Talk:Libertarianism/Archive 4

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Ayn Rand?

Ayn Rand was not a libertarian. She claimed strongly that the libertarian movement was a badly done rip-off of Objectivism.

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=education_campus_libertarians

This is an article by the Ayn Rand Institute showing all the comments she has made on libertarianism and the libertarian party.

I removed her name from the list of libertarians.

(Not sure if I'm doing this correctly, but this is someone else adding a note:) Libertarians and Objectivists find a lot of common ground (centered largely around personal responsibility), and indeed they're often grouped together, but Objectivism is a broad moral code and libertarianism is just a political philosophy. Ayn Rand stressed repeatedly that Objectivism was not a political philosophy, even if it has political implications, like any moral code (I can find exact quotes if necessary). Some diehard Objectivists vehemently oppose libertarianism simply because Ayn Rand told them to; there is much less animosity the other way around. The two really don't contradict each other, and in fact they tend to suggest each other.

An objectivist believes in a libertarian society. I think Rand was against people who were calling themselves libertarians at the time (and were libertarians) but that had no rational philosophical foundation for the advocacy of libertarianism. Apparently, she felt that her philosophy was the only or the only proper way of arriving at the belief in what libertarianism describes. So, I think it's clear she is a libertarian, but she would never join the Libertarian Party (large "L") because she would say that that that political party does not have a cogent philosophical foundation in its platform. RJII 05:09, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

A Response to the Negative Rights Argument

I've never used a Talk page before, so if I'm doing this wrongly, please move my comments to where they should be. This statement caught my eye a little bit down the page:

"To me, this statement is meaningless. You can arbitrarily categorise rights as positive or negative. For example, the positive right to food could be categorised as the negative right not to starve. The negative right not to be robbed could be phrased as the positive right to property ownership."

The negative right not to starve will impede on someone's negative rights not to be taxed or to have property/food seized from them.

-nach0king

You should sign with ~~~~ at the end of your comment. It does this: PhilHibbs 11:05, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Will do in future, thank you. Nach0king 17:51, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

As I understand it, the Capitalist Libertarian positive rights and negative rights idea hinges on a particular framework of action versus inaction. A positive right implies that another party is obliged to perform an act to meet/respect that right, while a negative right implies that another person is obliged not to act in order not to violate that right. In the example provided, a provided right to food can only be easily phrased as a positive right -- the right requires that a third party commit an action (feed me!) to meet/respect the right. Of course, there are some examples where it's not so possible to cleanly argue, within that framework, that a right can suffice as positive or negative, except from within an existing framework of proper social relations, such as contracts, property, and the like (which C.L. philosophy does some work towards providing). Hopefully this'll prove enlightening -- I was once really into the philosophy involved. --Improv 22:53, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

"Negative" and "Positive" rights are merely well-understood labels, arbitrary as it may seem. Negative rights are the rights to be left alone. Positive rights require the coercion of other people to ensure your "rights". Which, do you think, is libertarian?

I'm probably going to open a can of worms with this one, but perhaps a comparison to Negative and Positive Liberty (in the Political_spectrum#Alternative_spectra article might be useful. Slightly different focus, but Negative Liberty is the liberty of being left alone, while Positive Liberty is the liberty to participate in government. They are sufficiently different to be used as different axes, so one could have a benign monarch, anarcho-capitalism, mob rule, and despotism as the four extremes if they were made into a 4 quadrant chart. Harvestdancer 18:57, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC) Harvestdancer

Ok, I'm going to fix this thing now

After having been away for a month, I am glad to see that some people have enough sense to point out what was going on. Thank you millerc. The right-wing libertarians can't stand being pointed out for what they are- right-wingers- and so when someone does, they censor that person. It is sad.

Anyways, after watching one of the debates that Michael Badnarik was in with the Green Party's presidential nominee David Cobb, it occured to me that this page is also missing some critical information about right-wing libertarianism. Belief in a non-interventionist foriegn policy, opposition to "state corporatism" (WTO, NAFTA, etc...) and free trade across borders, opposition to the drug war, and the like. It would be interesting to hear a right-wing libertarian explain their views on corporate personhood, though they would probably try to avoid the question by talking about private property instead.

Anyways, this page desperatly needs to be factualized and neutralized and I am going to do it if no one else will.

-Political Nerd

Corporate personhood is largely irrelevant (I guess this is what you were looking for). Good luck improving the article -- your previous edits tended to make it worse. - Nat Krause 03:46, 14 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Keen to assist those neutralizing this article. It is clearly not acceptable to label one form of libertarian thought 'libertarian socialism' and not put a corresponding explanatory label on the US version of libertarianism as being 'right-wing' or 'capitalist'. Lukewilson 23:11, 16 Oct 2004 (UTC)


Reithy why is your logic alwayls so freaking stupid in your attempts to attack Libertarian articles. What you are saying is akin to going to the Virgina article and saying well there is West Virgina so it's cleary not acceptable to not put an east label on Virgina. Right-wing Libertaranism is not a valid term. Libertarianism as it's used today almost nobody thinks of it as libertarian socalist.
I substantively agree with anonymous/Chuck F, although he overstates a little by saying "almost nobody thinks of it as libertarian socialist". This is certainly true with regard to the United States, but if it were generally true, there would be no need for a disambiguation at the top of the page at all. But because there apparently are some people, mostly in other English-speaking countries, who would think of "libertarian socialism" we are happy to have a prominent disambiguatin so everybody winds up looking at the page they are interested in. It's better to avoid "right-wing libertarianism" because it is heavily debated among (Rothbard/Friedman/Nozick/Rand-style) libertarians whether or not they can accurately be called "right-wing" (see [1]) and as for "libertarianism capitalism", I've never in my life heard anyone say that except on Wikipedia. - Nat Krause 06:54, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Did it ever occur to you that might mean you aren't very well versed in political theory? Besides the political compass which clearly lays it out in a systematic and scientific fasion, right-wing libertarianism. http://infoshop.org/faq/secF1.html#secf11 There's some left-wing libertarianism for you, criticizing right-wing libertarianism. Feel free to read other parts of their FAQ if you're interested. Libertarian thought goes back waaaaaaaay before Hayek and von Mises. Proudhon was probably the first libertarian thinker historically, and his most famous saying is "Property if Theft." In fact, I have had some extensive discussions and arguements with some political friends of mine on this matter, since I believe that private property is form of Statism, and so it is inconsistant with libertarian principles. As stated earlier, you can't have "libertarian socialism", and then refuse to call right-wing libertarianism "libertarian capitalism." To do otherwise not only breaks the NPOV, but is an outright lie. -PoliticalNerd
Politicalnerd - why has the source for every single one of your edits been the Poltical compass? I remember about a month ago I made some critcisms about the poltical compass that you never responded to.... A.K.A a large quardant of the scale is impossible to reach.. It seems to be a scale biased created to be anti-Libertarian, based on the other things they write on that page. Simply saying your non-partisan doesn't mean you are... The swift vets for truth say they are non-partisain too, That doesn't mean we can quote them as being fact on subjects.

And the fact that that site has Al Franken under the list of Libertarianism reading materials just boggles my mind. 210.142.29.125

Comment from a libertarian

I am a life-long libertarian. Until a couple of years ago, when I started getting interested in U.S. politics, I had never thought that the extreme liberalism detailed in this article might seriously be called "libertarianism".

The U.S. has a Democratic Party, and "I'm a Democrat" declared by an American voter means allegiance to this party, and yet "Democrat" and "Democracy" have meanings that go beyond the petty politics of one country. The U.S. has a Republican Party, and "I'm a Republican" declared by an American voter means allegiance to this party, and yet "Republican" and "Republic" have meanings that go beyond the petty politics of one country. The U.S. has a Libertarian Party, and "I'm a Libertarian" declared by an American voter means allegiance to this party, and yet "Libertarian" and "Libertarianism" have meanings that go beyond the petty politics of one country.

Why are the conclusions of the first two statements reflected in the contents of articles such as Democracy, Republic, etc. but not in Libertarianism? Why does this article not actually talk about libertarianism?

Could it be that too high a proportion of contributors are ignorant chauvinists from a certain part of the world? That's a rhetorical question. Chameleon 23:19, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)

This article is about libertarianism. You may be interested instead in the United States Libertarian Party article for reference on that subject. Could it be that you have shown up here in an effort to smear other editors by innuendo and suggestion? Don't answer that, it's a rhetorical question. - Nat Krause 15:51, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Negative vs Positive rights doesn't make sense

The page currently says: For libertarians, there are no "positive rights" (such as to food, shelter, or health care), only "negative rights" (such as to not be assaulted, abused or robbed).


I might remind people that the term "positive rights" as contrasted with "negative" or "social" rights was coined by Communist China during the Cultural Revolution. 24.13.116.219 02:42, 25 Dec 2004 (UTC)


To me, this statement is meaningless. You can arbitrarily categorise rights as positive or negative. For example, the positive right to food could be categorised as the negative right not to starve. The negative right not to be robbed could be phrased as the positive right to property ownership.

As such I think that this is a pretty flimsy statement to be using in the first paragraph of the article, as it really tells us absolutely nothing about what Libertarians actually stand for. Shane King 07:38, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)

You're right in that the casual reader may not understand what positive and negative rights are, and the appropriate solution might be to point to a more extensive discussion of the concepts, separate from this article (similar to how an electron might be referenced in an article on quantum chromodynamics). However, the terms are well defined in even somewhat elevated political discourse. A pity that some commentators apparently did not understand those terms and needed to have it defined for them.
No, it accurately reflects the incoherent nature of ultra-liberal discourse. It should stay as it is. Chameleon 09:54, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I guess it fits in as NPOV, because it seems that both the supporters and detractors think it's a fair statement. But I'm still troubled by the sheer vapidness of it staring out at me from the first paragraph. I guess I drop my objection though, because fairness has to trump literary value in an encyclopedia. Shane King 11:08, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
Yes. Vapid. This article seems mostly an opinion dump by Liberals (self-styled) and Conservatives (also self-styled). If They want to put in a *BRIEF* critique of libertarianism, that is ok. But these people are writing about folks they neither approve of nor understand. I say "back off".

The first point: libertarianism is about liberty. Pure and simple. Some political POV will tolerate libertarians, and others will not. The central idea is that, taken collectively, ordinary people will choose the best path for themselves over time. Other POV hold that, for one reason or another, someone *ELSE* will be better at making that choice. But for a libertarian, liberty is a personal thing with an ultimately good social byproduct of a free country. Other POV put someone else in charge. If you miss this point, you miss the whole banana.

There is no such thing as a "positive" right. It is called an "entitlement". Socialists of various stripes can go over the particulars of these in extreme detail. There is no difference between a "positive right" and a debt. The society *OWES* you <something> and to not pay it is unjust. Has nothing whatsoever to do with libertarianism. It is the cornerstone of collectivism of various stripes. Your rights are to be defended against bullies of all sorts, even political ones.

The key point again: over time, the common people will make decisions in their own best interest -- if you give them freedom. The closer you can come to pushing vital decisions down to the individual level, the closer you will come to the best possible human political organization. Everything else is deduced from this point. Large social organizations foster tyranny.

milesgl


A general distinction is that a positive right requires that others actively do something (such as providing one with food or health care) while a negative right requires only that others refrain from doing something (such as robbing or assaulting). Thus, any positive right can be considered a right to the time and labor of others, while a negative right has no such aspect.
(That is why some libertarians regard positive rights as "slavery": the holder of such a right ? if it is truly a right ? thereby owns a portion of other people's labor. Thistime means that those others do not own their own labor, and are therefore (fractionally) slaves. I for one think "slavery" is overstating the case.)
Well hereby I claim 100% of your labor - seems like you would be OK with that, since you don't think that would be slavery? I'll bring some armed toughs if you need any convincing. Is 100% of your labor taken by someone else slavery? If it is not, what is slavery? If it is slavery, when does it become "not slavery"? 75% of your labor? 50%? Who gets to decide that percentage - you or me, or someone else?
== Hear, hear!! Other people have no "rights" over you that you *PERSONALLY* don't give them.
Simply restating a positive right in negative grammar (e.g. as "right not to starve") does not change the fact that such a right would require positive action ? not merely avoidance of action ? on the part of those against whom the right is enforced.
There is an ambiguity around rights that seem to require government enforcement. For instance, is the right not to be robbed the same as a right to have the police come and arrest the guy who robbed you? That is, is the right to private property the same as a right to have the government enforce your ownership of that property? The right not to be robbed is a negative right, but a right to police enforcement would be a claim on the labor of the police, and therefore a positive right.
One resolution to this ambiguity is to note that even in today's society, nobody has an enforceable right to police enforcement. If you call up the cops and say that someone is robbing you, and the cops do nothing, you cannot (e.g.) sue the cops for inaction and collect damages. Therefore, even though we say that your rights are violated by the jerk who robbed you, they are not violated by the cops who didn't stop the robbery. Your right not to be robbed is, then, not a right to have the cops defend you, but rather a right to self-defense: you have the right to beat up the robbers without being charged with assault. ?FOo 12:27, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
But doesn't an alleged criminal have the negative right to _not_ be beaten up by vigilantes? How do you decide whose rights are more important? --style 12:44, 2004 Oct 19 (UTC)
How is the right not to be asaulted enforced, if not through positive rights? Without some form of enforcement, you can not ensure people maintain the right not to be assaulted (as there will always be some people unable to defend themselves against others). So the negative right necessitates the positive right, if you wish to have something that works even in theory, let alone in practice.
I believe similar arguments can be constructed for anything you wish to list: the only way you can ensure rights that don't require time or labour of others is through actions that do require time or labour of others. Unless you wish to go down the path that people only have as many rights as they can claim by force, which is an interesting political philosophy, but I doubt one that would earn me a NPOV sticker if I presented it in an article on libertarianism. ;)
Personally, I find the distinction to be arbitrary hair splitting wrapped up as a philosophical point. However, as both sides of the debate seem to think they're winning, it must be said, it maintains the NPOV policy and so is probably OK to stay. Shane King 15:07, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
Actually, I tend to agree with Shane King: "positive rights" vs. "negative rights" is not very meaningful (and I'm a libertarian, or what Chameleon calls an ultra-liberal). Positive vs. negative rights can be useful sometimes as a rough guide, but it breaks down in the hard cases, at which point the only way to tell one from the other is to decide what is a genuine right and what is not. That is, the positive/negative distinction is not incorrect, it's just a tautology: it restates the basic premises of the relevant system of thought. - Nat Krause 15:23, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I don't like the "positive/negative" terminology (actually, I never heard it before I read this article -- is it in common use?). The Oceanian Constitution makes what may be a more useful distinction, between "rights" and "entitlements". IIRC, rights are something like what are here called negative rights, whereas entitlements are guarantees that can take precedence over rights in conflict. For example, an adult has a right to own property, whereas a child has an entitlement to food, clothing, and shelter. Seems like a reasonable dichotomy to me. --Marnen Laibow-Koser 16:58, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think this discussion has lead to a conflation of two separate things: rights, and the means for enforcing those rights. Both positive and negative rights demand a means for enforcing them which is provided for through taxation. These means are different than and separate from the actual rights themselves, which dictate those conditions the realization of which is the proper purpose of government expenditure. Ubernetizen 23:52, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I'll go down that path. I go down it everyday. People do only have the rights that they, or others for them, can claim by force. This is the most reduced political philosophy, a reduction of all the ideology. Further reduced than anarchism, which still calls for something. There are really no rights that aren't just constructs of the human imagination, just abilities. When you reduce rights to "what can be claimed by force" they are just abilities. Following this logic we could reduce this even further to metaphysical arguments and say that even abilities are just constructs of the mind or of language. However, let's assume, for the sake of keeping the argument in political terms, that there's some physical world that exists beyond semiotic or mental constructs. But no one was about to do that anyway, were they?
With this in mind, I don't see why creating the article for libertarianism is of such difficulty. All you have to say is: libertarianism arbitrarily claims a set of "rights" to be what a government should defend for a people. And then list those rights, or the different set of rights different libertarians hold as their imperative. You could then include extra stuff like "libertarians tend to support democracy," "political parties described as libertarian include United States Libertarian Party," etc. What would the objections to such a setup be? --Whoabot 11:20, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Quoted comment from a libertarian

"There isn't much point arguing about the word "libertarian." It would make about as much sense to argue with an unreconstructed Stalinist about the word "democracy" — recall that they called what they'd constructed "peoples' democracies." The weird offshoot of ultra-right individualist anarchism that is called "libertarian" here happens to amount to advocacy of perhaps the worst kind of imaginable tyranny, namely unaccountable private tyranny. If they want to call that "libertarian," fine; after all, Stalin called his system "democratic." But why bother arguing about it?" — Noam Chomsky

I'm starting to agree with the man. Does it really matter if the ultra-liberals ruin the encyclopaedia? Just as we have to accept that a certain number of articles will be vandalised, a certain number will be hijacked. Chameleon 17:08, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Come on -- Chomsky is hardly neutral, and hardly libertarian. You might as well define libertarianism as a valencia orange. The whole point of an encyclopedia is to permit the curious and ignorant to find out a basic frame of knowledge on a particular topic. The only place for most of the junk here is in a section on hi-jacked political expression. "Libertarianism is not about liberty -- it is about slavery because if you are a libertarian you are slave to ideas other than the True One Shining Path to Glory". Etc, etc etc. Chomsky, and most writers here, advocate the use of FORCE against citizens to make them somehow "better". If that force is politically organized, you have a good working definition of statism/fascism/stalinism/kill-em-before-they-spread-ism. Yes -- this article is infested with trolls and evangelists of various denominations. Is there anyone else here who believes "freedom" is a virtue? Or that the common man can make good decisions?

milesgl Nov 9, '04

So, how many trolls are going to quote Chomsky on this page? This is now the second time someone has posted this quote on this talk page. What does this have to do with Wikipedia? Nothing. Please stop. Rhobite 17:20, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
Whoops! Didn't notice he was quoted above. Goes to show how quotable he is. And please stop whingeing! It's inevitable to get a reaction when you do what has been done to this article. Chameleon 19:57, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I did nothing to this article, but all you are doing is trying to pick a fight. Why not go around taking quotes from Stalin and posting them on Talk:Communism? Rhobite 20:27, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
The Communism article is quite acceptable. No need to make arguments to change anything. Chameleon 21:30, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
While I personally think that Noam Chomsky is an important figure in modern political thought, and I happen to agree with some of his ideas and ideals, it's hard to see how allowing him to define Libertarianism would qualify as NPOV. He's admitted himself that's his ideas have a lot in common with anarchists/libertarian socialists, and if there's one thing that you can say about the relationship with anarchists and libertarians, it's that there is no love lost between them, despite superficially sharing many of the same roots and ideals. So while I think that Chomsky is a good person to quote for a section on "Criticisms of Libertarianism", allowing his views to define it is something akin to using McCarthy's views to define Communism. Shane King 23:51, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
A "libertarian" socialist is an oxymoron. Socialism (which is *ALWAYS* a form of collectivism) is anathema to liberty. It postulates the submission of the individual to the group as a virtue. Anti-libertarian.

milesgl Nov 9, '04


No, defining libertarianism with Chomsky quotations against ultra-liberals is like defining communism with Marx quotations against Stalinists. (McCarthy was anti-Communist; Chomsky is libertarian communist) Chameleon 09:18, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Leaving aside the question of exactly what Chomsky is, one thing is for sure, he isn't Libertarian in the sense that this article uses the word. I'd say he's anti it in the same sense McCarthy is anti-communist. So basically your argument must come down to the word Libertarian being used wrongly in the article. How ironic then that you quote Chomsky saying that there's no point arguing about it!
I previously argued for changing for changing the article. I then thought aloud, using Chomsky's words, musing that perhaps it's not worth the fight. Neither I nor Chomsky thinks that this article should be about ultra-liberalism, but we both seem to be weary of people who insist on mangling the language in this way. Chameleon 12:42, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
With language, does definition follow usage, or usage follow definition? Chomsky, being a linguist may have more idea on this than I do, but my understanding is that they are both valid schools of thought. So I guess whether this is valid depends on which school of thought you belong to. Shane King 13:36, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)
I'm certainly sympathetic to the view that Libertarianism should be a disambiguation page for Libertarian capitalism/socialism, but I find that Chomsky quote the most absurd way possible to achieve it. Far better to point to the NPOV policy that says all sides of the story should get a fair go.
Chomp-ski is *NOT* "libertarian" in any way except to torpedo an explication of "libertarian". Why not have him define Christianity too? And how about the Cordon Bleau? Socialism, in every form I know about (and that is a large number), is antithetical to libertarianism and/or individualism in all its forms. They are at *OPPOSITE* ends of the political spectrum. How much freedom (presumably of choice?) do you have to add to a Stalinist gulag to get "libertarian" socialism? Do you want salt with your boiled grass? Listen -- *INVOLUNTARY* control of people is *ANTI*-libertarian.

milesgl Nov 9, '04

As a side note, I'm rather disturbed that Chomsky seems to be achieving the kind of status on the left of this issue that Rand already commands on the right. For a philosophy that supposedly exhaults the individual, there appears to be almost a Monty Python-esque "We are all individuals" chorus going on. Shane King 10:17, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)
It is possible to quote another's writings without being a groupie, you know. Wikipedia quotes lots of people, and it's officially NPOV. Chameleon 12:42, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
There's a deference between quoting someone in an article, and using a quote to define the topic of an article, in my opinion. One is neutral, the other is not. Shane King 13:36, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)
Noam Chomsky is a linguists professor. His thoughts on politics are about as valuable as a garbage collector's suggestions on brain surgery.
While I may not agree with Professor Chomsky on a number of subjects, the fact that he can argue his ideas cogently and intelligently make them worth looking at. I would recommend that you have a good look at, for example, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies before mouthing off. Be aware, however, that it contains a number of words with more than one syllable, sorry, bit.Sjc 09:09, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The positive/negative formulation of rights is often unclear, but the distinction between certain kinds of rights remains useful and is not merely semantic. Philosophers and libertarians who emphasize negative rights are really positing an individual's "right" to be left alone and to exercise his liberty without interference from others (e.g., free speech), as opposed to a "duty" to promote someone else's welfare (e.g., healthcare), or the latter's corresponding "right" to receive it. Within this formulation there are those who argue these first-order rights are natural, and others who argue that they are prescriptive. Libertarians are not the only ones who emphasize negative rights or the right to liberty, though; for example, John Rawls, who is no libertarian (a la Robert Nozick), also gives liberty...the right to be left alone... precedence in his Theory of Justice. However one characterizes them, and whether or not one believes they have merit (which, after all, is not at issue in an encyclopedia), these alleged rights are central to libertarian and many modern liberal theories (see, for example, Isaiah Berlin).icut4u

Try reading the word "right" from a dictionary. There is no such thing as a "positive" right -- who dreamed that up anyway?? Citations?? This sounds like the worst amateur political drivel. If you advocate individual liberty as a political good, you are a "libertarian". Period. We are a very diverse (and disorganized) group. And are proud of it.

milesgl Nov 9, '04

Moved???

