What is the key difference between liberal and libertarian?

Bias acknowledgement: the following quote is by a Libertarian.

I find this passage (found here: Libertarianism versus other Political Perspectives) helpful in discerning the difference between the more recent American Liberalism and American Libertarianism (Classical Liberalism).

"In simplest terms the primary difference between libertarianism and other political philosophies involves beliefs about the amount of authority government should have over peoples' personal and business matters.

Liberals want government to focus on doing what is "good," including providing what is often referred to as "social justice." To do that, among other policies, liberals expect government to: a) tax corporations and "wealthy" and "high income" citizens heavily to pay for the social justice programs and b) regulate business and personal behavior to the extent necessary for social justice.

Liberals and conservatives both believe that government's mission is some combination of: a) making the world better, b) providing moral leadership, and c) protecting people from themselves. Of course conservatives and liberals tend to disagree about what is good and what is moral. And whether or not you agree with those objectives, you are forced to pay for them with your money and/or your liberty. Ironically you pay for liberal and conservative programs, rules, and regulations — with your money and your liberty.

Libertarians believe that goodness is voluntary, morality is personal, human nature cannot be legislated away, and only harm to others should be illegal.

And, though libertarians believe in limited government, as described in the U.S. Constitution, they do not want chaos. Libertarians recognize that government has a clear and critical mission: preserving and enhancing liberty. To achieve that goal government must: a) protect citizens from foreign enemies, b) arrest, try, and punish people that harm or endanger others, and c) make some judgment calls when peoples' liberties conflict." – James Eyer

19 Replies to “What is the key difference between liberal and libertarian?”

  1. Both the word "libertarian" and the word "liberal" have had two different meanings, a right-wing meaning and a left-wing meaning. Right-wing liberalism is the view that opposes government control over business or government action for social benefit. In the 19th century the advocacy of right wing laissez faire capitalist policy was called "liberalism". Between the Progressive Era and the New Deal a new meaning was developed for "liberalism" to refer to those defenders of capitalism who believed it was necessary to make some concession to mass protest, to provide a minimal social safety net & regulations on corporate behavior. This is left-wing liberalism. In the '60s some of the advocates of the older right wing liberal view adopted the word "libertarian" for their viewpoint. Historically the word "libertarian" had been used previously for a type of  socialist viewpoint, that advocates direct worker management of industry. Liberty as self-management. So, now the word "libertarian" in the USA has two meanings, a right wing meaning and the older leftwing meaning. Right wing liberterianism is basically the old right wing liberalism of the 19th century. They  emphasize the rights of property, that property owners should be able to do what they want with their property, for example, to discriminate if they want. Leftwing liberalism holds that government action is necessary to defend popular liberty & well being.

  2. It depends where in the world you are.

    In Europe, the term "liberal" usually is meant in the sense of "classical liberalism." This political position puts a high emphasis on "negative liberty": the idea that you should be allowed to do as you choose with a minimum of interference from anyone else. Hence, classical liberals tend to feel very strongly in favor of freedom of speech and other such civil liberties, a hands-off approach to capitalism, a minimum if not a lack of tariffs and a balanced government budget. If you use the word "liberal" in Europe, this is generally what people will think you mean – if you want Americans to get the same picture, use the term "libertarian."

    Liberalism in the US is different from classical liberalism. American liberalism corresponds to what others in the world would call "left-wing politics." While classical liberalism places a high value on negative liberty in all spheres, leftism values negative liberty much less on economic issues than it does on other ones. So while leftists and classical liberals can agree that freedom of speech, religion, assembly, press, etc. are great things, leftists generally believe that the government can be, and should be, used to level the economic playing field. In order to do this, however, citizens have to be coerced into doing things with their money that they might not otherwise have chosen to do. Thus, left-wing politics tends to favor higher taxation than does classical liberalism, and with it, welfare programs to redistribute wealth from the richest to the poorest.

    Of course, this ignores other contexts in which "liberal" is used. For example, Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, which is a patchwork of factions, some of which feel quite strongly about negative liberty in the economic sense but not in most others.

    This is to say that if you use the term "liberal," your audience might think of something completely different from what you're thinking of, because the definitions of "liberal" have diverged significantly at this point. On the other hand, if you use the term "libertarian," your audience will know what you mean – although they might think you're using an overly pretentious word.

  3. Speaking to the "American" usage of the terms…

    "Liberalism", prior to the mid-20th-century or so, had the same meaning in the US as it does pretty much everywhere else in the world, a concept of a smaller state authority which interfered in personal lives as little as possible.

    Members of the Democratic Party, while trying to grow certain areas of Americans' freedom, adopted the term "liberal" for many of their initiatives (rightfully so). However, "liberalism" in America came to be synonymous with "Democratic" (in the party sense, not the system of government sense) principles, many of which are at odds with actual liberalism (sometimes now referred to as "classical liberalism").  For instance, Democrats' positions on the protected status of unions in negotiation is a "liberal" stance, but is by no means consistent with "classical liberal" tenets.

    The American "Libertarian Party" does harken back, essentially, to classical liberalism. So in that sense, you are correct. But with the "liberal" term already sort of co-opted by the Democratic Party (at least in the way that the term is mis-understood now by most Americans), they would face an uphill battle by calling themselves the "Liberal Party" or something like that.

  4. Liberal means fewer rules.

    In America the term liberal is used to denote proponents of social rights.

    "If I wanted the government in my uterus, I'd fill it with oil and Hispanic voters!" – Britta Perry, Community

    They don't believe the government should be allowed to dictate what its citizens can or can't do with their bodies or who they can marry and so on.  They want the feds the hell out of their personal lives and they want all people to be treated equally.  HOWEVER, because liberals tend to be Democrats the word is now being used as a catch-all to describe not only social liberals, but also anyone who supports big government or interventionist policies.  According to the classical definition of the word they are still economically liberal, as are pretty much all Americans, but they are slightly more leftist and slightly more likely to fool around with social programs than their conservative counterparts.

    Libertarians are extreme economic liberals.  They are propertarians who support minimal government and have a thing for Adam Smith's invisible hand.

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Don't teach a man to fish and you feed yourself.  He's a grown man.  Fishing's not that hard." – Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation

  5. People in the United States use the word "liberal" in a way that confuses people in other countries. This is because a "liberal", in the true sense of the word, is someone who generally thinks the government should stay out of people's lives. In U.S. politics today, though, "liberal" has come to mean someone who pushes for government involvement in the economic and even social aspects of people's lives. This is the opposite of what a "liberal" actually advocates.

    Anyway, in U.S. politics today, libertarians and "liberals" tend to agree on non-intervention in social issues such as abortion, homosexual marriage, and anything that could be construed as the official advocacy of religion. However, "liberals" still do like their own kind of government intervention in social issues, as long as the government is advocating something they want. In the case of abortion, they are both usually against laws prohibiting it, but "liberals" tend to want the government to pay for it as well, which libertarians tend to oppose. As for economic issues, "liberals" and libertarians tend to disagree on pretty much everything.

    In classic terms, there is not much difference between liberals and libertarians. I think libertarians just tend to be a little more extreme, bordering more on anarchism.

  6. Original Question: How do Libertarians differ from Liberals?

    No Original Question Details


    I consider myself a liberal-leaning libertarian. Triple “L,” not “Three M” or “Tripoli.”

    Bad pun.

    In any case, the answer depends upon the person one asks.

    For the most part, the persons that now identify as “libertarian” would once have been called “liberal.” A few people (myself included), refer to libertarians as classical liberals.

    That is to say, we are the people who believe the best government is the least possible government.

    One hundred to two hundred years ago, in an age where monarchs were still common and held real political power in civilized nations, the liberal was someone who opposed the power of the monarch and the aristocracy—or at least wanted to have that power strongly limited by constitutional provision.

