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Wikipedia: Libertarian
Libertarian
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The term libertarian commonly refers to the ideas and adherents of libertarianism (aka classical liberalism).

Etymology of the word "libertarian"

The term "libertarian" originally meant proponent of liberty, and can still be used in this meaning, in the proper context. It can be opposed to authoritarian (in politics), or to proponents of determinism (in philosophy), etc.

"Libertarian" as "anarchist"

The term "libertarian" was also used by anarchists as synonymous for naming their movement, so as to avoid confusion with derogatory uses of anarchy, as synonymous with anomie. Also in the aftermath of the crushing of the Paris Commune in 1871, Anarchism and Anarchists were officially outlawed for decades so anarchists were forced to call their groups and publications by another name - hence the adoption of the French word Libertaire as an alternative term for anarchist. This is the political origin of the word.

Just like the word anarchist, the word "libertarian", at least in Europe, has long been synonymous with the socialist kind of anarchists, which may be specified as libertarian socialists. On the other hand, in the United States, it was rather understood as synonymous with individualist anarchist.

"Libertarian" as "classical liberal"

However, in the US since the 1950s, the word libertarian has been widely used by classical liberalss, only a few of them being anarcho-capitalists. These classical liberals sought to avoid confusion with uses of the word liberal then widely associated with various social-democratic and even socialist parties and ideologies. Indeed, the libertarian socialist tradition was not strong in the US, so the word was not deeply tied to left-anarchism, whereas there was a tradition of individualist anarchists and other non-socialists and non-anarchists calling themselves libertarians in the US. The word has spread to the US and then other countries, through the founding of think tanks, parties and other groups. Others argue, however, that using the term libertarian as a synonym for "classical liberal" is misleading as classical liberals such as John Stuart Mill would not have seen themselves as opposed to the state and saw a role for the state in the delivery of education, maintenance and expansion of public utilities and even in the provision of assistance to the poor where modern libertarians are often hostile to the state and think its role should be severely restricted or even eliminated. Libertarians argue that the market can be used to organize all or most aspects of society and have developed rational choice theory accordingly while classical liberals such as Adam Smith argued there were limitations to the market's utility as a means of social organization while libertarians tend to Some critics argue a better term to describe libertarianism would be neo-classical liberalism.

A typographical convention

Some writers also follow the convention of using "libertarian" (spelled in lowercase) to mean a general advocate of libertarianism, while "Libertarian" (capitalized) refers specifically to a member of a libertarian political party, such as any of the following:

See also:

External links


  

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona