There is one key difference betweeen Libertarians and adherents of every other political philosophy: Libertarians don’t tell anyone else what to do, and ask only that others don’t tell them what to do. From Eric Peters on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:
A Libertarian can live in peace with a communist or a fascist – or even a Republican or a Democrat.
Let ‘em get together, buy a compound, admit like-minded people to their group and do their thing. God bless ’em. The Libertarian will not bother them. He won’t tax ‘em, regulate ‘em or attempt to control them in any way whatsoever. He will respect their right to choose their way of life, even if it means handing over control of their lives to an individual “leader” or “representatives” of the (supposed) will of “the people.”
But none of them are capable of leaving a Libertarian in peace.
All of the political ideologies except Libertarianism are defined by their refusal to take “no, thanks” as an answer. Their unwillingness to leave others alone. Their utter rejection of the principle that government (like any contract) is only legitimate if freely consented to.
If you do not agree with a communist, a fascist, a Republican or a Democrat, he will insist. If you resist, he will use whatever violent means are necessary to compel your obedience. If it comes down to it, he will have you killed.
Chairman Mao – one of history’s greatest mass murderers – was absolutely right when he observed that political power flows from the barrel of a gun.
This goes for Republicans and Democrats, too. They are just less honest with themselves about it than Chairman Mao. They patty-cake talk in euphemisms about the violence that is the foundation of their ideologies. But euphemisms don’t alter the fact that violence is, indeed, the foundation of their ideologies – as much as it was the foundation of Mao’s.
We are talking differences of degree, not kind.
Only Libertarians offer the latter.
You can deride us as “selfish” – a commonly hurled insult – but whatever you may think about us, we aren’t the ones pointing guns at people. We may ask for your cooperation, attempt to persuade you that “x” or “y” is a good idea and worth your support. But we stop there. If you tell us, “no thanks – I’m not interested” we will accept your decision and leave you be. We might be disappointed, but we won’t insist.
That is the nature of our “selfishness.”
We don’t claim you “owe” money for things you never bought and don’t want. We figure it’s up to you to decide what you want and buy it if you want to. We only ask that you use your own money – not ours.
We figure, if you’re not hurting someone by whatever it is you’re doing, we haven’t got any right to interfere with what you’re doing. We may think you’re weird, even foolish. But we will leave you alone unless you aren’t leaving others alone.
Can a Republican or Democrat say the same?
They differ (and bicker) only logistically. Who will get what taken from whom. They both agree (unanimously) on the taking – and the controlling.
And here’s the thing: Inevitably, the taking and controlling wax rather than wane. Attempting to “limit” it is as hopeless as trying to keep a puddle of gasoline from igniting by only putting a match to a corner of the puddle.
To continue reading: We Can Live With Communists