Libertarianism seems like a complex political philosophy. It isn’t difficult to understand. It comes down to three big ideas.
Before you think through these ideas, take the World’s Smallest Political Quiz. Retake it afterward to see if you have moved closer to the top of the diamond. You might be surprised to be in the libertarian quadrant.
First, a little synopsis. A lot of people like to say that libertarians are socially liberal and fiscally conservative.
Fundamentally, libertarianism is about the freedom and liberty of an individual. Each individual knows what is best for them and their community. Yes, it IS about reducing the size of government, but that is a small piece of what a libertarian believes. Simply put, libertarians don’t want to hurt others or take their stuff and that idea is extended through all aspects of society.
“Libertarianism is what your mom taught you: behave yourself and don’t hit your sister.” – Ken Bisson
David Boaz in his book Libertarianism: A Primer outlines the key concepts of the philosophy: Individualism, Individual Rights, Spontaneous Order, The Rule of Law, Limited Government, Free Markets, the Virtue of Production, the Natural harmony of interests, and Peace. (Read his description here.)
“Libertarianism is what you probably already believe… Libertarian values are American values. Libertarianism is America’s heritage of liberty, patriotism and honest work to build a future for your family. It’s the idea that being free and independent is a great way to live. That each of us is a unique individual with great potential. That you own yourself, and that you have the right to decide what’s best for you. Americans of all races and creeds built a great and prosperous country with these libertarian ideals. Let’s use them to build America’s future.” – David Bergland, 1984 Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate and author of Libertarianism in One Lesson
The Three Big Ideas of Libertarianism:
- Big Idea #1: What do YOU Believe?
- Big Idea #2: What Do You Owe Society?
- Big Idea #3: What can a simple pencil teach us about the world?
- Hope for the Politically Homeless
- Explore Your Personal Principles Further
- Persuasion vs. Force
- Who Makes Life Better For You?
- Comparing Liberal, Conservative, and Libertarian Answers to Issues
After that, dive into our guide to the liberty movement.