Libertarianism

Libertarianism

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Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

 that holds individual liberty
Liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

 as the basic moral
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

 principle
Principle
A principle is a law or rule that has to be, or usually is to be followed, or can be desirably followed, or is an inevitable consequence of something, such as the laws observed in nature or the way that a system is constructed...

 of society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view. Libertarianism includes diverse beliefs, all advocating strict limits to government activity and sharing the goal of maximizing individual liberty and political freedom.

Philosopher Roderick T. Long defines libertarianism as "any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals", whether "voluntary association" takes the form of the free market or of communal co-operatives. According to the U.S. Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party (United States)
The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

, libertarianism is the advocacy of a government that is funded voluntarily and limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence.

Overview


Libertarian schools of thought differ over the degree to which the state should be reduced. Anarchists advocate complete elimination of the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

. Minarchists
Minarchism
Minarchism has been variously defined by sources. It is a libertarian capitalist political philosophy. In the strictest sense, it maintains that the state is necessary and that its only legitimate function is the protection of individuals from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud, and...

 advocate a state which is limited to protecting its citizens from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud. Some libertarians go further, such as by supporting minimal public assistance for the poor. Additionally, some schools are supportive of private property rights in the ownership of unappropriated land and natural resources while others reject such private ownership and often support common ownership
Common ownership
Common ownership is a principle according to which the assets of an enterprise or other organization are held indivisibly rather than in the names of the individual members or by a public institution such as a governmental body. It is therefore in contrast to public ownership...

 instead. Another distinction can be made among libertarians who support private ownership and those that support common ownership of the means of production
Means of production
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth — along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital...

; the former generally supporting a capitalist economy, the latter a libertarian socialist economic system. In some parts of the world, the term "libertarianism" is synonymous with Left anarchism
Left anarchism
Left anarchism or left-wing anarchism refer to left-wing forms of anarchism. It posits a future society in which private property is replaced by reciprocity and non-hierarchical society...

.

Libertarians can broadly be characterized as holding four ethical views: consequentialism, deontological theories, contractarianism, and class-struggle normative beliefs. The main divide is between consequentialist libertarianism
Consequentialist libertarianism
Consequentialist libertarianism refers to the view that liberty leads to favorable consequences such as prosperity, efficiency, or peace, and for that reason should be supported, advocated, and maximized...

—which is support for a large degree of "liberty" because it leads to favorable consequences, such as prosperity or efficiency—and deontological libertarianism
Deontological libertarianism
Deontological libertarianism refers to the view that all acts of initiation of force and fraud should be opposed because they are always immoral regardless of the effects of engaging in them...

 (also known as "rights-theorist libertarianism," "natural rights libertarianism," or "libertarian moralism"), which is a philosophy based on belief in moral self-ownership
Self-ownership
Self-ownership is the concept of property in one's own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to be the exclusive controller of his own body and life. According to G...

 and opposition to "initiation of force
Initiation of force
The initiation of force is the start, or beginning, of the use of physical and/or legal coercion, violence, or restraint. This is to be distinguished from retaliatory force and violence...

" and fraud. Others combine a hybrid of consequentialist and deontologist thinking. Another view, contractarian libertarianism
Social contract
The social contract is an intellectual device intended to explain the appropriate relationship between individuals and their governments. Social contract arguments assert that individuals unite into political societies by a process of mutual consent, agreeing to abide by common rules and accept...

, holds that any legitimate authority of government derives not from the consent of the governed, but from contract or mutual agreement, though this can be seen as reductible to consequentialism or deontologism depending on what grounds contracts are justified. Some Libertarian Socialists with backgrounds influenced by Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 reject deontological and consequential approaches and use normative class-struggle methodologies rooted in Hegelian thought
Historical materialism
Historical materialism is a methodological approach to the study of society, economics, and history, first articulated by Karl Marx as "the materialist conception of history". Historical materialism looks for the causes of developments and changes in human society in the means by which humans...

 to justify direct action
Direct action
Direct action is activity undertaken by individuals, groups, or governments to achieve political, economic, or social goals outside of normal social/political channels. This can include nonviolent and violent activities which target persons, groups, or property deemed offensive to the direct action...

 in pursuit of liberty.

In the United States, the term libertarian is commonly associated with those who have conservative
Conservatism
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 positions on economic issues
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 and left-wing
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 positions on social issues
Social issues
Social issues are controversial issues which relate to people's personal lives and interactions. Social issues are distinguished from economic issues...

.

Etymology


The use of the word "libertarian" to describe a set of political positions can be tracked to the French cognate, libertaire, which was coined in 1857 by French anarchist Joseph Déjacque
Joseph Déjacque
Joseph Déjacque was a French anarcho-communist poet and writer. He sought to abolish "personal property, property in land, buildings, workshops, shops, property in anything that is an instrument of work, production or consumption."Déjacque was the first to employ the term libertarian in a...

 who used the term to distinguish his libertarian communist
Anarchist communism
Anarchist communism is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, markets, money, private property, and capitalism in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers' councils with...

 approach from the mutualism
Mutualism (economic theory)
Mutualism is an anarchist school of thought that originates in the writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who envisioned a society where each person might possess a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labor in the free market...

 advocated by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French politician, mutualist philosopher and socialist. He was a member of the French Parliament, and he was the first person to call himself an "anarchist". He is considered among the most influential theorists and organisers of anarchism...

. Hence libertarian has been used by some as a synonym for left-wing anarchism since the 1890s. Libertarian socialists
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, such as Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 and Colin Ward
Colin Ward
Colin Ward was a British anarchist writer. He has been called "one of the greatest anarchist thinkers of the past half century, and a pioneering social historian." -Life:...

, assert that many still consider the term libertarianism a synonym of anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 in countries other than the US.

Origins


During the 18th century Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, "liberal" ideas flourished in Europe and North America. Libertarians of various schools were influenced by classical liberal ideas. The term libertarian
Libertarianism (metaphysics)
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. In particular, libertarianism, which is an incompatibilist position, argues that free will is logically incompatible with a...

 in a metaphysical or philosophical sense was first used by late-Enlightenment free-thinkers
Freethought
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas...

 to refer to those who believed in free will
Free will
"To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

, as opposed to determinism
Determinism
Determinism is the general philosophical thesis that states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen. There are many versions of this thesis. Each of them rests upon various alleged connections, and interdependencies of things and...

. The first recorded use was in 1789 by William Belsham
William Belsham
William Belsham was an English political writer and historian, noted as a supporter of the Whig Party and its principles. In 1789 he coined the term libertarian in a discussion of free will and in opposition to "necessitarian" views...

 in a discussion of free will and in opposition to "necessitarian" (or determinist) views.

The first anarchist journal to use the term “libertarian” was La Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Socialand it was published in New York City between 1858 and 1861 by French anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque. "The next recorded use of the term was in Europe, when “libertarian communism” was used at a French regional anarchist Congress at Le Havre (16-22 November, 1880). January the following year saw a French manifesto issued on “Libertarian or Anarchist Communism.” Finally, 1895 saw leading anarchists Sébastien Faure
Sébastien Faure
Sébastien Faure was a French anarchist . He was a main proponent of the anarchist organizational form known as synthesis anarchism.- Biography :Before becoming a free-thinker, he was a seminarist...

 and Louise Michel
Louise Michel
Louise Michel was a French anarchist, school teacher and medical worker. She often used the pseudonym Clémence and was also known as the red virgin of Montmartre...

 publish La Libertaire in France." The word stems from the French word libertaire, and was used to evade the French ban on anarchist publications. In this tradition, the term "libertarianism" in "libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

" is generally used as a synonym for anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

, which some say is the original meaning of the term; hence "libertarian socialism" is equivalent to "socialist anarchism" to these scholars. In the context of the European socialist movement, libertarian has conventionally been used to describe those who opposed state socialism, such as Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russian revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists,...

. However, the association of socialism with libertarianism predates that of capitalism, and many anti-authoritarians still decry what they see as a mistaken association of capitalism with libertarianism in the United States.

Twentieth century


During the early 20th century modern liberalism in the United States began to take a more state-oriented approach to economic regulation. While conservatism in Europe continued to mean conserving hierarchical class structures through state control of society and the economy, some conservatives in the United States began to refer to conserving traditions of liberty. This was especially true of the Old Right
Old Right (United States)
The Old Right was a conservative faction in the United States that opposed both New Deal domestic programs and U.S. entry into World War II. Many members of this faction were associated with the Republicans of the interwar years led by Robert Taft, but some were Democrats...

, who opposed the New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 and U.S. military interventions in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Those who held to the earlier liberal views began to call themselves market liberals
Market liberalism
The term market liberalism is used in two distinct meanings.Especially in the United States, the term is often used as a synonym to classical liberalism...

, classic liberals
Classical liberalism
Classical liberalism is the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets....

 or libertarians to distinguish themselves. The Austrian School
Austrian School
The Austrian School of economics is a heterodox school of economic thought. It advocates methodological individualism in interpreting economic developments , the theory that money is non-neutral, the theory that the capital structure of economies consists of heterogeneous goods that have...

 of economics, influenced by Frédéric Bastiat
Frédéric Bastiat
Claude Frédéric Bastiat was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly. He was notable for developing the important economic concept of opportunity cost.-Biography:...

 and later by Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises was an Austrian economist, philosopher, and classical liberal who had a significant influence on the modern Libertarian movement and the "Austrian School" of economic thought.-Biography:-Early life:...

, also had an impact on what is now right-libertarianism
Right-libertarianism
Right-libertarianism names several related libertarian political philosophies which support capitalism. The term is typically used to differentiate privatist based forms of libertarianism from Left-libertarianism; which generally supports forms of economic democracy and...

.

In the 1950s many with "Old Right" or classical liberal beliefs in the United States began to describe themselves as "libertarian." Arizona United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

's right-libertarian leaning challenge to authority also influenced the US libertarian movement.

During the 1960s, the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 divided right-libertarians, anarchist libertarians
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, and conservatives. Right-libertarians and left-libertarians opposed to the war, joined the draft resistance
Draft dodger
Draft evasion is a term that refers to an intentional failure to comply with the military conscription policies of the nation to which he or she is subject...

 and peace movement
Peace movement
A peace movement is a social movement that seeks to achieve ideals such as the ending of a particular war , minimize inter-human violence in a particular place or type of situation, often linked to the goal of achieving world peace...

s and began founding their own publications, like Murray Rothbard
Murray Rothbard
Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

's The Libertarian Forum and organizations like the Radical Libertarian Alliance and the Society for Individual Liberty
International Society for Individual Liberty
The International Society for Individual Liberty or ISIL is a non-profit, non-partisan libertarian educational group encouraging activism in libertarian and individual rights areas by the 'freely chosen strategies' of its members. Its history dates back to 1969 as the Society for Individual...

.

In 1971, a small group of Americans led by David Nolan formed the U.S. Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party (United States)
The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

. Attracting former Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, Republicans
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 and independents
Independent (voter)
An independent voter, those who register as an unaffiliated voter in the United States, is a voter of a democratic country who does not align him- or herself with a political party...

, the party has run a presidential candidate
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 every election year since 1972. Over the years, dozens of capitalism-supporting libertarian political parties have been formed worldwide. Educational organizations like the Center for Libertarian Studies
Center for Libertarian Studies
The Center for Libertarian Studies was a libertarian and anarcho-capitalist oriented educational organization founded in 1976 by Murray Rothbard and Burton Blumert, which grew out of the Libertarian Scholars Conferences...

 and the Cato Institute
Cato Institute
The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remains president and CEO, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the largest privately held...

 were formed in the 1970s, and others have been created since then.

Right-libertarianism gained a significant measure of recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 professor Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

's Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Anarchy, State, and Utopia is a work of political philosophy written by Robert Nozick in 1974. This minarchist book was the winner of the 1975 National Book Award...

in 1974. The book won a National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 in 1975. Nozick disavowed some of his theory late in life. Academics as well as proponents of the free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 perspectives note that free-market capitalist libertarianism has been successfully propagated beyond the United States since the 1970s via think tanks and political parties.

Libertarian philosophies


See also :Category:Libertarianism by form.


Libertarian philosophies are divided among three main distinctions: whether the morality of actions are determined consequentially
Consequentialism
Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct...

 or deontologically
Deontological ethics
Deontological ethics or deontology is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules. It is sometimes described as "duty" or "obligation" or "rule" -based ethics, because rules "bind you to your duty"...

, whether or not private property
Private property
Private property is the right of persons and firms to obtain, own, control, employ, dispose of, and bequeath land, capital, and other forms of property. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by...

 is legitimate, and whether or not the state is legitimate.

Consequentialist / deontological distinction


Consequentialist libertarians defend liberty on the grounds its consequences are better than those of the lack of it. Deontological libertarians hold that libertarians must defend liberty on principle because aggression
Non-aggression principle
The non-aggression principle , or NAP for short, is a moral stance which asserts that aggression is inherently illegitimate...

 is never legitimate, no matter how beneficial its consequences are.

Proprietarian / non-proprietarian distinction


Central to libertarianism is the concept of liberty. One distinction among libertarian philosophies has its origin in two different definitions of liberty.

Non-proprietarian libertarian philosophies, like libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, hold that liberty is the absence of any form authority and assert that a society based on freedom and equality can be achieved through abolishing authoritarian institutions that control certain means of production and subordinate the majority to an owning class or political and economic elite. Implicitly, it rejects any authority of private property and thus holds that it is not legitimate for someone to claim private ownership of any resources to the detriment of others. Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

 that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society
Stateless society
A stateless society is a society that is not governed by a state. In stateless societies, there is little concentration of authority; most positions of authority that do exist are very limited in power and are generally not permanently held positions; and social bodies that resolve disputes through...

 without private property in the means of production. The two terms are often used interchangeably. The term libertarian socialism is also used to differentiate this philosophy from state socialism
State socialism
State socialism is an economic system with limited socialist characteristics, such as public ownership of major industries, remedial measures to benefit the working class, and a gradual process of developing socialism through government policy...

 or as a synonym for left anarchism
Left anarchism
Left anarchism or left-wing anarchism refer to left-wing forms of anarchism. It posits a future society in which private property is replaced by reciprocity and non-hierarchical society...

. Libertarian socialists generally place their hopes in decentralized means of direct democracy
Direct democracy
Direct democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then vote on policy initiatives. Direct democracy is classically termed "pure democracy"...

 such as libertarian municipalism
Libertarian municipalism
Libertarian municipalism is a term first used by libertarian socialist theorist Murray Bookchin, and is used to describe a system in which libertarian institutions of directly democratic assemblies would oppose and replace the state with a confederation of free municipalities...

, citizens' assemblies, trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

s and workers' council
Workers' council
A workers' council, or revolutionary councils, is the phenomenon where a single place of work or enterprise, such as a factory, school, or farm, is controlled collectively by the workers of that workplace, through the core principle of temporary and instantly revocable delegates.In a system with...

s.

Proprietarian libertarian philosophies define liberty as non-aggression
Non-aggression principle
The non-aggression principle , or NAP for short, is a moral stance which asserts that aggression is inherently illegitimate...

, or the state in which no person or group aggresses against any other person or group, where aggression is defined as the violation of private property
Private property
Private property is the right of persons and firms to obtain, own, control, employ, dispose of, and bequeath land, capital, and other forms of property. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by...

. This philosophy, implicitly, recognizes as the sole source of legitimate authority private property. Proprietarian libertarians hold that an order of private property is the only one that is both ethical and leads to the best possible outcomes. They generally support the free-market, and are not opposed to any concentration of power (monopolies) provided it is brought about through non-coercive means. They argue that the state is aggressive by its nature and that it hampers the natural adapting price system through which the economy
Economy
An economy consists of the economic system of a country or other area; the labor, capital and land resources; and the manufacturing, trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area...

 regulates itself. Rothbard also argued that a state could not sustain itself without taxation.

The statism / anarchism distinction


Libertarians differ on the degree up to which the state can be reduced. Two groups can be distinguished, statists
Statism
Statism is a term usually describing a political philosophy, whether of the right or the left, that emphasises the role of the state in politics or supports the use of the state to achieve economic, military or social goals...

, who support states, and anarchists, who favor stateless societies and view the state as being undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful while others have defined anarchism as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations.

Supporters of government argue that having defense and courts controlled by the market is an inherent miscarriage of justice because it turns justice into a commodity, thereby conflating justice with economic power. Libertarian anarchists argue that having defence and courts controlled by the state is both immoral and an inefficient means of achieving both justice and security. They argue that a state is coercive by its nature and therefore violates the non-aggression principle. Another argument is that private defense and protection firms would tend to represent the interests of those who pay them enough. Murray Rothbard agrees with this argument, however add that it is self-defeating to fight potential concentration of power by concentrating power in the hands of the state. Furthermore these anarchists claim that a market system is the best Checks and balances system known to man.

Anarchists are divided according to their proprietarian or non-proprietarian definition of liberty. The proprietarian libertarian philosophy of anarchism is called Anarcho-capitalism
Anarcho-capitalism
Anarcho-capitalism is a libertarian and individualist anarchist political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the state in favour of individual sovereignty in a free market...

. Non-proprietarian libertarian philosophies of anarchism include anarchist collectivism
Collectivist anarchism
Collectivist anarchism is a revolutionary doctrine that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production...

, anarchist communism
Anarchist communism
Anarchist communism is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, markets, money, private property, and capitalism in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers' councils with...

, social anarchism
Social anarchism
Social anarchism is a term originally used in 1971 by Giovanni Baldelli as the title of his book where he discusses the organization of an ethical society from an anarchist point of view...

