Photograph via snooOG

A friendly place to learn about, critique, and question libertarians and their views. r/AskLibertarians is for any questions about the philosophy of libertarianism, libertarian movements and traditions, libertarian opinions on certain situations or current events, or anything else you feel is relevant. No question is too basic (or advanced!) to ask, so don't be shy. Subscribe :)

AskLibertarians is for any questions about the philosophy of libertarianism, libertarian movements and traditions, libertarian opinions on certain situations or current events, or anything else you feel is relevant. No question is too basic (or advanced!) to ask, so don't be shy :)


Introductory Resources

Suggested Literature

Suggested Media

Suggested Subreddits


11,227 Subscribers


What are your thoughts on Louisiana's new law requiring the that the 10 Commandments are shown in public classrooms?

What are the ethical and Constitutional concerns? Is this a violation of Natural Rights or the Constitution? What's more important to Libertarians, self-governance or secularism?

Thank you, I'm curious.

15:37 UTC


Where do you feel government should have most control?

I’m honestly still trying to learn about libertarianism, as it makes the most sense on paper.

04:54 UTC


Is the European Union a net positive for liberty relative to the alternative?

Pro: Dalibor Rohac: The Libertarian Case for the European Union

Con: Louis Rouanet: The European Union Is Anti-European

Thoughts? The latter intuitively sounds (more) correct to me, but there could be some factor I haven’t considered.

07:09 UTC


Does Marcue's concept of 'liberating tolerance' lead to an infinite regress of violence?

In our podcast from a couple weeks ago we read Marcuse's essay, Repressive Tolerance. In it Marcuse says:

" Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. As to the scope of this tolerance and intolerance: ... it would extend to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word."

It seems to me that this principle leaves open interpretation about who might be pushing in progressive v. regressive directions and give moral authority to enact in violence towards those pushing in a regressive direction.

What are your thoughts on this?

Also, in case you're interested, here is the full episode:
Apple - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/pdamx-21-3-tolerance-is-a-partisan-goal/id1691736489?i=1000657995833

Youtube - https://youtu.be/6SYKpAkVyXo

(Disclaimer, I am aware that this is promotional - but I would prefer interaction with the question to just listening to the podcast)

22:09 UTC


Why do people keep insisting that im not libertarian if I am against immigration?

Some people keep telling that im not libertarian if I am against immigration, they insist that immigration is core right of libertarianism.

My Take about it is pure socioeconomic principle. Immigration don't make anything better. And libertarian society has private borders. Even if some citys are welcoming immigrants there is actually difficulty those immigrants to arrive that city course between that city and immigrants are hundreds of layers of private borders. And that couseses main problem. Theoretically if country bordering private holdings allow immigrants cross thought they land then problem will be created, that sooner or later they arrive a point where private owners don't allow tresspass anyone, so moving forward is problematic. And same time moving back might be also impossible, if private holdings don't allow to move through they land again. So what happens immigrants they didn't arrive welcoming city, they cant move forward, they cant go back and they are not allowed to stay on their current point? So big problem will be created course people have right to command they property as they wish. Main stand point why I am against immigration is, that it causes problems that conflicts libertarian rights. Country as shell entity has no right to regulate immigration, but people as private entity have right to manage they property and establish alliances to stop immigrants move forward and repressing those private entity are in conflict with libertarianism. And yet people tell me I am not libertarian.

17:21 UTC


How can open borders be a good idea when Canada proves contrary?

15:32 UTC


Would diverting Social Security funds from bonds to stocks be a good second-best policy (failing the best policy of ending it altogether)?

07:30 UTC


how do you feel about leaded gasoline?

23:22 UTC


Thoughts on “The Boys”?

My CNN liberal relative suggested I watch it and I initially brushed it off because it’s not my type of show (as well as a suspicion that it might have some wokeness to it) but I saw a libertarian content creator recently mention that the show basically only exists to shit on libertarians and conservatives. Anyone here watch the show? Can you give me a rundown and what the deal is with it as it pertains to libertarians?

17:57 UTC


How do you reconcile libertarianism with zionism?

Libertarianism is strict about property rights.

Zionism is just another form of lebensraum but instead of for Germans it's for Jews.

Is zionism just an exception?

13:59 UTC


Would you rather be a Palestinian imprisoned by idf for 12 weeks or an Israeli imprisoned by hamas for 12 weeks?

13:45 UTC


In a free market, would there be catalytic converters, EGR, DPF, SCR and other costs inducing, but emissions quality increasing, devices in cars?

Could/would people actually care to do a class action suits against manufacturers or drivers that "pollute" your air because there's lot's of NOx or black soot coming out of their cars as per "externality"?

Or maybe it's all overblown "snake oil" invented by ReGULAtorS?

19:07 UTC


How could feel about the Alex Jones bankruptcy case?

Personally I’m glad he lost everything. I believe in free speech but lies and slander are NOT free speech and he’s caused harm to the families

03:04 UTC


Constitutional Libertarianism, can I still be a Libertarian but Respect and Support the Government when it does Good?

I'm what one would call a Constitutional Libertarian. I support the U.S constitution. I believe we need to greatly reduce the size and scope of the Federal Government, bring back power to the States, and only use the Federal Government for defense, emergencies, and inter-State duties. Overall, I'd reduce the Federal government to 5-10% of the size it is now, but I still appreciate the good the government has done.

I respect the federal government for protecting and securing our freedom in the Vietnam war by fighting against Communist Imperialists. I am very against the draft, I wish they simply offered higher pensions for Veterans to attract a larger volunteer army, and I would be happy for them to run deficits to finance this operation. I support the government for investing billions into R&D and the Space Race to develop the technologies that the private sector has capitalized on to this day. My parents' company Microsoft was only possible because of research and technology developed by the Pentagon. I support this.

I support President Reagan's Star Wars program, I support President Clinton's ADX Supermax Prison to keep us safe from terror. I support President Obama's toppling of Islamic Dictator Mummar Gaddafi, who has used his country's wealth for decades to finance International Terrorists, violating the rights of millionf of people, including Americans.

When Covid hit, the Federal Government played an active role in developing the vaccine under Operation WARP Speed. This was a national security issue and for that I support it. I view this no different than the Manhatten Project. The vaccines were vital for our national security and it was the duty of the Federal Government to roll those out and get them into as many peoples arms as they could.

What type of Libertarian is this? I still support Liberty and free markets, limited government and constitutionalism, but there are some exceptions, as I listed.

23:01 UTC


Was David Boaz a net positive for the liberty movement?

David Boaz, leading voice of libertarianism, dies at 70

While he of course had a positive influence on individual libertarians (see this collection of testimonies), he was also criticized for his overly utilitarian framework & his long-running feuds with ancaps like Tom Woods. What’s your take?

22:03 UTC


wearing the Gadsden flag?

Hi, I would consider myself a pretty strong libertarian, so i want to add the Gadsden "dont tread on me" flag patch on my battle jacket. I did some research and i found out that the flag is a symbol of many things, including those that i dont want to associate with. So, Im asking, if i put the patch there, will people get that Im a libertarian, or will they associate me with something different? I dont live in the us btw.

Thank you so much for the help!

21:44 UTC


Do Libertarians Defend Microsoft?

One reason I'm really attracted to Libertarianism is because I unironically defend big corporations. I see Liberals saying big corporations are evil capitalist parasite entities and need to be taxed, and I see corporations also attacking big corporations for where they choose to source labor, and for not being "Ameirca First" enough. I just want to align with a political group that actually recognizes that large corporations are not the enemy, not the bad guy, and who recognize that not only do they create thousands of jobs, but more importantly, INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY by allocating capital more efficient than investors would otherwise be able to. The reason Microsoft is so big is because it can more efficiently allocate capital than the alternative capital investments, and so its market cap reflects that.

