Libertarians: Have you heard of their enemies—’communalists’?

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Libertarians
LIBERTARIANS & "COMMUNALISTS" as charted by the new Public Religion Research Institute report. (Click the chart to visit the website where you can download the entire report.)

LIBERTARIANS & “COMMUNALISTS” as charted by the new Public Religion Research Institute report. (Click the chart to visit the website where you can download the entire report.)

Libertarians prize personal liberty, unfettered choice, and minimum government. We discussed some of their specific attitudes and beliefs earlier this week.

What’s the opposite of a libertarian?

The Public Religion Research Institute’s new survey focused on identifying libertarians and their views, but at the same time also identified their opposite. These are called the “communalists” because of their opposite views about the role of government and personal liberty. Perhaps “enemy” is an overstatement, but communalists take positions that are opposed in every way to what libertarians believe, according to the new report.

Unlike libertarians, communalists argue that the government should make laws that keep people from harming themselves. Unlike libertarians, they support gun control, making the use of marijuana illegal, and making it harder to access pornography on the Internet.

The best way to stimulate the economy, say libertarians, is to cut taxes and cut government spending. Not so, say the communalists. The best way is to spend more on education and infrastructure. Taxes should be raised for the rich and for businesses.

Overall, then, communalists are willing to sacrifice personal liberty in pursuit of other social and economic objectives. Libertarians oppose just about the anything that would reduce personal liberty. In a way, libertarians and communalists are arch enemies when it comes to the value of liberty.

Are you a communalist? Do you know one?

Which set of views is closer to your own—libertarian or communalist?

Is there a way to reconcile these seemingly irreconcilable views?

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Comments

  1. Dmitri says

    I find it interesting that demographically, not only are there more communalists among non-whites, but the ratios of people “leaning” towards communalism are different from the overall. Yet, the similar breakdown for libertarian whites means the “center” is made up of the same proportion of Americans.

    Just goes to show that most people probably agree with each other more than they’d expect.