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Why I'm a Libertarian — or, Why Libertarianism is Beautiful

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In a recent email, Walter Block wrote, responding some pessimistic comments I had about our libertarian movement:

"Dear Stephan: I never feel like dropping out. Never. No matter what. To me, libertarianism is a most beautiful thing, right up there with Mozart and Bach. Illegitimi non carborundum.

I replied with some comments, and Walter encouraged me to post them, so here they are, lightly edited:

Walter's email got me to thinking about why I'm a libertarian—why libertarians are libertarian. What is it about us that drives us, that makes us passionate advocates of it, and intensely interested in it? Some of us have been self-indulgent enough to write up how we became libertarians (e.g., my How I Became A Libertarian); but I don't mean exactly that. I mean what is it about it that you love; that drives you; that attracts you?

Walter's comment that libertarianism is beautiful struck a chord with me; I think I'd never thought of it that way before. It seemed just, and fair, and right, but beautiful—? but then, justice, and rightness, and fairness, and goodness are beautiful.

I think I'm a libertarian because for some reason I hate injustice; I hate bullies; I hate inconsistency; I love fairness and logical consistency and treating people correctly. I like answering the question asked, and not dodging issues: if someone asks how should this person be treated, I try to answer that question, rather than advert to some Marxian notion of utopia.

I like the ruthless logic of libertarianism and its unflinching honesty: how we are unafraid to say that people have a right to be greedy, or selfish, or rich, or not to hire people because of their race—because it is their property. I like the in-your-faceness of it ... when it is simply a matter of venting or justice to hurl in the face of a soma-ridden mainstreamer the solid, bracing truth about things, even if it will do no good. I like libertarianism—I love libertarianism—because I think it is the outcome of goodness applied to human interaction. I do agree that libertarianism is beautiful. It is refreshing and cleansing to know that I am willing to respect the rights of all who will respect mine; and to take the responsibility to earn my own way, and to pay for my own mistakes—and the right to profit from my successes. I am a libertarian because it is obviously good, and I would rather be good than evil; and the more good, the better.

***

Thoughts of others on your reasons for why you're a libertarian are welcome in the comments.

Stephan Kinsella is an attorney in Houston, director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom, and editor of Libertarian Papers.

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