You don’t have to read Mises, Hayek, Friedman, Rothbard, and goodness knows who else in order to be a libertarian. I certainly haven’t. For me, becoming a libertarian wasn’t about being persuaded, indoctrinated, or learning something new. It was just putting a label on a bunch of things I had thought and felt for a long time. So here’s what makes me a libertarian – and if you agree, then you might be one too.
1) You don’t much like or trust politicians
Politicians get a lot of stick from all of us. And though I know a few individual politicians who I like and trust, as a class I’m not a big fan. I will be very surprised if you don’t feel the same way. A big part of being a libertarian is not trusting politicians. Partly because even the best of intentioned politicians are pretty likely to get it wrong (and then who pays? We do). And partly because politicians aren’t always all that well-intentioned.
I mean, if you don’t like politicians very much why are you happy for them to have so much control over your life?
2) You’re not a big fan of tax
Ever had that sinking feeling when you open your payslip and see just how much of your hard-earned cash has been swiped? Or got your Council Tax bill and wondered where on earth all that money could be going?
Yeah, I’m with you. As libertarians we want tax to be as low as possible, and all the tax collected to be spent wisely. If we’re honest with each other, we know that’s not the case right now.
3) You’re fed up with big businesses getting their own way
Ever feel like some people play by a different set of rules to the rest of us? Like maybe some large corporations are a bit too close to politicians and have a bit too much influence on setting the rules? This is corporatism, pure and simple.
Corporatism (sometimes called ‘crony capitalism’) is the enemy of free markets – and libertarians are passionate about free markets.
4) You don’t like the nanny state
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being told what I can eat and drink by faceless misery-guts whose only aim is to live as long as possible. Whether it’s Jamie Oliver getting turkey twizzlers banned, or getting fined for drinking Coca-Cola (AKA the sugar tax), I’m not a fan of nannying.
Libertarians believe adults should be free to make their own choices as long as they’re not hurting other people. This is the harm principle, and we think it makes a lot of sense.
5) You like having plenty of choices
If you’re anything like me, not only do you not like other people telling you what you can and can’t eat and drink, but you like having plenty of options when it comes to everything else too.
Whether it’s shopping around for an insurance company, trying different restaurants, or wanting a school that suits your kids rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, choice is really important.
Libertarians like choice, and fundamental to having plenty of choice are competition and innovation. And you don’t get those when politicians and bureaucrats (of any political flavour) are controlling things from London.
Sometimes libertarianism sounds a bit weird or complicated
But really, it’s not especially strange or academic. Libertarianism is about the natural urge to be in the driving seat of your own life, to be free to make your own decisions, and to keep as much of what you earn as is possible. And if you like the sound of that, you might just be one of us.