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These discussions are being started by Professor Russel Fulmer Ph.D. who is currently working at Emporia State University with a background in behavioral science.
Professor Liberty says:
Each week I will write articles of various lengths pertaining to our beloved libertarian principles. The purpose of these articles is education. Please take note that all information contained herein is my personal perspective, gained from various and sundry sources. Viewpoints vary amongst libertarians, and I make no claims of always being right. By all means, evaluate, critically analyze, and converse.
I currently am a professor at Emporia State University with a background in behavioral science. A relatively new convert to libertarianism, I formerly was a Democrat. One fine day, I saw the light. I saw the light by way of education and critical thinking.
What is libertarianism? Who are its opponents? This week’s article is dedicated to terminology, to differentiating the political systems and theories so often debated and misunderstood.
Libertarianism is a political philosophy that believes in maximizing individual liberty. This requires a small government and for individuals to accept responsibility for their lives. Libertarians usually promote the ideals set forth by the framers of the Constitution and advocate well-defined, limited roles for government. Libertarians believe in less government in both economic/money matters and in social/private matters, deferring to private citizens whenever possible.
Core belief: Maximum liberty. Personal freedom and limited government that protects natural rights.
Statists are believers in large government, especially large federal government. Are you seeking more government involvement in social matters? Check. How about more government power over economics? Double check. A statist desires intrusive government because they believe government is able to legislate morality and well-being, provide for the downtrodden, or create “social justice” in ways … any particular statist sees fit, or a cult of personality deems worthy. Statists believe that federal bureaucracy can enhance the lives of private citizens more than private citizens can enhance their own lives. Statism stands as the contemporary antithesis of libertarianism in America today.
Core belief: Big government, high regulation, high intrusion
Liberals typically favor more government in financial affairs but are apt to me more permissive in the social arena. For instance, liberals wish to force citizens to pay considerable taxes to the federal government so the government can disperse the funds in ways liberals see best fit, in order to help society progress by creating their version of social justice. Liberals, also known as progressives, in reality share much in common with statists.
Core belief: More government economically, more permissiveness socially
Conservatives are usually traditionalists and counter to the progressive ideas of the left. They maintain a culture's traditions. Conservatives are apt to favor heavy government involvement in social, or personal-choice related, issues. For instance, conservatives tend to support government banning of same-sex marriage. On the economic front, conservatives have traditionally sought less government intrusion although in actuality modern conservatives have shown a penchant for government spending that rivals even the liberals.
Core belief: Government helps monitor morality; progress in small steps
Anarchy essentially implies no government. Anarchists are thought to characterize lawlessness and chaos, but it should be noted that this notion presupposes morality from authority. While a libertarian believes governments should exist and maintain important roles in civilization, an anarchist may endorse the idea of no government being the ideal.
Core belief: No government, we can govern ourselves
Fascism is a system of government under the control of a dictator marked by suppression of any opposing parties and ideas, and highlighted by nationalism, censorship, and racism.
Core belief: Control in the hands of one despot
The Political/Economic interplay
The following are political systems built upon economic theory and notions of social equality.
Capitalism is an economical theory that places the means of production of goods and services, along with the distribution of said goods, in private hands or voluntary business partnerships (corporations). Capitalism is based on the profit motive, the notion that each individual strives to better his personal lot. Capitalists believe in regulation, but feel that a free market will regulate itself. Because of the freedom inherent in a free-market system, libertarians generally favor a capitalistic society.
Core belief: Free market systems
Socialism is Marx’s middle stage, between capitalism and on its way to communism. A socialist system has eliminated private ownership of business and hence limited personal freedom. The production and distribution of goods and services is accomplished and owned by society, rather than individuals, in a socialist system. Who actually sets standards and policy while deciding what goods are produced? Why, the government, of course.
Core belief: Society trumps individuals
Communism is a system and worldview in which there is no more private property or privately owned business. A central government essentially owns all property, goods, and production means. The government then allocates what the government feels each individual needs, thereby creating an all-equal, classless, utopian society (in theory it works quite well). A communal society has little need of private ownership because everyone is exactly, precisely, equal … obviously. Individualism and identity is forfeited to group identity and nationalism.
Core belief: Only communal society matters
Here’s to libertarianism emerging as victor.
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