Although I personally can see advantages in moving the article (for example, it seems fairer that Libertarianism doesn't get owned by the right wing side if Anarchism doesn't get owned by the left and is instead shared), I think it was a bit much to just up and move a contentious article like this without discussion. I know you're supposed to assume good intent, but it almost seems an invitation to a flame war, which is hardly a good thing ... Shane King 00:36, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)


Capitalism is not the central feature of several important libertarian theories. For example, Friedman's economic libertarianism is largely utilitiarian and not rights based (which is not to say he ignores them). The theories of Nozick, Hospers, and Rand (she would not call herself a libertarian...but many of her followers do) are based on property rights, though each has a different twist. Nozick, for example, believes in historical entitlement, which is to say, if someone acquires property without having violated any moral principles, it is wrong to take it from him (he goes into some detail on Locke's proviso of there being enough available). Rand says property is a rational requirement for one to "implement" his life. Both would say that it would not matter if capitalism were effective or ineffective (e.g, if a state-run economy could be shown to distribute greater good to a greater number) ....for these moral principles would override any alternative. In other words, libertarianism to some is seen as a moral position, not an economic one. It is incorrect to characterize all libertarian theories as being equivalent to market capitalism. The new title of this article is therefore misleading. Capitalism is an economic theory (or description); libertarianism is something different, notwithstanding the fact capitalism is compatible with it.
For what it's worth, I also think the "right-wing" appellation, implying a kind of conservatism, is equally incorrect, and that it is intended to have a perjorative meaning rather than a descriptive one. The libertarians I have read believe in such things as complete decriminalization of drugs, legalized prostitution, gay marriage/homosexual rights, a completely secular society, science over faith, a minimal police force and military...hardly the kind of freedoms conservatives promote. There are quasi-libertarian ideas that attract conservatives, to be sure, primarily on economic grounds. But most libertarian theorists in philosphical circles are far more focused on maintaining what they suppose to be an individual's most fundamental right, namely, the right to be left alone by others.
Aside from this, I do not know of any well-known libertarian theorists who would characterize themselves as right wingers, whereas all of the conservatives I know would gladly accept this, just as all of the socialists I have known would have called themselves left wingers. Why do we need to entitle a theory something that its principal theorists would disavow? Some might believe communism is evil, but we should not therefore title the communism page "evil communism." I do not mean to imply evil is synonymous with right wing, but, given some of the comments, I think those who are using it might well think this is the case. Indeed, I believe that those who are calling this article right-wing libertarainism are not really trying to describe the theory at all, but to express their displeasure with it at differentiate it from what they believe to be the correct, pure kind of libertarianism, in this case, the socialist or Chomskian versions. In any case, I submit that it is also a mistake to call all of the ideas represented on this page right-wing libertarianism or capitalist libertarianism. It seems to me that libertarianism will do, and then the several types of libertarainsm can be mentioned therein. Pardon the prolix nature of this. icut4u
Yes, libertarianism does not fit neatly into the conventional left-right model of all political thought. There are people here who try to force it into such a model, but they are not libertarians and are not open-minded enough to deal with the existance of such a school of thought. So they fight about which end to plop it down on. If you think in terms of "left" and "right" you cannot understand what libertarianism is about. A closer dichotomy would be collective <=> individual, or State <=> citizen. All socialism except Anarchism is a form of forced collectivism. The suppression of the individual. It is antithetical to libertarianism. I think part of the problem is that too many ideologies want to claim "freedom" as their own -- even if they see individual freedom as a primary source of evil.

milesgl nov. 10 2004


There are two broad schools of libertarianism which the re-titling addresses. Libertarian socialism and libertarian capitalism. The socialist had their own page and now the capitalists do. This is an important way of ensuring neutrality. I accept they are not perfect titles although when I looked at merging the pages that seemed an inadequate solution as well.
There is certainly nothing implicit in a socialist or capitalist tag that is pejorative and I reject that characterization. Capitalism or captitalist is no insult these days with the entire world embracing its central tenets: private property, market mechanism, rule of law, etc. Even PRC is doing this in its own albeit flawed way.
With the left and right tag again, it is simple: tag one "left" then you must tag the other "right". I certainly do not regard either as an insult. They are flawed tags in some respects but do help explain political positions simply, perhaps too much so.
As for ShaneKing's point, he is quite right, I thought I had posted an explanation here before-hand but it doesn't seem to have come up. I think the change is an important and worthwhile one and commend it to you. Ã?"ã?¿ç®± 03:59, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
What's his name here uses the fact that there is libertarian socialism and liberarian capitalism, for his reason for redirecting 'libertarianism', but if that was the goal, why did he not make 'libertarianism' a disambiguation? Instead, he re-directs to just one of the libertarianism articles (namely, 'libertarian capitalism'). I don't see how this is intellectualy sound. Marteau 04:30, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I agree. Further, I did not say calling libertariansm(s) capitalist libertarianism is a perjorative, it is simply misleading, for capitalism is not the central feature of several of the most prominent libertarian theories. I think right wing is at once misleading (libertarianism is not conservative) and, in this context, I believe it has been used as a perjoritive. Moreover, there is no kind of political law of the excluded middle that requires a right to every left, and I certainly do not believe right wing describes libertarianism. This description focuses on one element, namely, the economic one... but there are many other aspects, and, again, notwithstanding some of the comments here, economics is not the central principle to most libertarian theories. Go out and ask any conservative you know if he believes we should legalize drugs, downsize the military and police, and allow gays to marry, get religion out of the government and schools, and you will see what I mean. An article simply entitled libertarianism with a description of each of the attendant theories would be better, without a semantically "loaded" modifier. I'll be quiet now. icut4u
I hate the left and right wing labels as much as anyone, I think they're stupidly limiting. Of course the entirity of political and philosophical thought can't be represented on a single straight line!
However, I can't argue that they're not often used terms which are used pervasively on the wikipedia. Therefore, I think that we must adress where Libertarianism stands in relation to these terms. To me, if you have to choose, Libertarianism is clearly right wing economically (if we accept right wing is capitalist, and left wing socialist). Socially, I agree, Libertarianist thought of all kinds is left wing. However, in my experience, the economic side of Libertarianism is by far the most emphasised part of it. Just look at the article here, and I think you'll see a lot more about economic than social issues. Therefore, given the conflicting choices, I'd have to call it right wing.
All that is secondary to the name change though, which does not mention right or left wing, so I'm not even sure why you've brought it up. Am I missing a greater point here? Shane King 04:53, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)
On the R/L controversy, long before the move, at least two others have captioned the article "right wing libertarianism." Libertarianism as described by its best known proponents is not right wing or left wing, at least to the extent one implies conservatism at (which it does) and the other implies socialism (which it does). The meanings of these terms are simply not useful in describing libertarianism.
Originally, "right" meant "conservative" - wanting to maintain the status quo, and "left" meant "radical" - wanting change (not necessarily in the socialist direction). As such, libertarianism is definitely a leftist position, so of course "right-wing libertarianism" is just nonsense. This is why people who misunderstand the left/right distinction as being about socialism are always confused about the position of libertarianism, and you end up having to describe it as "left-wing about <something>, and right-wing about <something else>", or define another dimension and make libertarianism "up" (any such thing is inaccurate, however: someone above said "ask a libertarian about his position on gay marriage, drug legalisation, etc.", and if you do that, you'll find there are two kinds of libertarians (not counting the socialists who call themselves that); there are what Rothbard called "modal libertarians", who are all for the free use of drugs, public displays of homosexuality, etc., and there is the other group, who may or may not be in favor of any of those things - what they have in common is that neither group would support a law restricting such behaviour, but the latter group hold that certain behaviour is nevertheless immoral, and to be discouraged (of course, just which activities are judged immoral will vary from person to person). The true libertarian certainly can not support democracy or free speech -- he believes in the primacy of private property, and as such the owner of the property has the absolute right to say what goes on there - there's no room for voting and majoritarian decision making, or the freedom to speak against the owner's wishes on his property. Covenants among property owners, like a homeowners association, would determine the rules with regards to drug use, homosexuality, smoking, etc.) 218.101.84.123 10:59, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)
The economic focus of the article that you point out is a deficiency. Again, a number of the most prominent libertarian theoriests...Nozick, Hospers, (Rand...using advisedly) , and others...do not center their ideas on capitalism or economic principles, but on moral considerations. This is a critically important distinction. There is no prevailing doctrine that I know of called "Market libertarianism" or "Capitalist libertarianism" or "Right-wing libertarianism." These modifications are all being used to make a point and ignore the common understanding and description of the theory. That there are various strains of libertarianism is undeniable, but they ought to be delineated in the article. If adherents of a doctrine other than the commonly understood one want to use the same name (who used it first is unimportant; common usage is central), reference can be made to that fact in the article (as it does) icut4u

The move was nonsense, the user who moved it is vandalizing Wikipedia, and I've moved it back. Rhobite 05:10, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)

I agree. Good. icut4u

A suggestion

Since it looks like we can't reach consensus, perhaps we should make the "libertarianism" page a disambig page, pointing to the various articles that can reasonably lay claim to that name, such as the U.S. political movement, the European political movement, and the philosophical concept.-- The Anome 13:38, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I think only a policy change will achieve that. Chameleon 14:34, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think that's a fine idea. The fact of the matter is, the word has different meanings, depending on place, time and context. A 'policy change' is not required; the fact of the matter is, 'policy' would dictate that 'Libertarianism' be a disambig page. Sure, when most people think 'Libertarian' it would be so-called 'Libertarian Capitalism' but that understanding is not so overwhelming that it eclipses all other meanings. Marteau 16:00, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
yes, that's why we've disambiged at the top of the page... The understanding is so overwhealimg that it eclipses disambig... most of the people here advocating the other side seem to be anti-libertarian based on thier past edits.
Well, I'm certainly not 'anti-libertarian' (in fact, I'm registered in Colorado, where you have to write it in on the voter registration) but then again my objectivity and ability to go NPOV is truly admirable and rare in realms such as this (it is, after all, my modesty that makes me so great ;) Marteau 20:05, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Even assuming you are correct and that the people who want the page moved are anti-libertarian, why does that matter? Surely arguments are what matters, not the people making the argument. Shane King 23:28, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure about this. There are plenty of words in English for which there are similar words, but with different meanings, in French or other languages. This page is about the idea which in English is called by the name "libertarianism".

If that is the real source of tension here ? that the French word that looks like the English "libertarianism" is best translated to English as "anarcho-socialism" ? then I do not think a disambiguation page is suitable on the English Wikipedia. Nor would one be appropriate on the French Wikipedia; the French page for libertarianisme or whatever should describe what we in English call anarcho-socialism, if that is what French speakers mean by it.

What does the word "libertarianism" mean to a (neutral) British speaker ? or an Australian, Canadian, or NZ? If it means what it means to an American speaker, then it is the appropriate title of an English Wikipedia page. If, on the other hand, the American use of the term is in fact regional, then this page should be retitled. However, that title should be "Libertarianism (U.S.)" or some such. It should not be "Libertarian capitalism", "Capitalist libertarianism" or any other such Marxoid neologism. ?FOo 22:49, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Libertarianism"

Just so, FOo. icut4u
Huh? Marxoid neologism? When you're trying to distinguish from something that's being called "Libertarian socialism", and the primary difference is that this is capitalist rather than socialist, how on Earth does "Libertarianism (U.S.)" make more sense than "Libertarian capitalism"?
First, because nobody describes themselves as a "libertarian capitalist". People who have the view described here call themselves "libertarians", and this term has been understood by people of other views to refer to this belief and this group. We do not choose the names of Wikipedia articles arbitrarily, even when they are retitled for disambiguation. We choose them with respect for usage. The term "libertarian capitalist" is a neologism; it is not a natural usage.
Be that as it may, I was under the impression that the NPOV policy trumped any asthetic concerns such as this. Maybe my understanding is incomplete/incorrect? Shane King 06:27, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)
(As a note: The phrase "libertarian socialist" has over ten times as many Google hits as "libertarian capitalist". In contrast, "socialist" has about twice as many as "libertarian", and "anarchist" half as many ? and these latter three terms have many hundreds of times more hits than the former two. The latter three terms are, I propose, much better understood than the former two.)
I find it myopic to suggest that google hit counts are the final arbiter of human knowledge. Comparing hit counts can be an interesting hobby, but I don't think they really tell us much. Shane King 06:27, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)
Second, because the use of the term "capitalist" here is misleading. It appears to explain libertarianism as a kind of "capitalism", in the sense that libertarian socialism is a kind of socialism; or else to reduce libertarianism to capitalism. I consider the latter view to be related to Marx because it was Marx who argued that ideology derives from economic standing. (I wrote "Marxoid" partly humorously, and partly to avoid writing "Marxist" and thus implying that any particular person here was a "vulgar Marxist". A more sensible word would have been "Marxian" perhaps.)
Most libertarians seem to believe that their views on economics (or their economic class) are not the source of their views on other issues; rather, their economic and other views both derive from overarching principles. Thus, the title "Libertarian capitalism" itself presents a bias towards a Marxian view of economics, politics, and ideology, and away from the way that libertarians describe their own views. This is not simply an NPOV matter, but also an accuracy matter, since it implies something false about the views which the article is describing. ?FOo 03:49, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC) (Continued below)
What Libertarians believe their ideology is about is not important to me. For the same reason I argued against using a Chomsky quote to define Libertarianism, I argue that using what Libertarians think is equally dangerous ground. To do otherwise is to throw away all hope of neutrality. Shane King 06:27, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)
My argument for movement is not linguistic but one of fairness (ie maintaining neutrality). What I think of anarchism is pushed to anarcho-socialism on this wiki, and equal time is given to the anarcho-capitalists on the anarchism page, despite the fact that they are certainly in the minority in using the term that way. I see no reason why the same should not be done for libertarianism. Who cares if most people (assuming it is true) think of Libertarianism as being of the capitalist variety, the fact that even a small minority of people think otherwise suggests that it should not be able to lay sole claim to the page. Or at least it should if we're being fair and applying the same standards that were applied to the anarchism page. Shane King 23:28, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)
Another *KEY* concept of libertarianism -- and note that it *IS* an "-ism" and actually has adherents -- is freedom of association. This means that any individual has the freedom to be a part of a group he chooses and which will accept him. But it also means that either party can DISassociate too. This makes all forms of socialism not applicable. Anarchism is a close cousin, and it is doubtful that it is "left" in any meaningful sense. The use of force to form and enforce social groupings is anathema to libertarians. Who cares what ideologues of other stripes have to say about us?? Let them stick to describing themselves. If French thinkers believe the use of force to form and maintain associations is acceptable anarchism, they are nuts. Read Bukharin. In my view anarchsm is a more extreme version of libertarianism, and far, far, far from the shackles of all forms of "socialism". Coating organized coercion with chocolate FREEDOM is purely cosmetic, whether the coercers view their organizations as "capitalist" or "communist".


It is my understanding (which may be mistaken) that many libertarian socialists and anarcho-socialists object to the common use in English of the term libertarian to refer to non-socialist minarchists and anarchists. While I understand that the term in French and other languages has a different meaning, I think we should title English articles based on the most common uses in English. The purpose of disambiguation titles is to disambiguate for the arbitrary reader, when common usage is unclear. It is not to promote changes in common usage.
This is why, if there is in fact a linguistic difference among dialects of English as to whether "libertarianism" commonly refers to the socialist or the non-socialist position, then I think there should be disambiguation based on dialect. However, if the difference is that some people wish that common usage were other than it is (for instance, they may wish that libertarianism were called "big-green-cow-ism") then there is no sensible reason to appease that desire. That is not fairness; it is sacrificing an accurate representation of usage for what someone wishes usage were. ?FOo 03:49, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I can't speak for what other people's objections may be. I don't object to libertarians using the title libertarian. I do object to them claiming sole ownership of it when there seems to be a case for its ownership being shared.
Outside of the wikipedia context, I'd probably agree with you, and say the current usage is correct. However, I feel the precedent has been set with the anarchism page, and that in the interests of balance, there are really only two choices: a) give anarchism to the majority anti-capitalist meaning, and libertarianism to the majority pro-capitalism meaning; or b) accept the claim of the minority usage in both cases and allow both pages to be shared. I feel that the major fault in your argument here is that you are looking at this page in isolation. Shane King 06:27, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)
I don't think it's a good idea to take the anarchism page as a precedent for this one. For one thing, if something is wrong with one page, we want to make sure not to duplicate the mistake on another. For another, I don't think that anyone (well, hardly anyone) is happy with the current state of anarchism. The article as it stands is in fact mostly about socialist anarchism, and then it also contains sections comparing and contrasting that with anarcho-capitalism. The result is something of a mess. As I have said on talk:anarchism a couple times, I think it would be preferable to arrange that page the same way libertarianism is: with a disambiguation at the top for anarcho-capitalism and then the rest of the text all about one thing. Because the situations, though similar, are not quite the same I do think it would be a little better to use a different arrangement for anarchism, but the disamiguate-at-the-top format would be quite acceptable there, and I think that's what's warranted for the libertarianism page. - Nat Krause 10:00, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I respect what you are trying to do, Shane, and I do think you're being earnest. However, I am not sure what the relevance of fairness qua equal time is from an editorial perspective. I do not think, for example, the subject of communism needs requires articles on, say, Israeli communism, Marxist communism, and everyone's version of it. I suspect if one were to go to any widely-recognized encyclopedia in the English speaking world, you will find one entry for libertarianism and no entries for capitalist libertarianism, market libertarianism, or, dare I say, socialist libertarianism (as opposed to socialism). To the extent there are several species of it, the artilce should make reference to them. Anyway, that's my view, and I think that FOo and others might be making a similar point. icut4u

Fair enough, I respect that point of view. I just think that it can become unwieldly, as there's already enough he-said/she-said in an article on a single topic, let alone an article on multiple topics (witness the anarchism article). Shane King 01:00, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)

I agree with Nat Krause. A Wikipedia article should be about one thing. The prevailing meaning of "anarchism" as far as I have seen it used is anarcho-socialism or anti-capitalist anarchism. If that is the case throughout English, then the article should be about anarcho-socialism, with a disambiguation note at the top to anarcho-capitalism. However, unlike the term "anarcho-capitalism", the term "libertarian capitalism" is not widely used (while Google searches are not a perfect measure, they are a pretty darned good one) and so does not form a useful title for an article.

