Do you know the difference between a Liberal and a Libertarian?

@missybal (4490)
United States
May 8, 2009 11:02pm CST
Now I'm going to leave this wide open... I notice a lot of people think these two words mean the same thing. I've run into this with friends of mine who simply don't get it. If you can resist respond with what you think these words mean prior to looking up definitions and then do some research and come back and see if you see things different afterward.
3 people like this
7 responses
@xfahctor (14118)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
9 May 09
Well the most litteral definition of liberal is in great ammounts, generous. But you are more after the political sense. Liberal is more a description of ones social and moral beliefs, where as libertarian is more a description of political beliefs, describing the advocation of minimal government, civil liberties and based in natural law. Liberal, like conservative, is more a term describing social and moral values, even when applied in governence, asiging active altruism to government as oposed to neutrality. The oposite terms are often conservatism and totalitarian, however, it should be noted that early liberalism was actualy conservatism. So teach', howd I do?
1 person likes this
@missybal (4490)
• United States
9 May 09
Very good! So answer this can someone define themselves as "Liberal" truly define themselves as a "Libertarian" by what the words represent today?
@missybal (4490)
• United States
10 May 09
So why do you think these people call themselves Libertarian and Liberal? I'm not kidding, I've run into this many times they say they are Libertarian... then say they believe the government should nationalize health care, that their need to be more government programs for the poor and the rich need to be taxed more. They think that not allowing gay marriage is against the constitution and try to use the 14th for this... and so on all the usual Liberal ideas. You say to them all that makes you a Liberal and they say of course that's a Libertarian.
@xfahctor (14118)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
9 May 09
not by modern definition, no.
1 person likes this
@Taskr36 (13963)
• United States
9 May 09
Well the simple difference in the political scheme is big government versus small government. Liberals believe in wealth distribution versus the libertarian belief in earning wealth individually. Liberals want education to be managed by the government and forced on the people whereas libertarians want the federal government to stay out of education completely and leave the choice of education up to parents. Liberals also seem to believe that the federal government overrides state governments and libertarians believe pretty much the opposite. the result I see from all this is liberals using big government as a crutch. It allows them to blame the government for their own shortcomings and problems, subsequently making the government responsible for fixing these problems where libertarians believe more in personal responsibility and that the best way for such problems to be fixed is for government to back off.
1 person likes this
@missybal (4490)
• United States
10 May 09
Yeaaa! People who get it! I knew you knew this, I read your responses a lot. Thanks so much!
@missybal (4490)
• United States
16 May 09
Although others did well explaining the difference between these too groups of people I chose this answer because I believe it's the most straight forward and easy to understand. Too often I think that American's forget our founding father's believed in life, liberty, and the PURSUIT of Happiness as written in the our Declaration of Independence. One of the large differences in my opinion between Libertarian and Liberal ideals is the definition of a Individual Right. Liberals typically think that certain "rights" (health care, home, property, ect.) should be guarenteed to all individuals if they so can not acquire these on their own the government (or in reality taxpayers who have succeeded in acquiring these things) should provide it or assist them to acquire it... while Libertarians believe you have the right to pursue these desires through hard work however you are not guarenteed them. Libertarians realize that life is not all fair. We in fact have all different levels of capability some struggle more to acquire the desirable possessions... however in America we have all the same opportunity under law... but then too often the government can get in the way of acquiring that dream or chooses to give others who may not be so deserving a leg up. Our Fore Fathers intending on our federal government to be very small and for a bit more to be left to the states and their citizens, but most of all as much freedom without Interference from the government over law bidding citizens as possible. I believe Libertarians hold the same belief as the designers of our government and the Constitution had held.
@AmbiePam (85272)
• United States
9 May 09
Oh heavens yes I know the difference. I didn't realize people got the two confused.
1 person likes this
@missybal (4490)
• United States
9 May 09
Yes they do all the time. I told a friend you are a liberal... he said yes of course I told you I'm a libertarian. Seriously! They don't get it.
@Latrivia (2878)
• United States
9 May 09
It's actually a lot harder to disuss liberalism, because it varies from society to society. Technically, your first poster was technically right, liberalism does focus on individual rights...in theory. American liberals have made a branch of liberalism on their own, in my opinion. You average American liberal supports equal rights, but sometimes take it to an extreme. Hate crime legislation, for one, is a terrible product of liberalism. Economically liberals are supposed to back free trade, but a lot of American liberals are chomping at the bit for more and more regulation. Liberals in America prefer more government interaction. Your typical American libertarian, however, thinks that the government should keep it's nose out of the private sector and the economy, more or less. The federal government has only so much power, and the rest is given to the states. Basically, compare Nancy Pelosi or President Obama to someone like Ron Paul, and you'll see a big difference between liberalism and libertarianism.
1 person likes this
@missybal (4490)
• United States
9 May 09
The so-called "Civil Libertarian" I'm sure is a great deal of why there is so much confusion on this. Liberals love the word game... that's why many prefer to be called progressives. It sounds so much better. As for Ron Paul I wouldn't say he's completely there to the point of being a libertarian but for congress how close are you really going to get.
@Adoniah (7513)
• United States
9 May 09
Hello Missy, A Libertarian in the U.S. political arena is a person who wants smaller Federal Government and more civil liberties. They do not want the Federal Government to intervene in the private sector. A Liberal in the U.S. political arena at least currently is a person who wants bigger Federal Government because they want more assistance from the Government. They tend to want things like health care and government intervention when things go wrong in the private sector. They also tend to want the wealth to be spread around more evenly. The Robin Hood syndrome. Shalom~Adoniah
@missybal (4490)
• United States
11 May 09
Well done! You get it!
@Jixapose (97)
• United States
9 May 09
Liberals are those who am to protect other people's rights through government and law. Libertarians are those who protect their right by having less laws. The word liberal is tossed around alot, but it mostly refers to people with the 'leave it be' mindset. A good sense of libertarianism can be found in Heinlein's classic, 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". I prefer the way he referred to the libertarianism: rational anarchy. And overall, libertarians tend to be very conservative. The founding fathers of the united states can be described as libertarians.
@missybal (4490)
• United States
9 May 09
Huh I'll have to see if I can find that book never heard of it. I don't know what you mean by "leave it be mindset"... If anything the liberal population have quite the opposite position. But yes some good points looking for more detail still not getting exaction the whole picture for people.
@fwangaa (3057)
• China
9 May 09
liberal is a social party. and libertarian is a person. literal may not be truely freedom for its rule. but libertarian not has rule . he is truely freedom and he just fellow the rule by his county or his heart.