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Why isn't libertarianism more popular?

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  • View Poll Results: Would you vote for a libertarian party?
    Yes
    41.03%
    Possibly - it would depend on which school of libertarianism
    28.21%
    No
    30.77%

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    I find it somewhat odd that maximising personal freedom isn't more popular in modern society. Why do you think that libertarianism isn't more popular?

    Would you vote for a libertarian party?
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    liberal democrats are dead dodo's, i cant see why libertarians cant soak up all the disaffected voters from all parties...though i would prefer a non partisan democracy tbh.

    i would also prefer a more central to left wing libertarian party
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    Probably because the vast majority of the country have never heard of libertarianism. UK politics for the masses is simple: you vote Tory or Labour and no longer Lib Dem.
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    (Original post by robin22391)
    liberal democrats are dead dodo's, i cant see why libertarians cant soak up all the disaffected voters from all parties...though i would prefer a non partisan democracy tbh.

    i would also prefer a more central to left wing libertarian party
    I don't really think liberal democrat voters would be interested in libertarianism - the liberal democrats wanted to abolish tuition fees - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to raise capital gains tax - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to introduce a new tax on houses worth more than £2m - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to introduce a banking tax - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to regulate bonuses in the private sector - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to increase government spending - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to make it illegal for employers to even ask your name on a job application - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted all companies to disclose the details of all persons paid more than £200k pa - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to maintain free admission to art galleries and museums - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to increase the foreign aid budget - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to introduce a system that would allow immigrants only to work in certain geographical locations - that's not a libertarian idea.

    I could go on for far longer. You get the picture, I'm sure.

    All of these points were made in their 2010 manifesto: http://network.libdems.org.uk/manife...festo_2010.pdf

    Simply put, the liberal democrats are just as big government as any of the other mainstream political parties today. They're not libertarians at all.
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    Because we don't live in America? People are far more accustomed to bureaucracy in Europe and don't tend to question it; most haven't heard of libertarianism. We live in a two party state - neither of them is libertarian.
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    (Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
    I don't really think liberal democrat voters would be interested in libertarianism - the liberal democrats wanted to abolish tuition fees - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to raise capital gains tax - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to introduce a new tax on houses worth more than £2m - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to introduce a banking tax - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to regulate bonuses in the private sector - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to increase government spending - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to make it illegal for employers to even ask your name on a job application - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted all companies to disclose the details of all persons paid more than £200k pa - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to maintain free admission to art galleries and museums - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to increase the foreign aid budget - that's not a libertarian idea. They wanted to introduce a system that would allow immigrants only to work in certain geographical locations - that's not a libertarian idea.

    I could go on for far longer. You get the picture, I'm sure.

    All of these points were made in their 2010 manifesto: http://network.libdems.org.uk/manife...festo_2010.pdf

    Simply put, the liberal democrats are just as big government as any of the other mainstream political parties today. They're not libertarians at all.

    yes i know, but libertarianism has alot of different points of view from left to right, a british libertarian party could be about personal liberty and the non aggression principal rather than focusing on total free market.

    and if you think most voters actually read all the policies then you are a wishful thinker, voters care about the general idea slant and a few major policies.

    for example libertarians would want guns legalised, but the media would rip them apart in the uk...they need to take it step by step....liberty and ending wars aswell as less taxes and stopping the bailout of banks is a winning formula if only they would use it....they need a ron paul style candidate who is good with online media.

    there are no libertarians where i live, i may vote green party... as i dont want to vote those 3 anymore ever...not even as a way to stop the other.
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    (Original post by Rancorous)
    Because we don't live in America? People are far more accustomed to bureaucracy in Europe and don't tend to question it; most haven't heard of libertarianism. We live in a two party state - neither of them is libertarian.
    This seems to be the problem. People seem to join either the Labour or Conservative camp very early on, and don't consider other political ideologies. Is it that they just vote the same way as their families and friends do? Is it that people aren't interested in politics or economics or philosophy?

    I wouldn't mind so much if people had considered libertarianism and thought 'this isn't for me' - I would disagree with them, of course - but it seems that people don't even know what it involves. I think if more people knew about it, it would be vastly popular. The problem is this lack of engagement, but I don't know how you'd get people interested in it.
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    (Original post by robin22391)
    yes i know, but libertarianism has alot of different points of view from left to right, a british libertarian party could be about personal liberty and the non aggression principal rather than focusing on total free market.

    and if you think most voters actually read all the policies then you are a wishful thinker, voters care about the general idea slant and a few major policies.

    for example libertarians would want guns legalised, but the media would rip them apart in the uk...they need to take it step by step....liberty and ending wars aswell as less taxes and stopping the bailout of banks is a winning formula if only they would use it....they need a ron paul style candidate who is good with online media.
    I think I quite often overestimate the intelligence of the general population - quite possibly because I spend too much time on TSR and with people that are rather politically active and intellectually well-developed.

