Frequently Asked Questions
Are Libertarians liberal or conservative?
Neither! Libertarians don’t fit at all inside the “left-right” paradigm. Libertarians have an entirely unique view of the world: that human interaction ought to be as voluntary as possible. Although we are commonly described as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal”, that is not entirely correct. In truth, although you would never guess it by looking at their behavior, it is really that the Republicans claim to be fiscally libertarian and the Democrats claim to be socially libertarian! That said, libertarians approach politics and policy from a completely different angle than the big two parties, but their policies at least superficially resemble parts of what libertarians call for.
Why is the Libertarian Party any different from any other political party?
The Libertarian Party proudly stands on publicly stated philosophical principles, namely those of libertarianism, hence the name of the party. While the word “libertarian” actually means something, the Republican and Democratic parties have exploited the meaninglessness of their names to the fullest extent by allowing their positions on issues to change radically in order to simply win votes and keep a hold on power. The Libertarian Party is different. On principle, libertarians have always sought to empower the individual instead of the government. Since the inception of the Libertarian Party in 1971, our Statement of Principles, which explains the rationale behind our platform, has remained untouched. We have always fought for all of your rights, even the unpopular ones, and that will never change.
Are Libertarians anarchists?
Short answer: No. Long answer: click here.
Are Libertarians constitutionalists?
Generally, no, although most libertarians would acknowledge that strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution would surely be a more desirable system of government than the one we currently have. You will find that many libertarians vigorously oppose and call for the repeal of the 16th Amendment, which essentially served to legalize the income tax. Most of the arguments you will hear libertarians make are not Constitution-based, or for that matter even law-based. Rather, you will see an abundance of ethics and economics.
Libertarianism as a philosophy is wholly independent of the U.S. Constitution, which itself was actually based largely on the preexisting classical liberal views of many of its authors and signers. The Constitution is by no means a perfect blueprint to a voluntary society, but returning to Jeffersonian “strict constructionism” would be a major first step towards achieving one.