I must respond to one more of Shane King's points. He asks whether "aesthetic concerns" trump Wikipedia's NPOV policy. I do not think they would. However, accuracy concerns are not merely aesthetic concerns. Neutrality means that we should strive to represent the world as it is, rather than as we may wish it to be.

It is not Wikipedia's job to tell English-speakers that they should use the word "libertarian" to mean something else than what they presently (by and large) use it to mean. The word does have a specific predominant usage (both by libertarians and non-libertarians); and it is a misuse of Wikipedia to choose article titles in an effort to promote the point of view that this predominant usage should be changed. ?FOo 22:49, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I agree with you. I guess my initial arguments for change here are taking the situation with anarchism as a given (since when I was last giving editing wikipedia a go, there seemed to be a resistance to change over there). Perhaps I'm talking on the wrong page! Here, I was just trying to respect precident, as much like with law, when stuck with tricky questions, precident is often the only tool available to make difficult decisions. I guess unlike with law, precident is much less binding here, as we can "re-open the case" whenever we like.
As far as representing how the world is rather than how we would like it to be: if only we could be so objective. However, if you ask a Christian, he'll tell you God exists. If you ask an atheist, he'll tell you God does not exist. Which one is how the world is? How do we decide? The truth is with wikipedia we usually hedge our bets and don't talk about how the world is, we rather talk about how different groups would like it to be. The same with this subject: Libertarianism is not implemented anywhere that I'm aware of. This subject is all about a theory that disucsses how some people would like the world to be, not how it (currently) is. If we were to stick to strictly talking about how it is, the article would probably be "Libertarianism is a theory that has never been tested anywhere", since that's about the only statement that can be made without jumping into speculation, for and against, as to what would happen in a Libertarian society.
Please don't take that as a slur: I think most political and philosophical theories fall into that category! Shane King 23:51, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)

Accounts

I have noticed that most of the recent edits seem to be made by anonymous people without accounts on Wikipedia. I would like to urge people to create accounts and therefore properly identify themselves if participating in any controversy or frequent editing. Chameleon 13:25, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Libertarianism (US) v Libertarianism (EUR)

There is such ambiguity here that it seems totally inappropriate for one version of libertarianism to occupy one page and another to be classified differently. For neutrality's sake, I think a disambiguation page is necessary here. ReithySockPuppet 21:06, 22 Oct 2004 (UTC)

There is little ambiguity: the term is rarely, if ever, used in Europe, so one term is clearly vastly more common. Similar heuristics result in the redirection of Paris to Paris, France rather than Paris, Texas. --Delirium 17:14, Oct 23, 2004 (UTC)
As a British Libertarian, I rather object to European Libertarianism being sub-titled libertarian socialism, which to my ears sounds like a ridiculous contradiction. As far as I'm concerned libertarianism is libertarianism, whether you're from the United States or Europe. Chrislloyd 00:48, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Libertarian Capitalism

Contrary to what the most recent revision states, none of the major libertarian theorist of the English-speaking variety (Hospers, Nozick, Hayek, Mises, etc.) uses the descriptor "libertarian capitalism." It is false to say that this is the common understanding or usage among libertarians. For what seems like the 100th time, not all libertarian theorists base their views on economic grounds. Indeed, the principal libertarian theorists of the last fifty years, other than Friedman (Mises and Hayek wrote their seminal works prior to fifty years ago), base their views on moral grounds....stating that it is morally wrong to take someone's fairly acquired property, notwithstanding someone else's end-state theory. One can argue all day long as to whether or not this is the correct view, but this is what they, the libertarians, believe.

Libertarians believe people ought to be left alone as much as possible. That is the essence of negative rights, which was mischaracterized in several previous posts. This position is not a mere linguistic trick. The fact that this allows for free exchange (or relatively free, for few libertarians believe in absolute property rights), disposing of one's property as one sees fit, is what makes the theory compatible with capitalist acts. The latter does not justify the former. It is simply wrong to make out libertarianism to be primarily or solely an economic position. Many libertarain theorists in the English-speaking world believe that it is primarily a matter of moral rights, notwithstanding the economic consequences.

I do not understand why those who find the libertarian position to be disagreeable cannot nevertheless allow it to be defined as its principal proponents would describe it, as opposed to introducing new usage in order to make sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle editorial points about their position. That belongs in a critical analysis, not in an objective exposition of the position. I fear that this subject arouses too many passions to ever be accurately described, for long, in this kind of a forum icut4u

Capitalism is an economic societal system, like communism or socialism. Libertarianism is a political system, like fascism, oligarchy, or democracy. I don't know why you all (and the rest of the world, for that matter) make it more difficult than it is.
It also contrasts it nicely with Libertarian Socialism, aka Anarchism. Libertarian really just refers to the social policy (on the Libertarian/Authoritarian scale), not the economic scale. See [2] Of course, it doesn't really change the fact that Libertarianism is usually used in referring to Libertarian Capitalism. - Tezkah

A new page for your consideration

I think the current libertarianism article is frought with difficulty. For one thing, it is about anti-libertariansim as much as it is about libertariainsm. For another, there is considerable redundancy, some of which is avoidable. And, it does not explicate several important issues critical to libertarian thought. It is obviously controversial, so I thought a new attempt with several qualifications in defining libertarian philosophy might be in order. I tried to capture all of the important links and major ideas, but did not include the Nolan Chart, though I addressed it, and I certainly would not object to its inclusion. In any event, I offer it for your consideration, improvement (which it certainly needs), and rejection/deletion. The new article is entitled Libertarian theory. I have no objection if most of those who frequent this page simply want to can it, and I won't try to preserve it. icut4u 00:34, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Non-US libertarians (of the non-socialist sort)

User:172.190.144.30 is now reverting the page under the edit summary "the libertarianism described in this article is found in America only and that should be noted" (sic). This seems to be remarkably, amazingly false, as evidenced by parties calling themselves "Libertarian" or a cognate in (at least) Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Portugal. [3]

Perhaps the Libertarian Party of Ontario doesn't like being called American. And the Libertarian International Organization seems to have lots of links to non-US libertarian movements under that very name. The International Society for Individual Liberty says even them French dudes got libertarians ? and they don't mean libertarian socialists here at least. ?FOo 05:26, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Good points raised here, I have been very uncomfortable though with the labelling of one form of libertarianism as socialism and the other (of a capitalist persuasion) as libertarianism. The lack of good faith here negates someone having a genuine belief about this without being presumed as biased. I am not a libertarian at all, and am neither socialist nor capitalist in absolute terms. It just seemed even-handed and encyclopedic to label both equally. I believe the solution is a disambiguation page where libertarianism is currently. Reithy 08:08, Nov 3, 2004 (UTC)

As I said in the edit sumarries: Paris is not a disambig page, Because of how much more Paris, France is in that term then Paris, Texas.

Libertarniasm socalism is a qualifer on top of Libertarianism. Libertarianism is the default term meaning what the page says it means, Liberarian socalism is a different thing compleatly, and is a qualifer on top it, Much like geoliberatism . NOBODY uses libertarian capatalism besides the 600 pages on google that are opponets of libertarianism.

Actually, I think the article as it stands is pretty misleading in the sense that you would not be directly aware that there are other forms of libertarianism if you read it. I appreciate that there are many libertarians, particularly those located in America, on Wikipedia, but this is no excuse to bias ownership of the term when it may have wildly different definitions in other countries. I think for this reason alone this page should become a disambiguiation page pointing to other uses of the term. That said, I agree that "captalist" libertarian is a pretty biased term. Perhaps "free market" libertarian would be more appropriate? --Axon 10:56, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Look! neither of these terms exist... I don't understand where this movement in wikipedia is coming from, that thinks we should go and make up words, just to make the English language more "fair". 600 googles for Libertarain Capatalism, about the same about for market libertarniasm. Whereas Libertarian Socalism has 11,000. It's obvious here That the word as it's defined means what it means, What is your people's problem? stop trying to 1984 words. Chuck F 12:33, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand your stance on this: are you for the exclusively "free market" definition of libertarian or are you calling for a more open definition? Please calm down and explain your arguments. --Axon 12:46, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I'm for the exclusive free market definition. Libertariasm as the base defininaton right now means The free market definition. Libertarian socalism(it's libertariansm with a qualifer on top) is a different word, therefore has a different definitation and is why people use that.

In that case I think that one could throw the accusation 1984'ing the term libertarian back at you: why should you "own" the definition of libertarian? Let's not descend into petty accusations of censorship and stick with discussing whether or not it is NPOV to have a disambiguation page here.
On the qualifiers: I am assuming that the reason we have a "socialist libertarian" page is because the "free market libertarian" definition is already occupying the "libertarian" page: one assumes that socialist libertarians refer to themselves as libertarians.
Regardless, if other people in other countries use libertarian differently then surely there is, for reasons of neutrality, no reason not to give them equal footing in this encyclopaedia. The fact that there are more "capitalist" libertarians on the Internet should not matter - if substantial numbers of both parties exist then should they not be given equal precedence here? --Axon 14:20, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The guy just posted above all the liberatian parties in different countries... THe only way you can find people that use the term differntly is people in countries that USE A DIFFERENT TERM, but they like it translated as libertarian. Come on. Calling it capatalist Libertarian is just ridiclous, Nobody use that term, Google seriously has as many results for commie democract as they do for capatalist libertarian, that doesn't mean we are redirecting democracy to commie democract or something similar to that Chuck F 14:20, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

No-one is denying that "capitalist" libertarians exist in other countries (although I think there is an argument that this form is more commonly found in America) but this fact does not exclude the possibility that other groups may refer to themselves as libertarians yet may not be "free market" libertarians.
On the fact that no-one refers to themselves as capitalist libertarians: one might counter that no-one refers to socialists libertarianism as such. It is not really an argument against the proposed disambiguation page since there is no reason why socialist libertarians should be descriminated against. Similarly, a more neutral term for "free market" libertarianism may be found that we can all agree upon if "capilitalist" libertarian is not satisfactory.
On translation of libertarianism: what proof can you offer that the translation from French is incorrect? Also, Wikipedia is not in the business of proscribing how people translate words from their language into english - if a substantial number of individuals refer to themselves as libertarians we should respect this.
In fact, if one assumes that "libertarian" descends from "liberty" which is, I believe, itself originally a French word (it's part of their national motto isn't it?) then surely they have "prior art" (ahem) on the term and perhaps even a better claim? Also, I believe that libertarian shares much in commong with "liberal" - I think both descend from "liberty". I think liberals may also be allowed to call themselves libertarians, or may have done so at some prior point in time.
In fact the most common definition of "libertarian" I can find is "someone who believes the doctrine of free will" which makes no mention of free markets or economics and seems to cover a wide range.
Finally, this discussion is about libertarianism, not democracy. A dismabiguation page might also be required for democracy if sufficient arguments are given for it but this is probably not the place to discuss this. --Axon 14:57, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)
okay, then talking about Libertarianism. We aren't being unfair to Libertarian Socalism, they call themselves libertarian socalists!, they don't call themselves libertarians. and you know what I'm going out right now and saying these are out-right lies people have been posting... The term is not used differently outside of english speaking words, this is simply people that are anti-lp spinning facts. They use the English term "libertarniasm" to mean LIBERTARIANISM not socalist libertanism everywhere around the world Chuck F 15:18, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I think accusations of lying should be backed up with evidence in this case, otherwise they remain just that - accusations. For example, a quick look on the Internet demonstrates that the term libertarian has indeed been used in a variety of different ways prior and subsequent to it's adoption by the American libertarian movement.
What evidence is there that social libertarians in all countries solely refer to themselves as such? Regardless, they still all use the term libertarian so, by your own admission, it is not the soul domain of the "free market" libertarian movement. Would it not seem very POV to be greeted with the "free market" definition of libertarian when you first arrive at Wikipedia.
I would also be interested in your responses to some of my other points rather than just cherry-picking those you would prefer to answer. --Axon 15:47, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Okay, so you are saying that it's also pov to be greeted with Paris France instead of Paris Texas? And my own admisson was they use the term libertarian in connection with socalism. They do not use the term alone.
The obvious difference between Paris, France and Paris, Texas and our own discussion here is that one is not causing a huge edit war and the other is. Feelings are running high on this issue so some sort of compromise for the purposes of NPOV seems required.
My point, which you have ignored, was that both parties use the term "libertarian" and therefore neither group can claim exclusive use of it.
And, again, you are simply responding to some of those points I mention but ignoring some of the others I've discussed. Are you interested in discussing this or simply asserting you own POV over and over until the whole world nods in agreement? --Axon 16:21, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Ok -- since a bunch of socialists of various flavors are here defining libertarianism (which none of them like), how about letting me redefine the socialist page? How about making "socialism" primarily of the National Socialist Worker's Party (i.e. "nazi") variety? There were millions of them, all calling themselves socialists. And then Joseph Stalin ran a State which called itself "socialist". The two, with well over 100 million people in them, ran concentration camps where human beings were intentionally exterminated. So socialism, as frequently used in Europe, implies large, barbed wire enclosed prisons for those determined by the State to be undesirable with a goal of extermination by the State. How's that for a definition of your beloved "socialism"??? It has far more accuracy, and historical justification, than the tripe on libertarianism. Should we let the anti-democrats define democracy? This is downright silly. Anti-libertarian definitions / descriptions of libertarianism can be displayed in a section with a caveat about what libertarians think of them. --milesgl 15:00 CST (USA) 12 Nov 2004
I hate to burst your bubble Milesgl, but libertarianism was used by socialists to refer to themselves long before capitalists caught on to the idea. Many socialists really -do- like libertarianism, and find it rather sad/laughable that the philosophy of social freedom has been co-opted by folks peddling private tyranny as the ultimate form of free social organization. Its one thing for capitalists to claim to be libertarians, that is crazy enough, but for them to claim that socialists cannot legitimately label themselves libertarians is just ridiculous and reveals a very poor grasp of history. Kev 08:11, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Well that is wishful thinking. Do you know which century Karl Marx lived and wrote in? The 19th. The focus on Liberty is 18th century.
How does this have anything to do with the point that socialists used the term libertarian to refer to themselves long before capitalists? Capitalism as an economic theory did not even exist in the 18th century, unless you wanna try to conflate capitalism with mercantilism ;) Kev 05:17, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Marx's primary contribution to thinking was the notion of analyzing society using economics.
You seem confused. Anarchists as socialists do not follow from Marx, but rather from the rejection of property championed by Proudhon, who soundly rejected authoritarian socialists like Marx and certainly did not spring from the Marxist tradition, which at the time was all but non-existant. The closest tradition to what Proudhon described as anarchism at the time was Godwin, and if he was a Marxist then so are you. Kev 05:17, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Mostly, I object to systems which are almost unrelievedly tyrannical and oppressive snatching "freedom" and "liberty" to describe and justify what they do to other people. Socialism is about *MANDATORY* collectivization of property.
Then please go back in time and explain that to Benjamin Tucker, who would never have supported the mandatory collectivization of property but did strongly advocate a socialist market system. Better yet, explain that to Kropotkin, who sought to abolish private ownership precisely because it allows no representation to non-owners. In other words, it is mandatory for them to accept its proscriptions, it is enforced upon them with threat and use of violence if they dissent. There is freedom there, sure, for the owner. But to call that social freedom is akin to calling a dictatorship freedom. Kev 05:17, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
That is what makes it socialism. Various other things usually become mandatory in addition. At least in my language, liberty is antithetical to mandatory anything. I think here, the term is applied to favored socialist organizations to mean they are somehow "nice" and not authoritarian.
If that were the case then anarchism would have long since allied itself with authoritarian communism, in fact they would be one and the same. But strangely enough we find ourselves to be bitter enemies in almost all struggles, and marxists and anarchists have fought on the battlefield more than once. Kev 05:17, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
BTW -- capitalism is an artifact of libertarianism, in my view, not the other way round. But others differ. I think we would all be better off here if we *OPENLY* identified our opinions. It is INDISPUTABLE that both Adolf Hitler's political party and Joseph Stalin's described themselves as "socialist". *THAT* is history my condescending friend.
Uh, okies. And Mussolini described fascism as corporate statism (i.e. what the U.S. is today), Mao described authoritarian communism as a republic, and Stalin described a state-capitalist oligarchy as communism. Other than making the point that authoritarians often misrepresent themselves to get more support, I have no idea what you are going on about. Kev 05:17, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
What is laughable is advocates of an inevitably authoritarian system pretending they are not. Socialism is the political equivalent of a loaded gun -- play with it long enough and bad stuff always happens. To freedom. milesgl 16 Nov. 2004
Okies, your POV is noted. It is also not appropriate for wikipedia. But since you have stated your POV, its only polite if I state mine. If we are to consider socialism a loaded gun that will inevitably produce bad results at some point, I suppose the most appropriate analogy would be to consider capitalism a gun that is squarely aimed at the heads of all economically disenfranchised. Of course, both analogies are specious drivel, but that seems to be the level at which you are trying to communicate. Kev 05:17, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"Positive Rights" "Negative Rights"

Michael Badnarik said: "RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES ARE POLAR OPPOSITES. A RIGHT IS SOMETHING THAT I CAN DO WITHOUT ASKING. A PRIVILEGE IS SOMETHING THAT A HIGHER AUTHORITY ALLOWS ME TO DO. IT IS UTTER NONSENSE FOR US TO ACCEPT GOVERNMENT PERMITS IN ORDER TO EXERCISE AN INALIENABLE RIGHT." -[Project Vote Smart][4]

At least with regard to the US Libertarian Party-- Perhaps the argument on the use of the word "rights" in the article could center more toward this quote, since the paragraph in context is suppose to show what "Libertarians believe".

Chuck's unjustified reverts are not a good thing. Reithy 11:41, Nov 2, 2004 (UTC)
It might be usable as a quote, but in the unquoted context, it's pretty troublesome. In the same breath he's saying these rights are unalienable, and complaining about the government alienating them. He says rights are something one can do without asking, yet he's asking people to vote for him so he can ensure you can do them without having to ask. It's even more of a contradiction than what's currently in the article!
It works well as a piece of election rhetoric, but surely someone can find something that better represents the Libertarian argument than that container of logical absurdities. I'm not a Libertarian, but if I was, I'd feel like someone was doing my views a disservice if that went in the article. Shane King 13:36, Nov 4, 2004 (UTC)

I agree. He is one example of a libertarian politician, but not a particularly good libertarian theorist. I should be no more inclined to quote him than, say, George Bush or John Kerry on federalism or democracy, notwithstanding the fact both of them are presumably examples of people who believe in both of these ideas. Besides, as you point out, it is not a well-constructed point icut4u 16:45, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Why has the link to libertarian socialism been deleted from the introduction?

*cough, cough*

Far be it from me to intrude on this nasty little edit war that has locked the page, but someone might want to fix a broken link one of these days. "Revisiting Anarchism and Government by Tibor R. Machan." is no more. http://www.liberalia.com/htm/tm_minarchists_anarchists.htm times out. -- Branden 01:48, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)


I found a wonderful essay on libertarianism, at http://sethf.com/essays/major/libstupid.php and would like to see it added to the external links section. thanks.

Seen it. It's just one more salvo in the perpetual flamewar it purports to deride. It is not particularly informative, nor a well-formed critique; it is a flame. --FOo 02:01, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Sandbox during edit war

From the head of the article:

This article deals with the major usage of the word libertarianism. For the use of the term "libertarianism" in the philosophy of free will see libertarianism (philosophy).

"Libertarian" and "libertarianism" are also used to refer to liberty in a general way. For example, someone arguing for civil liberties may be known as a "civil libertarian", regardless of their exact political allegiances.

add the new line:

"Libertarian" and "libertarianism" are also used to refer to anarchists who oppose private property or who support workers control, particularly outside of North America. This politics is more fully explored at Libertarian socialism.

Which should make the disambig clearer than the later line in the body of the article.

