You can think of negative liberty as being about the absence of external limits, and positive liberty as the absence of internal limits.

Asignificant amount of debate between libertarian and non‐​libertarian political thinkers has to do with the distinction between negative and positive liberty. These two technical terms within political philosophy play a large role in determining the limits of permissible state action, as well as establishing just what the state exists to do in the first place.


Which means libertarians and non‐​libertarians interested in political ideas–and keen to having meaningful conversations about them–will benefit from understanding these two sorts of liberty.

If we want to start very simple, keeping our definitions to just two words each, negative liberty means “freedom from,” while positive liberty means “capacity to.”

Another way of thinking about the difference–though again, it’s a rough one–is to see negative liberty as being about the absence of external limits, while positive liberty is about the absence of internal limits.

Let’s look at an example. Jack’s living in New York. He’d like go to California to visit family. Under a negative conception of liberty, Jack is free to go to California if nobody is actively preventing him from doing so. Thus his negative freedom would be violated if his neighbor locked Jack in the basement, or if someone stole his car.

But what if Jack’s so poor that he can’t afford a car or a plane ticket? What if Jack is sick and so not physically up to the trip? In these instances, no person prevents Jack from going to California, so Jack’s negative liberty remains intact. Yet he lacks the capacity to fulfill his desire and so, from a positive liberty standpoint, he is unfree.


Within the context of political philosophy–within the context of what the state is permitted to do and what it ought to do–a government protects Jack’s negative liberty by preventing the neighbor from locking Jack up and preventing the thief from stealing Jack’s car. If the state is unable to prevent these specific acts, it may punish the perpetrators, thus (we hope) reducing the likelihood of other, similar liberties violations. In addition to–or instead of–punishing violations, the state might force the violator to compensate Jack, striving to make him whole.

On the other hand, a state tasked with directly promoting Jack’s positive liberty might tax its citizens in order to buy Jack the car he couldn’t otherwise afford. Or it might use that revenue to pay for the medical care Jack needs to get back on his feet so he can travel. A positive liberty focused state would take active steps to assure Jack isn’t just free to pursue his desires, but also has the resources to attain them.


Typically, libertarians believe the state should only concern itself with negative liberty and should never undertake to actively promote positive liberty. In part this is because we recognize that, in order to give some people the resources they need to get what they want, it must take those resources from others. The money Jack uses to buy a car or pay his medical bills is money someone else now doesn’t have to pay for his or her own car or medical bills. (In a sense, this means the state has stolen a car from one person in order to give it to another, a violation of the victim’s negative liberty.) If the state tries to avoid this by, for instance, forcing the doctor to give Jack medical care for free, it has violated the doctor’s negative liberty to use his time as he sees fit.

Beyond this, libertarians often argue that a state aiming at positive liberty will not only result in less negative liberty, but in less positive liberty as well. By allowing people to keep the products of their own labor, for example, we grow the economy, meaning more resources for everyone to pursue their desires. States that put positive liberty above negative liberty simply end up poorer. This means, we libertarians argue, if you really care about the positive liberty of the poor, you’ll setup a government that does nothing but protect negative liberty.

Sometimes, however, libertarians take these arguments to mean that positive liberty either doesn’t exist or that it’s not something we should care about. I don’t think that’s quite right, though. While we should always recognize a bright line between positive and negative liberty when we’re talking about the role of the state, we should also recognize how important positive liberty is for all of us.

I do the work I do because I believe it’s important and because I love it. (I still sometimes find it difficult to believe that I get paid to run and write for Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org.) But I also do it, of course, because it brings me the positive liberty to attain other things I value, such as food and shelter (and a car and medical care) for my family and lots (and lots) of books I’ll probably never find the time to read.

If negative liberty were all that mattered in any context, we’d have no reason to prefer a world of wealth to one of poverty if no one was stopping us–in either world–from doing anything we wanted.

Sometimes we object to the use of the word “liberty” in positive liberty by arguing that the only real liberty is the negative sort. And that may well be true. In fact, allowing both negative and positive to claim the label of liberty can make it more difficult to argue against the state actively trying to promote the former at the expense of the latter. After all, who wants to be put in the position of arguing against “liberty?”

In this case, we might be better off saying that only negative liberty is really liberty, while positive liberty ought to be renamed something like “power” or “capacity.” But accepting that doesn’t mean we should ignore the distinction as it’s used in the literature today, or that we shouldn’t listen to those who want to continue talking about positive liberty.


“Taxation is theft” is a popular slogan among libertarians. It captures the sentiment that we should hold the state to the same moral standards as non‐​state actors.

