If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early 21st century is organized along libertarian lines?: Michael Lind 
A Libertarian, in the United States, is an individual with right-wing economic beliefs and left-wing social belief. Some ultra-conservatives, such as talk radio host Neil Boortz, pretend they are libertarians so that they can trick Liberals into listening to them for few minutes in hope of converting them to Conservatism. Libertarians are kind of like liberals, except they think they're living in the 18th Century or in the first part of the 20th Century when Ayn Rand lived. They are just more appealing to conservatives. 
For example, a Libertarian believes the United States drinking age should be lowered from 21 to 18.
|This article is part of|
the Political Philosophy
General Overview of Beliefs
Stereotyping the libertarians would be unwise. Different people who see themselves as libertarians disagree with each other as to which freedoms they feel should be allowed and which should be restricted. Libertarians in a general sense agree with the following concepts: 
- Support for Civil Liberties
- Opposition to Coercive Force (defined their way)
- Small Government
- Low Taxes
- Emphasis on Private Property
- Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy (Libertarians may make an exception over self-defense like after 9/11.)
Does Libertarianism give real freedom?
Libertarianism allows for freedom in consensual sex and relationships; it also provides freedom to use self-destructive drugs and the like. In fact, two famous libertarians, Penn and Teller, have advocated legalizing prostitution, illegal drugs, gay marriage, and polyamory, and they have advocated abolishing the FCC. Libertarianism gives freedom in areas that don’t challenge anyone's power, including the power of corporations.
Some Libertarians challenge corporate power by removing the corrupt practice of corporate welfare and privileges issues from corporations to the state. As one example many libertarians object to certain provisions in the 14th amendment which give personhood rights to corporations and LLC's thus shielding misconduct done by the shareholders.
Libertarians and Individual Liberty
Many if not most Libertarians differ from Liberals in their commitment to equal individual Liberty.
- Many Libertarians deny the validity of any attempt to protect group property or rights from encroachment on individual liberty.
- Most Libertarians claim to advocate equal rights under the law, but many Libertarians also recognize the importance of a select group of individuals they call entrepreneurs. Many of those Libertarians actively promote the individual liberty of entrepreneurs over the rights of any other individual or individuals.
- Corruption, as understood by non-libertarians, is not recognized by Libertarians when it pertains to entrepreneurs. Some of these Libertarians see the promotion of the interest of entrepreneurs as a duty.
- In many ways, Libertarianism is a justification of the old pre-republican order of two-tiered society. The top tier in Libertarianism is now entrepreneurs rather than hereditary nobles, but in many cases, it is the same. The superior rights of hereditary nobles are denied, but the rights of these same people are now superior based on their traditions of use of accumulated capital.
Pitfalls of Libertarianism
Libertarians tend to be supporters of unchecked corporate power, depending on just how deep into it they are. That means businesses may force whatever they like onto their employees and those who buy their products. If workers are too weak to fight back against a bullying boss, that's just too bad.
The top 1% of the population has an overwhelming advantage in securing top-level jobs because their mommy and daddy were rich and paid them through school while networking with their corporate friends. Think of it as a lose-win situation, where few achieve victory and many lose out.
Libertarians are squeamish towards those in the lower class reaching their full potential. To them, it would be unethical to provide others in society with the same opportunities the wealthy elite receive. If you're born into poverty and your parents are unable to provide a decent upbringing, sad day for you. Libertarians want to restrict or abolish government protection for those who are struggling financially. Ironically, this restricts freedom for the majority.
- Workers can become totally dependent on employers who can be corrupted by power and become tyrants.
- Big corporations can become tyrants because they can afford far better legal teams than individual consumers or workers can afford. To fight a big corporation you need an organisation on your side, like a Labor union or a consumer protection group.
- Small employers can become tyrants because they are insignificant except to those they harm. There are so many of them that collectively their effect is serious though. Investigative journalists are unlikely to do an exposure of any individual small company. Even if there is an exposure potential consumers and workers are unlikely to come across it.