No because that's wrong Chuck F 03:40, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Ok, socialists, point me to an anarchist theorist (restricted to someone who ADVOCATES anarchy as a good) who says no private property? Now I am not talking about socialist thinkers writing *COMMENTARY* on anarchism, but people who primarily identify themselves as "anarchists". I don't think you will find any since centralized control is necessary to abolish private property, and no anarchist I ever heard of wants centralization. Centralization is the root of all evil for most anarchists. For further reading, check out "syndicalism". milesgl 15:05 CST 12 Nov 2004
Advocates anarchism but rejects private property? Gee, um... how about Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Tucker, Goldman, and pretty much all of the anarchist tradition? Contrary to the claims of many people, authoritarian control (central or distributed) is necessary to -sustain- private property, not to abolish it. In the absence of coercive enforcement private property can't exist because it would have nothing to fall back on when dissenters refused to submit. What can exist, and what all of the anarchists I mentioned above advocated in one form or another, is possession, a form of resource distribution distinct from private property entitlement. Kev 08:04, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Just for the record, what is this man writing about? Property or organized Authority? You judge. I personally see no excuses for involuntary collectivism here.
Well, then, who am I, and what is it that prompts me to publish this work at this time? I am an impassioned seeker of the truth, and as bitter an enemy of the vicious fictions used by the established order - an order which has profited from all the religious, metaphysical, political, juridical, economic, and social infamies of all times - to brutalize and enslave the world. I am a fanatical lover of liberty. I consider it the only environment in which human intelligence, dignity, and happiness can thrive and develop. I do not mean that formal liberty which is dispensed, measured out, and regulated by the State; for this is a perennial lie and represents nothing but the privilege of a few, based upon the servitude of the remainder. Nor do I mean that individualist, egoist, base, and fraudulent liberty extolled by the school of Jean Jacques Rousseau and every other school of bourgeois liberalism, which considers the rights of all, represented by the State, as a limit for the rights of each; it always, necessarily, ends up by reducing the rights of individuals to zero. No, I mean the only liberty worthy of the name, the liberty which implies the full development of all the material, intellectual, and moral capacities latent in every one of us; the liberty which knows no other restrictions but those set by the laws of our own nature. Consequently there are, properly speaking, no restrictions, since these laws are not imposed upon us by any legislator from outside, alongside, or above ourselves. These laws are subjective, inherent in ourselves; they constitute the very basis of our being. Instead of seeking to curtail them, we should see in them the real condition and the effective cause of our liberty - that liberty of each man which does not find another man's freedom a boundary but a confirmation and vast extension of his own; liberty through solidarity, in equality. I mean liberty triumphant over brute force and, what has always been the real expression of such force, the principle of authority. I mean liberty which will shatter all the idols in heaven and on earth and will then build a new world of mankind in solidarity, upon the ruins of all the churches and all the states. Mikhail Bakhunin, "The Paris Commune and the Idea of the State", 1871
I stand corrected on property -- there *ARE* anarchists who advocate the forced confiscation of property. For what it is worth, I find that inconsistent with freedom. But I was wrong. I suppose my view was warped by all the heady talk about freedom. No excuse.
Rather, there are anarchists (all anarchists, actually) who advocate struggling against the forced distribution of private property entitlement. True, sometimes force is required to combat oppressive enforcement of things like private property, but as anarcho-capitalists like to say, that is self-defense. Kev 22:16, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

This is the correct disambiguation, NPOV and factually correct the result of consensus building over a long period (the version that has been protected is a vandalised version):

This article deals with the capitalist version of libertarianism as it is principally understood in the United States and often associated with anarcho-capitalism. For a discussion of the meaning of the term libertarian that is traditional in Europe, see libertarian socialism. It is noted that there are many interpretations of the philosophy in different nations.

For the use of the term "libertarianism" in the philosophy of free will see libertarianism (philosophy).

"Libertarian" and "libertarianism" are also used to refer to liberty in a general way. For example, someone arguing for civil liberties may be known as a "civil libertarian", regardless of their exact political allegiances.


Wtf are you talking about, the result of concenus building over a long time was this

"For a discussion of the meaning of the term libertarian that is traditional in Europe, see libertarian socialism."

not your verison... at least don't lie Chuck F 15:49, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Conservativism should be mentioned

Perhaps someone (wiser than me) could write a bit about the relationship between libertarianism and conservativism (or, more rightly, libertarians and conservatives)? It's relevant to the topic, and a complex and interesting issue.

There's a bit on that subject already in the "Libertarianism in the political spectrum" section. I think Hayek's classic article (which is linked) goes a long way to explaining the distinctions of principle between libertarians and conservatives. --FOo 04:22, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Draft for a RfC on the issue

You all are invited to visit and comment on a draft for a RfC on this and related articles that will eventually likely become a poll. Please remember we are not discussing the topic itself, just the suitable neutral number of issues we want to cover. --Improv 17:12, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Archives:

A Response to the Negative Rights Argument

I've never used a Talk page before, so if I'm doing this wrongly, please move my comments to where they should be. This statement caught my eye a little bit down the page:

"To me, this statement is meaningless. You can arbitrarily categorise rights as positive or negative. For example, the positive right to food could be categorised as the negative right not to starve. The negative right not to be robbed could be phrased as the positive right to property ownership."

The negative right not to starve will impede on someone's negative rights not to be taxed or to have property/food seized from them.

-nach0king

You should sign with ~~~~ at the end of your comment. It does this: PhilHibbs 11:05, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Will do in future, thank you. Nach0king 17:51, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Ok, I'm going to fix this thing now

After having been away for a month, I am glad to see that some people have enough sense to point out what was going on. Thank you millerc. The right-wing libertarians can't stand being pointed out for what they are- right-wingers- and so when someone does, they censor that person. It is sad.

Anyways, after watching one of the debates that Michael Badnarik was in with the Green Party's presidential nominee David Cobb, it occured to me that this page is also missing some critical information about right-wing libertarianism. Belief in a non-interventionist foriegn policy, opposition to "state corporatism" (WTO, NAFTA, etc...) and free trade across borders, opposition to the drug war, and the like. It would be interesting to hear a right-wing libertarian explain their views on corporate personhood, though they would probably try to avoid the question by talking about private property instead.

Anyways, this page desperatly needs to be factualized and neutralized and I am going to do it if no one else will.

-Political Nerd

Corporate personhood is largely irrelevant (I guess this is what you were looking for). Good luck improving the article -- your previous edits tended to make it worse. - Nat Krause 03:46, 14 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Keen to assist those neutralizing this article. It is clearly not acceptable to label one form of libertarian thought 'libertarian socialism' and not put a corresponding explanatory label on the US version of libertarianism as being 'right-wing' or 'capitalist'. Lukewilson 23:11, 16 Oct 2004 (UTC)


Reithy why is your logic alwayls so freaking stupid in your attempts to attack Libertarian articles. What you are saying is akin to going to the Virgina article and saying well there is West Virgina so it's cleary not acceptable to not put an east label on Virgina. Right-wing Libertaranism is not a valid term. Libertarianism as it's used today almost nobody thinks of it as libertarian socalist.
I substantively agree with anonymous/Chuck F, although he overstates a little by saying "almost nobody thinks of it as libertarian socialist". This is certainly true with regard to the United States, but if it were generally true, there would be no need for a disambiguation at the top of the page at all. But because there apparently are some people, mostly in other English-speaking countries, who would think of "libertarian socialism" we are happy to have a prominent disambiguatin so everybody winds up looking at the page they are interested in. It's better to avoid "right-wing libertarianism" because it is heavily debated among (Rothbard/Friedman/Nozick/Rand-style) libertarians whether or not they can accurately be called "right-wing" (see [5]) and as for "libertarianism capitalism", I've never in my life heard anyone say that except on Wikipedia. - Nat Krause 06:54, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Did it ever occur to you that might mean you aren't very well versed in political theory? Besides the political compass which clearly lays it out in a systematic and scientific fasion, right-wing libertarianism. http://infoshop.org/faq/secF1.html#secf11 There's some left-wing libertarianism for you, criticizing right-wing libertarianism. Feel free to read other parts of their FAQ if you're interested. Libertarian thought goes back waaaaaaaay before Hayek and von Mises. Proudhon was probably the first libertarian thinker historically, and his most famous saying is "Property if Theft." In fact, I have had some extensive discussions and arguements with some political friends of mine on this matter, since I believe that private property is form of Statism, and so it is inconsistant with libertarian principles. As stated earlier, you can't have "libertarian socialism", and then refuse to call right-wing libertarianism "libertarian capitalism." To do otherwise not only breaks the NPOV, but is an outright lie. -PoliticalNerd
Politicalnerd - why has the source for every single one of your edits been the Poltical compass? I remember about a month ago I made some critcisms about the poltical compass that you never responded to.... A.K.A a large quardant of the scale is impossible to reach.. It seems to be a scale biased created to be anti-Libertarian, based on the other things they write on that page. Simply saying your non-partisan doesn't mean you are... The swift vets for truth say they are non-partisain too, That doesn't mean we can quote them as being fact on subjects.

And the fact that that site has Al Franken under the list of Libertarianism reading materials just boggles my mind. 210.142.29.125

Comment from a libertarian

I am a life-long libertarian. Until a couple of years ago, when I started getting interested in U.S. politics, I had never thought that the extreme liberalism detailed in this article might seriously be called "libertarianism".

The U.S. has a Democratic Party, and "I'm a Democrat" declared by an American voter means allegiance to this party, and yet "Democrat" and "Democracy" have meanings that go beyond the petty politics of one country. The U.S. has a Republican Party, and "I'm a Republican" declared by an American voter means allegiance to this party, and yet "Republican" and "Republic" have meanings that go beyond the petty politics of one country. The U.S. has a Libertarian Party, and "I'm a Libertarian" declared by an American voter means allegiance to this party, and yet "Libertarian" and "Libertarianism" have meanings that go beyond the petty politics of one country.

Why are the conclusions of the first two statements reflected in the contents of articles such as Democracy, Republic, etc. but not in Libertarianism? Why does this article not actually talk about libertarianism?

Could it be that too high a proportion of contributors are ignorant chauvinists from a certain part of the world? That's a rhetorical question. Chameleon 23:19, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)

This article is about libertarianism. You may be interested instead in the United States Libertarian Party article for reference on that subject. Could it be that you have shown up here in an effort to smear other editors by innuendo and suggestion? Don't answer that, it's a rhetorical question. - Nat Krause 15:51, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Negative vs Positive rights doesn't make sense

The page currently says: For libertarians, there are no "positive rights" (such as to food, shelter, or health care), only "negative rights" (such as to not be assaulted, abused or robbed).

To me, this statement is meaningless. You can arbitrarily categorise rights as positive or negative. For example, the positive right to food could be categorised as the negative right not to starve. The negative right not to be robbed could be phrased as the positive right to property ownership.

As such I think that this is a pretty flimsy statement to be using in the first paragraph of the article, as it really tells us absolutely nothing about what Libertarians actually stand for. Shane King 07:38, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)

No, it accurately reflects the incoherent nature of ultra-liberal discourse. It should stay as it is. Chameleon 09:54, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I guess it fits in as NPOV, because it seems that both the supporters and detractors think it's a fair statement. But I'm still troubled by the sheer vapidness of it staring out at me from the first paragraph. I guess I drop my objection though, because fairness has to trump literary value in an encyclopedia. Shane King 11:08, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
Yes. Vapid. This article seems mostly an opinion dump by Liberals (self-styled) and Conservatives (also self-styled). If They want to put in a *BRIEF* critique of libertarianism, that is ok. But these people are writing about folks they neither approve of nor understand. I say "back off".

The first point: libertarianism is about liberty. Pure and simple. Some political POV will tolerate libertarians, and others will not. The central idea is that, taken collectively, ordinary people will choose the best path for themselves over time. Other POV hold that, for one reason or another, someone *ELSE* will be better at making that choice. But for a libertarian, liberty is a personal thing with an ultimately good social byproduct of a free country. Other POV put someone else in charge. If you miss this point, you miss the whole banana.

There is no such thing as a "positive" right. It is called an "entitlement". Socialists of various stripes can go over the particulars of these in extreme detail. There is no difference between a "positive right" and a debt. The society *OWES* you <something> and to not pay it is unjust. Has nothing whatsoever to do with libertarianism. It is the cornerstone of collectivism of various stripes. Your rights are to be defended against bullies of all sorts, even political ones.

The key point again: over time, the common people will make decisions in their own best interest -- if you give them freedom. The closer you can come to pushing vital decisions down to the individual level, the closer you will come to the best possible human political organization. Everything else is deduced from this point. Large social organizations foster tyranny.

milesgl


A general distinction is that a positive right requires that others actively do something (such as providing one with food or health care) while a negative right requires only that others refrain from doing something (such as robbing or assaulting). Thus, any positive right can be considered a right to the time and labor of others, while a negative right has no such aspect.
(That is why some libertarians regard positive rights as "slavery": the holder of such a right ? if it is truly a right ? thereby owns a portion of other people's labor. This means that those others do not own their own labor, and are therefore (fractionally) slaves. I for one think "slavery" is overstating the case.)
== Hear, hear!! Other people have no "rights" over you that you *PERSONALLY* don't give them.
Simply restating a positive right in negative grammar (e.g. as "right not to starve") does not change the fact that such a right would require positive action ? not merely avoidance of action ? on the part of those against whom the right is enforced.
There is an ambiguity around rights that seem to require government enforcement. For instance, is the right not to be robbed the same as a right to have the police come and arrest the guy who robbed you? That is, is the right to private property the same as a right to have the government enforce your ownership of that property? The right not to be robbed is a negative right, but a right to police enforcement would be a claim on the labor of the police, and therefore a positive right.
One resolution to this ambiguity is to note that even in today's society, nobody has an enforceable right to police enforcement. If you call up the cops and say that someone is robbing you, and the cops do nothing, you cannot (e.g.) sue the cops for inaction and collect damages. Therefore, even though we say that your rights are violated by the jerk who robbed you, they are not violated by the cops who didn't stop the robbery. Your right not to be robbed is, then, not a right to have the cops defend you, but rather a right to self-defense: you have the right to beat up the robbers without being charged with assault. ?FOo 12:27, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
But doesn't an alleged criminal have the negative right to _not_ be beaten up by vigilantes? How do you decide whose rights are more important? --style 12:44, 2004 Oct 19 (UTC)
How is the right not to be asaulted enforced, if not through positive rights? Without some form of enforcement, you can not ensure people maintain the right not to be assaulted (as there will always be some people unable to defend themselves against others). So the negative right necessitates the positive right, if you wish to have something that works even in theory, let alone in practice.
I believe similar arguments can be constructed for anything you wish to list: the only way you can ensure rights that don't require time or labour of others is through actions that do require time or labour of others. Unless you wish to go down the path that people only have as many rights as they can claim by force, which is an interesting political philosophy, but I doubt one that would earn me a NPOV sticker if I presented it in an article on libertarianism. ;)
Personally, I find the distinction to be arbitrary hair splitting wrapped up as a philosophical point. However, as both sides of the debate seem to think they're winning, it must be said, it maintains the NPOV policy and so is probably OK to stay. Shane King 15:07, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
Actually, I tend to agree with Shane King: "positive rights" vs. "negative rights" is not very meaningful (and I'm a libertarian, or what Chameleon calls an ultra-liberal). Positive vs. negative rights can be useful sometimes as a rough guide, but it breaks down in the hard cases, at which point the only way to tell one from the other is to decide what is a genuine right and what is not. That is, the positive/negative distinction is not incorrect, it's just a tautology: it restates the basic premises of the relevant system of thought. - Nat Krause 15:23, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I don't like the "positive/negative" terminology (actually, I never heard it before I read this article -- is it in common use?). The Oceanian Constitution makes what may be a more useful distinction, between "rights" and "entitlements". IIRC, rights are something like what are here called negative rights, whereas entitlements are guarantees that can take precedence over rights in conflict. For example, an adult has a right to own property, whereas a child has an entitlement to food, clothing, and shelter. Seems like a reasonable dichotomy to me. --Marnen Laibow-Koser 16:58, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think this discussion has lead to a conflation of two separate things: rights, and the means for enforcing those rights. Both positive and negative rights demand a means for enforcing them which is provided for through taxation. These means are different than and separate from the actual rights themselves, which dictate those conditions the realization of which is the proper purpose of government expenditure. Ubernetizen 23:52, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I'll go down that path. I go down it everyday. People do only have the rights that they, or others for them, can claim by force. This is the most reduced political philosophy, a reduction of all the ideology. Further reduced than anarchism, which still calls for something. There are really no rights that aren't just constructs of the human imagination, just abilities. When you reduce rights to "what can be claimed by force" they are just abilities. Following this logic we could reduce this even further to metaphysical arguments and say that even abilities are just constructs of the mind or of language. However, let's assume, for the sake of keeping the argument in political terms, that there's some physical world that exists beyond semiotic or mental constructs. But no one was about to do that anyway, were they?
With this in mind, I don't see why creating the article for libertarianism is of such difficulty. All you have to say is: libertarianism arbitrarily claims a set of "rights" to be what a government should defend for a people. And then list those rights, or the different set of rights different libertarians hold as their imperative. You could then include extra stuff like "libertarians tend to support democracy," "political parties described as libertarian include United States Libertarian Party," etc. What would the objections to such a setup be? --Whoabot 11:20, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Quoted comment from a libertarian

"There isn't much point arguing about the word "libertarian." It would make about as much sense to argue with an unreconstructed Stalinist about the word "democracy" — recall that they called what they'd constructed "peoples' democracies." The weird offshoot of ultra-right individualist anarchism that is called "libertarian" here happens to amount to advocacy of perhaps the worst kind of imaginable tyranny, namely unaccountable private tyranny. If they want to call that "libertarian," fine; after all, Stalin called his system "democratic." But why bother arguing about it?" — Noam Chomsky

I'm starting to agree with the man. Does it really matter if the ultra-liberals ruin the encyclopaedia? Just as we have to accept that a certain number of articles will be vandalised, a certain number will be hijacked. Chameleon 17:08, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Come on -- Chomsky is hardly neutral, and hardly libertarian. You might as well define libertarianism as a valencia orange. The whole point of an encyclopedia is to permit the curious and ignorant to find out a basic frame of knowledge on a particular topic. The only place for most of the junk here is in a section on hi-jacked political expression. "Libertarianism is not about liberty -- it is about slavery because if you are a libertarian you are slave to ideas other than the True One Shining Path to Glory". Etc, etc etc. Chomsky, and most writers here, advocate the use of FORCE against citizens to make them somehow "better". If that force is politically organized, you have a good working definition of statism/fascism/stalinism/kill-em-before-they-spread-ism. Yes -- this article is infested with trolls and evangelists of various denominations. Is there anyone else here who believes "freedom" is a virtue? Or that the common man can make good decisions?

milesgl Nov 9, '04

So, how many trolls are going to quote Chomsky on this page? This is now the second time someone has posted this quote on this talk page. What does this have to do with Wikipedia? Nothing. Please stop. Rhobite 17:20, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
Whoops! Didn't notice he was quoted above. Goes to show how quotable he is. And please stop whingeing! It's inevitable to get a reaction when you do what has been done to this article. Chameleon 19:57, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I did nothing to this article, but all you are doing is trying to pick a fight. Why not go around taking quotes from Stalin and posting them on Talk:Communism? Rhobite 20:27, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
The Communism article is quite acceptable. No need to make arguments to change anything. Chameleon 21:30, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
While I personally think that Noam Chomsky is an important figure in modern political thought, and I happen to agree with some of his ideas and ideals, it's hard to see how allowing him to define Libertarianism would qualify as NPOV. He's admitted himself that's his ideas have a lot in common with anarchists/libertarian socialists, and if there's one thing that you can say about the relationship with anarchists and libertarians, it's that there is no love lost between them, despite superficially sharing many of the same roots and ideals. So while I think that Chomsky is a good person to quote for a section on "Criticisms of Libertarianism", allowing his views to define it is something akin to using McCarthy's views to define Communism. Shane King 23:51, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
A "libertarian" socialist is an oxymoron. Socialism (which is *ALWAYS* a form of collectivism) is anathema to liberty. It postulates the submission of the individual to the group as a virtue. Anti-libertarian.