    The modern usage of liberal came into being with the populist era of the late Nineteenth and early 20th centuries. The new liberals believed that government was a pathway to solving the many social problems that plagued newly industrialized societies.

    What both groups, both the classical liberals and the new liberals shared, was a belief that government should not restrict individual liberty.

    Where the two groups parted was in their beliefs regarding government regulation of industry and commerce. The classical liberals believed, and largely still believe that the marketplace is the mechanism for regulating business. The new liberals believed that to be preposterous, and cited endless examples of businesses polluting, maintaining unsafe working conditions, cooperating with foreign dictators, supporting local political machines for favors—the list goes on and on.

    The classical liberals respond to this charge by saying that government simply cannot be trusted—that no matter how well-intentioned a government program may be—that it will always have unintended, and usually negative consequences. In short, classical liberals—the libertarians, believe that the cure is worse than the problem.

    This has really been what has kept the two apart for the better part of a century now. In fact, it led to the coinage of the term libertarian. The classical liberals gave up trying to draw a distinction between classical and new liberals, and simply abandoned the term.

    Largely—though conservatives try to throw a monkey wrench in the works, liberals and libertarians share the same values—the belief in the value and freedom of the individual. Their major disagreement is over the method that will actually achieve the desired result.

    Both sides, of course, hurl largely baseless accusations at the other. Liberals claim that libertarians are naïve. Libertarians like to claim that liberals are just communists who want to control everyone’s lives.

    Conservatives play off this conflict to win elections.

    Conservatives find it very easy to talk about libertarian ideals, but do not believe in those ideas.

    Conservatism is predicated on one clear idea—as it has been for centuries—the idea that some people are better than others, and that the law should recognize and support that “fact.”

    Conservatives are, of course, loathe to admit this as in reality, a majority of persons are some variety of liberal or libertarian or somewhere in between.

    So the big hurdle, the thing that keeps libertarians and liberals apart, is their relative faith in government. Libertarians largely hold government in contempt, and liberals largely believe that government is the solution to many problems.

  7. They’re broad categories but a rough central tenet for each is something like:

    Liberals: They believe people are free to express themselves and that a diverse, tolerant and accepting society is superior to one that must constantly stick with “old ways” whatever those may be. This belief is centered around the idea that societies must adapt to evolving circumstances and in order to thrive you must change. There’s no steady-rock answer that lasts forever and if evidence shows something else is superior to do then that should be done.

    Libertarian: They focus on the belief that government should be as restricted as possible and allow communities and individuals to make decisions on their own. The scale at which a libertarian might find acceptable in passing laws varies (for instance, some are anarcho-libertarians were they define any law/regulation as wrong and others are community-level libertarians that believe local democracy is best and still others might be okay with a nation-state that simply minimizes government-level services). Like liberalism, there is no set belief system that applies to all libertarians. Some are okay with the government providing healthcare and roads, so long as the spending is minimized, others are not okay with the government doing anything at all. The common thread is merely that they wish to minimize the role of the state.


    I feel it best to provide real world concrete examples of how these views materialize into actual belief systems. Hypothetical discussions are neat but I rather put it in concrete terms.

    Take the Economist, widely known as a liberal small-government libertarian magazine produced in the UK. They’re largely okay with a government existing, they’re even okay with anti-poverty programs. Their concern is mostly about pursuing free market enterprise and market solutions where possible, and evening out the playing field elsewhere (such as providing universal healthcare so that businesses are not hobbled by their ability to provide medical services when they’re not medical service businesses).

    On the other hand, you might look at the typical Norcal (Northern California) libertarian in Silicon Valley and San Francisco area. They’re more of the “local democracy” type of libertarian. They don’t want state or federal, or heck even municipal government to be all up in their business. Instead, they want communities to vote on laws and regulations that are then backed up by municipal and state authorities. Contracts are ten times the length they are compared to Canada and there’s a hundred times the red tape because every dick in the neighbourhood has their say in every community.

    You could also look at Texan style liberal libertarian in Austin and Houston who are more of a “small government” type of politics. They don’t like to pay taxes and they rather purchase services on their own. However, they also hate local regulations and red tape so they also don’t believe in local democracy as much. They’re willing to put up laws at the state level but make sure the state doesn’t do as much.

    There’s the liberal strain in Ontario/Quebec in Canada. Whatever personal beliefs a person holds, it is seen as wrong and presumptuous to translate that into political views. The people are incredibly socially conservative (view drinking as a bad habit, view abortion as wrong, many even view inter-ethnic relationships as wrong… the easiest way to picture Ontarians is to assume everyone has a stick up their ass) but it is seen as incredibly wrong to enshrine any of that into law. Your personal beliefs are just that: personal. So the laws are made to be welcoming to all people but you can make individual choices about your lifestyle. Thus, you have a population that is like 55–60% anti-homosexual that votes 80% in favour of gay marriage.

    How Ontario and Quebec differ is on economics. Quebecois love their tax-system and government services (they’ve the lowest tuition fees for post-secondary education by far, some of the best healthcare wait times etc). Ontario loves free market and union bashing. As a result, Ontario has one of the highest post-secondary education tuition fees in the country. Ontario’s wait times are pretty piss poor and it still hasn’t managed to fully digitize its healthcare system.


    As you can see, in some ways they share some traits and in others they’re utterly unrelated. You can be a liberal libertarian, you can be a conservative libertarian and you can mix all sorts of other belief systems with libertarianism.

  8. The question detail said "I'm Danish and from my point of view it seems like Libertarianism is just a replacement for 'Liberalism' because it has been transformed away from what Liberalism actually means."

    I think that's at least partly true. I would argue, however, that there is no such thing as what a word "actually means." Language changes. You can tell what a word means now, and what it meant in the past, but it has no fixed meaning. I would rather say that Liberalism has been transformed away from what it used to mean.

    Actually, Liberalism does currently mean different things in different places. According to the Wikipedia article on "Liberal Party," "Liberal parties can be centre-left, centrist, or centre-right depending on their location."

    Liberalism did at first mean what Libertarianism means now. The Wikipedia article on "Laissez Faire" says "The doctrine of laissez-faire became an integral part of nineteenth-century European liberalism. Just as liberals supported freedom of thought in the intellectual sphere, so were they equally prepared to champion the principles of free trade and free competition in the sphere of economics. The state was to be merely a passive policeman, protecting private property and administering justice, but not interfering with the affairs of its citizens."

    The transformation occurred in the twentieth century.  For example: according to the Wikipedia article on "Liberal International," Liberal International was founded in Oxford in 1947 to network liberal parties around the world, and its current constitution gives its purpose as "… to foster the growth of a free society based on personal liberty, personal responsibility and social justice…."

    Liberalism was transformed from the nineteenth-century emphasis on private property to the twentieth-century view that even people without property have rights that need to be protected. Libertarianism continues the emphasis on property rights.

  9. As with most responses about politics and beliefs, it is dangerous to generalize concepts too much. So I will talk with the acknowledgment up front that these are tendencies and not categorically true. I will also be talking about these beliefs from a contemporary American perspective. The terms have changed over time, and meaning has drifted. You can see this most glaringly with how Americans and British use the word “liberal” with different connotations, though they sprouted from the same epistemological kernel.

    Let me start with what I believe both groups similarly tend to believe. As the root for both groups are the same, liber-, they both tend to believe in a liberation from strictures that bound individuals and society to more conservative principles of opprobrium. They believe that individuals should be as free as possible to determine their own set of mores, standards, and rules to live by. They differ in their approach, with libertarians tending to be more absolutist from the individual perspective, while liberals tend to believe there are limits that must be reasonably and explicitly decided within the context of society. From a strict armchair philosopher standpoint, the libertarian position is “cleaner” and requires less back-end interpretation. You don’t have to ever consider slippery slope or other fallacious arguments. But life does not comport itself to models too well, and there is something lost when a philosophy considers cultural conscience to be merely the almagamation of individual interests.