Imagine that I have founded a charity organization that helps the poor. 1 But not enough people are voluntarily contributing to my charity, so many of the poor remain hungry. I decide to solve the problem by approaching well‐​off people on the street, pointing a gun at them, and demanding their money. I funnel the money into my charity, and the poor are fed and clothed at last.


What would the American founders think of our taxation system today, given America’s origins? Daniel Mitchell answers this and other questions as we talk about the different kinds of tax schemes and the different incentives they offer taxpayers.

In this scenario, I would be called a thief. Why? The answer seems to be: because I am taking other people’s property without their consent. This phrase just seems to be what “theft” means. “Taking without consent” includes taking by means of a threat of force issued against other people, as in this example. This fact is not altered by what I do with the money after taking it. You wouldn’t say, “Oh, you gave the money to the poor? In that case, taking people’s property without consent wasn’t theft after all.” No; you might claim that it was a socially beneficial theft, but it was still a theft.

Now compare the case of taxation. When the government “taxes” citizens, what this means is that the government demands money from each citizen, under a threat of force: if you do not pay, armed agents hired by the government will take you away and lock you in a cage. This looks like about as clear a case as any of taking people’s property without consent. So the government is a thief. This conclusion is not changed by the fact that the government uses the money for a good cause (if it does so). That might make taxation a socially beneficial kind of theft, but it is still theft.


Most people are reluctant to call taxation theft. How might one avoid saying this? Following are three arguments one might try, together with the most obvious responses.


Taxation is not theft, because citizens have agreed to pay taxes. This is part of the “social contract,” which is a kind of agreement between citizens and the government, whereby the citizens agree to pay taxes and obey the laws, in return for the government’s protection. By using government services (such as roads, schools, and police), and remaining present in the government’s territory, you indicate that you accept the social contract.


When the government demands that we either pay it money or vacate our own land, the government acts as a thief.

There simply isn’t any such contract. The government has never actually written up and offered such a contract, nor has anyone signed it.

Still, the use of government services might imply agreement to pay for those services, if people who didn’t use the services were not required to pay. But in fact, the government forces citizens to pay taxes regardless of whether they use government services or not. Therefore, the fact that you use government services does not indicate anything about whether you agree to pay taxes.

Remaining present in “the government’s territory” also does not indicate agreement to the putative social contract. This is because the government does not in fact own all the land that it claims as “its territory”; this land is, rather, mainly owned by private individuals. If I own some land that other people are using, I can demand that the other people either pay me money or vacate my land. But if I see some people on their land, I cannot demand that they either pay me money or vacate their own land. If I do that, I am a thief.


The government can’t be a thief, because it is the government that defines property rights through its laws. The government can simply make laws that say that the money you are supposed to pay in taxes isn’t really yours in the first place; it is the government’s money.


The second argument turns on the claims (i) that there are no property rights independent of government laws, and (ii) that the government can create property rights simply by declaring that something belongs to someone. There is no obvious reason to believe either (i) or (ii), and both claims are counter‐​intuitive.

Imagine that you travel to a remote region outside any government’s jurisdiction, where you find a hermit living off the land. The hermit hunts with a spear of his own making, which you find interesting. You decide (without the hermit’s consent) to take the spear with you when you leave. It would seem correct to say that you “stole” the spear. This shows the implausibility of (i).

Next, imagine that you are a slave in the nineteenth‐​century American South. Suppose you decide to escape from your master without your master’s consent. If (ii) is true, then you would be violating your master’s rights by stealing yourself. Note that you would not merely be violating a legal right; if (ii) is true, the government creates moral rights and obligations through its laws, so you would be violating your master’s moral rights. This shows the implausibility of (ii).


Taxes are just the price the government charges for providing law and order. Without taxation, the government would collapse, then all social order would break down, and then you wouldn’t have any money at all. Taxation is unlike theft because thieves do not provide valuable services, let alone services that enable you to make the very money that they are taking a portion of.


Imagine that I hold you up at gunpoint and take $20 from you. I also leave one of my books behind in exchange. When you see me later without my gun, you call me a thief and demand your money back. “Oh no,” I say, “I am no thief, for I gave you something valuable in exchange. True, you never asked for the book, but it’s a good book, worth much more than $20.”

This reply on my part would be confused. It doesn’t matter that I gave you a good in exchange, and it doesn’t matter whether the book is really worth more than $20. What matters is that I took your money without your consent.

It also does not matter if you benefit greatly from the book. Suppose that (unable to convince me to take it back) you wind up reading my book, which turns out to contain such useful advice that you end up much better off (including financially better off) than before I came along. None of this changes the fact that I am a thief. The temporal order also does not matter: if I give you the unsolicited book first, then wait for you to profit from it financially, and then forcibly take away some of the money you earned, I will still be a thief.

