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What Americans Believe

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 Libertarian Group: Dee Speaking
Current speaker Current speaker We want to stress that libertarianism is a philosophy of liberty or freedom. Of course, we believe that freedom leads to prosperity and well-being, but that is not our focus. We are not about outcomes. We are about protecting liberty.

Liberals love to depict libertarians as people who care about nothing but property, as though we really don't care anything about people. All we want to do is to defend employers who pay starvation wages. That's totally unfair.

What libertarians care about is freedom. Sure, that includes property rights. But it includes a lot more, and that's what we want to stress right now. Libertarians care about all kinds of individual freedoms. We want you to consider the following examples:

  • Freedom to believe whatever you want. That includes strange religions and weird political philosophies.

  • Freedom to practice your beliefs as long as you don't violate the rights of other people.

  • Freedom to associate with whomever you wish. That includes other stamp collectors, people who believe the earth is flat, communists, and even Nazis.

  • Freedom to live as you please. That includes sexual freedom, the freedom to take drugs, to go to nude beaches, and to listen to music that everybody else hates. You can experiment with your life. You can join a commune or live as a hermit in the desert.

  • Freedom to take risks with your life and your body. You can smoke cigarettes, climb mountains, and engage in extreme sports.

  • Freedom from paternalism. No one can make you wear a helmet when you ride your motorcycle. We reject the nanny state that restricts your freedom in order to protect you from yourself.

All of these freedoms are freedoms from interference by others -- other individuals and especially the government itself. The idea is to set up a framework within which people can create the lives they want to lead. Libertarianism is, in a way that Robert Nozick describes, utopian. It isn't utopian in that it prescribes in detail the best sort of life for everyone to lead. But it sets up a framework, and when people live within that framework, the end result could be described as utopia.

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