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A Libertarian, am I?

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A Libertarian, am I?
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DepricatedZeroChat ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 1333Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:43 amLocation: Cincinnati, OH Gender: Pinecone

Post A Libertarian, am I?

So it's been suggested that I lay out what I see libertarianism as. It's a good question, and I'm happy to discuss my views.

I put this here rather than in politics because it's a matter of philosophy, not political party. I think that's where a lot of people get confused on what libertarians are.

So what is a Libertarian? In short, someone who believes that personal freedom trumps the social hive. In more detail, it's someone who believes that society is best held together when the personal liberty of all individuals is maximized. This tends to involve a minimalist stance towards government. Schools of thought vary widely, though, spanning the spectrum from anarchist to socialist.

That makes it a bit hard to pin down, though. One can't simply say "I'm a Libertarian" and have it be a meaningful description of their political view. Similarly, one ought not to refer to "the libertarian agenda" but rather be specific in what group they're referring to. Objectivists, who would skin you alive for calling them Libertarians (though they are, essentially)? The Libertarian National Socialist (Nazi) Green Party, whose primary focus is the freedom to hate?

I understand a lot of the misconception between the ideology and the various modes of political execution. It's only natural, especially considering there's an entire political party called the Libertarian Party (who are only a section of libertarians, following their own political agenda). I, rather than subscribing to Libertarianism politically, refer to it philosophically. My ideals are best described by libertarianism, as they focus on freedom above all else. My lens tends to share similarities to the stereotyped political lens of libertarians - that is, my views on freedom favor individual proprietors rather than government social policies (which are often at odds). I also see it as every persons job to give what they take, and to support themselves.

On the other hand, I don't take that to extremes. While I see it as everyone's job to fend for themselves, there are clearly exceptions. One excellent example is my aunt, whom I help support. She's mentally handicapped - though she's 40 now, her mind never progressed beyond that of a 6 year old. Likewise, I'm not opposed to giving a hand UP. However, there's a big difference between a hand up and a hand out, and I loath hand outs.

Further, I believe all views need to be tempered with a strong dose of realism. That is, understanding that simply wishing it so does not make it so. I may see fair exchange as the most moral method of interaction between two individuals, but I have no delusions about the nature of con men.

My largest influence in this outlook was Ayn Rand, perhaps surprisingly to some. Others may not be so shocked. I don't mirror her opinions or political goals, but rather took to heart the essence of her Objectivist philosophy. That is, reality exists independent of my mind, facts are facts, A is A. Reason is the method by which I understand reality. These are key, and from these I thought for myself and reasoned out my views.

Yes, I also hold some of the moral opinions of Objectivism, however I don't call myself an Objectivist for much the same reason Leonard Peikoff says that the ARI aren't Objectivists. I don't believe a philosophy which screams to the stars that man is his own highest moral purpose, and that reason is his moral compass, is capable of being as stagnant and dogmatic as Peikoff demands it is (and tries to back it up litigiously).

Because the focus of my belief is on the individual over the group, I fall into the category of Libertarian. It's not the best label, because it only has a very basic solid and coherent meaning, but there you have it.
Why does my life have to be so small
And death is forever
And does forever have a life to call its own?
Don't give me an answer cause you only know
As much as I know
Unless you've been there once
And I hardly think so

Green Day - One of My Lies
Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:45 am
ImprobableJoeUser avatarPosts: 6195Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:24 pm

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

Thanks for starting this thread... at my suggestion, so I'm twice grateful! :lol:

I'm going to dissect this further tomorrow, since it is already past midnight here. In the meantime, can I suggest that you more explicitly admit that "libertarian" is a confusing label, almost to the point of uselessness? It seems to me that for almost every stance you took, you pointed out an exception. That's possibly a fair and rational position, and I'd probably agree with most of your exceptions, but don't you think that makes for a sort of incoherent philosophy?
Come visit my blog! There will be punch and pie!
Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:25 am
ImprobableJoeUser avatarPosts: 6195Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:24 pm

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

BTW, so far you sound like a Progressive, not like a Libertarian. I'll have you converted in a day or three, because your worldview is already 95% there, and you just need to change your labels. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Come visit my blog! There will be punch and pie!
Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:28 am
DepricatedZeroChat ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 1333Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:43 amLocation: Cincinnati, OH Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

lol

Allow me to quickly point you to this post:
/viewtopic.php?p=121364#p121364

Here I state that I believe I had previously posted about how useless the label Libertarian is. Personally I hate getting hung up on labels.

