What is a libertarian? | Libertarianism.org

Posted: January 9, 2021 at 3:07 pm

Across the years and around the world, no single issue unites libertarians more than war, and no other issue is more important. Alibertarian despises war. In fact, one could view the whole libertarian project as opposition to war and militarism: Alibertarian disapproves of using violence to induce other people to do what one wants. Furthermore, alibertarian is hostile to the states attempts to impose military regimentation on society as awhole, treating citizens like soldiersorganized and trained by the state to effect the states ends.

The indirect effects of warmaking abroad are often inimical to liberty at home. The size and power of the state, which grow during war time, rarely return to prewar levels after the fighting stops.

Because wars inevitably create widespread death and destruction of property, threaten civil liberties, and encourage nationalist thinking instead of individualism and cosmopolitanism, libertarians treat war as, at best, an absolute last resort. Libertarians like Christopher A. Preble have cogently argued that alibertarian foreign policymust be restrained, shunning wars of choice, and that the military should be of an appropriately small size for that purpose. Some libertarians, like Bryan Caplan, think there are good reasons to oppose any and all wars, and many libertarians are inspired by the ideas and deeds of pacifists like Leo Tolstoy or William Lloyd Garrison.

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What is a libertarian? | Libertarianism.org

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