Can you be a libertarian and a socialist?

6 Apr

I don’t like restricting people, but I love helping people.  If someone wants to smoke cigarettes, drink a few 40s a day, gamble, smoke pot — whatever they want to do without hurting others, I think they should be able to do it.  Once you reach 18/21 you are an ‘adult’ and are free to screw up your life as much as you’d like (just don’t drive drunk or high).  But if you screw up your life and want to come back into the fray, I’d like the government to help you.  Although “responsible people” probably think this is enabling, I think of it as being compassionate while respecting the right to choose.

Yay to social welfare.  Boo to paternalistic, restrictive policies.  Therefore I’m a socialist and a libertarian — it is possible!  Now I’m trying to figure out if this philosophy exists anywhere or is even possible.  Time to think.

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2 Responses to “Can you be a libertarian and a socialist?”

  1. Chase May 3.2.09 at 6:29 pm #

    I consider myself a libertarian socialist. It is interesting, the history of “libertarianism” as we know it in America. The first person to use the word “libertarian” to describe political views was a French anarchist. Libertarian, in Europe, is usually construed to have an anarchist (or at least VERY classically liberal, i. e. anti- Big Government) meaning, and also implies to some extent a socialist perspective.

    However, of course, in America, libertarianism has always been combined (incompatibly?) with capitalism and free-market ideals. So our Libertarian Party is not only concerned with limiting the federal government in social/public life, but also in the market, leading to a laissez-faire policy.

    I however, am more…traditionally, if you will… libertarian socialist. I believe that the state should be limited or even eliminated, and that the producing class, i.e. the workers, should control the means of production. Enough of this capitalist exploitation and dehumanization.

  2. amsocialist 3.2.09 at 10:46 am #

    The most certainly can exist together, I think that in America more people need to be told what socialism is, because socialsim looks nothing like Europe, or any of the “socialist nations”. It is very libertarian\anarchist in nature.

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