What is Libertarianism?

by Libertarian Country March 22, 2023

What is Libertarianism?

Welcome! We're glad you have taken an interest in libertarianism.

This easy-to-read guide serves as an introduction and will help give you a basic understanding of the political philosophy of libertarianism.


Are You a Libertarian?

Many people feel they don't fit in with Democrats or Republicans. They believe Democrats are tax-and-spend socialists who want big government and Republicans are outdated warmongers who worry far too much about what people do in their private lives.

Libertarians fight to keep Democrats out of your wallet and Republicans out of your bedroom. Libertarians respect and value all your freedoms all the time.

People are looking for a political party that suits them better, and many are choosing to switch to the Libertarian Party. Beyond a third-party option, many seek a political philosophy they can identify with and apply to their lives.

Maybe you feel the same way?

Do you value freedom, individual liberty, self-ownership and personal responsibility? Do you think people should be free to live as they see fit as long as they don't hurt others? Are you tired of the American two-party system?

If you answered yes to these questions, then congratulations, you're a libertarian!


Libertarianism Explained in Simple Terms

Libertarianism is a complex philosophy with many principles and virtues, but there is a simple way to look at it and understand it.

At its core, libertarianism is the idea that people function best when left alone. People do not need the government to manage every aspect of their lives.

Imagine you have started a new job. You were hired by upper management because you excel at your craft, and they see you as a potential asset to the company.

After a few weeks on the job, it has become apparent that your supervisor is smothering you. They are looking over your shoulder every minute of the day.

They're eager to point out your mistakes before you catch them yourself. They complain about how you dress and what you're having for lunch and are happy to point out that you got a couple of crumbs on the floor. They're ruling over you like a British nanny.

You love the job, but your supervisor is driving you nuts.

Now picture an efficient supervisor who can run a good shift but doesn't bother you. The supervisor allows you to catch your mistakes, gives you breathing room to operate without being watched, and even overlooks minor offenses because they understand you're human.

Which supervisor would you prefer? The aggressive micro-manager eager to punish or the good supervisor who gives you space to flourish and excel at your career?

Libertarians want a government that behaves like a relaxed supervisor. One that is efficient at its assigned tasks but does not want more authority to creep into every aspect of your life.


What is the appropriate size and scope of government?

Under libertarianism, the government would provide national defense, protect natural rights, participate in criminal justice and enforce contracts, but not much else.

Many ideas, thoughts and beliefs go into answering the question, but libertarians all agree on one thing; the government should have limited power and be reduced to function at a basic level.

When the state interferes in areas (like the free market) it wasn't designed to be involved with, the people's liberty suffers. When people's freedom suffers, progress is slowed and the quality of life declines.

Scientific, intellectual, technological, economic and humanitarian progress relies on a certain level of freedom to flourish. We learned this during the Enlightenment. Progress sped up when the grip of the church and government's power loosened in Europe in the late 17th and 18th centuries. It was called 'The Age of Reason.'

We have enlightenment philosophers like John Locke to thank for contributing libertarian ideas that shaped America's constitution and republic.

Limiting and reducing government is the objective of the libertarian. Freedom is essential, and we fight for a government that protects natural rights and honors libertarian principles.

The government is far too big and powerful. If you agree, you're well on your way to proudly calling yourself a libertarian.


Thank you for visiting Libertarian Country! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get free articles and new product notifications! 

For a deeper dive into the philosophy, please see our 'Ultimate Guide to Libertarianism'. 

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