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View Diary: Libertarians ain't having it...and Neither is Mitch McConnell. (21 comments)

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  •  How to take a libertarian apart... (3+ / 0-)
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    fumie, Eric K, Eikyu Saha

    ...and leave them in a quivering mass of jelly in two easy steps:

    1. Ask for a definition of liberty.
    1. Ask them why they think liberty is a good thing.

    After pondering these for a half hour they won't know whether to shit, go blind or go bowling.

    No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, `less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.

    by dov12348 on Wed May 26, 2010 at 10:29:23 AM PDT

    •  Well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      1. Liberty is the ability to act free of constraint and compulsion.

      In practice, it gets complicated when multiple people or their interests interact (This point is what a lot of people who speak loudly about property rights miss on occasion).

      1. Liberty is a valuable tool for people being able to seek their own happiness or satisfaction. Things which I personally find of value. It leads to the ability to make choices and take risks, as well as generates multiple points of view.

      In practice, I'd like as much ability to decide my own actions as I can, and thing that fairness likewise means other people should have the same ability. That does not mean there are other values too (see arguments about unemployment, welfare, social security -- government run mandatory collective insurance systems that have generated a lot of positive effect for people).

      •  er (0+ / 0-)

        does not mean that there are Not other values too...

      •  Libertarianism... (0+ / 0-) only a political philosophy.  A political philosophy must be based on an ethics.  Libertarianism is constrained by no ethical system.

        Ethics = what should we do; what is the good?

        Politics = What should we do; what is the good in our social-governmental context?

        Since Libertarianism has no ethics it cannot say why liberty is good.  So their "liberty" can include everything from killing somebody because you wish to annex your land to complete anarchy.  Actually the former is an example of the latter.

        Sorry if this is too abstract.  I could write about this for weeks.

        No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, `less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.

        by dov12348 on Wed May 26, 2010 at 12:25:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How about the major parties? (1+ / 0-)
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          Would you say they had well defined ethics?

          Many abstract systems have axiomatic basis of some kind...

          There is certainly a myopic way to interpret liberty. To me, spouting off on that sounds kinda nutty, even if some of the starting points are good. As far as I can see it, any functional political philosophy for an egalitarian society must include the implications of reciprocity.

          •  Your politics... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Geek of all trades

            ...actually does imply your personal ethics.

            An example:  You are for the protection of a certain species because you believe it has an intrinsic value; a natural good thing that it exists -- its beauty, intelligene and so forth.  That's an ethical position.

            The political position it implies is if you campaign to have a law enacted to increase the protection of this species.

            Where I was coming from before: Libertarians are very aggressive in promoting the one thing that brings them all "together" -- liberty.  But that's it.  As a political philosophy as a whole, without an overall ethics behind it, it cannot agree on what liberty means or why it is good.  That's why you have libertarians that range from small government (in a million different ways) to complete anarchy.

            Re other parties - Democrats and Republicans:  The democrats have a loose ethical base, say, in that everyone deserves to have a decent life.  They implement that politically when they try to enact a social program that their ethics implies.

            Republicans -- in general they're Bible believers --that what they believe the bible says is inherently good because it's from God.  That's an ethics.  An example of a politics that comes from it: the Bible says do not kill (people), so they go to every length, no matter how absurd, to keep Terry Schiavo "alive."

            No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, `less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.

            by dov12348 on Wed May 26, 2010 at 02:52:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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