The Difference Between Progressives and Libertarians
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The Difference Between Progressives and Libertarians

Often, people will attack or simply oppose things they don’t understand because of a blanket partisan opinion. In this article, I want to flesh out the real differences between people who hold progressive views and those who hold liberal views.

Progressives and libertarians hold many similar values: we want to defend the rights of the underprivileged and minorities as well as promote social tolerance. Libertarians often hold in high regard progressives such as Martin Luther King Jr. as well as former President John F. Kennedy for their stances on equal rights before the law.

Where the line is drawn, however, is the relationship between the individual and the state. Taken from a Marxist worldview, progressives see an immediate class struggle between the extorted working class and the economic elite. The progressive seeks not to abolish the capitalist system entirely, but to essentially use government to intervene as it may control the decisions of private businesses and to redistribute wealth amongst the working class as they see fit.

Progressives also place identity politics and ethnic factionalism above the well being of individual thought and action. Progressives have a very narrow view of natural rights and place safety above liberty.

Libertarians reject Marxist social views and see each individual in society as an autonomous being, endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights which are self-evident.

Libertarians see free markets as a ladder of opportunity in which individuals move up and down in a fluctuating environment based upon their own ability. Libertarians wish the limit monopolized public institutions of force and coercion so individuals can live their lives the best way they see fit.

Primarily, the biggest shift in mentality between the progressive and the libertarians is divided down the relationship between the individual and the state.

Libertarians believe in LGBTQ+ rights, for example, but would not force their beliefs onto those who disagree through means of law or coercion. Libertarians believe that a collection of people in a free market should express the right to collective bargaining, but would never force a person to join a union in order to have a job.

Ultimately, libertarians believe that social liberalism is best expressed voluntarily and absent of state intervention, whereas progressives do not wish to live in a world which does not share their progressive views, thus forcing the state to be the enforcer of their standards for mankind.

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