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Portal:Libertarianism

Introduction

Libertarianism (from Latin: libertas, meaning "freedom") is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association, and individual judgment. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions.

Libertarianism can be a term for a form of left-wing politics. Such left-libertarian ideologies seek to abolish capitalism and private ownership of the means of production, or else to restrict their purview or effects, in favor of common or cooperative ownership and management, viewing private property as a barrier to freedom and liberty. Left libertarian ideologies include—but are not limited to—anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, mutualism and egoism, alongside many other anti-paternalist, New Left schools of thought centered around economic egalitarianism. Modern right-libertarian ideologies, such as minarchism and anarcho-capitalism, co-opted the term in the mid-20th century to instead advocate laissez-faire capitalism and strong private property rights such as in land, infrastructure and natural resources.

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Classical liberalism is a political philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government and liberty of individuals, including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and free markets.

Classical liberalism developed in the 19th century in Western Europe and the Americas. Although classical liberalism built on ideas that had already developed by the end of the 18th century, it advocated a specific kind of society, government and public policy required as a result of the Industrial Revolution and urbanization. Notable individuals who have contributed to classical liberalism include Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo. It drew on the economics of Adam Smith, a psychological understanding of individual liberty, natural law and utilitarianism and a belief in progress. Classical liberals established political parties that were called "Liberal", although in the United States classical liberalism came to dominate both existing major political parties. There was a revival of interest in classical liberalism in the 20th century led by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.

In the late 19th century, classical liberalism developed into neo-classical liberalism, which argued for government to be as small as possible in order to allow the exercise of individual freedom. In its most extreme form, it advocated social Darwinism. Right-libertarianism is a modern form of neo-classical liberalism. The term "classical liberalism" was applied in retrospect to distinguish earlier 19th-century liberalism from the newer social liberalism. Classical liberalism is also sometimes used to refer to all forms of liberalism before the 20th century whereas some American conservatives and libertarians use it to describe their belief in the primacy of economic freedom and minimal government. However, it is not always clear which meaning is intended.

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The Constitution does not say who will become traitors, by "levying war against the United States, or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort."

It is, therefore, only by inference, or reasoning, that we can know who will become traitors by these acts.

Certainly if Englishmen, Frenchmen, Austrians, or Italians, making no professions of support or friendship to the United States, levy war against them, or adhere to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort, they do not thereby make themselves traitors, within the meaning of the Constitution; and why? Solely because they would not be traitors in fact. Making no professions of support or friendship, they would practice no treachery, deceit, or breach of faith. But if they should voluntarily enter either the civil or military service of the United States, and pledge fidelity to them, (without being naturalized,) and should then betray the trusts reposed in them, either by turning their guns against the United States, or by giving aid and comfort to their enemies, they would be traitors in fact; and therefore traitors within the meaning of the Constitution; and could be lawfully punished as such.

There is not, in the Constitution, a syllable that implies that persons, born within the territorial limits of the United States, have allegiance imposed upon them on account of their birth in the country, or that they will be judged by any different rule, on the subject of treason, than persons of foreign birth. And there is no power, in Congress, to add to, or alter, the language of the Constitution, on this point, so as to make it more comprehensive than it now is. Therefore treason in fact – that is, actual treachery, deceit, or breach of faith – must be shown in the case of a native of the United States, equally as in the case of a foreigner, before he can be said to be a traitor.

— Lysander Spooner (1808–1887)
No Treason (1867)

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The Gadsden flag, named after American general and politician Christopher Gadsden who designed it in 1775 during the American Revolution, is today used by American libertarians
Credit: Lexicon, Vikrum

Selected biography

Murray Bookchin.jpg
Murray Bookchin was an American anarchist and libertarian socialist author, orator, historian and political theorist. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin initiated the critical theory of social ecology within anarchist, libertarian socialist and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books covering topics in politics, philosophy, history, urban affairs and ecology. Among the most important were Our Synthetic Environment (1962), Post-Scarcity Anarchism (1971) and The Ecology of Freedom (1982).

In the late 1990s, Bookchin became disenchanted with the increasingly apolitical lifestylism of the contemporary anarchist movement, stopped referring to himself as an anarchist and founded his own libertarian socialist ideology called Communalism.

Bookchin was an anti-capitalist and vocal advocate of the decentralisation of society along ecological and democratic lines. His writings on libertarian municipalism, a theory of face-to-face, assembly democracy, had an influence on the green movement and anti-capitalist direct action groups such as Reclaim the Streets as well as the democratic confederalism of Rojava.

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