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What's are you're thoughts on modern libertarianism vs democratic socialism

Libertarianism and democratic socialism seem opposed. Both are on the rise, it seems. Can they co-exist, perhaps complement each other. Or are they both shit, and does donkey and elephant need to reign supreme... or any other system of government. Please explain....civilly please.

P.s. I believe democratic socialism can exist within broad confines of libertarianism, but not the other way around. Tell me why I'm right or wrong...civilly

By BBliberty
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I'm always amused that people get sucked in to the "democratic socialist" or "progressive" reasoning that a market-driven world is evil, but a government-driven world is compassionate. It's as though they think once people gain power they suddenly become righteous, honest, and compassionate people. Democratic Socialism is socialism. (And honestly, at least in the US, we are largely socialist with public education, market regulation, government-mandated Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid taxes, and government licensing of business, marriage, and personal property.) I'd like to see a truly free market tried.

Keith_J Level 6 July 11, 2018

Democratic socialism is not socialism.

@maturin1919 - Funny!

@Keith_J Weird way to spell 'true', but okay.

@maturin1919 BWAHAHAHA!

@Keith_J K.

I notice that people that equate socialism with education, regulation, & safety nets never mention, fire & police protection or the biggest socialist program of all, our military. Do I take it that means you are okay with some socialist programs?



@maturin1919, @GipsyOfNewSpain, @SukiSue - the government of the former East German state was the "German Democratic Republic." It was communist. The North Korean government is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. It is a dictatorship. You can't just slap the word "democratic" on something and expect it to be ok. Democratic socialism gives government enormous powers - and big government with enormous power is corrupt. You can claim that the vote of the people is the ultimate check-and-balance to the power of the government, but when the government is able to back up its actions with a gun, the vote is symbolic. Democratic socialism is socialism, plain and simple. You can put lipstick on that pig, but you're still kissing a pig.


@Keith_J No, see, since the government doesn't own the means of production it's NOT socialism. It's pretty simple, really.

@Keith_J But your lipstick on a pig routine is accurate in that just because those regimes call themselves democratic doesn't mean they are. Hell, you pointed that out yourself by calling the Russian puppet government communist.

@GipsyOfNewSpain, you raise a good point. Libertarianism is not anarchy. It is limited government. That is always the tension.

@maturin1919 - the government does "own" Social Security, Medicare, and for all intents and purposes, public education. It is pretty simple, really.


Democratic socialism is for people who think in terms of 'we', and libertarianism is for people who think in terms of 'me'.

maturin1919 Level 8 July 11, 2018

Can there be a happy medium?


There's no robbing, and that statement implies I wouldn't be contributing as well. And yes, it is done out of empathy.

@Beach_slim I AM the middle class. So see that bit about assuming I wouldn't be contributing.

@Beach_slim Nah. We, not me. Sorry, not sorry.


I like the idea of socialism but don't think it works. If the government controls production then those in charge of the government have control. It unfortunately dismisses human nature in things like greed and want for power.
I think that the US democracy was a great thing until it was corrupted. Monopoly laws are more of a suggestion now. Most production is now owned by corporate conglomerates that create the illusion of choice. Even our election system has the illusion of choice. I mean I can go to the store and pick from hundreds of styles of pants, but have two choices come November. I think the US resembles more of a oligarchy now.
I also don't think most people understand what liberty is. Liberty does not dismiss consequences, it simply elevates government interference.
I think that the republic that the US was founded on is a great system. Benjamin Franklin said it at the beginning "You have a republic if you can keep it" and I think we are losing it.

Fulishsage Level 6 July 11, 2018

I think that most definitions of democratic socialism don't have the government controlling production. And you're definitely right about the US being or becoming an oligarchy.


Modern liberitarianism, especially of the Ayn Rand variety, is the polar opposite of democratic socialism.To a great extent Libertarianism is based on self-absorption, greed, the belief that all government is bad, and extreme individualism. It favors a dog eat dog social Darwinism point of view. On the other hand, democratic socialism believes in the dignity and worth of all, equal opportunity, social justice or equality under the law, and the use of government to foster those ends. A society governed by libertarianism will inevitably devolved into oligarchic tyranny or dictatorship. A democratic socialist governmental system would tolerate libertariansm, but keep it under control and within reasonable bounds.

