Is Being a Libertarian Too Much Work?

Part of being a libertarian that I have always found time consuming is having to actually exercise my critical thinking abilities. A public issue comes to light and my opinion has to be developed. Typically that involves going on-line and reading a bunch of source material from the "left" and the "right" plus several articles that I hope are balanced. If it involves upcoming legislation I might read several summaries. Some libertarians read the complete text, but I rarely go that far and am thankful for those that have the time.

Usually when I have conversations with my friends associated with the Republican or Democratic parties regarding issues they don't seem to have gone through the same process. Their opinions generally come from on high; as pronounced by their party leaders. It doesn't appear that much thought process about ramifications to society. For every issue or proposed legislation involving society there are those who benefit and those who are harmed. Harm can be physical, financial, or simply inconvenient to their beliefs.

When talking to other self-described libertarians the underlying common principal can be related to part of the medical Hippocratic Oath: "I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgement and never do harm to anyone." ( The libertarian version might read: "I will act for the good of society according to my ability and my judgement and never do harm to anyone unless being harmed."

Being a libertarian is hard work. It requires you to think for yourself and not be dependent. The Libertarian Party, unlike the major US political parties functions on a different and sometimes more confusing basis. This is what happens when you allow freedom of thought away from religious-like fervour. It's hard to have a political party based on being able to disagree, unfortunately the party system exists and is the only effective way to bring candidates to the ballot (except when thwarted by the major parties via ballot access rules).

Whether you are an independent libertarian or a Libertarian Party member you're going to have your work cut out for you. Being a libertarian requires you to think and develop your own opinions. You aren't a lock-step follower and you'll most likely have to engage in thoughtful discourse. Identifying as a libertarian means you believe in a political paradigm shift toward individual accountability and liberty. It's also a philosophical change... can you handle it?