The lesson: Taking people’s property without consent is theft, even if you also benefit them, and even if you helped them obtain that same property.


If taxation is theft, does it follow that we must abolish all taxation? Not necessarily. Some thefts might be justified. If you have to steal a loaf of bread to survive, then you are justified in doing so. Similarly, the government might be justified in taxing, if this is necessary to prevent some terrible outcome, such as a breakdown of social order.

Why, then, does it matter whether taxation is theft? Because although theft can be justified, it is usually unjustified. It is wrong to steal without having a very good reason. What count as good enough reasons is beyond the scope of this short article. But as an example, you are not justified in stealing money, say, so that you can buy a nice painting for your wall. Similarly, if taxation is theft, then it would probably be wrong to tax people, say, to pay for an art museum.

In other words, the “taxation is theft” thesis has the effect of raising the standards for justified use of taxes.

When the government plans to spend money on something (support for the arts, a space program, a national retirement program, and so on), one should ask: would it be permissible to steal from people in order to run this sort of program? If not, then it is not permissible to tax people in order to run the program, since taxation is theft

Those of us who favor individual freedom with personal responsibility have been unable to agree upon a generally acceptable name for ourselves and our philosophy of liberty. This would be relatively unimportant except for the fact that the opposition will call us by some name, even though we might not desire to be identified by any name at all. Since this is so, we might better select a name with some logic instead of permitting the opposition to saddle us with an epithet.

Some of us call ourselves “individualists”, but others point out that the opposition often uses that word to describe a heartless person who doesn’t care about the problems and aspirations of other people.

Some of us call ourselves “conservatives”, but that term describes many persons who base their approval of an institution more on its age than on its inherent worth.

Many of us call ourselves “liberals”. And it is true that the word “liberal” once described persons who respected the individual and feared the use of mass compulsions. But the leftists have now corrupted that once-proud term to identify themselves and their program of more government ownership of property and more controls over persons. As a result, those of us who believe in freedom must explain that when we call ourselves liberals, we mean liberals in the uncorrupted classical sense. At best, this is awkward and subject to misunderstanding.

Here is a suggestion: Let those of us who love liberty trade-mark and reserve for our own use the good and honorable word “libertarian”.

Webster’s New International Dictionary defines a libertarian as “One who holds to the doctrine of free will; also, one who upholds the principles of liberty, esp. individual liberty of thought and action.”

In popular terminology, a libertarian is the opposite of an authoritarian. Strictly speaking, a libertarian is one who rejects the idea of using violence or the threat of violence—legal or illegal—to impose his will or viewpoint upon any peaceful person. Generally speaking, a libertarian is one who wants to be governed far less than he is today.

A libertarian believes that the government should protect all persons equally against external and internal aggression, but should otherwise generally leave people alone to work out their own problems and aspirations.

While a libertarian expects the government to render equal protection to all persons against outright fraud and misrepresentation, he doesn’t expect the government to protect anyone from the consequences of his own free choices. A libertarian holds that persons who make wise choices are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their wisdom, and that persons who make unwise choices have no right to demand that the government reimburse them for their folly.

A libertarian expects his government to establish, support, and enforce the decisions of impartial courts of justice—courts which do not recognize or refer to a person’s race, religion, or economic status. If justice is to be rendered, the decisions of these courts must be as binding upon government officials and their actions as upon other persons and their actions.

A libertarian respects the right of every person to use and enjoy his honestly acquired property—to trade it, to sell it, or even to give it away—for he knows that human liberty cannot long endure when that fundamental right is rejected or even seriously impaired.

A libertarian believes that the daily needs of the people can best be satisfied through the voluntary processes of a free and competitive market. And he holds the strong belief that free persons, using their own honestly acquired money, are in the best possible position to understand and aid their fellow men who are in need of help.

A libertarian favors a strictly limited form of government with many checks and balances—and divisions of authority—to foil the abuses of the fearful power of government. And generally speaking, he is one who sees less, rather than more, need to govern the actions of others.

A libertarian has much faith in himself and other free persons to find maximum happiness and prosperity in a society wherein no person has the authority to force any other peaceful person to conform to his viewpoints or desires in any manner. His way of life is based on respect for himself and for all others.

A libertarian doesn’t advocate violent rebellion against prevailing governments—except as a last resort before the concentration camps. But when a libertarian sees harm rather than good in certain acts of government, he is obligated to try his best to explain to others who advocate those measures why such compulsory means cannot bring the ends which even they desire.