And, of course, libertarians will see all attempts to keep it in reasonable bounds as tyranny or government overreach. Libertarianism will always seek to undermine all true democracies, including democratic socialism.

wordywalt Level 8 July 12, 2018

Well said. 👍

Well said and I totally agree. For me the best way to describe libertarianism it's the rich man's Anarchy. As far as political systems go, they have zero examples of any country in the world that has successfully even attempted to have this type of government. The closest examples are rogue Nations


Go with libertarianism, as a good majority of them believe in individual liberty. With that said, there are libertarians who lean both left and right, but when you take into consideration the key beliefs of the LP, socialism just does not mix well into that equation. I'm borderlined libertarian myself (right-leaning registered Independent).

SpikeTalon Level 8 July 11, 2018

Yeah, it's a shame that the political zeitgeist is moving towards extremes. I lean center left(Obama , Hillary, Biden) , but I would have voted for Sanders in a heartbeat had he been the final nominee. I really wish Clinton would have asked him to be her VP candidate.

The one thing true libetarian ideology gets right is keeping regulations off LGBT , women's issues , civil rights etc. In theory , that's where democats stand. Liberetarianism is really just a modified form of conservatism and I don't think I know one self-proclaimed liberterian advocating for a woman's right to choose.

I don't think the two ideologie get along after that point. Democratic socialism would force corporations to pay their fair share of taxes - which would in turn fund health care for all and affordable education. Possibly free education. Liberterians don't really believe in taxes or government for that matter- so that really isn't a feasible juxtaposition.

UrsiMajor Level 8 July 11, 2018

Women's right to choose is a divisive topic among libertarians and allot of the time individual libertarians themselves as I understand it. for me I'm against abortion after a certain point in pregnancy, as I believe at a certain point that fetuses becomes an individual. but then again I don't have a womb and I don't have to deliver said person so I feel I'm not qualified to dictate such matters. It's very difficult for me to decide a position. And I've always leaned begrudgingly toward the right to choose. But I never feel sure about my own position.


@BBliberty I'm a Libertarian and helped campaign for Johnson in the last two elections. I am 100% pro-choice ....and, so are most Libertarians that I personally know who AREN'T clouded by religious brainwashing.


Libertarianism is a political ideology.
Democracy is a political ideology.
Socialism is an economic ideology.

Should I assume that libertarianism includes the concept of unrestrained economic behavior? Such as removing the tops of mountains for personal gain, and no responsibility for the consequences? (Current reality.)

The only libertarian i have even been able to understand is Penn Jillette. And I have only heard him talk about the political aspects. Yet, his examples are very socially inclusive.

I have found all those running as libertarians for public office to be inarticulate, and ill-informed. And too often, religionist.

I have not heard a cogent argument of how libertarianism economics works without becoming what we are experiencing now, and have historically, in the US. The powerful proclaim their greatness as they take from everyone vulnerable, while the public square is full of homeless women and children, potholes, broken bridges, and trash.

These people are often the ones who blame children for not being able to take care of themselves. They profess they have no responsibility for the others upon whom they depend for their "blessings." (eg: the walton's, koch's)

Many historical examples of such behavior has resulted in riots, labor movements, and wars, internal and external.

However, I consider myself a liberal, combining the core concepts of classic liberalism, with the historical conservative idea of society as a family : free speech, freedom for all, personal defense, freedom from religion, limited government, right to education, and heath care. This is because i am aware that the children of today will be the doctors of tomorrow, who will tending to myself and my descendants. (Children need food, and small class sizes to learn.)

Yet, I am a small "r" republican, in that I think representative government is more deliberative than immediate democracy, not withstanding the current circumstances, which are clearly the result of corruption (eg: politicians are personally rewarded for their immoral behaviors).

Straight democracy is similar to the market place. Wrong decisions are made too quickly to assess the long term effects. The reason for the structure of the senate is to slow the mass hysteria that could be caused by the house of representatives. (Changing the rules to fit the goals of the corrupt was not anticipated.)

It would astound the founders to learn that currently all three branches of the US federal government are controlled by those without moral structure, completely shortminded, focused on personal gain, and having abdicated, as a group, their responsibility for their obligations to the nation, and to the planet.

"Let them eat cake."

Jacar Level 7 July 12, 2018

I like Libertarian ideas. Libertarianism is financially conservative and socially liberal—liberal in the area of human rights and equality.

We live in an era of overwhelming material abundance, abundance created by a worldwide free market. Yet some people are complaining bitterly about “capitalism”, and calling for it’s abolishment. Capitalism is nothing more than groups of people banding together to accomplish tasks too large for individuals. Whenever free trade has been suppressed the result has been poverty.

Some social programs are desirable IMO. There is a middle way.

WilliamFleming Level 7 July 12, 2018

The only effective way to produce wealth is with capitalism and free markets.

