Why is libertarianism wrong? by Paul Treanor
Libertarianism is part of the Anglo-American liberal tradition in political philosophy. It is a development of classic liberalism, and not a separate category from it. It is specifically associated with the United States, and to a lesser extent with Britain and its former ‘white colonies’ (Canada, Australia, New Zealand). Many libertarian authors know only North American political culture and society. They claim universal application for libertarianism, but it remains culture-bound. For instance, some libertarians argue by quoting the US Constitution – apparently without realising that it only applies in the USA. Most online material on libertarianism contrasts it to ‘liberalism’, but that is also culturally specific. In the USA, ‘liberal’ means ‘left-of-centre’, or roughly the left wing of the Democratic Party. Here, the word ‘liberal’ is used in the European sense: libertarians are a sub-category of liberals. As a political philosophy, liberalism includes John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Karl Popper, Friedrich Hayek, Isaiah Berlin, and John Rawls. As a political movement, it is represented by the continental-European liberal parties in the Liberal International.
At this point, you might expect a definition of libertarianism. However, most were written by libertarians themselves, and they are often useless. Libertarianism is freedom! is a slogan, not a definition. Besides, libertarians generally believe that market forces override individual liberty. With so many inaccurate, propagandistic definitions, I have avoided a futile redefinition. Libertarianism is described here through its values, claims, and effects.” continued…..