertarianism”, as they, being conservatives, are generally opposed on a political level to social liberty, which is the original foundation of the movement. As a result, many people confuse libertarians and these Republicans, many of them being paleoconservatives and members of the Tea Party. The difference between the two are simple: libertarians want a limited government, while conservative Republicans want the decentralization of executive power. That being said, these Republicans tend to be “anti-federalist”, in favor of states rights. Libertarians, on the other hand, simply want smaller government in all respects, both on a federal level and at a state level. To them, letting the states dictate tax policy, choose to exercise large government oversight, dictating social liberty, and having central executive power on its own is the exact same thing as the federal government having that kind of power.

Some more conservative-leaning libertarians, also known as paleolibertarians, often express a mixture of those opinions. Despite (or maybe because of) their extreme reverence for the United States Constitution (particularly an originalist reading of the Bill of Rights), these paleolibertarians are rarely elected to office. Cynics have suggested that refusal to provide adequate pork for their district hurts their chances in congressional elections. Other cynics point out that if they don’t win an election in the first place, how can their “porcine provision” skills be tested? Libertarianism seems to function as more of a platform as opposed to an actual cohesive political movement these days, particularly because there is no specific set belief system to unite all libertarians, even within the Libertarian Party. Often times libertarians have proven that they have better chance of being elected when they run as Republican, as were the cases with Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Barry Goldwater, Emperor Trajan, Mike Lee, and another guy who’s name our editor has forgotten. In his defense, it looks he just had an Aleppo moment.

The narrow usage of “libertarian” as a label is also a cause, as some who take moderate libertarian positions are frequently called a “free-market liberal/Democrat” or a “pro-____ rights conservative/Republican” – or even derisive epithets like “libt kiddies.” Often-times, Republicans and reactionary populists appropriate the term for their own usage. So many wingnuts like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck have literally turned many rational people off from the idea of libertarianism, leading many who are not as politically knowledgeable that they are all crazy wingnuts. While this can be the case many times, as some conservatives hate the Republican establishment so much that they want to rebrand themselves as something else, libertarianism has nothing to do with conservatism at all, and it has never been. It just so happens that right-wing fiscal policy is more in line with that of libertarianism. Other than that, libertarians are basically just your average Democrat, but less, as they would put it, “statist”.

Libertarianism is such a broad, yet, at the same time, almost stupidly simple concept to understand. Like anarchism and authoritarianism, it only describes a general opinion on how the government should be run on an institutional level. It is very similar to Atheism in that way. Atheism is not a religion. Very similarly, libertarianism is not one set ideological alignment. When one thinks of an atheist, a certain image may come to mind. One such applicable one would be the “common neckbeard”, clearly representing the loudest atheist community. A respected scientist like Richard Dawkins may also very well come to mind. That being said, Atheists come in many different forms, with drastically different social and political beliefs, such as these types of folks: Alt-Right Loony Tunes, right-wing shitposters, conspiracy theorists, edgy middle schoolers, antifeminists, science nerds, secular humanists, your amiable next-door neighbor, smug comedians, philosophers, intellectuals, progressivists, someone’s drunk uncle, and radical progressive types. Atheism, to reiterate, is not a religious ideology like some would have you believe. The only thing that unites Atheists is a common lack of belief in a deity of any kind. There is nothing more to it.

Libertarians come in many shapes and sizes too, and from different ideological backgrounds. There are conservative libertarians, fiscal right-wingers, more conspiracists, classical liberals, leftists, angry middle-aged white men, college kids who just want to smoke weed, registered Republicans, registered Democrats, registered Libertarians, social democrats, Christians, Atheists, progressives, non-progressives, objectivists, utilitarians, and even Marxists. The one thing that unites libertarianism is the common belief in the illegitimacy of the state, but a grounded realization that government is still a necessity as it relates to upholding the social order, all of such being centered around the idea that each and every human being is equal and has the right to pursue a means to exercise personal freedom.

Ayn Rand, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan walk into a bar. The bartender serves them tainted alcohol because there are no regulations. They die.

Many libertarians found the political philosophy through one of a small number of influential fiction books. The works of novelist Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged) and Robert Heinlein (The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress) are often cited. For example, many libertarians in the United States might quote Rand’s Atlas Shrugged when they speak of government:

The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law.

Not that confusing, right?

Other libertarians may point to such works of non-fiction as Libertarianism in One Lesson by David Bergland, which posit a clear set of axioms and then delineate how society might follow them and how it would be best for everyone.

Many are the ideological descendants of “classical liberals” (by definition, they could arguably be considered more liberal than the American left) though many “classical liberals” who do not identify as libertarians per se were decidedly more moderate than the current U.S. libertarian movement in that they were willing to accept more government regulations and taxes.[21] In light of this, modern libertarianism can be better described as a radical offshoot of classical liberalism. Classical liberals tend to be more intellectual than libertarians, and often align themselves more with the two major parties for practical reasons. They tend to be centre-left to centre-right, and instead of adhering to the “philosophies” of Ayn Rand, they are more attracted to Utilitarianism, particularly the teachings suggested by John Stuart Mill, a liberal, an abolitionist, a feminist, and atheist who supported gay rights…over a century before the Civil Rights movement even began. They believe that all men and women are essentially good, and that the collective and the individual are both equally important. Taxes are important, and the greater good trumps individual happiness, since happiness can be collective. For instance, a classical liberal would most likely dislike something like Obamacare due to its statist implications, but they would be gladly willing to sacrifice a portion of their wealth to ensure that those who cannot afford healthcare could live a happy and healthy life that they are entitled to. After all, are we not all entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

Internet libertarians have been compared to teenagers through the use of the argumentum ad cellarium fallacy. As an anonymous commenter on Charlie Stross’s Bitcoin rant put it, their concerns precisely mirror those of privileged teenagers:[22]

And if you grow up in your parent’s [sic] basement, then you are shaped by an environment where the fundamental constraints on what you want to do are shaped neither by scarcity nor malignance, but by genuine good intent. Your relatives probably don’t want you to spend all day smoking pot and playing video games; in some cases they will over-estimate just how much of a bad thing that is. And even if they are right, it’s not like anyone facing such hectoring is going to admit it.

Pretty much every libertarian position can be understood in that frame of restrictive but benevolent authority being the root of all ‘real’ problems. It’s a rare parent who literally tortures their kids, so torture is, at best, not a ‘real’ issue, not a priority. But many make them do stuff for their health, so mandatory health insurance is a big deal. Pretty much no parents kill their child with drones, many read their diaries. And so on.

So to libertarians, Bitcoin is like wages from a fast food job as opposed to an allowance; lets you buy what you want without someone else having a veto. Only money that doesn’t judge you can be considered entirely yours…

As described below in the section “Alleged racism”, libertarianism, in practice, does not denote an anti-government philosophy as much as a co-optation of left-wing anti-authoritarianism as a means of justifying (or simply denying) the social and economic hierarchies under capitalism under the guise of freedom.

Murray Rothbard famously bragged that the movement stole the word “libertarian” from anarcho-socialists, something left-libertarians like Noam Chomsky have confirmed.

This is evidenced by the fact some of the most rabid sexists, racists and other bigots claim to be libertarians. This can range from anti-feminism and sexism under the guise of economic analysis (women choose lower-paying jobs!), justifying racist and ableist discrimination or, most commonly, classism and poor-shaming.

While a preference for maximum personal freedom is pretty much universal throughout most of the political spectrum (though less so on the fringes), libertarianism presents several difficulties:

Simply put, in the real world, they’re actually property privileges, not property rights.

Systems that attempt to boil themselves down to “a few simple rules” are seldom actually simple; for example, ancient Judaism’s Deuteronomic reforms started out as just about half of the modern book of Deuteronomy, but eventually grew to encompass the whole Torah, large swaths of the rest of the Jewish Bible,[34] and ultimately to the vast body of commentary known as the Talmud. Esperanto, though defined in only sixteen grammatical rules, is actually quite a complex language, since its rules are defined in direct relation to established rules in Indo-European linguistics. Even some sports particularly golf have a strong element of common law in their rule systems.

