Are Libertarians Right-Wing?

In the last article I wrote for Being Libertarian, “A Libertarian Case Against the Death Penalty,” I noticed that quite a few people had some critiques about my work.

Some criticized the paper more intellectually while others seemed to be a bit more scathing and emotional in their remarks.

That said, nothing intrigued me more than the comments that disagreed with me – not on the issue of capital punishment – but rather on the part of the article where I briefly referred to the libertarian community as a right-wing one.

Allow me to explain why I did this.

To understand why the libertarians are, for the most part, right-wing, we need to first understand what it means to be a libertarian as well as what it means to be on the right-wing.

Typically, when people refer to the right-wing, they are referring to any ideology that insists upon preserving a hierarchy, tradition/culture, and economic freedom.

In this article, I will explain why it is that libertarians uphold each of these values and are thus on the right-wing spectrum.

Make no mistake, libertarians are certainly not conservatives; and when I say they uphold hierarchy, tradition, and economic freedom, I don’t necessarily mean it in a way that is identical to how mainstream conservatives do it.

Despite this, if we decide to stick with the strictest use of the term “right-wing” we can see that it is not entirely crass to say that the libertarians are a part of it.

Without further delay, let us first look at the hierarchy part of my argument.

Both the libertarians and mainstream right-wingers understand that hierarchy is inevitable and that different classes of people will always exist. Some groups will always be better off than others and both conservatives and libertarians understand and even appreciate this.

The sharp divide isn’t seen until one contrasts a libertarian to a monarchist—the latter of which, is sadly still apart of the right-wing. It is only then seen that libertarians appreciate hierarchy when one moves up in society due to wealth and capital, not armies and incestuous relationships with another member of the “blue blood.”

Let us now briefly look at tradition/culture.

Conservatives and libertarians are both strong proponents of maintaining tradition but they do it in completely different ways.

Conservatives and other mainstream right-wingers insist on maintaining (with force if necessary) their beloved Judeo-Christian or “old school” morals for society.

The sexual “revolution” in the 1960s is seen as an abomination and the allowing of new customs like gay marriage are seen as acts of degeneracy.

With Facebook pages like Earl of Grey, we see very easily that many from the mainstream (if you can call Earl “mainstream”) believe the modern world is a cesspool of human debauchery and indiscipline.

There are many libertarians who understand and even agree with many of the things stated above but there is one difference – libertarians don’t care!

You’ll see people like Ron Paul who have maintained healthy marriages for decades but will straight up not care about enforcing against acts like prostitution as degenerate as they may be.

How then are conservatives and libertarians similar with regards to tradition then?

Libertarians and their right-wing cousins are both adamant in upholding American culture – albeit two very different parts of the culture.

While conservatives are more concerned with maintaining the Christian/old-world culture of the US, libertarians are far more concerned with upholding the Constitution, freedom, and small government, all of which are parts of the original American culture – the one that defeated the British Empire – not the modern one that needs safe spaces and is calling for the abolition of free speech.

In a way, both libertarians and those from the mainstream believe that the modern US has fallen from grace, believing that it has strayed too far from its holiest book.

Whether the term “holiest book” refers to the constitution or the bible is still something that the two continue to squabble over.

Lastly, the mainstream right and libertarians all too often forget that they are both crusaders for more economic freedom. The only difference admittedly, is that libertarians tend to do a better job at keeping said freedom.

Even though conservatives are more likely to argue for a larger police force and a larger military, there is still something uniquely similar between themselves and libertarians that puts them on the exact same side of the political compass.

Both groups of right-wingers believe that an underclass of parasites will never do society any good and that many social programs must be curtailed or even eliminated for the betterment of society.

Furthermore, both groups seek to reduce taxes, eliminate the minimum wage, rent controls, and seek to do other things that simply make economic sense.

Overall, while the mainstream right and libertarians have their differences, they are still more similar than they are different. If we continue to stick with this general definition (that right-wingers hold up hierarchy, tradition, and economic freedom) then we can conclude that libertarians, for the most part, are a part of this agenda and community, for they fight for the same values in their own special way and focus.

* Christopher X. Henry has just graduated high school and will be attending the University of Toronto to study political science. He wishes to become a lawyer, writer, and politician and has taken up writing as a hobby for both Being Libertarian and his own blog and Facebook page, Freedom Papers.

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  • Eric Turner

    Libertarians (variously) share some aspects with conservatives and some aspects with liberals, and they hold some aspects that are either well beyond the intellectual grasp or subject to the knee-jerk reactionary Party conditioning chump idiocy of both liberals and conservatives.

    I reject the notion that libertarians are more inherently aligned with the ‘right-wing’, as that is how the left has tried to paint them so they are automatically associated (ie conditioned into the minds of the Party cult members) with all the scary creepy monsters of the fringe/alt right.

    Better recognized that libertarians only share some cursory underpinnings with the right as far as limited government and inviolable Rights are concerned, because that is precisely what allows libertarians the best hope & chance to live-and-let-live peacefully and liberally in a Free Society…. The right-wing asshats cling to those premises as the path to the powerful being “free” to ride roughshod over the powerless (and protected in doing so by government force of course) in a competitive quest to have and control the most things as is the manifest wish of most empty-souled covetous materialistic tiny-penis-compensation types.