- Alternatively, family members who aren't earning a salary or a wage become totally dependent on the economic provider/providers in the family. Those who are economically powerful in the family can become tyrants.
- The private sector does good as well as harm and by no means all companies big or small are irresponsible. The Scandinavian nations and other Happy Liberal nations all have mixed economies with relatively small private sectors. Despite this, the public sector and legal restrictions are also needed to prevent the abuses of irresponsible Capitalism.
- People who genuinely believe in freedom sometimes get tricked into supporting libertarianism. In some cases, libertarians genuinely don't realise that they are aiding the wealthy elite in suppressing the majority such as themselves.
Libertarianism is a logically consistent approach to politics based on the moral principle of self-ownership. Each individual has the right to control his or her own body, action, speech, and property. Government's only role is to help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud. Libertarians are open-minded people who want to end the Federal Reserve and legalize marijuana.
In order to understand how one gets from the "moral principles" above to the sort of fanatical proselytizing found in chat rooms and blogs everywhere, it is important to understand how the ideology works from theory to practice. Libertarianism is axiomatic. Note how the above quote touts its “logically consistent approach.” There's a set of rules to be applied to evaluate what is proper, and the outcome given is the answer that is correct in terms of the “moral principle” of the theory. Are the religious thinking connections starting to become evident? The rules are simple and tight enough to produce surprisingly uniform positions compared to common political philosophies.
Libertarians are for "individual rights", and against "force" and "fraud" - just as THEY define it. Their use of these words, however, when examined in detail, is not likely to accord with the common meanings of these terms. What person would proclaim themselves in favor of "force and fraud"? One of the little tricks Libertarians use in debates is to confuse the ordinary sense of these words with the meaning as "terms of art" in Libertarian axioms. They try to set up a situation where if you say you're against "force and fraud", then obviously you must agree with Libertarian ideology since those are the definitions. If you are in favor of "force and fraud", well, isn't that highly immoral? So you're either one of them or some sort of degenerate (note the cultist aspect again), one who doesn't think "force and fraud must be banished from human relationships".
- no person should initiate the use of force against another person.
Taxation is undesirable since the coercive force of the state backs it. Do you agree, or do you disagree, that it is always wrong for one person to initiate force against another? If you disagree, then you disagree with the fundamental concept of libertarianism. On the other hand, if you agree with the proposition, yet you still don't like the conclusions that libertarians draw from it, then we can refocus our attention on the chain of logic that leads to those conclusions and find where you feel the weak link is. From looking at the example above you could say it's an "agree or disagree" where "initiate force" is implied to be the Libertarian definition. And it's justified by the axioms (chain of logic). The idea that Libertarians don't believe in the initiation of force is pure propaganda. They believe in using force as much as anyone else if they think the application is “morally correct.” Most ordinary people who aren't libertarians understand when rich corporations force relatively weak employees to accept bad working conditions of face Unemployment this amounts to coercion and that's just one example of libertarian use of force. “Initiation of force" is a Libertarian term meaning essentially "do something improper according to Libertarian ideology". It isn't even connected much to the actions we normally think of as "force". The question being asked above was really "agree or disagree," that it is always wrong for one person to do something improper according to the libertarian ideology. Of course, we can only make you think this through our own insistence, because as you may notice we don't even support this claim. So a libertarian would not consider this an objection at all. This is the same reason libertarians often ignore other liberal ideas.
Liberals approve of some of the above but vehemently oppose other aspects.
While you might be told Libertarianism is about individual rights and freedom, fundamentally, it's about business. The words "individual rights", in the context of the libertarian ideology means business.
Since governments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights, we oppose all interference by government in the areas of "voluntary" and contractual relations among individuals. That gives powerful corporations the chance to force unfavorable contracts onto weaker parties and the weaker parties don't agree to those contracts voluntarily.
The whole idea of a contract is that the government enforces relations among individuals. The sentence about governments no interfering in so-called voluntary contracts doesn’t make sense. It's conceptually that they oppose all interference by government in the areas of the government enforcing relations among individuals.