) and anarcho-syndicalism
Anarcho-syndicalism
Anarcho-syndicalism is a branch of anarchism which focuses on the labour movement. The word syndicalism comes from the French word syndicat which means trade union , from the Latin word syndicus which in turn comes from the Greek word σύνδικος which means caretaker of an issue...

. Anti-property anarchists hold that liberty is incompatible with state action based on a class struggle analysis of the state.

Anarcho-capitalists generally argue government is aggressive by its nature because governments use force against those who have not stolen private property, vandalized private property, assaulted anyone, or committed fraud. Many also argue that monopolies
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 tend to be corrupt and inefficient. Murray Rothbard
Murray Rothbard
Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

 argued that all government services, including defense, are inefficient because they lack a market-based pricing mechanism regulated by the voluntary decisions of consumer
Consumer
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

s purchasing services that fulfill their highest-priority needs and by investors seeking the most profitable enterprises to invest in. Pro-property anarchists also argue that private defense
Private defense agency
A private defense agency is a conceptualized agency that provides personal protection and military defense services voluntarily through the free market. A PDA is not a private contractor of the state and is not subsidised in any way through taxation or immunities, nor does it rely on conscription...

 and court
Dispute resolution organization
A dispute resolution organization, or DRO, is a conceptualized organization providing services such as mediation and arbitration through the private sector. It is an important aspect of anarcho-capitalist theory.-Enforceability of verdicts:...

 agencies would have to have a good reputation in order to stay in business. Murray Rothbard agrees with this argument. However, he argued that one cannot justify a concentration of power out of a fear of a concentration of power, and that a market system is the best checks and balances system. Furthermore, Linda & Morris Tannehill argue that no coercive monopoly of force can arise on a truly free market and that a government's citizenry can’t desert them in favor of a competent protection and defense agency.

Philosophers influential to libertarianism

See also :Category:Libertarian theorists
  • Émile Armand
    Emile Armand
    Emile Armand was the most influential French individualist anarchist at the beginning of the 20th century and also a dedicated free love/polyamory, intentional community, and pacifist/antimilitarist writer, propagandist and activist...

    , the most influential French individualist anarchist at the beginning of the 20th century
  • Mikhail Bakunin
    Mikhail Bakunin
    Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russian revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists,...

     the main theorist of collectivist anarchism
    Collectivist anarchism
    Collectivist anarchism is a revolutionary doctrine that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production...

     and ideological father of much of the libertarian left
    Left-libertarianism
    Left-libertarianism names several related but distinct approaches to politics, society, culture, and political and social theory, which stress equally both individual freedom and social justice.-Schools of thought:...

  • Frédéric Bastiat
    Frédéric Bastiat
    Claude Frédéric Bastiat was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly. He was notable for developing the important economic concept of opportunity cost.-Biography:...

    , classical liberal
    Classical liberalism
    Classical liberalism is the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets....

     theorist, political economist
    Political economy
    Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

    , notable for having developed the concept of opportunity cost
    Opportunity cost
    Opportunity cost is the cost of any activity measured in terms of the value of the best alternative that is not chosen . It is the sacrifice related to the second best choice available to someone, or group, who has picked among several mutually exclusive choices. The opportunity cost is also the...

    .
  • Murray Bookchin
    Murray Bookchin
    Murray Bookchin was an American libertarian socialist author, orator, and philosopher. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin was the founder of the social ecology movement within anarchist, libertarian socialist and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books on politics,...

     leading theorist of the social ecology
    Social ecology
    Social ecology is a philosophy developed by Murray Bookchin in the 1960s.It holds that present ecological problems are rooted in deep-seated social problems, particularly in dominatory hierarchical political and social systems. These have resulted in an uncritical acceptance of an overly...

     movement, founder of libertarian municipalism
    Libertarian municipalism
    Libertarian municipalism is a term first used by libertarian socialist theorist Murray Bookchin, and is used to describe a system in which libertarian institutions of directly democratic assemblies would oppose and replace the state with a confederation of free municipalities...

     and harsh critic of individualist anarchism
    Individualist anarchism
    Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and his or her will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems. Individualist anarchism is not a single philosophy but refers to a...

  • Milton Friedman
    Milton Friedman
    Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades...

    , Nobel Prize winning economist, notable for the development of monetarism
    Monetarism
    Monetarism is a tendency in economic thought that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. It is the view within monetary economics that variation in the money supply has major influences on national output in the short run and the price level over...

    .
  • William Godwin
    William Godwin
    William Godwin was an English journalist, political philosopher and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism, and the first modern proponent of anarchism...

     the first modern proponent of anarchism (though he never referred to himself as such) whose highly libertarian philosophy is outlined in his 1793 book Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Modern Morals and Manners
    Political Justice
    Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Modern Morals and Manners outlines the political philosophy of the 18th-century philosopher William Godwin....

  • Emma Goldman
    Emma Goldman
    Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century....

    , Lithuanian-American anarchist and theorist of anarcha-feminism
    Anarcha-feminism
    Anarcha-feminism combines anarchism with feminism. It generally views patriarchy as a manifestation of involuntary hierarchy. Anarcha-feminists believe that the struggle against patriarchy is an essential part of class struggle, and the anarchist struggle against the state...

  • Friedrich Hayek
    Friedrich Hayek
    Friedrich August Hayek CH , born in Austria-Hungary as Friedrich August von Hayek, was an economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism and free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought...

    , Nobel Prize winning economist, notable for having partially developed the concept of partial knowledge
    The Use of Knowledge in Society
    "The Use of Knowledge in Society" is a scholarly article written by economist Friedrich Hayek, first published in the September 1945 issue of The American Economic Review Written as a rebuttal to fellow economist Oskar R...

    .
  • Peter Kropotkin
    Peter Kropotkin
    Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, economist, geographer, author and one of the world's foremost anarcho-communists. Kropotkin advocated a communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between...

    , influential Russian anarchist and main theorist of anarcho-communism
  • Robert Nozick
    Robert Nozick
    Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

     author of Anarchy, State, and Utopia
    Anarchy, State, and Utopia
    Anarchy, State, and Utopia is a work of political philosophy written by Robert Nozick in 1974. This minarchist book was the winner of the 1975 National Book Award...

    (1974), a libertarian answer to John Rawls
    John Rawls
    John Bordley Rawls was an American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy. He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University....

    's A Theory of Justice
    A Theory of Justice
    A Theory of Justice is a book of political philosophy and ethics by John Rawls. It was originally published in 1971 and revised in both 1975 and 1999. In A Theory of Justice, Rawls attempts to solve the problem of distributive justice by utilising a variant of the familiar device of the social...

    (1971)
  • Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
    Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
    Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French politician, mutualist philosopher and socialist. He was a member of the French Parliament, and he was the first person to call himself an "anarchist". He is considered among the most influential theorists and organisers of anarchism...

     the first self described anarchist and theorist of what would eventually be called mutualism
    Mutualism (economic theory)
    Mutualism is an anarchist school of thought that originates in the writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who envisioned a society where each person might possess a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labor in the free market...

    , an anti-statist form of market socialism
    Market socialism
    Market socialism refers to various economic systems where the means of production are either publicly owned or cooperatively owned and operated for a profit in a market economy. The profit generated by the firms system would be used to directly remunerate employees or would be the source of public...

  • Ayn Rand
    Ayn Rand
    Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism....

     the creator of the philosophy of Objectivism
    Objectivism (Ayn Rand)
    Objectivism is a philosophy created by the Russian-American philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand . Objectivism holds that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception...

  • Murray Rothbard
    Murray Rothbard
    Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

     an American author, and economist who helped define modern American libertarianism and popularized "anarcho-capitalism"

Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

 that holds individual liberty
Liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

 as the basic moral
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

 principle
Principle
A principle is a law or rule that has to be, or usually is to be followed, or can be desirably followed, or is an inevitable consequence of something, such as the laws observed in nature or the way that a system is constructed...

 of society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view. Libertarianism includes diverse beliefs, all advocating strict limits to government activity and sharing the goal of maximizing individual liberty and political freedom.

Philosopher Roderick T. Long defines libertarianism as "any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals", whether "voluntary association" takes the form of the free market or of communal co-operatives. According to the U.S. Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party (United States)
The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

, libertarianism is the advocacy of a government that is funded voluntarily and limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence.

Overview


Libertarian schools of thought differ over the degree to which the state should be reduced. Anarchists advocate complete elimination of the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

. Minarchists
Minarchism
Minarchism has been variously defined by sources. It is a libertarian capitalist political philosophy. In the strictest sense, it maintains that the state is necessary and that its only legitimate function is the protection of individuals from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud, and...

 advocate a state which is limited to protecting its citizens from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud. Some libertarians go further, such as by supporting minimal public assistance for the poor. Additionally, some schools are supportive of private property rights in the ownership of unappropriated land and natural resources while others reject such private ownership and often support common ownership
Common ownership
Common ownership is a principle according to which the assets of an enterprise or other organization are held indivisibly rather than in the names of the individual members or by a public institution such as a governmental body. It is therefore in contrast to public ownership...

 instead.; Another distinction can be made among libertarians who support private ownership and those that support common ownership of the means of production
Means of production
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth — along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital...

; the former generally supporting a capitalist economy, the latter a libertarian socialist economic system. In some parts of the world, the term "libertarianism" is synonymous with Left anarchism
Left anarchism
Left anarchism or left-wing anarchism refer to left-wing forms of anarchism. It posits a future society in which private property is replaced by reciprocity and non-hierarchical society...

.

Libertarians can broadly be characterized as holding four ethical views: consequentialism, deontological theories, contractarianism, and class-struggle normative beliefs. The main divide is between consequentialist libertarianism
Consequentialist libertarianism
Consequentialist libertarianism refers to the view that liberty leads to favorable consequences such as prosperity, efficiency, or peace, and for that reason should be supported, advocated, and maximized...

—which is support for a large degree of "liberty" because it leads to favorable consequences, such as prosperity or efficiency—and deontological libertarianism
Deontological libertarianism
Deontological libertarianism refers to the view that all acts of initiation of force and fraud should be opposed because they are always immoral regardless of the effects of engaging in them...

 (also known as "rights-theorist libertarianism," "natural rights libertarianism," or "libertarian moralism"), which is a philosophy based on belief in moral self-ownership
Self-ownership
Self-ownership is the concept of property in one's own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to be the exclusive controller of his own body and life. According to G...

 and opposition to "initiation of force
Initiation of force
The initiation of force is the start, or beginning, of the use of physical and/or legal coercion, violence, or restraint. This is to be distinguished from retaliatory force and violence...

" and fraud. Others combine a hybrid of consequentialist and deontologist thinking. Another view, contractarian libertarianism
Social contract
The social contract is an intellectual device intended to explain the appropriate relationship between individuals and their governments. Social contract arguments assert that individuals unite into political societies by a process of mutual consent, agreeing to abide by common rules and accept...

, holds that any legitimate authority of government derives not from the consent of the governed, but from contract or mutual agreement, though this can be seen as reductible to consequentialism or deontologism depending on what grounds contracts are justified. Some Libertarian Socialists with backgrounds influenced by Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 reject deontological and consequential approaches and use normative class-struggle methodologies rooted in Hegelian thought
Historical materialism
Historical materialism is a methodological approach to the study of society, economics, and history, first articulated by Karl Marx as "the materialist conception of history". Historical materialism looks for the causes of developments and changes in human society in the means by which humans...

 to justify direct action
Direct action
Direct action is activity undertaken by individuals, groups, or governments to achieve political, economic, or social goals outside of normal social/political channels. This can include nonviolent and violent activities which target persons, groups, or property deemed offensive to the direct action...

 in pursuit of liberty.

In the United States, the term libertarian is commonly associated with those who have conservative
Conservatism
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 positions on economic issues
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 and left-wing
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 positions on social issues
Social issues
Social issues are controversial issues which relate to people's personal lives and interactions. Social issues are distinguished from economic issues...

.

Etymology


The use of the word "libertarian" to describe a set of political positions can be tracked to the French cognate, libertaire, which was coined in 1857 by French anarchist Joseph Déjacque
Joseph Déjacque
Joseph Déjacque was a French anarcho-communist poet and writer. He sought to abolish "personal property, property in land, buildings, workshops, shops, property in anything that is an instrument of work, production or consumption."Déjacque was the first to employ the term libertarian in a...

 who used the term to distinguish his libertarian communist
Anarchist communism
Anarchist communism is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, markets, money, private property, and capitalism in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers' councils with...

 approach from the mutualism
Mutualism (economic theory)
Mutualism is an anarchist school of thought that originates in the writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who envisioned a society where each person might possess a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labor in the free market...

 advocated by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French politician, mutualist philosopher and socialist. He was a member of the French Parliament, and he was the first person to call himself an "anarchist". He is considered among the most influential theorists and organisers of anarchism...

. Hence libertarian has been used by some as a synonym for left-wing anarchism since the 1890s. Libertarian socialists
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, such as Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 and Colin Ward
Colin Ward
Colin Ward was a British anarchist writer. He has been called "one of the greatest anarchist thinkers of the past half century, and a pioneering social historian." -Life:...

, assert that many still consider the term libertarianism a synonym of anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 in countries other than the US.

Origins


During the 18th century Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, "liberal" ideas flourished in Europe and North America. Libertarians of various schools were influenced by classical liberal ideas.Carlos Peregrin Otero, editor, Noam Chomsky: critical assessments, Volumes 2-3, Taylor & Francis US, 1994,p 617, ISBN 041510694X, 9780415106948. Author? Chapter? The term libertarian
Libertarianism (metaphysics)
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. In particular, libertarianism, which is an incompatibilist position, argues that free will is logically incompatible with a...

 in a metaphysical or philosophical sense was first used by late-Enlightenment free-thinkers
Freethought
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas...

 to refer to those who believed in free will
Free will
"To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

, as opposed to determinism
Determinism
Determinism is the general philosophical thesis that states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen. There are many versions of this thesis. Each of them rests upon various alleged connections, and interdependencies of things and...

. The first recorded use was in 1789 by William Belsham
William Belsham
William Belsham was an English political writer and historian, noted as a supporter of the Whig Party and its principles. In 1789 he coined the term libertarian in a discussion of free will and in opposition to "necessitarian" views...

 in a discussion of free will and in opposition to "necessitarian" (or determinist) views.

The first anarchist journal to use the term “libertarian” was La Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Socialand it was published in New York City between 1858 and 1861 by French anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque. "The next recorded use of the term was in Europe, when “libertarian communism” was used at a French regional anarchist Congress at Le Havre (16-22 November, 1880). January the following year saw a French manifesto issued on “Libertarian or Anarchist Communism.” Finally, 1895 saw leading anarchists Sébastien Faure
Sébastien Faure
Sébastien Faure was a French anarchist . He was a main proponent of the anarchist organizational form known as synthesis anarchism.- Biography :Before becoming a free-thinker, he was a seminarist...

 and Louise Michel
Louise Michel
Louise Michel was a French anarchist, school teacher and medical worker. She often used the pseudonym Clémence and was also known as the red virgin of Montmartre...

 publish La Libertaire in France." The word stems from the French word libertaire, and was used to evade the French ban on anarchist publications. In this tradition, the term "libertarianism" in "libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

" is generally used as a synonym for anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

, which some say is the original meaning of the term; hence "libertarian socialism" is equivalent to "socialist anarchism" to these scholars.Noam Chomsky, Carlos Peregrín Otero. Language and Politics. AK Press, Oakland, California, 2004, p. 739. In the context of the European socialist movement, libertarian has conventionally been used to describe those who opposed state socialism, such as Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russian revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists,...

. However, the association of socialism with libertarianism predates that of capitalism, and many anti-authoritarians still decry what they see as a mistaken association of capitalism with libertarianism in the United States.

Twentieth century


During the early 20th century modern liberalism in the United States began to take a more state-oriented approach to economic regulation. While conservatism in Europe continued to mean conserving hierarchical class structures through state control of society and the economy, some conservatives in the United States began to refer to conserving traditions of liberty. This was especially true of the Old Right
Old Right (United States)
The Old Right was a conservative faction in the United States that opposed both New Deal domestic programs and U.S. entry into World War II. Many members of this faction were associated with the Republicans of the interwar years led by Robert Taft, but some were Democrats...

, who opposed the New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 and U.S. military interventions in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Those who held to the earlier liberal views began to call themselves market liberals
Market liberalism
The term market liberalism is used in two distinct meanings.Especially in the United States, the term is often used as a synonym to classical liberalism...

, classic liberals
Classical liberalism
Classical liberalism is the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets....

 or libertarians to distinguish themselves. The Austrian School
Austrian School
The Austrian School of economics is a heterodox school of economic thought. It advocates methodological individualism in interpreting economic developments , the theory that money is non-neutral, the theory that the capital structure of economies consists of heterogeneous goods that have...

 of economics, influenced by Frédéric Bastiat
Frédéric Bastiat
Claude Frédéric Bastiat was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly. He was notable for developing the important economic concept of opportunity cost.-Biography:...

 and later by Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises was an Austrian economist, philosopher, and classical liberal who had a significant influence on the modern Libertarian movement and the "Austrian School" of economic thought.-Biography:-Early life:...

, also had an impact on what is now right-libertarianism
Right-libertarianism
Right-libertarianism names several related libertarian political philosophies which support capitalism. The term is typically used to differentiate privatist based forms of libertarianism from Left-libertarianism; which generally supports forms of economic democracy and...

.

In the 1950s many with "Old Right" or classical liberal beliefs in the United States began to describe themselves as "libertarian." Arizona United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

's right-libertarian leaning challenge to authority also influenced the US libertarian movement.

