ARRRRRGHHH! As a person who keeps up with the news and is interested in public issues, I'm often astounded at the lack of political "literacy" so to speak of the average Amercian. Equally disturbing to me although I am not a Republican is the tendency of the average New Yorker to brand all conservatives as Nazis or religious quacks without examining each person individually, as well as the trend towards cyber and personal attacks on people who make controversial statements. The most cherished right that our founding fathers wanted to protect in our constitution is the right to self expression and freedom of speech. I support this right, even to people who I vehemently disagree with. The most common misconceptions about libertarians is that they are basically Democrats who support gun rights. WRONG!!! Another misconception is that libertarians are basically anarchists who want to get rid of all government. WRONG!!! Libertarians are effectively "right of right" on the spectrum of individual liberties. I have decided to make a chart on various issues and place all the political parties on the spectrum to see how they compare.
|Taxes||Lower taxes||Lower taxes - local government gets bulk of taxes||Raise taxes for all, especially the rich|
|Gun Control||Pro Gun||Less government regulation - therefore pro gun||Favors heavy gun control laws and regulation|
|Socialized Healthcare||Favor private enterprise||Favor private enterprise and individual choice. Do NOT favor government subsidies||Favor state controlled and federally subsidized funding gained from taxes|
|Wall Street and Business||Laws that support business productivity||Generally support business but prefer less government intervention||Laws that support unions and workers rights, sometimes at the expense of productivity|
|Abortion and Assisted Suicide||Against for religious reasons||Favor individual choice as long as steps are taken to prevent abuse. Do NOT favor government subsidies||Generally favors both but favors heavy government control and regulation. Supports subsidies|
|Gay marriage||Against for religious reasons||For individual choice and liberties - therfore Pro gay marriage. Oppose any laws that inhibit personal choice and liberties||Pro GLBTQ rights in general.|
|Gambling||Party positions vary depending upon state and tax revenues gained||Support individual choice and with hold from making moral judgements||Party positions vary, but generally favor casinos|
|Pornography and Censorship||Favor censorship and control of pornography due to religious reasons||Strongly ANTI-CENSORSHIP of ANY material. Libertarians believe that even sensitive material like bomb making recipies should be available to any adult||Support censorship of certain materials deemed to be dangerous to the public.|
|Drugs and Legalizing Prostitution||Against due to religious reasons||Favor individual choice, legalizing and taxing drugs and prostitution to provide revenue sources for local government||Against due to moral reasons, and will subsidize anti-drug and rehab campaigns|
|Schools and Education||Favor less union control - Favor prayer and teaching religious topics in schools||Favor less union control - generally prefer keeping religion out of schools||Heavy support of teachers unions even at the expense of student welfare and receive heavy financial support from teachers unions|
As you can see from examining the chart, Libertarians actually stand with Republicans on quite a few issues, and the main difference is that they differ on issues which have religious importance. Libertarians ALWAYS favor individual rights over government control of rights. They favor local control over major issues and are against any measures that would require heavy tax levies, and are generally against overly restrictive unionization that inhibit productivity of business. Most of the legalized marijuana business owners and brothel owners in Nevada tend to be libertarian in their politics. Those in the adult industry, although generally left leaning, would consider themselves to be libertarian with regards to censorship issues. As you can see, with the exception of gay marriage, asisted suicide, and abortion, Libertarians side with republicans on most issues that have to do with fiscal and tax issues, as well as government style.
Demographically, most Libertarians (and Libertarian leaning independents like myself) tend to be highly educated, less concerned with religion, and tend to live closer to large urban areas. They comprise only 3-5% of the population but can have a very pronounced influence on policy with regards to certain issues.