Libertarianism in the United States

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Libertarianism in the United States is a movement promoting individual liberty and minimized government.[1][2] Although the word libertarian continues to be widely used to refer to anti-state socialists internationally, its meaning in the United States has deviated from its political origins to the extent that the common meaning of libertarian in the United States is different from elsewhere.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

As an example, the Libertarian Party asserts the following to be core beliefs of libertarianism:

Libertarians support maximum liberty in both personal and economic matters. They advocate a much smaller government; one that is limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence. Libertarians tend to embrace individual responsibility, oppose government bureaucracy and taxes, promote private charity, tolerate diverse lifestyles, support the free market, and defend civil liberties.[14][15]

Through twenty polls on this topic spanning thirteen years, Gallup found that voters who are libertarian on the political spectrum ranged from 17–23% of the American electorate.[16] This includes members of the Libertarian Party, Republican Party (see Libertarian Republicans) and Democratic Party (see Libertarian Democrats) as well as independents. The largest libertarian currents present in the Democratic Party are neoclassical liberalism and neo-libertarianism while the majority strand in the Libertarian and Republican parties is right-libertarianism and libertarian conservatism, respectively.[citation needed]


In the 19th century, key libertarian thinkers were based in the United States, most notably individualist anarchists Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker. These political thinkers argued that government should be kept to a minimum and that it is only legitimate to the extent that people voluntarily support it as in Spooner's No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority. American writers Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson advocated for individualism and even anarchism throughout that century, leaving a significant imprint on libertarianism in the United States.[citation needed]

Moving into the 20th century, important American writers—such as Rose Wilder Lane, H. L. Mencken, Albert Jay Nock, Isabel Paterson, Leonard Read (the founder of the Foundation for Economic Education) and the European immigrants Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand—carried on the intellectual libertarian tradition. In fiction, one can cite the work of the science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein, whose writing carried libertarian underpinnings. As of the mid-20th century, no word was used to describe the ideological outlook of this group of thinkers. Most of them would have described themselves as liberals before the New Deal, but by the mid-1930s that word had been widely used to mean social liberalism.[17] The term liberal had ceased to refer to the support of individual rights and minimal government and instead came to denote left-leaning ideas that would be seen elsewhere as social democratic. American advocates of freedom bemoaned the loss of the word and cast about for others to replace it.[17] The word conservative (later associated with libertarianism either through fiscal conservatism or through fusionism) had yet to emerge as Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind was not published until 1953 and this work hardly mentioned economics at all.[17]

In August 1953, Max Eastman proposed the terms New Liberalism and liberal conservative which were not eventually accepted.[17][18]

In May 1955, writer Dean Russell (1915–1998), a colleague of Leonard Read and a classical liberal himself, proposed the following solution:

Subsequently, a growing number of Americans with classical liberal beliefs in the United States began to describe themselves as libertarian. The person most responsible for popularizing the term libertarian was Murray Rothbard,[20] who started publishing libertarian works in the 1960s. Before the 1950s, H. L. Mencken and Albert Jay Nock had been the first prominent figures in the United States to privately call themselves libertarians.[21][22][23] However, their non-public use of the term went largely unnoticed and the term lay dormant on the American scene for the following few decades.[17]

Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater's libertarian-oriented challenge to authority had a major impact on the libertarian movement[24] through his book The Conscience of a Conservative and his run for President in 1964.[25] Goldwater's speech writer Karl Hess became a leading libertarian writer and activist.[26] The Vietnam War split the uneasy alliance between growing numbers of self-identified libertarians and more traditional conservatives who believed in limiting liberty to uphold moral virtues. Libertarians opposed to the war joined the draft resistance and peace movements and organizations such as Students for a Democratic Society. They began founding their own publications like Rothbard's The Libertarian Forum[27][28] and organizations like the Radical Libertarian Alliance.[29] The split was aggravated at the 1969 Young Americans for Freedom convention when more than 300 libertarians coordinated to take control of the organization from conservatives. The burning of a draft card in protest to a conservative proposal against draft resistance sparked physical confrontations among convention attendees, a walkout by a large number of libertarians, the creation of libertarian organizations like the Society for Individual Liberty and efforts to recruit potential libertarians from conservative organizations.[30] The split was finalized in 1971 when conservative leader William F. Buckley Jr. in a New York Times article attempted to divorce libertarianism from the freedom movement,[dubious ] writing: "The ideological licentiousness that rages through America today makes anarchy attractive to the simple-minded. Even to the ingeniously simple-minded".[31][unreliable source?]

