Libertarian / Libertarianism
Libertarianism is a philosophy supporting individual liberty, especially freedom of expression and action. Libertarianism seeks a minimal state and maximum personal participation within the confines of the non-aggression principle. NAP itself is very simple theory and holds that people should not hurt others physically or in any other way.
There are variants of Libertarianism, with some libertarians going farther than others. At the far end of the spectrum are anarcho-capitalists who believe the free-market can provide for all human needs.
At the other end of the spectrum are those who believe in individual liberty, but expect the government to take care of certain fundamental services including self-defense. In fact it is self-defense that is the most contentious issue when it comes to Libertarianism.
Perhaps the most prominent current US Libertarian, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, believes that believes that the United States should provide protection to its citizens but should not do so by pursuing proactive war.
There are other areas where Libertarians differ. Property rights, especially as regards natural resources, may be a contentious issue. There are even both left and right Libertarians. Right Libertarians would tend to hold more conservative believes than left Libertarians.
Philosopher Roderick T. Long believes Libertarianism is "any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power [either "total or merely substantial"] 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.
David Boaz, Libertarian writer and vice president of the Cato Institute, believes, "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" and that, "Libertarians defend each person's right to life, liberty, and property – rights that people have naturally, before governments are created."
The US Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States but its registered voting membership is paltry with perhaps 250,000 compared to something like 50 million Republicans and 70 million Democrats.
The Libertarian Party has, as its generic platform, support of minimal government interference and a maximum of free-market activity. Whether right, left or in the middle, Libertarians want much diminished government across the board and believe that the private market can provide public services, currently under government control.
Many Libertarians do not believe in taxation and currently there is growing sentiment to do away with the Federal Reserve and central banking. Libertarians believe in the essence of US Constitution and the provisions contained within it to limit centralized government power and enable the flourishing of a decentralized society where the power rests more within the local communities and the individuals closest to and most affected by the communal decisions being made.
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