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civil libertarians believe that

civil libertarians believe that

civil libertarians believe that

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Civil libertarianism is a strain of political thought that supports civil liberties, or which emphasizes the supremacy of individual rights and personal freedoms over and against any kind of authority (such as a state, a corporation, social norms imposed through peer pressure and so on). It is not a complete ideology—rather, it is a collection of views on the specific issues of civil liberties and civil rights.

In the libertarian movement

In its philosophy, the primary concern of the civil libertarian is the relationship of the government to the individual. The civil libertarian seeks to restrict this relationship to an absolute minimum in which the state can function and provide basic services and securities without excessively interfering in the lives of its citizens.

One key cause of civil libertarianism is upholding free speech. Specifically, civil libertarians oppose bans on hate speech and obscenity. Although they may or may not personally condone behaviors associated with these issues, civil libertarians hold that the advantages of unfettered public discourse outweigh all disadvantages.

civil libertarians believe that
civil libertarians believe that

Other cases

Other civil libertarian positions include support for at least partial legalization of illicit substances (marijuana and other soft drugs), prostitution, abortion, privacy, assisted dying or euthanasia, the right to bear arms, youth rights, topfree equality, a strong demarcation between religion and politics, and support for same-sex marriage.

With the advent of personal computers, the Internet, email, cell phones and other information technology advances a subset of civil libertarianism has arisen that focuses on protecting individuals’ digital rights and privacy.

It is a strain of political thought that supports civil liberties, or which emphasizes the supremacy of individual rights and personal freedoms over and against any kind of authority (such as a state, a corporation, social norms imposed through peer pressure, etc.).

Civil liberties and civil rights

It is not a complete ideology; rather, it is a collection of views on the specific issues of civil liberties and civil rights. Because of this, a civil libertarian outlook is compatible with many other political philosophies, and civil libertarianism is found on both the right and left of modern politics.

The primary concern of the civil libertarian is the relationship of the government to the individual. The civil libertarian seeks, in theory, to restrict this relationship to an absolute minimum in which the state can function and provide basic services and securities without excessively interfering in the lives of its citizens.

One key cause of civil libertarianism is upholding free speech. Specifically, civil libertarians oppose bans on hate speech and obscenity. Although they may or may not personally condone behaviors associated with these issues, civil libertarians hold that the advantages of unfettered public discourse outweigh all disadvantages.

September 11

In the light of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, civil libertarians are also concerned over the state of personal liberties and freedoms in the face of increased national security.

Other civil libertarian positions include support for at least partial legalization of illicit substances (marijuana, etc.), a strong demarcation between religion and politics, and, more recently, support for gay marriage. The most prominent civil libertarian organization in the United States today is the American Civil Liberties Union.

In the past 20 years, with the advent of personal computers, the Internet, email, cell phones, and other information technology advances, a subset of civil libertarianism has arisen that focuses on protecting individuals’ digital rights and privacy. The organization most closely affiliated with this sort of civil libertarianism is the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

civil libertarians believe that
civil libertarians believe that

Liberalism, the original version, espouses liberty and fraternity, or, freedom and equality, whichever phrase you prefer. Secondarily, Liberals tend to be in favor of Democracy, secularism, free markets, free press, free speech and freedom of religion.

The moral and political philosophy was a reaction to the overreach of royalty. It stood against hereditary social privilege, monarchy and mandatory state religion.

These ideas really came together later, in the Age of Enlightenment, in the late 1600’s in Europe. In the years that followed, Liberalism fueled revolutions in the US, France and England. It is the basis of our government.

Liberty and equality

Eventually, Liberalism underwent a schism and divided along the two defining ideas, liberty and equality. Modern (or “Social”) liberals focus on equality, under the law, equality of access to education, healthcare and opportunity. Classical liberals instead focus on liberty especially in matters financial, where they seek unfettered freedom to trade, market, own and employ as they see fit.

In the US, our liberal Democratic-Republican party also split, along the same lines in 1825, forming the Democratic party and the Republican party, which have come to represent social equality and economic liberty, respectively.

The movement grow out of Anarchism about 100 years after the start of Liberalism, but the term “Libertarian” was only first used, by Anarcho-Communist philosopher Joseph Dejacque 100 years after that.

Demands dissolution

Where Liberalism was a rejection of royal power, Libertarians are against nearly all forms of state, social and economic power or other forms of coercion, beyond the individual. They often call for dissolution of such organizations. Libertarianism contains both Anarcho-Communist and Anarcho-Capitalist factions plus syndicalism, mutualism and egoism.

In the US today, most Libertarians are neoliberal, laissez-faire capitalists that lean Republican. They favor small (or no) government, deregulation, low or no taxes with private corporations providing most of the population’s needs.

