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Planet Over Profit

Libertarian vs. Green: Differences in Political Parties

2 min read
Planet Over Profit
Good Party Politics Team · Oct 26, 2023

The Republican and Democratic parties rule a two-party system that dominates American politics. However, voters have a variety of election options thanks to the complex tapestry of diverse political philosophies and platforms that lie underneath the surface. The Libertarian Party and the Green Party are two prominent alternative parties with fundamentally different party ideologies and political stances.

Even if their worldviews seem to be on opposing sides of the political spectrum, these parties have certain things in common and contribute to disrupting the status quo as it is.

This analysis offers an overview of the two alternative parties, comparing and contrasting the Libertarian and Green parties in the United States based on their main ideas, policies, and essential concepts.

Introduction to the Libertarian Party

One of the loudest voices in American party politics promoting individual liberty, minimal government involvement, and a strong free-market emphasis is the Libertarian Party.

It has been heavily involved in local and state politics, despite not having had much success in national elections.

By presenting an alternative vision that prioritizes individual liberty, laissez-faire economics, and civic liberties, the Libertarian political party aspires to challenge the current political duopoly.

History of the Libertarian Party

The Libertarian Party was established in 1971 in response to intensifying worries about escalating government meddling and intrusion into the personal lives of citizens in the United States. Its founding members were devoted to classical liberal and libertarian ideals, and in 1972, John Hospers, the party's first presidential candidate, ran for office and was on the ballot in two states.

The party made substantial headway in the 1970s thanks to its support for limited government involvement, lower taxes, and a strong emphasis on individual rights. It increased its participation in local and state elections in the second half of the 20th century, continually advocating for the freedoms of the people and non-interventionist foreign policies.


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The Libertarian Party's Ideology

The following party principles serve as the foundation of the party:

  • Individual Liberty: The party's ideology is based on a strong conviction in individual liberty. Libertarians contend that governmental meddling in citizens' private affairs should be kept to a minimum, enabling people to decide what to do with their own lives. According to the party, no one should be forced to give up their values for the sake of others in society.

  • Economic Freedom: The party supports the ideals of free-market capitalism and pushes for the least amount of taxation and regulation possible. According to them, less governmental interference in the economy promotes innovation, wealth, and individual autonomy.

  • Non-Interventionism: Libertarians support a more peaceful foreign policy and oppose needless military intervention internationally. They contend that instead of engaging militarily in conflicts that do not directly affect the nation's security or self-defense, the United States should focus on negotiation and diplomacy.

  • Civil Liberties: The party supports freedoms including the right to privacy, freedom of the press, and the ability to speak one's mind without interference from the government.

Major Libertarian Party Platforms

The Libertarian Party’s platform addresses a variety of issues:

  • Taxation: The party favors considerable tax cuts and simplicity in order to lessen the financial burden that the government places on citizens and businesses.

  • Criminal Justice Reform: Libertarians support thorough criminal justice reform, which includes ending the War on Drugs, decriminalizing a number of drugs, and reducing the number of non-violent offenders incarcerated. The party states that the War on Drugs is racist in nature.

  • Gun Rights: The party is staunchly opposed to gun control laws and firmly supports Second Amendment rights, particularly the right to bear weapons.

  • Foreign Policy: Libertarians advocate for a non-interventionist foreign policy, arguing against getting militarily involved and in favor of finding diplomatic solutions to global crises.

Note that individual people within the Libertarian Party may have different views on certain issues.

Introduction to the Green Party

The Green Party is a political organization that was established in the United States in 2001. The Green Party prioritizes environmental sustainability, grassroots democracy, and social justice. It is a component of the global Green movement, which was born out of social justice and environmental concerns.

The party's goal is to provide a viable substitute to the established two-party system by addressing urgent local and global concerns from a holistic and integrated perspective.

History of the Green Party

The social justice and environmental movements of the 1970s and 1980s were the origins of the party in the United States, which has since been actively involved in elections at various levels of government.