There is essentially no guarantee that a society built on a libertarian legal structure would remain that way without redeveloping some sort of common law structure, or even a statutory structure that codifies all precedents. Given that most societies governed by rule of law already have this, it’s hard to see what would be accomplished other than a massive reinvention of the wheel.[35]

The United States, for instance, is technically almost a truly libertarian country, even today, since the only laws it has are to “adjudicate between free men.” Starting with a base, at least at the federal level (after the collapse of the Articles of Confederation) of a fairly simple Constitution, and some Roman and English common law, the country’s government has evolved as a balance between virtually total liberty, and adjudicating the inevitable conflicts that arise between free men (or, in the case of drug laws, sodomy laws, etc., between the government and one somewhat unfree man). This adjudication has taken the form both of legislation to deal with issues that arose, and judicial analysis of the application of such legislation. Of course, 240 years offers a lot of opportunity for “free men” to need adjudication, so now, to self-styled “libertarians,” the results look needlessly complicated. Such is life in the real world.

Typically libertarians argue that people should be free to do whatever they like as long as it doesn’t hurt others. While this idea may seem very simple at first glance, the problem is that what “hurts” people and what doesn’t is very nuanced. For instance, it is common for libertarians to oppose laws which reduce air pollution even though the latter can have a severe impact on the health of others, even if it is assumed that global warming is a gummint conspiracy to justify raising our taxes; more so than many direct acts of violence. It is also common for them to oppose laws mandating car drivers to wear seatbelts, even though seeing a person die as the result of not wearing one can have a major psychological effect on onlookers. Similarly, they may oppose anti-smoking campaigns as an unwarranted intrusion on personal liberty, while ignoring the financial burden imposed by smoking-related illnesses on both private insurance and taxpayer-funded health care. [36]

While libertarians all generally agree on the premise of the Non-Aggression Axiom, there are internal rifts and disagreement over what extent the Non-Aggression Axiom applies to. On the one hand, there are the Libertarian Party types (colloquially called “minarchists”) who take a position of advocating minimal government, and on the other there are the market anarchists who believe that all the services the government provides are unjust monopolies, which the free market can handle better if let go of by the state. Market anarchists can be split into two groups, “anarcho-mutualists” who believe in a free market but not in capitalism or class, and anarcho-capitalists who believe in completely unregulated capitalism.

There is usually little room in between these two, but even then, there are still different branches within these umbrella terms. On the Minarchist side of the libertarian ideology, there are paleolibertarians, who advocate a strong return to the Constitution and are somewhat conservative in their arguments to preserve moral law, much like the Old Right paleoconservatives. Ron Paul, who is often viewed as a libertarian, would more fit the paleoconservative/libertarian framework. Additionally, there exist the geo-libertarians (who advocate simply a tax on all land),[37] neo-libertarians (often regarded not in any sense as libertarians, as their political views conflict with the very principles of the Non-Aggression Axiom – they defend a mixture of traditional libertarian ideas with views more commonly grounded in neoconservatism, such as American exceptionalism and military interventionism and action to promote America’s superiority in the international community), and other branches with their own nuances. On the anarchist side of the spectrum, things tend to be more homogeneous, with the major disagreements usually only amounting to how to achieve a libertarian society and solutions to ethical dilemmas.

This ideological division occurs not only externally in political theory, but philosophically as well. On the one side, there are the deontological natural rights theorists (Murray Rothbard being the most prominent advocate), and on the other are the utilitarian libertarians (David D. Friedman is often the most associated with this view). A few minority nihilists and radical subjectivists exist within these circles, but these views are often seen to be in conflict with the general premises laid out by the Non-Aggression Axiom.

The word “libertarianism” was used before the current usage came about to refer to anarchists, who are against hierarchies brought about by stratified classes and a state controlled by the wealthy elites, and thus oppose capitalism. Many call themselves ‘libertarian socialists’ a philosophy championed by Noam Chomsky. The use of “libertarianism” to describe anarchy dates back to the late 1850s, with Le Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social being the name of a journal published by anarchist Joseph Dejacque. The term ‘libertarian communism’ originated in the 1880s, when the French anarchist congress adopted it. As late as 1954, a largely anarcho-syndicalist movement named The Libertarian League was set up in the US.