A well-meaning genius in centralized control will do a much worse job of decision-making than millions of ordinary people with localized knowledge. This is discussed in Friedrich Hayek's classic essay "The Use of Knowledge in Society", and was illustrated during the late 1970s when Energy Secretary James Schesinger and his Harvard-trained staff allocated crude oil supplies, and led to gas lines all over the USA. Schlesinger and his staff were very intelligent and good people who meant well, but they weren't as effective in allocating oil as a free market.

The government can redistribute income somewhat by taxation without doing too much harm, to make sure that everyone has a certain minimum of wealth. It is only when taxation is excessive, or the government meddles in production or pricing, that the creation of wealth suffers. Even in the wealthy USA, government interventions in the free market like rent controls and minimum wage laws can have noticeably negative impacts.

Another role that government must play is as protector of common resources, like air and water. Even that necessary role can get corrupted by extending it to crusades against imaginary problems like man-made global warming. It is never going to be easy or even possible to attain perfection in government policies.

doug6352 Level 7 July 12, 2018

You had me up until the "imaginary" "global warming". Man-made or not is irrelevant. The fact is there are things that can be done to slow down the swiftness of climate change. Its difficult for the greedy to glean big money from free, clean, renewable energy. Climate change will happen. Theyre robbing us of the time we need to adapt to keep us buying dirty energy.

@Della "Man-made or not is irrelevant." You have a plan to deal with sunspot cycles? That would be interesting.

As of July 2018 there is no "free clean renewable energy". Some people claim that wind and solar power are now competitive with fossil fuels in cost. If that is true, lets get rid of the taxpayer subsidies and find out!


@doug6352 I dont really have time to lay out my ingenious plan to combat sunspot cycles right now. However, my taxes already subsidize fossil fuels. A lot. I would be totally good with my taxes subsidizing free clean & renewable. Allocating subsidies from big oil to developing solar, wind, geothermal & hydro just seems to make sense. Of course, the oil lobbyists would fight tooth & nail against losing their big money. At this point in time the government theyve bought is serving them well.

Unregulated capitalism is no different from an old world landowner/peasant system. And ... Is producing wealth everything? What would happen if we produced happiness and a good life for everyone? I think the worst would be that some assholes still wouldn't be happy because they didn't have enough. I could live with that.


@SukiSue We don't have unregulated anything. You can't cross the street without being regulated, and honest law courts are essential to capitalism to enforce contracts. That said, capitalism works in producing wealth and socialism does not. Not only that,capitalism maximizes personal freedom while socialism maximizes government coercion (men and women with guns telling you what to do), so capitalism is morally superior to socialism. In all modern capitalist economies the government does intervene to make sure that everyone has a minimum amount of wealth. It was capitalist economist Milton Friedman who proposed the guaranteed annual income in 1962, and I think that eventually we will see his proposal become reality.

Furthermore, you might have notice that in Venezuela which adopted socialism even rich people have trouble affording toilet paper, while in the capitalist USA even poor people have color TVs, and cell phones. A rising tide lifts all boats, and it is only capitalism that is capable of lifting the economic tide. That is no longer even a matter for discussion among economists. Socialism is the most popular bad idea in the history of the world.


@Della You keep on using the word "free", but of course nothing is "free". It comes across as nothing but empty political rhetoric.


I have to say that pretty much any form of libertarianism is hogwash, at least as guiding principles to governing (or not governing) a society goes. There are certainly several, maybe even many, positions within libertarianism that might make sense or that I might agree with, but if it wants to make market considerations as the basis of all decisions, then I must disagree. I'm inclined to support democratic socialism, but my support would depend on the definition of liberal socialism in play. In general, I think that (largely) free market economic systems work and wouldn't want a wholesale replacement of that, but I would agree with education being free or at least much more affordable than it is (with content guided by people in the field, not politicians who define content by their own interests); single payer, aka socialized, medicine; and regulations in place to prevent discrimination, protect the environment, and watch out for monopolies or oligarchical practices. I'm not sure that libertarianism, broadly defined, is compatible with those goals, but I haven't heard of movements to end socialized medicine in the countries where it exists, so maybe libertarians don't have much of a political platform there, I'm just unaware that there is such a movement, or they are focused on other issues.

shayne69 Level 6 July 11, 2018

@Beach_slim That wasn't the kind of example I had in mind. Had no idea that they had universal healthcare either. Of course, from what I understand you can get shot for many lesser things as well. In any case, North Korea is hardly an example of democratic socialism and is certainly not one of libertarianism.


They are completely incompatible. Libertarians want less government intervention, smaller government, more personal freedom. Socialists advocate legalized theft "for the common good."