During the 1960s, the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 divided right-libertarians, anarchist libertarians
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, and conservatives. Right-libertarians and left-libertarians opposed to the war, joined the draft resistance
Draft dodger
Draft evasion is a term that refers to an intentional failure to comply with the military conscription policies of the nation to which he or she is subject...

 and peace movement
Peace movement
A peace movement is a social movement that seeks to achieve ideals such as the ending of a particular war , minimize inter-human violence in a particular place or type of situation, often linked to the goal of achieving world peace...

s and began founding their own publications, like Murray Rothbard
Murray Rothbard
Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

's The Libertarian Forum and organizations like the Radical Libertarian AllianceMarc Jason Gilbert, The Vietnam War on campus: other voices, more distant drums, p. 35, 2001, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN0275969096, and the Society for Individual Liberty
International Society for Individual Liberty
The International Society for Individual Liberty or ISIL is a non-profit, non-partisan libertarian educational group encouraging activism in libertarian and individual rights areas by the 'freely chosen strategies' of its members. Its history dates back to 1969 as the Society for Individual...

.Rebecca E. Klatch, A Generation Divided: The New Left, the New Right, and the 1960s, University of California Press
University of California Press
University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. It was founded in 1893 to publish books and papers for the faculty of the University of California, established 25 years earlier in 1868...

, 1999 ISBN , 215–237.


In 1971, a small group of Americans led by David Nolan formed the U.S. Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party (United States)
The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

. Attracting former Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, Republicans
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 and independents
Independent (voter)
An independent voter, those who register as an unaffiliated voter in the United States, is a voter of a democratic country who does not align him- or herself with a political party...

, the party has run a presidential candidate
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 every election year since 1972. Over the years, dozens of capitalism-supporting libertarian political parties have been formed worldwide. Educational organizations like the Center for Libertarian Studies
Center for Libertarian Studies
The Center for Libertarian Studies was a libertarian and anarcho-capitalist oriented educational organization founded in 1976 by Murray Rothbard and Burton Blumert, which grew out of the Libertarian Scholars Conferences...

 and the Cato Institute
Cato Institute
The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remains president and CEO, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the largest privately held...

 were formed in the 1970s, and others have been created since then.

Right-libertarianism gained a significant measure of recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 professor Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

's Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Anarchy, State, and Utopia is a work of political philosophy written by Robert Nozick in 1974. This minarchist book was the winner of the 1975 National Book Award...

in 1974. The book won a National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 in 1975.National Book Award: 1975 - Philosophy and ReligionDavid Lewis Schaefer, Robert Nozick and the Coast of Utopia, The New York Sun, April 30, 2008. Nozick disavowed some of his theory late in life.Misunderstanding Nozick, Again Academics as well as proponents of the free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 perspectives note that free-market capitalist libertarianism has been successfully propagated beyond the United States since the 1970s via think tanks and political parties.

Libertarian philosophies


See also :Category:Libertarianism by form.


Libertarian philosophies are divided among three main distinctions: whether the morality of actions are determined consequentially
Consequentialism
Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct...

 or deontologically
Deontological ethics
Deontological ethics or deontology is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules. It is sometimes described as "duty" or "obligation" or "rule" -based ethics, because rules "bind you to your duty"...

, whether or not private property
Private property
Private property is the right of persons and firms to obtain, own, control, employ, dispose of, and bequeath land, capital, and other forms of property. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by...

 is legitimate, and whether or not the state is legitimate.

Consequentialist / deontological distinction


Consequentialist libertarians defend liberty on the grounds its consequences are better than those of the lack of it. Deontological libertarians hold that libertarians must defend liberty on principle because aggression
Non-aggression principle
The non-aggression principle , or NAP for short, is a moral stance which asserts that aggression is inherently illegitimate...

 is never legitimate, no matter how beneficial its consequences are.

Proprietarian / non-proprietarian distinction


Central to libertarianism is the concept of liberty. One distinction among libertarian philosophies has its origin in two different definitions of liberty.

Non-proprietarian libertarian philosophies, like libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, hold that liberty is the absence of any form authority and assert that a society based on freedom and equality can be achieved through abolishing authoritarian institutions that control certain means of production and subordinate the majority to an owning class or political and economic elite. Implicitly, it rejects any authority of private property and thus holds that it is not legitimate for someone to claim private ownership of any resources to the detriment of others. Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

 that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society
Stateless society
A stateless society is a society that is not governed by a state. In stateless societies, there is little concentration of authority; most positions of authority that do exist are very limited in power and are generally not permanently held positions; and social bodies that resolve disputes through...

 without private property in the means of production. The two terms are often used interchangeably. The term libertarian socialism is also used to differentiate this philosophy from state socialism
State socialism
State socialism is an economic system with limited socialist characteristics, such as public ownership of major industries, remedial measures to benefit the working class, and a gradual process of developing socialism through government policy...

Paul Zarembka. Transitions in Latin America and in Poland and Syria. Emerald Group Publishing, 2007. p. 25Guerin, Daniel, (2011) [1970] Anarchism: from theory to practice [originally published as French: Anarchisme, de la doctrine à l'action] reprinted online: libcom.org [first published in English: New York: Monthly Review Press], §1 sub-§"A Matter of Words." "At the end of the century in France, Sebastien Faure took up a word originated in 1858 by one Joseph Dejacque to make it the title of a journal, Le Libertaire. Today the terms "anarchist" and "libertarian" have become interchangeable.… Some contemporary anarchists have tried to clear up the misunderstanding by adopting a more explicit term: they align themselves with libertarian socialism or communism." or as a synonym for left anarchism
Left anarchism
Left anarchism or left-wing anarchism refer to left-wing forms of anarchism. It posits a future society in which private property is replaced by reciprocity and non-hierarchical society...

. Libertarian socialists generally place their hopes in decentralized means of direct democracy
Direct democracy
Direct democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then vote on policy initiatives. Direct democracy is classically termed "pure democracy"...

 such as libertarian municipalism
Libertarian municipalism
Libertarian municipalism is a term first used by libertarian socialist theorist Murray Bookchin, and is used to describe a system in which libertarian institutions of directly democratic assemblies would oppose and replace the state with a confederation of free municipalities...

, citizens' assemblies, trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

s and workers' council
Workers' council
A workers' council, or revolutionary councils, is the phenomenon where a single place of work or enterprise, such as a factory, school, or farm, is controlled collectively by the workers of that workplace, through the core principle of temporary and instantly revocable delegates.In a system with...

s.

Proprietarian libertarian philosophies define liberty as non-aggression
Non-aggression principle
The non-aggression principle , or NAP for short, is a moral stance which asserts that aggression is inherently illegitimate...

, or the state in which no person or group aggresses against any other person or group, where aggression is defined as the violation of private property
Private property
Private property is the right of persons and firms to obtain, own, control, employ, dispose of, and bequeath land, capital, and other forms of property. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by...

.For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Murray N. Rothbard This philosophy, implicitly, recognizes as the sole source of legitimate authority private property. Proprietarian libertarians hold that an order of private property is the only one that is both ethical and leads to the best possible outcomes.The Ethics of Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard They generally support the free-market, and are not opposed to any concentration of power (monopolies) provided it is brought about through non-coercive means.Human Action, Ludwig von Mises They argue that the state is aggressive by its nature and that it hampers the natural adapting price system through which the economy
Economy
An economy consists of the economic system of a country or other area; the labor, capital and land resources; and the manufacturing, trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area...

 regulates itself. Rothbard also argued that a state could not sustain itself without taxation.

The statism / anarchism distinction


Libertarians differ on the degree up to which the state can be reduced. Two groups can be distinguished, statists
Statism
Statism is a term usually describing a political philosophy, whether of the right or the left, that emphasises the role of the state in politics or supports the use of the state to achieve economic, military or social goals...

, who support states, and anarchists, who favor stateless societies and view the state as being undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful while others have defined anarchism as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations.Anarchist historian George Woodcock
George Woodcock
George Woodcock was a Canadian writer of political biography and history, an anarchist thinker, an essayist and literary critic. He was also a poet, and published several volumes of travel writing. He founded in 1959 the journal Canadian Literature, the first academic journal specifically...

 report of Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russian revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists,...

's anti-authoritarianism and shows opposition to both state and non-state forms of authority as follows: "All anarchists deny authority; many of them fight against it." (pg. 9)...Bakunin did not convert the League's central committee to his full program, but he did persuade them to accept a remarkably radical recommendation to the Berne Congress of September 1868, demanding economic equality and implicitly attacking authority in both Church and State."


Supporters of government argue that having defense and courts controlled by the market is an inherent miscarriage of justice because it turns justice into a commodity, thereby conflating justice with economic power. Libertarian anarchists argue that having defence and courts controlled by the state is both immoral and an inefficient means of achieving both justice and security. They argue that a state is coercive by its nature and therefore violates the non-aggression principle. The Ethics of Liberty, Murray N. RothbardThe Machienry of Freedom, David D. Friedman Another argument is that private defense and protection firms would tend to represent the interests of those who pay them enough. Murray Rothbard agrees with this argument, however add that it is self-defeating to fight potential concentration of power by concentrating power in the hands of the state.The Ethics of Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard Furthermore these anarchists claim that a market system is the best Checks and balances system known to man.For a New Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard

Anarchists are divided according to their proprietarian or non-proprietarian definition of liberty. The proprietarian libertarian philosophy of anarchism is called Anarcho-capitalism
Anarcho-capitalism
Anarcho-capitalism is a libertarian and individualist anarchist political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the state in favour of individual sovereignty in a free market...

.For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Murray N. Rothbard Non-proprietarian libertarian philosophies of anarchism include anarchist collectivism
Collectivist anarchism
Collectivist anarchism is a revolutionary doctrine that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production...

, anarchist communism
Anarchist communism
Anarchist communism is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, markets, money, private property, and capitalism in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers' councils with...

, social anarchism
Social anarchism
Social anarchism is a term originally used in 1971 by Giovanni Baldelli as the title of his book where he discusses the organization of an ethical society from an anarchist point of view...

) and anarcho-syndicalism
Anarcho-syndicalism
Anarcho-syndicalism is a branch of anarchism which focuses on the labour movement. The word syndicalism comes from the French word syndicat which means trade union , from the Latin word syndicus which in turn comes from the Greek word σύνδικος which means caretaker of an issue...

. Anti-property anarchists hold that liberty is incompatible with state action based on a class struggle analysis of the state.Lewis Call (2002) Postmodern anarchism Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 66–68.

Anarcho-capitalists generally argue government is aggressive by its nature because governments use force against those who have not stolen private property, vandalized private property, assaulted anyone, or committed fraud.For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Murray N. Rothbard Many also argue that monopolies
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 tend to be corrupt and inefficient.The Machienry of Freedom, David D. Friedman Murray Rothbard
Murray Rothbard
Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

 argued that all government services, including defense, are inefficient because they lack a market-based pricing mechanism regulated by the voluntary decisions of consumer
Consumer
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

s purchasing services that fulfill their highest-priority needs and by investors seeking the most profitable enterprises to invest in. Pro-property anarchists also argue that private defense
Private defense agency
A private defense agency is a conceptualized agency that provides personal protection and military defense services voluntarily through the free market. A PDA is not a private contractor of the state and is not subsidised in any way through taxation or immunities, nor does it rely on conscription...

 and court
Dispute resolution organization
A dispute resolution organization, or DRO, is a conceptualized organization providing services such as mediation and arbitration through the private sector. It is an important aspect of anarcho-capitalist theory.-Enforceability of verdicts:...

 agencies would have to have a good reputation in order to stay in business.The Machienry of Freedom, David D. Friedman Murray Rothbard agrees with this argument. However, he argued that one cannot justify a concentration of power out of a fear of a concentration of power, and that a market system is the best checks and balances system.For a New Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard Furthermore, Linda & Morris Tannehill argue that no coercive monopoly of force can arise on a truly free marketLinda & Morris Tannehill. The Market for Liberty, p. 81. and that a government's citizenry can’t desert them in favor of a competent protection and defense agency.

Philosophers influential to libertarianism

See also :Category:Libertarian theorists
  • Émile Armand
    Emile Armand
    Emile Armand was the most influential French individualist anarchist at the beginning of the 20th century and also a dedicated free love/polyamory, intentional community, and pacifist/antimilitarist writer, propagandist and activist...

    , the most influential French individualist anarchist at the beginning of the 20th centuryWoodcock identifies him as the leading french individualist anarchist around the time of World War I (pg. 324). George Woodcock. Anarchism: a history of libertarian ideas. pg 324"...probably, the individualist who unfolds in the most detailed form stirnerist
    Philosophy of Max Stirner
    The philosophy of Max Stirner is credited as an influence on the development of nihilism, existentialism, post-modernism and anarchism, especially of individualist anarchism, postanarchism and post-left anarchy...

     ideas and who has the capacity of having an specific domination, above all between the two world wars, in the milieu of individualist discourse." Xavier Diez. El anarquismo individualista en España (1923-1939). Virus Editorial. Barcelona. 2007
  • Mikhail Bakunin
    Mikhail Bakunin
    Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russian revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists,...

     the main theorist of collectivist anarchism
    Collectivist anarchism
    Collectivist anarchism is a revolutionary doctrine that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production...

     and ideological father of much of the libertarian left
    Left-libertarianism
    Left-libertarianism names several related but distinct approaches to politics, society, culture, and political and social theory, which stress equally both individual freedom and social justice.-Schools of thought:...

  • Frédéric Bastiat
    Frédéric Bastiat
    Claude Frédéric Bastiat was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly. He was notable for developing the important economic concept of opportunity cost.-Biography:...

    , classical liberal
    Classical liberalism
    Classical liberalism is the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets....

     theorist, political economist
    Political economy
    Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

    , notable for having developed the concept of opportunity cost
    Opportunity cost
    Opportunity cost is the cost of any activity measured in terms of the value of the best alternative that is not chosen . It is the sacrifice related to the second best choice available to someone, or group, who has picked among several mutually exclusive choices. The opportunity cost is also the...

    .
  • Murray Bookchin
    Murray Bookchin
    Murray Bookchin was an American libertarian socialist author, orator, and philosopher. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin was the founder of the social ecology movement within anarchist, libertarian socialist and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books on politics,...

     leading theorist of the social ecology
    Social ecology
    Social ecology is a philosophy developed by Murray Bookchin in the 1960s.It holds that present ecological problems are rooted in deep-seated social problems, particularly in dominatory hierarchical political and social systems. These have resulted in an uncritical acceptance of an overly...

     movement, founder of libertarian municipalism
    Libertarian municipalism
    Libertarian municipalism is a term first used by libertarian socialist theorist Murray Bookchin, and is used to describe a system in which libertarian institutions of directly democratic assemblies would oppose and replace the state with a confederation of free municipalities...

     and harsh critic of individualist anarchism
    Individualist anarchism
    Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and his or her will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems. Individualist anarchism is not a single philosophy but refers to a...

    Janet Biehl
    Janet Biehl
    Janet Biehl is a writer associated with social ecology, the body of ideas developed and publicized by Murray Bookchin. In 1986 she attended the Institute for Social Ecology and there began a collaborative relationship with Bookchin, working intensively with him over the next two decades in the...

    , Short Biography of Murray Bookchin
  • Milton Friedman
    Milton Friedman
    Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades...

    , Nobel Prize winning economist, notable for the development of monetarism
    Monetarism
    Monetarism is a tendency in economic thought that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. It is the view within monetary economics that variation in the money supply has major influences on national output in the short run and the price level over...

    .
  • William Godwin
    William Godwin
    William Godwin was an English journalist, political philosopher and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism, and the first modern proponent of anarchism...

     the first modern proponent of anarchism (though he never referred to himself as such) whose highly libertarian philosophy is outlined in his 1793 book Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Modern Morals and Manners
    Political Justice
    Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Modern Morals and Manners outlines the political philosophy of the 18th-century philosopher William Godwin....

  • Emma Goldman
    Emma Goldman
    Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century....

    , Lithuanian-American anarchist and theorist of anarcha-feminism
    Anarcha-feminism
    Anarcha-feminism combines anarchism with feminism. It generally views patriarchy as a manifestation of involuntary hierarchy. Anarcha-feminists believe that the struggle against patriarchy is an essential part of class struggle, and the anarchist struggle against the state...

  • Friedrich Hayek
    Friedrich Hayek
    Friedrich August Hayek CH , born in Austria-Hungary as Friedrich August von Hayek, was an economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism and free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought...

    , Nobel Prize winning economist, notable for having partially developed the concept of partial knowledge
    The Use of Knowledge in Society
    "The Use of Knowledge in Society" is a scholarly article written by economist Friedrich Hayek, first published in the September 1945 issue of The American Economic Review Written as a rebuttal to fellow economist Oskar R...

    .
  • Peter Kropotkin
    Peter Kropotkin
    Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, economist, geographer, author and one of the world's foremost anarcho-communists. Kropotkin advocated a communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between...

    , influential Russian anarchist and main theorist of anarcho-communism
  • Robert Nozick
    Robert Nozick
    Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

     author of Anarchy, State, and Utopia
    Anarchy, State, and Utopia
    Anarchy, State, and Utopia is a work of political philosophy written by Robert Nozick in 1974. This minarchist book was the winner of the 1975 National Book Award...

    (1974), a libertarian answer to John Rawls
    John Rawls
    John Bordley Rawls was an American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy. He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University....

    's A Theory of Justice
    A Theory of Justice
    A Theory of Justice is a book of political philosophy and ethics by John Rawls. It was originally published in 1971 and revised in both 1975 and 1999. In A Theory of Justice, Rawls attempts to solve the problem of distributive justice by utilising a variant of the familiar device of the social...

