What are the differences between Libertarians and Progressives?
The primary difference between libertarians and progressives turns on each type’s commitments along the economic freedom dimension. Where libertarians see economic freedom as essential to the generation of overall prosperity and the stewardship of capital, progressives seek to curtail economic freedoms. Whether in supporting higher taxation and redistribution, regulation of industry, or limiting private property rights, progressives are committed to various forms of economic intervention. Such interventions are usually carried out purportedly in service of the least advantaged in society. Libertarians, on the other hand, think the least advantaged in society are more likely to improve their conditions through dynamic entrepreneurial markets and a robust civil society sector. While both types agree about the goal of environmental protection, they usually disagree about the means.
How are Libertarians and Progressives similar?
Despite stark contrast on economic matters, libertarians and progressives find greater overlap on issues that involve the protection of civil liberties or personal freedoms. For example, both types are skeptical of various forms of prohibition, whether on illicit drugs or sex work. Despite more recent fracturing among progressives on civil liberties such as free speech, progressives have historically supported basic civil rights and have found common cause with libertarians on issues ranging from criminal justice reform to non-interventionist foreign policy.