But libertarians also think people should be free to

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Because of their emphasis on free markets, many libertarians are called conservative. But libertarians also think people should be free to pursue "sex, drugs, and rock & roll," if that's want they want to do. Libertarians have a relative live-and-let-live attitude. A. Key Concepts of Libertarianism According to David Boaz of the Cato Institute (see http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=5758 ) the key concepts of libertarianism include the following: 1. Individualism. Libertarians see the individual as the basic unit of social analysis. Only individuals make choices and are responsible for their actions. Libertarian thought emphasizes the dignity of each individual, which entails both rights and responsibility. Power lies with the individual. 3
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Power, Authority, and Exchange – ISS 225 Ideology 2. Individual Rights. Because individuals are moral agents, they have a right to be secure in their life, liberty, and property. These rights are not granted by government or by society; they are inherent in the nature of human beings. It is intuitively right that individuals enjoy the security of such rights; the burden of explanation should lie with those who would take rights away. 3. Spontaneous Order. A great degree of order in society is necessary for individuals to survive and flourish. It's easy to assume that order must be imposed by a central authority, but government doesn’t have to. The great insight of libertarian social analysis is that order in society arises spontaneously, out of the actions of thousands or millions of individuals who coordinate their actions with those of others in order to achieve their purposes. The most important institutions in human society -- language, law, money, and markets -- all developed spontaneously, without central direction. Civil society -- the complex network of associations and connections among people -- is another example of spontaneous order, civil society grew to meet the needs of individuals; the associations within civil society are formed for a purpose, but civil society itself is not an organization and does not have a purpose of its own. In sum, order is not imposed, but arose spontaneously as needed to meet the needs of individuals. 4. The Rule of Law. Libertarianism is not a claim that "people can do anything they want to, and nobody else can say anything." They are not anarchists. Rather, libertarianism proposes a society of liberty under law, in which individuals are free to pursue their own lives so long as they respect the equal rights of others. 5. Limited Government. To protect rights, individuals form governments. But government is a dangerous institution. Thus they want to divide and limit power, and that means especially to limit government, generally through a written constitution enumerating and limiting the powers that the people delegate to government. Limited government is the basic political implication of libertarianism.
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