For Gold, Peace, and Freedom


Libertarian Definition: Quotes from Relevant Sources

January 14th, 2008

libertarian-statue-of-liberty.jpgAs libertarians, one of the first challenges that we face when trying to educate people about our beautiful philosophy is that a large portion of the general public simply has no clue about what a libertarian really is. Worse yet, many people have vague or grossly inaccurate notions of what “libertarian” means because they have heard the word used in a misleading or pejorative context by politicians, uninformed educators, or biased media sources. Other people simply get confused about libertarianism by mixing it up with words that have somewhat similar spelling or with political groups that coincidentally share one or a few of our issue positions. For example, I have seen and heard people confuse libertarians with liberals, libertines, Liberians, librarians, left-wingers, right-wingers, conservatives, and independents.

In order to explain and clarify the word’s meaning, I will list several libertarian definitions below that I have accumulated from historical figures, scholarly essays, dictionaries, and other relevant sources. This is not intended to be a full-blown FAQ on libertarianism or a treatise on its various aspects; it simply answers the question, “What is a libertarian?” from different people’s perspectives. It is a list of quotes similar in format to my other compilation called Funny Quotes and Words of Wisdom. As with the previous article, if you have any other credible libertarian definitions that are not already included here, you can post these in the comment section and I will add them to the list.

libertarian (noun):
1. An advocate of the doctrine of free will.
2. One who upholds the principles of liberty; specifically, one who upholds the principles of individual liberty of thought and action.

libertarian (adjective):
1. Of or belonging to a libertarian.
2. Advocating a theory of free will.
3. Advocating or advancing liberty.
4. Based on or embodying principles of liberty. — Webster’s Third International Dictionary of the English Language (Unabridged)
libertarian: One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state. — American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
In popular terminology, a libertarian is the opposite of an authoritarian. Strictly speaking, a libertarian is one who rejects the idea of using violence or the threat of violence (legal or illegal) to impose his will or viewpoint upon any peaceful person. Generally speaking, a libertarian is one who wants to be governed far less than he is today. — Dean Russell, Foundation for Economic Education (1955)
Libertarianism is, as the name implies, the belief in liberty. Libertarians believe that each person owns his own life and property, and has the right to make his own choices as to how he lives his life as long as he simply respects the right of others to do the same. — Sharon Harris, President of Advocates for Self-Government

Libertarianism is self-government. It combines the best of both worlds: The left leg of self-government is tolerance of others; the right leg is responsible economic behavior. The combination of both legs leads to social harmony and material abundance. — Marshall Fritz, Founder of the Advocates for Self-Government and President of Alliance for the Separation of School and State
Libertarianism promotes a society where no one is the first to harm (i.e., strike, defraud, steal from) another. If someone fails to obey this one-and-only law, then he or she must make things right again with the one who is harmed. The only legitimate use of force is self-defense. Basically, libertarianism is a restatement of how we learned to get along with each other as youngsters. We honor our neighbors’ choices, and they honor ours. We don’t start fights and only fight back when attacked. We try to make right any wrongs that we do. Simple, isn’t it? — Dr. Mary Ruwart, Author of Healing Our World
Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to his life in any way he chooses so long as he or she 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, robbery, rape, kidnapping and fraud. — Charles Murray, author of What it Means to Be a Libertarian
Libertarians are self-governors in both personal and economic matters. They believe government’s only purpose is to protect people from coercion and violence. Libertarians value individual responsibility, and tolerate economic and social diversity. — Carole Ann Rand, Board of Directors, Advocates for Self-Government
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. — David Bergland, 1984 Libertarian Party presidential candidate and author of Libertarianism in One Lesson
A libertarian is a person who believes that no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being, or to advocate or delegate its initiation. Those who act consistently with this principle are libertarians, whether they realize it or not. Those who fail to act consistently with it are not libertarians, regardless of what they may claim. — author L. Neil Smith
A libertarian is a person who consistently advocates individual freedom and consistently opposes the initiation of the use of coercion by anyone upon the person or property of anyone else for any reason. — Sam Wells from Laissez-FaireRepublic.com
Libertarian Definition:

1. One who believes that the only legitimate purpose of a government is to protect the rights of its citizens.
2. Anyone who supports civil liberties to a greater-than-average degree.
3. Anyone who believes in minimal, decentralized government.
4. When the word “Libertarian” is capitalized, it generally refers to a member of the Libertarian Party. — Tom Head from About.com
Libertarians hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose. — Libertarian Party Platform, Statement of Principles

2 Responses to “Libertarian Definition: Quotes from Relevant Sources”

  1. comment number 1 by: dekerinchi

    Hi friends,
    A beautiful place here!
    Excellent post! Thank you.
    have a good day….

  2. comment number 2 by: David Santos

    Hi Karlonia
    A beautiful place here!
    Excellent post! You are Master.
    Thank you.
    have a good day

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