    (1971)
  • Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
    Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
    Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French politician, mutualist philosopher and socialist. He was a member of the French Parliament, and he was the first person to call himself an "anarchist". He is considered among the most influential theorists and organisers of anarchism...

     the first self described anarchist and theorist of what would eventually be called mutualism
    Mutualism (economic theory)
    Mutualism is an anarchist school of thought that originates in the writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who envisioned a society where each person might possess a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labor in the free market...

    , an anti-statist form of market socialism
    Market socialism
    Market socialism refers to various economic systems where the means of production are either publicly owned or cooperatively owned and operated for a profit in a market economy. The profit generated by the firms system would be used to directly remunerate employees or would be the source of public...

  • Ayn Rand
    Ayn Rand
    Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism....

     the creator of the philosophy of Objectivism
    Objectivism (Ayn Rand)
    Objectivism is a philosophy created by the Russian-American philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand . Objectivism holds that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception...

  • Murray Rothbard
    Murray Rothbard
    Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

     an American author, and economist who helped define modern American libertarianism and popularized "anarcho-capitalism"

Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

 that holds individual liberty
Liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

 as the basic moral
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

 principle
Principle
A principle is a law or rule that has to be, or usually is to be followed, or can be desirably followed, or is an inevitable consequence of something, such as the laws observed in nature or the way that a system is constructed...

 of society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view. Libertarianism includes diverse beliefs, all advocating strict limits to government activity and sharing the goal of maximizing individual liberty and political freedom.

Philosopher Roderick T. Long defines libertarianism as "any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals", whether "voluntary association" takes the form of the free market or of communal co-operatives. According to the U.S. Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party (United States)
The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

, libertarianism is the advocacy of a government that is funded voluntarily and limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence.

Overview


Libertarian schools of thought differ over the degree to which the state should be reduced. Anarchists advocate complete elimination of the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

. Minarchists
Minarchism
Minarchism has been variously defined by sources. It is a libertarian capitalist political philosophy. In the strictest sense, it maintains that the state is necessary and that its only legitimate function is the protection of individuals from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud, and...

 advocate a state which is limited to protecting its citizens from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud. Some libertarians go further, such as by supporting minimal public assistance for the poor. Additionally, some schools are supportive of private property rights in the ownership of unappropriated land and natural resources while others reject such private ownership and often support common ownership
Common ownership
Common ownership is a principle according to which the assets of an enterprise or other organization are held indivisibly rather than in the names of the individual members or by a public institution such as a governmental body. It is therefore in contrast to public ownership...

 instead.; Another distinction can be made among libertarians who support private ownership and those that support common ownership of the means of production
Means of production
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth — along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital...

; the former generally supporting a capitalist economy, the latter a libertarian socialist economic system. In some parts of the world, the term "libertarianism" is synonymous with Left anarchism
Left anarchism
Left anarchism or left-wing anarchism refer to left-wing forms of anarchism. It posits a future society in which private property is replaced by reciprocity and non-hierarchical society...

.

Libertarians can broadly be characterized as holding four ethical views: consequentialism, deontological theories, contractarianism, and class-struggle normative beliefs. The main divide is between consequentialist libertarianism
Consequentialist libertarianism
Consequentialist libertarianism refers to the view that liberty leads to favorable consequences such as prosperity, efficiency, or peace, and for that reason should be supported, advocated, and maximized...

—which is support for a large degree of "liberty" because it leads to favorable consequences, such as prosperity or efficiency—and deontological libertarianism
Deontological libertarianism
Deontological libertarianism refers to the view that all acts of initiation of force and fraud should be opposed because they are always immoral regardless of the effects of engaging in them...

 (also known as "rights-theorist libertarianism," "natural rights libertarianism," or "libertarian moralism"), which is a philosophy based on belief in moral self-ownership
Self-ownership
Self-ownership is the concept of property in one's own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to be the exclusive controller of his own body and life. According to G...

 and opposition to "initiation of force
Initiation of force
The initiation of force is the start, or beginning, of the use of physical and/or legal coercion, violence, or restraint. This is to be distinguished from retaliatory force and violence...

" and fraud. Others combine a hybrid of consequentialist and deontologist thinking. Another view, contractarian libertarianism
Social contract
The social contract is an intellectual device intended to explain the appropriate relationship between individuals and their governments. Social contract arguments assert that individuals unite into political societies by a process of mutual consent, agreeing to abide by common rules and accept...

, holds that any legitimate authority of government derives not from the consent of the governed, but from contract or mutual agreement, though this can be seen as reductible to consequentialism or deontologism depending on what grounds contracts are justified. Some Libertarian Socialists with backgrounds influenced by Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 reject deontological and consequential approaches and use normative class-struggle methodologies rooted in Hegelian thought
Historical materialism
Historical materialism is a methodological approach to the study of society, economics, and history, first articulated by Karl Marx as "the materialist conception of history". Historical materialism looks for the causes of developments and changes in human society in the means by which humans...

 to justify direct action
Direct action
Direct action is activity undertaken by individuals, groups, or governments to achieve political, economic, or social goals outside of normal social/political channels. This can include nonviolent and violent activities which target persons, groups, or property deemed offensive to the direct action...

 in pursuit of liberty.

In the United States, the term libertarian is commonly associated with those who have conservative
Conservatism
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 positions on economic issues
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 and left-wing
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 positions on social issues
Social issues
Social issues are controversial issues which relate to people's personal lives and interactions. Social issues are distinguished from economic issues...

.

Etymology


The use of the word "libertarian" to describe a set of political positions can be tracked to the French cognate, libertaire, which was coined in 1857 by French anarchist Joseph Déjacque
Joseph Déjacque
Joseph Déjacque was a French anarcho-communist poet and writer. He sought to abolish "personal property, property in land, buildings, workshops, shops, property in anything that is an instrument of work, production or consumption."Déjacque was the first to employ the term libertarian in a...

 who used the term to distinguish his libertarian communist
Anarchist communism
Anarchist communism is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, markets, money, private property, and capitalism in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers' councils with...

 approach from the mutualism
Mutualism (economic theory)
Mutualism is an anarchist school of thought that originates in the writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who envisioned a society where each person might possess a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labor in the free market...

 advocated by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French politician, mutualist philosopher and socialist. He was a member of the French Parliament, and he was the first person to call himself an "anarchist". He is considered among the most influential theorists and organisers of anarchism...

. Hence libertarian has been used by some as a synonym for left-wing anarchism since the 1890s. Libertarian socialists
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, such as Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 and Colin Ward
Colin Ward
Colin Ward was a British anarchist writer. He has been called "one of the greatest anarchist thinkers of the past half century, and a pioneering social historian." -Life:...

, assert that many still consider the term libertarianism a synonym of anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 in countries other than the US.

Origins


During the 18th century Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, "liberal" ideas flourished in Europe and North America. Libertarians of various schools were influenced by classical liberal ideas.Carlos Peregrin Otero, editor, Noam Chomsky: critical assessments, Volumes 2-3, Taylor & Francis US, 1994,p 617, ISBN 041510694X, 9780415106948. Author? Chapter? The term libertarian
Libertarianism (metaphysics)
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. In particular, libertarianism, which is an incompatibilist position, argues that free will is logically incompatible with a...

 in a metaphysical or philosophical sense was first used by late-Enlightenment free-thinkers
Freethought
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas...

 to refer to those who believed in free will
Free will
"To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

, as opposed to determinism
Determinism
Determinism is the general philosophical thesis that states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen. There are many versions of this thesis. Each of them rests upon various alleged connections, and interdependencies of things and...

. The first recorded use was in 1789 by William Belsham
William Belsham
William Belsham was an English political writer and historian, noted as a supporter of the Whig Party and its principles. In 1789 he coined the term libertarian in a discussion of free will and in opposition to "necessitarian" views...

 in a discussion of free will and in opposition to "necessitarian" (or determinist) views.

The first anarchist journal to use the term “libertarian” was La Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Socialand it was published in New York City between 1858 and 1861 by French anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque. "The next recorded use of the term was in Europe, when “libertarian communism” was used at a French regional anarchist Congress at Le Havre (16-22 November, 1880). January the following year saw a French manifesto issued on “Libertarian or Anarchist Communism.” Finally, 1895 saw leading anarchists Sébastien Faure
Sébastien Faure
Sébastien Faure was a French anarchist . He was a main proponent of the anarchist organizational form known as synthesis anarchism.- Biography :Before becoming a free-thinker, he was a seminarist...

 and Louise Michel
Louise Michel
Louise Michel was a French anarchist, school teacher and medical worker. She often used the pseudonym Clémence and was also known as the red virgin of Montmartre...

 publish La Libertaire in France." The word stems from the French word libertaire, and was used to evade the French ban on anarchist publications. In this tradition, the term "libertarianism" in "libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

" is generally used as a synonym for anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

, which some say is the original meaning of the term; hence "libertarian socialism" is equivalent to "socialist anarchism" to these scholars.Noam Chomsky, Carlos Peregrín Otero. Language and Politics. AK Press, Oakland, California, 2004, p. 739. In the context of the European socialist movement, libertarian has conventionally been used to describe those who opposed state socialism, such as Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russian revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists,...

. However, the association of socialism with libertarianism predates that of capitalism, and many anti-authoritarians still decry what they see as a mistaken association of capitalism with libertarianism in the United States.

Twentieth century


During the early 20th century modern liberalism in the United States began to take a more state-oriented approach to economic regulation. While conservatism in Europe continued to mean conserving hierarchical class structures through state control of society and the economy, some conservatives in the United States began to refer to conserving traditions of liberty. This was especially true of the Old Right
Old Right (United States)
The Old Right was a conservative faction in the United States that opposed both New Deal domestic programs and U.S. entry into World War II. Many members of this faction were associated with the Republicans of the interwar years led by Robert Taft, but some were Democrats...

, who opposed the New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 and U.S. military interventions in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Those who held to the earlier liberal views began to call themselves market liberals
Market liberalism
The term market liberalism is used in two distinct meanings.Especially in the United States, the term is often used as a synonym to classical liberalism...

, classic liberals
Classical liberalism
Classical liberalism is the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets....

 or libertarians to distinguish themselves. The Austrian School
Austrian School
The Austrian School of economics is a heterodox school of economic thought. It advocates methodological individualism in interpreting economic developments , the theory that money is non-neutral, the theory that the capital structure of economies consists of heterogeneous goods that have...

 of economics, influenced by Frédéric Bastiat
Frédéric Bastiat
Claude Frédéric Bastiat was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly. He was notable for developing the important economic concept of opportunity cost.-Biography:...

 and later by Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises was an Austrian economist, philosopher, and classical liberal who had a significant influence on the modern Libertarian movement and the "Austrian School" of economic thought.-Biography:-Early life:...

, also had an impact on what is now right-libertarianism
Right-libertarianism
Right-libertarianism names several related libertarian political philosophies which support capitalism. The term is typically used to differentiate privatist based forms of libertarianism from Left-libertarianism; which generally supports forms of economic democracy and...

.

In the 1950s many with "Old Right" or classical liberal beliefs in the United States began to describe themselves as "libertarian." Arizona United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

's right-libertarian leaning challenge to authority also influenced the US libertarian movement.

During the 1960s, the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 divided right-libertarians, anarchist libertarians
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, and conservatives. Right-libertarians and left-libertarians opposed to the war, joined the draft resistance
Draft dodger
Draft evasion is a term that refers to an intentional failure to comply with the military conscription policies of the nation to which he or she is subject...

 and peace movement
Peace movement
A peace movement is a social movement that seeks to achieve ideals such as the ending of a particular war , minimize inter-human violence in a particular place or type of situation, often linked to the goal of achieving world peace...

s and began founding their own publications, like Murray Rothbard
Murray Rothbard
Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

's The Libertarian Forum and organizations like the Radical Libertarian AllianceMarc Jason Gilbert, The Vietnam War on campus: other voices, more distant drums, p. 35, 2001, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN0275969096, and the Society for Individual Liberty
International Society for Individual Liberty
The International Society for Individual Liberty or ISIL is a non-profit, non-partisan libertarian educational group encouraging activism in libertarian and individual rights areas by the 'freely chosen strategies' of its members. Its history dates back to 1969 as the Society for Individual...

.Rebecca E. Klatch, A Generation Divided: The New Left, the New Right, and the 1960s, University of California Press
University of California Press
University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. It was founded in 1893 to publish books and papers for the faculty of the University of California, established 25 years earlier in 1868...

, 1999 ISBN , 215–237.


In 1971, a small group of Americans led by David Nolan formed the U.S. Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party (United States)
The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

. Attracting former Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, Republicans
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 and independents
Independent (voter)
An independent voter, those who register as an unaffiliated voter in the United States, is a voter of a democratic country who does not align him- or herself with a political party...

, the party has run a presidential candidate
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 every election year since 1972. Over the years, dozens of capitalism-supporting libertarian political parties have been formed worldwide. Educational organizations like the Center for Libertarian Studies
Center for Libertarian Studies
The Center for Libertarian Studies was a libertarian and anarcho-capitalist oriented educational organization founded in 1976 by Murray Rothbard and Burton Blumert, which grew out of the Libertarian Scholars Conferences...

 and the Cato Institute
Cato Institute
The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remains president and CEO, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the largest privately held...

 were formed in the 1970s, and others have been created since then.

Right-libertarianism gained a significant measure of recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 professor Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

's Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Anarchy, State, and Utopia is a work of political philosophy written by Robert Nozick in 1974. This minarchist book was the winner of the 1975 National Book Award...

in 1974. The book won a National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 in 1975.National Book Award: 1975 - Philosophy and ReligionDavid Lewis Schaefer, Robert Nozick and the Coast of Utopia, The New York Sun, April 30, 2008. Nozick disavowed some of his theory late in life.Misunderstanding Nozick, Again Academics as well as proponents of the free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 perspectives note that free-market capitalist libertarianism has been successfully propagated beyond the United States since the 1970s via think tanks and political parties.

Libertarian philosophies


See also :Category:Libertarianism by form.


Libertarian philosophies are divided among three main distinctions: whether the morality of actions are determined consequentially
Consequentialism
Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct...

 or deontologically
Deontological ethics
Deontological ethics or deontology is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules. It is sometimes described as "duty" or "obligation" or "rule" -based ethics, because rules "bind you to your duty"...

, whether or not private property
Private property
Private property is the right of persons and firms to obtain, own, control, employ, dispose of, and bequeath land, capital, and other forms of property. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by...

 is legitimate, and whether or not the state is legitimate.

Consequentialist / deontological distinction


Consequentialist libertarians defend liberty on the grounds its consequences are better than those of the lack of it. Deontological libertarians hold that libertarians must defend liberty on principle because aggression
Non-aggression principle
The non-aggression principle , or NAP for short, is a moral stance which asserts that aggression is inherently illegitimate...

 is never legitimate, no matter how beneficial its consequences are.

Proprietarian / non-proprietarian distinction


Central to libertarianism is the concept of liberty. One distinction among libertarian philosophies has its origin in two different definitions of liberty.

Non-proprietarian libertarian philosophies, like libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, hold that liberty is the absence of any form authority and assert that a society based on freedom and equality can be achieved through abolishing authoritarian institutions that control certain means of production and subordinate the majority to an owning class or political and economic elite. Implicitly, it rejects any authority of private property and thus holds that it is not legitimate for someone to claim private ownership of any resources to the detriment of others. Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

 that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society
Stateless society
A stateless society is a society that is not governed by a state. In stateless societies, there is little concentration of authority; most positions of authority that do exist are very limited in power and are generally not permanently held positions; and social bodies that resolve disputes through...

 without private property in the means of production. The two terms are often used interchangeably. The term libertarian socialism is also used to differentiate this philosophy from state socialism
State socialism
State socialism is an economic system with limited socialist characteristics, such as public ownership of major industries, remedial measures to benefit the working class, and a gradual process of developing socialism through government policy...

Paul Zarembka. Transitions in Latin America and in Poland and Syria. Emerald Group Publishing, 2007. p. 25Guerin, Daniel, (2011) [1970] Anarchism: from theory to practice [originally published as French: Anarchisme, de la doctrine à l'action] reprinted online: libcom.org [first published in English: New York: Monthly Review Press], §1 sub-§"A Matter of Words." "At the end of the century in France, Sebastien Faure took up a word originated in 1858 by one Joseph Dejacque to make it the title of a journal, Le Libertaire. Today the terms "anarchist" and "libertarian" have become interchangeable.… Some contemporary anarchists have tried to clear up the misunderstanding by adopting a more explicit term: they align themselves with libertarian socialism or communism." or as a synonym for left anarchism
Left anarchism
Left anarchism or left-wing anarchism refer to left-wing forms of anarchism. It posits a future society in which private property is replaced by reciprocity and non-hierarchical society...

. Libertarian socialists generally place their hopes in decentralized means of direct democracy
Direct democracy
Direct democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then vote on policy initiatives. Direct democracy is classically termed "pure democracy"...

 such as libertarian municipalism
Libertarian municipalism
Libertarian municipalism is a term first used by libertarian socialist theorist Murray Bookchin, and is used to describe a system in which libertarian institutions of directly democratic assemblies would oppose and replace the state with a confederation of free municipalities...

, citizens' assemblies, trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

s and workers' council
Workers' council
A workers' council, or revolutionary councils, is the phenomenon where a single place of work or enterprise, such as a factory, school, or farm, is controlled collectively by the workers of that workplace, through the core principle of temporary and instantly revocable delegates.In a system with...

s.