The exceptions illustrate the necessity for realism in any viewpoint, though, more than the incohesiveness of a philosophy. And, as a philosophy, Libertarianism isn't wholely one. It's more a category of philosophies. At it's base it's simply "Liberty uber alles" without dictating a how or why. It's those subsets of beliefs that do the further defining, which is why simply citing libertarians as x y or z is as flawed as describing oneself as a libertarian.

Ya, I am. I'm also a great number of other things. That's kind of the point though. It's -too- broad a description, and so its only meaningful use is to identify a focus on individual freedom above all in the system which incorporates it.

My own set of beliefs, I don't really have a solid label for. However, it's a form of libertarianism, because my highest focus is individual freedom.
Why does my life have to be so small
And death is forever
And does forever have a life to call its own?
Don't give me an answer cause you only know
As much as I know
Unless you've been there once
And I hardly think so

Green Day - One of My Lies
Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:39 am
AndiferousUser avatarPosts: 2727Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:00 amLocation: Laputa Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

I seem to be on the libertarian side of politics but at the same time, it troubles me to no end.

I am not American and do not read books by American libertarianists;

I have a few "libertarian" friends and have somehow emerged on the libertarian map since;

It seems to me that my sense of 'libertarian' is not the same as others'. In many situations the USA's view of freedom is compromised by political or economical pressure.

The biggest problem I've encountered so far is that "libertarian" often seems somehow tied up within the Capitalist and Free Market principle within the USA. Ultimately, I do think these concepts are confused and mislabled.
"As there seemed no measure between what Watt could understand, and what he could not, so there seemed none between what he deemed certain, and what he deemed doubtful."
~ Samuel Beckett, Watt
Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:48 am
DepricatedZeroChat ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 1333Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:43 amLocation: Cincinnati, OH Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

aye, andie, there is a lot of conflation between free market capitalism and freedom. Some would say they're necessarily tied together, others not as much. Libertarian views on economics vary wildly from societal ownership of all means of production to laissez-faire
Why does my life have to be so small
And death is forever
And does forever have a life to call its own?
Don't give me an answer cause you only know
As much as I know
Unless you've been there once
And I hardly think so

Green Day - One of My Lies
Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:58 am
Master_Ghost_KnightContributorUser avatarPosts: 2708Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:57 pmLocation: Netherlands Gender: Male

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

I always found abhorrent being guided by labels and pre-cut packages, people didn't knew what they were doing when they have cut those packages and sure they still don't know it today. Policies should be solutions to societies problems, problems that have good and bad ways of beings solved, and I believe that we should tailor made our solutions to best improve society as we possibly can. To hold a political view such as "libertarian" is to have pre-decided on a solution without even looking at the problem it is supposed to solve.
But perhaps you hold a more moderate view of what it is to wear those labels. Even though one may not know the problem from the start, there are general rule that one can follow. I do support that in general people or a group of people should have the freedom to do whatever it concerns them and no one else. This may mean that people should be allowed to wear their underpants in their head whilst jumping naked in the privacy of their own homes, this may mean that an adult consenting homosexual couple is allowed to have sexual relations in the privacy of their own homes. And in general it appears to be a good rule, but this inadvertently may also mean pedophilia as long as the participants agree to it, and I don't think anyone here contests that pedophilia should be made illegal even if all participants are consenting.
The problem with accepting a principle in general allowing for exceptions is that you can always find a group of people where at least one of them will have a different opinion on a topic for every topic you can come up with and still fall under the same label. To say that someone is liberal, conservative, democratic or what not effectively tells you nothing about the policies they support, rendering the labels completely useless.

