What is a Libertarian Anyway?

By Chris McManigal

Third of a 4-part series spotlighting the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and Green Party.

The Libertarian Party was founded in the 1971 and while it is not one of the main two parties, it has gained popularity among those that are disgruntled with the two-party system in the United States. Libertarians are not regarded as either right or left-wing, but rather a combination of both with socially liberal and fiscally conservative viewpoints.

The leading ideology of Libertarianism is non-interventionism and as such Libertarians lean strongly against government regulation of any kind. They instead believe in citizens governing themselves. Due to this they do not believe in most taxation and the programs that taxes often fund such as welfare or the military. They also do not believe that the government should have any say over who can and cannot marry or own guns.

Libertarians often refer to themselves as laissez-faire capitalists, which means they feel that the buying and selling of products and services should be totally free from regulation of tax of any kind and should be subject only to the rules that the buyers and sellers themselves agree to.

As such a new party, there have been no Libertarians Presidents in US history thus far. The most famous Libertarians that have held office have been former Governor Jesse Ventura of Minnesota and former Representative Ron Paul from Texas. Also, Ron Paul’s son, Rand Paul, a fellow Libertarian, is one of the current Senators of Kentucky and ran for President in the current election until suspending his campaign in February of this year.

Notable Libertarians include TV host Glenn Beck, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, renowned economist Milton Friedman, news mogul Rupert Murdoch and Hollywood alumni including magicians Penn & Teller and actors Gary Oldman and Clint Eastwood.

Libertarians as seen by supporters: pro-gay marriage, pro-business, defenders of liberty, pro-gun rights.

Libertarians as seen by opponents: Anti-government, anti-military, anti-taxation, anti-social safety net.

Key ideology: Non-interventionism

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