    I think the problem we have in this country is that we think not about principles, but about issues. People adopt contradictory stances by not following principles and simply kowtowing to popular opinion - for example, nobody in the main parties at the moment advocates legalising drugs. But none of them would say they want to ban alcohol. None of them would say that polygamy is okay, but all of them are for gay marriage - which doesn't make sense if your principle is that mentally competent consenting adults should be able to live however they like.
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    (Original post by robin22391)
    yes i know, but libertarianism has alot of different points of view from left to right, a british libertarian party could be about personal liberty and the non aggression principal rather than focusing on total free market.

    and if you think most voters actually read all the policies then you are a wishful thinker, voters care about the general idea slant and a few major policies.

    for example libertarians would want guns legalised, but the media would rip them apart in the uk...they need to take it step by step....liberty and ending wars aswell as less taxes and stopping the bailout of banks is a winning formula if only they would use it....they need a ron paul style candidate who is good with online media.

    there are no libertarians where i live, i may vote green party... as i dont want to vote those 3 anymore ever...not even as a way to stop the other.
    If you would consider voting libertarian, how could you ever vote for the green party in this country? They're not at all libertarian, really! Sure, some of their policies may have libertarian leanings - decriminalising cannabis, for example - but I don't think they've ever said they'd legalise cocaine or heroin. They want even higher taxes. They're not libertarians. They just want people that smoke weed to vote for them. They want to capture the lefty-student market that previously followed the LibDems.
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    (Original post by Rancorous)
    Because we don't live in America?
    Oh yeah, because America has SUCH a successful Libertarian party...
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    (Original post by TitanicTeutonicPhil)
    Oh yeah, because America has SUCH a successful Libertarian party...
    Whenever I ask people who they want to be the next US President, they always say either Obama or Romney. They don't seem to have even heard of Gary Johnson (the candidate I support) - which is what the whole problem is, really.

    Once you explain his policies to them, they almost always say 'oh, I prefer him actually - what was his name again?'.

    The problem is the lack of recognition.
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    (Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
    This seems to be the problem. People seem to join either the Labour or Conservative camp very early on, and don't consider other political ideologies. Is it that they just vote the same way as their families and friends do? Is it that people aren't interested in politics or economics or philosophy?

    I wouldn't mind so much if people had considered libertarianism and thought 'this isn't for me' - I would disagree with them, of course - but it seems that people don't even know what it involves. I think if more people knew about it, it would be vastly popular. The problem is this lack of engagement, but I don't know how you'd get people interested in it.


    give them bread and circuses, while they have these the majority of people dont care who is in government. as long as they have sky tv they dont care, the government tells them to go back to bed and watch britains got talent and they fall in line.

    sometimes i talk to people about political ideas and they look offended or like im a nutcase...some people cannot comprehend why i think guns and drugs should not be banned. im a biology student and i tell them all the facts about certain class a drugs which i think should be legal and they shrug it off like im an idiot and ignore it when i tell them all the scientists agree. but what annoys me most is that they use their "religious" ideas about drugs etc to affect my rights and liberties, its like if muslims had alcohol banned in this country except that these people are all atheists.

    just as church and state should be seperate, so too should these personal preferences about drugs.

    i wouldnt take them all but at least i defend everyones right to.
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    (Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
    If you would consider voting libertarian, how could you ever vote for the green party in this country? They're not at all libertarian, really! Sure, some of their policies may have libertarian leanings - decriminalising cannabis, for example - but I don't think they've ever said they'd legalise cocaine or heroin. They want even higher taxes. They're not libertarians. They just want people that smoke weed to vote for them. They want to capture the lefty-student market that previously followed the LibDems.
    its one step at a time, just like libertarians are trying to influence the republicans in usa. but like i said i dont have a local libertarian to my knowledge.

    if alot of people vote in the libertarian direction, which is the green party in this country at the moment...then the other parties also shift slightly, advancing the idea of liberty will not happen in one year, a big step that will help is a change in drug policy and after medical marijuana in the usa people here are much more open to the idea.

    but a party will lose lots of votes if it goes extreme and wants heroin in asda.

    one step at a time
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    One problem for the Libertarian movement has long been that its most salient exponents have invariably been cranks, demagogues or sophists. They come across, certainly to the majority of voters, as way too dogmatic and doctrinaire. It turns people off.

