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Thread: Liberalism and Libertarianism, what's the difference?2119 days old

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    Default Liberalism and Libertarianism, what's the difference?

    After a quick glance in this section, I couldn't find a thread about this, so I decided to start one.

    Liberalism and libertarianism are very similar ideologies; as can be inferred from their names, both are centred around freedom (mostly of the individual variety, but corporations also tend to have lots of freedoms in liberal societies). However, I've noticed a lot of hostility between libertarians and liberals, this is especially the case in America. It's like two warring factions within an ideology.

    I'm no expert on liberalism, but if I've understood it right, libertarianism is basically "classical liberalism", whereas liberalism is something else. This causes confusion for the unacquainted non-experts. It's completely retarded to have two different but related words, both meaning the same thing:

    During the twentieth century, liberal ideas spread even further, as liberal democracies found themselves on the winning side in both world wars. Liberalism also survived major ideological challenges from new opponents, such as fascism and communism. In Europe and North America, there was also the rise of social liberalism,[9][10] which is related with social democracy in Europe. As such, the meaning of the word "liberalism" began to diverge in different parts of the world. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "In the United States, liberalism is associated with the welfare-state policies of the New Deal program of the Democratic administration of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, whereas in Europe it is more commonly associated with a commitment to limited government and laissez-faire economic policies."[11] Consequently in America, the ideas of individualism and laissez-faire economics previously associated with classical liberalism, became the basis for the emerging school of libertarian thought.[12]
    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism

    As usual, Americans have their own peculiar definitions, ideas, standards and naming conventions, deviating from the rest of the world (cf. the metric system). Here in Sweden, when we say "liberaler", we pretty much mean libertarians.

    I'm aware of small government and the minimal state, but what I want to discuss in this thread is where liberalism and libertarianism differ. What are the main differences and what do these two ideologies have in common? Are the differences merely sectarian in nature and largely irrelevant to non-liberals?
    Last edited by EliasAlucard; 2014-01-02 at 08:06. Reason: clarify
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    The primary similarity is the valuation of freedom. Both liberals and libertarians promote the freedom of individuals and social groups. Therefore both groups would be anti-slavery. This is associated with the Civil Rights movement and laws in US history. Liberals want to see themselves as responsible for "freeing black people", and everybody else. Extreme liberals and neo-liberals want to "free everybody from everything", including liberals who supposedly tolerate Islam.

    The primary difference is the method of justifying this freedom. Libertarians are anti-authoritarian and anti-government, leaning more toward leftism and anarchism. Libertarians demand a small government or decentralized government (anti-federalism). While liberals don't care about the size of government. In fact neo-liberals support a central government; because they believe a strong government will "free" or "liberate" more people. Liberals believe that freedom is accessed through the government; therefore they believe the government is necessary. Libertarians believe freedom is possible, and more probable, without a government/authoritarian system.

    Democracy is another big difference. Liberals and Libertarians have different views on freedom of individuals, compared to freedom of social groups.

    The freedom of an individual (single wo/man) is different than the freedom of a society (population).
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    Most Libertarians are either anarchist or minarchist. They believe that the government is entirely unnecessary, or that most government is unnecessary. Liberals don't go that far.

    I don't think, for instance, a guy like Julian Assange would be considered a liberal, but he is a self-identified libertarian who is applauded by the global libertarian community for his work.

    I don't think that 17th century liberals would be able to identify with libertarian concepts of today. Most classical liberals would support the execution of a character like Edward Snowden for treason, and I highly doubt they would support Pirate Party-style anti-copyright libertarianism activism.

    So while yes, it is in part descended from traditional liberalism, I'd say they're not analogous. And it's not just an American phenomenon where the definition of liberalism has been perverted. Look at a party like the Liberal Democrats in the UK. They're quite a different animal from the others being discussed.

    Full disclosure - I am, and have been for many years, a libertarian minarchist. I believe in a limited government and advocate "starving the beast" until non-essential government spending programs are small enough to be eliminated entirely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alfieb View Post
    Full disclosure - I am, and have been for many years, a libertarian minarchist. I believe in a limited government and advocate "starving the beast" until non-essential government spending programs are small enough to be eliminated entirely.
    For your own sake I hope you have a lot of resources then. Otherwise you are just a useful fool for the rich who do a lot better without the irritating public institutes. 95 % of people do not.

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    A huge difference!!!!!!

    Libertarians would tell you than they are socially liberal and fiscally conservative. That has been their catch phrase for a good while now. While it may bear some truth, they are just anti-federalists. Many don't address the civil liberty violations that impact minority communities. They also seem to overlook the tyrannical aspects at the hands of private enterprise. The Atlantic Slave Trade was a prime example of free enterprise using coercion to control the lives of individuals. In fact, it was the government who had to intervene in order for the institution to end.

    Libertarians have always tried to distance themselves from conservatives at the same time siding with them politically. The likelihood of them endorsing a Republican candidate over the Democratic one is around 90%. Even with think tanks, the Hoover Institution and the Reason Foundation are pushed by the same group of people.

    Libertarians are just the hipsters of the conservative movement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EliasAlucard View Post
    After a quick glance in this section, I couldn't find a thread about this, so I decided to start one.