As a result, David Nolan and a few friends formed the Libertarian Party in 1971.[32] Attracting former Democrats, Republicans and independents, it has run a presidential candidate every election year since 1972. Over the years, dozens of libertarian political parties have been formed worldwide. Educational organizations like the Center for Libertarian Studies and the Cato Institute were formed in the 1970s and others have been created since then.[33] Philosophical libertarianism gained a significant measure of recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University professor Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974. The book won a National Book Award in 1975.[34] According to libertarian essayist Roy Childs, "Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia single-handedly established the legitimacy of libertarianism as a political theory in the world of academia".[35] Since the resurgence of neoliberalism in the 1970s, American libertarianism has spread beyond North America and Europe, having been more successful at spreading worldwide than other conservative ideas.[36] For instance, it has been noted that "[m]ost parties of the Right [today] are run by economically liberal conservatives who, in varying degrees, have marginalized social, cultural, and national conservatives".[37]

Academics as well as proponents of the free-market perspectives note that free-market libertarianism has spread beyond the United States since the 1970s via think tanks and political parties[38][39] and that libertarianism is increasingly viewed as a free-market position.[40][41] However, libertarian intellectuals Noam Chomsky, Colin Ward and others argue that the term libertarianism is considered a synonym for libertarian socialism and social anarchism by the international community and that the United States is unique in widely associating it with free-market ideology.[5][6][7][8][12][13] The use of the word libertarian to describe a left-wing position has been traced to the French cognate libertaire, coined in a letter French libertarian communist Joseph Déjacque wrote to Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1857.[9][11][12][13][42] While in New York, Déjacque was able to serialise his book L'Humanisphère, Utopie anarchique (The Humanisphere: Anarchic Utopia) in his periodical Le Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social (Libertarian: Journal of Social Movement), published in 27 issues from June 9, 1858 to February 4, 1861.[12][13][43][44] Although unlike the rest of the world[5][6][7][8][9][11][12][13] modern libertarianism in the United States mainly refer to classical liberalism[45][46] and in the United States the term libertariansm is generally used as synonymous for right-libertarianism[47] as well as being the mainstream view and most popular conception of libertarianism in the United States today,[48][49] the term itself was first used by Déjacque even in the United States, where Le Libertaire was the first libertarian communist journal published in the United States and the first anarchist journal to use the term libertarian.[12][13]

In the 21st century, libertarian groups have been successful in advocating tax cuts and regulatory reform. While some argue that the American public as a whole shifted away from libertarianism following the fall of the Soviet Union, citing the success of multinational organizations such as NAFTA and the increasingly interdependent global financial system,[50] others argue that libertarian ideas have moved so far into the mainstream that many Americans who do not identify as libertarian now hold libertarian views.[51] Texas Congressman Ron Paul's 2008 and 2012 campaigns for the Republican Party presidential nomination were largely libertarian.[52] Paul was affiliated with the libertarian-leaning Republican Liberty Caucus[53] and founded the Campaign for Liberty, a libertarian-leaning membership and lobbying organization.[54] His son Rand Paul is a Senator who continues the tradition, albeit more moderately as he has described himself as a constitutional conservative[55] and has both embraced[56] and rejected libertarianism.[57]

Current developments[edit]

The Gadsden flag has been associated as a symbol of libertarianism in the 2010s

As was true historically, there are far more libertarians in the United States than those who belong to the party touting that name. In the United States, libertarians may emphasize economic and constitutional rather than religious and personal policies, or personal and international rather than economic policies[58] such as the Tea Party movement (founded in 2009) which has become a major outlet for Libertarian Republican ideas,[59][60] especially rigorous adherence to the Constitution, lower taxes and an opposition to a growing role for the federal government in health care. However, polls show that many people who identify as Tea Party members do not hold traditional libertarian views on most social issues and tend to poll similarly to socially conservative Republicans.[61][62][63] Eventually during the 2016 presidential election, many Tea Party members abandoned more libertarian-leaning views in favor of Donald Trump and his right-wing populism.[64] Additionally, the Tea Party was considered to be a key force in Republicans reclaiming control of the House of Representatives in 2010.[65]