IAMGROOT Level 7 July 12, 2018

My limited understanding of the 2 is that Social Democrats want to provide everyone with an array of services or safety nets, none of which are free, so they push for taxes to cover the costs. The Libertarians focus is on personal responsibility - you use it, you pay for it, and the market drives the costs. If you can't afford it, you shouldn't use it; if you absolutely need it and can't afford it, sucks to be you.

chalupacabre Level 8 July 11, 2018

@Beach_slim by "universal health care", you mean the world watches how Kim treats his people?


They cannot really exist together. There are similarities. Both want little to no state at all. Both seem to disagree with imperialist foreign policies and they both promote a more non-interventionist policy to foreign affairs. Both want individual personal freedoms. Both want economic freedom, but they disagree on how that is achieved.

Modern libertarianism is virtually unrestricted capitalism, which is marked by private control over the means of production. Democratic socialism is marked by democratic control of the means of production. Maybe in a global collapse of all nation-states we could get pockets of libertarian societies and pockets of democratic socialist societies, but having both inside a nation-state would not really work.

Prescott Level 5 July 11, 2018

I once was a Libertarian, or at least l thought l was, then l found out they're for open borders to any and all, and l realized they're just as fucked up as the Socialists and progressive Liberals.. Now l'm an unaffiliated free market Capitalist that leans EVER SO SLIGHTLY Libertarian.

Captain_Feelgood Level 7 July 11, 2018

Pretty much the same here. I'm borderlined libertarian, but are registered as Independent. With that said sir....would you at all be surprised if I told you my overall political views are...dare I say it...conservative? smile009.gif

@SpikeTalon SAAAY WHAAAAAAAATTT??? May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits... x-D

@Captain_Feelgood may all of @SpikeTalon kids be born naked and toothless for that kind of ideology...lol

@jorj oh jorj... you're way too kind... cover the little leaches in blood when they come out while we're at it, hey.

@SpikeTalon it depends on the conservative spectrum nothing is inherently wrong with conservatism. I believe it's in where and how its applied. Conservatism has its place, but where?how?


@BBliberty I agree. It's not just a matter of where and how it's applied, but who exactly are the individual(s) behind such?


Libertarians: MeMeMe, and too bad for you unfortunates.
Democratic Socialists: WeWeWe

AnneWimsey Level 8 July 12, 2018

How about we combine them in this way. Libertarian on social issues and democratic socialist on economic issues.

Krish55 Level 7 July 11, 2018

I lean more towards the libertarian stances for most things but also agree with some of the dem-socialist ideas. Things like healthcare, education, and a basic standard of living are a no brainier to me but for the most part I am for smaller government with less taxes and more personal freedom.

jorj Level 8 July 11, 2018

Emphasis on the smaller government part.

@SpikeTalon if beuracracy was reigned in now it would save billions. To much red tape for to many alphabet agencies. We could slim easily and have better results if we just had intelligent people that haven't been corrupted in control.


First, there needs to be some definition of what is meant by libertarianism because this ideology is fractured into three fairly distinct camps. I say 'fairly distinct' because there is some overlapping that blurs the change from one to the next. So, which form is it? Left leaning, middle of the road (mainstream), or right leaning?

evidentialist Level 8 July 12, 2018

As a classical liberal my leaning would be towards libertarianism with the stipulation that I’m not against the existence of the state like anarcho-capitalists which is what I suspect most people who label themselves as libertarians advocate for.

Now to address your point. In short no, they could not coexist. While both would advocate for decentralization of power they differ fundamentally on property rights: the democratic socialists would contend that you do not own the tools of your labor( though I think in practice you wouldn’t have the state appropriating the tools), nor do you own the fruits of your labor( here is where the state would come in heavily and where you’d find a lot of libertarian shouting the battle cry of revolt); thus, they must be distributed so that no inequality can exist because this is the most moral condition (not something I’m at all convinced is the case).

Note, this is fundamentally different than a social democracy which is still capitalist, but simply pushes for the establishment of a strong welfare state. Again, you’d find Libertarians disagreeing with the strong welfare state, but you these two groups could coexist rather nicely since they both respect private property rights and at the end of the day their disagreement is in the level at which the government is involved in the market whereas with the democratic socialists, there wouldn’t be a market.

In summary, democratic socialism could not exist within the confines of any liberal state whether libertarian or otherwise due to its illiberal nature regarding property rights: the two systems are incompatible on a fundamental level.

