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Oct 09 2016
by Anna DiGiacomo

10 Things I Wish People Understood About Libertarians

By Anna DiGiacomo - Oct 09 2016

Being a Libertarian in a two-party system can be really hard. Not only is your candidate hardly given any news coverage, but people love to dismiss your beliefs simply because your candidate "won't win." Unfortunately, this means that few people truly understand what a Libertarian is. In order to clear the air, this Fresh U reporter worked with the UNC Chapel Hill Young Americans for Liberty to comprise a list of our favorite stereotypes.

1. Libertarians don’t hate the poor.

This stereotype ranked number one in the impromptu Libertarian panel. While it's true Libertarians don’t support federally funded programs, such as welfare, they’re not kicking people to the curb. Many Libertarians want to help the poor; however, they simply wish to do it voluntarily and at their own discretion. This would mean privatizing welfare and keeping it on the local level. Libertarians believe this will ensure the people who truly need help get help.

2. Libertarians aren't druggies.

Just like any political party, the Libertarian Party consists of a large variety of people. So yes, there may be some druggies in our midst. However, just because we support legalizing drugs, that doesn’t mean we all partake in drug usage.

3. Libertarians don't hate religion.

Shockingly, not all Libertarians are atheists, and they certainly don't want to ban religion in the US. In fact, an IPPR poll shows that a majority of Libertarians actually label themselves religious. They simply wish to ensure religious participation is voluntary. All should be free to practice whatever religion they chose; likewise, all should be free of other people’s religion.

4. Libertarians don't think they're better than you.

This is a classic case of the “mightier than thou art” complex. These are the people who, when they hear you didn’t completely agree with whatever presidential candidate you voted for, immediately start guilt-shaming you for not voting your conscience. Admittedly, I have met a few Libertarians with this superiority complex. However, this doesn’t reflect the whole party. Believe me, we hate this guy as much as you do.

5. Libertarians aren't “right-winged hippies".

Supposedly, this stereotype comes people believing that the Libertarian philosophy of maximum personal freedom with limited government sounds similar to the ideals of the Hippie Movement. The sheer amount of reasons why this is untrue could encompass an entire article by itself. Let it suffice to say you won’t find Libertarians gathered on communes, plotting to overthrow the government and refusing to bathe.

6. Libertarians aren’t just rich, white men.

Unfortunately, this is a stereotype that also plagues the Republican Party, and quite frankly, I find it laughable. To begin, there are “rich, white men” on every end of the political spectrum. You can’t escape them. Secondly, let’s remember that one-fourth of the Libertarian Party is comprised of people under the age of 30. A large portion of that number is college students. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a demographic less likely to contain rich white men.

7. Libertarians aren’t conspiracy theorists.

Don’t get me wrong, there's a certain amount of paranoia the comes with being a Libertarian; distrusting the government is just part of the gig. Still, they don’t pass out tinfoil hats at party conventions or take turns arguing who really killed JFK.

8. Libertarians aren’t anarchists.

Unbelievable, I know. Yet Libertarians don’t actually advocate a complete destruction of all forms of government. They merely wish to downsize the federal government back into the parameters originally drafted in the US Constitution. They believe that any other role the federal government is currently carrying out should be given to the free market and/or local government.

9. Libertarians aren’t "doomsday-preppers".

We’re not counting down the days to nuclear holocaust or complete economic collapse. Most of us are not hoarding guns, digging bunkers and stocking up on canned foods. And we’re certainly not burying gold in the yard, so whoever’s been digging up my flowers can stop now.

10. Libertarians don’t support Southern secession.

Ok, this one is truly laughable, but a friend swears this is what she thought Libertarianism was about. Sure, Libertarians are huge on states’ rights and the Tenth Amendment, but last I checked, reviving the Confederacy isn’t on the official party platform.

All in all, Libertarians are a lot of things. We're strong-willed, passionate and maybe a bit obsessed with Ron Swanson. However, we also binge Netflix shows, cry over GoT and actively avoid our responsibilities. Don't think we're going to attack you for having different beliefs, or that we're always out looking for a political debate. At the end of the day, we’re fun, vaguely normal, semi-functioning, human beings – just like the rest of you.

Lead Image Credit: UNC Chapel Hill Young Americans for Liberty

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Anna DiGiacomo - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Anna is a freshman Strategic Communications major at UNC Chapel Hill. She played varsity soccer in high school and besieged the student body with libertarianism. She now spends her time annoying her roommate, catching Bruce Springsteen concerts and getting lost while pretending to camp. Follow her on Instagram @digiacomoa

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