Circa 2006 polls find that the views and voting habits of between 10 and 20 percent (increasing) of voting age Americans may be classified as "fiscally conservative and socially liberal, or libertarian".[66][67] This is based on pollsters and researchers defining libertarian views as fiscally conservative and culturally liberal (based on the common United States meanings of the terms) and against government intervention in economic affairs and for expansion of personal freedoms.[66] Through 20 polls on this topic spanning 13 years, Gallup found that voters who are libertarian on the political spectrum ranged from 17–23% of the electorate.[16] While libertarians make up a larger portion of the electorate than the much-discussed "soccer moms" and "NASCAR dads", this is not widely recognized as most of these vote for Republican and Democratic Party candidates, leading some libertarians to believe that dividing people's political leanings into "conservative", "liberal" and "confused" is not valid.[68]

A Libertarian Party revision of the Gadsen flag

The 2016 Libertarian National Convention which saw Gary Johnson and Bill Weld nominated as the 2016 presidential ticket for the Libertarian Party resulted in the most successful result for a third-party presidential candidacy since 1996 and the best in the Libertarian Party's history by vote number. Johnson received 3% of the popular vote, amounting to more than 4.3 million votes.[69] Johnson has expressed a desire to win at least 5% of the vote so that the Libertarian Party candidates could get equal ballot access and federal funding, subsequently ending the two-party system.[70][71][72]


Libertarian tendencies in the United States include left-libertarian tendecies[73][74][75] such as agorism,[76][77][78][79] geolibertarianism,[80][81][82] left-wing laissez-faire,[83][84][85][86][87] left-wing market anarchism,[88] mutualism,[89][90] neoclassical liberalism,[91][92][93][91][94][95] neo-libertarianism[96][97][98] and Steiner–Vallentyne left-libertarianism[99][100][101][102][103] and right-libertarian tendencies such as anarcho-capitalism,[104][105][106][107][108][109] classical liberalism,[110][111][112][113] conservative libertarianism,[114][115][116] fusionism,[117][118] neoliberalism,[119][120] Objectivism,[121][122] neolibertarianism,[123][124] paleolibertarianism[125][126] and propertarianism.[127][128]

Other tendencies include Austro-libertarianism,[129][130][131] autarchism,[132] Christian libertarianism,[133] consequentialist libertarianism,[134][135][136][137][138][139][140] constitutionalism,[141] green libertarianism,[142] libertarian feminism,[143][144] libertarian paternalism,[145][146][147] libertarian transhumanism,[148][149][150][151][152] minarchism,[153][154][155][156][157][158] natural-rights libertarianism,[135][159][160][161] panarchism[162][163][164][165] and voluntaryism.[166]

Classical libertarian tendencies include libertarian socialism and social anarchism, also including individualist anarchists such as Benjamin Tucker, Lysander Spooner, Stephen Pearl Andrews and William Batchelder Greene, among others.[12][13][167][168][169][170][171][172] The United States is unique in that in the rest of the world libertarianism is still used as a synonymous for libertarian socialism and social anarchism,[5][6][7][8][9][11][12] despite the fact that the word libertarian was first used in the United States by the French libertarian communist Joseph Déjacque,[12] who first coined the word in the political sense as well.[9][11][42] As a result, classical libertarians and critics such as Murray Bookchin[4] argue that in the United States this should be resisted, that anarchists, libertarian socialists and the left should reclaim libertarianism as a term and suggesting these other self-declared libertarians rename themselves propertarians instead.[12][13]


Yellow has been used as a political color for libertarianism in the United States.[173] The Gadsden flag, a symbol first used by American revolutionaries, is a symbol frequently used by libertarians, especially right-libertarians and the Tea Party movement.[174][175][176]


Well-known libertarian organizations include the Center for Libertarian Studies, the Cato Institute, the Foundation for Economic Education, the Reason Foundation, Liberty International and the Mises Institute. The Libertarian Party is the world's first such party. The Alliance of the Libertarian Left is a left-libertarian organization including agorists, geolibertarians, green libertarians, left-Rothbardians, minarchists, mutualists and voluntaryists, among others.

The Free State Project, an activist movement formed in 2001, is working to bring libertarians to the state of New Hampshire to protect and advance liberty. As of July 2018, the project website shows that 23,778 people have pledged to move within 5 years and 4,352 people identify as Free Staters in New Hampshire.[177] Less successful similar projects include the Free West Alliance and Free State Wyoming.