Proprietarian libertarian philosophies define liberty as non-aggression
Non-aggression principle
The non-aggression principle , or NAP for short, is a moral stance which asserts that aggression is inherently illegitimate...

, or the state in which no person or group aggresses against any other person or group, where aggression is defined as the violation of private property
Private property
Private property is the right of persons and firms to obtain, own, control, employ, dispose of, and bequeath land, capital, and other forms of property. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by...

.For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Murray N. Rothbard This philosophy, implicitly, recognizes as the sole source of legitimate authority private property. Proprietarian libertarians hold that an order of private property is the only one that is both ethical and leads to the best possible outcomes.The Ethics of Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard They generally support the free-market, and are not opposed to any concentration of power (monopolies) provided it is brought about through non-coercive means.Human Action, Ludwig von Mises They argue that the state is aggressive by its nature and that it hampers the natural adapting price system through which the economy
Economy
An economy consists of the economic system of a country or other area; the labor, capital and land resources; and the manufacturing, trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area...

 regulates itself. Rothbard also argued that a state could not sustain itself without taxation.

The statism / anarchism distinction


Libertarians differ on the degree up to which the state can be reduced. Two groups can be distinguished, statists
Statism
Statism is a term usually describing a political philosophy, whether of the right or the left, that emphasises the role of the state in politics or supports the use of the state to achieve economic, military or social goals...

, who support states, and anarchists, who favor stateless societies and view the state as being undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful while others have defined anarchism as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations.Anarchist historian George Woodcock
George Woodcock
George Woodcock was a Canadian writer of political biography and history, an anarchist thinker, an essayist and literary critic. He was also a poet, and published several volumes of travel writing. He founded in 1959 the journal Canadian Literature, the first academic journal specifically...

 report of Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russian revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists,...

's anti-authoritarianism and shows opposition to both state and non-state forms of authority as follows: "All anarchists deny authority; many of them fight against it." (pg. 9)...Bakunin did not convert the League's central committee to his full program, but he did persuade them to accept a remarkably radical recommendation to the Berne Congress of September 1868, demanding economic equality and implicitly attacking authority in both Church and State."


Supporters of government argue that having defense and courts controlled by the market is an inherent miscarriage of justice because it turns justice into a commodity, thereby conflating justice with economic power. Libertarian anarchists argue that having defence and courts controlled by the state is both immoral and an inefficient means of achieving both justice and security. They argue that a state is coercive by its nature and therefore violates the non-aggression principle. The Ethics of Liberty, Murray N. RothbardThe Machienry of Freedom, David D. Friedman Another argument is that private defense and protection firms would tend to represent the interests of those who pay them enough. Murray Rothbard agrees with this argument, however add that it is self-defeating to fight potential concentration of power by concentrating power in the hands of the state.The Ethics of Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard Furthermore these anarchists claim that a market system is the best Checks and balances system known to man.For a New Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard

Anarchists are divided according to their proprietarian or non-proprietarian definition of liberty. The proprietarian libertarian philosophy of anarchism is called Anarcho-capitalism
Anarcho-capitalism
Anarcho-capitalism is a libertarian and individualist anarchist political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the state in favour of individual sovereignty in a free market...

.For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Murray N. Rothbard Non-proprietarian libertarian philosophies of anarchism include anarchist collectivism
Collectivist anarchism
Collectivist anarchism is a revolutionary doctrine that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production...

, anarchist communism
Anarchist communism
Anarchist communism is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, markets, money, private property, and capitalism in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers' councils with...

, social anarchism
Social anarchism
Social anarchism is a term originally used in 1971 by Giovanni Baldelli as the title of his book where he discusses the organization of an ethical society from an anarchist point of view...

) and anarcho-syndicalism
Anarcho-syndicalism
Anarcho-syndicalism is a branch of anarchism which focuses on the labour movement. The word syndicalism comes from the French word syndicat which means trade union , from the Latin word syndicus which in turn comes from the Greek word σύνδικος which means caretaker of an issue...

. Anti-property anarchists hold that liberty is incompatible with state action based on a class struggle analysis of the state.Lewis Call (2002) Postmodern anarchism Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 66–68.

Anarcho-capitalists generally argue government is aggressive by its nature because governments use force against those who have not stolen private property, vandalized private property, assaulted anyone, or committed fraud.For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Murray N. Rothbard Many also argue that monopolies
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 tend to be corrupt and inefficient.The Machienry of Freedom, David D. Friedman Murray Rothbard
Murray Rothbard
Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

 argued that all government services, including defense, are inefficient because they lack a market-based pricing mechanism regulated by the voluntary decisions of consumer
Consumer
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

s purchasing services that fulfill their highest-priority needs and by investors seeking the most profitable enterprises to invest in. Pro-property anarchists also argue that private defense
Private defense agency
A private defense agency is a conceptualized agency that provides personal protection and military defense services voluntarily through the free market. A PDA is not a private contractor of the state and is not subsidised in any way through taxation or immunities, nor does it rely on conscription...

 and court
Dispute resolution organization
A dispute resolution organization, or DRO, is a conceptualized organization providing services such as mediation and arbitration through the private sector. It is an important aspect of anarcho-capitalist theory.-Enforceability of verdicts:...

 agencies would have to have a good reputation in order to stay in business.The Machienry of Freedom, David D. Friedman Murray Rothbard agrees with this argument. However, he argued that one cannot justify a concentration of power out of a fear of a concentration of power, and that a market system is the best checks and balances system.For a New Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard Furthermore, Linda & Morris Tannehill argue that no coercive monopoly of force can arise on a truly free marketLinda & Morris Tannehill. The Market for Liberty, p. 81. and that a government's citizenry can’t desert them in favor of a competent protection and defense agency.

Philosophers influential to libertarianism

See also :Category:Libertarian theorists
  • Émile Armand
    Emile Armand
    Emile Armand was the most influential French individualist anarchist at the beginning of the 20th century and also a dedicated free love/polyamory, intentional community, and pacifist/antimilitarist writer, propagandist and activist...

    , the most influential French individualist anarchist at the beginning of the 20th centuryWoodcock identifies him as the leading french individualist anarchist around the time of World War I (pg. 324). George Woodcock. Anarchism: a history of libertarian ideas. pg 324"...probably, the individualist who unfolds in the most detailed form stirnerist
    Philosophy of Max Stirner
    The philosophy of Max Stirner is credited as an influence on the development of nihilism, existentialism, post-modernism and anarchism, especially of individualist anarchism, postanarchism and post-left anarchy...

     ideas and who has the capacity of having an specific domination, above all between the two world wars, in the milieu of individualist discourse." Xavier Diez. El anarquismo individualista en España (1923-1939). Virus Editorial. Barcelona. 2007
  • Mikhail Bakunin
    Mikhail Bakunin
    Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russian revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists,...

     the main theorist of collectivist anarchism
    Collectivist anarchism
    Collectivist anarchism is a revolutionary doctrine that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production...

     and ideological father of much of the libertarian left
    Left-libertarianism
    Left-libertarianism names several related but distinct approaches to politics, society, culture, and political and social theory, which stress equally both individual freedom and social justice.-Schools of thought:...

  • Frédéric Bastiat
    Frédéric Bastiat
    Claude Frédéric Bastiat was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly. He was notable for developing the important economic concept of opportunity cost.-Biography:...

    , classical liberal
    Classical liberalism
    Classical liberalism is the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets....

     theorist, political economist
    Political economy
    Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

    , notable for having developed the concept of opportunity cost
    Opportunity cost
    Opportunity cost is the cost of any activity measured in terms of the value of the best alternative that is not chosen . It is the sacrifice related to the second best choice available to someone, or group, who has picked among several mutually exclusive choices. The opportunity cost is also the...

    .
  • Murray Bookchin
    Murray Bookchin
    Murray Bookchin was an American libertarian socialist author, orator, and philosopher. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin was the founder of the social ecology movement within anarchist, libertarian socialist and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books on politics,...

     leading theorist of the social ecology
    Social ecology
    Social ecology is a philosophy developed by Murray Bookchin in the 1960s.It holds that present ecological problems are rooted in deep-seated social problems, particularly in dominatory hierarchical political and social systems. These have resulted in an uncritical acceptance of an overly...

     movement, founder of libertarian municipalism
    Libertarian municipalism
    Libertarian municipalism is a term first used by libertarian socialist theorist Murray Bookchin, and is used to describe a system in which libertarian institutions of directly democratic assemblies would oppose and replace the state with a confederation of free municipalities...

     and harsh critic of individualist anarchism
    Individualist anarchism
    Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and his or her will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems. Individualist anarchism is not a single philosophy but refers to a...

    Janet Biehl
    Janet Biehl
    Janet Biehl is a writer associated with social ecology, the body of ideas developed and publicized by Murray Bookchin. In 1986 she attended the Institute for Social Ecology and there began a collaborative relationship with Bookchin, working intensively with him over the next two decades in the...

    , Short Biography of Murray Bookchin
  • Milton Friedman
    Milton Friedman
    Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades...

    , Nobel Prize winning economist, notable for the development of monetarism
    Monetarism
    Monetarism is a tendency in economic thought that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. It is the view within monetary economics that variation in the money supply has major influences on national output in the short run and the price level over...

    .
  • William Godwin
    William Godwin
    William Godwin was an English journalist, political philosopher and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism, and the first modern proponent of anarchism...

     the first modern proponent of anarchism (though he never referred to himself as such) whose highly libertarian philosophy is outlined in his 1793 book Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Modern Morals and Manners
    Political Justice
    Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Modern Morals and Manners outlines the political philosophy of the 18th-century philosopher William Godwin....

  • Emma Goldman
    Emma Goldman
    Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century....

    , Lithuanian-American anarchist and theorist of anarcha-feminism
    Anarcha-feminism
    Anarcha-feminism combines anarchism with feminism. It generally views patriarchy as a manifestation of involuntary hierarchy. Anarcha-feminists believe that the struggle against patriarchy is an essential part of class struggle, and the anarchist struggle against the state...

  • Friedrich Hayek
    Friedrich Hayek
    Friedrich August Hayek CH , born in Austria-Hungary as Friedrich August von Hayek, was an economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism and free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought...

    , Nobel Prize winning economist, notable for having partially developed the concept of partial knowledge
    The Use of Knowledge in Society
    "The Use of Knowledge in Society" is a scholarly article written by economist Friedrich Hayek, first published in the September 1945 issue of The American Economic Review Written as a rebuttal to fellow economist Oskar R...

    .
  • Peter Kropotkin
    Peter Kropotkin
    Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, economist, geographer, author and one of the world's foremost anarcho-communists. Kropotkin advocated a communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between...

    , influential Russian anarchist and main theorist of anarcho-communism
  • Robert Nozick
    Robert Nozick
    Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

     author of Anarchy, State, and Utopia
    Anarchy, State, and Utopia
    Anarchy, State, and Utopia is a work of political philosophy written by Robert Nozick in 1974. This minarchist book was the winner of the 1975 National Book Award...

    (1974), a libertarian answer to John Rawls
    John Rawls
    John Bordley Rawls was an American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy. He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University....

    's A Theory of Justice
    A Theory of Justice
    A Theory of Justice is a book of political philosophy and ethics by John Rawls. It was originally published in 1971 and revised in both 1975 and 1999. In A Theory of Justice, Rawls attempts to solve the problem of distributive justice by utilising a variant of the familiar device of the social...

    (1971)
  • Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
    Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
    Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French politician, mutualist philosopher and socialist. He was a member of the French Parliament, and he was the first person to call himself an "anarchist". He is considered among the most influential theorists and organisers of anarchism...

     the first self described anarchist and theorist of what would eventually be called mutualism
    Mutualism (economic theory)
    Mutualism is an anarchist school of thought that originates in the writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who envisioned a society where each person might possess a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labor in the free market...

    , an anti-statist form of market socialism
    Market socialism
    Market socialism refers to various economic systems where the means of production are either publicly owned or cooperatively owned and operated for a profit in a market economy. The profit generated by the firms system would be used to directly remunerate employees or would be the source of public...

  • Ayn Rand
    Ayn Rand
    Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism....

     the creator of the philosophy of Objectivism
    Objectivism (Ayn Rand)
    Objectivism is a philosophy created by the Russian-American philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand . Objectivism holds that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception...

  • Murray Rothbard
    Murray Rothbard
    Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

     an American author, and economist who helped define modern American libertarianism and popularized "anarcho-capitalism"

Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

 that holds individual liberty
Liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

 as the basic moral
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

 principle
Principle
A principle is a law or rule that has to be, or usually is to be followed, or can be desirably followed, or is an inevitable consequence of something, such as the laws observed in nature or the way that a system is constructed...

 of society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view. Libertarianism includes diverse beliefs, all advocating strict limits to government activity and sharing the goal of maximizing individual liberty and political freedom.

Philosopher Roderick T. Long defines libertarianism as "any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals", whether "voluntary association" takes the form of the free market or of communal co-operatives. According to the U.S. Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party (United States)
The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

, libertarianism is the advocacy of a government that is funded voluntarily and limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence.

Overview


Libertarian schools of thought differ over the degree to which the state should be reduced. Anarchists advocate complete elimination of the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

. Minarchists
Minarchism
Minarchism has been variously defined by sources. It is a libertarian capitalist political philosophy. In the strictest sense, it maintains that the state is necessary and that its only legitimate function is the protection of individuals from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud, and...

 advocate a state which is limited to protecting its citizens from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud. Some libertarians go further, such as by supporting minimal public assistance for the poor. Additionally, some schools are supportive of private property rights in the ownership of unappropriated land and natural resources while others reject such private ownership and often support common ownership
Common ownership
Common ownership is a principle according to which the assets of an enterprise or other organization are held indivisibly rather than in the names of the individual members or by a public institution such as a governmental body. It is therefore in contrast to public ownership...

 instead.; Another distinction can be made among libertarians who support private ownership and those that support common ownership of the means of production
Means of production
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth — along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital...

; the former generally supporting a capitalist economy, the latter a libertarian socialist economic system. In some parts of the world, the term "libertarianism" is synonymous with Left anarchism
Left anarchism
Left anarchism or left-wing anarchism refer to left-wing forms of anarchism. It posits a future society in which private property is replaced by reciprocity and non-hierarchical society...

.

Libertarians can broadly be characterized as holding four ethical views: consequentialism, deontological theories, contractarianism, and class-struggle normative beliefs. The main divide is between consequentialist libertarianism
Consequentialist libertarianism
Consequentialist libertarianism refers to the view that liberty leads to favorable consequences such as prosperity, efficiency, or peace, and for that reason should be supported, advocated, and maximized...

—which is support for a large degree of "liberty" because it leads to favorable consequences, such as prosperity or efficiency—and deontological libertarianism
Deontological libertarianism
Deontological libertarianism refers to the view that all acts of initiation of force and fraud should be opposed because they are always immoral regardless of the effects of engaging in them...

 (also known as "rights-theorist libertarianism," "natural rights libertarianism," or "libertarian moralism"), which is a philosophy based on belief in moral self-ownership
Self-ownership
Self-ownership is the concept of property in one's own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to be the exclusive controller of his own body and life. According to G...

 and opposition to "initiation of force
Initiation of force
The initiation of force is the start, or beginning, of the use of physical and/or legal coercion, violence, or restraint. This is to be distinguished from retaliatory force and violence...

" and fraud. Others combine a hybrid of consequentialist and deontologist thinking. Another view, contractarian libertarianism
Social contract
The social contract is an intellectual device intended to explain the appropriate relationship between individuals and their governments. Social contract arguments assert that individuals unite into political societies by a process of mutual consent, agreeing to abide by common rules and accept...

, holds that any legitimate authority of government derives not from the consent of the governed, but from contract or mutual agreement, though this can be seen as reductible to consequentialism or deontologism depending on what grounds contracts are justified. Some Libertarian Socialists with backgrounds influenced by Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 reject deontological and consequential approaches and use normative class-struggle methodologies rooted in Hegelian thought
Historical materialism
Historical materialism is a methodological approach to the study of society, economics, and history, first articulated by Karl Marx as "the materialist conception of history". Historical materialism looks for the causes of developments and changes in human society in the means by which humans...

 to justify direct action
Direct action
Direct action is activity undertaken by individuals, groups, or governments to achieve political, economic, or social goals outside of normal social/political channels. This can include nonviolent and violent activities which target persons, groups, or property deemed offensive to the direct action...

 in pursuit of liberty.

In the United States, the term libertarian is commonly associated with those who have conservative
Conservatism
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 positions on economic issues
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 and left-wing
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 positions on social issues
Social issues
Social issues are controversial issues which relate to people's personal lives and interactions. Social issues are distinguished from economic issues...

.

Etymology


The use of the word "libertarian" to describe a set of political positions can be tracked to the French cognate, libertaire, which was coined in 1857 by French anarchist Joseph Déjacque
Joseph Déjacque
Joseph Déjacque was a French anarcho-communist poet and writer. He sought to abolish "personal property, property in land, buildings, workshops, shops, property in anything that is an instrument of work, production or consumption."Déjacque was the first to employ the term libertarian in a...

 who used the term to distinguish his libertarian communist
Anarchist communism
Anarchist communism is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, markets, money, private property, and capitalism in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers' councils with...

 approach from the mutualism
Mutualism (economic theory)
Mutualism is an anarchist school of thought that originates in the writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who envisioned a society where each person might possess a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labor in the free market...

 advocated by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French politician, mutualist philosopher and socialist. He was a member of the French Parliament, and he was the first person to call himself an "anarchist". He is considered among the most influential theorists and organisers of anarchism...

