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Is the Objectivist politics essentially libertarianism? They seem to be the same thing.

asked Aug 25 '10 at 00:12

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦

edited Jan 26 '11 at 12:55

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

as with any philosophical issue, defining one's terms is crucial. Long story short, Oist politics might be described as "libertarian" but it doesn't mean that AR had much, if anything, importantly in common with all sorts of disparate concrete people calling themselves "libertarian." Even "Jeffersonian/classical liberal" would subsume too many disparate concretes to be all that helpful in many contexts. "Radical for capitalism" is a heck of an improvement but - as with many political labels in today's context - no guarantee against confusion. Again, clearly defining your terms is crucial.

(Sep 22 '10 at 23:22) Chris Cathcart Chris%20Cathcart's gravatar image


No, they're quite distinct. As a movement, libertarianism rejects the need for a philosophical foundation for liberty, instead taking the non-initiation of force principle as axiomatic. Objectivism, in contrast, recognizes that liberty requires a solid philosophic foundation.

For more details, read these two essays:

Of course, many people who describe themselves as "libertarian" today mean that in a very loose sense: they're socially liberal and fiscally conservative. To be an Objectivist, in contrast, means something quite distinctive, not just in politics, but in every branch of philosophy.

answered Sep 13 '10 at 15:53

Diana%20Hsieh's gravatar image

Diana Hsieh ♦

I've heard the phrase "small-l" libertarian used to denote the loose sense of the term...

(Sep 16 '10 at 21:32) Raman ♦ Raman's gravatar image

I grudgingly use the term "libertarian" sometimes just out of convenience, but it's not really accurate.

I think the key difference is what Diana mentions about the foundation. When I explain the difference, I say that libertarians are just a collection of "anti-" stances with no real thread to tie them together. Objectivism is rooted in a solid philosophical framework. Now, because of that, we are also against a lot of the same things libertarians are against, but that foundation is key. It makes Objectivism consistent, while libertarianism can be just a collection of disparate beliefs.

(Sep 23 '10 at 02:49) infallible ♦ infallible's gravatar image

Some "Objectivists" like to create straw-man argument about libertarianism suggesting: since a political movement, like libertarianism, is not a philosophical movement, like Objectivism, it should be "rejected" for its lack of philosophical thought.

Libertarianism, while it is not built on "Objectivist philosophical principles," is still the political movement most aligned with my political philosophy.

I will interact with libertarians -- with full understanding of the "poor" philosophy some hold. If you think that makes me a "non-Objectivist," then you have "screwy" ideas about living!

(Mar 19 '11 at 08:24) Joe Egan Joe%20Egan's gravatar image

I would denote that the some of the key differences that have been particularly felt for me personally is that many libertarians are religious, oppose certain individual freedoms like a woman's right to choose an abortion and that within the movement as a whole these variations are welcome and many of the libertarians who do not share these views are yet willing to support a political candidate who does. In contrast, objectivism is non-religious and makes no concessions for denying any individual freedom on the basis of a religious belief.

(Sep 30 '13 at 02:44) AndruA AndruA's gravatar image
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Asked: Aug 25 '10 at 00:12

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Last updated: Sep 30 '13 at 02:44