“Give me liberty, or give me death!” – Patrick Henry[i]
Next time you want to make a friend in life, please consider choosing a libertarian. By libertarian I refer to those who support a free market without government invention. They may self identify as a classical liberal, ancap, voluntarist or agorist to name a few and they would never quote Hitler by saying that: “I am a socialist.” Here are 10 reasons why you want to have a libertarian as a friend:
Austrian economics is the economics of capitalism; the libertarian must support capitalism therefore it’s likely that he may have read Austrian economics. If he has read form Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard or other Austrian’s then he would understand that gold is money. He will likely have an extensive collection of gold and silver that he might show you, or at least take you to his local dealer to get you started on a collection of your own. The socialist would despise such a thing and call him a “gold bug,” as if there is something wrong about owning gold?
The libertarian will most likely have an extensive collection of guns, from small fire arms to high powered assault rifles. The question is: should you fear a libertarian with a gun?
Probably not, as the libertarian only wants a gun in order to hunt or to protect against a home invasion. He will likely have a gun licence, take adequate training and have his guns locked safely away at home. The libertarian will not be the one violates the Non-Aggression Principle by committing armed robbery for loose change. The socialist might call him a “gun nut,” but the socialist probably doesn’t understand civil rights.
3) Hard assets
It goes without saying that the wealthy gold loving and gun carrying libertarian does not trust the government or its fiat currency. The libertarian will want to diversify as much as possible. He will probably own land, property or smaller assets like art, bourbon, rare books, rare coins and stamps. All items which make for a fun hobby if nothing else.
4) They’ll probably have principles
The libertarian believes in something, whereas the socialist does not. Under liberalism is the belief in the separation of economy and state, such as a night-watchman state where the government does nothing except maintain a standing army. If government does exist, then it should not give any preferential treatment to any individuals, corporations or any special group. The ancap advances this idea further by simply asking: “why have a government at all?” They are both different, but they both believe in the freedom of the market as opposed to socialism which believes in government intervention in the market.
Consider that socialism is defined as “the State owns the means of production,” which leads to a problem because the State has no set of beliefs. It may bailout a corporation when it wants to or give UBI to certain members of society in order to win more votes. Even worse, economic calculation under socialism is impossible so decisions can be made only through arbitrary guesswork or bribes.
The naivety of the socialist can be revealed when you ask them to define what socialism is and what are the core principles under it. At best they will say: “something like Norway and nothing like Venezuela.”
5) They’ll probably be wealthy
The libertarian just wants to be free. Freedom does not refer to the ability to steal or hurt other people, rather, it means “freedom from the State.” The desire is to live a life however one pleases so long as it does not interfere with the life, liberty and property of another. The true liberal does not want the government to interfere in their own life, nor do they think that they should be forced to support the life of another.
Financial freedom is the easiest way one can find their freedom; therefore, it’s likely that the libertarian will strive for financial success. They would likely want to have their own business, a speculation or some other “get rich scheme” to tell you about.
6) They won’t be partisan
The libertarian would never believe in a major political party because all major parties are socialist parties. If he does vote it’s a vote for the lesser of two evils and nothing beyond that. Trump for example implements socialism with tariffs and bailout for farmers, while Bernie is a self-proclaimed socialist. In Canada, all major political parties are also socialist parties. The libertarian maintains a healthy level of skepticism and would never put blind trust in a political party.
7) They won’t be too judgmental (and probably not racist)
They say that no one hates libertarians more than other libertarians, however that’s merely a long-standing joke. The truth is that the biggest enemy to the libertarian is the government and the privately held Federal Reserve. There is no room for the libertarian to dislike others if they do not interfere with the life, liberty or property of the libertarian. For this reason, they are (probably) more welcoming to other races and sexual orientations than a socialist who longs for government enforced equality.
8) Love of literature
The libertarian loves literature! None of the libertarian’s beliefs were taught in the public school system so he likely had to discover them on his own. A list of great writers could make an article on its own, but understand that countless authors have been writing about freedom and liberty for over a thousand years. Milton, Locke, Smith, Burke, Stewart Mill, Hume and Bastiat to name a few, with Murray Rothbard, F.A. Hayek and Henry Hazlittt forming the foundation for liberty and economics. Lastly, there is the Ludwig von Mises who I would argue has no equal and I refuse to believe that anyone can read Mises’ Liberalism without becoming a liberal, or that anyone could read Socialism and not hate socialism.
Compared to the authors of socialism like Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Mao’s Little Red Book or Marx’s Communist Manifesto and you’ll realize that socialism has no respectable authors, while contemporary academia or today’s intelligentsia remain nothing more than a mouthpiece for government propaganda.
9) If they do travel, they’ll probably avoid socialist countries
Freedom is of paramount importance to the libertarian; if the libertarian is to travel he likely will do so only to a country where there is little threat that his freedom could be compromised. He will likely go to countries that have due process and a where a strong rule of law exists, so this means that socialist countries like Venezuela, Angola, Zimbabwe, Burma, Saudi Arabia or North Korea would not be visited. The libertarian understands that poverty and injustice exists at home and abroad; so he needs no reason to seek it abroad if only for adventure.
10) They’ll love conspiracy theories
JFK, Kubrick filming the moon landing, 9/11, chemtrails or water fluoridation, you can pick your poison when it comes to truth seeking. This may stem from the inquisitive nature of the libertarian and is always entertaining and some theories may even be true. There is little downside because if they are not true then what does it matter? Is it not entertaining to watch documentaries on YouTube or an episode of Ancient Aliens?
This article is light hearted and I agree it’s difficult to prove coolness without laughing at one’s self, but the point is to illustrate that libertarians believe in something, while socialists do not. There is no great body of socialist authors or admirable socialist leaders throughout history and there is no principle that socialists have other than collectivism. The definition of socialism offers little guidance because it means “the State owns the means of production,” however many self-proclaimed socialists do not even support this idea and simply prefer capitalism plus a wealth redistribution scheme.
If you’re going to have a friend, it’s best to have one who wants to live a just life, someone who does not advocate theft, central planning or having faith in a great dictator. I’d recommend someone who understands the power of individualism and believes that theft and coercion are bad. A libertarian may be able to offer this but a socialist cannot. Many of us are raised to be a socialist, but in time through the discovery of liberty and freedom we may be able to best embody the human spirit and live exemplary lives as libertarians.
[i] Patrick Henry speech made to the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775.