How much government is too much government? With so many today looking to the government for the solution to almost every problem in life, the libertarian position has gained ground among those who believe American government is over-reaching. The goal of this course experience is to look into what it means to be a libertarian. We begin with defining the term.
What is Libertarian? (Source – edited for size)
The libertarian or “classical liberal” perspective is that individual well-being, prosperity, and social harmony are fostered by “as much liberty as possible” and “as little government as necessary.”
Below are a number of different takes on the libertarian political perspective from which you can deepen your understanding; also be sure to check out the videos in the sidebar and below.
According to The Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, Open Court Publishing Company, 1973.
The central idea of libertarianism is that people should be permitted to run their own lives as they wish.
According to Libertarianism: A Primer by David Boaz, Free Press, 1997.
Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each person’s right to life, liberty, and property-rights that people have naturally, before governments are created. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should be voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have not themselves used force-actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud.
According to Funk and Wagnall’s Dictionary
lib-er-tar-i-an, n. 1. a person who advocates liberty, esp. with regard to thought or conduct…. advocating liberty or conforming to principles of liberty.
For a good survey of what libertarians believe, watch the following overview from the Cato Institute, an organization that promotes libertarian views.