Conservative Libertarianism


I would like to say a few words about Conservative Libertarianism. What is Conservative Libertarianism? To answer that we must first look at libertarianism itself. Libertarianism is a political philosophy that seeks to maximize freedom of choice, freedom of speech, voluntary association and individual judgment as opposed to governments making judgements for you and requiring you to accept their values.

Libertarianism usually is traced back to the 17th and 18th century when philosophers began expanding on these ideas at length. Even though I would disagree with much that  philosophers from that period and subsequent periods had to say, especially concerning theology, some of  the ideas expressed concerning freedom from governmental overreach are worth considering. The first known use of the word "Libertarianism" was by William Belsham who wrote about libertarianism in 1789. Philosophers argued against determinism in favour of free will. Their argument became the context for libertarianism in their generation. One early philosopher who had a great deal of influence on libertarianism was John Locke. His writings, A Letter Concerning Toleration (1667), Two Treatises of Government (1689), An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), laid down a basis for his own political theories which included beliefs such as government existed to defend personal and property rights, the rights of people existed before government and that people should be able to dissolve governments that do not protect their rights.

Through the centuries libertarianism has taken a number of different directions as it is continually evolving. Today we have left-wing libertarianism, right-wing libertarianism and even socialist libertarianism. Each of these view are radically different from each other yet still claim the title of libertarianism.

Probably the most profound expression of conservative libertarianism in modern American culture has been the Tea Party movement. The Tea Party movement has loudly advocated for a reduction in government spending, a reduction in taxes and a reduction in the national debt. The Tea Party has been  active within the GOP, putting forward numerous political candidates who have obtained offices and even run for the GOP nomination for President.

Many Many Canadians feel that their elected and non-elected officials have had too much power given to them within the political system. Many Canadians feel squeezed as their rights and freedoms are encroached upon and, perhaps, violated by government officials and legal authorities. The lives of individual Canadian citizens are over-regulated. This problem needs to be addressed. Steps toward resolving this problem should include measures aimed at decentralizing power, dividing power more fairly between regional and federal governments, lowering taxes, encouraging freedom of speech and launching a deregulation campaign. Limitations on the powers of federal governments should be put in place and clearly defined. Governments should look at ways in which they can begin to withdraw from, and loosen control of,  the education system and the personal lives of individual Canadians. Not only should they look at ways of withdrawing from these areas, they should set up avenues for common Canadians to have input and influence within these same areas. We need to take a look at the way regulations are made and who they affect. A deregulation campaign must begin to scale back so many of the unnecessary and constrictive regulations that fill our legal system. If regulations need increaseing in some part of our society,  it should be the type of regulations that restrict the abuse of power by those who are most powerful within society, the banking, corporate and polical elite. Regularion should be stripped back from those most harmed by it, that is the poor and the common individual. It needs to be recognized that many of these regulations are driven by a powerful environmental movement that is influencing government to impose unreasonable restrictions upon the lives of common Canadians. The government should begin abandoning many environmental agendas and shutting down many government environmental agencies which are the source of over-regulation. Every regulation that is added creates the need for more regulations and this is becoming too great a burden upon the public. We need greater freedom given concerning land use. Many regulations that restrict land use need to be removed.

Initiatives to increase freedom of speech are important and need to be further expanded. Many people who claim to believe in freedom of speech actually do not. Anyone believes that someone who shares their own beliefs should have the maximum amount of freedom to speak those beliefs. However, many of these ones, when they hear someone speaking contrary to their beliefs, believe that government or the legal system should be involved in shutting down this speech. Hate speech laws attempt to do this and yet hate speech is, in many cases, ambiguous and open to the private interpretation of justices. In some cases, the term “hate speech” is broadly stretched to include people's heart-felt opinions on issues that may not involve malice on their part. This ambiguity creates the opportunity for the abuse of power of our court system. Some want limited freedom of speech, however, We need greater freedom of speech in every area of public life, including the workplace.

I believe that much of Canadian society needs to be awakened to the reality of the great slope that we are all sliding down. The world is changing at a furious pace and governments are continually shrinking the boxes that we live in, by increasing regulations and placing limitations on our freedoms. There is a new world order that is becoming more and more established with every passing day and which is intent upon consolidating control within the hands of a global government. There is a process going on whereby individual power is taken away from people by regional governments, then it is taken away from regional governments by federal governments and will, ultimately, be taken away from federal governments by a global government. If we continue on the path that we are sliding down, one day we will wake up with virtually no freedoms and in the control of governments that micromanage our lives. Conservative libertarianism offers an alternative to the slope.  Start writing to members of parliament and begin expressing your desires for individual freedoms within our nation.

Shawn Stevens




Woodcock, George (2004). Anarchism: A History Of Libertarian Ideas And Movements. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview Press. p. 16. ISBN 9781551116297.

"Libertarianism"Oxford English Dictionary (3 ed.). 2010. libertarian A.1.(subscription required) 

  • William Belsham (1789). Essays. C. Dilly. p. 11Original from the University of Michigan, digitized May 21, 2007

David Boaz, The Libertarian Reader: Classic and Contemporary Writings from Lao Tzu to Milton Friedman,Simon and Schuster, 2010, p. 123ISBN 1439118337ISBN 9781439118337
Levant, Ezra. Shake Down. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2009.

Ron Paul: The Movie.