Libertarian Party

Think of a version of the United States with open borders and no laws against drugs and drug consumption. A place where everyone is considered equal regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation, with an unregulated free market. These ideas seem too contradicting to work together within the confines of our Democratic and Republican parties. However, this is precisely the kind of world the Libertarian Party might envision.

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Table of contents

    This article will help give you a basic understanding of what the Libertarian Party believes and works toward.

    Figure 1. Libertarian Party. Libertarian Party Porcupine. StudySmarterFigure 1. Libertarian Party Porcupine, Lance W. Haverkamp, CC-Zero, Wikimedia Commons

    Libertarian Party Definition

    The Libertarian Party is a third party that believes that people should have sovereignty over their lives, liberty, and property, as long as it does not interfere with the equal rights of others.

    Third-Party: A political party opposing the two parties in a two-party system.

    Libertarian Party Beliefs

    Libertarians believe that the government is the cause of many societal problems. In order to solve these problems, Libertarians believe in a limited central government with individuals exercising their individual and natural rights. The Libertarian party is a mix of left and right politics. Most social policies the Libertarian Party advocates for are more left than the Democrats. At the same time, they lean more right by being more fiscally conservative. The Libertarian Party's beliefs are based on personal and economic liberty, with a belief that the government should exist to secure these freedoms. The following are some of the beliefs the Libertarian Party upholds.

    Personal Liberty

    Libertarians believe that Everyone has the right to do what they want with their life with no governmental interference. The following are some examples of some Libertarian beliefs that have to do with personal liberty.

    Libertarians oppose:

    • Government surveillance on citizens

    • Censorship and regulation of all media outlets.

    • Government defining, restricting, or limiting personal relationships (government should have no say in sexual practices amongst consenting adults)

    • Restricting activities by age, such as the purchase of marijuana, firearms, and alcohol. They believe once someone is able to serve in the military or on jury duty, they should have sufficient judgment to make their own choices.

    • The death penalty.

    Libertarians advocate for:

    • Equal treatment of everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity.

    • Parents being able to raise their kids however they choose, as long as kids are not subjected to abuse or neglect. Parents should also be able to choose what kind of education their children will receive.

    • For an end to the War on Drugs by:

      • Making drugs legal, which would reduce their profit in the black market, resulting in a reduction of crime.

      • Pardoning non-violent drug criminals

    • Rights of the Accused, such as:

      • Due process

      • Speedy trial

      • Trial by jury

      • Presumption of innocence until proven otherwise

    • Open borders. (However, if immigrants have a criminal background or have plans to commit acts of violence, they should not be allowed entry.)

    • The dissolution of selective service.

    Economic Liberty

    The Libertarian Party believes in a free market, free of government regulation. The only role government should have is to protect property rights, judge disputes, and provide a framework for conducting trade. The following are some examples of economic liberties that libertarians believe in.

    Libertarians oppose:

    • Government subsidies on energy sources and governmental control of the pricing, allocation, and production of these energy sources.

    • Raising taxes and incurring national debt.

    • Social welfare

    • A minimum wage

    • The regulation of firearms. (However, are in support of severe punishment for those who commit crimes with guns.Libertarian

    Libertarians Advocate for:

    • A balanced national budget is balanced by cutting government spending.

    • A separation of business and state, meaning people should run their businesses as they see fit.

    Securing Liberty

    The Libertarian Party believes that the government should only exist to secure citizens' liberty. In terms of securing liberty, the following are some examples of their beliefs.

    Libertarians oppose:

    • Government secret classifications, which they believe would lead to intelligence agencies having oversight and transparency.

    • Excluding parties on ballots and gerrymandering.

    Libertarians advocate for:

    • Strong national defense to defend the US against aggressive acts.

    • Internation free-trading, without the need to think about political boundaries.

    • Citizens having the freedom to express dissatisfaction via petitions and the ability to express dissent.

    • A more representative political voting systems

    Libertarian Party Foreign Issues

    On foreign policy, the Libertarian Party believes it's best to collaborate with other countries to achieve peace. The Libertarian Party also advocates for the end of foreign military and economic aid. Additionally, they believe that the United States should stop intervening in international affairs.

