For the course of two years, I challenged myself to answer a very complicated set of questions. Namely, why are libertarians’ stereotypes so negative, and why have they been allowed to fester and spread through popular culture, the media, and academia like a plague?
It seems that despite the massive growth in exposure and understanding of libertarian ideas throughout the country, these concepts and principles are almost always on the defensive in every environment, an indication that despite all successes, libertarianism will always be on the losing side of an argument.
In my book “Stay Away From the Libertarians!”, I discussed the sources of animosity towards libertarian and classical liberal schools of thoughts.
The primary issue at hand is that through forcible censorship in the media and ostracism in academia, statists on the right and left sides of the political spectrum bring up our political views and discuss it instead of us, and almost never favorably. In my time as a public speaker often making the case for free markets and constitutional conservatism, the primary opposition to libertarian principles almost always was that our ideals are heartless, callous, and would lead to the outright destruction of civilization. After all, in the minds of those indoctrinated by statist ideologies, who other than the government would construct pothole-ridden roads and arrest your family members for owning a plant?
Libertarianism is not a religion, first and foremost; it is a guiding set of secular principles that speak to the better side of human nature defending the inalienable rights of self-ownership, property rights, and liberty.
Unlike statism, which is found within modern progressivism and neoconservative circles, libertarianism doesn’t seek to answer all of life’s questions. Statism seeks to explain that without a monopoly of force and violence, the comfort of civilization could not exist, despite historical evidence that the state monopoly of force has been the leading cause of unnatural death in human history, with the philosophy of communism being the number one murderer of individuals in the twentieth century alone.
Libertarianism doesn’t seek to give you the answers to life, but it does state humbly that the best person to control your life is you. Individual cooperation isn’t favorable to force or coercion, and free markets based on voluntary principles are more effective and productive compared to any central control the state can issue from the top down.
As bestselling author and economist Matt Kibbe so eloquently said, libertarianism can be distilled down to “don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.”
So next time someone attempts to say libertarians are careless monsters, remind them who advocates for their natural rights, and who usually attempts to take more of them away.