What’s the Difference Between Authoritarian and Libertarian?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between an authoritarian and a libertarian? Both ideologies seem to focus on government control, but they approach it in very different ways.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at these two ideologies and find out how they differ. We’ll also go over the pros and cons of the two ideologies so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

What Is Authoritarian?

Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by strong central power and limited political freedoms. In authoritarian regimes, people’s freedoms are restricted, and the legitimacy of the ruling regime is often based on the assumption that the government knows what’s best for the people.

Proponents of authoritarianism argue that it provides stability, order, and economic growth. Critics claim that it leads to abuses of power, human rights violations, and economic stagnation.

Authoritarianism can be traced back to ancient times when rulers believed that they had a right to rule over their subjects because of their superior status. In more recent times, authoritarianism is associated with dictatorships and totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In these regimes, the government exerted complete control over the lives of its citizens, and there was no freedom of speech or freedom of assembly.

The definition of authoritarianism can be divided into three core concepts: centralization of power, restriction of individual freedoms, and the government’s ability to know what’s best for the people.

Centralization of power means that all authority is concentrated in the hands of a few individuals or a single ruler. This concentrates all decision-making in a small group and eliminates any possibility of checks and balances on their power.

Restrictions of individual freedoms can take many different forms, but usually include censorship, surveillance, and the use of propaganda to control the population.

The government’s ability to know what’s best for the population is based on the notion that it has superior knowledge and understanding of the needs of society as a whole. This allows it to make decisions for the population without their say or consent.

Even today, there are many countries ruled by authoritarian regimes. In some cases, such as North Korea, the people have little or no say in how their government is run. In other cases, such as in Russia or China, the government allows limited political freedoms, but censorship and other forms of control ensure that the ruling party maintains a tight grip on power.


  • Authoritarian governments can make quick and decisive decisions.
  • They can provide a sense of order and stability in times of chaos and political uncertainty
  • Authoritarian regimes often have a strong military and police forces that can maintain control over the population


  • Authoritarian governments can be very repressive, with little freedom or democracy for citizens.
  • They can be corrupt if those in power use their power for personal gain.
  • Authoritarian regimes are often unstable and may collapse suddenly.

What Is a Libertarian?

Libertarians are people who believe in the principles of liberty, which is the belief that all people should be free to do what they want as long as they don’t harm anyone else. Libertarians also believe in limited government, i.e., they believe that government should do only those things that people cannot do for themselves.

Libertarians hold these beliefs because they believe that freedom is the most important value a society can have. Libertarians believe that freedom is the principle that enables human creativity and innovation. They believe that through freedom, people can advance their well-being and improve the world around them. Libertarians also believe in:

Limited Government: This means that they recognize that there are certain things that only government can do, such as national defense or providing infrastructures like roads and bridges. But libertarians also believe that government should be limited in its power, meaning that it should only do the things that people cannot do for themselves. These include things like regulating businesses or providing social welfare programs. Libertarians believe that when a government does more than it needs to, it harms both the economy and individual liberty.

Free Markets: This means that they believe that businesses should be able to operate without government interference. Libertarians believe that free markets allow for innovation and competition, which leads to better products and services at lower prices. They also believe that businesses that are free from regulation are more likely to act responsibly toward their employees and customers.

Personal Responsibility: This means that they believe people should take responsibility for their actions. Libertarians believe that this is necessary for a society based on freedom because if people aren’t responsible for their actions, they will demand more government intervention to solve problems. Libertarians believe that personal responsibility must be taught at an early age so that children learn to take care of themselves and make a positive contribution to society.


  • Libertarians generally believe in limited government, which they see as the key to freedom and prosperity.
  • Libertarians argue that government intervention in the economy leads to distortions and misallocation of resources.
  • Libertarians oppose government regulation of private behavior, seeing it as an infringement on individual liberty.
  • Libertarians favor free markets and believe they are the best way to allocate resources and produce wealth.
  • Libertarians argue that government is often wasteful and inefficient and can do more harm than good.


  • Libertarians’ belief in limited government could lead to a concentration of power in the hands of a few wealthy elites.
  • Libertarian policies could lead to disastrous results when the market fails (e.g., health care or financial crisis).
  • Libertarian opposition to regulation could lead to unsafe products, pollution, and other harmful consequences.
  • Libertarianism could lead to a society based on stark inequality, with the wealthy few dominating over the many poor.
  • Libertarianism could erode social safety nets and undermine the state’s ability to provide essential services such as health care and education.

What’s the Difference Between Authoritarian and Libertarian?

Authoritarians often argue that without a powerful government making decisions for the people, chaos will ensue. But history has shown that this isn’t always the case. Many of the world’s most prosperous and peaceful countries are bastions of libertarianism, such as Switzerland and Singapore. These countries have thriving economies, low crime rates, and high levels of happiness and satisfaction among their citizens.

