Sunday, January 04, 2009

What Is A Libertarian, Anyway?

Over the years (over 40 of 'em, in my case), I've bumped into advocates of quite a number of varying opinions as to just what libertarianism is. I've run into even more opinions of what libertarianism is by non-libertarians. Particularly, by conservatives.

We're crazy, drug-addled ne'er do wells who only want drugs legalized.....and those individuals do, in fact, exist. We're anarchists, desiring to tear down all the country's institutions and traditions.....those exist, as well. There are conservatives, who have moved away from the GOP in favor of capitalism and less intrusion by government into our lives.....I've spoken to many. There are leftists who've studied a little economics and see the flaws in the Democrat welfare state......yes, indeed. There are would-be mountain men, who just don't want to be involved at all, and others who would disappear into the Rockies if they only dared. Perhaps there are some living that way, even as we meeker fellows contemplate how to minimize local, state and federal theft of an ever larger portion of our productivity.

Libertarianism doesn't necessarily embrace every one of these ways of life. If I may, allow me to direct you toward an essay that's going to be the first chapter of a book by L Neil Smith and his daughter Rylla Cathryn Smith. The essay, called What Libertarians Believe, can be found here.

Since Mr Smith is the individual who, with the exception of Ayn Rand, has influenced me more than anyone else with his work, I don't hesitate to make his ideas known, to the best of my ability.

Libertarian is very simple, really. It's an acknowledgment of the sovereignty of the individual. It's a recognition that each of us owns his life and all the products thereof. It's simply an absence of initiated force.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is not a libertarian.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California


In my haste to finish this entry and hit the sack last night, I neglected to mention what Smith calls the Zero Aggression Principle, (ZAP) which was first (in Smith's recollection) penned by Thomas Jefferson, and in mine, by Ayn Rand. ZAP is central to any real definition of libertarianism and required for any kind of a rational society. See Smith's essay, in which he explains ZAP more fully.


The Wine Commonsewer said...

Anyone who tells you otherwise is not a libertarian.

According to the drinking rules at Hit & Run, any time anyone tells someone else they aren't a libertarian everyone gets to drink.


mksviews said...

Thanks for taking the time to try and clear it up.

Col. Hogan said...


Is Reason buying?

RightWingRocker said...

This is a very smart piece, and any real American should be able to consider himself a libertarian by this measure, once all the soul-searching is done.

I do believe, though, that there is room under the unbrella for all conservatives who wish to bring an end to socialism and fascism as they are practiced in this country today.

That's why I call myself a Federalist. We have all seen the concerns of the Antifederalists come to fruition, and now it's time to get us all together under one flag to bring the Republicrats to their knees.

An Obama administration (especially the one that's shaping up - looking way too much like the Clinton-Bush years) seems to be just what the doctor ordered.

Long live freedom!


Lorna said...

This is the nicest thing that happened today: I have found someone who isn't kissing Mr. Obama's ring. What utter relief, what sweet relief, and boy, do I need some support these days with all the blind joy that I see plastered on some sites.

I am not a libertarian, but hey, I am a moderate Republican. Fiscal conservative, national security hawk, and cultural moderate.

Where is Ronald Reagan when I want him!

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