Southampton University Libertarian Society

What is a Libertarian? by sotonlibertarians
June 16, 2009, 9:11 pm
Filed under: Libertarianism

A Libertarian believes that individuals should be as free as is reasonably possible, but should be held responsible for their actions.

From this shared foundation, there spring many different sub-philosophies, divided into those that are “propertarian” (support the idea of private property) and those that are “non-propertarian”:


Anarcho-capitalism/Market Anarchism

Anarcho-capitalists favour a complete abolition of the state. Law enforcement, courts, and defence are provided by private contractors through a market-based system rather than through compulsory taxation. Some anarcho-capitalists are opposed to Intellectual Property. If you’d like to know more about market anarchism, David Friedman’s Machinery of Freedom is excellent and informative.


Minarchism favours a dramatic reduction in the scope of the state — that it be limited to the police, the courts and the military. The state only ever intervenes to protect individuals from aggression, breach-of-contract, and fraud. The UK Libertarian Party are minarchist in their policies.


Objectivism is a political and social philosophy developed by Ayn Rand, and expounded through the character John Galt in the book “Atlas Shrugged”. Libertarians view Objectivists as “extreme libertarians” because they hold adherence to market principles to be a moral act. Objectivists view Libertarianism as “a rebel step-child”.


Libertarian Socialism

Libertarian Socialism opposes both coercive and violent institutions of the state, and private property. In a libertarian-socialist utopia, all would have free and equal access to the tools of information and production.

Left Libertarianism

Left Libertarianism supports private property to an extent, but object to private ownership of natural resources, or of intellectual property.


Geolibertarianism supports private ownership of “ones labour, wages, and the products of ones labour”, but object to private ownership of land. Individuals in a geolibertarian society would pay a rent to society to exclude others from using a particular area of land, and to have their claim to that land protected by government.


1 Comment so far
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Hi there freesoc,

I’m a University of Southampton student identifying as a “libertarian”. I’m noticing the lack of a libertarian socialist perspective in subsequent blog posts. Perhaps you’d consider including this article of mine somewhere on your blog?

My criticisms aren’t necessarily addressed to you guys – I don’t know your views on corporate power – but i see a lot of noise made by market libertarians about the state and a lot of silence about corporations. I hope my article can encourage those people to think their views through some more.

Comment by freedomthistime

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