What Is A Libertarian?

By Elisha Dorfsmith

I recently had a couple conversations with friends who claim to lean “libertarian” but also believe that legislating morality is essential to solving our current political and economic problems.  Apparently the word means many different things to many different people and it seems the definition is continually evolving.  Even neoconservatives like Sean Hannity have started calling themselves libertarians. I can say with absolute certainty that Sean Hannity is NOT a libertarian in the true meaning of the word.  Neither are those who want to use the state to force people to live a certain way.

A few weeks ago, one of Congressman Gosar’s supporters called me a “Loony Libertarian” for suggesting that the congressman needs to be consistent. Loony is one of the nicer things I have been called.  A long time ago I realized that defending freedom and liberty for all often puts me at odds with both Republicans and Democrats. Too many people want to use the government to force their personal views on the rest of the country. It sometimes feels strange to fight for the freedom of people who want to take my freedom away but I do it because it is the right thing to do. I have no intention of ever using the state to force my beliefs on anyone. Hopefully the links in this blog post help answer any questions my friends have about my political philosophy and what it really means to be a libertarian.

What Is A Libertarian?

“lib•er•tar•i•an: One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.” – American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language

The Libertarian Party’s 2010 Platform is a great place to start for those who are unfamiliar with basic libertarian thought. While I don’t agree with the Libertarian Party on every single issue and feel that their message has been watered down over the years, I do agree with the majority of what is written here:

Libertarian Platform

In 1979, Murray N. Rothbard wrote a fantastic essay called Myth and Truth About Libertarianism.  The myths are as prevalent today as they were then. This article should clear up a lot of misconceptions:

Myth and Truth About Libertarianism

Those looking for a simplified, condensed  version of  libertarian philosophy should watch this video:

I am not a huge fan of political labels and would rather be known as a freelance liberty activist or liberty lover but the term “Libertarian” works just fine in the context of the above links.

Where do you fit in the political spectrum? The Advocates For Self Government have an excellent quiz based on the Nolan Chart. You can take it here:

Political Quiz


  1. j
    January 8, 2011 at 5:55 am

    should commie party usa be allowed to preach armed struggle in us?
    govt. determines hate speech, but youre not allowed access to star chamber deliberations for “national security ” determinations.

    you think gosar is monitoring your stuff?

  2. January 8, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I hope Gosar reads my blog. He could learn something.

    The communist party should be allowed to preach whatever they want. I believe that the philosophy of liberty will win every time ideas are freely discussed. Only those who want to control and manipulate want to censor speech and thought.

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