Mises Institute[edit]

The Mises Institute is a tax-exempt educative organization located in Auburn, Alabama.[178] Named after Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises, its website states that it exists to promote "teaching and research in the Austrian school of economics, and individual freedom, honest history, and international peace, in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises and Murray N. Rothbard".[179]

The Mises Institute was founded in 1982 by Lew Rockwell, Burton Blumert and Murray Rothbard following a split between the Cato Institute and Rothbard, who had been one of the founders of the Cato Institute.[180] Additional backing for the founding of the Mises Institute came from Mises's wife Margit von Mises, Henry Hazlitt, Lawrence Fertig and Nobel Economics Laureate Friedrich Hayek.[181][182] Through its publications, the Mises Institute promotes libertarian and anarcho-capitalist political theories and a form of heterodox economics known as praxeology ("the logic of action").[183][184]

Cato Institute[edit]

Cato Institute building in Washington, D.C.

The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard and Charles Koch,[185] chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, the second largest privately held company by revenue in the United States.[186] In July 1976, the name was changed to the Cato Institute.[185][187] The Cato Institute was established to have a focus on public advocacy, media exposure and societal influence.[188] According to the 2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania), the Cato Institute is number 16 in the "Top Think Tanks Worldwide" and number 8 in the "Top Think Tanks in the United States".[189] The Cato Institute also topped the 2014 list of the budget-adjusted ranking of international development think tanks.[190]

Center for Libertarian Studies[edit]

The Center for Libertarian Studies (CLS) was a libertarian and anarcho-capitalist oriented educational organization founded in 1976 by Murray Rothbard and Burton Blumert, which grew out of the Libertarian Scholars Conferences. The CLC published the Journal of Libertarian Studies from 1977 to 2000 (now published by the Mises Institute), a newsletter (In Pursuit of Liberty), several monographs and sponsors conferences, seminars and symposia. Originally headquartered in New York, it later moved to Burlingame, California. Until 2007, it supported, web publication of CLS vice president Lew Rockwell. The CLS had also previously supported


Among others, former Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater and former Texas Congressman Ron Paul popularized libertarian economics and rhetoric in opposition to state interventionism and worked to pass some reforms. California Governor Ronald Reagan appealed to American libertarians in a 1975 interview with Reason when he said: "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism".[191] However, many libertarians are ambivalent about Reagan's legacy as President due its social conservatism and the fact that Reagan turned the United States' big trade deficit into debt and that under the Reagan administration the United States became a debtor nation for the first time since World War I.[192][193]

Since 2012, former New Mexico Governor and two-time Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson has been one of the public faces of the libertarian movement in the United States. While some political commentators have described Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky as libertarians or libertarian-leaning,[56][194] both Republican legislators prefer to identify as constitutional conservatives.[55][57]

Currently, the only federal officeholder openly professing libertarianism is Congressman Justin Amash, who represents Michigan's 3rd congressional district since January 2011.[195][196][197][198] Initially elected to Congress as a Republican,[199] Amash left the Republican Party and became an independent in July 2019.[200]

Intellectual sources[edit]


Political commentators[edit]


Criticism of libertarianism includes ethical, economic, environmental, pragmatic and philosophical concerns, although they are mainly related to right-libertarianism, including the view that it has no explicit theory of liberty.[49] For instance, it has been argued that laissez-faire capitalism does not necessarily produce the best or most efficient outcome,[201] nor does its philosophy of individualism and policies of deregulation prevent the abuse of natural resources.[202]

Critics such as Corey Robin describe libertarianism as fundamentally a reactionary conservative ideology united with more traditional conservative thought and goals by a desire to enforce hierarchical power and social relations, arguing as follows:

Conservatism, then, is not a commitment to limited government and liberty—or a wariness of change, a belief in evolutionary reform, or a politics of virtue. These may be the byproducts of conservatism, one or more of its historically specific and ever-changing modes of expression. But they are not its animating purpose. Neither is conservatism a makeshift fusion of capitalists, Christians, and warriors, for that fusion is impelled by a more elemental force—the opposition to the liberation of men and women from the fetters of their superiors, particularly in the private sphere. Such a view might seem miles away from the libertarian defense of the free market, with its celebration of the atomistic and autonomous individual. But it is not. When the libertarian looks out upon society, he does not see isolated individuals; he sees private, often hierarchical, groups, where a father governs his family and an owner his employees.[203]

Michael Lind has observed that of the 195 countries in the world today, none have fully actualized a society as advocated by libertarians, arguing: "If libertarianism was a good idea, wouldn't at least one country have tried it? Wouldn't there be at least one country, out of nearly two hundred, with minimal government, free trade, open borders, decriminalized drugs, no welfare state and no public education system?"[204] Furthermore, Lind has criticized libertarianism as being incompatible with democracy and apologetic towards autocracy.[205] In response, libertarian Warren Redlich argues that the United States "was extremely libertarian from the founding until 1860, and still very libertarian until roughly 1930".[206]