    The larger difference I see is in the approach to the morality and behavior of economic relations. While again liberals and libertarians both believe in having individual freedom be as broad as possible, libertarians have a more absolutist approach to how economic relations should be governed than liberals. Libertarians believe that the only laws and rules in place should be to facilitate the contractual agreements between individuals, and that it is not the business of the state or other individuals what the terms or effects of those agreements are. As a result of this belief, any agreement not willingly and explicitly accepted by individuals is a form of theft and is criminal. Thus, government intervention of any kind is out of hand viewed with skepticism, as the government does not represent a party to these contractual agreements per se but taxes individuals to its own ends, and is naturally in a place to use force to get what it wants. Thus, taxes above what is considered “fair” are a form of property theft. Further, while the coercive power of government may be necessary, the free market can and should meet the needs of society by companies competing for better and more appropriate ways to meet those demands in s manner that hinders economic interactions the least. The act of competition limits companies and keeps them in check far better than trusting a government to limit itself. The government should be limited to ensuring contract terms are met and that the means in which contracts are observed and mediated generally meet the same standards (i.e., government focused on procedural justice).

    This argument is “cleaner” than liberal arguments: there are fewer moving parts to consider, it seems both less complicated and more aligned with individual interactions. Libertarians also assert that laissez faire takes control and that eventually the relations of individuals will either find an equilibrium, or that the collective relations represented by a libertarian philosophy are more aligned with a state of nature where those that are more equipped to survive will eventually rise to the top and some form of Darwinism (benign or otherwise) will take over.

    A liberal will tend to meet this argument with skepticism for a few reasons.

    1) Liberals argue that the economy and individual contracts are not moral-free zones but are extensions of the moral sphere and the social power dynamic embedded in the community. Since these are by nature rooted in the past, libertarianism is a covert form of conservatism to protect those that already sit atop this social power dynamic.

    2) All forms of power dynamics, including the accumulation of money and wealth, should be viewed skeptically as they do not represent a natural order inasmuch as they do the contingencies of place, time, chance, bias, and prejudice.

    3) Government is a requisite and only form of legitimate coercion, and while it is imperfect, it is (or should be better) answerable through democratically elected means, with sufficient checks to promote and preserve rights and freedoms. Libertarians reject that a government can be trusted to limit itself, and liberals may agree. But liberals believe a government at least ostensibly representative of the people is better than divesting coercive power to companies or other individuals that are not directly accountable to society.

    4) No matter how freely contracts are entered into, agreements, terms, and fulfillment of contracts favor the party with more power and thus should be governed and mediated with these power dynamics in mind.

    5) People, through the government, have the right and responsibility to uphold community standards and values of what is acceptable for all people in the community (such as standard of living) fhthrough democratic means, that balance individual rights and community mores. Thus, the government must balance between procedural and outcomes-related justice.

    6) WIthout considering outcome-related justice, a society and government will eventually rend apart because stark inequality leads to social strife and to violence and war. Libertarians believe that liberal governments exacerbate these inequalities, but give no remedies for the inevitable outcome where vast inequality in power dynamics leads to social strife in a laissez fare system. While a liberal acknowledges that the government can and will make decisions that could net negatively affect society, the government is answerable to all people and can course-correct. In libertarian thought, there are no real mechanisms or even acknowledgments of companies or individuals with inordinate power net negatively affecting the community. Instead it is either just outright accepted or assumed that generally the invisible hand will make things right for humanity.

    Liberalism is not one flavor and does not accept as many absolutist positions, especially in its political versions. Therefore, it is in an inherently weaker position because it must accept a panoply of iterations as people determine their own acceptable limits and tensions between freedom and community. It also must fight against human “truths” that distill life or relations into simple aphorisms or bits of “logic.” Those that espouse liberalism also must hold comfortably in their head that their beliefs are right and incomplete simultaneously. This is a difficult proposition, but I believe worth the effort.

