What Is Libertarianism?
Libertarianism is a school of socio-economical thought, or rather a trend, unifying a number of relatively similar schools of thought that proclaim that the freedom of the individual is the most important thing in existence, support the idea of the free market developing without any oppression or intrusion of the state, complete or almost complete abolition of taxation and overall freedom of every individual from all the other individuals. According to libertarianism, freedom of one person ends only where the freedom of another one begins. Or, in other words, the freedom of my fist ends where your face begins.
Libertarianism is subdivided into a number of trends that are different in various aspects, for example, in their radicalism: from monarchism, which presupposes the existence of a minimized government responsibilities of which are limited to protection of its citizens and their property from external and internal enemies, to anarcho-capitalists, who reject the idea of government altogether.
There is, however, one aspect in which all the trends of libertarianism are unified – the negation of violence. That is, no person or organization has right to apply violence to another person; the only circumstances when it is acceptable is when violence is used in retaliation. It means that every person is inviolable; the one who applies violence to another person is, therefore, no longer protected by this principle, the one who is attacked has the full right to defend.
In some way libertarianism may be considered to be close to anarchism, but, unlike anarchism, it is based on the principle of private property, thus making its subdivision, anarcho-capitalism, a kind of oxymoron. Libertarianism is a rather popular in the West, especially in the USA.