    • Jerry Guerra

      No, your wrong. Conservatives do no ” ride roughshod ” over the libertarians. In fact the consertives want more freedom and less government. Ted Cruz was blamed for shutting down the government in 2013 for trying to stop the government from running without a budget. Which is illegal.
      The power is the Shadow Government (yes a Shadow Government has a big role in how our nation is run) wanted more money. But 1 man stood up and said no. That man was Ted Cruz. A conservitive. It was not the Libertarian party run by Senator Berny Sanders, no the junior Senator from Texas had the balls to have the government ebay the law.
      And Berny Sanders, the Libertarian party head, is really a socilist. That was proven in the 2016 election.
      The Nazi party is socilist. Yep, the Nazi party is the National Socialist Workers Party.
      Did you see the word Socialist there in the name.
      Saying Nazis are not Socialist is like claiming ISIS is not Muslim. It’s all defection and re-engineering history. What is commonly called lying.

  • jmillsintacoma

    Most of the confusion by which libertarians and “right-wing” conservatives are associated has to do with the fact that right-wingers appropriate the language of freedom. But, in truth that’s done simply because freedom sells. Conservatives, however, have never truly wanted a free society, but rather are quite happy with a large, powerful state, big enough and powerful enough to keep the world safe for big business and to assure that old ideas of societal norms are maintained and that the well-connected aren’t forced to interact with the riff-raff.

    What most distinguishes libertarians from conservatives is that conservatism is always looking to the past, and trying to preserve things as they are; libertarians embrace change and have a vision for the future. For most people – the poor, women, blacks, immigrants from all kinds of countries, gays, Asians and similar groups, there is no idyllic past they seek to hold onto or ever return to. Libertarians are promoting a whole new vision of the world. It’s a social organization that’s never existed anywhere, anytime before. It’s a futuristic ideology where other people aren’t endlessly taking your things and running your life. It’s a world where the state shrinks away and becomes mostly (although perhaps not totally) irrelevant. It’s the farthest thing from right-wing conservatism.

    • Jerry Guerra

      Your wrong. Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Paul Rian, both Bushes do not represent consertives. No they are part of the progressive part of the Republican party.
      Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul are the consertive branch of the Republican party.
      The Republican party is a big tent. Did Ron Paul get screwed over in the 2012 Republican convention? Yes. But not by the conservatives. No, that was the progressive under Mitt Romny.
      Look, most consertives like the libertarians.
      There is strength in what is known. The unknown is just that, unknown. In other words, if it works don’t fix it.
      Don’t believe all you hear and only half of what you see.

      • jmillsintacoma

        Well, really all of those people are just interesting folk who have somewhat differing ideas as to public policy. But, “conservatism” as an ideology is based on the idea that things long existing are, by virtue of their longevity, entitled to some honor and deference.

        Conservatives, like conservationists, are seeking to preserve what exists. The ideology, by nature, is suspicious of change.

        Even the “hardened” conservatives are, at heart, big government people. “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

        And, then Mirriam Webster defines Conservatism as: “the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change.” The kind of extremism Goldwater advocated could never have come from a small government.

        Change is what happens if the power of the state isn’t deployed to stifle it.

        Ron Paul didn’t get “screwed over” by the 2012 convention. He didn’t win the votes to control the convention. It was controlled by conservatives (of various stripes). They simply don’t support libertarian policies. This is why, over many decades in Congress, Ron Paul managed to pass exactly zero significant legislation. That’s so because he never had the support of any significant number of Republicans, who are conservative, not libertarian, in their thinking.

      • jmillsintacoma

        “Look, most conservatives like the libertarians.”

        Not if the libertarians start talking about dismantling a huge standing army and bringing troops back from abroad and nation-building. Not if libertarians start talking about ending the War on Drugs, legalizing same-sex marriage, opening the borders, de-militarizing the police and reigning in NSA and its domestic spying programs.

        • Jerry Guerra

          Al those are progressives left socialist agenda items.
          They originated in the Democrat party camp.
          Every one of the conservative talk shoe hosts are against the NSA.
          And the militarizing the police was started under LBJ, and is not what consertives support. That is what the National Guard is for.
          As for the war in Afghanistan. Is it ok with you that girls are not allowed to go to school? Are they just property, I.e. slaves to the rulling party, or human beings? Is it ok with you that 10, and 11, and 12 year old boy’s are chained to a bed with a shackled leg and a pad lock, than sodomised by the Police Chief at he beckon need? Well that’s how they treat there children.

          • Liberty and Truth

            As a Libertarian I am against “Legalizing” same sex marriage. Legalization suggests the Government has a role in controlling marriage. Marriage should be a voluntary choice between two consenting adults (straight OR same sex) the Government should not be involved.

            People suggest same sex marriage is about equal rights. People straight or gay do not have a “right” to get married if the government is involved. Marriage is not a “right” if you need to pay the government for a licence to be able to do it, it then becomes an equal “Purchasable government controlled privilege”!