However, I've been reading some articles from the Mises institute, Yaron Brook, and Foundation for Economic Education, it seems like they are ruthlessly attacking big corporations and blaming them for statism. Of all the influential forces that push for Statism, I don't see how big corporations are doing that. Microsoft has consistently pushed for a freer better system, they have been blocked by socialist lobbyists and Liberal Populists. Anti-Trust regulators are hammering them and the E.U is fining them. Yet many Libertarians, who are nominally friend of business, are joining up in this beat down.

Me and my family are huge investors in Microsoft, so this is a bit personal. But why is it that everyone, including Libertarians, are attacking these big companies?

20:53 UTC


my friend says liberals and libertarians are the same thing

my friend says there is so much overlap between libertarian policies and liberal policies that the labels don't even matter

is he cooked?

he said just because javier milei calls himself libertarian doesn't mean he is different from previous presidents (none of whom even mention libertarianism ever)

20:03 UTC


Unsure if I'm libertarian?

I've always had trouble describing my political beliefs ("left of center" or "centrist" is usually what I say). I'll be voting for Biden over Trump, but honestly, not really a fan of either. Election aside, I feel like many issues I'm "middle of the road" on. it's not really like I'm indifferent, though.

I've never understood why many democrats are pro-choice and pro-vax, and how many republicans are pro-life and anti-vax. Personally, I'm pro-choice (with some exceptions; I used to lean closer to pro-life) and believe vaccines should be a personal choice and should not be pushed on anyone.

I'm not really a fan of the big government. I'm socially liberal, in that I support all religions, the LGBTQIA+ community, etc.

How do I find out if I'm libertarian?

01:17 UTC


What would be the ethical limits of private harm?

I have read a bit of Rothbard and Kinsella's writings on contract theory and they have provided me with some answers to some questions I had about private law and I would like to know if I am correct.

By these contractual theories, a person cannot alienate their body just through contracts, aggression against another person is necessary, so contracts with private security agencies or terms of use of private cities would be limited by this theory, for example, let's imagine a private city where it is forbidden to consume products with caffeine and the penalty for someone who consumes these products is death in the fire, according to contractual theory, these terms of use would be unethical, as the person's body could not be alienated, therefore no force could be used to throw her into the fire, with her only responsibility being to pay financial compensation to the owner of the private city. Is this reasoning correct?

20:25 UTC


One Thing I Can't Get Over is Support for Legalized Drugs, Can Someone Convince me on This?

I read Kissenger's book on China. He spoke about the history of the Opium wars and how China was absolutely devastated by Opium, so much so they fought a war to keep it out of the country. When drugs infest a society, they start off as a fringe habit for outcasts, but the more commonly used and abundant they become the more likely they are to enroach on the mainstream. Your society's human capital slowly erodes as the average citizen becomes more likely to engage in recreational drug use.

I don't really care about addicts, or what happens to them, but the problem is it affects everybody who isn't an addict. Courts get bogged down, cities become unlivable, your human capital erodes because drug addicts aren't productive, and everything is worse. The War on Drugs costs money, but the foregone productivity caused by mass drug use and addiction would be even more.

TLDR - a society that criminalizes drugs will outcompete and outperform a society that allows drugs, all else being equal.

18:57 UTC


What Caused The Poverty Decreased From Roosevelt To Johnson?

I was in a debate with someone and they brought up graphs that showed poverty decreased under Roosevelt and Johnson. Now I did provide my own sources for my arguments against them, but I would like fellow Libertarians to give their two sense.




23:14 UTC


Pragmatic/Moderate Libertarians: What are some government/state programs you do or would support?

EG (Some of mine): Care for people born with disabilities that aren't able to be self-sufficient, management of utilities, arbitration of property rights, roads and especially highways, access to emergency health services regardless of ability to pay, laws against abuse of animals, especially pets.

18:20 UTC


Would There Not be Permanent Poverty Under Libertarianism?

If someone's time preference is higher the rate they can compound wealth via savings, they will spend everything they get the moment they have it. This represents about 25% of people. These people will never build wealth because the moment they get their paycheck they want to spend it on something.

This is why social security exists but in a Libertarian society, how would they survive long term?

