A contemporary 20th century political viewpoint or ideology derived largely from 19th century liberalism, holding that any legitimate government should be small and should play only the most minimal possible role in economic, social and cultural life, with social relationships to be regulated as much as possible by voluntary contracts and generally accepted custom and as little as possible by statute law. In other words, libertarians believe that the individual should be as free as is practically feasible from government restraint and regulation in both the economic and non-economic aspects of life. Thus, libertarians endorse stricter respect for private property rights, the establishment of a more laissez-faire laissez-faire capitalist economic system, rigorous separation of church and state, and greater respect for individual rights to freedom of expression and freedom of choice in personal lifestyles. They oppose government programs for the redistribution of income, the inculcation of "politically correct" values through government schools and propaganda outlets, all forms of government-imposed censorship, the imposition of criminal penalties for the commission of "victimless crimes," and in general all forms of social, economic or cultural "engineering" by the government.

[See also: ideology civil rights/civil liberties, property rights liberalism, laissez-faire]