I get a
lot of …erm, a fair number of people who are curious about libertarianism, who have the wrong idea about what a libertarian is for any one of a number of reasons. As such, I’ve decided to answer a few of the most common questions here…
…mainly because I’ve been too busy to write anything more substantial now that law school is back in session. 😉
Q: What is the difference between libertarians and Libertarians?
The best way I can explain this is by way of analogy. All Catholics are Christians, but not all Christians are Catholics because Christianity is the general, overarching umbrella under which Catholics, Protestants, and Baptists (among others) fall. Similarly, Libertarian refers to the Libertarian Party, a political party that has been established in multiple countries. The term libertarian, on the other hand, refers to someone whose views fall within the umbrella of what might be considered libertarian philosophy. In essence, a libertarian is not always a Libertarian, but Libertarians (should) almost always be libertarians1. Confusing enough for you?
Q: Aren’t libertarians just Republicans who like to smoke pot?
Not really. While it is true that (most) libertarians support the legalization of drugs, we’re not generally doing so because we want to get blazed in our trailers.2 The reasoning behind our position is about the United States’ massive per capita incarceration rate (first in the world) and our belief that what people do with their own bodies is their own business, even if we think they’re acting stupid. The idea of personal sovereignty is core to libertarianism.
Q: Yeah, aren’t you just the alt-right though?
No. The alt-right is its own beast, and though some of them have taken to calling themselves libertarians, they have very little grasp of what libertarianism is. Libertarians are against government intervention in general, tend to be proponents of free trade and open borders. That doesn’t sound much like alt-righties to you, does it?
Q: Why do you spoil elections? It’s your fault so-and-so was elected!
We don’t, actually. The best way I can break this down for you is thus:
- I was never going to vote for your candidate.
- As such, my vote for my candidate didn’t affect your candidate’s end result.
Q: Libertarianism is great in theory, but it could never work in practice, right?
Maybe, but the thing is… we’ve never tried. We’ve tried authoritarianism, socialism, communism, and we’ve seen what happens there… but libertarianism? Nope. People seem to fear the burden it places on individuals to do the right thing.
Got your own questions to ask? Hit me up and I’ll do my best to answer!
Until next time!
1 – Yes, I know. This isn’t always true. There are plenty of Libertarian Party members who many libertarians don’t consider ‘real’ libertarians. For ample examples, see libertarians who railed against Gary Johnson’s presidential candidacy in 2016.
2 – Thanks to Ramona Flowers and evil boyfriend #2 for the quote.