. Hence libertarian has been used by some as a synonym for left-wing anarchism since the 1890s. Libertarian socialists
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, such as Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 and Colin Ward
Colin Ward
Colin Ward was a British anarchist writer. He has been called "one of the greatest anarchist thinkers of the past half century, and a pioneering social historian." -Life:...

, assert that many still consider the term libertarianism a synonym of anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 in countries other than the US.

Origins


During the 18th century Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, "liberal" ideas flourished in Europe and North America. Libertarians of various schools were influenced by classical liberal ideas.Carlos Peregrin Otero, editor, Noam Chomsky: critical assessments, Volumes 2-3, Taylor & Francis US, 1994,p 617, ISBN 041510694X, 9780415106948. Author? Chapter? The term libertarian
Libertarianism (metaphysics)
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. In particular, libertarianism, which is an incompatibilist position, argues that free will is logically incompatible with a...

 in a metaphysical or philosophical sense was first used by late-Enlightenment free-thinkers
Freethought
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas...

 to refer to those who believed in free will
Free will
"To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

, as opposed to determinism
Determinism
Determinism is the general philosophical thesis that states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen. There are many versions of this thesis. Each of them rests upon various alleged connections, and interdependencies of things and...

. The first recorded use was in 1789 by William Belsham
William Belsham
William Belsham was an English political writer and historian, noted as a supporter of the Whig Party and its principles. In 1789 he coined the term libertarian in a discussion of free will and in opposition to "necessitarian" views...

 in a discussion of free will and in opposition to "necessitarian" (or determinist) views.

The first anarchist journal to use the term “libertarian” was La Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Socialand it was published in New York City between 1858 and 1861 by French anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque. "The next recorded use of the term was in Europe, when “libertarian communism” was used at a French regional anarchist Congress at Le Havre (16-22 November, 1880). January the following year saw a French manifesto issued on “Libertarian or Anarchist Communism.” Finally, 1895 saw leading anarchists Sébastien Faure
Sébastien Faure
Sébastien Faure was a French anarchist . He was a main proponent of the anarchist organizational form known as synthesis anarchism.- Biography :Before becoming a free-thinker, he was a seminarist...

 and Louise Michel
Louise Michel
Louise Michel was a French anarchist, school teacher and medical worker. She often used the pseudonym Clémence and was also known as the red virgin of Montmartre...

 publish La Libertaire in France." The word stems from the French word libertaire, and was used to evade the French ban on anarchist publications. In this tradition, the term "libertarianism" in "libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

" is generally used as a synonym for anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

, which some say is the original meaning of the term; hence "libertarian socialism" is equivalent to "socialist anarchism" to these scholars.Noam Chomsky, Carlos Peregrín Otero. Language and Politics. AK Press, Oakland, California, 2004, p. 739. In the context of the European socialist movement, libertarian has conventionally been used to describe those who opposed state socialism, such as Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russian revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists,...

. However, the association of socialism with libertarianism predates that of capitalism, and many anti-authoritarians still decry what they see as a mistaken association of capitalism with libertarianism in the United States.

Twentieth century


During the early 20th century modern liberalism in the United States began to take a more state-oriented approach to economic regulation. While conservatism in Europe continued to mean conserving hierarchical class structures through state control of society and the economy, some conservatives in the United States began to refer to conserving traditions of liberty. This was especially true of the Old Right
Old Right (United States)
The Old Right was a conservative faction in the United States that opposed both New Deal domestic programs and U.S. entry into World War II. Many members of this faction were associated with the Republicans of the interwar years led by Robert Taft, but some were Democrats...

, who opposed the New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 and U.S. military interventions in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Those who held to the earlier liberal views began to call themselves market liberals
Market liberalism
The term market liberalism is used in two distinct meanings.Especially in the United States, the term is often used as a synonym to classical liberalism...

, classic liberals
Classical liberalism
Classical liberalism is the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets....

 or libertarians to distinguish themselves. The Austrian School
Austrian School
The Austrian School of economics is a heterodox school of economic thought. It advocates methodological individualism in interpreting economic developments , the theory that money is non-neutral, the theory that the capital structure of economies consists of heterogeneous goods that have...

 of economics, influenced by Frédéric Bastiat
Frédéric Bastiat
Claude Frédéric Bastiat was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly. He was notable for developing the important economic concept of opportunity cost.-Biography:...

 and later by Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises was an Austrian economist, philosopher, and classical liberal who had a significant influence on the modern Libertarian movement and the "Austrian School" of economic thought.-Biography:-Early life:...

, also had an impact on what is now right-libertarianism
Right-libertarianism
Right-libertarianism names several related libertarian political philosophies which support capitalism. The term is typically used to differentiate privatist based forms of libertarianism from Left-libertarianism; which generally supports forms of economic democracy and...

.

In the 1950s many with "Old Right" or classical liberal beliefs in the United States began to describe themselves as "libertarian." Arizona United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

's right-libertarian leaning challenge to authority also influenced the US libertarian movement.

During the 1960s, the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 divided right-libertarians, anarchist libertarians
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, and conservatives. Right-libertarians and left-libertarians opposed to the war, joined the draft resistance
Draft dodger
Draft evasion is a term that refers to an intentional failure to comply with the military conscription policies of the nation to which he or she is subject...

 and peace movement
Peace movement
A peace movement is a social movement that seeks to achieve ideals such as the ending of a particular war , minimize inter-human violence in a particular place or type of situation, often linked to the goal of achieving world peace...

s and began founding their own publications, like Murray Rothbard
Murray Rothbard
Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

's The Libertarian Forum and organizations like the Radical Libertarian AllianceMarc Jason Gilbert, The Vietnam War on campus: other voices, more distant drums, p. 35, 2001, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN0275969096, and the Society for Individual Liberty
International Society for Individual Liberty
The International Society for Individual Liberty or ISIL is a non-profit, non-partisan libertarian educational group encouraging activism in libertarian and individual rights areas by the 'freely chosen strategies' of its members. Its history dates back to 1969 as the Society for Individual...

.Rebecca E. Klatch, A Generation Divided: The New Left, the New Right, and the 1960s, University of California Press
University of California Press
University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. It was founded in 1893 to publish books and papers for the faculty of the University of California, established 25 years earlier in 1868...

, 1999 ISBN , 215–237.


In 1971, a small group of Americans led by David Nolan formed the U.S. Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party (United States)
The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

. Attracting former Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, Republicans
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 and independents
Independent (voter)
An independent voter, those who register as an unaffiliated voter in the United States, is a voter of a democratic country who does not align him- or herself with a political party...

, the party has run a presidential candidate
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 every election year since 1972. Over the years, dozens of capitalism-supporting libertarian political parties have been formed worldwide. Educational organizations like the Center for Libertarian Studies
Center for Libertarian Studies
The Center for Libertarian Studies was a libertarian and anarcho-capitalist oriented educational organization founded in 1976 by Murray Rothbard and Burton Blumert, which grew out of the Libertarian Scholars Conferences...

 and the Cato Institute
Cato Institute
The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remains president and CEO, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the largest privately held...

 were formed in the 1970s, and others have been created since then.

Right-libertarianism gained a significant measure of recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 professor Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

's Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Anarchy, State, and Utopia is a work of political philosophy written by Robert Nozick in 1974. This minarchist book was the winner of the 1975 National Book Award...

in 1974. The book won a National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 in 1975.National Book Award: 1975 - Philosophy and ReligionDavid Lewis Schaefer, Robert Nozick and the Coast of Utopia, The New York Sun, April 30, 2008. Nozick disavowed some of his theory late in life.Misunderstanding Nozick, Again Academics as well as proponents of the free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 perspectives note that free-market capitalist libertarianism has been successfully propagated beyond the United States since the 1970s via think tanks and political parties.

Libertarian philosophies


See also :Category:Libertarianism by form.


Libertarian philosophies are divided among three main distinctions: whether the morality of actions are determined consequentially
Consequentialism
Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct...

 or deontologically
Deontological ethics
Deontological ethics or deontology is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules. It is sometimes described as "duty" or "obligation" or "rule" -based ethics, because rules "bind you to your duty"...

, whether or not private property
Private property
Private property is the right of persons and firms to obtain, own, control, employ, dispose of, and bequeath land, capital, and other forms of property. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by...

 is legitimate, and whether or not the state is legitimate.

Consequentialist / deontological distinction


Consequentialist libertarians defend liberty on the grounds its consequences are better than those of the lack of it. Deontological libertarians hold that libertarians must defend liberty on principle because aggression
Non-aggression principle
The non-aggression principle , or NAP for short, is a moral stance which asserts that aggression is inherently illegitimate...

 is never legitimate, no matter how beneficial its consequences are.

Proprietarian / non-proprietarian distinction


Central to libertarianism is the concept of liberty. One distinction among libertarian philosophies has its origin in two different definitions of liberty.

Non-proprietarian libertarian philosophies, like libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, hold that liberty is the absence of any form authority and assert that a society based on freedom and equality can be achieved through abolishing authoritarian institutions that control certain means of production and subordinate the majority to an owning class or political and economic elite. Implicitly, it rejects any authority of private property and thus holds that it is not legitimate for someone to claim private ownership of any resources to the detriment of others. Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

 that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society
Stateless society
A stateless society is a society that is not governed by a state. In stateless societies, there is little concentration of authority; most positions of authority that do exist are very limited in power and are generally not permanently held positions; and social bodies that resolve disputes through...

 without private property in the means of production. The two terms are often used interchangeably. The term libertarian socialism is also used to differentiate this philosophy from state socialism
State socialism
State socialism is an economic system with limited socialist characteristics, such as public ownership of major industries, remedial measures to benefit the working class, and a gradual process of developing socialism through government policy...

Paul Zarembka. Transitions in Latin America and in Poland and Syria. Emerald Group Publishing, 2007. p. 25Guerin, Daniel, (2011) [1970] Anarchism: from theory to practice [originally published as French: Anarchisme, de la doctrine à l'action] reprinted online: libcom.org [first published in English: New York: Monthly Review Press], §1 sub-§"A Matter of Words." "At the end of the century in France, Sebastien Faure took up a word originated in 1858 by one Joseph Dejacque to make it the title of a journal, Le Libertaire. Today the terms "anarchist" and "libertarian" have become interchangeable.… Some contemporary anarchists have tried to clear up the misunderstanding by adopting a more explicit term: they align themselves with libertarian socialism or communism." or as a synonym for left anarchism
Left anarchism
Left anarchism or left-wing anarchism refer to left-wing forms of anarchism. It posits a future society in which private property is replaced by reciprocity and non-hierarchical society...

. Libertarian socialists generally place their hopes in decentralized means of direct democracy
Direct democracy
Direct democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then vote on policy initiatives. Direct democracy is classically termed "pure democracy"...

 such as libertarian municipalism
Libertarian municipalism
Libertarian municipalism is a term first used by libertarian socialist theorist Murray Bookchin, and is used to describe a system in which libertarian institutions of directly democratic assemblies would oppose and replace the state with a confederation of free municipalities...

, citizens' assemblies, trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

s and workers' council
Workers' council
A workers' council, or revolutionary councils, is the phenomenon where a single place of work or enterprise, such as a factory, school, or farm, is controlled collectively by the workers of that workplace, through the core principle of temporary and instantly revocable delegates.In a system with...

s.

Proprietarian libertarian philosophies define liberty as non-aggression
Non-aggression principle
The non-aggression principle , or NAP for short, is a moral stance which asserts that aggression is inherently illegitimate...

, or the state in which no person or group aggresses against any other person or group, where aggression is defined as the violation of private property
Private property
Private property is the right of persons and firms to obtain, own, control, employ, dispose of, and bequeath land, capital, and other forms of property. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by...

.For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Murray N. Rothbard This philosophy, implicitly, recognizes as the sole source of legitimate authority private property. Proprietarian libertarians hold that an order of private property is the only one that is both ethical and leads to the best possible outcomes.The Ethics of Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard They generally support the free-market, and are not opposed to any concentration of power (monopolies) provided it is brought about through non-coercive means.Human Action, Ludwig von Mises They argue that the state is aggressive by its nature and that it hampers the natural adapting price system through which the economy
Economy
An economy consists of the economic system of a country or other area; the labor, capital and land resources; and the manufacturing, trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area...

 regulates itself. Rothbard also argued that a state could not sustain itself without taxation.

The statism / anarchism distinction


Libertarians differ on the degree up to which the state can be reduced. Two groups can be distinguished, statists
Statism
Statism is a term usually describing a political philosophy, whether of the right or the left, that emphasises the role of the state in politics or supports the use of the state to achieve economic, military or social goals...

, who support states, and anarchists, who favor stateless societies and view the state as being undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful while others have defined anarchism as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations.Anarchist historian George Woodcock
George Woodcock
George Woodcock was a Canadian writer of political biography and history, an anarchist thinker, an essayist and literary critic. He was also a poet, and published several volumes of travel writing. He founded in 1959 the journal Canadian Literature, the first academic journal specifically...

 report of Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russian revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists,...

's anti-authoritarianism and shows opposition to both state and non-state forms of authority as follows: "All anarchists deny authority; many of them fight against it." (pg. 9)...Bakunin did not convert the League's central committee to his full program, but he did persuade them to accept a remarkably radical recommendation to the Berne Congress of September 1868, demanding economic equality and implicitly attacking authority in both Church and State."


Supporters of government argue that having defense and courts controlled by the market is an inherent miscarriage of justice because it turns justice into a commodity, thereby conflating justice with economic power. Libertarian anarchists argue that having defence and courts controlled by the state is both immoral and an inefficient means of achieving both justice and security. They argue that a state is coercive by its nature and therefore violates the non-aggression principle. The Ethics of Liberty, Murray N. RothbardThe Machienry of Freedom, David D. Friedman Another argument is that private defense and protection firms would tend to represent the interests of those who pay them enough. Murray Rothbard agrees with this argument, however add that it is self-defeating to fight potential concentration of power by concentrating power in the hands of the state.The Ethics of Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard Furthermore these anarchists claim that a market system is the best Checks and balances system known to man.For a New Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard

Anarchists are divided according to their proprietarian or non-proprietarian definition of liberty. The proprietarian libertarian philosophy of anarchism is called Anarcho-capitalism
Anarcho-capitalism
Anarcho-capitalism is a libertarian and individualist anarchist political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the state in favour of individual sovereignty in a free market...

.For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Murray N. Rothbard Non-proprietarian libertarian philosophies of anarchism include anarchist collectivism
Collectivist anarchism
Collectivist anarchism is a revolutionary doctrine that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production...

, anarchist communism
Anarchist communism
Anarchist communism is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, markets, money, private property, and capitalism in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers' councils with...

, social anarchism
Social anarchism
Social anarchism is a term originally used in 1971 by Giovanni Baldelli as the title of his book where he discusses the organization of an ethical society from an anarchist point of view...

) and anarcho-syndicalism
Anarcho-syndicalism
Anarcho-syndicalism is a branch of anarchism which focuses on the labour movement. The word syndicalism comes from the French word syndicat which means trade union , from the Latin word syndicus which in turn comes from the Greek word σύνδικος which means caretaker of an issue...

. Anti-property anarchists hold that liberty is incompatible with state action based on a class struggle analysis of the state.Lewis Call (2002) Postmodern anarchism Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 66–68.

Anarcho-capitalists generally argue government is aggressive by its nature because governments use force against those who have not stolen private property, vandalized private property, assaulted anyone, or committed fraud.For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Murray N. Rothbard Many also argue that monopolies
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 tend to be corrupt and inefficient.The Machienry of Freedom, David D. Friedman Murray Rothbard
Murray Rothbard
Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

 argued that all government services, including defense, are inefficient because they lack a market-based pricing mechanism regulated by the voluntary decisions of consumer
Consumer
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

s purchasing services that fulfill their highest-priority needs and by investors seeking the most profitable enterprises to invest in. Pro-property anarchists also argue that private defense
Private defense agency
A private defense agency is a conceptualized agency that provides personal protection and military defense services voluntarily through the free market. A PDA is not a private contractor of the state and is not subsidised in any way through taxation or immunities, nor does it rely on conscription...

 and court
Dispute resolution organization
A dispute resolution organization, or DRO, is a conceptualized organization providing services such as mediation and arbitration through the private sector. It is an important aspect of anarcho-capitalist theory.-Enforceability of verdicts:...

 agencies would have to have a good reputation in order to stay in business.The Machienry of Freedom, David D. Friedman Murray Rothbard agrees with this argument. However, he argued that one cannot justify a concentration of power out of a fear of a concentration of power, and that a market system is the best checks and balances system.For a New Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard Furthermore, Linda & Morris Tannehill argue that no coercive monopoly of force can arise on a truly free marketLinda & Morris Tannehill. The Market for Liberty, p. 81. and that a government's citizenry can’t desert them in favor of a competent protection and defense agency.

Philosophers influential to libertarianism

See also :Category:Libertarian theorists
  • Émile Armand
    Emile Armand
    Emile Armand was the most influential French individualist anarchist at the beginning of the 20th century and also a dedicated free love/polyamory, intentional community, and pacifist/antimilitarist writer, propagandist and activist...