  • Jerry Guerra

    Although I am not as old as Dr Ron Paul, I am more of Rands generation.
    With that said, you have given conservatives a bad rap. Conservatives believe in the Constitution just as much as libertarians.
    Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannaty, Billy Cunningham, to name a few are all conservative.
    All of them defend the Constitution daily before millions of people on radio and TV and the internet.
    Your thought of conservatives forcing their religious believes on others could not be more wrong. That was a tactic started and used back in the 60’s by the communist that infiltrated the west colleges and claimed any one that wanted to talk about Jesus was forcing their religion on them.
    Not so. Freedom of speech includes religious speak.
    There is a reason the freedom of Religion is named first right in the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. The Founding Fathers where persecuted for their religions that did not conform to the Crowns idea of worship. In fact 52 of the 55 signers of the Constitution where evangelicals of Christianity.
    Most of the right wing politions in the Congress are progressives.
    Yes there are Republican progressives. John McCain for example. But they are the ones that give conservatives the bad name. Both the left and right progressives hate the consertives and libertarians.
    If they stop the conservatives, do you think the libertarians have a fighting chance? There are more conservatives than libertarians in the U.S.A. today.
    Remember this fact by Martin Niemoller a Protestant priest that resisted Adolph Hitler digging WW2 and went to the Concentration camps for his resistance, he said:
    “They came for the socialist, but I was not socialist so I said nothing.
    Than they came for the labore unions, but I was not in the union, so I said nothing.
    Than they came for the Jews, but I was not Jewish, so I did nothing.
    Than they came for me, and no one was left to stop them. ”
    If they try to come for you Christopher, I will help stop them. Will you do the same for me?

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  • nunyabizness71

    Libertarians are neither “left wing” nor “right wing”. Libertarians are anti-authoritarian. Right wingers and left wingers are authoritarians. So to answer your question…No.

  • jmillsintacoma

    In a sort of general way, libertarians (small l) are confused with conservatives and often thought to be “right wing” politically. In large part, this is an accident of how the Libertarian Party formed and operated in its early years.

    The LP is the most vocal and well-known libertarian organization and the vast majority of people who even know the name “libertarian” know that word on account of forty years of activism by the LP.

    When it originally formed, the LP was an amalgam of disaffected Rs, disgusted with Nixon’s wage-price controls, his severing of the dollar’s link to gold, and his other continuing intervention in American business affairs. They bolted the R party. Another group of early Libertarians (big L) defected the D party, disgusted with it’s unwillingness to end the Vietnam War and it’s weak response to the War on Drugs and other perceived failings of the D party on a variety of social issues.

    As between the two, the tree-hugging anti-war people were the more numerous, but the disaffected Rs had money and organizational skills absent from the defecting Ds, so the “low-tax, anti-regulation” rhetoric of the “righties” was a message that got “air-time,” the libertarian concerns of the “lefties” just didn’t come through loudly.

    In fact, we know, that over now nearly 50 years of political activism, libertarians have had ZERO real success in reducing tax burdens or business regulations. Frankly, both taxes and regulation have increased in the last five decades (despite many long periods of R control over Congress). However, the “leftie” Libertarians, working with “progressives” and sometimes with grudging support from the D party, have in fact had some considerable success. Possession and use of dope is becoming accepted, same-sex marriage is the law of the land, and the American public (if not its political institutions) are getting sick and tired of endless war, NSA spying, and militarized police and other principally “leftie” concerns.

    To characterize libertarians as “right-leaning” seems to a) fundamentally misunderstand the liberty movement, it’s origins and its ideology, and b) misunderstand where the LP has succeeded and failed politically over the years as the political arm of the liberty movement in America.

    • Jerry Guerra

      “Same sex marriage is the law of the land “.
      Article 1, section 1, of the Constitution of the United States reads: All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives. ”

      So how can a rulling from the Supreme Court make law?
      Your argument is a left progressives argument.
      Are you sure you a libertarian?
      Al your arguments are from the left democratic progressives side of the ile. In fact, the way you take jabs at the tea party and conservatives, I would say you are a leftist democrat progressive, on the libertarian blog site. A wolf in sleeps clothing.
      I did not hide I am a consertive. In fact, one of the fist consertive presidents, Calvin Coolidge is one of my heroes. He stopper the big government serg by Woodrow Wilson and the progressive big government democrats.
      Like I said before, there are progressives in both the Democrat and Republican parties.

  • Jerry Guerra

    From the conversations I have engaged in on this blog, I see that a faults primmus of consrttives are bad. They are being blamed of being the Alt Right, and we are not.
    The art of deseption is a big tool in the war chest of political warfare. Or in the cultural struggle for the hearts and minds of the population.
    The notion of the consertive being the skin head carrying the Nazi symbols is faults. Those people in the so-called Alt Right are using words of deflection and deception to persuade the masses of the population that they are a branch of the right wing of the consertive Republican party. They are not.
    Alt in my dictionary is an acronym for alternative. Not the same. An other than.
    Be very carefully Libertarians. Your movement is being infiltrated by liberal left socialists of the Democratic party.

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  • Liberty and Truth

    The Author has obviously never heard of the Nolan chart…

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