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

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