Libertarian movement


Libertarian movement

The libertarian movement consists of the various individuals and institutions who expound or promote the ideas and causes of libertarianism.

Libertarian institutions and prominent individuals

The libertarian movement consists primarily of institutions defending liberty in the public sphere, such as think tanks. Among the most prominent representative groups are:
* Cato Institute
* Atlas Economic Research Foundation
* Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)
* International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL)
* Mont Pelerin Society
* Ludwig von Mises Institute

Additionally, various political parties and factions have worked to develop the goals of libertarianism, and numerous writers and intellectuals have become public figures within the libertarian movement by laying out broad philosophical tenets underlying libertarianism, as well as specific strategies aimed at effecting practical changes toward libertarianism. Examples include:
* Ayn Rand, who rejected libertarianism herself, played a substantial role in libertarianism.
* Milton Friedman, along with other Chicago school economists.
* Murray Rothbard, along with other Austrian school economists and Anarcho-Capitalist theorists.

Growth of libertarianism

In the 1980s, libertarianism grew substantially more popular and gained considerable influence in Republican administrations, though at the national level the Libertarian Party still fared poorly. However, in the 2000s, libertarian ideas have some influence on other parties; for example, as of late, some Republicans are proposing eliminating the IRS and income tax. Also, George W. Bush's "personal accounts" for Social Security are modeled in part upon privatization proposals long supported by some libertarian groups like the Cato Institute as a means of dismantling the welfare state. [http://www.cato.org/new/02-05/02-24-05r-2.html] Other achievements hailed by libertarians in the last few decades include:
* Many trade barriers have been lifted, reducing what most libertarians argue are unneeded interferences with functioning markets and the right to use one's property as one sees fit.
* The “Contract with America” agenda of the congressional republicans in the 1990s, with its emphasis on lower taxes and government spending, is largely in line with libertarian views.
* Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan have exerted considerable influence over monetary policy in favor of libertarian goals.
* Ronald Reagan popularized libertarian economics and anti-statist rhetoric in the United States and passed some reforms, though many libertarians are ambivalent about his legacy. The libertarian "Reason Magazine" interviewed Reagan in 1975 and discussed some areas of overlap and disagreement. [http://reason.com/7507/int_reagan.shtml]
* In the United Kingdom, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had much the same effect.
* In Costa Rica, the libertarian political party "Movimiento Libertario" has achieved some electoral success at the national level and controls approximately 10% of the legislature.
* Some of what libertarians consider victimless crimes such as sodomy have been decriminalized in the United States (see Lawrence v. Texas)
* Some states and local governments have relaxed laws on marijuana use and medical marijuana, though libertarians argue that the War on Drugs still constitutes one of the greatest threats to liberty in the United States as a whole.
* There are many (self-described) libertarian celebrities and libertarian figures in politics and the media
* Ayn Rand's popularity has greatly enhanced interest in libertarian ideas.
* Ron Paul's 2008 presidential campaign in the United States has sparked a streak of libertarian thought and exposure in the media.

Despite these and other victories, most libertarians consider current governments to be very unlike their ideal government; in the United States, policies like the War on Drugs and the expansion of entitlements like Medicare lead some libertarians to believe that the government is more intrusive now than when libertarianism first gained political influence.Fact|date=May 2008

ee also

* History of libertarianism


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