What is the Libertarian Party?


The largest third party in the United States
today is the Libertarian Party. How long has the Libertarian Party been in
existence? What are some of the Libertarian beliefs? In June of 1972, the Libertarian Party held
its first national convention. Those in attendance chose the name “Libertarian
Party” over the “New Liberty Party” which was the second place choice. At this convention, the new party also nominated
John Hospers as its first presidential candidate. Six years later, in 1978, Dick Randolph became
the first Libertarian to win public office. He was elected to the state legislature in
Alaska. By 1980, the party had grown enough to officially
become the third largest party in the United States. In that same year, the party achieved ballot
access in all fifty states. This means that the Libertarian Party presidential
candidate appeared on the ballot in all fifty states, alongside the Republican and Democrat
candidates. The Libertarian presidential candidate also
achieved ballot access in all fifty states in 1992 and 1996. This made them the only third party in history
to achieve ballot access in all fifty states in two consecutive elections. Similar to the Democratic donkey and the Republican
elephant, the Libertarian Party has chosen an animal to serve as a mascot. In the early 1990s, a penguin was chosen to
represent the party, which became known as the Liberty Penguin. However, in 2006, the penguin was largely
replaced by the Libertarian porcupine, which is now used regularly by the Libertarian Party. The Statue of Liberty is also a regularly
used party symbol. In 1972, the Libertarians adopted an official
slogan to help promote their party. This slogan, “There ain’t no such thing
as a free lunch” was used by the party for many years, including the slogan’s abbreviation
“TANSTAAFL.” Today, the party’s official slogan is “The
Party of Principle.” In terms of their political beliefs, Libertarians
are often thought to be economically conservative while being socially liberal. This means that they support many Republican
philosophies in terms of economic matters and many Democratic philosophies in terms
of cultural matters. Ultimately, the guiding principle to Libertarian
positions is that they believe the government should have as little involvement with an
individual’s day-to-day life as possible. Economically, Libertarians believe that the
government should have a “hands off” approach to the economy. This would mean the government should not
attempt to regulate the economy, but instead let the free market, and natural competition
amongst businesses, dictate things like prices and employee wages. Libertarians also believe in free trade and
free travel between nations. They feel that governments place unnecessary
restraints on the movement of people and products. Many Libertarians also support the legalization
of what they feel are “victimless crimes”. This would include the legalization of most
drugs, prostitution, gambling, and other similar activities. They hold this belief because they feel that
the government should not restrict an individual’s personal liberty. The Libertarian stances on these issues are
amongst the most controversial that the party holds. Libertarians also believe things such as public
schools and public healthcare should not exist. Instead, they feel that the private sector
could do a better, and more efficient, job in both of these areas. Additionally, they argue that government regulation
of the environment should not be necessary. They feel that private landowners would have
a much stronger interest in maintaining the health and cleanliness of their own land. Libertarians are also strong supporters of
unrestricted free speech. They oppose the government using its authority
to censor someone who might be speaking out against the government. They defend the rights of all individuals
to express dissent, whether it be through free speech or free press. This is not every belief promoted by the Libertarian
Party as there are too many to be listed in this lesson. It should also be remembered that not every
Libertarian shares each of these beliefs. It is difficult to categorize an entire group
of people in broad terms. The party includes a wide variety of people
who have their own opinions on many of these topics. The Libertarian Party has experienced varied
success over the course of its existence. In the 1990s, there were more than forty Libertarians
holding elected office throughout the nation. However, as recently as the 2012 presidential
election, the Libertarian candidate could only be found on the ballots of thirty states. Today, the Libertarian Party is experiencing
a surge once again. The Libertarian candidate for president in
both 2012 and 2016 was Gary Johnson (Johnson received more than one million votes in the
2012 presidential election). There are 145 Libertarians currently holding
public offices throughout the United States and more than 400,000 Americans who are registered
Libertarians. There are also numerous Independents, who
claim to be Libertarians, living in states where they cannot register with the party.

9 Replies to “What is the Libertarian Party?

  1. I don't care for the background music. Otherwise production values good.
    No mention that the LP is the only party with a practically undilutable Statement of Principles based on the non-aggression principle. I think all that could be covered in another 90 seconds to two minutes.
    BTW in the interest of disclosure, I am a co-founder with the late David F Nolan of the LP.

  2. The one thing that I and Seamus Coughlin disagree with most libertarian on is abortion, because it is not victimless.

  3. Not a fan of libertarians. Their whole idea of just getting rid of all regulation & somehow everything will workout thanks to the free market is both utopian & dangerous.

  4. So in other words, Libertarians are basically Republicans 2.0 with the exception of marriage, drugs and prostitution.

    Think it would be easier if they tried to change the Republican Party then run as another form of Republicans. Look Donald Trump made it okay for Republicans to cheat, disrespect people and not deliver. Libertarians have the Paul's who say one thing and do another and they were also on the Republican Party.

    Just stop acting like you can create something different. If you really want power, then do what other libertarians like the Koch brothers do, buy politicans

  5. I hate it when people say Libertarians are more Dem or GOP, or more left or right. It's quite centrist seeing they take the Dem's social stances (with the exception of affirmative action), and the GOP's economic stances (with the exception of military spending).

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