Difference Between Libertarian and Anarchist

Libertarian vs Anarchist

The difference between libertarian and anarchist, primarily, is the way they see the government. You must be wondering who a libertarian and an anarchist is by now. Libertarian and Anarchist are followers of two doctrines, namely, Libertarianism and Anarchism respectively. They have different natures. Also, they have different opinions about topics such as the government, wealth and ownership of property. A libertarian, as he or she does not agree with the government that exists, believes the system has to be fixed to suit his or her views of the world. An anarchist, on the other hand, does not believe that the system can be fixed. So, he or she wants to abolish the system once and for all.

Who is a Libertarian?

A libertarian is more concerned about rights. He is concerned about the right to ownership by self. He would labor hard, but at the same time, he would press for his right over the product of his labor. Libertarians are faith based. They need not necessarily be theological in their concepts.

It is believed that libertarian is friendly in nature. Libertarians resort to the quality of non-aggressiveness. They are non-aggressive in order to proclaim their right over ownership by self. This kind of urge for ownership by self makes them look non-aggressive. Libertarian looks equally at the self-ownership of others too. In other words, it can be said that libertarian feels that one should not use forceful means to intrude into the self-ownership of any other person. In short, it can be said that a libertarian is more ethical in his behavior when compared to an anarchist.

A libertarian resorts to ethical methods to bring about self-ownership of the product of his own labor and the self-ownership of the other persons. One of the most noteworthy characteristics of libertarian is toleration. He considers toleration as the most fundamental virtue in aiming at self-ownership of the product of his labor. Libertarians do not use force, and they consider that the use of force is highly illegitimate and unwanted. Libertarians are not intent on approving the actions of others. Libertarians would persuade others to act well and effective, and thereby, bring about any change they needed.

One of the important characteristics of a libertarian is that he opposes the prevailing government. According to libertarianism, the government is bent upon intruding into the self-ownership of the product of labor and hence is fit to be opposed. However, they are pro-government though they are against the government that exists. They want the government to be changed to become a small institution that has limited powers. Doing that to the government would help them to carry on with their views. A libertarian tries to liberate people from the authority of the society.

Difference Between Libertarian and Anarchist

Who is an Anarchist?

On the other hand, an anarchist is more of an extremist in his concept. It is believed that generally an anarchist is hostile in nature. An anarchist is generally construed to be aggressive and dangerous too when compared to a libertarian. Even some anarchist would not hesitate to use violence if they have to, in order to reach their goals.

Moreover, an anarchist, due to his telling and aggressive nature, does not adhere to ethics at all times. This is a significant difference between libertarian and anarchist. When it comes to toleration, an anarchist does not rate toleration as an important requisite. This is possibly due to his aggressive nature. An anarchist uses force due to his telling nature and hence considers the use of force as legitimate. Anarchists approve of the actions of others.

On the other hand, an anarchist differs in the view of libertarian about the government. An anarchist propagates political concepts and promotes hostile ideas. He supports the abolition of the political state. This is because an anarchist does not believe that the government can be fixed. He wants it completely out of the way to create the society he desires. An anarchist aims at the liberation of self from political authority.

Libertarian vs Anarchist

What is the difference between Libertarian and Anarchist?

• Definitions of Libertarian and Anarchist:

• Libertarian is pro-government and pro-capitalism.

• Anarchist is anti-government and anti-capitalism.

• Opinion on Government:

• Libertarian believes that the government is there as a tool of the poor to pressurize the rich.

• Anarchist believes that government is manipulated as it is made to support only the rich.

• Fixing the Government:

• Libertarian believes that the government can be fixed to apply to their views.

• Anarchist does not believe the government can be fixed. So, they want to abolish the government.

• Type of Government:

• Libertarian wants a severely limited government.

• Anarchist wants no government at all.

• Wealth:

• Libertarian believes in wealth inequality because they believe the inequality is there because some people work harder than the others.

• Anarchist believes in wealth equality. That is why they want to abolish a corrupt government that makes it hard to maintain such a system.

• Violence:

• Libertarian does not use violence to achieve their goals.

• Some anarchists use violence to achieve their goals.

A libertarian can turn into an anarchist, but an anarchist cannot necessarily turn into a libertarian.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Libertarian Party by Ted Van Pelt (CC BY 2.0)
  2. Anarchists by Kashfi Halford (CC BY 2.0
  • How Liberty Works

    I don’t know who wrote this, but it is ridiculous. At the root of anarchist philosophy is the non-aggression principle, so to say that an anarchist is aggressive by nature is contradictory and should raise serious questions regarding the credibility of this author. The Natural Law is foundational to both libertarianism and anarchism. The libertarian tends to be more of a minarchist in that he or she opposes the tyranny of the state and the gross violation of rights through taxation, regulation, conscription, etc., but is not willing to reject it entirely. Every libertarian has their own reasons for retaining a minimized ruling class. Essentially, it is difficult for libertarians to hold to their principles across the board and resist the urge to advocate force in an area of life that appeals to their emotional rather than their rational side. On the other hand, the anarchist has – whether through consideration of the Natural Law, economics, history, government corruption, or any combination of these and other disciplines – rejected the state entirely. He or she separates the concepts of society and state and believes that state is a harmful and parasitic monopoly of force which always deteriorates into tyranny and injustice. Far from endorsing lawlessness and chaos, the anarchist hopes for a voluntary society free of political violence and coercion.

  • Drew

    Are anarchocapitalists not anarchists, then?

  • Benjamin Jacoby

    yeah this article has some major issues. it stereotypes anarchists. there is a diversity of anarchists who have some very different and contrasting ideas. especially the part where this article says, “Moreover, an anarchist, due to his telling and aggressive nature, does not adhere to ethics at all times.” Individual anarchists have their own code of ethics and do not depend on a text or manifesto to define their ethics.