Wavefunction Level 5 July 12, 2018

First it was religion that was used to keep the masses in check, then politics, now is
Its consumerism. They all have the same purpose. They are there to keep the masses fighting each other over trivial crap so no one is paying attention as they slowly consolidate all of the world's wealth. Enjoy the World Cup, tune into your favorite "reality" show, get good and angry about theotherscoming hereillegally`, whatever it takes to get us to pay attention while we are slowly robbed blind and the Empire crumbles around us. Its all just opiates for the masses.
Enjoy your cake!

Nathan1967 Level 2 July 12, 2018

I think they're all dangerous and full of shit.
I have no faith in any of them.

KKGator Level 9 July 12, 2018

Capitalism has not worked, to the point of the world as we know it will end destroyed under capitalism... hopefully next society will remember that and take action never to happen again.

GipsyOfNewSpain Level 8 July 12, 2018

I disagree, capitalism has worked wonders: it has enabled the most efficient production of goods and the furthest advancements in standards of living. Countries with market economies fair far better than those with other distributive systems.

Now of course I will say that the market can’t solve everything which is why I’m not an anarcho-capitalist: there most definitely does need to be a state to regulate bad actors and to provide some type of social safety net/ wealth redistribution.

How exactly is capitalism going to destroy the world? If you mean human exploitation of resources, then I’m afraid capitalism isn’t to blame: it is simply a way to distribute resources at the end of the day. The exploitation of resources would persist under any other economic system though perhaps not as efficiently. At the end of the day, to maintain a population of our size requires this exploitation of resources regardless of the system that distributes them.

Edit: added in “of resources” after the last exploitation for clarity.


@Wavefunction Ignored.

@GipsyOfNewSpain Ummm... okay? I’m not sure what you’re getting at here.

@Wavefunction What happens in your watch is yours... but I recognize you have the ignorance of youth and lack of experience to understand that so you just blah, blah, blah... I recommend you to wikipedia the word "ignored".

@Wavefunction What happens in your watch is yours... but I recognize you have the ignorance of youth and lack of experience to understand that so you just blah, blah, blah... I recommend you to wikipedia the word "ignored".

@GipsyOfNewSpain oh I see so instead of presenting a counter point you just ignore me. Brilliant strategy mate! I’m absolutely sure you’ll convince many people with such strong robust arguments like that.

@GipsyOfNewSpain oh I see so instead of presenting a counter point you just ignore me. Brilliant strategy mate! I’m absolutely sure you’ll convince many people with such strong robust arguments like that.


Libertarianism ignores the injustices of history that have produced inequality. Injustices such as slavery, conquest, imperialism and dispossession. As a result, there is no level playing field. Libertarianism also ignores that for over 95% of human existence, we were social animals who lived communally. This is ingrained in our nature. Dog-eat-dog competitiveness leads to alienation, crime, suicide, and violent aggression. Unrestricted Capitalism is also destroying the planet… The market cannot prevent that. Only social decision making can!

Krish55 Level 7 July 11, 2018

Democratic Socialism ignores the injustices of government that has led to bread lines, mass slaughter, and the socially accepted slavery of people groups, ithe lawful imprisonment of a race of people, all enforced with government guns and little accountability.

@Keith_J how does democratic socialism in itself ignore governmental Injustice? it looks like you're skipping a lot of steps in between.


@SukiSue, hardly. You make a huge leap assuming that libertarianism ignores injustices of government and then you list several of those historic injustices: slavery, conquest, imperialism. Quite to the contrary, libertarianism stands in opposition to all those things by reducing military size and spending, and emphasizing the sovereignty of the individual and the individual state. Democratic socialism IS government. In fact, it is MORE government, and government is simply people, who are as corruptible in government positions as they are in free market positions - except in government positions, they have the power of the gun to enforce what they want.


Capitalism cannot survive, without injecting a little Socialism, in order to keep the mobs away from the gates. Socialism cannot survive, without allowing a little Capitalism, to keep the mobs away from the gates. The problem is in finding the balance between the two.

davknight Level 6 Jan 22, 2019

I have always liked to say that I am a fiscal conservative and social liberal. Meaning I want full understanding of financial things and that people should be helped instead of the rich getting richer.

gsiamne Level 7 July 11, 2018

What if the poor had the right to enterprise without restriction. If cronyism and nepotism had no legislative power. And that poor individual made a product that was more affordable or perhaps better than those at the tippy top. or the person 10 doors down from them. I see this alot more nowadays, but it moves so slow. What if we broke those chains entirely. Could not the individual and the community, decide properly?

@BBliberty Yes, I think that most communities can with the exception of the sociopath/psychopath/narcissist that has some how been allowed to do things.

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