A political philosophy based on the Non-Aggression Principle, which holds that people should be allowed to live as they choose and make their own choices without interference from government or others, so long as those choices do not involve the initiation of force or fraud against others.
Libertarianism is the opposite of authoritarianism or statism, which is the idea that governments should largely control people, allocate their resources, and make decisions for them, allegedly for their own good or the good of society (in practice usually for the good of those running the government).
by LinZhao January 24, 2013
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The political philosophy that...

1. ...says no one has the right to initate force against another. Period. Even if it's for their own good.

2. ...says government in a free society exists only to (A)protect its citizens from having force initated on them, and to (B)punish those who have initiated force on others.

3. ...IS NOT ANARCHISM, a belief that everything government provides, society can provide more effectively.

4. ...was derived from classical liberalism, the very philosophy that the United States was founded apon and roughly operated under up until the end of the 1800s.

5. ...is the most logical, humane, and ethical political system ever thought of.

For insight on the *practical* benefits of such a system, interested bodies should read "Healing Our World" by Dr. Mary J. Ruwart, just to get started. (Freely available on the Net.)
"(Left-)Liberals want the government to be your Mommy. Conservatives want government to be your Daddy. Libertarians want it to treat you like an adult."
by Learned Larry April 18, 2004
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Noun. The belief that pursuing one's own self-interest, while shirking larger social responsibilities, is still somehow humanitarian.
Libertarianism is how the advantaged describe their neglect of the les-advantage: they're "protecting everyone's freedom" by respecting the impoverished's right to be poor.
by SkippyD1 February 9, 2008
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The freedom to get rich, and the freedom to screw over as many people as possible in the process.

Also known as Libertarian Capitalism, not to be confused with Libertarian Socialism, which can lay a true claim to the term.
Libertarianism (Well the Capitalist version atleast) is the most brutal form of government possible.

How would you like to pay for air?
by Desaparecido May 1, 2005
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The idea that licentiousness among consenting adults (legalized drugs, prostitution, gambling, etc.) can co-exist with limited government (confined strictly to preventing anyone from infringing upon the life, liberty, and property rights of anyone else) under a constitutional republic in an environment free from interference by over-zealous right-wing Bible-thumpers, tax-and-spend liberals, or other external agents of oppression.

The main problem with this delusional notion of co-existence is that it runs afoul of an annoying immutable natural law - roughly translated as "nature abhors a vacuum" - that's understood and exploited by every drug pusher, credit card issuer, Las Vegas casino, and Madison Avenue marketer and even the bailout-happy U.S. Federal Reserve and which was summed up by Edmund Burke:

"Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites; in proportion as they are disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good in preference to the flattery of knaves.

"Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without.

"It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."

-or as John Adams said:

“(The U.S.) constitution was made for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate for any other.”
Two tenets of Libertarianism taken from the Libertarian Party's Statement of Principles:

"We favor the repeal of all laws creating 'crimes' without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes."

"The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights — life, liberty, and justly acquired property — against aggression"
by mta3000 March 18, 2010
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The political philosophy of the Founding Fathers. The original philosophy of the Republican Party which has somehow morphed into the abomination it is today. Small government, free trade. Pretty much everything the Republican Party would like you to believe they are but aren't.
Ron Paul is a libertarian, but since the libertarian party can't get enough momentum, he tried to run as a republican. But since modern day neo-conservatives are too stupid to see the libertarianism America came from he did not become president.
by shknerth August 7, 2010
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Modern philosophy of government closley resembling Classic Liberalism, a philosophy of government which stresses liberties (economic and civil).

Libertarianism is a term for a philosophy that promotes liberty, i.e. freedom, which includes the civil freedoms to be prejudice, greedy, hateful, ect., and the economic freedom to be rich, buy anything, sell anything, have total rights over all private property. Thus Libertarianism CANNOT, BY DEFINITION, be socialism.

Libertarianism is the absolute most ethical form of government, specifically because it allows individuals to believe and practice what ever they want, such as live in exclusive socialist communities. Capitolism is not an economic system; it is the lack thereof, thus allowing any group of people to do anything to which the included people consent. This is unlike socialism, which requires everyone to participate, even if it is against that individual's will.
Lets review:
Libertarianism = good.
Socialism = bad.

Any questions?
by CapitolistPig July 6, 2005
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