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Frontierism is one extreme of a political axis regarding the issue of how much support government (or society) should provide to individuals. It refers to the view that government -- if it exists at all -- should provide only minimal services to its citizens, only the fittest should survive, individuals should be self-reliant, competition between businesses will solve the problem of optimizing goods and services for the benefit of all, and income inequality is simply a reflection of the fact that some people are winners and some are losers.

As an extreme, rather than a specific ideology, it does not necessarily represent a position actually held by any individual; rather, it is a combination and distillation of sentiments expressed by those who generally oppose supportism, its opposite. Frontierists do not necessarily support all of these positions, but they would agree that policy should move closer to the frontierist extreme (and away from the supportist extreme); they may disagree about how far such movement should go.



Frontierism is often expressed with statements such as:

  • government should be should be "small" and unobtrusive
  • people should take more responsibility for themselves, and not go looking for handouts
  • people become poor because they are economically unproductive
    • as opposed to "poor people are economically unproductive mostly because they're poor"
  • hard work always leads to economic success, and failure indicates a lack of effort
  • the system works; there are no innocent victims

political labels

Expressions of frontierism are often found among those who self-identify as libertarian, anarchist, market capitalist, and (fiscally) conservative.


Arguments used in support of frontierism include:


This usage of the term was first detailed in a Google+ post on 2012-04-01, though there are earlier similar uses such as 2010-07-08 Daily Kos.