Many people never even hear of Libertarianism. I came from a small town in central Virginia, where when someone told me that Fairfax has a large libertarian movement I said that I do not know what that is but I am a conservative. Yes, I am a recovering conservative. The purpose of this post is what is the differences between a conservative or a liberal versus a libertarian? Most people would say that a libertarian is someone who agrees with liberals on social issues and conservatives on fiscal issues, even with outline the blurred lines we see today. This though is too simple of a throwaway definition.
The different between libertarians and other ideologies (including liberal, conservative, and socialist) is much wider than first thought. A libertarian is someone who does not have any desire to exert any control over you unless you mess with their stuff without permission. A libertarian is someone who when they derive what they think their rights are, it does not include messing with yours. Conservatives mess with your lifestyle and liberals mess with you money. Of course, the lines have blurred and the very difference between libertarian and the other ideologies should shine a light upon this problem.
The reason why the lines can become blurred is because whether you are controlling someone’s lifestyle or their money, you are still giving yourself the right to control something. This is why it does not take much for a conservative to wear the coat of a liberal. If a libertarian attempted to wear a coat of a liberal or conservative they would be thrown out faster than Arlen Specter could say “I’m a Democrat now.” This is because the opposite of libertarian is socialist, not liberal or conservative. Socialists are just people who believe it is not only their right, but their duty to control you.
This brings up the next term “nanny-state.” When someone is told that they support a nanny-state that implies that they themselves are not apt to make a decision for themselves. This is what conservatives, liberals, and socialists all think. Libertarians do not care if you can make a decision for yourself as long as that decision is not infringing upon me. They lay upon the foundation of Adam Smith and how every person who acts in their own self-interest will generate positive results for the entire populous. Liberals want no one to be self-interest and conservatives want to fight that.
The point is that libertarianism is a completely new mind set. When I was a conservative who was finding myself sliding into the libertarian boat, I tried hard to cast it off. To cast off the tool of control changes your life forever. When I was conservative, I truly thought we were just playing a game of what we should control and it never popped in my mind nothing. The status quo is always something and therefore it becomes ingrained in our minds.
Many times we do not do things because we think to ourselves how horrible it would be if a person did that to us. Liberals and conservatives should think about control in this same way. If one side wants to win and prevent themselves from being controlled at all then the better way to do that is to stop legitimizing any kind of control.