    , the most influential French individualist anarchist at the beginning of the 20th centuryWoodcock identifies him as the leading french individualist anarchist around the time of World War I (pg. 324). George Woodcock. Anarchism: a history of libertarian ideas. pg 324"...probably, the individualist who unfolds in the most detailed form stirnerist
    Philosophy of Max Stirner
    The philosophy of Max Stirner is credited as an influence on the development of nihilism, existentialism, post-modernism and anarchism, especially of individualist anarchism, postanarchism and post-left anarchy...

     ideas and who has the capacity of having an specific domination, above all between the two world wars, in the milieu of individualist discourse." Xavier Diez. El anarquismo individualista en España (1923-1939). Virus Editorial. Barcelona. 2007
  • Mikhail Bakunin
    Mikhail Bakunin
    Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russian revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists,...

     the main theorist of collectivist anarchism
    Collectivist anarchism
    Collectivist anarchism is a revolutionary doctrine that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production...

     and ideological father of much of the libertarian left
    Left-libertarianism
    Left-libertarianism names several related but distinct approaches to politics, society, culture, and political and social theory, which stress equally both individual freedom and social justice.-Schools of thought:...

  • Frédéric Bastiat
    Frédéric Bastiat
    Claude Frédéric Bastiat was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly. He was notable for developing the important economic concept of opportunity cost.-Biography:...

    , classical liberal
    Classical liberalism
    Classical liberalism is the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets....

     theorist, political economist
    Political economy
    Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

    , notable for having developed the concept of opportunity cost
    Opportunity cost
    Opportunity cost is the cost of any activity measured in terms of the value of the best alternative that is not chosen . It is the sacrifice related to the second best choice available to someone, or group, who has picked among several mutually exclusive choices. The opportunity cost is also the...

    .
  • Murray Bookchin
    Murray Bookchin
    Murray Bookchin was an American libertarian socialist author, orator, and philosopher. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin was the founder of the social ecology movement within anarchist, libertarian socialist and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books on politics,...

     leading theorist of the social ecology
    Social ecology
    Social ecology is a philosophy developed by Murray Bookchin in the 1960s.It holds that present ecological problems are rooted in deep-seated social problems, particularly in dominatory hierarchical political and social systems. These have resulted in an uncritical acceptance of an overly...

     movement, founder of libertarian municipalism
    Libertarian municipalism
    Libertarian municipalism is a term first used by libertarian socialist theorist Murray Bookchin, and is used to describe a system in which libertarian institutions of directly democratic assemblies would oppose and replace the state with a confederation of free municipalities...

     and harsh critic of individualist anarchism
    Individualist anarchism
    Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and his or her will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems. Individualist anarchism is not a single philosophy but refers to a...

    Janet Biehl
    Janet Biehl
    Janet Biehl is a writer associated with social ecology, the body of ideas developed and publicized by Murray Bookchin. In 1986 she attended the Institute for Social Ecology and there began a collaborative relationship with Bookchin, working intensively with him over the next two decades in the...

    , Short Biography of Murray Bookchin
  • Milton Friedman
    Milton Friedman
    Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades...

    , Nobel Prize winning economist, notable for the development of monetarism
    Monetarism
    Monetarism is a tendency in economic thought that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. It is the view within monetary economics that variation in the money supply has major influences on national output in the short run and the price level over...

    .
  • William Godwin
    William Godwin
    William Godwin was an English journalist, political philosopher and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism, and the first modern proponent of anarchism...

     the first modern proponent of anarchism (though he never referred to himself as such) whose highly libertarian philosophy is outlined in his 1793 book Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Modern Morals and Manners
    Political Justice
    Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Modern Morals and Manners outlines the political philosophy of the 18th-century philosopher William Godwin....

  • Emma Goldman
    Emma Goldman
    Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century....

    , Lithuanian-American anarchist and theorist of anarcha-feminism
    Anarcha-feminism
    Anarcha-feminism combines anarchism with feminism. It generally views patriarchy as a manifestation of involuntary hierarchy. Anarcha-feminists believe that the struggle against patriarchy is an essential part of class struggle, and the anarchist struggle against the state...

  • Friedrich Hayek
    Friedrich Hayek
    Friedrich August Hayek CH , born in Austria-Hungary as Friedrich August von Hayek, was an economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism and free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought...

    , Nobel Prize winning economist, notable for having partially developed the concept of partial knowledge
    The Use of Knowledge in Society
    "The Use of Knowledge in Society" is a scholarly article written by economist Friedrich Hayek, first published in the September 1945 issue of The American Economic Review Written as a rebuttal to fellow economist Oskar R...

    .
  • Peter Kropotkin
    Peter Kropotkin
    Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, economist, geographer, author and one of the world's foremost anarcho-communists. Kropotkin advocated a communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between...

    , influential Russian anarchist and main theorist of anarcho-communism
  • Robert Nozick
    Robert Nozick
    Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

     author of Anarchy, State, and Utopia
    Anarchy, State, and Utopia
    Anarchy, State, and Utopia is a work of political philosophy written by Robert Nozick in 1974. This minarchist book was the winner of the 1975 National Book Award...

    (1974), a libertarian answer to John Rawls
    John Rawls
    John Bordley Rawls was an American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy. He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University....

    's A Theory of Justice
    A Theory of Justice
    A Theory of Justice is a book of political philosophy and ethics by John Rawls. It was originally published in 1971 and revised in both 1975 and 1999. In A Theory of Justice, Rawls attempts to solve the problem of distributive justice by utilising a variant of the familiar device of the social...

    (1971)
  • Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
    Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
    Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French politician, mutualist philosopher and socialist. He was a member of the French Parliament, and he was the first person to call himself an "anarchist". He is considered among the most influential theorists and organisers of anarchism...

     the first self described anarchist and theorist of what would eventually be called mutualism
    Mutualism (economic theory)
    Mutualism is an anarchist school of thought that originates in the writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who envisioned a society where each person might possess a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labor in the free market...

    , an anti-statist form of market socialism
    Market socialism
    Market socialism refers to various economic systems where the means of production are either publicly owned or cooperatively owned and operated for a profit in a market economy. The profit generated by the firms system would be used to directly remunerate employees or would be the source of public...

  • Ayn Rand
    Ayn Rand
    Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism....

     the creator of the philosophy of Objectivism
    Objectivism (Ayn Rand)
    Objectivism is a philosophy created by the Russian-American philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand . Objectivism holds that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception...

  • Murray Rothbard
    Murray Rothbard
    Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

     an American author, and economist who helped define modern American libertarianism and popularized "anarcho-capitalism"

Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

 that holds individual liberty
Liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

 as the basic moral
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

 principle
Principle
A principle is a law or rule that has to be, or usually is to be followed, or can be desirably followed, or is an inevitable consequence of something, such as the laws observed in nature or the way that a system is constructed...

 of society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view. Libertarianism includes diverse beliefs, all advocating strict limits to government activity and sharing the goal of maximizing individual liberty and political freedom.

Philosopher Roderick T. Long defines libertarianism as "any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals", whether "voluntary association" takes the form of the free market or of communal co-operatives. According to the U.S. Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party (United States)
The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

, libertarianism is the advocacy of a government that is funded voluntarily and limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence.

Overview


Libertarian schools of thought differ over the degree to which the state should be reduced. Anarchists advocate complete elimination of the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

. Minarchists
Minarchism
Minarchism has been variously defined by sources. It is a libertarian capitalist political philosophy. In the strictest sense, it maintains that the state is necessary and that its only legitimate function is the protection of individuals from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud, and...

 advocate a state which is limited to protecting its citizens from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud. Some libertarians go further, such as by supporting minimal public assistance for the poor. Additionally, some schools are supportive of private property rights in the ownership of unappropriated land and natural resources while others reject such private ownership and often support common ownership
Common ownership
Common ownership is a principle according to which the assets of an enterprise or other organization are held indivisibly rather than in the names of the individual members or by a public institution such as a governmental body. It is therefore in contrast to public ownership...

 instead.; Another distinction can be made among libertarians who support private ownership and those that support common ownership of the means of production
Means of production
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth — along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital...

; the former generally supporting a capitalist economy, the latter a libertarian socialist economic system. In some parts of the world, the term "libertarianism" is synonymous with Left anarchism
Left anarchism
Left anarchism or left-wing anarchism refer to left-wing forms of anarchism. It posits a future society in which private property is replaced by reciprocity and non-hierarchical society...

.

Libertarians can broadly be characterized as holding four ethical views: consequentialism, deontological theories, contractarianism, and class-struggle normative beliefs. The main divide is between consequentialist libertarianism
Consequentialist libertarianism
Consequentialist libertarianism refers to the view that liberty leads to favorable consequences such as prosperity, efficiency, or peace, and for that reason should be supported, advocated, and maximized...

—which is support for a large degree of "liberty" because it leads to favorable consequences, such as prosperity or efficiency—and deontological libertarianism
Deontological libertarianism
Deontological libertarianism refers to the view that all acts of initiation of force and fraud should be opposed because they are always immoral regardless of the effects of engaging in them...

 (also known as "rights-theorist libertarianism," "natural rights libertarianism," or "libertarian moralism"), which is a philosophy based on belief in moral self-ownership
Self-ownership
Self-ownership is the concept of property in one's own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to be the exclusive controller of his own body and life. According to G...

 and opposition to "initiation of force
Initiation of force
The initiation of force is the start, or beginning, of the use of physical and/or legal coercion, violence, or restraint. This is to be distinguished from retaliatory force and violence...

" and fraud. Others combine a hybrid of consequentialist and deontologist thinking. Another view, contractarian libertarianism
Social contract
The social contract is an intellectual device intended to explain the appropriate relationship between individuals and their governments. Social contract arguments assert that individuals unite into political societies by a process of mutual consent, agreeing to abide by common rules and accept...

, holds that any legitimate authority of government derives not from the consent of the governed, but from contract or mutual agreement, though this can be seen as reductible to consequentialism or deontologism depending on what grounds contracts are justified. Some Libertarian Socialists with backgrounds influenced by Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 reject deontological and consequential approaches and use normative class-struggle methodologies rooted in Hegelian thought
Historical materialism
Historical materialism is a methodological approach to the study of society, economics, and history, first articulated by Karl Marx as "the materialist conception of history". Historical materialism looks for the causes of developments and changes in human society in the means by which humans...

 to justify direct action
Direct action
Direct action is activity undertaken by individuals, groups, or governments to achieve political, economic, or social goals outside of normal social/political channels. This can include nonviolent and violent activities which target persons, groups, or property deemed offensive to the direct action...

 in pursuit of liberty.

In the United States, the term libertarian is commonly associated with those who have conservative
Conservatism
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 positions on economic issues
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 and left-wing
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 positions on social issues
Social issues
Social issues are controversial issues which relate to people's personal lives and interactions. Social issues are distinguished from economic issues...

.

Etymology


The use of the word "libertarian" to describe a set of political positions can be tracked to the French cognate, libertaire, which was coined in 1857 by French anarchist Joseph Déjacque
Joseph Déjacque
Joseph Déjacque was a French anarcho-communist poet and writer. He sought to abolish "personal property, property in land, buildings, workshops, shops, property in anything that is an instrument of work, production or consumption."Déjacque was the first to employ the term libertarian in a...

 who used the term to distinguish his libertarian communist
Anarchist communism
Anarchist communism is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, markets, money, private property, and capitalism in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers' councils with...

 approach from the mutualism
Mutualism (economic theory)
Mutualism is an anarchist school of thought that originates in the writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who envisioned a society where each person might possess a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labor in the free market...

 advocated by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French politician, mutualist philosopher and socialist. He was a member of the French Parliament, and he was the first person to call himself an "anarchist". He is considered among the most influential theorists and organisers of anarchism...

. Hence libertarian has been used by some as a synonym for left-wing anarchism since the 1890s. Libertarian socialists
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, such as Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 and Colin Ward
Colin Ward
Colin Ward was a British anarchist writer. He has been called "one of the greatest anarchist thinkers of the past half century, and a pioneering social historian." -Life:...

, assert that many still consider the term libertarianism a synonym of anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 in countries other than the US.

Origins


During the 18th century Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, "liberal" ideas flourished in Europe and North America. Libertarians of various schools were influenced by classical liberal ideas.Carlos Peregrin Otero, editor, Noam Chomsky: critical assessments, Volumes 2-3, Taylor & Francis US, 1994,p 617, ISBN 041510694X, 9780415106948. Author? Chapter? The term libertarian
Libertarianism (metaphysics)
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. In particular, libertarianism, which is an incompatibilist position, argues that free will is logically incompatible with a...

 in a metaphysical or philosophical sense was first used by late-Enlightenment free-thinkers
Freethought
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas...

 to refer to those who believed in free will
Free will
"To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

, as opposed to determinism
Determinism
Determinism is the general philosophical thesis that states that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen. There are many versions of this thesis. Each of them rests upon various alleged connections, and interdependencies of things and...

. The first recorded use was in 1789 by William Belsham
William Belsham
William Belsham was an English political writer and historian, noted as a supporter of the Whig Party and its principles. In 1789 he coined the term libertarian in a discussion of free will and in opposition to "necessitarian" views...

 in a discussion of free will and in opposition to "necessitarian" (or determinist) views.

The first anarchist journal to use the term “libertarian” was La Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Socialand it was published in New York City between 1858 and 1861 by French anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque. "The next recorded use of the term was in Europe, when “libertarian communism” was used at a French regional anarchist Congress at Le Havre (16-22 November, 1880). January the following year saw a French manifesto issued on “Libertarian or Anarchist Communism.” Finally, 1895 saw leading anarchists Sébastien Faure
Sébastien Faure
Sébastien Faure was a French anarchist . He was a main proponent of the anarchist organizational form known as synthesis anarchism.- Biography :Before becoming a free-thinker, he was a seminarist...

 and Louise Michel
Louise Michel
Louise Michel was a French anarchist, school teacher and medical worker. She often used the pseudonym Clémence and was also known as the red virgin of Montmartre...

 publish La Libertaire in France." The word stems from the French word libertaire, and was used to evade the French ban on anarchist publications. In this tradition, the term "libertarianism" in "libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

" is generally used as a synonym for anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

, which some say is the original meaning of the term; hence "libertarian socialism" is equivalent to "socialist anarchism" to these scholars.Noam Chomsky, Carlos Peregrín Otero. Language and Politics. AK Press, Oakland, California, 2004, p. 739. In the context of the European socialist movement, libertarian has conventionally been used to describe those who opposed state socialism, such as Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russian revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists,...

. However, the association of socialism with libertarianism predates that of capitalism, and many anti-authoritarians still decry what they see as a mistaken association of capitalism with libertarianism in the United States.

Twentieth century


During the early 20th century modern liberalism in the United States began to take a more state-oriented approach to economic regulation. While conservatism in Europe continued to mean conserving hierarchical class structures through state control of society and the economy, some conservatives in the United States began to refer to conserving traditions of liberty. This was especially true of the Old Right
Old Right (United States)
The Old Right was a conservative faction in the United States that opposed both New Deal domestic programs and U.S. entry into World War II. Many members of this faction were associated with the Republicans of the interwar years led by Robert Taft, but some were Democrats...

, who opposed the New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 and U.S. military interventions in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Those who held to the earlier liberal views began to call themselves market liberals
Market liberalism
The term market liberalism is used in two distinct meanings.Especially in the United States, the term is often used as a synonym to classical liberalism...

, classic liberals
Classical liberalism
Classical liberalism is the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets....

 or libertarians to distinguish themselves. The Austrian School
Austrian School
The Austrian School of economics is a heterodox school of economic thought. It advocates methodological individualism in interpreting economic developments , the theory that money is non-neutral, the theory that the capital structure of economies consists of heterogeneous goods that have...

 of economics, influenced by Frédéric Bastiat
Frédéric Bastiat
Claude Frédéric Bastiat was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly. He was notable for developing the important economic concept of opportunity cost.-Biography:...

 and later by Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises was an Austrian economist, philosopher, and classical liberal who had a significant influence on the modern Libertarian movement and the "Austrian School" of economic thought.-Biography:-Early life:...

, also had an impact on what is now right-libertarianism
Right-libertarianism
Right-libertarianism names several related libertarian political philosophies which support capitalism. The term is typically used to differentiate privatist based forms of libertarianism from Left-libertarianism; which generally supports forms of economic democracy and...

.

In the 1950s many with "Old Right" or classical liberal beliefs in the United States began to describe themselves as "libertarian." Arizona United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

's right-libertarian leaning challenge to authority also influenced the US libertarian movement.

During the 1960s, the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 divided right-libertarians, anarchist libertarians
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, and conservatives. Right-libertarians and left-libertarians opposed to the war, joined the draft resistance
Draft dodger
Draft evasion is a term that refers to an intentional failure to comply with the military conscription policies of the nation to which he or she is subject...

 and peace movement
Peace movement
A peace movement is a social movement that seeks to achieve ideals such as the ending of a particular war , minimize inter-human violence in a particular place or type of situation, often linked to the goal of achieving world peace...

s and began founding their own publications, like Murray Rothbard
Murray Rothbard
Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

's The Libertarian Forum and organizations like the Radical Libertarian AllianceMarc Jason Gilbert, The Vietnam War on campus: other voices, more distant drums, p. 35, 2001, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN0275969096, and the Society for Individual Liberty
International Society for Individual Liberty
The International Society for Individual Liberty or ISIL is a non-profit, non-partisan libertarian educational group encouraging activism in libertarian and individual rights areas by the 'freely chosen strategies' of its members. Its history dates back to 1969 as the Society for Individual...

.Rebecca E. Klatch, A Generation Divided: The New Left, the New Right, and the 1960s, University of California Press
University of California Press
University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. It was founded in 1893 to publish books and papers for the faculty of the University of California, established 25 years earlier in 1868...

, 1999 ISBN , 215–237.


In 1971, a small group of Americans led by David Nolan formed the U.S. Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party (United States)
The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

. Attracting former Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, Republicans
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 and independents
Independent (voter)
An independent voter, those who register as an unaffiliated voter in the United States, is a voter of a democratic country who does not align him- or herself with a political party...