    In a British context, Daniel Hannan is a perfect example. Powell too.
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    I too wouldn't take drugs because I think it's a stupid thing to do. But if people want to, that should be their right.

    My main problem with the criminalisation of drugs is that it is paternalistic - the state is dictating what people can and cannot do because it might be bad for them. My problem with this is that if it continues to expand the ambit of state control over individual autonomy, where will we end up? Will fast food be banned because it's bad for you? Alcohol? Smoking anywhere?

    I don't smoke because I think it's foolish - it's demonstrably bad for you - but if people want to do it in a private place (that is, not on the street - in restaurants or bars or places of work or your home or your car it's absolutely fine if the owner of these places allows it) they should absolutely have the right to do so.

    Part of life, in my view, is having the freedom to make what other people think might be bad decisions. Some people say I'm foolish for trying to be a lawyer when the market is so bad - but nobody has said yet to me 'you shouldn't be allowed to try to be a lawyer'.

    I apply this sort of view very widely. I don't know why anyone would have a problem with people making bad decisions if they didn't have to pay the bills for it.

    The problem at the moment is that if people take drugs, or smoke, or drink to excess, and then become ill, they're treated by the NHS. What this basically means is the tax paid by people who don't do these things because they recognise how bad they are has to be used to support people who made stupid choices. I think that's wrong. But I don't think the solution is trying to legislate against these activities - I think the solution is getting the government out of the business of providing healthcare. That way, nobody is having to foot the bill of someone that made a choice that damaged their health.

    Margaret Thatcher once said 'if you want to cut your own throat, don't come to me for a bandage'. This is broadly my position. Do what you will, but don't expect society to bail you out when something goes wrong. This is a position of freedom tempered by responsibility, and this is my position.
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    liberalism seems to be the only political view point that exists on the internet lol
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    (Original post by robin22391)
    its one step at a time, just like libertarians are trying to influence the republicans in usa. but like i said i dont have a local libertarian to my knowledge.

    if alot of people vote in the libertarian direction, which is the green party in this country at the moment...then the other parties also shift slightly, advancing the idea of liberty will not happen in one year, a big step that will help is a change in drug policy and after medical marijuana in the usa people here are much more open to the idea.

    but a party will lose lots of votes if it goes extreme and wants heroin in asda.

    one step at a time
    No, no, no, no. Have you even read their manifesto? They're a step in the very WRONG direction. They are a socialist party. They are LESS libertarian than the the current government, overall.
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    (Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
    I think I quite often overestimate the intelligence of the general population - quite possibly because I spend too much time on TSR and with people that are rather politically active and intellectually well-developed.

    I think the problem we have in this country is that we think not about principles, but about issues. People adopt contradictory stances by not following principles and simply kowtowing to popular opinion - for example, nobody in the main parties at the moment advocates legalising drugs. But none of them would say they want to ban alcohol. None of them would say that polygamy is okay, but all of them are for gay marriage - which doesn't make sense if your principle is that mentally competent consenting adults should be able to live however they like.
    i completely agree, although im betting there are a few people on the front bench who would like to see cannabis for example deregulated and no doubt many imbibe cocaine regularly...but they want to keep their job...one of the reasons i advocate a non-partisan democracy.
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    (Original post by Aspiringlawstudent)
    No, no, no, no. Have you even read their manifesto? They're a step in the very WRONG direction. They are a socialist party. They are LESS libertarian than the the current government, overall.
    i havent...this is a recent thought

    they are surely less authoritarian than all the others and are against banking bailouts.

    id prefer an anarchistic socialist lean over an authoritarian right wing lean

    bottom line for me is i want a less authoritarian system
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    (Original post by robin22391)
    i havent...this is a recent thought

    they are surely less authoritarian than all the others and are against banking bailouts.

    id prefer an anarchistic socialist lean over an authoritarian right wing lean

    bottom line for me is i want a less authoritarian system
    They're against bank bailouts, but they're for bailouts for the poor; they support the welfare state and want to expand it by raising taxes on the rich.

    If you're for bailouts for the poor or disabled, you're for bank bailouts. If you're against bank bailouts, you're against bailouts for the poor or disabled.

    If you are somehow against bailouts for banks but for bailouts for the poor or disabled, you're doing exactly what I complained about earlier: you are adopting contradictory positions that do not fit with a principle.

    If you're opposed to bank bailouts, it's because people shouldn't be expected to help out people or institutions that fail due to bad practice or bad luck, and this is the same exact reason I oppose the welfare state.

    If you want less authoritarianism, you shouldn't support a tax-and-spend party like the green party. They steal money (because taxation is theft, any way you look at it - it's taking money from people by force) and they want to steal more of it than Labour, the Tories or the LibDems.

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