As someone who identifies with the Libertarian Party, the Republican Party, the Tea Party, and libertarianism in general, unless you identify with those groups along with me, you would probably have some stereotypical notions about who I am.
Stereotypes, whether they be about someone’s race, religion, sex, or political affiliation are the work of fools. You are engaging in bigotry and ignorant behavior, and you should stop.
With that in mind, I’d like to cover some stereotypes about people like me, and answer them individually. Bear in mind though, that to each person, libertarianism can have a different meaning, and some people are more “hard-core” about it than others. So these are only my views about these stereotypes, other libertarians may differ:
Conservatives only care about rich people.
Truth is, we care about liberty for ALL people. Unlike many statist-minded folks, we consider the wealthy among us to be people too. In our opinion, if you feel it’s wrong to steal from someone who is poor, you shouldn’t champion stealing from someone who is rich either.
Conservatives favor tax cuts for the rich AND the poor, despite the notion Democrats attempt to push that we want tax cuts for the rich at the expense of the poor. I’m not aware of any conservative legislation proposed to raise taxes on the poor while lowering them on the rich.
- Libertarians are anarchists
A libertarian can and occasionally is an anarchist, but usually not in the sense people think of. Anarchy is simply the idea that people can manage themselves without government. It is not the idea that people should just kill, maim, steal, and otherwise violate the rights of others without consequence.
That being said, I generally believe many libertarians are like myself, and are what I’d call “Constitutional Libertarians” who believe in a Republic where the government exists to protect rights to life, liberty, and property by enforcing contracts and prosecuting those who are a danger to society, even if those rights deemed unalienable are against the wishes of the majority.
- Libertarians just want to legalize drugs because they smoke weed themselves
We want to legalize drugs because we believe in the idea of “no victim, no crime.” I’m a staunch supporter of legalizing drugs, yet I’ve never used them unless prescribed by a doctor, and I’ve never been prescribed weed, for the record. Which brings me to another important point.
Libertarians aren’t generally hypocrites. Even though I think recreational drugs are a really bad idea and would never encourage someone to use them, nor have any interest in them myself, I don’t just champion liberty for me, I champion liberty for people who believe differently than I. This sentiment of liberty for all is often lost on traditional Democrats and Republicans.
- Libertarians are isolationists
Libertarians generally want our country to work out free trade agreements with others. We understand that the best way to keep a positive relationship with other nations, and grow our economy, is to sell things that are of less value to us, to nations who need it more, and for them to do the same in return.
For instance, let’s say here in America, we have an abundance of corn, but not enough oil to fill our needs. So we sell off some of our corn to a nation like Iraq who has more oil than it needs, but cannot grow nearly enough corn in their climate. This is a win-win for both nations, and in essence, what good trade is supposed to be like. I believe almost every libertarian wants this.
The problem is, people mistake our desire to let other countries do whatever they want within their own borders without us sticking our nose in their affairs as isolationist. It’s not. It’s called understanding it’s none of our &%$#@ business how they choose to live.
If you’ve ever been working on a complicated problem that you understand only to have a co-worker come up and impose their ideas when they don’t understand the problem as well as you do, you should understand why libertarians feel this to-each-their-own policy is best.
- Libertarians want to gut the military
If America, or possibly our allies, were attacked, I believe America should and would respond with all the might the U.S. Military has to offer and destroy anything and everything our enemies who dared attack us could use to wage war. I take a very passive-aggressive approach in this respect.
Ronald Reagan had a peace-through-strength mentality, and I tend to agree. It did work after all. For all the complaints about him growing of the military, he put troops in harm’s way less than every president who succeeded him, in large part because America was respected and more importantly feared, under his watch.
But all that being said, the military is somewhat famous for wasting money, sometimes on very big things, such as weapons systems to defend against an enemy that doesn’t exist.
Secondly, we have troops in places where they do not need to be, defending countries who are capable of defending themselves. I don’t want to gut the military, but I don’t want them in harm’s way if they don’t absolutely need to be, and I don’t want to build a defense system to protect us from a technology no one has.
- Libertarians are atheists who just want to advance a pro-gay marriage agenda, legalize abortions, or remove God from schools
Tell that to Rep. Justin Amash (R) from Michigan, he’s an orthodox Christian, and arguably the most libertarian representative in congress. Ron Paul is a Christian too and does not support legal abortions as noted here.
While I am an atheist and am for removing government from marriage altogether as I outlined here, libertarians generally just believe that religion is something that should be between family and friends, not enforced by government at the point of a gun. It is part of the First Amendment after all, and part of the reason it was first, is likely because even our forefathers understood, free speech, religion, and press were the most important components of a free nation.
Thanks for reading. And I hope that armed with this information, you will do your part to squash the libertarian stereotypes. Liberty is worth fighting for, and as libertarians grow in credibility and start winning on election day, liberty itself can and will be restored to this great nation.