, the party has run a presidential candidate
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 every election year since 1972. Over the years, dozens of capitalism-supporting libertarian political parties have been formed worldwide. Educational organizations like the Center for Libertarian Studies
Center for Libertarian Studies
The Center for Libertarian Studies was a libertarian and anarcho-capitalist oriented educational organization founded in 1976 by Murray Rothbard and Burton Blumert, which grew out of the Libertarian Scholars Conferences...

 and the Cato Institute
Cato Institute
The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remains president and CEO, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the largest privately held...

 were formed in the 1970s, and others have been created since then.

Right-libertarianism gained a significant measure of recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 professor Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

's Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Anarchy, State, and Utopia is a work of political philosophy written by Robert Nozick in 1974. This minarchist book was the winner of the 1975 National Book Award...

in 1974. The book won a National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 in 1975.National Book Award: 1975 - Philosophy and ReligionDavid Lewis Schaefer, Robert Nozick and the Coast of Utopia, The New York Sun, April 30, 2008. Nozick disavowed some of his theory late in life.Misunderstanding Nozick, Again Academics as well as proponents of the free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 perspectives note that free-market capitalist libertarianism has been successfully propagated beyond the United States since the 1970s via think tanks and political parties.

Libertarian philosophies


See also :Category:Libertarianism by form.


Libertarian philosophies are divided among three main distinctions: whether the morality of actions are determined consequentially
Consequentialism
Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct...

 or deontologically
Deontological ethics
Deontological ethics or deontology is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules. It is sometimes described as "duty" or "obligation" or "rule" -based ethics, because rules "bind you to your duty"...

, whether or not private property
Private property
Private property is the right of persons and firms to obtain, own, control, employ, dispose of, and bequeath land, capital, and other forms of property. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by...

 is legitimate, and whether or not the state is legitimate.

Consequentialist / deontological distinction


Consequentialist libertarians defend liberty on the grounds its consequences are better than those of the lack of it. Deontological libertarians hold that libertarians must defend liberty on principle because aggression
Non-aggression principle
The non-aggression principle , or NAP for short, is a moral stance which asserts that aggression is inherently illegitimate...

 is never legitimate, no matter how beneficial its consequences are.

Proprietarian / non-proprietarian distinction


Central to libertarianism is the concept of liberty. One distinction among libertarian philosophies has its origin in two different definitions of liberty.

Non-proprietarian libertarian philosophies, like libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

, hold that liberty is the absence of any form authority and assert that a society based on freedom and equality can be achieved through abolishing authoritarian institutions that control certain means of production and subordinate the majority to an owning class or political and economic elite. Implicitly, it rejects any authority of private property and thus holds that it is not legitimate for someone to claim private ownership of any resources to the detriment of others. Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

 that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society
Stateless society
A stateless society is a society that is not governed by a state. In stateless societies, there is little concentration of authority; most positions of authority that do exist are very limited in power and are generally not permanently held positions; and social bodies that resolve disputes through...

 without private property in the means of production. The two terms are often used interchangeably. The term libertarian socialism is also used to differentiate this philosophy from state socialism
State socialism
State socialism is an economic system with limited socialist characteristics, such as public ownership of major industries, remedial measures to benefit the working class, and a gradual process of developing socialism through government policy...

Paul Zarembka. Transitions in Latin America and in Poland and Syria. Emerald Group Publishing, 2007. p. 25Guerin, Daniel, (2011) [1970] Anarchism: from theory to practice [originally published as French: Anarchisme, de la doctrine à l'action] reprinted online: libcom.org [first published in English: New York: Monthly Review Press], §1 sub-§"A Matter of Words." "At the end of the century in France, Sebastien Faure took up a word originated in 1858 by one Joseph Dejacque to make it the title of a journal, Le Libertaire. Today the terms "anarchist" and "libertarian" have become interchangeable.… Some contemporary anarchists have tried to clear up the misunderstanding by adopting a more explicit term: they align themselves with libertarian socialism or communism." or as a synonym for left anarchism
Left anarchism
Left anarchism or left-wing anarchism refer to left-wing forms of anarchism. It posits a future society in which private property is replaced by reciprocity and non-hierarchical society...

. Libertarian socialists generally place their hopes in decentralized means of direct democracy
Direct democracy
Direct democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then vote on policy initiatives. Direct democracy is classically termed "pure democracy"...

 such as libertarian municipalism
Libertarian municipalism
Libertarian municipalism is a term first used by libertarian socialist theorist Murray Bookchin, and is used to describe a system in which libertarian institutions of directly democratic assemblies would oppose and replace the state with a confederation of free municipalities...

, citizens' assemblies, trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

s and workers' council
Workers' council
A workers' council, or revolutionary councils, is the phenomenon where a single place of work or enterprise, such as a factory, school, or farm, is controlled collectively by the workers of that workplace, through the core principle of temporary and instantly revocable delegates.In a system with...

s.

Proprietarian libertarian philosophies define liberty as non-aggression
Non-aggression principle
The non-aggression principle , or NAP for short, is a moral stance which asserts that aggression is inherently illegitimate...

, or the state in which no person or group aggresses against any other person or group, where aggression is defined as the violation of private property
Private property
Private property is the right of persons and firms to obtain, own, control, employ, dispose of, and bequeath land, capital, and other forms of property. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by...

.For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Murray N. Rothbard This philosophy, implicitly, recognizes as the sole source of legitimate authority private property. Proprietarian libertarians hold that an order of private property is the only one that is both ethical and leads to the best possible outcomes.The Ethics of Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard They generally support the free-market, and are not opposed to any concentration of power (monopolies) provided it is brought about through non-coercive means.Human Action, Ludwig von Mises They argue that the state is aggressive by its nature and that it hampers the natural adapting price system through which the economy
Economy
An economy consists of the economic system of a country or other area; the labor, capital and land resources; and the manufacturing, trade, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of that area...

 regulates itself. Rothbard also argued that a state could not sustain itself without taxation.

The statism / anarchism distinction


Libertarians differ on the degree up to which the state can be reduced. Two groups can be distinguished, statists
Statism
Statism is a term usually describing a political philosophy, whether of the right or the left, that emphasises the role of the state in politics or supports the use of the state to achieve economic, military or social goals...

, who support states, and anarchists, who favor stateless societies and view the state as being undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful while others have defined anarchism as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations.Anarchist historian George Woodcock
George Woodcock
George Woodcock was a Canadian writer of political biography and history, an anarchist thinker, an essayist and literary critic. He was also a poet, and published several volumes of travel writing. He founded in 1959 the journal Canadian Literature, the first academic journal specifically...

 report of Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russian revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists,...

's anti-authoritarianism and shows opposition to both state and non-state forms of authority as follows: "All anarchists deny authority; many of them fight against it." (pg. 9)...Bakunin did not convert the League's central committee to his full program, but he did persuade them to accept a remarkably radical recommendation to the Berne Congress of September 1868, demanding economic equality and implicitly attacking authority in both Church and State."


Supporters of government argue that having defense and courts controlled by the market is an inherent miscarriage of justice because it turns justice into a commodity, thereby conflating justice with economic power. Libertarian anarchists argue that having defence and courts controlled by the state is both immoral and an inefficient means of achieving both justice and security. They argue that a state is coercive by its nature and therefore violates the non-aggression principle. The Ethics of Liberty, Murray N. RothbardThe Machienry of Freedom, David D. Friedman Another argument is that private defense and protection firms would tend to represent the interests of those who pay them enough. Murray Rothbard agrees with this argument, however add that it is self-defeating to fight potential concentration of power by concentrating power in the hands of the state.The Ethics of Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard Furthermore these anarchists claim that a market system is the best Checks and balances system known to man.For a New Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard

Anarchists are divided according to their proprietarian or non-proprietarian definition of liberty. The proprietarian libertarian philosophy of anarchism is called Anarcho-capitalism
Anarcho-capitalism
Anarcho-capitalism is a libertarian and individualist anarchist political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the state in favour of individual sovereignty in a free market...

.For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Murray N. Rothbard Non-proprietarian libertarian philosophies of anarchism include anarchist collectivism
Collectivist anarchism
Collectivist anarchism is a revolutionary doctrine that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production...

, anarchist communism
Anarchist communism
Anarchist communism is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, markets, money, private property, and capitalism in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers' councils with...

, social anarchism
Social anarchism
Social anarchism is a term originally used in 1971 by Giovanni Baldelli as the title of his book where he discusses the organization of an ethical society from an anarchist point of view...

) and anarcho-syndicalism
Anarcho-syndicalism
Anarcho-syndicalism is a branch of anarchism which focuses on the labour movement. The word syndicalism comes from the French word syndicat which means trade union , from the Latin word syndicus which in turn comes from the Greek word σύνδικος which means caretaker of an issue...

. Anti-property anarchists hold that liberty is incompatible with state action based on a class struggle analysis of the state.Lewis Call (2002) Postmodern anarchism Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 66–68.

Anarcho-capitalists generally argue government is aggressive by its nature because governments use force against those who have not stolen private property, vandalized private property, assaulted anyone, or committed fraud.For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, Murray N. Rothbard Many also argue that monopolies
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 tend to be corrupt and inefficient.The Machienry of Freedom, David D. Friedman Murray Rothbard
Murray Rothbard
Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

 argued that all government services, including defense, are inefficient because they lack a market-based pricing mechanism regulated by the voluntary decisions of consumer
Consumer
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

s purchasing services that fulfill their highest-priority needs and by investors seeking the most profitable enterprises to invest in. Pro-property anarchists also argue that private defense
Private defense agency
A private defense agency is a conceptualized agency that provides personal protection and military defense services voluntarily through the free market. A PDA is not a private contractor of the state and is not subsidised in any way through taxation or immunities, nor does it rely on conscription...

 and court
Dispute resolution organization
A dispute resolution organization, or DRO, is a conceptualized organization providing services such as mediation and arbitration through the private sector. It is an important aspect of anarcho-capitalist theory.-Enforceability of verdicts:...

 agencies would have to have a good reputation in order to stay in business.The Machienry of Freedom, David D. Friedman Murray Rothbard agrees with this argument. However, he argued that one cannot justify a concentration of power out of a fear of a concentration of power, and that a market system is the best checks and balances system.For a New Liberty, Murray N. Rothbard Furthermore, Linda & Morris Tannehill argue that no coercive monopoly of force can arise on a truly free marketLinda & Morris Tannehill. The Market for Liberty, p. 81. and that a government's citizenry can’t desert them in favor of a competent protection and defense agency.

Philosophers influential to libertarianism

See also :Category:Libertarian theorists
  • Émile Armand
    Emile Armand
    Emile Armand was the most influential French individualist anarchist at the beginning of the 20th century and also a dedicated free love/polyamory, intentional community, and pacifist/antimilitarist writer, propagandist and activist...

    , the most influential French individualist anarchist at the beginning of the 20th centuryWoodcock identifies him as the leading french individualist anarchist around the time of World War I (pg. 324). George Woodcock. Anarchism: a history of libertarian ideas. pg 324"...probably, the individualist who unfolds in the most detailed form stirnerist
    Philosophy of Max Stirner
    The philosophy of Max Stirner is credited as an influence on the development of nihilism, existentialism, post-modernism and anarchism, especially of individualist anarchism, postanarchism and post-left anarchy...

     ideas and who has the capacity of having an specific domination, above all between the two world wars, in the milieu of individualist discourse." Xavier Diez. El anarquismo individualista en España (1923-1939). Virus Editorial. Barcelona. 2007
  • Mikhail Bakunin
    Mikhail Bakunin
    Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russian revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists,...

     the main theorist of collectivist anarchism
    Collectivist anarchism
    Collectivist anarchism is a revolutionary doctrine that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production...

     and ideological father of much of the libertarian left
    Left-libertarianism
    Left-libertarianism names several related but distinct approaches to politics, society, culture, and political and social theory, which stress equally both individual freedom and social justice.-Schools of thought:...

  • Frédéric Bastiat
    Frédéric Bastiat
    Claude Frédéric Bastiat was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly. He was notable for developing the important economic concept of opportunity cost.-Biography:...

    , classical liberal
    Classical liberalism
    Classical liberalism is the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets....

     theorist, political economist
    Political economy
    Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

    , notable for having developed the concept of opportunity cost
    Opportunity cost
    Opportunity cost is the cost of any activity measured in terms of the value of the best alternative that is not chosen . It is the sacrifice related to the second best choice available to someone, or group, who has picked among several mutually exclusive choices. The opportunity cost is also the...

    .
  • Murray Bookchin
    Murray Bookchin
    Murray Bookchin was an American libertarian socialist author, orator, and philosopher. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin was the founder of the social ecology movement within anarchist, libertarian socialist and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books on politics,...

     leading theorist of the social ecology
    Social ecology
    Social ecology is a philosophy developed by Murray Bookchin in the 1960s.It holds that present ecological problems are rooted in deep-seated social problems, particularly in dominatory hierarchical political and social systems. These have resulted in an uncritical acceptance of an overly...

     movement, founder of libertarian municipalism
    Libertarian municipalism
    Libertarian municipalism is a term first used by libertarian socialist theorist Murray Bookchin, and is used to describe a system in which libertarian institutions of directly democratic assemblies would oppose and replace the state with a confederation of free municipalities...

     and harsh critic of individualist anarchism
    Individualist anarchism
    Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and his or her will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems. Individualist anarchism is not a single philosophy but refers to a...

    Janet Biehl
    Janet Biehl
    Janet Biehl is a writer associated with social ecology, the body of ideas developed and publicized by Murray Bookchin. In 1986 she attended the Institute for Social Ecology and there began a collaborative relationship with Bookchin, working intensively with him over the next two decades in the...

    , Short Biography of Murray Bookchin
  • Milton Friedman
    Milton Friedman
    Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades...

    , Nobel Prize winning economist, notable for the development of monetarism
    Monetarism
    Monetarism is a tendency in economic thought that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. It is the view within monetary economics that variation in the money supply has major influences on national output in the short run and the price level over...

    .
  • William Godwin
    William Godwin
    William Godwin was an English journalist, political philosopher and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism, and the first modern proponent of anarchism...

     the first modern proponent of anarchism (though he never referred to himself as such) whose highly libertarian philosophy is outlined in his 1793 book Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Modern Morals and Manners
    Political Justice
    Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Modern Morals and Manners outlines the political philosophy of the 18th-century philosopher William Godwin....

  • Emma Goldman
    Emma Goldman
    Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century....

    , Lithuanian-American anarchist and theorist of anarcha-feminism
    Anarcha-feminism
    Anarcha-feminism combines anarchism with feminism. It generally views patriarchy as a manifestation of involuntary hierarchy. Anarcha-feminists believe that the struggle against patriarchy is an essential part of class struggle, and the anarchist struggle against the state...

  • Friedrich Hayek
    Friedrich Hayek
    Friedrich August Hayek CH , born in Austria-Hungary as Friedrich August von Hayek, was an economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism and free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought...

    , Nobel Prize winning economist, notable for having partially developed the concept of partial knowledge
    The Use of Knowledge in Society
    "The Use of Knowledge in Society" is a scholarly article written by economist Friedrich Hayek, first published in the September 1945 issue of The American Economic Review Written as a rebuttal to fellow economist Oskar R...

    .
  • Peter Kropotkin
    Peter Kropotkin
    Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was a Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, economist, geographer, author and one of the world's foremost anarcho-communists. Kropotkin advocated a communist society free from central government and based on voluntary associations between...

    , influential Russian anarchist and main theorist of anarcho-communism
  • Robert Nozick
    Robert Nozick
    Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

     author of Anarchy, State, and Utopia
    Anarchy, State, and Utopia
    Anarchy, State, and Utopia is a work of political philosophy written by Robert Nozick in 1974. This minarchist book was the winner of the 1975 National Book Award...

    (1974), a libertarian answer to John Rawls
    John Rawls
    John Bordley Rawls was an American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy. He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University....

    's A Theory of Justice
    A Theory of Justice
    A Theory of Justice is a book of political philosophy and ethics by John Rawls. It was originally published in 1971 and revised in both 1975 and 1999. In A Theory of Justice, Rawls attempts to solve the problem of distributive justice by utilising a variant of the familiar device of the social...

    (1971)
  • Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
    Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
    Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French politician, mutualist philosopher and socialist. He was a member of the French Parliament, and he was the first person to call himself an "anarchist". He is considered among the most influential theorists and organisers of anarchism...

     the first self described anarchist and theorist of what would eventually be called mutualism
    Mutualism (economic theory)
    Mutualism is an anarchist school of thought that originates in the writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who envisioned a society where each person might possess a means of production, either individually or collectively, with trade representing equivalent amounts of labor in the free market...

    , an anti-statist form of market socialism
    Market socialism
    Market socialism refers to various economic systems where the means of production are either publicly owned or cooperatively owned and operated for a profit in a market economy. The profit generated by the firms system would be used to directly remunerate employees or would be the source of public...

  • Ayn Rand
    Ayn Rand
    Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism....

     the creator of the philosophy of Objectivism
    Objectivism (Ayn Rand)
    Objectivism is a philosophy created by the Russian-American philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand . Objectivism holds that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception...

  • Murray Rothbard
    Murray Rothbard
    Murray Newton Rothbard was an American author and economist of the Austrian School who helped define capitalist libertarianism and popularized a form of free-market anarchism he termed "anarcho-capitalism." Rothbard wrote over twenty books and is considered a centrally important figure in the...

     an American author, and economist who helped define modern American libertarianism and popularized "anarcho-capitalism"