The current Libertarian Party in the US only came into being in early 1970s, well over 100 years after anarchists had begun using the term to describe themselves. In the US, to quote Murray Bookchin:

As late as the 1990s, the Libertarian Labor Review newspaper promoted anarcho-syndicalism while still using the libertarian label. Samuel Edward Konkin III labeled his underground-economy based “agorism” as left-libertarianism, while claiming influence from right-libertarians like Rothbard. The term may also accurately describe Karl Hess, the former Goldwater Republican and Cold Warrior who aligned himself with Murray Rothbard for a few years, then swung to the hard left during the late 1960s and 1970s and joined the New Left.[38]

There are a number of areas where the more “rational” libertarians and liberals have overlapping concerns, notably, opposition to corporate welfare and the military-industrial complex, and valuing personal liberty and freedom of speech.

There is a good deal of overlap between these groups, but the hardliners tend to lavish hate on each other:

Deontological anarchists that adhere to the teachings of Murray Rothbard. Most anarcho-capitalists adhere to the Austrian School, though David D. Friedman opts for the utilitarian Chicago School, despite not being an anarcho-capitalist himself. A few others follow the pure pacifism of Robert LeFevre. Modern examples include Adam Kokesh, who claims the only real anarchists are anarcho-capitalists, and Walter Block of the LvMI.

Samuel Edward Konkin III’s philosophy of agorism was described by Konkin himself as a particularly concentrated strain of Rothbardianism, but Konkin and adherents consider(ed) themselves part of the libertarian left. This may be fair, since Konkin coinages like Kochtopus have entered the general leftist lexicon. The main problem with anarcho-capitalism is that it advocates for getting rid of the government entirely, which could, hypothetically, lead to corporations and trusts becoming so large that they would ultimately become stand-ins for the state, therefore bringing everything back to square one. While their support of the free market is compatible with many other libertarian circles, this particular possibility puts anarcho-capitalism at odds with most other groups from an ideological perspective, as libertarianism is, at its core, anti-state. Additionally, actual libertarians believe in some degree of government, whereas ancaps do not believe in government at all.

Also known as Novacrats, these folks are the more utilitarian of the bunch and usually associated more with the Chicago school than the Austrian school. The term “Beltway” is used as a pejorative by the hardline anarchists, minarchists, and deontological types to paint them as sell-outs because they’ve gotten some traction in DC. Prominent Beltway types include Thomas Sowell, Nick Gillespie and the late Milton Friedman.

There exists a very disproportionate amount of libertarians in anti-feminist communities and vice versa. While there are certainly many libertarian feminists (like Cathy Reisenwitz and Sharon Presley), they’re outnumbered many, many times to one by their opponents.

One of the possible reasons for this is the libertarian belief that the gender pay gap is a myth and that gender discrimination is impossible because capitalism is perfect. Another would be the kind of faux anti-authoritarianism many libertarians espouse, namely that using state intervention to lessen the impact of gendered hierarchies that arise under capitalism (affirmative action, fighting the pink tax, woman-specific welfare measures, etc.) is the devil but using military force to kill anti-capitalists or to steal indigenous land is totally justified. Moreover, libertarianism’s recruiting base (young privileged white dudes on the internet) is typically chock-full of limerent, sexually frustrated losers that made up most of Gamergate’s membership.

Paul Elam and Christopher Cantwell are stereotypical examples of this in action. Their anti-feminist views are justified using libertarian arguments. The fact libertarianism seems to constantly espouse every single anti-feminist issue under the sun (mansplaining the pink tax, denying the gender pay gap, spouting reactionary talking points about rape culture, etc.) indicates the cross-poolination is pretty thorough.

Usually conspiracy nuts, survivalists, sovereign citizen types, or gold bugs who think the gummint is out to get them. There are white supremacists who want to bring back “states’ rights” to resurrect segregation, and dominionists who want to resurrect official state religions. Also includes fans of the seasteading, micronation, and vonu movements, “life extension,” Galambosianism, Liberty Dollars, and pretty much anything from the Loompanics book catalog. May suffer from an excess of colloidal silver in the bloodstream. Alex Jones is the epitome of the crank magnet libertarian.

