By Susan Stevens

A recent discussion with a libertarian Facebook friend has highlighted a strong point of similarity between libertarians and social democrats: our trust in people. This faith in the spark of goodness and wisdom burning in every human is arguably the cornerstone of a social democrat’s passion for expanding the democratic process. We believe that the more ordinary people have a say in the policies affecting their lives, the closer these policies will align with the common good. As emphasized by their name, libertarians are also passionate about human liberty, and perhaps for the same reasons.

As a student of A Course in Miracles, I’ve been learning how the ego works to separate us from each other, and from that trust, by planting thoughts of attack in our minds — basically the fear that we will be attacked if we don’t stay on the defensive, ready to attack our brothers if needed. Our minds are so powerful that thinking about the need for attack leads us to actually experience the need to attack — which calls forth an attack response from others.

We have thus projected an evil pseudo-world over the loving beings that we naturally are when not grasping for weapons to defend ourselves. Where libertarians and social democrats differ is on what we see as the best path to undoing this violent world that we have created. In our pseudo-world, there are some who have become more skilled at navigating attack-culture and risen to the top of the socioeconomic pecking order, and others suffering at the bottom. Libertarians see taxation for the purpose of wealth redistribution (or any other purpose) as violence.

In our natural state of love, no one would need to force us to care for our neighbor. I also see our social welfare system, even with all its room for improvement, as a means of expediting assistance rather than tasking every individual with the need to keep up with the details of every single situation going on in their community, country and world.

Moreover, while society is still operating in the attack-mode of protecting (hoarding) individual wealth, ending or cutting social programs rips the rug out from under those not thriving in this weird universe. In contrast, with social democracy, which (like libertarianism) goes hand-in-hand with free speech, we increase the power of every person’s vote while simultaneously enjoying the freedom to keep dialoguing with our brethren, persuading them and being persuaded ourselves to embrace ever-better ways of living together.

We may even, eventually, democratically usher in a solution to economic suffering that eliminates any need for economic coercion. I hope a fruitful discussion can begin here between social democrats, libertarians, and people of other persuasions. My thoughts and understanding are still in process, and the greater the number of us willing to process these ideas together, the better!

Susan Stevens is the Chair of the Kansas City, Kansas chapter of Social Democrats USA.


  1. Starting the ball rolling by writing this little comment and subscribing so I’ll get notified when anyone else comments. Hope more people will comment and subscribe, too! Our conversations help shape our thoughts, which we ultimately project onto our surroundings (A Course in Miracles). Let’s start a project to project more of what we really want to see💖💖💖

  2. Dear Ms. Stevens,

    Please let me thank you for your kind words. The Libertarian International Organization volunteer-run website is at: https://www.libertarianinternational.org/ . It is the arm of the Gil-Lemos-Li clan that created Libertarianism centuries ago. To be strictly correct Libertarianism refers to the network of Libertarian-approach interested homes focused on the processes of reason, rights, and results in the fine and practical arts. There you’ll find that this discussion has been going on a long time, and much in the think-pieces there that you may find script-flipping to agreeable.

    I regret that the site and links are a mess, as the victims of DOS attacks and a massive shut down by social media. They in turn are seeing their stocks gyrate as our fans and their coalitions show their displeasure (It appears getting the full attention of thousands of libertarian-oriented attorneys, portfolio managers, and judges in every country by shutting down their communication Facebook is inadvisable.). It will be re-organized in due course. In time we may wish to set up an independent e-net open to all.

    Briefly, we both invented and support the options of voluntary socialist-communist eco-communities, worker-co-ops, and extensive social insurances/public funding via voluntary (and/or efficiencies-funded) public endowments (and directly managed by users, not e.g. governments). We recently helped bring about a $15 minimum (we prefer starter) wage (with common-sense exceptions) and–key–automatic COLA without intervention of the legislature in Florida, via direct democracy into the Florida Constitution. This has been dubbed racist by purported ‘radical socialists’ in the DNC because that’s D.C. for you. You may take a look at the libertarian-direction improvements in Florida starting with direct democracy that we helped catalyze. At present the gravamen of our efforts is that a world of peaceful sister-Floridas as a first milestone would be for most a great improvement. A related focus is education free P-Post PhD by said endowments and efficiencies with teaching of logic P-14.

    I agree that “if you don’t want war, prepare for peace.” The Libertarian Pledge helps people start thinking about that. I caution against a toxic altruism–a reasoned self-interest is good. I’ll look at your post in more detail in coming months, and I hope to give some better info that may be of help for your concerns, but please forgive that I am occupied by other matters. There’re many dark forces at work today longing for a sort of feudalism; but in the end, like you, I’m a sucker for the basic goodness and wisdom in the People.

    RE: http://socialistcurrents.org/?p=3821 1/20/2022

    • Hello Michael, thank you for your detailed and thought-provoking response! My apologies that I somehow missed seeing it until now. I totally understand about other demands on your time! Here’s hoping we can continue this discussion as soon as we’re able!💖

    • P.S. from the examples you’ve shared, it sounds like there’s a lot of overlap between some forms of libertarianism and social democracy. I suppose it depends on how much faith the libertarian has in a 100% free market. In Healing Our World, Mary Ruwart seems to think a minimum wage is always harmful to workers.

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