Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Libertarianism focuses primarily on the drawing of robust boundaries where individual action—good or bad—ought to be free from intervention and coercion. As a political morality, it specifies the limits of state authority and the use of force, as well as the obligations imposed on the state to enforce rights and arbitrate between competing claims. A range of theories that purportedly attach singular or primary value to the ideal of individual liberty go by the name libertarianism. These theories are animated by a set of distinctive and common concerns. Among them are a deep suspicion of central government and coercion; a favorable view of the market, which may go as far as regarding its outcome as beyond the scope or conceptual concern of distributive justice; and a view of private property as either exhaustive of all individual rights or at least the most significant right of them all. It is the ...