According to the party’s history, there has been less electoral success and development in comparison to the two major political parties, although it has been successful in electing local leaders and has remained a strong voice for its fundamental beliefs.

The Green Party's Ideology

The fundamental Green values include several important topics:

  • Ecological Wisdom: To battle climate change, safeguard ecosystems, and advance renewable energy, the party supports responsible environmental management and sustainable policies. Its philosophy's main pillar is environmental sustainability.

  • Social Justice: The party places a high priority on social justice and equality, and it backs measures to combat poverty as well as to support universal healthcare, education, and workers' rights.

  • Grassroots Democracy: Greens support direct citizen engagement in decision-making procedures and decentralization. They want to give the people and local communities more control over how policies are made.

  • Nonviolence: The Green Party rejects military aggression and is dedicated to nonviolence. They emphasize that the best ways to resolve international conflicts are through disarmament, conflict resolution, and diplomacy.

Major Green Party Platforms

The main political platforms of the Green Party address a variety of issues as discussed below:

  • Environmental Policy: Greens support all-encompassing environmental protection policies, such as the switch to renewable energy sources, a reduction in carbon emissions, and actions to prevent climate change.

  • Healthcare: The party backs a single-payer healthcare system, frequently known as "Medicare for All," to guarantee that everyone has access to high-quality healthcare.

  • Education: Greens advocate for reduced student debt as well as free and open access to public education from pre-kindergarten through college.

  • Economic and Social Justice: The party is in favor of policies that would raise the minimum wage, protect workers' rights, and lessen disparities in income.

As always, remember that individuals within the Green Party may differ on specific viewpoints.

Libertarian vs. Green: Areas of Agreement

Although these minor parties are frequently depicted as being opposed to one another, this party comparison brings up certain points of agreement:

#1: Civil Liberties

Both parties are political alternatives that are ardent defenders of civil freedoms, such as free speech, the right to privacy, and the right against interference by the government.

However, the reasons for their support can vary. Individual freedom is emphasized by Libertarians, while Greens are more concerned with social justice and civil rights.

Libertarians place a great emphasis on the idea of minimum government involvement in people's lives, which naturally involves upholding civil liberties. They contend that people should be able to express themselves freely without worrying about interference from or restriction by the government.

The Greens’ focus is on social fairness and equal protection, while also firmly supporting civil liberties. They contend that people should not be subjected to discrimination or oppression by the government or other organizations and that civil rights are crucial to ensuring equality.

#2: Nonviolence

Both sides typically support peaceful conflict resolution through diplomacy and negotiation and reject military involvement. Although they may place different emphasis on it, both sides agree that unnecessary military aggression is unacceptable.

Libertarians place a strong emphasis on non-interventionism as a way to prevent pointless wars and armed conflicts. They contend that the nation's defense should be the military's top priority, not participating in international conflicts.

Greens are also ardent advocates of nonviolence and peace. They urge the use of diplomacy and global collaboration to end disputes peacefully and avert violence. Their focus on conflict resolution and disarmament is in line with the overall objective of fostering world peace.

#3: Opposition to the Two-Party System

As election choices for people who might not support either major party, these non-mainstream parties oppose the dominant party positions of the Republicans and Democrats. Both sides have a unique perspective and voice for the future of politics in America.

Libertarian vs. Green: Key Differences

Despite the points of party similarities, there are significant differences between the two parties that affect their stances on a wide range of issues. These variations are discussed in more detail in the political party analysis below.

#1: Economic Policies

The two parties’ economic policies represent one of the most obvious differences between them:

Libertarian Party:

  • Encourages limited government involvement in the economy and free-market capitalism with few restrictions and taxes.

  • Favors self-reliance and personal accountability, placing an emphasis on fewer government welfare programs.

  • Supports cutting back on government expenditures and rejects corporate subsidies.

