Difference Between Liberal and Libertarian

Society works with the help of certain rules and ideologies, and politics happens to be a very prominent element of any society as it decides the direction in which a society heads.


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A liberal and libertarian are two people following two different political ideologies that are very common all over the world. While these two seem to be very similar, they still carry a lot of differences that can be marked easily. 

Liberal vs Libertarian 

The difference between a Liberal and a Libertarian is that the former happens to be a person who supports an ideology that says that people should be free in their life to do whatever they want unless it is something illegal. While on the contrary, the latter refers to a person who supports a similar yet different ideology that says that people should be free and the intervention of the government should be minimized to almost zero. Not only this, but other differences in the history and the movements related to these two ideologies can be seen easily. 

Liberal vs Libertarian

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Originated from the Latin term Liber, liberal is a tongue that refers to a person who supports a particular political ideology. This ideology is set to be neutral as it neither justifies leftism nor justifies rightism.

In the eyes of a liberal person, an individual happens to be the most important element of society.  

But on the contrary, a libertarian happens to be a person who supports a political ideology that occurs to be somehow similar to the previous one but still stands different in the crowd.

A person of this ideology thinks that individual freedom should be granted, but there should not be any governmental intervention in doing so, and all the measures should be done by private authorities and not the public authorities. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonLiberal Libertarian 
Meaning  The term refers to a person who follows a political ideology that focuses upon the freedom of a person in a law-abiding society. the term refers to a person who follows a political ideology that focuses upon minimum intervention by the government in order to allow the individuals to gain their freedom. 
Originated from Originated from the Latin term Liber Originated from the Latin term Libertas  
First use  An English philosopher named John Locke is said to have used this ideology for the very first time. An English writer named William Belsham is said to have used this ideology for the very first time. 
Modern use Liberals have changed their views with the changes of time Still intact on their views. 
Thoughts about government a person with this ideology believes that the government should intervene in order to restore the freedom of the individuals a person with this ideology believes that the intervention of the government should be minimized in order to restore the freedom of the individuals 

What is Liberal? 

Primarily originated from the Latin term labor, the term liberal refers to a group of certain individuals who follow a similar political ideology called liberalism.

The reason behind these people being called liberal is that they neither support extreme right people or extreme left people and talk about neutral solutions. 

The liberals believe that a person happens to be the most important part of a society, and no matter what, he should be given all the freedoms that he might seek.

However, a liberal believes that individual freedom can be achieved if sufficient measures are taken by the concerned government. 

The liberals think that a society can achieve growth in terms of the freedom of an individual if the government takes necessary measures. But this particular stance of liberals has changed over the period of time.

With the changes in time, liberals have started believing that government intervention is necessary to allow individual freedom, and they have started supporting strict policies of the government. 


What is Libertarian? 

The term libertarian happens to be originated from the Latin word Libertas and is considered similar to the ideology that has been discussed previously.

People following this ideology not only focus upon the freedom of an individual but also talk about reducing the intervention of government in order to bring a true sense of individual freedom. 

The libertarians believe that if the government keeps on indulging in societal matters, the society can never achieve individual freedom and will always be influenced by political tactics and strategies.

These people happen to be widely against the government as they think that an individual is well in his capacity to gain his freedom without having any help from the government. 

Irrespective of the changes in time, libertarians still protest against the intervention and strict policies of the government.

Due to this reason, this ideology is widely criticized all over the world as these people do not support the intervention of government, and a society cannot function without the intervention of government as it becomes necessary to control a law-abiding society

and only the government can do it.  


Main Differences Between Liberal and Libertarian 

  1. The term liberal has originated from the Latin word liber, while the term libertarian has originated from the Latin word Libertas. 
  2. The term liberal was used by John Locke for the first time, while the term libertarian was used by William Belsham. 
  3. A liberal is a person who believes that individual freedom should be the most prominent thing in society and should be achieved with the help of the government, while a libertarian believes that the government should not be allowed to intervene in the matters of individual freedom. 
  4. Today the liberals have started believing in strict policies of the government, but the libertarian still goes against it. 
  5. A liberal person who believes in regulated interventional government via libertarian goes completely against it. 
Difference Between Liberal and Libertarian
  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1088-4963.2001.00105.x 
  2. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0042366 
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