Libertarianism allows innovation and creativity to flourish, which is key to economic growth. When people are free to make their own choices, they are more willing to take risks and develop new ideas. This leads to greater prosperity for all members of society.

An authoritarian is someone who believes that the government should have as much control over people’s lives as possible. They believe that the government should be in charge of health care, education, pensions, and everything else.

A libertarian is someone who believes in limited government. They believe that government should only do the things that are specifically mentioned in the Constitution. They believe that the free market is self-regulating and that more freedom can help people out of poverty much more than any government program. Here are a few other differences between the two.

Authoritarians Are Suspicious of Outsiders and Believe in Maintaining Strict Boundaries, While Libertarians Welcome New Ideas and People From All Walks of Life

Authoritarians usually view outsiders with suspicion and believe in maintaining strict boundaries to protect their way of life. This is in stark contrast to libertarians, who are usually open to new ideas and people from all walks of life. Libertarians believe that the free exchange of goods, services, and ideas is the best way to foster innovation and progress.

They also believe that people should be judged on their merits and not on their group affiliation. This openness to new people and ideas is one of the things that makes libertarians so unique and valuable to society.

Authoritarians tend to have a more limited perspective than libertarians, which leads them to be suspicious of anyone different from them. They believe it’s important to maintain strict boundaries to protect their way of life from outside influences. This often leads to a fear of change and a lack of diversity.

Libertarians, on the other hand, are open to new people and ideas from all walks of life. This openness leads to a more diverse and tolerant society, which is essential for fostering creativity and growth. This allows the best ideas to prevail, regardless of where they come from.

Libertarians Oppose Taxes and Government Regulation, While Authoritarians Support Both

Libertarians oppose taxes and government regulation because they believe that it infringes on individual liberty. Taxation is coercive, and government regulation restricts freedom of choice. Libertarians believe that individuals should be free to make their own choices without government interference.

Authoritarians favor taxes and government regulation because they believe they are necessary for society to function. They believe that government must regulate the economy and levy taxes to fund public programs and provide essential services. Authoritarians believe that it’s important for the government to intervene in every aspect of society to ensure order and stability.

Government regulation is necessary to ensure that businesses act responsibly and don’t harm consumers. Taxes are necessary to fund public programs and provide essential services such as education and health care.

Authoritarians Are Typically Paternalistic, While Libertarians Trust People to Make Their Own Decisions

Authoritarians are typically paternalistic and believe they know what’s best for others. This is often evident in their desire to control people’s lives, going so far as to believe they can make better decisions for them than the individuals themselves.

In contrast, libertarians trust people to make their own decisions as long as they don’t harm others. Libertarians believe that people are capable of making their own decisions and that restricting people’s liberty only harms them in the long run. Therefore, libertarians tend to advocate laissez-faire policies that minimize government interference in people’s lives.

Libertarians Believe in Private Property Rights. Authoritarians Believe That the Government Should Own All Land and Natural Resources

Libertarians believe in private property rights because they know they are the foundation of a free society. Private property is the cornerstone of economic liberty and individual freedom. It’s essential for the creation of wealth and human well-being.

Authoritarians believe that the government should own all land and natural resources. They believe that the government should control the means of production and distribution. This leads to economic stagnation and widespread poverty.

Libertarians believe private property rights are essential to a free society. They provide a mechanism for peaceful exchange and voluntary cooperation. They enable people to create wealth and improve their lives. They enable people to unleash their creativity and ingenuity.

Libertarians believe the state shouldn’t own or control land or natural resources. Government shouldn’t be involved in the production or distribution of goods and services. The government should focus on protecting individual rights, including private property rights.

Authoritarians Generally Favor a Strong Military and Police Force, While Libertarians Oppose Both

A strong military and police are necessary to protect people from harm and to maintain order in society, authoritarians believe. They believe these institutions are essential to keep society running smoothly and prevent chaos.

Libertarians, on the other hand, oppose both a strong military and a strong police force because they believe that these institutions are inherently oppressive and pose a threat to individual liberty. Libertarians believe that a free society can only be achieved through the peaceful interaction of individuals and that state violence isn’t necessary to maintain order or protect people.

Authoritarians argue that a strong military is necessary to protect the country from enemies both foreign and domestic. They argue that a strong military is necessary to maintain national security and prevent terrorist attacks.

Libertarians argue that a strong military isn’t necessary for national security and may even lead to more violence and conflict. They believe that a free society can be protected without violence and aggression.

Authoritarians also argue that a strong police force is necessary to protect society from criminals and lawbreakers. They claim that without a police force, crime would run rampant and society would descend into chaos.

