Liberal vs Libertarian: Difference and Comparison

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

A liberal and a 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. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Liberals advocate for social and economic equality, while libertarians emphasize individual freedom and limited government intervention.
  2. Libertarians prioritize private property rights and free markets, whereas liberals support government intervention to address societal inequalities.
  3. Liberals endorse a social safety net to help vulnerable citizens, while libertarians believe in self-reliance and minimal government assistance.

Liberal vs Libertarian 

Liberalism is a political philosophy that emphasizes individual freedom, democracy, and equal rights under the law. Liberals support a mixed economy with some government intervention. Libertarianism is a political philosophy that emphasizes individual liberty and limited government intervention in economic and social affairs. Libertarians advocate for a free-market economy.

Liberal vs Libertarian

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Originating from the Latin term Liber, a 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 labour, 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 nor 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 originate from the Latin word Libertas and is considered similar to the ideology that has been discussed previously.

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

Libertarians believe that if the government keeps on indulging in societal matters, 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 the government, and a society cannot function without the intervention of the 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 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



Last Updated : 02 August, 2023

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10 thoughts on “Liberal vs Libertarian: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This article serves as an informative guide to comprehending the fundamental disparities between liberal and libertarian ideologies, shedding light on their varied philosophies and perspectives.

  2. The article effectively addresses the core principles of liberals and libertarians, providing a comprehensive understanding of their beliefs about government intervention and individual freedom.

  3. The emphasis on individual freedom and government intervention in both ideologies is well-articulated. It is essential to recognize how these differing views form the basis of liberalism and libertarianism.

  4. It’s intriguing to learn about the historical origins of liberalism and libertarianism. This sheds light on how these ideologies have evolved over time and the impact of these changes on their modern use.

  5. The notions of individual freedom and government intervention are central to the differences between liberalism and libertarianism, and this article effectively captures the essence of these distinctions.

  6. The historical context provided for the terms liberal and libertarian is essential in understanding their roots and the underlying principles that guide these ideologies.

  7. This article provides a well-detailed explanation of the differences between liberals and libertarians. It is important to understand the distinction between these two political ideologies.

  8. The article provides valuable insights into the ideologies of liberalism and libertarianism, outlining their core principles and the key points of contention that differentiate these political beliefs.

  9. The comparison table is particularly helpful in understanding the nuances between liberalism and libertarianism. It helps in clarifying the varying beliefs and approaches of these two ideologies.

  10. The detailed explanation of what constitutes a liberal and a libertarian is valuable in highlighting their respective political stances. The article provides a clear overview of their viewpoints.

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