How Does One Specify “Libertarian”?

The Financial expert reported on August 14, 2023, that “Argentina could get its very first libertarian president.”They included that Javier Milei, the winner of Argentina’s election primary was, envision this, a “free-market radical.” The problem, as I see it, is that few people really know what a libertarian is, similar to couple of people in America who call themselves “socialists” in fact know what socialism is.

When I was young, I thought I was a liberal. Then I thought I was a conservative. I thought that if you were a liberal you were most likely to be a Democrat, and if you were conservative, you were most likely to be a Republican. I often elected Republican politicians, but on a couple of events, I chose Democrats or third-party candidates. Often I didn’t vote at all. The world was divided (a minimum of in my mind) into three political camps: those left wing, those on the right, and those in the middle.

As I aged and my understanding of things in basic (and history, politics, and economics in particular) became more total, I struggled with this one-dimensional paradigm: it simply didn’t fit the truths and described nearly absolutely nothing.

Where, for instance, did Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin fit in this one-dimensional left-right model? Most liberals would argue that Hitler was on the right and typically fall quiet when Stalin is brought up. However to my way of thinking, there wasn’t a penny’s worth of difference in between Hitler and Stalin. They were both ruthless dictators. How could one be labeled “far right” while the other (a minimum of in the eyes of conservatives) was “far left”? Could you travel up until now to the left that you would meet somebody on the right wing?

In due course I discovered a much better design, one that more accurately explains the political/economic landscape. Replacing the one-dimensional left-right design is a two-dimensional design like the one listed below.

The two variables (or measurements) are individual flexibility and economic freedom– determined from 0 to 100. As a guideline, conservatives tend to score greater on economic freedom than liberals, however liberals normally score greater on concerns connected to individual liberty. Liberals, for example, would more likely favor legislating cannabis for medical use than conventional conservatives.

On the other hand, conservatives would more likely support reductions in business tax rates than liberals. A “common” conservative may score a 40 on the personal freedom axis however a 70 on the economic liberty axis. A liberal may reverse functions, scoring simply 40 on economic flexibility however 70 on individual flexibility.

What about Hitler and Stalin? They would no question score exceptionally short on both steps of liberty. One can safely position them in the authoritarian camp– scoring as low as 10 on both counts– and even lower.

At the other end of the spectrum– one that many liberals and not a couple of conservatives neglect– are the libertarians. They score high on both economic and personal liberty– generally 75 or more on each! Libertarians are the polar opposites of authoritarians and don’t fit well in either the liberal or conservative camps. Libertarianism taken to its severe cause anarchy– the absence of all laws. We could say that anarchists would score a best 100 on both measures of flexibility. Authoritarianism taken to its severe cause the lack of all freedom– a prison-like state.

Of course, this triggers the following question: Where does socialism fall within this framework?

To address that concern, one must first define the term. Murray Rothbard discusses in Male, Economy, and State with Power and Market:

Socialism– or collectivism– takes place when the State owns all the means of production. It is the mandatory abolition and restriction of personal business, and the monopolization of the entire production sphere by the State. Socialism, for that reason, extends the concept of mandatory governmental monopoly from a few separated business to the entire economic system. It is the violent abolition of the marketplace.

He concludes by composing that “the Nazi and Fascist programs were as socialist as the Communist system that nationalizes all productive home.” Using Rothbard’s meaning, we can easily see that socialism (and communism) would score low on economic liberty. However what about personal flexibility?

According to Wisevoter, the 5 “freest nations in the world” are, in order, Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark, Estonia, and Ireland. They discuss that “these countries regularly rank high in regards to personal, civil, and economic flexibilities. They have well-established legal systems, robust security of private rights, and strong market-oriented economies.” Most likely, they would score high up on both personal and economic flexibility.

The same source lists the 5 “least totally free [noncommunist] nations” on the planet as Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Sudan, and Egypt. They discuss that “these nations deal with various barriers that impede the awareness of individual flexibilities and human rights, impacting the wellness and liberties of their populations.”

For example, according to Ahmed Khalifa on the Mises Wire, Egypt is considered “a former socialist state and a country where the tentacles of Marxism can still be discovered, buried deep within nearly every organization … Once the seeds of socialism are planted, it’s extremely tough to eliminate their harmful fruits, even after lots of years.”

I believe it is not unreasonable to conclude that a nation that ratings low on financial freedom will as an outcome score low on individual flexibility. The Human Freedom Index, published collectively by the Cato Institute and the Fraser Institute, reveals a strong correlation in between economic and personal liberty. The outcomes of the Index reveal that “countries with freer economies, by and large, tend likewise to enjoy higher individual liberty.” It keeps in mind that “‘legal system and home rights’ sticks out as the most essential group of signs within the Economic Freedom Index.”

I have actually found, to my irritation, that many Americans are, in reality, authoritarians. They pay lip-service to the concept of flexibility, however what they really desire is less freedom and more federal government. They see government as the response to all society’s problems, although history has revealed time and again that government often is the problem.

The libertarian wants the many to make decisions on their own; the authoritarian desires the few to make choices for the lots of. What about you? Find out if you are a libertarian by going to this site and taking a brief test.

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