Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!
Libertarianism is a political belief system that holds that an individual should be is free to do anything he/she wants, so long as he/she do not infringe upon the rights of others to do what they want. The government's role is to protect those rights. Libertarians emphasize that human relationships can be either voluntary or involuntary, and that they should be voluntary. In effect this is a claim that human relationships should not be characterized by violence or deception. You can learn more at http://www.lp.org, the home page of the LibertarianParty of the UnitedStates. - ''It also occurs to me that this should probably be removed. A party's home page is probably the worst place to find out any objective information about its views. If this link belongs anywhere, it belongs on a list of American parties.'' ''Also note that libertarianism is not strictly a right wing ideology; formal anarchism is apparently referred to as Libertarian Socialism.'' A libertarian is even likely to reject the legitimacy of the right/left dichotomy. The conflict between right and left is seen to be, in essence, a dispute over the particular form in which the state will violate individual rights. The libertarian believes the state should not violate individual rights in any form, and so opposes the right and left equally. ''Libertarians certainly believe that the state shouldn't violate individual rights, but that doesn't mean they don't fall on a political spectrum. Things aren't nearly as simple as state vs non-state; there's the mob, the aristocracy, and the private sector to be considered, and different kinds of libertarian have different opinions about them. The LP of the US falls clearly into the right wing category.'' - I think a definition of 'right-wing' is necessary if you are going to make that claim. ''Fair enough. Left-wing means belief in more equality and right-wing in less - not meant disparagingly, since to much equality is a bad thing too (HarrisonBergeron). In any case, this puts people who believe in fair process to the right of people who believe in fair outcome. And, as it happens, this is what a free market is; thus economically at least, the LP is on the right. This may not be the best definition of left-right, but it sums up what most people mean by the terms.'' ---- This is a good definition, but the part about equality is misleading. If the left wants economic equality, there must be political inequality, as the state treats different people differently (different tax rates, for example). Furthermore, one group, the political elite, must have the power to impose their views on others, while dissenters are deprived of the political power to prevent this. Thus the distribution of political power is unequal in a left-wing regime. So the left does not stand for equality, it stand for one type of equality at the expense of others. The right, as it is being used here, is not concerned with equality _or_ inequality, or any other outcome, but with fair processes. So to define the issue in terms of more equality vs. less equality is misleading. But we have a good start for a new page on the right-left spectrum, if someone want to step up and do that. - TimShell The moderate right deals with fair processes. The extreme right (fascism) doesn't deal with any sort of equality at all, and the moderate left deals with fair outcome, which I would say is objectively more equality than that of the moderate right, since people end up being practically equal rather than theoretically equal. So I stand by that definition. I think it's a little misleading only in that it seems to imply you can never be too far left, because people have been conditioned to think that any kind of equality is good equality, which isn't true. By the way, you are wrong to claim that left-wing economics necessarily implies an unequal distribution of political power. What about a socialist direct democracy? Such things are fully possible - Athens leaned that way - and yet it can hardly be said that power is being wielded by an elite, since all decisions are made by the whole citizenry. And, as I've said, there are such things as ''libertarian socialists'', though I don't know the details of how their state would work. -- JoshuaGrosse