milesgl Nov 9, '04


No, defining libertarianism with Chomsky quotations against ultra-liberals is like defining communism with Marx quotations against Stalinists. (McCarthy was anti-Communist; Chomsky is libertarian communist) Chameleon 09:18, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Leaving aside the question of exactly what Chomsky is, one thing is for sure, he isn't Libertarian in the sense that this article uses the word. I'd say he's anti it in the same sense McCarthy is anti-communist. So basically your argument must come down to the word Libertarian being used wrongly in the article. How ironic then that you quote Chomsky saying that there's no point arguing about it!
I previously argued for changing for changing the article. I then thought aloud, using Chomsky's words, musing that perhaps it's not worth the fight. Neither I nor Chomsky thinks that this article should be about ultra-liberalism, but we both seem to be weary of people who insist on mangling the language in this way. Chameleon 12:42, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
With language, does definition follow usage, or usage follow definition? Chomsky, being a linguist may have more idea on this than I do, but my understanding is that they are both valid schools of thought. So I guess whether this is valid depends on which school of thought you belong to. Shane King 13:36, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)
I'm certainly sympathetic to the view that Libertarianism should be a disambiguation page for Libertarian capitalism/socialism, but I find that Chomsky quote the most absurd way possible to achieve it. Far better to point to the NPOV policy that says all sides of the story should get a fair go.
Chomp-ski is *NOT* "libertarian" in any way except to torpedo an explication of "libertarian". Why not have him define Christianity too? And how about the Cordon Bleau? Socialism, in every form I know about (and that is a large number), is antithetical to libertarianism and/or individualism in all its forms. They are at *OPPOSITE* ends of the political spectrum. How much freedom (presumably of choice?) do you have to add to a Stalinist gulag to get "libertarian" socialism? Do you want salt with your boiled grass? Listen -- *INVOLUNTARY* control of people is *ANTI*-libertarian.

milesgl Nov 9, '04

As a side note, I'm rather disturbed that Chomsky seems to be achieving the kind of status on the left of this issue that Rand already commands on the right. For a philosophy that supposedly exhaults the individual, there appears to be almost a Monty Python-esque "We are all individuals" chorus going on. Shane King 10:17, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)
It is possible to quote another's writings without being a groupie, you know. Wikipedia quotes lots of people, and it's officially NPOV. Chameleon 12:42, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
There's a deference between quoting someone in an article, and using a quote to define the topic of an article, in my opinion. One is neutral, the other is not. Shane King 13:36, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)
Noam Chomsky is a linguists professor. His thoughts on politics are about as valuable as a garbage collector's suggestions on brain surgery.
While I may not agree with Professor Chomsky on a number of subjects, the fact that he can argue his ideas cogently and intelligently make them worth looking at. I would recommend that you have a good look at, for example, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies before mouthing off. Be aware, however, that it contains a number of words with more than one syllable, sorry, bit.Sjc 09:09, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The positive/negative formulation of rights is often unclear, but the distinction between certain kinds of rights remains useful and is not merely semantic. Philosophers and libertarians who emphasize negative rights are really positing an individual's "right" to be left alone and to exercise his liberty without interference from others (e.g., free speech), as opposed to a "duty" to promote someone else's welfare (e.g., healthcare), or the latter's corresponding "right" to receive it. Within this formulation there are those who argue these first-order rights are natural, and others who argue that they are prescriptive. Libertarians are not the only ones who emphasize negative rights or the right to liberty, though; for example, John Rawls, who is no libertarian (a la Robert Nozick), also gives liberty...the right to be left alone... precedence in his Theory of Justice. However one characterizes them, and whether or not one believes they have merit (which, after all, is not at issue in an encyclopedia), these alleged rights are central to libertarian and many modern liberal theories (see, for example, Isaiah Berlin).icut4u

Try reading the word "right" from a dictionary. There is no such thing as a "positive" right -- who dreamed that up anyway?? Citations?? This sounds like the worst amateur political drivel. If you advocate individual liberty as a political good, you are a "libertarian". Period. We are a very diverse (and disorganized) group. And are proud of it.

milesgl Nov 9, '04

Moved???

Although I personally can see advantages in moving the article (for example, it seems fairer that Libertarianism doesn't get owned by the right wing side if Anarchism doesn't get owned by the left and is instead shared), I think it was a bit much to just up and move a contentious article like this without discussion. I know you're supposed to assume good intent, but it almost seems an invitation to a flame war, which is hardly a good thing ... Shane King 00:36, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)


Capitalism is not the central feature of several important libertarian theories. For example, Friedman's economic libertarianism is largely utilitiarian and not rights based (which is not to say he ignores them). The theories of Nozick, Hospers, and Rand (she would not call herself a libertarian...but many of her followers do) are based on property rights, though each has a different twist. Nozick, for example, believes in historical entitlement, which is to say, if someone acquires property without having violated any moral principles, it is wrong to take it from him (he goes into some detail on Locke's proviso of there being enough available). Rand says property is a rational requirement for one to "implement" his life. Both would say that it would not matter if capitalism were effective or ineffective (e.g, if a state-run economy could be shown to distribute greater good to a greater number) ....for these moral principles would override any alternative. In other words, libertarianism to some is seen as a moral position, not an economic one. It is incorrect to characterize all libertarian theories as being equivalent to market capitalism. The new title of this article is therefore misleading. Capitalism is an economic theory (or description); libertarianism is something different, notwithstanding the fact capitalism is compatible with it.
For what it's worth, I also think the "right-wing" appellation, implying a kind of conservatism, is equally incorrect, and that it is intended to have a perjorative meaning rather than a descriptive one. The libertarians I have read believe in such things as complete decriminalization of drugs, legalized prostitution, gay marriage/homosexual rights, a completely secular society, science over faith, a minimal police force and military...hardly the kind of freedoms conservatives promote. There are quasi-libertarian ideas that attract conservatives, to be sure, primarily on economic grounds. But most libertarian theorists in philosphical circles are far more focused on maintaining what they suppose to be an individual's most fundamental right, namely, the right to be left alone by others.
Aside from this, I do not know of any well-known libertarian theorists who would characterize themselves as right wingers, whereas all of the conservatives I know would gladly accept this, just as all of the socialists I have known would have called themselves left wingers. Why do we need to entitle a theory something that its principal theorists would disavow? Some might believe communism is evil, but we should not therefore title the communism page "evil communism." I do not mean to imply evil is synonymous with right wing, but, given some of the comments, I think those who are using it might well think this is the case. Indeed, I believe that those who are calling this article right-wing libertarainism are not really trying to describe the theory at all, but to express their displeasure with it at differentiate it from what they believe to be the correct, pure kind of libertarianism, in this case, the socialist or Chomskian versions. In any case, I submit that it is also a mistake to call all of the ideas represented on this page right-wing libertarianism or capitalist libertarianism. It seems to me that libertarianism will do, and then the several types of libertarainsm can be mentioned therein. Pardon the prolix nature of this. icut4u
Yes, libertarianism does not fit neatly into the conventional left-right model of all political thought. There are people here who try to force it into such a model, but they are not libertarians and are not open-minded enough to deal with the existance of such a school of thought. So they fight about which end to plop it down on. If you think in terms of "left" and "right" you cannot understand what libertarianism is about. A closer dichotomy would be collective <=> individual, or State <=> citizen. All socialism except Anarchism is a form of forced collectivism. The suppression of the individual. It is antithetical to libertarianism. I think part of the problem is that too many ideologies want to claim "freedom" as their own -- even if they see individual freedom as a primary source of evil.

milesgl nov. 10 2004


There are two broad schools of libertarianism which the re-titling addresses. Libertarian socialism and libertarian capitalism. The socialist had their own page and now the capitalists do. This is an important way of ensuring neutrality. I accept they are not perfect titles although when I looked at merging the pages that seemed an inadequate solution as well.
There is certainly nothing implicit in a socialist or capitalist tag that is pejorative and I reject that characterization. Capitalism or captitalist is no insult these days with the entire world embracing its central tenets: private property, market mechanism, rule of law, etc. Even PRC is doing this in its own albeit flawed way.
With the left and right tag again, it is simple: tag one "left" then you must tag the other "right". I certainly do not regard either as an insult. They are flawed tags in some respects but do help explain political positions simply, perhaps too much so.
As for ShaneKing's point, he is quite right, I thought I had posted an explanation here before-hand but it doesn't seem to have come up. I think the change is an important and worthwhile one and commend it to you. Ã?"ã?¿ç®± 03:59, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
What's his name here uses the fact that there is libertarian socialism and liberarian capitalism, for his reason for redirecting 'libertarianism', but if that was the goal, why did he not make 'libertarianism' a disambiguation? Instead, he re-directs to just one of the libertarianism articles (namely, 'libertarian capitalism'). I don't see how this is intellectualy sound. Marteau 04:30, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I agree. Further, I did not say calling libertariansm(s) capitalist libertarianism is a perjorative, it is simply misleading, for capitalism is not the central feature of several of the most prominent libertarian theories. I think right wing is at once misleading (libertarianism is not conservative) and, in this context, I believe it has been used as a perjoritive. Moreover, there is no kind of political law of the excluded middle that requires a right to every left, and I certainly do not believe right wing describes libertarianism. This description focuses on one element, namely, the economic one... but there are many other aspects, and, again, notwithstanding some of the comments here, economics is not the central principle to most libertarian theories. Go out and ask any conservative you know if he believes we should legalize drugs, downsize the military and police, and allow gays to marry, get religion out of the government and schools, and you will see what I mean. An article simply entitled libertarianism with a description of each of the attendant theories would be better, without a semantically "loaded" modifier. I'll be quiet now. icut4u
I hate the left and right wing labels as much as anyone, I think they're stupidly limiting. Of course the entirity of political and philosophical thought can't be represented on a single straight line!
However, I can't argue that they're not often used terms which are used pervasively on the wikipedia. Therefore, I think that we must adress where Libertarianism stands in relation to these terms. To me, if you have to choose, Libertarianism is clearly right wing economically (if we accept right wing is capitalist, and left wing socialist). Socially, I agree, Libertarianist thought of all kinds is left wing. However, in my experience, the economic side of Libertarianism is by far the most emphasised part of it. Just look at the article here, and I think you'll see a lot more about economic than social issues. Therefore, given the conflicting choices, I'd have to call it right wing.
All that is secondary to the name change though, which does not mention right or left wing, so I'm not even sure why you've brought it up. Am I missing a greater point here? Shane King 04:53, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)
On the R/L controversy, long before the move, at least two others have captioned the article "right wing libertarianism." Libertarianism as described by its best known proponents is not right wing or left wing, at least to the extent one implies conservatism at (which it does) and the other implies socialism (which it does). The meanings of these terms are simply not useful in describing libertarianism.
The economic focus of the article that you point out is a deficiency. Again, a number of the most prominent libertarian theoriests...Nozick, Hospers, (Rand...using advisedly) , and others...do not center their ideas on capitalism or economic principles, but on moral considerations. This is a critically important distinction. There is no prevailing doctrine that I know of called "Market libertarianism" or "Capitalist libertarianism" or "Right-wing libertarianism." These modifications are all being used to make a point and ignore the common understanding and description of the theory. That there are various strains of libertarianism is undeniable, but they ought to be delineated in the article. If adherents of a doctrine other than the commonly understood one want to use the same name (who used it first is unimportant; common usage is central), reference can be made to that fact in the article (as it does) icut4u

The move was nonsense, the user who moved it is vandalizing Wikipedia, and I've moved it back. Rhobite 05:10, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)

I agree. Good. icut4u

A suggestion

Since it looks like we can't reach consensus, perhaps we should make the "libertarianism" page a disambig page, pointing to the various articles that can reasonably lay claim to that name, such as the U.S. political movement, the European political movement, and the philosophical concept.-- The Anome 13:38, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I think only a policy change will achieve that. Chameleon 14:34, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think that's a fine idea. The fact of the matter is, the word has different meanings, depending on place, time and context. A 'policy change' is not required; the fact of the matter is, 'policy' would dictate that 'Libertarianism' be a disambig page. Sure, when most people think 'Libertarian' it would be so-called 'Libertarian Capitalism' but that understanding is not so overwhelming that it eclipses all other meanings. Marteau 16:00, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
yes, that's why we've disambiged at the top of the page... The understanding is so overwhealimg that it eclipses disambig... most of the people here advocating the other side seem to be anti-libertarian based on thier past edits.
Well, I'm certainly not 'anti-libertarian' (in fact, I'm registered in Colorado, where you have to write it in on the voter registration) but then again my objectivity and ability to go NPOV is truly admirable and rare in realms such as this (it is, after all, my modesty that makes me so great ;) Marteau 20:05, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Even assuming you are correct and that the people who want the page moved are anti-libertarian, why does that matter? Surely arguments are what matters, not the people making the argument. Shane King 23:28, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure about this. There are plenty of words in English for which there are similar words, but with different meanings, in French or other languages. This page is about the idea which in English is called by the name "libertarianism".

If that is the real source of tension here ? that the French word that looks like the English "libertarianism" is best translated to English as "anarcho-socialism" ? then I do not think a disambiguation page is suitable on the English Wikipedia. Nor would one be appropriate on the French Wikipedia; the French page for libertarianisme or whatever should describe what we in English call anarcho-socialism, if that is what French speakers mean by it.

What does the word "libertarianism" mean to a (neutral) British speaker ? or an Australian, Canadian, or NZ? If it means what it means to an American speaker, then it is the appropriate title of an English Wikipedia page. If, on the other hand, the American use of the term is in fact regional, then this page should be retitled. However, that title should be "Libertarianism (U.S.)" or some such. It should not be "Libertarian capitalism", "Capitalist libertarianism" or any other such Marxoid neologism. ?FOo 22:49, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Libertarianism"

Just so, FOo. icut4u
Huh? Marxoid neologism? When you're trying to distinguish from something that's being called "Libertarian socialism", and the primary difference is that this is capitalist rather than socialist, how on Earth does "Libertarianism (U.S.)" make more sense than "Libertarian capitalism"?
First, because nobody describes themselves as a "libertarian capitalist". People who have the view described here call themselves "libertarians", and this term has been understood by people of other views to refer to this belief and this group. We do not choose the names of Wikipedia articles arbitrarily, even when they are retitled for disambiguation. We choose them with respect for usage. The term "libertarian capitalist" is a neologism; it is not a natural usage.
Be that as it may, I was under the impression that the NPOV policy trumped any asthetic concerns such as this. Maybe my understanding is incomplete/incorrect? Shane King 06:27, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)
(As a note: The phrase "libertarian socialist" has over ten times as many Google hits as "libertarian capitalist". In contrast, "socialist" has about twice as many as "libertarian", and "anarchist" half as many ? and these latter three terms have many hundreds of times more hits than the former two. The latter three terms are, I propose, much better understood than the former two.)
I find it myopic to suggest that google hit counts are the final arbiter of human knowledge. Comparing hit counts can be an interesting hobby, but I don't think they really tell us much. Shane King 06:27, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)
Second, because the use of the term "capitalist" here is misleading. It appears to explain libertarianism as a kind of "capitalism", in the sense that libertarian socialism is a kind of socialism; or else to reduce libertarianism to capitalism. I consider the latter view to be related to Marx because it was Marx who argued that ideology derives from economic standing. (I wrote "Marxoid" partly humorously, and partly to avoid writing "Marxist" and thus implying that any particular person here was a "vulgar Marxist". A more sensible word would have been "Marxian" perhaps.)
Most libertarians seem to believe that their views on economics (or their economic class) are not the source of their views on other issues; rather, their economic and other views both derive from overarching principles. Thus, the title "Libertarian capitalism" itself presents a bias towards a Marxian view of economics, politics, and ideology, and away from the way that libertarians describe their own views. This is not simply an NPOV matter, but also an accuracy matter, since it implies something false about the views which the article is describing. ?FOo 03:49, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC) (Continued below)
What Libertarians believe their ideology is about is not important to me. For the same reason I argued against using a Chomsky quote to define Libertarianism, I argue that using what Libertarians think is equally dangerous ground. To do otherwise is to throw away all hope of neutrality. Shane King 06:27, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)
My argument for movement is not linguistic but one of fairness (ie maintaining neutrality). What I think of anarchism is pushed to anarcho-socialism on this wiki, and equal time is given to the anarcho-capitalists on the anarchism page, despite the fact that they are certainly in the minority in using the term that way. I see no reason why the same should not be done for libertarianism. Who cares if most people (assuming it is true) think of Libertarianism as being of the capitalist variety, the fact that even a small minority of people think otherwise suggests that it should not be able to lay sole claim to the page. Or at least it should if we're being fair and applying the same standards that were applied to the anarchism page. Shane King 23:28, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)
Another *KEY* concept of libertarianism -- and note that it *IS* an "-ism" and actually has adherents -- is freedom of association. This means that any individual has the freedom to be a part of a group he chooses and which will accept him. But it also means that either party can DISassociate too. This makes all forms of socialism not applicable. Anarchism is a close cousin, and it is doubtful that it is "left" in any meaningful sense. The use of force to form and enforce social groupings is anathema to libertarians. Who cares what ideologues of other stripes have to say about us?? Let them stick to describing themselves. If French thinkers believe the use of force to form and maintain associations is acceptable anarchism, they are nuts. Read Bukharin. In my view anarchsm is a more extreme version of libertarianism, and far, far, far from the shackles of all forms of "socialism". Coating organized coercion with chocolate FREEDOM is purely cosmetic, whether the coercers view their organizations as "capitalist" or "communist".


It is my understanding (which may be mistaken) that many libertarian socialists and anarcho-socialists object to the common use in English of the term libertarian to refer to non-socialist minarchists and anarchists. While I understand that the term in French and other languages has a different meaning, I think we should title English articles based on the most common uses in English. The purpose of disambiguation titles is to disambiguate for the arbitrary reader, when common usage is unclear. It is not to promote changes in common usage.
This is why, if there is in fact a linguistic difference among dialects of English as to whether "libertarianism" commonly refers to the socialist or the non-socialist position, then I think there should be disambiguation based on dialect. However, if the difference is that some people wish that common usage were other than it is (for instance, they may wish that libertarianism were called "big-green-cow-ism") then there is no sensible reason to appease that desire. That is not fairness; it is sacrificing an accurate representation of usage for what someone wishes usage were. ?FOo 03:49, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I can't speak for what other people's objections may be. I don't object to libertarians using the title libertarian. I do object to them claiming sole ownership of it when there seems to be a case for its ownership being shared.
Outside of the wikipedia context, I'd probably agree with you, and say the current usage is correct. However, I feel the precedent has been set with the anarchism page, and that in the interests of balance, there are really only two choices: a) give anarchism to the majority anti-capitalist meaning, and libertarianism to the majority pro-capitalism meaning; or b) accept the claim of the minority usage in both cases and allow both pages to be shared. I feel that the major fault in your argument here is that you are looking at this page in isolation. Shane King 06:27, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)
I don't think it's a good idea to take the anarchism page as a precedent for this one. For one thing, if something is wrong with one page, we want to make sure not to duplicate the mistake on another. For another, I don't think that anyone (well, hardly anyone) is happy with the current state of anarchism. The article as it stands is in fact mostly about socialist anarchism, and then it also contains sections comparing and contrasting that with anarcho-capitalism. The result is something of a mess. As I have said on talk:anarchism a couple times, I think it would be preferable to arrange that page the same way libertarianism is: with a disambiguation at the top for anarcho-capitalism and then the rest of the text all about one thing. Because the situations, though similar, are not quite the same I do think it would be a little better to use a different arrangement for anarchism, but the disamiguate-at-the-top format would be quite acceptable there, and I think that's what's warranted for the libertarianism page. - Nat Krause 10:00, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I respect what you are trying to do, Shane, and I do think you're being earnest. However, I am not sure what the relevance of fairness qua equal time is from an editorial perspective. I do not think, for example, the subject of communism needs requires articles on, say, Israeli communism, Marxist communism, and everyone's version of it. I suspect if one were to go to any widely-recognized encyclopedia in the English speaking world, you will find one entry for libertarianism and no entries for capitalist libertarianism, market libertarianism, or, dare I say, socialist libertarianism (as opposed to socialism). To the extent there are several species of it, the artilce should make reference to them. Anyway, that's my view, and I think that FOo and others might be making a similar point. icut4u

Fair enough, I respect that point of view. I just think that it can become unwieldly, as there's already enough he-said/she-said in an article on a single topic, let alone an article on multiple topics (witness the anarchism article). Shane King 01:00, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)

I agree with Nat Krause. A Wikipedia article should be about one thing. The prevailing meaning of "anarchism" as far as I have seen it used is anarcho-socialism or anti-capitalist anarchism. If that is the case throughout English, then the article should be about anarcho-socialism, with a disambiguation note at the top to anarcho-capitalism. However, unlike the term "anarcho-capitalism", the term "libertarian capitalism" is not widely used (while Google searches are not a perfect measure, they are a pretty darned good one) and so does not form a useful title for an article.

I must respond to one more of Shane King's points. He asks whether "aesthetic concerns" trump Wikipedia's NPOV policy. I do not think they would. However, accuracy concerns are not merely aesthetic concerns. Neutrality means that we should strive to represent the world as it is, rather than as we may wish it to be.

