Basic definition of government

David BoazThere are many ways of saying the same thing, and libertarians often have unique ways of answering the question “What is libertarianism?” We’ve asked many libertarians that question, and below are some of our favorite definitions.

“Libertarianism is, as the name implies, the belief in liberty. Libertarians believe that each person owns his own life and property and has the right to make his own choices as to how he lives his life and uses his property – as long as he simply respects the equal right of others to do the same.” – Sharon Harris, President, Advocates for Self-Government

“Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others.Rep. Ron Paul Libertarians defend each person’s right to life, liberty, and property – rights that people possess naturally, before governments are created. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have themselves used force – actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud.” – David Boaz, Executive Vice President, Cato Institute

“Libertarianism is a philosophy. The basic premise of libertarianism is that each individual should be free to do as he or she pleases so long as he or she does not harm others. In the libertarian view, societies and governments infringe on individual liberties whenever they tax wealth, create penalties for victimless crimes, or otherwise attempt to control or regulate individual conduct which harms or benefits no one except the individual who engages in it.” – definition written by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, during the process of granting the Advocates for Self-Government status as a nonprofit educational organization

“Libertarianism is what your mom taught you: behave yourself and don’t hit your sister.” – Ken Bisson, board member, Advocates for Self-Government

John Stossel Charles Murray L. Neil Smith Walter Block
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  • Year: 1962
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