Welfare Libertarianism – a random term I made up for what I believe
Posted by Daniel Farrell
For a few years now, I’ve referred to myself as a libertarian. I do believe the world, in general, is better off when people are allowed to do what they want to, as long as they are not harming others. However, a lot of libertarians seem to lean more toward a capitalist, free-market view on economics. While I agree with that to a degree, I don’t agree in all circumstances. So, over the past couple days, I’ve been looking for a name for what I believe. I have failed in that mission, so I’ve decided to name it myself.
I originally started with “social libertarianism”, but it seems that’s already been taken by libertarians who are also socialist. That’s not me. My second option was “welfare libertarianism”, which I’ve gone with.
What does “welfare libertarianism” mean though?
For me, it means a libertarian, who believes people should be able to do what they want as long as they don’t cause harm to other people (I define that in a legal sense, particularly a “harm” in Tort). It also means someone who believes there is a place for the welfare state and that a society should be measured on how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. For me (might not be for others), that means giving people assistance if they lose their job and are having difficulty gaining another, helping people who need are unable to work through health and medical problems, and so on. It also means helping people like students, who have a full-time job that’s unpaid. Students shouldn’t be required to have a full time job in order to survive, as well as studying full time. However, I know of a number of people in that situation.
And before people start saying that is socialism, it’s really not. Socialism is where you put everything into a pot (ie, the State) and you take what you need. The welfare state is where you pay your taxes for public goods, some of which goes toward helping those who need help. There’s a big difference there.
What’s your thoughts on this? Throw me some comments below. I’d really be interested to see what people think on this one.