    Liberalism and libertarianism are very similar ideologies; as can be inferred from their names, both are centred around freedom (mostly of the individual variety, but corporations also tend to have lots of freedoms in liberal societies). However, I've noticed a lot of hostility between libertarians and liberals, this is especially the case in America. It's like two warring factions within an ideology.

    I'm no expert on liberalism, but if I've understood it right, libertarianism is basically "classical liberalism", whereas liberalism is something else. This causes confusion for the unacquainted non-experts. It's completely retarded to have two different but related words, both meaning the same thing:

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism

    As usual, Americans have their own peculiar definitions, ideas, standards and naming conventions, deviating from the rest of the world (cf. the metric system). Here in Sweden, when we say "liberaler", we pretty much mean libertarians.

    I'm aware of small government and the minimal state, but what I want to discuss in this thread is where liberalism and libertarianism differ. What are the main differences and what do these two ideologies have in common? Are the differences merely sectarian in nature and largely irrelevant to non-liberals?
    you are correct about the "liberal" label that it means "leftist" in America, while centre or right-wing in Europe.

    Since I doesn't know what a libertarian is at all, which parties in the swedish parliament would you say are most or least libertarian?
    (as the word is never used here, from what I have heard).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jusarius View Post
    For your own sake I hope you have a lot of resources then. Otherwise you are just a useful fool for the rich who do a lot better without the irritating public institutes. 95 % of people do not.
    I don't believe in class struggle. I don't care about the rich. I don't care about the poor. I care about me.

    Quote Originally Posted by inquisitive View Post
    A huge difference!!!!!!

    Libertarians would tell you than they are socially liberal and fiscally conservative. That has been their catch phrase for a good while now. While it may bear some truth, they are just anti-federalists. Many don't address the civil liberty violations that impact minority communities. They also seem to overlook the tyrannical aspects at the hands of private enterprise. The Atlantic Slave Trade was a prime example of free enterprise using coercion to control the lives of individuals. In fact, it was the government who had to intervene in order for the institution to end.

    Libertarians have always tried to distance themselves from conservatives at the same time siding with them politically. The likelihood of them endorsing a Republican candidate over the Democratic one is around 90%. Even with think tanks, the Hoover Institution and the Reason Foundation are pushed by the same group of people.

    Libertarians are just the hipsters of the conservative movement.
    I don't use such terms.

    I'm not socially liberal. I'm not fiscally conservative. Fiscal conservatism means protectionism. Social liberalism means anarchy.

    I'm for freedom. Free minds and free markets. I'm not for gay marriage (ideally, government involvement in all marriage would end completely). I'm not for abortion-on-demand. I'm not for legalizing assisted suicide. I'm not for tariffs or VAT taxes. I'm not for public education or free healthcare, outside of emergency services. Free condoms? Free sex changes? Free rhinoplasty? Get the fuck out of here. I believe in freedom from government and freedom of choice for people who are capable of making decisions for themselves, as long as they're not harming someone else... but I also believe that Newton's law applies and when you act, you have to deal with whatever the blowback is. If you get a sex change, all the side effects are your own to deal with. If you use drugs (which should be legal), it's not my responsibility to pay for your treatment if you decide to become clean. If you have an abortion, it's not the state's responsibility to provide you with therapy if you have a hard time coping with having it on your conscience, etc.

    I don't believe in Harvey Dent authoritarianism. I believe in Wikileaks.
    Last edited by alfieb; 2014-01-03 at 05:03.

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    There's no difference except that a libertarian is a closeted liberal, i.e. witness the libertarian meltdown of the town-crier of radio Glenn Beck in 2012/2013 after his Mormon savior (Romney) lost the POTUS election to the Kenyan fraud.

    Both positions are essentially insane- but the liberals are less insane since I understand that, essentially, they are misbegotten do-gooders. Libertarians say "I want to be on the right and the left at the same time!"

    To borrow from Savage, I am "To the right of Rush and to the left of God."

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by inquisitive View Post
    Libertarians are just the hipsters of the conservative movement.
    No there's a very real difference between libertards and conservatives. Libertards are nebulous whereas the good conservative is not. A good American conservative isn't afraid to have a civil conversation with his or her liberal counterpart- these "moderate" fucks who can't choose between one side of the coin and the other are the real reason for the meltdown of American politics.
    Last edited by The American; 2014-01-03 at 07:06.
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    Quoting Jesus Christ in his signature and Michael Savage in his post. Two people couldn't be any further apart. Except for being Jews.

    Nobody in history personified love more than Jesus and nobody on the radio personifies hate more than Savage.

    Glenn Beck flirts with libertarianism but he is not one of us. Fox has a few, and he wasn't one of them. Andrew Napolitano, John Stossel, Andrew Levy, and the hosts of The Independents on Fox Business are true-blue libertarians. Beck is the religious right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alfieb View Post
    I don't believe in class struggle. I don't care about the rich. I don't care about the poor. I care about me.
    Care about "class struggle" or not, people with resources rule in your ideal society. A big portion of the money is inherited. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a communist. Communism is only another form of promoting aristocracy where 99% of the people are de facto slaves.

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