Who is Libertarian?

A number of prominent thinkers are associated with libertarian ideas, from economists to philosophers. Below are just a few of the key figures associated with libertarian and classical liberal ideas on individual liberty and economic freedom.

Who Is IHS?

At IHS, we believe in the power of freedom to create a more just, peaceful, and thriving future. That’s why, in 1961, Dr. F.A. “Baldy” Harper founded the Institute for Humane Studies to support research and education, with the belief that a greater understanding of the principles of freedom would foster peace, prosperity, and social harmony.

For more than 50 years, we’ve worked with thousands of scholars and students, handed out millions in funding, and empowered students and professors by providing education, resources, and events.

Libertarian philosophy

Classical liberalism rests on a presumption of liberty—that is, on the presumption that the exercise of liberty does not require justification but that all restraints on liberty do. Libertarians have attempted to define the proper extent of individual liberty in terms of the notion of property in one’s person, or self-ownership, which entails that each individual is entitled to exclusive control of his choices, his actions, and his body.

Because no individual has the right to control the peaceful activities of other self-owning individuals—e.g., their religious practices, their occupations, or their pastimes—no such power can be properly delegated to government. Legitimate governments are therefore severely limited in their authority.

civil libertarians believe that
civil libertarians believe that

Contemporary libertarianism

Despite the historical growth in the scope and powers of government, particularly after World War II, in the early 21st century the political and economic systems of most Western countries—especially the United Kingdom and the United States—continued to be based largely on classical liberal principles. Accordingly, libertarians in those countries tended to focus on smaller deviations from liberal principles, creating the perception among many that their views were radical or extreme.

In the early 21st century, self-identified libertarians constituted a major current of the antigovernment Tea Party movement in the United States. However, explicitly libertarian political parties (such as the Libertarian Party in the United States and the Libertarianz Party in New Zealand), where they did exist, garnered little support, even among self-professed libertarians.

Politically active libertarians

Most politically active libertarians supported classical liberal parties (such as the Free Democratic Party in Germany or the Flemish Liberals and Democrats in Belgium) or conservative parties (such as the Republican Party in the United States or the Conservative Party in Great Britain); they also backed pressure groups advocating policies such as tax reduction, the privatization of education, and the decriminalization of drug use and other so-called victimless crimes. There were also small but vocal groups of libertarians in Scandinavia, Latin America, India, and China.

The publication in 1974 of Anarchy, State, and Utopia, a sophisticated defense of libertarian principles by the American philosopher Robert Nozick, marked the beginning of an intellectual revival of libertarianism.

1982

Buchanan, Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, and Vernon L.Smith, were awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics. In 1982 the death of the libertarian novelist and social theorist Ayn Rand prompted a surge of popular interest in her work.

Libertarian scholars, activists, and political leaders also played prominent roles in the worldwide campaign against apartheid and in the construction of democratic societies in eastern and central Europe following the collapse of communism there in 1989–91. In the early 21st century, libertarian ideas informed new research in diverse fields such as history, law, economic development, telecommunications, bioethics, globalization, and social theory.

History

Historically, Americans have seen libertarians as far outside the mainstream, but with the rise of the Tea Party movement, libertarian principles have risen to the forefront of Republican politics. But libertarianism is more than the philosophy of individual freedom and unfettered markets that Republicans have embraced. Indeed, as Jason Brennan points out, libertarianism is a quite different–and far richer–system of thought than most of us suspect.

In this timely new entry in Oxford’s acclaimed series What Everyone Needs to Know, Brennan offers a nuanced portrait of libertarianism, proceeding through a series of questions to illuminate the essential elements of libertarianism and the problems the philosophy addresses, including such topics as the Value of Liberty, Human Nature and Ethics, Economic Liberty, Civil Rights, Social Justice and the Poor, Government and Democracy, and Contemporary Politics.

simple-minded paranoia about government

Brennan asks the most fundamental and challenging questions: What do Libertarians think liberty is? Do libertarians think everyone should be selfish? Are libertarians just out to protect the interests of big business? What do libertarians think we should do about racial injustice? What would libertarians do about pollution? Are Tea Party activists true libertarians? As he sheds light on libertarian beliefs, Brennan overturns numerous misconceptions. Libertarianism is not about simple-minded paranoia about government, he writes.

civil libertarians believe that
civil libertarians believe that

Rather, it celebrates the ideal of peaceful cooperation among free and equal people. Libertarians believe that the rich always capture political power; they want to minimize the power available to them in order to protect the weak. Brennan argues that libertarians are, in fact, animated by benevolence and a deep concern for the poor. Clear, concise, and incisively written, this volume explains a vitally important philosophy in American history–and a potent force in contemporary politics.

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