  10. The differences between liberal and libertarian are minor. The real differences are between liberal and progressive.

    The US was founded American Revolution and Revolutionary War with liberal values. The Declaration of Independence took many ideas from John Locke (philosopher) and the European Enlightenment . The primary defenders of those ideas are Libertarians today

    • Right to free speech
    • Right to defend oneself
    • Sovereign citizen 9th amendment
    • Right to unlimited property ownership
    • Right to self determination
    • Right to throw off oppressive government
    • Rule of Law
    • Protection of US citizens from foreign threats
    • Protection of religious expression
    • Promote charity and community
    • Limited government

    Every revolution inspires a reaction. They are progressives. The reactionaries to the American revolution want.

    • Limited speech PC
    • Limited rights to defend oneself, gun control
    • Sovereign government Federalism with grudging concession to the 10th amendment
    • Limited property rights primarily through taxation
    • A”life of Julia” cradle to grave entitlement system
    • Imprisonment or death for threatening the Union
    • Selective enforcement of the law
    • Open borders supra national orientation
    • Suppression of religion
    • Suppress charity, assume it as a government function
    • Profligate, self indulgent and fiscally irresponsible government with programs we cannot afford
  11. In short:
    Libertarians are supporters of liberty and freedom, while liberals are supporters of regulating almost every aspect of human life.

    The very term “liberal” has changed in modern USA from it’s original meaning to it’s exact opposite, exactly like it happened to a word “christian” from “Thou shalt love thy neighbor” to “if the prisoner will not confess the truth satisfactorily, other sorts of tortures must be placed before him, with the statement that unless he will confess the truth, he must endure these also
    And so, to distinguish themselves from new “liberals”, true liberals had to call themselves – “Libertarians”.

    Examples of differences:

    Ultra-Conservatives: “Government should not let black people get into universities”
    Liberals: “Government should enforce universities to take no less then certain number of black people”
    Libertarians: “Government has nothing to do with education, universities can make their own rules of overcharging the stupid, and supporting the smart regardless of skin color ”

    Conservatives: “Gay marriages should not be allowed by government”
    Liberals: “Gay marriages should be allowed by government”
    Libertarians: “Government has nothing to do with person’s private life”

    Conservatives: “Government should take less “social” taxes, working people deserve to earn more”
    Liberals: “Government should take more “social” taxes, those who do not work and earn also should live a good live”
    Libertarians: “Government must not take any social taxes, those who earn have a right to make their own social security investments, and those who care about poor have a right to make any donations they want”

    Conservatives: “Government has to forbid abortions, and allow people to own weapons”
    Liberals: “Government had forbid owning weapons, and allow abortions”
    Libertarians: “Government has nothing to do with both. Person have a right to make an abortion, to have a gun, to smoke marijuana and to do anything he wants if it is not harming other free people, and not restricting their freedoms”

  12. "Liberal" means different things in different places and times.  I will use 21st century American usage.

    They differ principally in what they think the proper role of the government is.  Liberals think the government should make efforts to protect people, guarantee minimum incomes, regulate industry and so forth.  Libertarians believe that little (if any) of this is desirable.

  13. The meaning of "liberal" has varied with time and place.   Originally, during the Enlightenment,  it referred to those who advocated for the primacy of the individual over the state, for the fundamental status of natural rights, of life, liberty and property.   That was the meaning in use, in Europe and America until around 1900 or so.

    Then there were a few decades where there were "Old Liberals" and "New Liberals" where the "New" variety called for a larger, paternalistic state and a greater emphasis of the collective good than individual rights.  

    Through WWI and WWII the collective won out.   Old liberals practically ceased to exist.   The really question was what form of all-powerful state we were to have, the fascist kind, the communist kind, the Nazi kind or the democratically-elected kind.