The libertarian’s goal is friendship and peace with his neighbors at home and abroad.

«It is not the difference in taste between individuals that Libertarians object to, but the forcing of one’s tastes upon another». Charles T. Sprading

«The idea of governing by force another man, who I believe to be my equal in the sight of God, is repugnant to me. I do not want to do it. I do not want any one to govern me by any kind of force. I am a reasoning being, and I only need to be shown what is best for me, when I will take that course or do that thing simply because it is best, and so will you. I do not believe that a soul was ever forced toward anything except toward ruin». Samuel Milton Jones

«Liberty for the few is not liberty. Liberty for me and slavery for you means slavery for both». Samuel Milton Jones

«The institutions of civil liberty leave each man to run his career in life in his own way, only guaranteeing to him that whatever he does in the way of industry, economy, prudence, sound judgment, etc., shall redound to his welfare and shall not be diverted to someone else’s benefit. Of course it is a necessary corollary that each man shall also bear the penalty of his own vices and his own mistakes.

We are told what fine things would happen if every one of us would go and do something for the welfare of somebody else; but why not contemplate also the immense gain which would ensue if everybody would do something for himself?

Wherever collective standards, codes, ideals, and motives take the place of individual responsibility, we know from ample experience that the spontaneity and independent responsibility which are essential to moral vigor are sure to be lost». William Graham Sumner

Dean Russell

Vice-President of the Atlas Foundation, Tom Palmer, believes that there are growing tendencies towards the lack of acceptance of libertarian ideas in the world, and the right and left populism, along with the aggressive Islamism that opposes it, are incredibly similar in their rejection of freedom. Students for Liberty Ukraine offer a translation of the program paper by Palmer, published on the website of the Cathon Institute. The text makes us wonder what threatened adherents of a free society and calls us to take intelligent opponents seriously.

Above the world, the threat of radical anti-libertarian movements looming with each other, like scorpions in the cannon, loomed for those who would sooner be able to destroy the institutes of freedom. Part of such movements has been rooted in universities and other intellectual centers, while others are drawing forces in populist anger. Moreover, the left and right sides of anti-libertarianism are interconnected and constantly complement each other. Both the first and the second openly reject individual liberty, rule of law, restrictions on power and freedom of exchange, but instead support radical methods of policy dealing with opposition forces such as the politics of identity and authoritarianism. They are dangerous and should not be underestimated.

In various forms, such movements challenge Libertarian values ​​and principles around the world, especially in Europe, America and partly in Asia. But their influence is felt everywhere. All of them have a radical rejection of the ideas of prudence, freedom and the rule of law, which made it possible for America to be created and, in fact, is the foundation of the modern world order. Therefore, those who favor constitutionalism, not dictatorship, free markets, rather than coercion or socialist statistics, free trade, and not autarky, tolerance, and not oppression, and who supports social harmony, rather than irreconcilable hostility, must be recovered, because in our case, libertarianism, as well as the prosperity and peace that it generates, are in great danger.

Three threats

We can distinguish at least three interconnected threats to freedom: a) a policy of identity and its political economy, similar to a zero-sum game; b) populism and the inevitable inherent desire for a strong leader and, finally, c) radical political Islamism. All of them have a specific general ideological source, form an interconnected network and mutually complement each other at the expense of the classical liberal consensus.

And although such movements are completely deceptive, especially in the field of economics, they are characterized not only by the lack of understanding of economic principles, such as, for example, the set of statist interventions. While a large part supporting minimum wages, trade restrictions and drug barriers is guided by the wrong understanding of the consequences, the ideological leaders of such anti-liberal movements can not, in general, be called crazy. Often, they quite well understand the libertarian ideas, but they are thoroughly rejecting them. They are convinced that the idea of ​​equality before the law, the idea of ​​a legal and political system based on the law, tolerance, as well as freedom of thought and speech, free trade – especially among strangers – for the sake of mutual benefit, as well as the inalienable and equal individual rights are all only a lure that hides the selfish aspirations of the elites to exploit. Those who support such ideas, they consider hopelessly naive.

Advocates of freedom have time to realize that some people deny its existence for others (and even for themselves) not only because they are not understood in the economy or are counting on corrupt benefits, but because they are against the very principles of freedom. After all, they are not seeking equality before the law; on the contrary, reject it and support a political course based on the inequality of identities. They do not believe in the right to disagree with them, and they certainly will not defend it. They consider the trade to be one of the forms of conspiracy. And in politics they favor the unchanging will of the leadership, not the flexibility of the changing processes. And they will attack anyone in the image of their sacred identities.

