What is a Libertarian?

What is a Libertarian? a Gadsen flag upgraded from patriotism to peaceful tolerance in the libertarian adaptation "Don't Tread on Anyone." When someone asks, "What Is a Libertarian," show them this.

It’s one of the questions we get most often: “What is a Libertarian?”
Someone who believes you own yourself. Someone who believes using violence against peaceful people is wrong, even if you’ve got a badge. Someone willing to stand up for your civil rights, because they are also his own.

Individuality is kind of our thing, and people have different priorities and values. Libertarians are often most passionate about the violence and damage caused by government actions, because they’ve realized, deep down, that it’s just wrong.

A libertarian who has experienced the brutality of war, or buried a child in a flag-draped coffin, will tell you first that “Libertarians are anti-war.” 

A libertarian whose civil rights were trampled will say “Libertarians believe everyone’s civil liberties must be protected. All of them. Every time.”

A libertarian who saw his family or community gutted by the racist, violent War on Drugs will tell you “Libertarians believe peaceful people should be left alone. No victim? No crime.” 

A libertarian whose family business was destroyed by ever-higher taxes, licensing, and lobbyist regulations will tell you “Libertarians oppose taxes, and government deciding what customers can buy.”

A libertarian whose home was seized by the city and sold to a powerful developer will tell you “Libertarians believe in property rights, and due process before search or seizure.”

So what do libertarians really believe? To know what we all (mostly) agree on, you can check out our national party platform.

But libertarian policy positions are just practical extensions of our core philosophy.

Libertarians believe:

People own themselves.
It’s wrong to use violence against peaceful people.
Human interactions should be voluntary: if consenting adults agree, it’s no one else’s business.
Moral government is limited to protecting people from force and fraud by others. 

Most people, even people who don’t think of themselves as libertarians, go about their daily lives treating other people well and staying out of other people’s business. But non-libertarians will draw a box around government – police, politicians, regulators – and assume that the force government uses must be different, and somehow…okay. 

A libertarian believes all people, even ones with badges, Senate seats, or powdered wigs, have the same responsibility to leave peaceful people alone. 

Police abuse is increasingly caught on video. Unjust wars abroad drag on. Regulators and tax collectors, aided by lobbyists, find ever more ways to limit how Americans can use their own property and earn a living. 

Libertarians believe that as more people notice the way power is abused, they’ll stop drawing that box of moral exemption around government actors. A badge doesn’t give you special rights, and it doesn’t grant permission to violate someone else’s rights. If you believe that, you might already be a libertarian. 

Libertarians have some overlap with both the political left and the political right, and we are happy to work with allies of all stripes to defend our shared values. We are allies of the “right” when we oppose high taxes, advocate for school choice, and support the second amendment rights of each peaceful person to defend himself. We are allies of the left when we oppose war, defend everyone’s civil rights from abuse by government, and fight to decriminalize peaceful adult choices like sex work and drug use. We’re not a centrist party, nor are we extremists. We’re just honest about what we stand for, and we’re willing to stand alongside others who share some, if rarely all, of our core beliefs.

Libertarians are the party of peace, people, and principles. And if you believe in these principles too, we’d love to count you – no matter who you are – among our ranks. Join us today?


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