It is not Wikipedia's job to tell English-speakers that they should use the word "libertarian" to mean something else than what they presently (by and large) use it to mean. The word does have a specific predominant usage (both by libertarians and non-libertarians); and it is a misuse of Wikipedia to choose article titles in an effort to promote the point of view that this predominant usage should be changed. ?FOo 22:49, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I agree with you. I guess my initial arguments for change here are taking the situation with anarchism as a given (since when I was last giving editing wikipedia a go, there seemed to be a resistance to change over there). Perhaps I'm talking on the wrong page! Here, I was just trying to respect precident, as much like with law, when stuck with tricky questions, precident is often the only tool available to make difficult decisions. I guess unlike with law, precident is much less binding here, as we can "re-open the case" whenever we like.
As far as representing how the world is rather than how we would like it to be: if only we could be so objective. However, if you ask a Christian, he'll tell you God exists. If you ask an atheist, he'll tell you God does not exist. Which one is how the world is? How do we decide? The truth is with wikipedia we usually hedge our bets and don't talk about how the world is, we rather talk about how different groups would like it to be. The same with this subject: Libertarianism is not implemented anywhere that I'm aware of. This subject is all about a theory that disucsses how some people would like the world to be, not how it (currently) is. If we were to stick to strictly talking about how it is, the article would probably be "Libertarianism is a theory that has never been tested anywhere", since that's about the only statement that can be made without jumping into speculation, for and against, as to what would happen in a Libertarian society.
Please don't take that as a slur: I think most political and philosophical theories fall into that category! Shane King 23:51, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)

Accounts

I have noticed that most of the recent edits seem to be made by anonymous people without accounts on Wikipedia. I would like to urge people to create accounts and therefore properly identify themselves if participating in any controversy or frequent editing. Chameleon 13:25, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Libertarianism (US) v Libertarianism (EUR)

There is such ambiguity here that it seems totally inappropriate for one version of libertarianism to occupy one page and another to be classified differently. For neutrality's sake, I think a disambiguation page is necessary here. ReithySockPuppet 21:06, 22 Oct 2004 (UTC)

There is little ambiguity: the term is rarely, if ever, used in Europe, so one term is clearly vastly more common. Similar heuristics result in the redirection of Paris to Paris, France rather than Paris, Texas. --Delirium 17:14, Oct 23, 2004 (UTC)

Libertarian Capitalism

Contrary to what the most recent revision states, none of the major libertarian theorist of the English-speaking variety (Hospers, Nozick, Hayek, Mises, etc.) uses the descriptor "libertarian capitalism." It is false to say that this is the common understanding or usage among libertarians. For what seems like the 100th time, not all libertarian theorists base their views on economic grounds. Indeed, the principal libertarian theorists of the last fifty years, other than Friedman (Mises and Hayek wrote their seminal works prior to fifty years ago), base their views on moral grounds....stating that it is morally wrong to take someone's fairly acquired property, notwithstanding someone else's end-state theory. One can argue all day long as to whether or not this is the correct view, but this is what they, the libertarians, believe.

Libertarians believe people ought to be left alone as much as possible. That is the essence of negative rights, which was mischaracterized in several previous posts. This position is not a mere linguistic trick. The fact that this allows for free exchange (or relatively free, for few libertarians believe in absolute property rights), disposing of one's property as one sees fit, is what makes the theory compatible with capitalist acts. The latter does not justify the former. It is simply wrong to make out libertarianism to be primarily or solely an economic position. Many libertarain theorists in the English-speaking world believe that it is primarily a matter of moral rights, notwithstanding the economic consequences.

I do not understand why those who find the libertarian position to be disagreeable cannot nevertheless allow it to be defined as its principal proponents would describe it, as opposed to introducing new usage in order to make sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle editorial points about their position. That belongs in a critical analysis, not in an objective exposition of the position. I fear that this subject arouses too many passions to ever be accurately described, for long, in this kind of a forum icut4u

Capitalism is an economic societal system, like communism or socialism. Libertarianism is a political system, like fascism, oligarchy, or democracy. I don't know why you all (and the rest of the world, for that matter) make it more difficult than it is.
It also contrasts it nicely with Libertarian Socialism, aka Anarchism. Libertarian really just refers to the social policy (on the Libertarian/Authoritarian scale), not the economic scale. See [6] Of course, it doesn't really change the fact that Libertarianism is usually used in referring to Libertarian Capitalism. - Tezkah

A new page for your consideration

I think the current libertarianism article is frought with difficulty. For one thing, it is about anti-libertariansim as much as it is about libertariainsm. For another, there is considerable redundancy, some of which is avoidable. And, it does not explicate several important issues critical to libertarian thought. It is obviously controversial, so I thought a new attempt with several qualifications in defining libertarian philosophy might be in order. I tried to capture all of the important links and major ideas, but did not include the Nolan Chart, though I addressed it, and I certainly would not object to its inclusion. In any event, I offer it for your consideration, improvement (which it certainly needs), and rejection/deletion. The new article is entitled Libertarian theory. I have no objection if most of those who frequent this page simply want to can it, and I won't try to preserve it. icut4u 00:34, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Non-US libertarians (of the non-socialist sort)

User:172.190.144.30 is now reverting the page under the edit summary "the libertarianism described in this article is found in America only and that should be noted" (sic). This seems to be remarkably, amazingly false, as evidenced by parties calling themselves "Libertarian" or a cognate in (at least) Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Portugal. [7]

Perhaps the Libertarian Party of Ontario doesn't like being called American. And the Libertarian International Organization seems to have lots of links to non-US libertarian movements under that very name. The International Society for Individual Liberty says even them French dudes got libertarians ? and they don't mean libertarian socialists here at least. ?FOo 05:26, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Good points raised here, I have been very uncomfortable though with the labelling of one form of libertarianism as socialism and the other (of a capitalist persuasion) as libertarianism. The lack of good faith here negates someone having a genuine belief about this without being presumed as biased. I am not a libertarian at all, and am neither socialist nor capitalist in absolute terms. It just seemed even-handed and encyclopedic to label both equally. I believe the solution is a disambiguation page where libertarianism is currently. Reithy 08:08, Nov 3, 2004 (UTC)

As I said in the edit sumarries: Paris is not a disambig page, Because of how much more Paris, France is in that term then Paris, Texas.

Libertarniasm socalism is a qualifer on top of Libertarianism. Libertarianism is the default term meaning what the page says it means, Liberarian socalism is a different thing compleatly, and is a qualifer on top it, Much like geoliberatism . NOBODY uses libertarian capatalism besides the 600 pages on google that are opponets of libertarianism.

Actually, I think the article as it stands is pretty misleading in the sense that you would not be directly aware that there are other forms of libertarianism if you read it. I appreciate that there are many libertarians, particularly those located in America, on Wikipedia, but this is no excuse to bias ownership of the term when it may have wildly different definitions in other countries. I think for this reason alone this page should become a disambiguiation page pointing to other uses of the term. That said, I agree that "captalist" libertarian is a pretty biased term. Perhaps "free market" libertarian would be more appropriate? --Axon 10:56, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Look! neither of these terms exist... I don't understand where this movement in wikipedia is coming from, that thinks we should go and make up words, just to make the English language more "fair". 600 googles for Libertarain Capatalism, about the same about for market libertarniasm. Whereas Libertarian Socalism has 11,000. It's obvious here That the word as it's defined means what it means, What is your people's problem? stop trying to 1984 words. Chuck F 12:33, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand your stance on this: are you for the exclusively "free market" definition of libertarian or are you calling for a more open definition? Please calm down and explain your arguments. --Axon 12:46, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I'm for the exclusive free market definition. Libertariasm as the base defininaton right now means The free market definition. Libertarian socalism(it's libertariansm with a qualifer on top) is a different word, therefore has a different definitation and is why people use that.

In that case I think that one could throw the accusation 1984'ing the term libertarian back at you: why should you "own" the definition of libertarian? Let's not descend into petty accusations of censorship and stick with discussing whether or not it is NPOV to have a disambiguation page here.
On the qualifiers: I am assuming that the reason we have a "socialist libertarian" page is because the "free market libertarian" definition is already occupying the "libertarian" page: one assumes that socialist libertarians refer to themselves as libertarians.
Regardless, if other people in other countries use libertarian differently then surely there is, for reasons of neutrality, no reason not to give them equal footing in this encyclopaedia. The fact that there are more "capitalist" libertarians on the Internet should not matter - if substantial numbers of both parties exist then should they not be given equal precedence here? --Axon 14:20, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The guy just posted above all the liberatian parties in different countries... THe only way you can find people that use the term differntly is people in countries that USE A DIFFERENT TERM, but they like it translated as libertarian. Come on. Calling it capatalist Libertarian is just ridiclous, Nobody use that term, Google seriously has as many results for commie democract as they do for capatalist libertarian, that doesn't mean we are redirecting democracy to commie democract or something similar to that Chuck F 14:20, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

No-one is denying that "capitalist" libertarians exist in other countries (although I think there is an argument that this form is more commonly found in America) but this fact does not exclude the possibility that other groups may refer to themselves as libertarians yet may not be "free market" libertarians.
On the fact that no-one refers to themselves as capitalist libertarians: one might counter that no-one refers to socialists libertarianism as such. It is not really an argument against the proposed disambiguation page since there is no reason why socialist libertarians should be descriminated against. Similarly, a more neutral term for "free market" libertarianism may be found that we can all agree upon if "capilitalist" libertarian is not satisfactory.
On translation of libertarianism: what proof can you offer that the translation from French is incorrect? Also, Wikipedia is not in the business of proscribing how people translate words from their language into english - if a substantial number of individuals refer to themselves as libertarians we should respect this.
In fact, if one assumes that "libertarian" descends from "liberty" which is, I believe, itself originally a French word (it's part of their national motto isn't it?) then surely they have "prior art" (ahem) on the term and perhaps even a better claim? Also, I believe that libertarian shares much in commong with "liberal" - I think both descend from "liberty". I think liberals may also be allowed to call themselves libertarians, or may have done so at some prior point in time.
In fact the most common definition of "libertarian" I can find is "someone who believes the doctrine of free will" which makes no mention of free markets or economics and seems to cover a wide range.
Finally, this discussion is about libertarianism, not democracy. A dismabiguation page might also be required for democracy if sufficient arguments are given for it but this is probably not the place to discuss this. --Axon 14:57, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)
okay, then talking about Libertarianism. We aren't being unfair to Libertarian Socalism, they call themselves libertarian socalists!, they don't call themselves libertarians. and you know what I'm going out right now and saying these are out-right lies people have been posting... The term is not used differently outside of english speaking words, this is simply people that are anti-lp spinning facts. They use the English term "libertarniasm" to mean LIBERTARIANISM not socalist libertanism everywhere around the world Chuck F 15:18, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I think accusations of lying should be backed up with evidence in this case, otherwise they remain just that - accusations. For example, a quick look on the Internet demonstrates that the term libertarian has indeed been used in a variety of different ways prior and subsequent to it's adoption by the American libertarian movement.
What evidence is there that social libertarians in all countries solely refer to themselves as such? Regardless, they still all use the term libertarian so, by your own admission, it is not the soul domain of the "free market" libertarian movement. Would it not seem very POV to be greeted with the "free market" definition of libertarian when you first arrive at Wikipedia.
I would also be interested in your responses to some of my other points rather than just cherry-picking those you would prefer to answer. --Axon 15:47, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Okay, so you are saying that it's also pov to be greeted with Paris France instead of Paris Texas? And my own admisson was they use the term libertarian in connection with socalism. They do not use the term alone.
The obvious difference between Paris, France and Paris, Texas and our own discussion here is that one is not causing a huge edit war and the other is. Feelings are running high on this issue so some sort of compromise for the purposes of NPOV seems required.
My point, which you have ignored, was that both parties use the term "libertarian" and therefore neither group can claim exclusive use of it.
And, again, you are simply responding to some of those points I mention but ignoring some of the others I've discussed. Are you interested in discussing this or simply asserting you own POV over and over until the whole world nods in agreement? --Axon 16:21, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Ok -- since a bunch of socialists of various flavors are here defining libertarianism (which none of them like), how about letting me redefine the socialist page? How about making "socialism" primarily of the National Socialist Worker's Party (i.e. "nazi") variety? There were millions of them, all calling themselves socialists. And then Joseph Stalin ran a State which called itself "socialist". The two, with well over 100 million people in them, ran concentration camps where human beings were intentionally exterminated. So socialism, as frequently used in Europe, implies large, barbed wire enclosed prisons for those determined by the State to be undesirable with a goal of extermination by the State. How's that for a definition of your beloved "socialism"??? It has far more accuracy, and historical justification, than the tripe on libertarianism. Should we let the anti-democrats define democracy? This is downright silly. Anti-libertarian definitions / descriptions of libertarianism can be displayed in a section with a caveat about what libertarians think of them. --milesgl 15:00 CST (USA) 12 Nov 2004
I hate to burst your bubble Milesgl, but libertarianism was used by socialists to refer to themselves long before capitalists caught on to the idea. Many socialists really -do- like libertarianism, and find it rather sad/laughable that the philosophy of social freedom has been co-opted by folks peddling private tyranny as the ultimate form of free social organization. Its one thing for capitalists to claim to be libertarians, that is crazy enough, but for them to claim that socialists cannot legitimately label themselves libertarians is just ridiculous and reveals a very poor grasp of history. Kev 08:11, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Well that is wishful thinking. Do you know which century Karl Marx lived and wrote in? The 19th. The focus on Liberty is 18th century.
How does this have anything to do with the point that socialists used the term libertarian to refer to themselves long before capitalists? Capitalism as an economic theory did not even exist in the 18th century, unless you wanna try to conflate capitalism with mercantilism ;) Kev 05:17, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Marx's primary contribution to thinking was the notion of analyzing society using economics.
You seem confused. Anarchists as socialists do not follow from Marx, but rather from the rejection of property championed by Proudhon, who soundly rejected authoritarian socialists like Marx and certainly did not spring from the Marxist tradition, which at the time was all but non-existant. The closest tradition to what Proudhon described as anarchism at the time was Godwin, and if he was a Marxist then so are you. Kev 05:17, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Mostly, I object to systems which are almost unrelievedly tyrannical and oppressive snatching "freedom" and "liberty" to describe and justify what they do to other people. Socialism is about *MANDATORY* collectivization of property.
Then please go back in time and explain that to Benjamin Tucker, who would never have supported the mandatory collectivization of property but did strongly advocate a socialist market system. Better yet, explain that to Kropotkin, who sought to abolish private ownership precisely because it allows no representation to non-owners. In other words, it is mandatory for them to accept its proscriptions, it is enforced upon them with threat and use of violence if they dissent. There is freedom there, sure, for the owner. But to call that social freedom is akin to calling a dictatorship freedom. Kev 05:17, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
That is what makes it socialism. Various other things usually become mandatory in addition. At least in my language, liberty is antithetical to mandatory anything. I think here, the term is applied to favored socialist organizations to mean they are somehow "nice" and not authoritarian.
If that were the case then anarchism would have long since allied itself with authoritarian communism, in fact they would be one and the same. But strangely enough we find ourselves to be bitter enemies in almost all struggles, and marxists and anarchists have fought on the battlefield more than once. Kev 05:17, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
BTW -- capitalism is an artifact of libertarianism, in my view, not the other way round. But others differ. I think we would all be better off here if we *OPENLY* identified our opinions. It is INDISPUTABLE that both Adolf Hitler's political party and Joseph Stalin's described themselves as "socialist". *THAT* is history my condescending friend.
Uh, okies. And Mussolini described fascism as corporate statism (i.e. what the U.S. is today), Mao described authoritarian communism as a republic, and Stalin described a state-capitalist oligarchy as communism. Other than making the point that authoritarians often misrepresent themselves to get more support, I have no idea what you are going on about. Kev 05:17, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
What is laughable is advocates of an inevitably authoritarian system pretending they are not. Socialism is the political equivalent of a loaded gun -- play with it long enough and bad stuff always happens. To freedom. milesgl 16 Nov. 2004
Okies, your POV is noted. It is also not appropriate for wikipedia. But since you have stated your POV, its only polite if I state mine. If we are to consider socialism a loaded gun that will inevitably produce bad results at some point, I suppose the most appropriate analogy would be to consider capitalism a gun that is squarely aimed at the heads of all economically disenfranchised. Of course, both analogies are specious drivel, but that seems to be the level at which you are trying to communicate. Kev 05:17, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"Positive Rights" "Negative Rights"

Michael Badnarik said: "RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES ARE POLAR OPPOSITES. A RIGHT IS SOMETHING THAT I CAN DO WITHOUT ASKING. A PRIVILEGE IS SOMETHING THAT A HIGHER AUTHORITY ALLOWS ME TO DO. IT IS UTTER NONSENSE FOR US TO ACCEPT GOVERNMENT PERMITS IN ORDER TO EXERCISE AN INALIENABLE RIGHT." -[Project Vote Smart][8]

At least with regard to the US Libertarian Party-- Perhaps the argument on the use of the word "rights" in the article could center more toward this quote, since the paragraph in context is suppose to show what "Libertarians believe".

Chuck's unjustified reverts are not a good thing. Reithy 11:41, Nov 2, 2004 (UTC)
It might be usable as a quote, but in the unquoted context, it's pretty troublesome. In the same breath he's saying these rights are unalienable, and complaining about the government alienating them. He says rights are something one can do without asking, yet he's asking people to vote for him so he can ensure you can do them without having to ask. It's even more of a contradiction than what's currently in the article!
The word is inalienable. The meaning is that no-one has the right to alienate that right from you, and if someone tries to infringe your inalienable rights, you in turn have the right to defend yourself, even to the point of employing violence. Whether you choose to exercise the right of self-defence is up to you. It is entirely possible that someone can infringe on your rights by employing force. That does not mean that your rights are any less inalienable, it just means your rights have been infringed. There are no contradictions in Badnarik's statement, unless you intend a post-modern deconstruction of meaning. In which case, why bother?
It works well as a piece of election rhetoric, but surely someone can find something that better represents the Libertarian argument than that container of logical absurdities. I'm not a Libertarian, but if I was, I'd feel like someone was doing my views a disservice if that went in the article. Shane King 13:36, Nov 4, 2004 (UTC)

I agree. He is one example of a libertarian politician, but not a particularly good libertarian theorist. I should be no more inclined to quote him than, say, George Bush or John Kerry on federalism or democracy, notwithstanding the fact both of them are presumably examples of people who believe in both of these ideas. Besides, as you point out, it is not a well-constructed point icut4u 16:45, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Why has the link to libertarian socialism been deleted from the introduction?

*cough, cough*

Far be it from me to intrude on this nasty little edit war that has locked the page, but someone might want to fix a broken link one of these days. "Revisiting Anarchism and Government by Tibor R. Machan." is no more. http://www.liberalia.com/htm/tm_minarchists_anarchists.htm times out. -- Branden 01:48, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)


I found a wonderful essay on libertarianism, at http://sethf.com/essays/major/libstupid.php and would like to see it added to the external links section. thanks.

Seen it. It's just one more salvo in the perpetual flamewar it purports to deride. It is not particularly informative, nor a well-formed critique; it is a flame. --FOo 02:01, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Sandbox during edit war

From the head of the article:

This article deals with the major usage of the word libertarianism. For the use of the term "libertarianism" in the philosophy of free will see libertarianism (philosophy).

"Libertarian" and "libertarianism" are also used to refer to liberty in a general way. For example, someone arguing for civil liberties may be known as a "civil libertarian", regardless of their exact political allegiances.

add the new line:

"Libertarian" and "libertarianism" are also used to refer to anarchists who oppose private property or who support workers control, particularly outside of North America. This politics is more fully explored at Libertarian socialism.

Which should make the disambig clearer than the later line in the body of the article.