The key to understanding this, and to understanding Libertarianism itself, is to realize that their concept of individual freedom is the right to have the state protect the business. Freedom is greatly reduced for ordinary people, the state should protect the business instead of the state protecting the person.
Libertarians claim they are for freedom. In practice, this means freedom for the strong to oppress the weak. For example, labor protection legislation protects ordinary workers against exploitation and arbitrary dismissal. Ordinary people have more freedom when the government protects them against richer and stronger people. Real Liberals aim to give freedom to the majority, not just to a rich minority. Hypocritically libertarians pretend their philosophy is, "If I want to do something it's okay, as long as I don't harm you." In reality, their philosophy is about rich people being free to exploit and harm ordinary people, or, "If I want to do something it's okay, regardless of the consequences that don't involve my fists."
Libertarianism and Conservatism compared
Libertarians are radical in some ways and Conservative in other respects. Libertarianism is about protecting those who are already rich and powerful as is Conservatism.
- Libertarians and Conservatives support each other over trying to reduce taxation for rich people who can afford to pay.
- Libertarians and Conservatives try and deny protection to the poor, weak and powerless as this article has claimed.
- Libertarians and Conservatives want to prevent the state from handling medical care to sick people if they can't afford to pay for it.
- Libertarians and Conservatives both try to prevent the state from protecting those who have been unfortunate for reasons like economic depression and unemployment.
There have been attempts to combine Libertarianism and Social Conservatism. Llewellyn H. Rockwell argued that Libertarians should drop their wish for freedoms that are conventionally restricted and join the conservatives. Notably, he opposed artistic expression that is conventionally restricted. Basically, he was saying, "Become like us and join us." See Paleolibertarianism.
Libertarians value freedom. All too often that means freedom for the strong to oppress the weak. Libertarians value some real freedoms as well. Many Libertarians support the "freedom" of individuals to do some things which Christian Conservatives believe are contrary to God's law. Christian Conservatives can't easily accept that.
- Christian Conservatives want to restrict the sexual freedom individuals have. The only acceptable sexual outlet for them is heterosexual intercourse between married couples. Libertarians want to give individuals far more freedom to determine what they do to their own bodies or what they allow other people to do to their bodies. This applies to sex and other areas. Extreme Libertarians want people to have complete control over their own bodies even if they do silly or destructive things.
- Christian Conservatives want to restrict access to intoxicants like alcohol, cannabis, etc. Libertarians want to give individuals far more freedom to do destructive things to themselves and may overlook the harm intoxicants do, for example to other people, the families of alcoholics and drug addicts can and generally do suffer terribly for example. Strict libertarian philosophy allows individual freedom to be restricted when individuals harm others.
Libertarians are cult members who worship business under the false pretense of loving freedom. Some who call themselves Libertarians are nothing but conservatives who are too embarrassed to say that they're conservative because it sounds old fashioned. Others support radical ideas which Conservatives oppose. The philosophy of libertarianism might be summarized by "If rich people want to do something it's okay, but if you want to oppose rich people, it's not."
Some Historians claim Libertarians were once Liberals but changed the name of their belief system after Liberalism had been co-opted. If this is true, we Liberals will have to admit that Libertarians are our slow cousins who were unable to adapt and evolve.
- Libertarianism’s Achilles’ heel
- Liberals of the past" were against the inheritance of power; in one particular area at least: the absolute monarchies of kings. Libertarian Plutocrats ignore even that.
- While most well-known libertarians like Ayn Rand are deontological libertarians, there are also libertarians with a more consequential philosophy; they may general oppose taxation or regulations on businesses but have exceptions based on common sense, versus opposing taxation or "stealing" regardless of the reason as an almost religious doctrine.
- Ayn Rand
- Austrian school of economics
- Libertarianism in One Lesson
- Penn and Teller
- Ron Paul
- Rand Paul
- Libertarian Party
- Bourbon Democrats