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Sterpan, Ionut. 2011. “Libertarianismul.” tr. by Catinca Hanganu,
Dreapta Intelectuala: Teorii si scoli de gandire aledreptei contemporane occidentale
The Intellectual Right. Theories andSchools of Thought of Contemporary Western Right 
), edited by IonutSterpan and Dragos Aligica. Bucharest: Humanitas.
Libertarianism and classical liberalism
Libertarianism is a systematic and extensive reformulation of classicalliberal ideas
. The libertarian doctrine adheres to a significant degree tothe values of individual freedom and private property and it is moreconsistently anti-statist than classical liberalism. The difference in“degrees of adhesion” can be reduced to precise differences of notion incertain given contexts. It is more likely that someone who describesherself as a classic liberal will agree to some public services administeredby the state, with a small redistributive tax or with a tiny interventionmeant to make life in communities more uniform, than someone whodeclares herself a “libertarian”. The bulk of classical liberalism is made up of a network of ideas that wegenerally call today “libertarian”, due to semantic developments inAmerica, even if in the 19
century these ideas were called “liberal”.Liberals in the United States gave up on the term “liberal” as a result of attempts by the Left to take it over in order to profit from its prestige. This
1 I would like to thank Professor Mihail Radu Solcan for thinking in a certain way. Many of the ideas present inthis chapter were clarified in the discussion workshops of the „Evolutionist models of the emergence of socialinteraction norms” Project, hosted by the Center for Research in Applied Ethics at the Faculty of Philosophy,University of Bucharest
change was also occasioned by the fact that many American classicalliberals started to call themselves “conservatives”, leaving the term“liberalism” up for taking. In the United States today, the term “liberal” isshort for “modern liberalism”, the European equivalent of this being“social democracy”. A lot of European intellectuals resist the change interminology and use “liberalism” in the sense of classical liberalism. Theirresistance to the American semantic evolution has the disadvantage of confusing the layman. This ambiguity is mostly speculated by European“liberal” parties, which, while supporting social democratic measures,attract sympathizers of classical liberal ideas because of their name.
The historical beginnings of libertarianism
 The intellectual history of libertarianism can be seen as a bundle of histories of ideas which are nowadays systematized in libertarianism butwhich are older than “libertarianism”. How old? An incipient form of theidea that political power should be limited is present in the epic of 
, a king who becomes unbearable by being neither bad norincompetent. It is suggested that the solution to arbitrary expression of power is jurisdictional competition ordered by the free choice of thoseinvolved. The idea that men can live according to the law, orderly and prosperouslyif they deprive themselves of the institution of political authority gets areligious foundation in
Samuel 8
in the Old Testament. Rights claims topolitical authorities begin to be supported by nonreligious theories whichshow that fundamental social rules can develop and resist the test of timeindependent of political power. Lao Tsu claims that social harmony ispreexistent to political authority and lays the groundwork for natural rightstheory; and Justinian theorizes that the correct law is not created butdiscovered through social interactions. These are the beginnings of theevolutionist interpretation of norms. The idea that it is not the authority that rules but rather the law itself isused against commands of central political authority in the West startingwith the
Magna Charta
in the 13
century, when the content of natural lawis imposed on the king by the independent local barons. The documentstates that no one will be imprisoned, no one’s property will be confiscatedand everyone will be prosecuted according to the law of the land.
writes that the role of the law is not constraint but protectionagainst constraint (Locke 1999, chapter VI). The right of the individual to equal treatment before the law, to life,liberty, property and the right to pursue one’s goals, along with the rightto defend the above – which includes the right to abolish governmentswhich erode them are all abstract formulations detached from anevolutionist process of law in a legal system based on precedent. The ideaof entrepreneurship has a famous root in
 John Milton
’s critique of 
censorship from 1644. Individuals must be left free to express theiropinions, to propose and adhere to ideas because an individual’expression carries their life (Milton 2006). Similarly, an investment can beconsidered an expression of one’s life. They must be left alone to win oversupporters.
An intellectual history with a focus on disciplines
We can reconstruct the libertarian doctrine from various perspectives of social disciplines. Libertarian ideas expressed in each of these disciplineswould have a starting point and an evolution formulated within eachbranch.
From a political science perspective
, in the 16
century, Etiennede la Boetie deplores and explains the phenomenon of pyramidal controlof political authority which keeps citizens in a state of “voluntaryservitude”.
From a political philosophy perspective
, in the 17
century, John Locke develops a model of the state of nature, in which the fourfundamental negative rights remain the same before and after a socialcontract; better management is the sole reason for the contract. Lockegives a libertarian twist to contractualism by stating that the correct socialrules are those which are voluntarily decided upon or would be voluntarydecided upon in a collective contract under certain conditions.
From the perspective of political and social philosophy 
, David Hume continues theevolutionist conception of norms. The rules which stimulated mutuallyadvantageous activities come out of repeated attempts of each individualto interact with others by pursuing their own interest. The successful onesare those which are not blocked (Hume 1978).
From the perspective of  philosophy of law
, during the 19
century, Albert Venn Dicey restatesDavid Hume’s arguments and explains the advantages of precedent-basedEnglish justice system compared to a centralized legal system. It is not thecommand-type of laws of the central political authority which are a sourceof law but the patterns of free interaction between people and thesolutions given to private disputes. We know that certain outcomes aresatisfying solutions when we observe that in time, under the assumption of liberty, they are copied in similar cases: they prove acceptable to all thoseinvolved (Dicey, 1986).
From the perspective of economics
, Gustave deMolinari (2011), also in the 19
century, observes that competitionimproves economic services and the production, application andinterpretation of law are also economic services, and wonders why weshouldn’t introduce competition in these fields as well. The idea that justice can be privatized will be the focus of an anarcho-capitalist researchprogram within economics starting with the 1970s. What is at stake isprotecting the right of individuals to choose the rules which govern theirlives.

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