No because that's wrong Chuck F 03:40, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Ok, socialists, point me to an anarchist theorist (restricted to someone who ADVOCATES anarchy as a good) who says no private property? Now I am not talking about socialist thinkers writing *COMMENTARY* on anarchism, but people who primarily identify themselves as "anarchists". I don't think you will find any since centralized control is necessary to abolish private property, and no anarchist I ever heard of wants centralization. Centralization is the root of all evil for most anarchists. For further reading, check out "syndicalism". milesgl 15:05 CST 12 Nov 2004
Advocates anarchism but rejects private property? Gee, um... how about Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Tucker, Goldman, and pretty much all of the anarchist tradition? Contrary to the claims of many people, authoritarian control (central or distributed) is necessary to -sustain- private property, not to abolish it. In the absence of coercive enforcement private property can't exist because it would have nothing to fall back on when dissenters refused to submit. What can exist, and what all of the anarchists I mentioned above advocated in one form or another, is possession, a form of resource distribution distinct from private property entitlement. Kev 08:04, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Ummm.... Proudhon et al were millenarian mysticists: The anarchist paradise would just magically appear one day, provided they were pure. Although some of them did have a keen insight into how an anarchist society could function once established, _none_ of them defined the conditions required for establishing this anarchist society. And, therein lies the rub: The only known way to realize their regime is by property-expropriating force. Their anihilation by the communists was a direct result of their inability to come to terms with that.
Just for the record, what is this man writing about? Property or organized Authority? You judge. I personally see no excuses for involuntary collectivism here.
Well, then, who am I, and what is it that prompts me to publish this work at this time? I am an impassioned seeker of the truth, and as bitter an enemy of the vicious fictions used by the established order - an order which has profited from all the religious, metaphysical, political, juridical, economic, and social infamies of all times - to brutalize and enslave the world. I am a fanatical lover of liberty. I consider it the only environment in which human intelligence, dignity, and happiness can thrive and develop. I do not mean that formal liberty which is dispensed, measured out, and regulated by the State; for this is a perennial lie and represents nothing but the privilege of a few, based upon the servitude of the remainder. Nor do I mean that individualist, egoist, base, and fraudulent liberty extolled by the school of Jean Jacques Rousseau and every other school of bourgeois liberalism, which considers the rights of all, represented by the State, as a limit for the rights of each; it always, necessarily, ends up by reducing the rights of individuals to zero. No, I mean the only liberty worthy of the name, the liberty which implies the full development of all the material, intellectual, and moral capacities latent in every one of us; the liberty which knows no other restrictions but those set by the laws of our own nature. Consequently there are, properly speaking, no restrictions, since these laws are not imposed upon us by any legislator from outside, alongside, or above ourselves. These laws are subjective, inherent in ourselves; they constitute the very basis of our being. Instead of seeking to curtail them, we should see in them the real condition and the effective cause of our liberty - that liberty of each man which does not find another man's freedom a boundary but a confirmation and vast extension of his own; liberty through solidarity, in equality. I mean liberty triumphant over brute force and, what has always been the real expression of such force, the principle of authority. I mean liberty which will shatter all the idols in heaven and on earth and will then build a new world of mankind in solidarity, upon the ruins of all the churches and all the states. Mikhail Bakhunin, "The Paris Commune and the Idea of the State", 1871
I stand corrected on property -- there *ARE* anarchists who advocate the forced confiscation of property. For what it is worth, I find that inconsistent with freedom. But I was wrong. I suppose my view was warped by all the heady talk about freedom. No excuse.
Rather, there are anarchists (all anarchists, actually) who advocate struggling against the forced distribution of private property entitlement. True, sometimes force is required to combat oppressive enforcement of things like private property, but as anarcho-capitalists like to say, that is self-defense. Kev 22:16, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

This is the correct disambiguation, NPOV and factually correct the result of consensus building over a long period (the version that has been protected is a vandalised version):

This article deals with the capitalist version of libertarianism as it is principally understood in the United States and often associated with anarcho-capitalism. For a discussion of the meaning of the term libertarian that is traditional in Europe, see libertarian socialism. It is noted that there are many interpretations of the philosophy in different nations.

For the use of the term "libertarianism" in the philosophy of free will see libertarianism (philosophy).

"Libertarian" and "libertarianism" are also used to refer to liberty in a general way. For example, someone arguing for civil liberties may be known as a "civil libertarian", regardless of their exact political allegiances.


Wtf are you talking about, the result of concenus building over a long time was this

"For a discussion of the meaning of the term libertarian that is traditional in Europe, see libertarian socialism."

not your verison... at least don't lie Chuck F 15:49, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Conservativism should be mentioned

Perhaps someone (wiser than me) could write a bit about the relationship between libertarianism and conservativism (or, more rightly, libertarians and conservatives)? It's relevant to the topic, and a complex and interesting issue.

There's a bit on that subject already in the "Libertarianism in the political spectrum" section. I think Hayek's classic article (which is linked) goes a long way to explaining the distinctions of principle between libertarians and conservatives. --FOo 04:22, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Libertarianism is always a realistic stance, in that it seeks to understand nature and master it. Being instinctively conservative is self-defeating - no-one can insist that tradition is a good strategy if nature does not give a give a fig's leaf about your habits. Conservatism, unfortunately, seeks to force society to cling to tradition. Libertarianism makes no claim to higher knowledge - it simply allows each man to act in his best interest without harming his fellow man. Libertarianism allows the best practice to evolve out of the experience of inumerable free individuals.

Draft for a RfC on the issue

You all are invited to visit and comment on a draft for a RfC on this and related articles that will eventually likely become a poll. Please remember we are not discussing the topic itself, just the suitable neutral number of issues we want to cover. --Improv 17:12, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Remove Ayn Rand from the list of Libertarians

Ayn Rand is NOT a Libertarian; she makes that point quite clearly. Visit the Ayn Rand Institute website for her Q & A about Libertarians:

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=education_campus_libertarians

Please remove her name from the list; she is an Objectivist.

You can be bold and do it yourself. However, I am inclined be bold and add her back in. The "libertarianism" that she declares herself not a part of bears precious little relationship to reality (at least as far as this article is concerned; it might have some cogent connection to the United States Libertarian Party, however). Basically, Rand was a libertarian and didn't know it. Awfully silly on her part, but apparently true. - Nat Krause 12:55, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Well, she's not much of anything right now. But when she was alive, she would not have self-identified as a libertarian, although her beliefs had much in common with libertarianism. Rhobite 16:24, Dec 7, 2004 (UTC)
Agreed. She was very familiar with Mises and Hayek, and would not subscribe to libertarianism of their sort. She believed libertarians and capitalists were both too focused on economics and utility. Capitalism is allowed only because it allows for man's rational requirement, property, not vice versa. Nat is correct insofar as Rand's version is more akin {but not identical0 to the versions of Locke, Hospers, and Nozick (Nozick wrote quite a bit about her). Not surprisingly, many libertarians claim her. I would suggest that she not be on the list, for the reasons you, Rhobite, state, but that reference be made to her, as I have done in Libertarian theory. icut4u
Ayn Rand rejected the libertarian label because she did not want any confusion between an ideology shared by a philosophically diverse group and her own elaborate and comprehensive philosophical system called Objectivism. She did not wish to be associated with anarchists and the like, or for that matter anyone who did not arrive at their small-government, individual rights advocacy through the same philosophical channels. Still, whether she'd have appreciated the label or not, I do believe it legitimate to define her - in the narrow political sense - as a libertarian. It is, as most ideologies are, a fairly broad umbrella capable of accommodating moralists and utilitarians alike. Members of the Objectivist orthodoxy will dispute the characterization, but others like David Kelley recognize the kinship. Ubernetizen 03:54, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Agreed with Ubernetizen, respectfully disagreed with Rhobite and Icut. I don't think it's necessary for her to subscribe to libertarianism of the Mises and Hayek sort, or even the Locke and Hospers sort. She subscribed to a libertarianism of her own sort. - Nat Krause 03:48, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Well, one thing is certain, it makes much more sense to have her on the list than Bill O'Reilly or Bill Mahr, both of whom have appeared on the list at one time or another, and neither of whom are remotely libertarian in their outlook (libertine, conservative, statist, authoritarian, leftist, rightest...perhaps... but certainly not libertarian!). I continue to think Rand would have been very uncomfortable with the appellation, however. Still, many who would consider themselves libertarians (for example, David Boaz, who includes her in his anthology of libertarain authors) have been greatly influenced by her, so it is certainly not an indefensible position. icut4u

This is a problem with claiming that persons belong to categories that they themselves deny. Ayn Rand, as I recall, not only eschewed the term "libertarian" herself, but attacked it as a meaningless buzzword. Therefore, to place her on a list of libertarian personalities would appear to tell the reader that Wikipedia knows more about Ayn Rand than Ayn Rand does. That could easily be read as a profound indictment of her character -- an implied claim that she was not a very self-knowledgeable person. I don't think that's the sort of claim that Wikipedia can make blithely.
I have to suspect that categorizing people in this fashion is simply an inherently flawed enterprise. (It's that old bugger, the "is" of identity, come to distort our language again. Compare it with the enterprise of deciding whether National Socialism is a type or variant of socialism.) I have a few suggestions as to what might work in this article instead:
  • Authors who have influenced libertarianism
  • Famous persons who call(ed) themselves libertarian
  • Famous members of libertarian political parties
With the second option, we are still free to comment on to what extent some person who calls themselves "libertarian" agrees with the sense of libertarianism described in the article. For instance, if Joe Strangemoose calls himself "libertarian" but advocates a universal military draft and the expulsion of green-eyed citizens, we can certainly mention that seeming disparity. --FOo 15:10, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I like your suggestion, FOo, especially using the heading "Authors who have influenced libertarianism." This would allow one to include authors and theorists who were clearly influential, but who could not be called libertarian, or who would themselves reject the characterization, as Rand did. The main heading would have to be altered, too; perhaps to something such as "Influential people and adherents." icut4u

Due respect, but I think we're making this unnecessarily complicated. It isn't, IMO, a list of who likes the libertarian label or wants to be identified that way; it's a list of notable people whose political beliefs align with those we describe collectively as "libertarian". Does Ayn Rand fit the bill? Absolutely. Does it matter that she chose not to use the label herself? Not in my mind. Hitler might have protested vehemently that he wasn't a "socialist" or a "collectivist", but that doesn't mean it isn't appropriate for us to characterize him as such. (I'm sure there are better examples than Hitler, but I'm tired.) My point is that I think the list should be based on a consensus opinion of whether the persons in question hold/held beliefs that do/did match up congruently and consistently with libertarianism, rather than based on how those same people wished for the world to regard them. As someone else mentioned, the fact that SO many contemporary libertarians have been significantly influenced by her, and so many justify their libertarianism on the grounds of (at least parts of) Objectivist philosophy, does amount, I should think, to a prima facie case for her inclusion. Ubernetizen 02:14, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I would not object to including her or excluding her, and think we've already spent too much time on her; but I do think a small change in the titling, a la FOo, might prevent future problems with Randians on this issue. Her heirs would not allow Boaz and CATO to include any of her essays in their Libertarain Reader. The true believers are quite adamant on this issue. icut4u
umm, actually I've got the libertarian reader right here next to me, I'm pretty sure she's in it Chuck F 03
22, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The Playboy interview is in it, over which she had no copyright. Read the remarks by the editor and you will observe that her heirs would not allow her works to be included. icut4u

Libertarian Celebrities

Why was Bill O'reilly deleted? He is very obviously a libertarian. If you think it isn't factual I've seen much bigger bullshit on this dog and pony encyclopedia.

Bill O'Reilly is a libertarian and I'm the pope. Rhobite 16:28, Dec 7, 2004 (UTC)
Yes, Bill O'Reilly is no libertarian. He routinely denounces secularists, people who would decriminalize drugs, and supports all manner of state intrusions, including the so-called Patriot Act, which certaily do not comport with libertarain tendencies. He dislikes income taxes, supports capitalism, and claims to be politically independent, but these things hardly suffice to make him a libertarian.icut4u
Bill O'Reilly supports the legalization of marijuana.

No, not really. In a transcript of one of his broadcasts he suggests that only usage in one's home should be permitted, and in another, he says it only ought to be allowed for medical use, apparently out of sympathy for his friend, Montel Williams. He was very uncharitable to the libertarian guest who advocated decriminalization of drugs. Of course, O'Reilly is notoriously inconsistent. icut4u

Please cite in what ways Bill O'Reilly is libertarian. Generously, one could describe him as a fiscal minimalist, but in almost all social respects he has shown himself to be not exactly beholden to the cause of civil rights. As the poster above says, he displays a few aspects of libertarianism, but for the most part, he is simply an American conservative. 14:08, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I've seen several interviews with Bill Maher where he has claimed to be a Libertarian (most recently on Hannity and Colmes about 3 months ago). Can he be added to the list?

24.166.8.125 21:43, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Bill Maher is a "civil libertarian" not a generalized "libertarian." Apparently he didn't know the difference when he called himself a libertarian. RJII 18:53, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Wiki Syntax

Hi, as part of the Wiki Syntax project we'd like to make a very minor correction at the start of this article, on this line:

''This article deals with the '''libertarianism''' as defined in [[America]] and several other nations. For a discussion of the meaning of the term '''libertarian''' that is traditional in Europe, see [[libertarian socialism]].

Can we please get a '' added to the end of that line, thus closing the wiki italics quotes? All the best, -- Nickj 04:49, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Libertarians / Anarcho-capitalists beware

Please read the Wikipedia entry on "Liberal". Are we meekly going to allow our name to be taken by the statists again?

David Brin

I'd like to propose that David Brin be added to the Libertarian list of Media personalities.

http://www.davidbrin.com

His writings definitely have a Classical Liberal spin to them. His book the Transparent Society should be familar to many of you.

Right-wing "Libertarians" and "Anarcho-"capitalists- STOP THE LIES

1) Anarcho-capitalism is a statist ideology. What do you think Rothbard's "defense associations" are? How else will business owners protect their property interests without a state? Inherint in a state is some sort of political hierchy and unequal political power relations, WHICH IS IN THE VERY NATURE OF CAPITALIST RELATIONS BETWEEN WORKERS AND BOSSES.

2) You are NOT classical liberals. A liberal conception of human nature neccessitates a mistrust of concentrated political power, since such power is inherintly authoritarian in nature. The classical liberal thinkers warned against two types of centralized political power- CORPORATE power & businessmen, and GOVERNMENTAL POWER & political rulers. The true heirs of classical liberalism are progressives such as Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader, NOT right-wing libertarianism.

3) Classical liberals never warned against socialism. In fact, for almost a CENTURY socialism was the heir of the liberal tradition, from the early 1800's until von Mises and his propogandists came along and tried re-defining what "liberal" and "libertarian" meant.

4) Right-wing libertarians are just APOLIGISTS for corporate capitalism, and SHILLS FOR THE RULING CLASS, and thus the state. Your ideology is FAR from being genuinely libertarian, even if you wish to call it "libertarian." It is about as libertarian as southern slave holders who wished for the federal government to leave them alone.

5) I am sick of you people, your lies, manipulation, and "collectivist" baiting. Your ideology needs to be properly labelled for what it is: RIGHT-WING LIBERTARIANISM. Not "Libertarian" (a libertarian is a type of socialist) or "Libertarianism" (opposition to central political power) You are right-wing libertarians. Period. If you don't agree, then you can go argue with some REAL libertarians- www.infoshop.org

BWAAA HAAAA HAAAA! Ubernetizen 06:53, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Property and the Market

Liberal political theory, then, fractures over the conception of liberty. But a more important division concerns the place of private property and the market order. For classical liberals liberty and private property are intimately related. From the eighteenth century right up to today, classical liberals have insisted that an economic system based on private property is uniquely consistent with individual liberty, allowing each to live her life — including employing her labour and her capital — as she sees fit. Indeed, classical liberals and libertarians have often asserted that in some way liberty and property are really the same thing; it has been argued, for example, that all rights, including liberty rights, are forms of property; others have maintained that property is itself a form of freedom (Gaus, 1994a; Steiner, 1994). A market order based on private property is thus seen an embodiment of freedom (Robbins, 1961: 104). Unless people are free to make contracts and to sell their labour, or unless they are free to save their incomes and then invest them as they see fit, or unless they are free to run enterprises when they have obtained the capital, they are not really free.

Classical liberals employ a second argument connecting liberty and private property. Rather than insisting that the freedom to obtain and employ private property is simply one aspect of people's liberty, this second argument insists that private property is the only effective means for the protection of liberty. Here the idea is that the dispersion of power that results from a free market economy based on private property protects the liberty of subjects against encroachments by the state. As F.A. Hayek argues, ‘There can be no freedom of press if the instruments of printing are under government control, no freedom of assembly if the needed rooms are so controlled, no freedom of movement if the means of transport are a government monopoly’ (1978: 149). http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liberalism/--Stratofortress 20:00, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

right-wing Libertarianism

I would have to agree that the kind of lbertarianism described in this article is right-wing lbertarianism.

However, AFAIK left-wing libertarians mostly don't call themselves libertarians any more. They simply call themselves anarchists.

IMHO the article should state that the kind of libertarianism defined here is right-wing and has nothing to do with socialism.

Dispute over "libertarian communism"

It's an oxymoron, communist believe in an absense of economic freedom, and usually the absense of personal freedom. Libertarians believe in both economic and personal freedom. Now personally, I believe a libertarian government would lead to a take over by a communist government in the form of a massive corporation. Think of it this way, without laws restricting trusts, eventually one corporation will have bought or out competed every other corporation out there. This corporation would run your mail, the military's weapons, you would work for them and therefore have to abide by their rules. The corporation would own your housing and make rules regarding what you can and cannot do in your home, just as any landlord can. In essence, a libertarian government would turn into a communistic one.

You are right except for the fact that you do not know what "communism" means. Chamaeleon 02:21, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I suppose you're right, it wouldn't lack class seperation like communism, but perhaps fascism or totalitarianism. either way, libertarianism doesn't work.

Wikipedia isn't a place where to discuss whether libertarianism works or not.--80.235.62.100 12:27, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

We'll discuss whatever we feel like, anon. Chamaeleon 00:55, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
There's nothing about communism that says it has to be forced on people, as far as I know. It's quite possible for communism to exist on a voluntary basis. If a group of people volunteer to work for the common good and not have private property then it's quite consistent with libertarianism. Of course, you have to be allowed to opt out unless you've contracted to stick with it. RJII 03:14, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
It's quite a stretch to identify all communalism as communism. (It seems to me almost like a joke, like saying that "all Christians are atheists ... with regards to Zeus and Odin and Wakan-tanka, that is.") The term communism has come to mean not just the commonality of goods amongst a group, but rather:
  • political ideologies that seek to establish commonality (particularly, commonality of the means of production) for everyone, whether they want it or not;
  • political movements that have, when they have come to power, taken steps such as expropriation and forced communalization in the name of establishing commonality (again, particularly in means of production).
The revolutionary moment, the willingness to use force to establish socialism, seems to me to be inextricable from the idea of communism. After all, the ideology of social democracy is distinguished from communism in large part because of its belief in democratic means rather than revolutionary means to establish socialism. (Or, at least, so says our article about social democracy.)
There are all manner of communes and other groups sharing commonality of goods, which do not seek to impose or extend same to anyone else. It seems to me to be highly misleading to refer to these as communist -- or, in many cases, even as socialist. Both those terms (as libertarian, republican, monarchist, anarchist) describe political ideologies that claim to be right for the whole society (the nation, or even the world).
To belabor the point: If a social club holds elections, that does not mean that everyone in the club believes in a republican form of government. If a neighborhood garden cooperative operates by consensus, it doesn't mean the members are anarchists. Likewise, if a (family, group, commune) holds property in common, it doesn't mean that the members are communists. In poetic metaphor and microcosm, perhaps, but not in the sense that is usefully described in an encyclopedia. --FOo 05:13, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)

My edits

I edited Classical Liberalism and Libertarianism on a few minor points. Firstly Classical Liberalism is not used as a synonym for Libertarianism outside the US. Secondly "neo-classical Liberalism" is another name for neo-liberalism, not Libertarianism. Thirdly the conclusion was not NPOV, it just swept aside the criticisms and said that they were essentially the same. And lastly, it tried to equate new liberalism with socialism. Slizor 13:39, 2005 Feb 14 (UTC)

Utilitarianism?

I'm suspicious of the stuff about utilitarian libertarians. If they exist at all, they're certainly not influential. Can anyone verify the stuff in the article? Or should it be removed? Or should there be a caveat that says that they're in the minority? Dave 04:59, Mar 14, 2005 (UTC)

They do exist. And I think some are influential, too. For example, Milton Friedman argues in a great many places that free markets are more efficient and effective, economically, and that they are also more apt to produce liberty and, he alos says, democracy. These are primarily utilitarian arguments. Many, of course, argue from the perspective of natural and negative rights(e.g., Nozick and Hospers), and would support free markets even if they were not more efficient (Rand...not a libertarian...made the same point). Some (e.g., Mises) argue using both utilitarian and non-utilitarian points. I do not think it should be removed. I myself am not sure who is in the minority and I would hesitate to say. icut4u

All right. I think "consequentialist" might be better than "utilitarian," but I'll buy that.Dave

According to the relevant Wikipedia entries,

  • "Consequentialism is the belief that what ultimately matters in evaluating actions or policies of action are the consequences that result from choosing one action or policy rather than the alternative."
  • Utilitarianism is a kind of consequentialism that aims for "The greatest good for the greatest number." or: "The greatest good over the least pain."

