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What's a libertarian?

Okay, now you're gonna have to explain to what a libertarian is. It was mentioned in the original article. I've heard of the term, but don't really understand.

Briefly, a libertarian is someone who believes that government should be as small as possible. Some libertarians believe the government should be very small, some believe it should be so small it doesn't exist. The ones who believe in shrinking the government completely down to nothing are called "anarcho-capitalists" or even "anarchists" (but that's not what most people think of when they hear the term anarchist). The ones who believe in still having some small government are called "minarchists." The main thing they agree on is that it's wrong when government does ANYTHING other than just defending the rights of its citizens. Most libertarians count most of the founding fathers of the United States as sharing the same political philosophy, so they see themselves as continuing the grand tradition of liberty begun by this country -- however, most think that the values of the founders have been pretty much completely rejected by society, the political parties, and the government.

Since Republicans/right-wingers have traditionally been in favor of limited government, libertarians are sometimes called "ultra right-wing." However, left and right isn't really a good description of the differences, because the libertarians believe in liberty in some things that right-wingers generally do not. But there are a lot of former Republicans among the libertarians.

Just about all libertarians are completely anti-public schools. After all, public schooling doesn't secure rights, so it's not a legitimate government function, in their minds.

One helpful explanation of libertarianism I found is Eric Raymond's libertarianism FAQ. Couple of warnings: Raymond incorrectly depicts all libertarians as being "pro-choice" (i.e., on the abortion issue). This is a false impression; Libertarians for Life is located here. Note also that libertarianism believes in allowing people freedom, even the freedom to sin; so you'll see that the libertarian position on some controversial issues is to "let them do it." This isn't incompatible with Christianity; it just means we preach the Gospel without trying to punish people for rejecting it. In fact, according to I Corinthians 5, this is what we are required to do.

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