So since that is addressed, let me address "libertarians" in general.
Freedoms are relations to the limitations of actions that one can or cannot legally perform, and the problem is that there are thing you can do which will prevent other people to do whatever they want. There are certain freedoms that will always trump the freedoms of someone else. To allow for freedoms all the way may mean that others will not have the opportunity to have them.
And I also contest your view of "individual welfare should trump the welfare of society", in some cases that may be ok but let me perhaps change your perspective a bit by pointing out that societies are made of several individuals. Effectively, improving the welfare of society means improving the welfare of several individuals that composes the society.
Case in point about freedoms and welfare is the example of public roads, they are on public ground and yet they trump your freedom of going anywhere you want on foot (mainly the physical place where the road is built). Yet no one complains about their freedoms being stolen or contest that one should have roads (well at least sane people).
Also no one contests of putting you in jail, taking away your freedom if you have stolen something, something by the way that is put together by materials that can be picked up (or mined) and shouldn't belong to anyone.

In short, labels are the last thing that should be part of a political discussion. Either a policy is beneficial or not is what is important.
"I have an irrefutable argument for the existence of...." NO, STOP! You are already wrong!
Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:43 am
ProlescumWebhamsterUser avatarPosts: 5007Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:41 pmLocation: Peptone-upon-Sores

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

Master_Ghost_Knight wrote:...this may mean that an adult consenting homosexual couple is allowed to have sexual relations in the privacy of their own homes. And in general it appears to be a good rule, but this inadvertently may also mean pedophilia as long as the participants agree to it, and I don't think anyone here contests that pedophilia should be made illegal even if all participants are consenting...


What?

A) Homosexuality doesn't inadvertently mean paedophilia. The point you make here could just as easily apply to heterosexuals.
B) Paedophilia requires at least one of the participants to be below the age of consent, therefore neither an adult nor able to be a consenting party as the law sees it.

I'm not sure if you meant to suggest these things, but if you didn't, seriously, use the preview button before posting or something.

OT: I'm not sure I'd classify you as a libertarian, DZ. I'll continue to read for now :)
if constructive debate is allowed to progress, better ideas will ultimately supplant worse ideas.

Comment is free, but facts are sacred
Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:55 pm
Master_Ghost_KnightContributorUser avatarPosts: 2708Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:57 pmLocation: Netherlands Gender: Male

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

Prolescum wrote:
Master_Ghost_Knight wrote:...this may mean that an adult consenting homosexual couple is allowed to have sexual relations in the privacy of their own homes. And in general it appears to be a good rule, but this inadvertently may also mean pedophilia as long as the participants agree to it, and I don't think anyone here contests that pedophilia should be made illegal even if all participants are consenting...


What?

A) Homosexuality doesn't inadvertently mean paedophilia. The point you make here could just as easily apply to heterosexuals.
B) Paedophilia requires at least one of the participants to be below the age of consent, therefore neither an adult nor able to be a consenting party as the law sees it.

I'm not sure if you meant to suggest these things, but if you didn't, seriously, use the preview button before posting or something.

OT: I'm not sure I'd classify you as a libertarian, DZ. I'll continue to read for now :)


A. I never implied in anyway shape or form that homesuxuality is related to pedophilia, it was just unrelated examples of things which only concern the participants and would be allowed under the mentioned generic rule. I have also mentioned people runing arround with their underpants on their head, did I also implied that to is related to homosexuality or pedophilia?