Green Party:

  • Backs government action in the economy to advance sustainability and economic equality.

  • Demands robust social safety nets, such as free public education and healthcare.

  • Supports the improvement of workers' rights and eliminating income disparity.

  • Promotes environmental regulations and the use of renewable energy.

These distinctions reflect the diverse political ideologies that underlie each party, with Libertarians, according to their political platform, emphasizing individual liberty and restrained government intrusion while Greens concentrate on issues related to the environment and social justice.

#2: Environmental Stewardship

While both sides acknowledge the significance of environmental issues, the Green Party puts a considerably stronger emphasis than the Libertarian Party on environmental responsibility and ecological politics.

Libertarian Party:

  • Recognizes environmental issues, but places a higher priority on individual liberty and minimal government involvement.

  • Emphasizes market-based approaches to resolving environmental problems.

  • Disapproves of laws that they consider to be unduly restrictive.

Green Party:

  • Prioritizes ecosystem protection, conservation, and renewable energy.

  • Places environmental sustainability at the center of its platform.

  • Calls for strong environmental protection measures, including laws to battle climate change.

#3: Social Welfare

In contrast to the Green Party's advocacy for a strong social safety net that includes universal healthcare and education, the Libertarian Party prefers a small amount of government engagement in these areas.

Libertarian Party:

  • Supports individual accountability and independence.

  • Supports market-based healthcare and education reforms.

  • Disapproves of social benefits offered by the government, such as universal healthcare.

Green Party:

  • Supports universal access to education and a single-payer healthcare system (Medicare for All).

  • Demands the adoption of measures to combat poverty and income inequality.

  • Supports extensive social assistance initiatives.

The opposing priorities and beliefs of these minor parties are reflected in these basic disparities in economic policies, social welfare, and environmental stewardship.

Third-Party Political Influence

Different levels of both parties' power can be seen in American politics:

Libertarian Party

With substantial vote shares and members elected to local positions, the Libertarian Party has experienced some political success, becoming the nation’s largest minor party. Its involvement in national politics with various presidential candidates has helped it create a substantive impact in the country’s politics.

Libertarian Jo Jorgensen received around 1.8 million votes in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, equivalent to more than 1.2% of the total vote, demonstrating growing support for political alternatives. The party's influence goes beyond elections since it acts as a forum for activism and issue advocacy.

Green Party

The Green Party continues to be a strong voice for its core values despite obstacles to popular recognition and political success. Howie Hawkins, the presidential candidate for the Green Party, garnered approximately 0.2% of the total vote in the 2020 election.

This statistic demonstrates the electoral impact of this party’s political candidates and the obstacles they must overcome to make major gains. The statistics also show the need for political alternatives such as third parties and independent candidates.

Alternative Political Choices

The Libertarian and the Green parties offer distinctive choices to voters in a political environment that is frequently dominated by the two major parties. Their presence disrupts the conventional status quo and fosters a wider variety of concepts and approaches in U.S. politics.

In an era of growing political polarization, it is critical to appreciate the significance of third parties and independent candidates who contribute new perspectives and concepts. Supporting such political candidates, whether through giving, volunteering, or simply voting for them, can contribute to a more diverse political conversation and result in creative solutions to the problems facing the country. Democracy thrives on diversity, and citizens can help their society develop for the better by actively participating in it.

As the political landscape evolves, alternative voices like the Libertarian and Green parties become increasingly important. They challenge the status quo and bring fresh ideas to American politics. If you're interested in exploring more political alternatives and supporting independent candidates, check out how to get involved with Good Party.

Photo Credit: Markus Spiske on Unsplash


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By Good Party Politics Team
The politics team is focused on transforming the political landscape by promoting transparency, accountability, and positive change. They aim to engage citizens in the political process, encourage informed decision-making, and support candidates who prioritize the common good. Their mission revolves around creating a more fair and just political system, fostering collaboration, and breaking down traditional barriers of partisanship.