According to Nancy MacLean, libertarian-leaning Charles and David Koch have used anonymous, dark money campaign contributions, a network of libertarian institutes and lobbying for the appointment of libertarian, pro-business judges to United States federal and state courts to oppose taxes, public education, employee protection laws, environmental protection laws and the New Deal Social Security program.[207]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of libertarianism
  2. ^ For philosophical literature describing the variations of libertarianism, see:
    • Bevir, Mark. Encyclopedia of Political Theory. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications, 2010. page 811;
    • Vallentyne, Peter (March 3, 2009). "Libertarianism". In Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2009 ed.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University. Retrieved March 5, 2010. in addition to the better-known version of libertarianism—right-libertarianism—there is also a version known as 'left-libertarianism';
    • Christiano, Thomas, and John P. Christman. Contemporary Debates in Political Philosophy. Contemporary debates in philosophy, 11. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. p. 121;
    • Lawrence C. Becker, Charlotte B. Becker. Encyclopedia of ethics, Volume 3 Encyclopedia of Ethics, Charlotte B. Becker, page 1562;
    • Paul, Ellen F. Liberalism: Old and New. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007. p. 187; and
    • Sapon, Vladimir; Robino, Sam (2010). "Right and Left Wings in Libertarianism". Canadian Social Science. 5 (6).
    • Roderick T. Long, "Towards a Libertarian Theory of Class," Social Philosophy and Policy 15:2 1998, 303–349: pp. 304–308. (online: Part 1, part 2).
  3. ^ Rothbard, Murray (2009) [1970s]. The Betrayal of the American Right (PDF). Mises Institute. ISBN 978-1610165013. One gratifying aspect of our rise to some prominence is that, for the first time in my memory, we, 'our side,' had captured a crucial word from the enemy. 'Libertarians' had long been simply a polite word for left-wing anarchists, that is for anti-private property anarchists, either of the communist or syndicalist variety. But now we had taken it over.
  4. ^ a b Bookchin, Murray (January 1986). "The Greening of Politics: Toward a New Kind of Political Practice". Green Perspectives: Newsletter of the Green Program Project (1). "We have permitted cynical political reactionaries and the spokesmen of large corporations to pre-empt these basic libertarian American ideals. We have permitted them not only to become the specious voice of these ideals such that individualism has been used to justify egotism; the pursuit of happiness to justify greed, and even our emphasis on local and regional autonomy has been used to justify parochialism, insularism, and exclusivity – often against ethnic minorities and so-called deviant individuals. We have even permitted these reactionaries to stake out a claim to the word libertarian, a word, in fact, that was literally devised in the 1890s in France by Elisée Reclus as a substitute for the word anarchist, which the government had rendered an illegal expression for identifying one's views. The propertarians, in effect – acolytes of Ayn Rand, the earth mother of greed, egotism, and the virtues of property – have appropriated expressions and traditions that should have been expressed by radicals but were willfully neglected because of the lure of European and Asian traditions of socialism, socialisms that are now entering into decline in the very countries in which they originated".
  5. ^ a b c d Nettlau, Max (1996). A Short History of Anarchism. London: Freedom Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-900384-89-9. OCLC 37529250.
  6. ^ a b c d Fernandez, Frank (2001). Cuban Anarchism. The History of a Movement. Sharp Press. p. 9. "Thus, in the United States, the once exceedingly useful term "libertarian" has been hijacked by egotists who are in fact enemies of liberty in the full sense of the word."
  7. ^ a b c d "The Week Online Interviews Chomsky". Z Magazine. February 23, 2002. "The term libertarian as used in the US means something quite different from what it meant historically and still means in the rest of the world. Historically, the libertarian movement has been the anti-statist wing of the socialist movement. In the US, which is a society much more dominated by business, the term has a different meaning. It means eliminating or reducing state controls, mainly controls over private tyrannies. Libertarians in the US don't say let's get rid of corporations. It is a sort of ultra-rightism."
  8. ^ a b c d Ward, Colin (2004). Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. p. 62. "For a century, anarchists have used the word 'libertarian' as a synonym for 'anarchist', both as a noun and an adjective. The celebrated anarchist journal Le Libertaire was founded in 1896. However, much more recently the word has been appropriated by various American free-market philosophers."
  9. ^ a b c d e Robert Graham, ed. (2005). Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas. Volume One: From Anarchy to Anarchism (300 CE–1939). Montreal: Black Rose Books. §17.