    After WWII some of the "Old" liberal school of thought reemerged.  Some referred to it as "classical liberal."  A more modern reformulation/extension of these ideas, which specifically addressed "New" liberal critiques of "Old" liberal ideas, went by the name "libertarianism."  

    But note that the name shift did not occur in all countries, and not all at the same time.  Even today in parts of Europe "liberal" is used in the Old Liberal/Classical Liberal sense.

  14. Long ago "liberal" meant libertarian (or having libertarian tendencies — very few people have ever been doctrinaire libertarian).

    In the 1960s advocates of moderate socialism adopted the term "liberal" as a euphemism for socialist because "socialist" had acquired a negative connotation.

    They justified it by verbal game-playing.  Though they advocated giving up much freedom in exchange for security, they reasoned that one can describe security using the word "freedom" in a different sense — in that security offers freedom from the negative consequences of bad luck or personal irresponsibility.

    Asserting that security is a different _kind_ of freedom, they felt that they could justify calling themselves "liberal".  Since such people dominate academia and the media, they have the power to redefine words, and the rest of us just have to live with it.    The original meaning of liberalism is now referred to as "classical liberalism".

  15. Classical liberalism, which is an integral part of libertarianism, is the philosophy of rights and freedoms, or negative freedoms as they're now known. For instance, libertarians support:

    • Free speech
    • Free markets
    • Free trade
    • Free migration (but not welfare for immigrants)
    • Freedom of religion
    • Decentralised governance
    • Recognition of different types of marriage (but not enforced recognition)
    • Abolition of the minimum wage — the early classical liberal feminists fought for the abolition of higher minimum wages for women (leading to preferential hiring of men)

    (There are polarising divides on some issues such as patents and abortion, however.)

    Modern liberalism, on the other hand, is the descendant of progressivism, a reactionary movement against true liberalism, and the belief that the government is the agent for social change. They tend to believe in positive freedoms, which are basically entitlements, or duties imposed on other people, and are the complete opposite of real freedoms. For instance:

    • Restricted speech ("Right to be respected", as they call it)
    • Restricted property rights such as through private sector affirmative action, price control, equal pay for equal work (with the same consequences as separate minimum wages for men and women), etc.
    • "Fair" trade
    • Not particularly free immigration and with amnesty and other crap
    • State-sponsored religion of progressivism, especially in countries like Norway where children are confiscated from their parents if the parents influence them with other religions
    • Centralised governance
    • While some alternative forms of marriage are recognised, progressives also want to force other people to hold the same views, such as by forcing religious institutions to conduct same-sex marriages or by forcing employers to refer to transgender employees as "zhi", "zer", whatever.
    • Minimum wages and equal pay legislation

    It is really statism, and the polar opposite of true liberalism.

  16. In many countries, the two terms can be used interchangeably. Libertarians often denotes someone who is too liberal for the current definition of liberalism, which can either mean classical liberalism (lassiez-faire economics) or modern liberalism (cultural liberalism).

    Liberals think that government should be more liberal with money and often more liberal with cultural policy. To fund liberal spending, government often has to raise taxes and increase the size of government (a.k.a big government).

    Libertarians think that government should be more liberal with personal financial choice and often more liberal with cultural policy.

    Since libertarians are more liberal with personal financial choice, they also have to lower taxes and be conservative with money, however, it is possible to find libertarians who support raising taxes and using that money to provide individuals with a more liberal choice.

    Both liberal and libertarians may support cultural policies that are liberal in the sense that they allow individuals to do whatever they want, or polices that are liberal in the sense that they do not discriminate against anyone and support minorities.

    It can also be seen as being more liberal, in the moral sense, to spend $1000 on both the criminal and the hero.

  17. Liberal refers to people who have a high tolerance/low resistance to change.  It can also refer to quantity, as in a liberal amount of sunscreen, but that is pretty rare in political conversation.  Pure liberals favor change for the sake of change while functional liberals understand that change needs to be carefully analyzed and critiqued before it is implemented.
     