    Figure 2. Libertarian Party. David Nolan founder of Libertarian Party. StudySmarterFigure 2. David Nolan founder of Libertarian Party, MarcMontoni at English Wikipedia, CC-BY-3.0, Wikimedia Commons

    Libertarian Party History

    The Libertarian Party was founded in Colorado in December 1971 by David Nolan. At the time of its founding, David Nolan and those he was leading were concerned about the policies the Nixon administration was imposing, such as the Vietnam War and conscription. In response, the Libertarian Party was founded in an attempt to create an alternative party that encouraged personal freedoms and limited government regulation.

    Conscription: requiring citizens to sign up for the armed forces.

    The first Libertarian Party convention was in 1972. The first candidates to run for the Libertarian Party were John Hospers as president, and Theodora "Toni" Nathan, as vice president. However, they received less than 3000 votes. This loss was followed by many other presidential election losses. In the 1976 elections, the Libertarian Party ran 176 candidates who all together were able to get 1.2 million votes.

    In the 1980 election, Ed Clark ran for president under the Libertarian Party. Clark got more than one million votes; however, since he didn't win the majority vote in any states, he received no electoral votes. Today, there still has not been a Libertarian Presidential candidate that has won the presidency.

    The Libertarian Party has never won a seat in Congress

    Libertarian Party Accomplishments

    The Libertarian Party is America's third largest political party. There are more than 400,000 registered Libertarian Party Voters in the United States in 27 states. This is a massive accomplishment for any party that is functioning within a two-party system.

    In the 1972 election, Republican Roger L. MacBride from Virginia became a faithless elector when he used his electoral votes for president and vice president for the Libertarians Party's candidates, respectively, John Hospers and Toni Nathan. This was the first time in US history that an electoral vote was cast for a woman.

    Faithless Elector: Electors in the Electoral Collect that cast their votes for candidates that are not in their same party.

    The Libertarian Party saw its first success in state politics in Alaska, where between 1978 three members of the Libertarian Party won seats in the Alaska House of Representatives. Following the success in Alaska in 1992, New Hampshire saw the election of four members of the Libertarian party to its House of Representatives.

    In 2011, Daniel P. Gordon, a representative in Rhode Island's House of Representatives, was expelled from the Republican Party and joined the Libertarian Party, giving the party a seat in the state legislature. In 2016, something similar happened, four legislators from four different states left the Republican Party to join the Libertarian Party; John Moore and Max Abramson, representatives from the House of Representatives in Nevada and New Hampshire, Senator Laura Ebke from Nebraska, and Senator Mark B. Madsen from Utah.

    There are many types of Libertarianism as a philosophy. Some of these branches are: Anarcho-Capitalism, Civil Libertarianism, Classical Liberalism, Fiscal Libertarianism, Geolibertarianism, Libertarian Socialism, Minarchism, Neolibertarianism, Objectivism, and Paleolibertarianism.

    To learn more about Libertarian beliefs, check out this Libertarianism article!

    Libertarian Party - Key takeaways

    • The Libertarian Party was founded in 1972 by David Nolan
    • The Libertarian Party's first candidates for president and vice president candidates were John Hospers and Theodora "Toni" Nathan.
    • The Libertarian Party believes in people exercising their free will with minimal government regulations.
    • The Libertarian Party believes that the only role the government should have is in securing its citizen's liberties and should leave citizens with personal and economic freedom.
    • Some of their more radical views revolve around legalizing drugs, having no firearm regulations, and getting rid of social welfare.
    Frequently Asked Questions about Libertarian Party

    What is a libertarian in simple terms?

    A libertarian is someone who believes that people should have sovereignty over their lives, liberty, and property, as long as it does not interfere with the equal rights of others.  

    What is a libertarian vs conservative?

    Conservatives are in favor of more government regulation, while Libertarians strongly believe in the least government intervention possible. 

    What are the core beliefs of the libertarian party?

    The core beliefs that the Libertarian Party has are that government should intervene as little as possible in citizens' lives, that citizens should exercise their natural rights freely, and they believe in equality for all. 

    What is the libertarian party's stance on immigration?

    The Libertarian Party believes in open borders, however, if immigrants have a criminal background or have plans to commit acts of violence, they should not be allowed entry. 

    What are the types of libertarians?

    The types of Libertarianism are Anarcho-Capitalism, Civil Libertarianism, Classical Liberalism, Fiscal Libertarianism, Geolibertarianism, Libertarian Socialism, Minarchism, Neolibertarianism, Objectivism, Paleolibertarianism 

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    The Libertarian Party believes in what kind of economy? 

    What kind of government does the Libertarian Party believe in?

    Which of the following does the Libertarian Party believe in? 

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