  10. ^ Goodway, David (2006). Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow: Left-Libertarian Thought and British Writers from William Morris to Colin Ward. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. p. 4. "'Libertarian' and 'libertarianism' are frequently employed by anarchists as synonyms for 'anarchist' and 'anarchism', largely as an attempt to distance themselves from the negative connotations of 'anarchy' and its derivatives. The situation has been vastly complicated in recent decades with the rise of anarcho-capitalism, 'minimal statism' and an extreme right-wing laissez-faire philosophy advocated by such theorists as Rothbard and Nozick and their adoption of the words 'libertarian' and 'libertarianism'. It has therefore now become necessary to distinguish between their right libertarianism and the left libertarianism of the anarchist tradition".
  11. ^ a b c d e Marshall, Peter (2009). Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. p. 641. "The word 'libertarian' has long been associated with anarchism, and has been used repeatedly throughout this work. The term originally denoted a person who upheld the doctrine of the freedom of the will; in this sense, Godwin was not a 'libertarian', but a 'necessitarian'. It came however to be applied to anyone who approved of liberty in general. In anarchist circles, it was first used by Joseph Déjacque as the title of his anarchist journal Le Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social published in New York in 1858. At the end of the last century, the anarchist Sebastien Faure took up the word, to stress the difference between anarchists and authoritarian socialists".
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "150 years of Libertarian".
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h "160 years of Libertarian".
  14. ^ "Libertarian Party 2010 Platform". Libertarian Party. May 2010. p. 1. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
  15. ^ Watts, Duncan (16 March 2006). Understanding American government and politics: a guide for A2 politics students (2nd Revised ed.). Manchester University Press. p. 246. ISBN 978-0-7190-7327-4.
  16. ^ a b Gallup Poll news release, September 7–10, 2006.
  17. ^ a b c d e f Jeffrey Tucker. "Where Does the Term "Libertarian" Come From Anyway?".
  18. ^ Max Eastman. "What to Call Yourself".
  19. ^ Russell, Dean (May 1955). "Who Is A Libertarian?". The Freeman. Foundation for Economic Education. 5 (5). Archived from the original on June 26, 2010. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
  20. ^ Paul Cantor (2012). The Invisible Hand in Popular Culture: Liberty Vs. Authority in American Film and TV. University Press of Kentucky. n. 2. p. 353.
  21. ^ Burns, Jennifer (2009). Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 306. ISBN 978-0-19-532487-7.
  22. ^ Henry Louis Mencken, Letters of H.L. Mencken, Knopf, 1961, p. xiii and 189.
  23. ^ Albert Jay Nock, Letters from Albert Jay Nock, 1924-1945: to Edmund C. Evans, Mrs. Edmund C. Evans and Ellen Winsor, Caxton Printers, 1949, p. 40.
  24. ^ Henry J. Silverman, American radical thought: the libertarian tradition, p. 279, 1970, Heath publishing.
  25. ^ Robert Poole, "In memoriam: Barry Goldwater – Obituary", Archived May 25, 2012, at, Reason, August–September 1998.
  26. ^ Hess, Karl. The Death of Politics, Interview in Playboy, July 1976.
  27. ^ Murray Rothbard, "The Early 1960s: From Right to Left" Archived February 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, excerpt from chapter 13 of Murray Rothbard The Betrayal of the American Right, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007.
  28. ^ Ronald Lora, William Henry Longton, Conservative press in 20th-century America, pp. 367–374, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999
  29. ^ Marc Jason Gilbert, The Vietnam War on campus: other voices, more distant drums, p. 35, 2001, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0-275-96909-6.
  30. ^ Rebecca E. Klatch, A Generation Divided: The New Left, the New Right, and the 1960s, University of California Press, 1999, pp. 215–237.
  31. ^ Jude Blanchette, What Libertarians and Conservatives Say About Each Other: An Annotated Bibliography,, October 27, 2004.
  32. ^ Bill Winter, "1971–2001: The Libertarian Party's 30th Anniversary Year: Remembering the first three decades of America's 'Party of Principle'" LP News
  33. ^ "International Society for Individual Liberty Freedom Network list". Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  34. ^ David Lewis Schaefer (April 30, 2008). "Robert Nozick and the Coast of Utopia". The New York Sun. Retrieved April 30, 2008.
  35. ^ The Advocates Robert Nozick page Archived April 24, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  36. ^ Teles, Steven; Kenney, Daniel A. "Spreading the Word: The diffusion of American Conservatism in Europe and beyond". pp. 136–169. In Steinmo, Sven (2008). Growing Apart?: America and Europe in the Twenty-first Century. Cambridge University Press.
  37. ^ "National Questions" (30 June 1997). National Review. 49 (12): pp. 16-17.