Libertarians argue that a strong police force isn’t necessary for public safety and may even lead to more crime and violence. They believe that a free society can be safe without relying on police brutality or intimidation.

Libertarians Have Always Fought for Democracy and Human Rights, While Authoritarians Support Dictatorships and Oppressive Regimes

Libertarians have always been champions of democracy and human rights. This is because they believe in the inherent worth of each individual and that all people should be treated equally before the law.

Authoritarians, on the other hand, have historically supported dictatorships and oppressive regimes. This could be because they believe that some people are inherently better than others and should be given special privileges and powers.

Authoritarian people, for example, are more likely to support a monarchy or dictatorship in which one person has absolute power over the population. They may also support laws that discriminate against certain groups of people or that allow the government to spy on its citizens without cause.

In contrast, libertarians believe in democratic elections, equal rights for all people, and freedom of speech and expression. This difference in ideology has led libertarians to fight for democracy and human rights throughout history.

For example, they were among the first supporters of the French Revolution, whose goal was to establish a democratic government based on equality and individual rights. And more recently, libertarians have been at the forefront of the fight against oppressive regimes such as those of Saddam Hussein in Iraq or Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of an authoritarian and a libertarian?

For example, an authoritarian would be more likely to use force to get their way in a business negotiation, while a libertarian would be more likely to try and negotiate peacefully.

An authoritarian believes in a top-down approach to leadership, while a libertarian believes in democratic principles. For example, an authoritarian might believe that the leader should have complete control over the decisions made in the company, while a libertarian might believe that all employees should have a say in company decisions.

For example, an authoritarian may believe that all people should follow the same set of rules and regulations, while a libertarian would argue that individuals have the right to make their own decisions.

An authoritarian person may believe that the government should have a strong hand in the economy, while a libertarian may believe that the government should stay out of the market.

Imagine, for example, that an author is writing a book that is critical of the government. An authoritarian would be less likely to support the author’s right to free speech, while a libertarian would be more likely to do so.

An authoritarian is more likely to be intolerant of dissent, while a libertarian is more likely to accept other points of view. For example, an authoritarian might be more likely to punish a child for speaking out of turn, while a libertarian may be more likely to allow the child to express himself or herself freely.

An authoritarian is more likely to use force or coercion to achieve his or her goals, while a libertarian is more likely to use persuasion and voluntary cooperation.

An authoritarian may believe that some people are naturally superior to others and should therefore be in charge, while a libertarian would likely believe that all people are created equal and should be treated as such.

An authoritarian is more likely to believe that some people are better than others, while a libertarian believes that everyone has the same intrinsic value. For example, an authoritarian might believe that the wealthy are better than the poor, while a libertarian would believe that everyone has the same intrinsic value, regardless of wealth or social status.

An authoritarian usually supports big government and socialism, while a libertarian usually supports small government and capitalism. For example, an authoritarian might support increasing the size of the government to provide more social services, while a libertarian might support decreasing the size of the government to increase individual freedom.

What is the meaning of libertarian left and right?

The libertarian left and the libertarian right are two ideologies that share many common principles, but also have some important differences. Libertarians on the left believe that the state must establish equality, while libertarians on the right want to limit the state to protect individual rights.

Both ideologies support liberty, which is the belief that people should be able to make their own choices as long as they don’t harm others. Both also support the free market economy, i.e., the idea that people should be able to trade freely without government interference.

The libertarian left believes that the state should provide equality by providing things like health care, education, and a safety net for those in need. They believe that everyone deserves a chance to succeed and that the state can help level the playing field.

The libertarian right believes in limiting government to protect individual rights. They believe that people should be able to make their own decisions and live their own lives without government interference. This includes things like regulating businesses, taxing people, and providing social services.

How are libertarians and authoritarians similar?

It’s often said that libertarians and authoritarians are two ends of the political spectrum. Libertarians advocate maximum freedom for individuals, while authoritarians advocate strict government control. However, there are some commonalities between the two ideologies.

Both libertarians and authoritarians believe in order and structure. Libertarians believe in free market order, while authoritarians believe in order emanating from a strong government. Both ideologies see structures as necessary for progress. Libertarians see them as necessary for individual freedom, while authoritarians see them as necessary for a strong economy and social order.

Another commonality is their belief in the use of force. Libertarians believe in the use of force to protect individual rights, while authoritarians believe in the use of force to protect the government. This is most evident in their views on war. Libertarians generally oppose war unless it’s for self-defense, while authoritarians generally support the war even if it’s not for self-defense.


In conclusion, authoritarian and libertarian people are different. These two ideologies have different goals and ways to achieve them, which is why they often conflict with each other.

Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages, but it’s important to understand the differences before you decide which form of government is right for you.

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