They just another’s principle of “live and let others live”

Identity policy

It took decades to ensure that stable anti-libertarian and anti-tolerant movements of the left-hand side of the political spectrum were filled with a large part of the scientists’ minds in Europe, North America and other countries. Their goal is to use administrative responsibility, intimidation and various types of punishment to suppress any views that seem to them to be incompatible with their vision. This movement originates in the works of a German Marxist, a student of Martin Heidegger. His name was Herbert Marcuse, and after arriving in the United States he gained great popularity among the extreme left. In an essay by Marcus entitled “Repression Tolerance” (1965), it is claimed that in order to achieve dismissal, at least in the understanding of the author, it is necessary:

“… to move away from tolerance to the expressions and assemblies of groups and movements that promote aggressive political courses, arms processes, chauvinism, racial and religious discrimination, or oppose the spread of public services and security, medical care, etc. Moreover, restoration of freedom of thought may require the establishment of new hard restrictions on teaching and other activities in educational institutions, which, by their methods and concepts, are aimed at limiting the human mind in the system of discourse and behavioral settings, thus hindering the initial rational assessment of possible alternatives to it “.

For Marcus, as well as for his contemporary followers (many of whom have never even heard of him), “liberating tolerance in this case would imply intolerance to the movements of the right side and tolerance to the movements of the left side of the political spectrum.” Following this scenario, all those who do not support a new system of views, are subjected to harsh criticism, deprive of the possibility of expression, force sent to rehearsal courses, humiliated, displaced from the usual environment; They are even threatened with violence to keep them silent. Again, the following statement by Melissa Click, a professor at the Missouri University: “Hey, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? It needs muscles here! “It was just Marcus’s message in action.

Politically correct left-wing caused the similar anti-libertarian reaction of the right. The movements of the far right, which are now spreading in Europe, and the ultra-right combination of populism and white nationalism in the United States have gained followers who are convinced that capitalism, free trade and ethnic pluralism are threatening their very existence or lifestyle. However, their anger led to an anti-liberal domination of the left in public discourse, in addition to persecuting dissenters. Therefore to some extent the aforementioned anti-liberal rights have become a reflection of the image of their own opponents. Thus, in the European parties, they restored the pernicious ideology and language of the 30s of the twentieth century, and in the United States they found support and themselves in motion in support of Trump, with his abusive attitude towards Mexicans and Muslims, as well as incitement to hostility among the national elite.

Politicians’ desire to establish “safe spaces” for minorities is reflected in the views of white nationalists who call for the consolidation of “white identity” and “white nation”. The leader of white nationalists in the United States, also known as “Identities,” Jared Taylor recently spoke in the waves of the National Public Radio, a stinging point of view: “A man by nature is eager to live in a tribe. When the Blacks, Asians, or Spaniards express a desire to live among the same as they, they prefer their own culture and heritage, and there is nothing wrong with that. Only when white people say that they consider the European culture to be better and want to be among white people – for some reason (and exclusively for whites) it is considered the greatest manifestation of immorality. ”

So, as we understand, one form of collectivism generates another

The philosopher Slava Zizek is an influential voice of the extreme left, which is, however, more famous in Europe than in America, but the number of his followers continues to grow all over the world. Zizek insists that freedom in liberal societies is an illusion that unites the anti-liberal left and right sides with a single thread. The same image of the thread is found in the work of Karl Schmitt, an expert on socialist law and colleague Martin Heidegger, who is known to have “a specific political difference to the difference between a friend and an enemy.” Zizek argues that “the unconditional primacy of antagonism inherent in the parties is the basis of the political”. Therefore, the concept of social harmony and philosophy in the style of “live and let others live” – ​​just a manifestation of self-deception for such philosophers, the real for them is the struggle for dominance. In fact, in a very deep sense, for such thinkers, a separate person from flesh and blood does not even exist, because in reality there are only social forces or identities. Indeed, in this case, “individual” is nothing but a reflection of the forces or collective identities originally hostile to each other.

Populist authoritarianism

Populism often copies various forms of identity politics, but adds an angry indignation to the elites, an inadequate approach to political economy, and a desire to follow a strong leader who can consolidate the true will of the people. Populist movements arose in numerous countries from Poland and Spain to the Philippines and the United States. In his book The Populist Persuasion, Michael Casin offers the following definition of the phenomenon of populism. In his opinion, this is “… a language whose carriers consider ordinary people to be a noble community that is not bound by class relations, while viewing their opponents from among the elite as selfish, selfish and undemocratic, and therefore seek to mobilize the former against the latter.” Normal for such movements is the passage of a charismatic leader, who in his person embodies the people and his will.