    Libertarian refers to people who are opposed to government involvement in the affairs of the people.  Pure libertarians are anarchists while functional libertarians understand that the rights and well-being of an individual is dependent on the health of the community in which he resides.
     
    It is important to note that "liberal" and "progressive" are not synonyms.  Liberal specifically refers to aversion to change.  Progressive refers to people who favor social reform, but that reform could be liberal or conservative in nature.  For example, environmentalism is a progressive agenda because it strives for social reform.  However, "conserving" the environment, or attempting to turn it back towards its pristine state, is a conservative agenda.  Therefore, environmentalism is progressive-conservative in nature.

  18. Modern ‘liberalism’ generally refers to progressive socialism. Libertarianism is similar to liberalism in some ways, in that libertarians support the legalization of drugs, free choice abortion, equal legal rights and voting rights for all citizens, and so on.

    However unlike modern ‘liberals’, libertarians do not support fake ‘rights’ such as affirmative action or social welfare programs, and generally advocate hard money, low taxes, and free trade (economic liberalism).

    You could say that conservatives support economic liberalism, liberals support social liberalism, and libertarians support both, but unlike the other two without looking to the government to solve everyone’s problems.

  19. It depends on how you define liberal, in most places besides the U.S. liberal means classical liberal not social democrat. Classical liberals are similar to libertarians. Social democrats are less socially liberal, then libertarians and less economically liberal, because social democrats is loose undefined blend of socialism and liberalism. I'll list some differances as examples.

    1. Social democrats have an ideological affinity for democracy, where as libertarians at most support only limited democracy, libertarians feel absolute majority rule is dangerous. Libertarians either favor a small liberal republic where as pure libertarians favor polycentric law, where the legal system is decentralized and not a state owned monopoly
    2. Social democrats are for some civil rights that libertarians are against, for example both libertarians and social democrats agree that the state shouldnt oppress minorities that there shouldn't be state mandated segregation or segregation on public property but they differ when it comes to private property. social democrats favor laws that ban christians from banning gay people for their private shops for example stating that it's immoral. Where as libertarians feel this is a violation of freedom of religion and that it contradicts the idea of property and as such self ownership. libertarians feel forced interaction is as dangerous and immoral has forced segregation.
    3. social democrats want firearm restrictions, because they feel that makes everyone safer, where as libertarians feel everyone should have the right to self defense and that banning guns doesn't make them go away but simply monopolizes factory made firearms in the hands of people with political influence.
    4. social democrats are populist which means they support the wishes of the majority, so they were against gay marriage for a while for example where as the libertarian party was pro gay marriage back in 70s
    5. Social democrats aren't all for ending the war on drugs and legalizing cannabis, in addition when they do support it they want it taxed, unlike libertarians that want cannabis legal and completely tax free, in addition libertarians all want to completely end the war on drugs legalizing all drugs, because they feel banning them is more dangerous and contradicts the idea of self ownership.
    6. social democrats want welfare were as libertarians are against wealth redistribution and wish to solve poverty by eliminating its cause. By banning market regulations that cause market distortions, which create the poverty and solve the rest of poverty caused by mental illness with private charities.
    7. Social democrats want market regulations, were as libertarians do not, they want the markets to fully function on their own in spontatious order
    8. social democrats are pro taxes, libertarians are against them because they’re against forced wealth redistribution and against state monopolies which is what taxes generally fund.
    9. Libertarians are more anti war on average then social democrats
    10. Social democrats are economically kenysian, which is they they want govt to artificially lower interest rates and to artificially pump money to the Economy, where as libertarians are Austrians economically Aka free market, and feel artificially manipulating the economy, causes market distortions, that causes things that aren't in demand to be produced and as such increased business shut down and job loss. there are of Economic differences basically libertarian don't want a central authority manipulating the economy where as social democrats do.

    I'm sure I can come up with more difference but this a loose list.

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