There are those who take up the mantle of libertarianism because it aligns with their opposition to some federal law they don’t like. On the more benign end, this includes activists for sex workers and cannabis legalization, who typically overlap with the below-mentioned civil libertarians, while on the crankier end, one may find polygamists, woo-meisters, pedophiles, and peddlers of some form of illegal quackery, who can more often be found with the crank magnets. Another example of this would be college kids who claim to be libertarian just because they want weed to be legal.

A term coined by Lew Rockwell. Their policies are mostly the same as the “Taft Republicans” of the Old Right. They are advocates of the Austrian school, originalism, states’ rights, and strict Constitutionalism, and are generally socially conservative despite opposing the drug war and “bedroom laws.” Ron Paul falls into this camp. Many conspiracy nuts are also paleolibertarians, such as the almighty Alex Jones mentioned above, Texe Marrs, and Mark Dice.

Largely the venerable predecessors of the modern libertarian movement, who were an influence on Rothbard but rejected anarchism, influenced Rand but rejected orthodox Objectivism, etc. Minarchists today are not all necessarily influenced by Rand, but they tend to believe in the concept of a “Night-watchman State”, which is defined as a radically minimalistic government that only exists to provide three basic public services: law enforcement, a legal system, and a small standing army to exist for defense purposes only. While many of today’s minarchists tend to favor capitalism, the system is also applicable to socialist thought. Karl Marx could also accurately be described as a minarchist, as he believed that the government should only exist for minimal protection and the distribution of the wealth.

Usually generic deontological minarchist libertarians, the only difference being that they identify themselves with the tenets of Objectivism. Rand herself hated the Libertarian Party and denounced them as poseurs.[39] Alan Greenspan is probably the most famous Randroid, and we all know what happened there. Paul Ryan is also technically a Randroid, but he is extremely inconsistent. Despite his claims to be influenced by Rand, she would have probably laughed at him. He is literally an embodiment of Republican statism.

Generally Silicon Valley inhabitants who attempt to apply hacker culture to politics. Lots of overlap with techno-utopian movements like transhumanism and Singularitarianism. Also overlaps with the seasteading, life extension, and digital-currency crank magnets. See also Eric S. Raymond, Bitcoin, and Anonymous. Ironically, technological leaps have made surveillance of citizens easier than ever before in human history.

Their true ideological motivations are unknown, but they use the language of the “free market” to shill for corporations that don’t want to deal with regulations or taxes. They can usually be found at some DC think tank cranking out bogus research while being bankrolled by Koch Industries or Exxon. Steve Milloy is a prime example.

People who say they are libertarians, but dutifully pull the lever for most anyone with an “R” after their name (not, however, for Ron Paul) every election. In between elections they shill for military interventionism, and attack liberals but never conservatives for being enemies of liberty. And a lot of Al Gore bashing. Their idea of a “libertarian Republican” is Rudy Giuliani. Their only real claim to being libertarians is their irreverent attitude, but this really just boils down to being a jerk for the sake of it. Glenn Reynolds and Matt Drudge have made a lucrative career pushing their buttons.

Those whose main attraction to libertarianism is civil liberties of the ACLU sort, anti-war issues, gay rights, marijuana, privacy, police abuses, women’s lib, conscription, and so forth. They may view liberals as unreliable on these issues, or they may hold conservative economic views, and prefer to align with libertarians. The Cato Institute used to emphasize outreach to them in its early years via Inquiry magazine and The Libertarian Review. Today, Radley Balko, Conor Friedersdorf, and Carol Moore might be prominent examples, as was (until his recent death) American Indian Movement activist Russell Means. In Europe, these types are typically associated with pirate politics, though a few mainstream libertarians like Johan Norberg could be included. Along with classical liberals, they are arguably the most reasonable out of the bunch. Civil libertarians do not always have to be classical liberals or minarchists, as social democrats like Bernie Sanders (who is not a socialist) can be described as such.