  38. ^ Steven Teles and Daniel A. Kenney, chapter "Spreading the Word: The diffusion of American Conservatism in Europe and beyond," (pp. 136–69) in Growing apart?: America and Europe in the twenty-first century by Sven Steinmo, Cambridge University Press, 2008, ISBN, The chapter discusses how libertarian ideas have been more successful at spreading worldwide than social conservative ideas.
  39. ^ Gregory, Anthony (April 24, 2007). "Real World Politics and Radical Libertarianism". Archived June 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  40. ^ Boaz, David (November 21, 1998). "Preface for the Japanese Edition of Libertarianism: A Primer", reprinted at, November 21, 1998.
  41. ^ Silber, Kenneth (February 4, 2007). "Radicals for Capitalism (Book Review)". The New York Post. Archived December 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  42. ^ a b Déjacque, Joseph (1857). "De l'être-humain mâle et femelle–Lettre à P.J. Proudhon" (in French).
  43. ^ Mouton, Jean Claude. "Le Libertaire, Journal du mouvement social" (in French). Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  44. ^ Woodcock, George (1962). Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. Meridian Books. p. 280. "He called himself a "social poet," and published two volumes of heavily didactic verse—Lazaréennes and Les Pyrénées Nivelées. In New York, from 1858 to 1861, he edited an anarchist paper entitled Le Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social, in whose pages he printed as a serial his vision of the anarchist Utopia, entitled L'Humanisphére."
  45. ^ Boaz, David (1998). Libertarianism: A Primer. Free Press. pp. 22–26.
  46. ^ Conway, David (2008). "Freedom of Speech". In Hamowy, Ronald (ed.). Liberalism, Classical. The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications; Cato Institute. pp. 295–298, quote at p. 296. doi:10.4135/9781412965811.n112. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4. LCCN 2008009151. OCLC 750831024. Depending on the context, libertarianism can be seen as either the contemporary name for classical liberalism, adopted to avoid confusion in those countries where liberalism is widely understood to denote advocacy of expansive government powers, or as a more radical version of classical liberalism.
  47. ^ Goodway, David (2006). Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow: Left-Libertarian Thought and British Writers from William Morris to Colin Ward. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. p. 4. "'Libertarian' and 'libertarianism' are frequently employed by anarchists as synonyms for 'anarchist' and 'anarchism', largely as an attempt to distance themselves from the negative connotations of 'anarchy' and its derivatives. The situation has been vastly complicated in recent decades with the rise of anarcho-capitalism, 'minimal statism' and an extreme right-wing laissez-faire philosophy advocated by such theorists as Rothbard and Nozick and their adoption of the words 'libertarian' and 'libertarianism'. It has therefore now become necessary to distinguish between their right libertarianism and the left libertarianism of the anarchist tradition".
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  57. ^ a b Newton-Small, Jay (March 17, 2010). "Is Rand Paul Good or Bad for Republicans?". Time. Retrieved March 30, 2014. They thought all along that they could call me a libertarian and hang that label around my neck like an albatross, but I'm not a libertarian.
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  73. ^ Kymlicka, Will (2005). "libertarianism, left-". In Honderich, Ted. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. New York City: Oxford University Press. p. 516. ISBN 978-0199264797. "'Left-libertarianism' is a new term for an old conception of justice, dating back to Grotius. It combines the libertarian assumption that each person possesses a natural right of self-ownership over his person with the egalitarian premiss that natural resources should be shared equally. Right-wing libertarians argue that the right of self-ownership entails the right to appropriate unequal parts of the external world, such as unequal amounts of land. According to left-libertarians, however, the world's natural resources were initially unowned, or belonged equally to all, and it is illegitimate for anyone to claim exclusive private ownership of these resources to the detriment of others. Such private appropriation is legitimate only if everyone can appropriate an equal amount, or if those who appropriate more are taxed to compensate those who are thereby excluded from what was once common property. Historic proponents of this view include Thomas Paine, Herbert Spencer, and Henry George. Recent exponents include Philippe Van Parijs and Hillel Steiner."
  74. ^ "Anarchism". In Gaus, Gerald F.; D'Agostino, Fred, eds. (2012). The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy. p. 227.
  75. ^ Carson, Kevin (15 June 2014). "What is Left-Libertarianism?". Center for a Stateless Society.
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  83. ^ Chartier, Gary; Johnson, Charles W. (2011). Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty. Brooklyn, NY:Minor Compositions/Autonomedia
