Libertarian Views That Work for Conservatives AND Liberals
There are many ways to describe libertarian views, some more accurate than others. A common trope is that libertarians are socially liberal and fiscally conservative. The dictionary definition is something like, an extreme laissez-faire political philosophy advocating only minimal state intervention in the lives of citizens. According to Wikipedia, libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgment. The truth is that you can read many libertarian books to understand the philosophy, but you can start with a simple premise. The Non-Aggression Principle, or NAP, is a good starting point. Murray Rothbard formally defined this axiom, but it’s very simple: don’t hurt people, and don’t take their stuff. If you can agree with that, then you can be as liberal or conservative as you want in how you live your own life, and you can be a libertarian.
Areas of Overlap for Liberals and Conservatives
You’d be surprised at how much most liberals and conservatives have in common. These areas of overlap often fall within the realm of libertarian views. With this in mind, it’s possible to bridge the partisan gap, using libertarianism as the conduit.
Freedom of Expression
Conservatives and liberals generally accept free speech as a right. In the United States, it is recognized in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. The US Constitution is often used as the basis of arguments from both sides of the aisle. However, the rights enumerated in the Constitution are derived from the concept of natural law. Greek philosophers, Cicero from Rome, and Catholic philosophers like Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas all expressed natural rights as coming from the Creator long before the Union was formed. John Locke wrote the Second Treatise of Government in 1689 and enumerated several natural rights. Among these are life, liberty, and property. Freedom of expression is one of the liberties that we experience as a natural right, and it’s something that libertarians, conservatives, and liberals can agree on.
Liberals and conservatives have many disagreements when it comes to criminal justice. However, they share one libertarian ideal. Government force should be limited. In an ideal world, the government would protect life, liberty, and property as unalienable rights.
The Validity of Contracts
Generally, most people recognize the validity of contracts that are mutually agreed upon. Liberals, conservatives, and libertarians can agree that multiple parties may form a voluntary agreement.
Can You Agree With These Libertarian Views?
If you are a conservative or a liberal, and can agree with the ideas described in this article, then you’re probably a lot closer to being a libertarian than you think.