Those for whom the Libertarian Party and the libertarian movement are one and the same thing. Ideologically suspect to the more hard-core, they differ from Beltway libertarians primarily in that they prefer to throw all their effort into building the Libertarian Party instead of trying to get cred inside the Beltway. They typically want to trim and gut the party platform to attract more people, and/or disseminate an oversimplified version of the libertarian message in the name of “effective communication.” Fond of using the World’s Smallest Political Quiz and other materials from the Advocates for Self-Government. See Michael Cloud, Carla Howell, former Alaska state representative Dick Randolph, 1980 LP presidential nominee Ed Clark, and 2013 Virginia gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis.

Usually refers to fans of Ron Paul, who express their rabid support for him through the Internet. More recently, it has come to refer to irritating “Internet libertarians” in general who find a home for themselves on certain Internet sites, especially YouTube, and proceed to “upvote” everything that agrees with their worldview while “downvoting” anyone who disagrees with it en masse. Any site with an upvote/downvote system (i.e. Urban Dictionary, ABC News hell, it’s easier to list sites they haven’t taken over at this point) is up for grabs for these people, and there tends to be heavy overlap with the crank magnets, Austrian schoolers, and, oddly, the online MRA movement. When not shilling for Ron Paul, being conspiracy nuts, or just being unbelievably self-righteous in general their favorite pastimes usually include rambling about Barack Obama, excessive quote mining of Paul Krugman (and it’s always Krugman), and using snarl words such as “fascist,” “sheeple,” “statist,” etc.

Refers to conservatives, neocons, Christian rightists, etc., who have no clue what libertarianism is, but simply identify as “libertarian” because it “sounds more hip,” or to avoid association with the Republican Party. Many of these fake libertarians think that anti-federalism and libertarianism are the same thing (e.g. a Christian fundamentalist “libertarian” who complains about the Nanny state and cries for smaller federal government so that Alabama can criminalize homosexuality, pornography, and abortion on the state level). Another example would be right-wing talk radio host Neal Boortz who identifies as a libertarian, but supported the federal government spying on anti-Iraq war protesters.

Some self-proclaimed libertarians seem to espouse some racist views, and that often gives them a bad reputation. [40] Murray Rothbard,[41] although of Jewish origin himself, has been suggested to have possibly sympathized with white nationalists, paleoconservatives, and anti-state right-wing populists, many of whom claimed to be “libertarian”. However, paleoconservatism is not a libertarian philosophy at all, and Rothbard was not a libertarian, but an anarcho-capitalist who really did nothing to advance the libertarian movement that was influenced by folks like Friedman.[42].

By pure definition, libertarianism is the least compatible political ideology in the history of free society with fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, given that totalitarians teach that individuals only have worth if they serve the State, while libertarianism is opposed to the state. However, there have been those who seem to espouse both. Certain segments of the alt-right identify as libertarian yet also express sympathy for Nazism or neo-Nazism; the website “The Right Stuff” (which prominently features pictures of Hitler and broadcasts a radio show called The Daily Shoah, whose guests have included Christopher Cantwell) is one notable example. Another would be the Holocaust Denier and goat blood drinking pagan extraordinaire Augustus Sol Invictus, who actually ran on a libertarian ticket in Florida for the Senate. That being said, they are incredibly inconsistent in their beliefs

Quite a few libertarians hold to a paranoid or conspiracist worldview, which in some cases may include Holocaust denial. This, as well as the relationship between libertarianism and the gun culture, may partly explain the appeal of Nazi or Nazi-like ideas to some self-proclaimed libertarians.

Much like Marxism (which holds that a “dictatorship of the proletariat” is a necessary transitional stage between the capitalist status quo and true, stateless communism), it is also possible that some people might see libertarianism as the desired end state but believe that fascism (and the genocide of “undesirables”) is necessary as a transitional stage. That being said, most libertarians simply believe in an immediate substitution of the state, and it is extremely easy to identify the wingnut factions of the movement. In other words, it is no different than every other political ideology. Situation normal.

The following institutions and groups are closely or loosely associated with modern libertarianism:

Excerpt from:

Libertarianism – RationalWiki

2018 Platform | Libertarian Party

We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual. We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.

Read the rest here:

2018 Platform | Libertarian Party