The common goal among populists is to empower a leader who can break through all the barriers to procedures, rules, system of checks and balances, as well as the rights, privileges and immunities protected by law and will be able to “simply resolve all issues”. In his book The Road to Slavery, Friedrich von Hayek describes such intolerance to the rules as a prelude to totalitarianism: “The general need for quick and decisive action by the central government, along with dissatisfaction with the slow and difficult implementation of democratization, is prevailing in such a situation, especially when its ultimate goal puts action for action. It is then that a certain person or party, who seems strong enough and determined to “solve all the problems”, are the most attractive. ”

Populist and authoritarian parties have conquered their power and strengthened it in a number of countries. So, in Russia, Vladimir Putin has created a new authoritarian government that dominates all other institutions of society and depends only on his personal decisions. Putin and his followers systematically and completely established power over the media and used them in order to create a deep sense in the national public consciousness that the country is in siege, while its unique and great culture is constantly threatened by its neighbors, while it protects the state only a strong hand. her chapter.

In the Hungarian government, the ruling Fidel Loyalist Party, after reaching its parliamentary majority in 2010, also began to exercise control over all state bodies. She portrayed her leader, Victor Orban, as a national savior, and initiated an extremely anti-libertarian policy of nationalization, arrogance and freedom of speech. Orban declared: “[We] destroy the dogmas and ideologies adopted in the West and behave independently of them … to create a new state based on unilateral national foundations within the framework of the European Union.” (“Within the framework of the European Union” should be understood as “subsidized by taxpayers of other countries”).

Following the victory of Fides in the 2010 elections, the leader of the Polish nationalist and anti-market party “Justice and Justice,” Yaroslav Kaczynski, said that Orban’s nationalist, populist, and Kumov strategy is “an example of how we can win.” Kaczynski was able to combine a policy of identity with populism in order to oust the center-right government at the expense of economic growth, and then began to apply the same populist and protectionist methods that probably could not be called a recipe for state prosperity. According to the classical liberals from the Swedish institute of Timbre, set forth in the “Index of authoritarian populism of Timbro in 2016”, both on the left and on the right side of the political spectrum of modern Europe, “populism is not a temporary challenge, but a constant threat.”

Putin, as a pioneer of authoritarian trends, invested hundreds of millions of dollars in advancing anti-libertarian populism throughout Europe, as well as in the complex network of its global media empire, including both RT and Sputnik News, and a set of Internet trolls along with fake sites. The Russian mediator Peter Pomerantsev, in his famous book Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible, says: “The Kremlin intentionally changes its messages when it is profitable … European right-wing nationalists are tempted by the message against the existence of the EU, the extreme left bought on the story of the confrontation of the hegemony of the US, American religious conservatives, but admired the idea of ​​combating homosexuality. Waves of lies, convictions, objections, etc., are set up to undermine the confidence of the defenders of the institutes of classical liberalism.

What does authoritarianism begin with?

These movements are not just evidence of an inadequate level of education. They are deeply ideological in nature, because they support collectivism and authoritarianism, rejecting individualism and constitutional norms. But what promotes large-scale and rapid dissemination of them in society?

In this article, I argue that authoritarianism is caused by seeming threats to physical security, group identity and social status.

When all these threats exist together, ideal conditions are created for the development of authoritarianism with explosive pace. Radical manifestations of Islamist violence are broadcast around the clock in news in order to appear even more widespread than it actually is for certain groups to be an obvious external threat. Therefore, group identity and status in this case are also under the gun. In a study conducted by political scientist Karen Stenner, the idea of ​​the existence of some propensity for authoritarianism, which is reinforced by “regulatory threats”, that is, the perception that traditional views are endangered or no longer shared in society, is supported. These regulatory threats are welcomed by those who have been inclined to authoritarianism and turn them into “defenders of the borders, champions of the rules, and make a support for the authorities.” Threats to social status further further exacerbate such authoritarian impulses. The key link among proponents of authoritarian populist movements in Europe, as well as the radical extremes of Trump in America, is the poorly educated white men who experienced a decline in their social status compared to the latter’s growth in others (women and foreigners). Today, in the United States, the participation of white men between the ages of 30 and 49 with full or incomplete secondary education (or without it) is rapidly diminishing. As a result, more than one in five of them does not just stop looking for work, but also completely out of the category of economically active population. Without paid and satisfactory work, such people, of course, experienced a significant loss of social status. Universal standards of quality of life can grow for everybody (and they really, like wages, have improved significantly in recent decades), but not all people can grow their relative social status. And if some groups climb, others should go down. And just those of those who are initially inclined toward authoritarianism, and will stretch out to authoritarian leaders who promise to settle everything and restore lost majesty.

