university of technology sydney


Libertarianism is a political and social philosophy that has its roots from nations such as China, Israel, and Greece. In the 17th and 18th century, it was developed further by people such as Adam smith, Thomas Jefferson, and John Locke. In the modern days, it has been modified by various philosophers and politicians. Nonetheless, as asserted in this essay, regardless of various modifications and developments, there are certain principles that define the idea of libertarianism.

The Principle of Individualism

The first principle of libertarianism is known as individualism. It is explained that individuals have the capacity to make their own decisions and further be responsible for their own actions. Hence, people’s rights should not be denied to them regardless of their gender, race, or religion. It is further affirmed that these rights are not given to them by the government or even the society. Rather, everyone has the intuition that guides them on what is right or wrong. In such an instance, some people may argue, individual may choose to do what is wrong and justify it by saying that they have the individual rights to pursue all their goals. However, the libertarians explain that people have the right to do what they think is right so long as they respect the rights of others.

Secondly, libertarians believe in the principle of spontaneous order. They argue that the world need some order for individuals to live and thrive. However, this order is not imposed by the authorities. Rather, certain things such as language, law, civil society that bring about order in the world have been developed spontaneously. Simply, people have the capacity to coordinate their actions spontaneously in a way that harmony and peace is achieved in the world.

Limited Government

Thirdly, it is explained that the government should be limited. They indicate that, whereas the government is meant to protect the rights of the people, absolute power may corrupt the authorities. Therefore, individuals’ rights should be protected by limiting the power of the government through a constitution. Further, in an economy, the government should not try to come up with measures to interfere with the demand and supply factors. Rather, individuals should be at liberty to engage in any economic activity that helps improve their general well-being. In fact, it is argued, productive people in the society always live in harmony until the government interferes. Indeed, the theory of libertarianism is based on various principles such as individualism, spontaneous order, and limited government.