American Libertarianism vs. European Libertarianism

Often there is confusion over American libertrianism and its lesser-known European variant. Libertarian-socialists like Noam Chomsky will give talks describing how Americans have hijacked libertarianism.

American libertarianism can be summed up succinctly as ‘maximizing individual freedom by minimizing government’. The British version/definition of libertarianism, which is related to libertarian-socialism, is more confusing and archaic, dating to Adam Smith, the intellectual forebear of ‘classical liberalism’, who advocated both free markets and government spending and welfare. European-libertarians seek to use government to maximize collective individual liberty and choice. Requiring a baker to make a same-sex wedding cake is justified if it increases ‘total liberty/freedom’, whereas such a mandate (or any mandate) is antithetical to American-libertarianism. European-libertarianism justifies inconveniencing one person (the baker) if it increases the choices of multiple people who want a same-sex cake.

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