Radical Islamism

Radical Islamism also reflects the foundation of some other anti-libertarian movements, including the politics of identity (for example, the conviction that a certain community of believers is waging war with the wrong), the fear of authoritarian populists against the threats of their group identity and social statuses, as well as the enthusiasm of the latter regarding charismatic leaders, who “will again make Islam great”. Radical Islam even has general ideological roots with extreme left and extreme right in the European ideology of fascism and collectivist concepts of “authenticity”. The Islamic ideology of fascism, notably Martin Heidegger, has had a noticeable effect on the Islamist movement in Iran, which gave rise to the first Islamic republic.

Ahmad Fardid has developed Heidegger’s pernicious ideas in Iran, and his follower Jalal-Ali Ahmad exposed the alleged threats of a true Iranian identity from the West in his book Poisoning by the West. As Heidegger proclaimed, after the Nazi victory in the German elections, the age of liberalism was the “I” century. “Now, the century has come” We “.” Ecstatically, collectivism promised to transfer the Germans from their “unreal historical existence” to the “true”, and today they were picked up by fighters for social justice, all ultra-right and other radical Islamists. And all these trends mutually complement each other: each demonizes another, and as one develops, it increases and existential threat to others. The intensification of radical Islam contributes to the increase in the number of supporters of populist parties in Europe (and America), while hostility towards Muslims and the alienation of the latter in their societies increases the opportunities for the Islamic State (IG) and similar groups to recruit new members. At the same time, politically correct fighters for social justice can not afford to condemn radical Islamism – is it all the same, is it just the answer to the colonial oppression of non-Christians by the dominant hegemony of Christians / white / Europeans? And sometimes they even notice that they can not only condemn the crimes of the Islamists, but themselves support anti-Semitism. At the same time, politically correct fighters for social justice can not afford to condemn radical Islamism – is it all the same, is it just the answer to the colonial oppression of non-Christians by the dominant hegemony of Christians / white / Europeans? And sometimes they even notice that they can not only condemn the crimes of the Islamists, but themselves support anti-Semitism. At the same time, politically correct fighters for social justice can not afford to condemn radical Islamism – is it all the same, is it just the answer to the colonial oppression of non-Christians by the dominant hegemony of Christians / white / Europeans? And sometimes they even notice that they can not only condemn the crimes of the Islamists, but themselves support anti-Semitism.

Indeed, hostility to the Jews and capitalism is an outrageous common feature for all three of the aforementioned anti-libertarian movements.

The need to protect freedom

Different anti-libertarian movements are developing not at the expense of each other, but from the center, which, as it was said earlier, is made up of tolerant, productive, and those who carry out the exchange of goods among themselves by members of a civil society who live, knowing this or not, following the principles of classical liberalism We watched a similar dynamics earlier in the 30s of the twentieth century, when collectivist movements competed in order to undermine the foundations of freedom as soon as possible. Yes, the Nazis claimed that they could protect only the Bolsheviks. Bolsheviks mobilized public resources to defeat fascism. They fought each other, but they, in essence, were much more in common than they were prepared to admit. Unfortunately, the strongest argument of the defenders of civil society in response to the above-mentioned challenges is that the complex, consisting of individual freedom, the rule of law and free markets, involves a greater degree of prosperity and comfort than its alternatives. And this is true, but this is not enough to reflect the heavy blows of the anti-liberal triumvirate on identity politics, authoritarian populism, and radical Islamism. The moral virtue of freedom must be supported not only by direct collisions with opponents, but also by strengthening the positions of the resistance of the liberals themselves, so that their opponents retreat. Since freedom is not an illusion, but a great and noble goal. Free life in all respects is better than living in subjection to anyone else. Violence and antagonism are not the fundamentals of culture, but its negation. Now is the time to come to the defense of freedom, which enables the existence of world civilization, which gives the “green light” of friendship, family, cooperation.


Ask yourself: “What is good education at the university?” Free, with a big scholarship that will be higher than the parental salary, most Ukrainians imagine it. But are the above-mentioned terms an indicator of good education?


Today, when applying for a Ukrainian higher education, most entrants are guided by the main indicator – the availability of a place for a public order. That’s where and lets you know about our Soviet past. Even if the future student does not like a specialty at all, but there will be vacant places for a public order, he will still submit documents to her. Here we can not blame him, because between the free place, and also with the scholarship, on the one hand and the paid place without the opportunity to receive a scholarship, as if you were not well studied, on the other, obviously, the first option is more suitable.