The consequentialist libertarians icut4you mentioned are pretty clearly in the first camp, so I changed the article. Hopefully everyone will agree this is an improvement. If not, we can discuss. Dave 05:46, Mar 14, 2005 (UTC)

So, umm... what's so biased and factually incorrect about the article?

I've been looking through it (and heavily modifying it) and the warning seems unwarranted to me. It looks like most of the reasonable complaints of people on the talk page have been addressed. Can we take down the big red sign? I want to make this a featured article soon.Dave 06:24, Mar 14, 2005 (UTC)

If I recall correctly, the major reason for the NPOV/Accuracy dispute tag has been disagreement over the usage and context of the term itself; one user in particular (who has since been banned from editing libertarian-related articles and has left project) wanted the article to state that the libertarianism described here was the only "mainstream modern usage". As it stands, I think the article does a fairly decent job handling that issue.
That having been said, I would argue that the article still has major shortcomings with regards to NPOV. Tenets of libertarianism are presented as definitional facts. It is badly lacking in historical context, and almost completely lacking in theoretical context from the relevant academic literature. That alone is not enough to apply an NPOV dispute tag, but the article frequently attempts to pass off blatant libertarian POV as constituting such context (e.g., with the Nolan Chart). It also haphazardly applies the label to various figures which libertarians would like to claim as their own, but who have not applied it to themselves (Jefferson being a particularly obnoxious example).
I wouldn't bother submitting it as a featured article candidate in its current state, not only because of the concerns I cited but because it is almost completely lacking in references and images, and some of the prose is terrible. Wikipedia:Peer review would be a far better place to start.
Also, please note that talk pages proceed in chronological order, with new sections always added at the bottom.
RadicalSubversiv E 09:15, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I agree that it's nowhere near ready for featured article status yet. That's the goal, though. If you could red-flag some of the NPOV issues, that would help. I made some pretty big changes last night, and will keep working on it. I'll see what I can do about labeling people correctly (right now there's a lot about Ayn Rand but not too many others). Currently, Jefferson is always referred to as a "classical liberal" which I think is reasonable, but there is now a section on why he might not have been all that close to libertarianism. Peer-review is up. Dave 14:34, Mar 14, 2005 (UTC)
For one, a sentence recently changed and then subsequently "fixed" currently reads, "Others, such as some socialists and anarchists that oppose all hierarchies, as opposed to only the state,". This is not NPOV, it is in fact indicative of a very narrow political POV that defines anarchism as merely anti-state, and using the language of wikipedia to indicate "anarchists that oppose all hierarchies" hands the article over to the anarcho-capitalist POV that there are anarchists who embrace social hierarchy. I tried to fix this by indicating simply "anarchists", as it is a fact that sometimes anarchists in general are refered to as libertarians, with or without a qualifier, but this apparently was not considered sufficient. Regardless, this needs to change to work toward removing the NPOV label.
Furthermore, I would like to see evidence that the usage of libertarian in this article is "how it is defined" in America. I know lots of Americans who use the term to refer to what this article states is "libertarian socialism" and for referance I can't find any dictionaries that give a definition that rules out libertarian socialism or even implies that it is not libertarian. If no compelling evidence exists, I would like to see the sentence changed to "deals with the libertarianism as it is commonly used in countries like the U.S. and (insert whatever example country here)." Kev 20:05, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
maybe I wasn't clear. I tried to set up a distinction between hierarchy opponents (like anarcho-syndicalists) and state opponents (like anarcho-capitalists). There are people who call themselves anarchists that are not opposed to all hierarchies (Robert Nozick comes to mind).
The issue here is that this article is only about one kind of libertarian, and we need to explain what that kind is. Since there are different groups of anarchists, only some of which are discussed, it was important to distinguish between the different groups. I hope the new version is more acceptable to you. It reads ""Libertarian" and "libertarianism" are also used to refer to liberty in a general way. For example, someone arguing for civil liberties may be known as a "civil libertarian," regardless of their exact political allegiances. Others, who criticize all hierarchies, as opposed to only the state, are sometimes referred to as "libertarian," and are discussed in their own articles. For the most part, these groups choose to call themselves anarchists, socialists, or anarcho-syndicalists."
As far as "how it's defined in America," the IRS quote in the Introduction section is the definition this article uses. "Libertarianism is a philosophy. The basic premise of libertarianism is that each individual should be free to do as he or she pleases so long as he or she does not harm others. In the libertarian view, societies and governments infringe on individual liberties whenever they tax wealth, create penalties for victimless crimes, or otherwise attempt to control or regulate individual conduct which harms or benefits no one except the individual who engages in it."

Dave 20:38, Mar 14, 2005 (UTC)

You were being perfectly clear before. Given that Nozick actually accepts the state as conditionally necessary I find it strange that you would refer to him as an anarchist of any sort, capitalist or not. Regardless, the fact that a given group of people refer to themselves as A does not mean that A is what they say it is, only that A is what they say it is for those people. Anarchism is a contested word, and having wikipedia use anarchism in the context that anarcho-capitalists use it is not appropriate, especially when there are many ways to avoid this problem while still giving the same basic information to the reader. Saying that anarchism is sometimes refered to as libertarianism, but that this definition is not the one being used in this article, is a fact on both accounts.
As for the IRS quote, I don't see the relevance. The IRS defines libertarianism in the same way that this article does, okay fine. But how does this mean that "America" defines libertarian in the same way? Indeed, this question is most especially relevant given that the IRS is local to the U.S., and not only does not speak for all definition in the U.S., but definately does not speak for all definitions in Canada, Mexico, or all of South America. Kev 22:15, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Opps, I should add that I find the current version of the first issue acceptable. The definition most common definition in America part still needs work. Kev 22:50, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
"America" is fixed. Had I written it, it would have said USA from the beginning. I'm not sure what the anarchism problem is in light of my changes. The Anarchism page says "Anarchism is a generic term describing various political philosophies and social movements that advocate the elimination of hierarchy and imposed authority." The libertarianism page says "Others, who criticize all hierarchies, as opposed to only the state, are sometimes referred to as "libertarian," and are discussed in their own articles. For the most part, these groups choose to call themselves anarchists, socialists, or anarcho-syndicalists." I'm not sure what the difference is between the two.
As for whether my definition of libertarian is the most common, check the next secion, below. Dave 23:53, Mar 14, 2005 (UTC)

This should settle the discussion about what "libertarianism means:

I went through the first hundred hits in google for “libertarian.” Here are the first 20 hits with the reason they fit my definition (except for Libertarian rock, which I think is civil-libertarian):

  1. Libertarian party (advocates “individual liberty and personal responsibility,” and “a free-market economy of abundance and prosperity”: check)
  2. Libertariam party again: check
  3. Liberty guide (“classical liberal” books: check)
  4. Michael Badnarik (libertarian party: see above: check)
  5. Self-gov.com (links to the IRS definition on the page: check)
  6. Libertarian rock (civil libertarian, mostly a wash. Certainly not socialist)
  7. LewRockwell.com (An anti-state/pro-market site on the net run by the president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute: Check)
  8. Samizdata.net (slogan is “don’t tread on me” and advocates individualism and the free market: check)
  9. Libertarian Alliance (links to CATO and Hayek as other libertarian groups: check)
  10. Libertarian Futurist Society (their publication is named after an Ayn Rand character and honored her work as good libertarian fiction: check)
  11. Libertarian Party of Canada (their platform begins “Each individual has the right to his or her own life, and this right is the source of all other rights.” And “Property rights are essential to the maintenance of those rights.”: Check)
  12. Libertarian Party of Florida (check: see above)
  13. Libertarian Enterprise (defines libertarian as "a person who believes that no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being” and advocates free trade: check)
  14. Libertarian International (advocates the gold standard and links to the Free State Project: Check)
  15. Libertarian Party of California: Check (see above)
  16. Libertarian Party of Indiana: Check (see above)
  17. Libertarian party of North Carolina: Check (see above)
  18. Libertarian.com (links to free-market.net: check)
  19. Libertarian Party of Washington State: Check (see above)
  20. Libertarian Party of Colorado: Check (see above)

…..

After the first 20, I stopped listing ones that support my position, and just looked for exceptions. I couldn’t find anything “socialist” at all until hit #29 (nazi.org). Until then, everything fits my definition except possibly the “libertarian rock” site above. The next site that wasn’t libertarian was #45, and it was ‘’about’’ libertarianism, as I’ve defined it. #54 is Wikipedia’s “Libertarian Socialism” article. #68 is the same as 45. At hit #79, we get a the second site that uses libertarianism in a way other than the article. And they always qualify the term with something like “people’s libertarian” or “left-libertarian” or “libertarian communism.” Hit # 96 is the same as 79.

So really, in the first hundred hits on google, we have ‘’zero’’ sites that use “libertarian” without a qualifier to mean “libertarian socialism” except for Nazi.org. I think we should all agree that the definition the article currently uses is the most common and move on to the article itself. I think it's time to take the big red sign down. If anyone can come up with a reason that the top 100 sites on Google are wrong, they can put it back up. Dave 23:38, Mar 14, 2005 (UTC)

Good luck to you, Harry/Dave! Some went before you to no avail. Perhaps the ideologues have found other interests. But don't count on it. icut4u
I haven't read the archives... are they that bad?Dave 00:09, Mar 15, 2005 (UTC)
There are lots of reasons to doubt google as a good indicator of common usage. In no small part because the internet gap both globally and in the U.S. is still very wide across socio-economic lines. It is really a relatively small bracket of society we are looking at with such a non-scientific sampling, and in that small bracket I would tend to wager that the big L libertarians are inordinately represented far beyond what they are in the world at large. But with the passage currently reading most common and limited to the U.S. I no longer have strong enough objection to merit the time spent blocking it. Kev 02:09, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I concurr with Kevehs, doing web-searches is biased in favour of the US libertarian usage for a number of socio-economic reasons. One thing I'm aware of is that lib socs use "libertarian" far more often in ephemera (and operate primarily through emphemera). Doing a search with Australian english (google.com.au, pages from australia only) these are my results
Searching via libertarian pages from australia google.com.au
Results: 2 lib soc, 12 lib cap, 3 civil libertarians, 1 religious free will, 2 confused (psychotic) usage
Searching via libertarian politics pages from australia google.com.au
Results: 6.5 lib soc, 8.5 lib cap, 3 civil libertarians, 2 confused usage
Paraphrase of Macquarie Dictionary (official dictionary of Australian English)
1) Advocates of civil liberty
2) Advocates of the religious doctrine of free will
129.78.228.114 03:58, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)

It looks like it's settled, then. Thank God.Dave 02:18, Mar 15, 2005 (UTC)

Makes sense. I'd think libertarian socialists would be more unlikely to be able to afford a computer (especially given that they think getting a job is exploitation). And, they may not even want a computer, since capitalists produced them. RJII 04:16, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Computers are made by capitalists, eh? Now there is an interesting double standard. When refering to a country which employs capitalist economics integrated with government controls you insisted over and over, "that isn't capitalism, its mixed mode economics!" Then, when describing the very corporations which exist in those countries, huge government subsidized monstrosities like Intel, IBM, and Motorola, all of whom have grown fat on welfare, these supposedly "mixed-mode" companies suddenly become "capitalist" after all. Don't worry RJ, I agree with you. Those companies are capitalist, and government intervention has always been an important part in the success of capitalism. Me, I'll stick with that unwashed mass of anarchists you are so quick to belittle, at least they can be consistent when it comes to rejecting the state. Kev 06:33, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
In Marxism, a "Kapitalist", or "capitalist," is one who owns capital. That's the context in which I used the word. "There's nothing remotely like capitalism in existence. To the extent there ever was, it had disappeared by the 1920s or '30s." -Noam Chomsky RJII 15:10, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Odd, you seemed entirely against the idea of multiple definitions of capitalism before. Should I now inform you that you have been duped, as you previously attempted to inform me? Kev 15:21, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I'm not at all against multiple definitions of capitalism. I've even been pushing to get a Marxist-like definition in the capitalism article's intro without success. There are in fact multiple definitions of capitalism, and I acknowledge that and always have. There are definitions that refer merely to the private ownership of capital and there are other definitions that go further than that and mention methods of distribution, private decisions, and a free market. As far as the word "capitalist," there are two definitions. One is a person who own capital and the other is a person who favors capitalism. In Marxism, a person who owns capital is a capitalist, regardless of his political persuasions. That's what I was referring to when I said computers are produced by capitalists and that therefore libertarian socialists may not want to buy a computer from one --a person who owns and controls capital --a capitalist. Merriam-Webster: capitalist: (1) a person who has capital especially invested in business; broadly : a person of wealth : PLUTOCRAT (2) a person who favors capitalism. RJII 16:18, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Now I understand perfectly. Basically, what you are saying is that I should ignore all your previous hot air in the anarcho-capitalism article about the one true(tm) meaning of capitalism and how capitalism simply can't be integrated with the government even though your own favorite dictionary flatly says that it both can be and in fact is? Kev 00:27, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)
If you paid any attention you'd know that I never said that there was one meaning of capitalism in the anarcho-capitalism article. I explicitly pointed out that there was more than one definition and the definition that anarcho-capitalism referred to was the one that referred to a free market. It was never my intention to give the impression that there was "one true meaning of capitalism"...quite the opposite. RJII 03:38, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Anyone who still thinks that this definition is not the most common is welcome to find a book that uses "libertarian" in a different way without a qualifier like "left libertarian" or "people's libertarian" or "libertarian communism." Presumably if the people who use the term differently neither write books nor use the web, they are less important and widespread than libertarians as defined here. Until you come up with evidence that anyone other than the "libertarian green nazi party" described above uses libertarianism your way, I think the presumption should be with the 99 websites I point to above. Dave 19:28, Mar 19, 2005 (UTC)

Er, most of the same publications which add qualifiers like "libertarian communism" also add qualifiers like "libertarian capitalism" or "right libertarian". They do so to distinguish between the different uses of the word. The fact that most libertarian capitalists are unaware of this distinction is not evidence that they have some superior claim to use of the word. Regardless, this is mostly irrelevant. Your list of google websites, about the least scientific method I can think of for judging common use, does nothing to give evidence for the specific countries listed. Even if we assume that, as the article has stated, this is sufficient evidence for making claim to "most english speaking countries" (and it is not sufficient evidence), there certainly isn't any evidence there to demonstrate anything more specific. Furthermore, I see no compelling reason why further evidence needs to be provided against these claims when the evidence provided for them is itself faulty. If you want to make claims to common use, it is your responsibility to give solid evidence to back up those claims, rather than trying to make your evidence appear solid by resorting to calling for contrary evidence. Kev 19:57, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC)
And before you make the claim that I'm reluctant to provide counter evidence because no such evidence exists I suggest you check out these websites, all of which use un-qualified libertarian to describe something other than the libertarian capitalism of this page: A People's Libertarian Index, Subversion, Libertarian Solidarity, Libertarian Book Club. So please, lets focus on evidence that supports the claims being made before we start looking for evidence to deny them. Kev 20:07, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC)

RJIII's Changes

I reverted some of RJIII's recent mass changes to the article because it seemed to me that they were inserting spit words and propogandising. One example is referring to Europe diminutively as "Old Europe". Please take a look over his recent edits to the page. --Improv 23:17, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Aww, but the "old europe" bit was just so funny. Sounded like Bush. Kev 00:24, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Was a joke. RJII 13:31, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Well thats pretty funny. Unfortunately its also a bannable offense to deface an article for the purpose of making a point or humor. Not that I would be participating in such a ban, that was probably the best edit you've ever made. Kev 13:59, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)
In that case, I was kidding when I said it was a joke. It wasn't a joke. I was dead serious. RJII 21:11, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I've been very impressed with RJII's work on this page. When I have time (probably not for about a week) I'll do some more work on it myself. I just did a comparison between the current version of the article and what it was last sunday when I first saw it; it's a huge difference. Dave 03:21, Mar 18, 2005 (UTC)

The Paris Commune simply fell?

WTF? It is a known fact that the paris commune was brutally attacked by governmental forces. Describing this as "crushed" was just fine, but then changing it to collapse was ridiculous. Like it just fell apart on its own or something. And that is exactly how you are describing it, whoops, it fell! No, it was suppressed: (www.m-w.com) : to put down by authority or force : SUBDUE. Kev 20:55, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Whatever. Cities fall when sieges succeed. If you feel that strongly about it, you can keep it as "suppressed" but I'll add "by the French governmen" to make it clear what's going on.Dave 21:48, Mar 19, 2005 (UTC)

Perfect, is was suppressed by the French government. Kev 23:54, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Attention Kev:

I'd like your help writing an "anarchist criticism" in the criticisms section. It seems like your domain. If you could write something up (preferably with lots of sources) that would be great. Thanks in advance, Dave 19:36, Mar 20, 2005 (UTC)

IRS definition in Intro

I have a problem with the IRS definition being in the Intro. First of all, I don't think it's a good definition. For example, "harm others"? That's too vague. Secondly, why is the Internal Revenue Service given any credibility there when the IRS represents everything libertarians are against? Who cares what the IRS says? Putting them there in the intro as an authority on libertarianism is beyond bizarre. RJII 03:08, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I think it's as good a quick definition as you'll find, and it's also a favorite of Advocates for Self-Government, a libertarian organization. The quote describes them, specifically.[9] In my opinion, the fact that they show the definition off is enough proof that it's not corrupted by the IRS's "statism." If you want to find a better one (or write your own) you're welcome to. I'm certainly not infatuated with the introduction as it stands. Dave 03:36, Mar 21, 2005 (UTC)
I think the one above it is a better one. One definition is good enough. Two definitions is strange. RJII 03:40, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)
After I wrote this on the talk page, I decided you were right and rewrote the intro. Take a look.Dave 03:47, Mar 21, 2005 (UTC)
Yep, pretty good. RJII 04:11, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)

still needs work

I think the weakest points of this article are history, statism, capitalism, and rights (which are some of the most important areas). Let's try to get this at least as good as the anarcho-capitalist article. Dave 04:04, Mar 21, 2005 (UTC)

Publications List

I removed a bunch of publications I thought weren't useful enough for links. I was probably overzealous, so if anyone wants to put some back, that's cool. Here's the original list: [redacted linkspam] Dave 04:50, Mar 25, 2005 (UTC)


Some edits

"Libertarians see this decentralized authority as less dangerous than any centralized, monopoly authority that uses force. Libertarians contend that government power will inevitably act against the interests of most of society, notwithstanding the original good intentions."

The problem with this statement is not that it isn't true, it is. The problem is that it is being used to compared the libertarian position with Chomsky, and that makes it nothing more than a straw-man, since this is not the position he holds. Kev 07:08, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Oh, I see. I'll put that sentence in somewhere where it's not about chomsky. Good point. Dave 07:13, Mar 25, 2005 (UTC)

Vote on long lists

Should the article include long lists of libertarians? I don't want to delete 134.68.43.148's work without discussing it first. Dave 20:48, Mar 28, 2005 (UTC)

Never mind. The new template fixes it Dave 04:37, Mar 29, 2005 (UTC).

Cleanup

I put the cleanup template on the Individualism, property.... section (currently section 3. It and the "statism" section (3.2) are the weakest parts of the article, but I'm not sure how to fix them (possibly spinning off into new sections, definitely shortening them). I was hoping for some help, and I thought directing your attention there would be useful.Dave 04:44, Mar 30, 2005 (UTC)

opposition to statism

Trying to figure out how to work on this section. Statism is commonly defined as centralized governmental control over an economy. For example Merriam-Webster defines it as " concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government." But apparently some people take it to include government control over civil liberties. I'm not aware of this is being correct usage --if it is, it's not as widely used in that way. I tried before to get this section to focus only on economic issues, but some people apparently like to include civil liberties issues as well. I suggest it sticks to the typical definition of statism. What does everyone else think? RJII 06:02, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC) Now that I think about it, the anti-statism section should be integrated with the Libertarian Economic Views section. RJII 14:01, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Most libertarians don't make a distinction between economic and noneconomic rights, so I hadn't thought about this before. You're right that the dictionaries define it as economics only, but a quick google search found a few libertarians that use it more broadly: Lew Rockwell's group talking about the Turkish census[10], restrictions on action for (flawed) psychiatric reasons[11], and the draft ("that a man's life belongs to the state, and the state may claim it by compelling him to sacrifice it in battle.")[12]
If you want to rename this section "civil liberties" or something and move the economic stuff to "economics," that sounds fine to me.Dave 16:38, Mar 30, 2005 (UTC)