16:49 UTC


Are "individual rights" a social construct?

The concepts of "individual rights" appears to be a social construct as its legitimacy seems exclusively dependent on the approval of other people. One's legitimacy to rights exists only because people give it legitimacy through their approval. There is no objective thing in the world that justifies one's ownership or claim to rights, therefore legitimacy can only be defined from a subjective sense, from the subjective opinions of human society, i.e., social constructs.

This appears to challenge the notion that there exists something called "natural rights," or individual rights whose legitimacy is independent from human opinion.

09:59 UTC


Any recommendations for materials on private policing in the past/modern nations that have experienced state collapse ?

15:39 UTC


Can our VP Candidate (Mike Ter Maat) handle himself in a debate setting? This was him a year ago (Secular Talk)

As I was seeing discussions on the LNC nomination voting, I saw the name "Ter Maat" being floated around and I had no clue what people were talking about until I looked him up on Google, and I was worried because I had taken note of his debate performance with Kyle Kulinski and his co-host on Secular Talk.

The one that I was struggling with was this debate on minimum wage: https://youtu.be/Tmk61YRa1yU?si=4akDJHZghqUUis7z

The study I believe they're referring to: https://equitablegrowth.org/new-research-finds-15-minimum-wages-raise-pay-and-increase-employment-for-low-wage-workers/

Another clip discussing workplace regulation: https://youtu.be/k-Y231x1JiU?si=ZPxVjgLGNK_U83Qx

Do you believe he was performing well? Let's be honest, Kyle isn't a bad debater, but he doesn't really argue with much substance here either. The excuse of these "debate me bro" YouTube channels is "it's my channel" so they're going to be frequently interrupting to get their progressive views in.

07:25 UTC


Are libertarianism & populism diametrically opposed (at least in practice)?

While the answer would seemingly be “no” since Murray Rothbard famously pursued a libertarian-populist alliance in his later years, the actual policy positions of American populists would seem to suggest otherwise. Trump famously opposed Social Security cuts, Rothbard & Pat Buchanan had a falling out over trade policy & George Wallace ran for President on a pro-labor platform (see also Shikha Dalmia: Does Populism Deserve its Bad Rap?, Nils Karlson, Europe must revive liberalism to tackle the populist threat & Nils Karlson: Reviving Classical Liberalism Against Populism). Thoughts?

05:26 UTC


What’s the more popular libertarian view in regards to lgbt topics like gay marriage and trans-affirming medical treatments?

I wanted to ask because I was thinking libertarians would just have the view of “do whatever you want so long as it doesn’t affect my own rights,” right?

19:46 UTC


Potential NAP issues

Just to preface, I'm quite brought into ancap philosophy, and have read numerous books and watches several lectures on how a free society would function (don't mass downvote plz). However, I'm not entirely brought on if the NAP really works. I'll give two examples.

(1) This ones from Friedman. Suppose Jim fall off a building and to save yourself, you aggress on someones property by grabbing their flag post, in order to climb back to safety. In a libertarian world, aggression is immoral, meaning you ought not do it. Would it then follow that Jim's actions are immoral?

(2) Let's suppose Jim is forced to steal (aggress) a dollar from Sam, in order to save the entirety of humanity. Like the former example, libertarian philosophy has it that aggression is never justified, so would Jim be justified in stealing this dollar? Some anarchists like liquidzulu bite the bullet and believe that the theft is immoral, but I don't buy it.

(2.1) Let's say there's some justification for 2 - maybe you argue that Jim will be initiating greater aggression by allowing humanity to perish if he does not steal. But this seems to just completely move away from libertarian logic. Suppose that you are a billionaire who is non-philanthropic. If we apply the same logic which justifies stealing a dollar to save humanity, you can apply it to critique this billionaire for not donating - they are initiating greater aggression by not donating a drop of their income to save some in the third world.

I see the only way of evading 2.1 is by biting the bullet on 2, but that in itself seems absurd. I would be interested if anyone has anything to say about what I've posed.

23:26 UTC

Back To Top