Financing higher education through government procurement is a miracle in economically developed countries. In the absence of accurate data, the number of graduates who work outside the specialty varies from 50 to 80 percent, which is a huge figure, a large part of which are graduates who study just for state contracts – this, in essence, means throwing budget money into the wind . As for the problem of the outdated system, our former Minister of Education and Science spoke not so long ago.

“This is a complicated problem. Financing higher education through government procurement is an organizational nonsense. Nobody in the world can understand this. Our position is to stop financing higher education through government procurement. It is necessary to switch to the contacts between the state and the university. And this is not already in the new project on education ”

– Sergey Kvit

The Minister has already been changed, but there have been few real changes. Such statements have been promising, because if the draft law on education contains such items, then it forces us to hope that other positive changes will be thought out there as the society begins with education. The better the level of education, the more successful the society as a whole.


Along with the problem of government order, there is another, but equally important, system in which Ukrainian students receive scholarships.

In general, the very idea of ​​scholarship is nothing but a way of motivation, you try – good, get a scholarship as an incentive. But in Ukraine scholarships are regarded as wages. On the other hand, they can only be received by state officials, that is, no matter how you try, being a contractor, you will not be able to receive a scholarship. It is also one of the remnants of the same past with the brand “Made in the USSR”.

How does it work in the world? Although in different economically developed countries, scholarship fees vary, but there is one trend – targeting. That is, if you are smart and show it – you get a scholarship. You have a health problem or a financial situation in the family – you get a scholarship. Thus, additional funds are received only by those who really need them.


We are accustomed to talking about “free” education, but we are wrong, calling it such. After all, universities, teachers, all who are involved in the educational process, work there not for our imaginary gratitude, but for quite real money, but often we ask ourselves who pays for them? The answer is simple – we ourselves. Without sufficient competition, knowing that maintenance costs will always be allocated, universities can not operate with a maximum rate of return.

The depression, the terrible system of scholarship allocation, and a host of other problems put higher education in Ukraine offside with its European counterparts. As a result, such education is not appreciated and we have one of the largest in the world the number of people with higher education degrees, which at the same time have lost their value. The outflow of students abroad, the inattention to Ukraine among foreign entrants who “feed” western universities – all this is the result of imperfection. We can fix it, the main thing – to understand the problems and work towards their solution. And who knows, perhaps, Ukraine will be able to catch up with our more successful friends.

“Live for yourself and nobody else” – that’s why a woman whose book was the second Bible for Americans struggled for. Ayn Rand was an American writer and philosopher, the creator of objectivism, which she called “a philosophy for life on Earth.”

The most popular novels of Rand are “Source”, a story about an independent and uncompromising architect, and “Atlanta has shrugged his shoulders” – about the role of reason and selfishness in human life and about what is happening to the world when thinkers and entrepreneurs disappear. Among her most popular journalistic books, The Virtue of Self-Esteem, a series of essays on the foundation, principle and morality in the philosophy of personal gain, and Capitalism. Unknown Ideal “, a series of essays on what capitalism is and why it is the only moral social system.

Adapted to the animation part of the interview with Ayn Rand in Mike Wallace’s show of February 25, 1959 (in English):

Rand was born in Russia, where he graduated from elementary school and university and studied the history, philosophy and art of writing scripts. It was Russia that educated Rand as one of the world’s largest anti-dictatorial minds, because it was there that she witnessed the Bolshevik Revolution and the birth of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In 1925, she left the growing communist monster: she told the authorities that she was going to visit relatives in America for a brief visit, she never returned.

In the United States, Rand worked in Hollywood, writing scripts for films, married the actor Frank O’Connor and wrote his first novel. Subsequently, she was waiting for her move to New York, where she wrote “Source”, “Atlanta has shrugged her shoulders,” a large number of articles and essays, and several journalistic books in which she identified and developed the principles of objectivism.

Philosophy of Life on Earth – video from the Ayn Rand Institute on what such objectivism is (English):

Rand defended the ideals of reason (against faith and whim), personal gain (against self-sacrifice), individualism and individual rights (against collectivism and group rights), capitalism (against all forms of statistics), which made it one of the most controversial and most important philosophers of the twentieth century.

Describing objectivism, Rand writes:

“My philosophy is, in essence, the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as a moral meaning of life, with productive achievements as the most noble activity and reason as the only absolute.”

Living with one’s own life, in which no one, taking into account the state, has the right to interfere and be responsible for his actions – that’s what Ayn Rand sought, and what is lacking in the modern world, with which the wave of popularity of statistics and intervention in the lives of others is rolling.