  84. ^ "It introduces an eye-opening approach to radical social thought, rooted equally in libertarian socialism and market anarchism." Chartier, Gary; Johnson, Charles W. (2011). Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty. Brooklyn, NY: Minor Compositions/Autonomedia. p. back cover.
  85. ^ "But there has always been a market-oriented strand of libertarian socialism that emphasizes voluntary cooperation between producers. And markets, properly understood, have always been about cooperation. As a commenter at Reason magazine's Hit&Run blog, remarking on Jesse Walker's link to the Kelly article, put it: "every trade is a cooperative act." In fact, it's a fairly common observation among market anarchists that genuinely free markets have the most legitimate claim to the label "socialism." "Socialism: A Perfectly Good Word Rehabilitated" by Kevin Carson at website of Center for a Stateless Society.
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    • Chartier, Gary; Johnson, Charles W. (2011). Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty. Brooklyn, NY: Minor Compositions/Autonomedia.
    • "It introduces an eye-opening approach to radical social thought, rooted equally in libertarian socialism and market anarchism." Chartier, Gary; Johnson, Charles W. (2011). Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty. Brooklyn, NY: Minor Compositions/Autonomedia. p. back cover.
    • "But there has always been a market-oriented strand of libertarian socialism that emphasizes voluntary cooperation between producers. And markets, properly understood, have always been about cooperation. As a commenter at Reason magazine's Hit&Run blog, remarking on Jesse Walker's link to the Kelly article, put it: “every trade is a cooperative act.” In fact, it's a fairly common observation among market anarchists that genuinely free markets have the most legitimate claim to the label “socialism.”" "Socialism: A Perfectly Good Word Rehabilitated" by Kevin Carson at website of Center for a Stateless Society.
    • Carson, Kevin A. (2008). Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective. Charleston, SC: BookSurge.
    • Carson, Kevin A. (2010). The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto. Charleston, SC: BookSurge.
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    • Spangler, Brad (September 15, 2006). "Market Anarchism as Stigmergic Socialism". Archived 10 May 2011 at
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    • Gillis, William (2011). "The Freed Market." In Chartier, Gary and Johnson, Charles. Markets Not Capitalism. Brooklyn, NY: Minor Compositions/Autonomedia. pp. 19–20.
    • Chartier, Gary; Johnson, Charles W. (2011). Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty. Brooklyn, NY: Minor Compositions/Autonomedia. pp. 1–16.
    • Gary Chartier and Charles W. Johnson (eds). Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty. Minor Compositions; 1st edition (November 5, 2011).
    • Gary Chartier has joined Kevin Carson, Charles W. Johnson and others in maintaining that because of its heritage and its emancipatory goals and potential radical market anarchism should be seen by its proponents and by others as part of the socialist tradition and that market anarchists can and should call themselves socialists. See Gary Chartier, "Advocates of Freed Markets Should Oppose Capitalism," "Free-Market Anti-Capitalism?" session, annual conference, Association of Private Enterprise Education (Cæsar's Palace, Las Vegas, NV, April 13, 2010); Gary Chartier, "Advocates of Freed Markets Should Embrace 'Anti-Capitalism'"; Gary Chartier, Socialist Ends, Market Means: Five Essays. Cp. Tucker, "Socialism."
    • Chris Sciabarra is the only scholar associated with this school of left-libertarianism who is skeptical about anarchism; see Sciabarra's Total Freedom.
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  105. ^ "In fact, few anarchists would accept the 'anarcho-capitalists' into the anarchist camp since they do not share a concern for economic equality and social justice, Their self-interested, calculating market men would be incapable of practising voluntary co-operation and mutual aid. Anarcho-capitalists, even if they do reject the State, might therefore best be called right-wing libertarians rather than anarchists." Peter Marshall. Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. Harper Perennial. London. 2008. p. 565.
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  109. ^ "Within Libertarianism, Rothbard represents a minority perspective that actually argues for the total elimination of the state. However Rothbard’s claim as an anarchist is quickly voided when it is shown that he only wants an end to the public state. In its place he allows countless private states, with each person supplying their own police force, army, and law, or else purchasing these services from capitalist venders. [...] [S]o what remains is shrill anti-statism conjoined to a vacuous freedom in hackneyed defense of capitalism. In sum, the "anarchy" of Libertarianism reduces to a liberal fraud." "Libertarianism: Bogus Anarchy" by Peter Sabatini in issue #41 (Fall/Winter 1994–95) of Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed.
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