Libertarian Party

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The Libertarian Party is an American political party founded in 1971 that advocates libertarian political views. In terms of Presidential elections, the party reached its peak in popularity in 1980, receiving about 1% of the vote[1]. In terms of political activity (number of candidates, access to the ballot, and elected office holders), the Libertarian Party is the third-largest political party, although it is still much smaller than the biggest two American political parties. It is active in all 50 states and has more than 200,000 registered voters. Most Libertarian Party elected officials are in office at the local level of government.[2] The party has permanent ballot status in 27 out of 50 states and runs candidates in all 50. In 2008, the party nominated Bob Barr, a former Republican Congressman from Georgia, as its nominee for the 2008 Presidential Election.

Party Platform

The Libertarian Party platform is a combination of fiscal conservatism and social liberalism with a strong emphasis on individual liberty and responsibility. Libertarians believe in free market economics, protection of private property, and the individual's right to perform any action which is peaceful and honest. These are the fundamental principles which guide the rest of the platform. [3]


The Libertarian Party believes that there are good-faith arguments on both sides of the abortion debate. It therefore thinks that the government should stay out of the issue entirely, letting individual decisions and morality dictate action.[4] It is adamantly opposed to government funding for programs such as Planned Parenthood, but does not support outlawing abortion entirely.

Gay Marriage

The Libertarian Party believes that consenting adults should be allowed to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships free from government intervention. It believes that much of the cultural tension involved with gay marriage and gay rights would go away once personal relationships are kept private, solely defined by the persons involved.[5]. However, many in the party would support privatizing the definition of marriage. A press release from the party implied that this would effectively permit polygamy as well, saying "We should settle for nothing less than a society in which the legal code is wiped clean of references to a person's sexual identity or depends on how many sexual partners they have." [6]

Gun Control

The Libertarian Party believes that gun ownership is one of the fundamental rights laid down in the Constitution, and, since ownership is a peaceful action, criminal penalties against such cannot be morally justified. It also believes that gun prohibition would not prevent people from owning guns, and that Americans have the right to decide how to best protect themselves. Lastly, since the Libertarian Party believes strongly in personal responsibility, it believes that the responsibility for violence should rest on the gun owner, not the gun.[7]

Health Care

The Libertarian Party believes that government bureaucracy and spending are the reasons that the health care system is currently in crisis. The party endorses establishing health savings accounts, deregulating the health care industry, and replace the Food and Drug Administration with a more efficient free-market alternative.[8]


The Libertarian Party strongly supports cutting all taxes. It believes that the size of government can be drastically lowered by cutting wasteful spending and privatizing certain services. [9]

War on Drugs

The Libertarian Party believes that, while drug misuse is deplorable, the war on drugs has caused more problems than it is solved. It believes that the war on drugs is a threat to civil liberties and peace with foreign neighbors. It believes that individuals have the right to use any drugs, but they remain responsible for their actions while on those drugs.[10]

See Also


  1. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections
  2. Frequently asked questions about the Libertarian Party
  3. Libertarian Party, National Platform of the Libertarian Party
  4. Libertarian Party, National Platform of the Libertarian Party
  5. Libertarian Party, National Platform of the Libertarian Party
  6. Libertarian Party release, June 10 2011
  7. Libertarian Party: Issues & Positions. Making Healthcare Safe and Affordable
  8. Libertarian Party: Issues & Positions. Making Healthcare Safe and Affordable
  9. Libertarian Party: Issues & Positions. The Libertarian Party: Working to slash your taxes!
  10. Libertarian Party, National Platform of the Libertarian Party