Libertarianism is a collection of political philosophies that uphold liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association, and the importance of individual judgment.
Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power. However, they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling to restrict or to dissolve coercive social institutions.
Some libertarians advocate laissez-faire capitalism and strong private property rights, such as in land, infrastructure, and natural resources. Others, notably libertarian socialists, seek to abolish capitalism and private ownership of the means of production in favor of their common or cooperative ownership and management, viewing private property as a barrier to freedom and liberty. An additional line of division is between minarchists and anarchists. While minarchists think that a minimal centralized government is necessary, anarchists and anarcho-capitalists propose to completely eliminate the state.
- Boaz, David (January 30, 2009). "Libertarianism". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/339321/libertarianism. Retrieved 2017-02-21. "...libertarianism, political philosophy that takes individual liberty to be the primary political value."
- Woodcock, George (2004). Anarchism: A History Of Libertarian Ideas And Movements. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview Press. p. 16. ISBN 9781551116297. "for the very nature of the libertarian attitude—its rejection of dogma, its deliberate avoidance of rigidly systematic theory, and, above all, its stress on extreme freedom of choice and on the primacy of the individual judgment"
- Boaz, David (1999). "Key Concepts of Libertarianism". https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/key-concepts-libertarianism.
- Hussain, Syed B. (2004). Encyclopedia of Capitalism. Vol. II : H-R.. New York: Facts on File Inc. p. 492. ISBN 0816052247. https://books.google.com/books?id=FbVZAAAAYAAJ. "In the modern world, political ideologies are largely defined by their attitude towards capitalism. Marxists want to overthrow it, liberals to curtail it extensively, conservatives to curtail it moderately. Those who maintain that capitalism is a excellent economic system, unfairly maligned, with little or no need for corrective government policy, are generally known as libertarians."
- Long, Joseph.W (1996). "Toward a Libertarian Theory of Class." Social Philosophy and Policy. 15:2 p. 310. "When I speak of 'libertarianism'... I mean all three of these very different movements. It might be protested that LibCap, LibSoc and LibPop are too different from one another to be treated as aspects of a single point of view. But they do share a common—or at least an overlapping—intellectual ancestry."
- Carlson, Jennifer D. (2012). "Libertarianism". In Miller, Wilburn R., ed. The Social History of Crime and Punishment in America. London: Sage Publications. p. 1007. ISBN 1412988764. "There exist three major camps in libertarian thought: right-libertarianism, socialist libertarianism, and left-libertarianism ... socialist libertarians ... advocate for the simultaneous abolition of both government and capitalism."
- Kropotkin, Petr (1927). Anarchism: A Collection of Revolutionary Writings. Courier Dover Publications. p. 150. ISBN 9780486119861. "It attacks not only capital, but also the main sources of the power of capitalism: law, authority, and the State"
- Otero, Carlos Peregrin (2003). "Introduction to Chomsky's Social Theory". in Carlos Peregrin Otero. Radical priorities. Noam Chomsky (book author) (3rd ed.). Oakland, CA: AK Press. p. 26. ISBN 1-902593-69-3. ; Chomsky, Noam (2003). Carlos Peregrin Otero. ed. Radical priorities (3rd ed.). Oakland, CA: AK Press. pp. 227–28. ISBN 1-902593-69-3.
- Vallentyne, Peter (March 2009). "Libertarianism". in Edward N. Zalta. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2009 ed.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2009/entries/libertarianism/. Retrieved 2010-03-05. "Libertarianism is committed to full self-ownership. A distinction can be made, however, between right-libertarianism and left-libertarianism, depending on the stance taken on how natural resources can be owned".
- Caplan, Bryan (2008). "Anarchism". in Hamowy, Ronald. The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. pp. 10–13. doi:10.4135/9781412965811.n7. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4. OCLC 750831024. https://books.google.com/books?id=yxNgXs3TkJYC. "Libertarianism puts severe limits on morally permissible government action. If one takes its strictures seriously, does libertarianism require the abolition of government, logically reducing the position to anarchism? Robert Nozick effectively captures this dilemma: 'Individuals have rights, and there are things no person or group may do to them (without violating their rights). So strong and far-reaching are these rights that they raise the question of what, if anything, the state and its official may do.' Libertarian political philosophers have extensively debated this question, and many conclude that the answer is 'Nothing'.".
- Friedman, David D. (2008). "libertarianism". The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. 2nd Edition. "Libertarians differ among themselves in the degree to which they rely on rights-based or consequentialist arguments and on how far they take their conclusions, ranging from classical liberals, who wish only to drastically reduce government, to anarcho-capitalists who would replace all useful government functions with private alternatives."