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View Diary: Hey You Libertarians! Get Off My Blog. (302 comments)

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  •  You're wrong. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shadan7, Shane Hensinger, Kronos Blue

    Sorry, I can't resist a softball like that.

    Would you go a bit deeper?  What is selfish about libertarianism?  (BTW, I use a small 'l' to distinguish myself from the Libertarian party.)

    Results count for more than intentions do.

    by VA Classical Liberal on Sat Jul 26, 2008 at 03:48:46 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I've read the platform of the Libertarian party.. (11+ / 0-)

      This is the part that I completely reject:

      Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make.

      In reality, many segments of society are given very few  choices and government is needed to help them have more choices.

      Indeed, the government needs to accept the responsibility for how past choices by bureaucrats have affect the lives of its citizens.

      •  Reject? (3+ / 0-)

        You reject this:

        Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make.

        But would you accept this:

        Individuals should not be free to make choices for themselves and should not accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make.

        The latter seems to be the consequence of your rejection of the former.

        •  false dichotomy (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pd, Balam, David Kroning, TNThorpe

          Rejecting one imperative does not mean embracing its opposite.  Rejecting "Individuals should be free to drink alcohol" does not mean embracing "individuals should never drink alcohol"

          •  Not really. (0+ / 0-)

            The original contrast was made between:

            Individuals should be free to make choices for themselves

            And

            Individuals should not be free to make choices for themselves

            You claim that this is a false dilemma, that I'm neglecting the alternatives between both extremes. Actually, I'm not.

            If you are not free to make choices for oneself, then you have no choices. If you are free to make choices for oneself, but those choices are chosen for you by others, then you still have no choices.

            Your example about alcohol illustrates this. On the surface, it appears that rejecting "individuals should be free to drink alcohol" does not mean embracing "individuals should never drink alcohol." But to resolve it requires an alternative: "You are free to drink alcohol sometimes."

            If you reject the phrase "You are free to drink alcohol" and embrace "You are free to drink alcohol sometimes," you are still accepting the second imperative above because you no longer have the freedom to drink when you want to.

            The choices that are selected for you are not choices in the context of freedom, but are rather choices in the context of servitude. Thus, your appeal to an alternative to eliminate a false dichotomy results in the same eventual imperative that you oppose.

      •  Agree on first point. Disagree on second. (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, many segments of society have very few choices and that is bad.  But can government (by which I usually mean federal gov.) really help that much?

        I think government's role is in setting fair rules for markets, protect people from crime and then staying out of their way.  I have faith that this is the best way to help them help themselves.

        Also, re: gov responsiblity.  Whenever a new policy is proposed, the first thing a liber does is check to see if an existing policy caused the problem in the first place.  Like our current health care disaster which traces its roots back to WWII wage freezes.

        Results count for more than intentions do.

        by VA Classical Liberal on Sat Jul 26, 2008 at 04:02:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is the golden rule (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Philoguy, VA Classical Liberal

        He who has the gold, makes the rules.  While you might hope that:

        In reality, many segments of society are given very few  choices and government is needed to help them have more choices.

        Inevitably, the powerful get access to the reins of government to direct them to further their goals.  Regulation gets perverted to preserving the status quo.  Tax money gets handed out to rich corporations, corporate farms etc.

        While corporations can leave you with few choices, only the government has access to actual force.  By encouraging that access, you give the powerful access to it as well.  Microsoft cannot make you buy Windows, you can run Lynix, but you must buy car insurance in many states or the government will take your car away.

        •  If you create Levers of Power (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SciVo

          Someone will put their hands on them.  So limit the number of levers there are.

          BTW, it's Linux and I agree with manditory car insurance.  Manditory car insurance to use a public resource is OK.  It's enforcing the Non-aggression Principle (now there's a bit of liber jargon) by making sure you have the recsources to take responsiblilty for your actions.

          Results count for more than intentions do.

          by VA Classical Liberal on Sat Jul 26, 2008 at 05:21:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  OTOH, if We the People don't grab those levers (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Balam

            ...of power, then we leave them free for the superclass to control -- or even to create. The principle of subsidiarity is great in theory, but in a world with enormous transnational corporations, we've seen what happens from too few populist demands on the central government. It creates a power vacuum that leads to the neo-feudalism of unfettered private power, and worse, to the crony capitalism of corporate welfare.

            I also believe we must impeach Antonin Scalia for protection from his inhumanity.

            by SciVo on Sat Jul 26, 2008 at 05:55:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Excellent comment... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VA Classical Liberal

          although I'm sympathetic to libertarianism in that I think the goal of any politics should be the realization of freedom, it seems to me that libertarians are often misguided in who they target where questions of regulation are concerned.  Rather than targeting large businesses and corporations, they instead target little folk struggling to regulate these things...  To regulate the working day, working conditions, wages, benefits, environmental standards, health care, amount of vacation time, child care (something not even on the table despite our divorce rates and the fact that we now have an equal number of men and women working), etc., etc.  Libertarians consistently side with the corporate interests in these cases over the interest of the rest of us who labor within these entities.  What they seem to miss is that these extremely powerful entities use government to their advantage, setting up all sorts of loopholes and regulations in their interests and to the detriment of the vast majority of people.  

          At the end of the day, libertarianism seems to be based on a sort of Malthusian fantasy that is very common in America:  That if we only work really hard we'll become fabulously wealthy.  The problem is that in their focus on isolated and abstract individuals, the libertarian ignores social structures and systems and misses the way in which the system is rigged from the beginning to insure that privilege continues among a certain segment of the population while the vast majority of the population is left out.  Sure, there are exceptions.  We'll always have stories of Dave Thomas or Colonel Sanders.  But they are the exception, not the rule and it makes little political sense for the rest of us to struggle to treat the exception as the rule.  Libertarianism is an elegant political theory that is logically consistent, but it is also one that ignore a whole body of sociological truths about how the social world works and about the nature of why certain economic patterns repeat themselves.  Third world countries don't exist in situations of horrific poverty because they haven't heeded the market enough...  Rather they are direct products of the market.

          That said, I've never understood arguments that reject libertarianism on the grounds that it's selfish.  I am a progressive precisely because I'm selfish and following my self-interest.  I understand that following my self-interest involves forming collectives that can leverage pressure on extremely wealthy entities that have more access than myself.

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