B. The "age of consent" is just a legal limitation unrelated to the literal ability of an individual to consent. The age of consent is determined in a response to what is determined to be pedophilia, its is not however that pedophilia is determined in response to the violation of an arbitrarely asigned age of consent.
If that particular law creating that exception did not exist, everyone would be legaly deemed as able to consent. Do not confuse the implications of the law with the implications of making a law.
"I have an irrefutable argument for the existence of...." NO, STOP! You are already wrong!
Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:14 pm
ProlescumWebhamsterUser avatarPosts: 5007Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:41 pmLocation: Peptone-upon-Sores

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

Master_Ghost_Knight wrote:A. I never implied in anyway shape or form that homesuxuality is related to pedophilia, it was just unrelated examples of things which only concern the participants and would be allowed under the mentioned generic rule.


Yes, you're absolutely right. Sorry.

I'd discuss the rest, but I think I derail threads enough as it is.
if constructive debate is allowed to progress, better ideas will ultimately supplant worse ideas.

Comment is free, but facts are sacred
Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:44 pm
RichardMNixonUser avatarPosts: 1047Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:45 pmLocation: USA Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

DepricatedZero wrote:One excellent example is my aunt, whom I help support. She's mentally handicapped - though she's 40 now, her mind never progressed beyond that of a 6 year old.

May I assume she's on social security? What are your thoughts regarding that?

the essence of her Objectivist philosophy. That is, reality exists independent of my mind, facts are facts, A is A. Reason is the method by which I understand reality.
I've read the entirety of Atlas Shrugged and I think this is the weakest part of her philosophy because it bears no correction to the rest. Yes, facts are facts. I have no problem with that. How does saying facts are facts lead to the conclusion that we ought not be required to provide a social safety net? It strikes me as a complete nonsequitur.
Do you see it differently?

The same with the views you've stated: I can't really infer any political ideology from your philosophy. Where do you fall in American politics? Do you support Obama, Boehner, Cantor, Romney, etc.?

It seems to me that my sense of 'libertarian' is not the same as others'. In many situations the USA's view of freedom is compromised by political or economical pressure.

American libertarians (politically) are the group most strongly opposed to single-payer healthcare if that puts anything in a reference frame for you.
"When I come to my own beliefs, I find myself quite unable to discern any purpose in the universe, and still more unable to wish to discern one." ~ Bertrand Russell
"If we do not succeed, we run the risk of failure." ~ Dan Quayle
Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:31 pm
devilsadvocateUser avatarPosts: 246Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:28 pm

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

Without reading most of the thread (and I apologize for that. I will when I have more time and less stress). From what I gather on this thread, the most inclusive definition of libertarianism means (individual) freedom as the highest goal. So, in this sense libertarianism is utilitiarianism with personal freedom as the utility every effort should strive for.

If that is what libertarianism is about, isn't it silly to restrict yourself to maximizing freedom instead of, say, happiness and well-being? Why would it be good to maximize freedom instead of happiness, should those two interests ever clash?
Jazz isn't dead, it just smells funny.
Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:19 pm
DepricatedZeroChat ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 1333Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:43 amLocation: Cincinnati, OH Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

First, I explicitly said this is not politics or political.
Depricated Zero wrote:I put this here rather than in politics because it's a matter of philosophy, not political party. I think that's where a lot of people get confused on what libertarians are.
Read more than the thread title before responding next. Preferably, the entirety of the initial post and this response, at the very least.

To address specifics, I'll answer with quotes from myself:

Master_Ghost_Knight wrote:The problem with accepting a principle in general allowing for exceptions is that you can always find a group of people where at least one of them will have a different opinion on a topic for every topic you can come up with and still fall under the same label. To say that someone is liberal, conservative, democratic or what not effectively tells you nothing about the policies they support, rendering the labels completely useless.

My response, previously stated in the original post:
Depricated Zero wrote:Further, I believe all views need to be tempered with a strong dose of realism. That is, understanding that simply wishing it so does not make it so. I may see fair exchange as the most moral method of interaction between two individuals, but I have no delusions about the nature of con men.


Master_Ghost_Knight wrote:Freedoms are relations to the limitations of actions that one can or cannot legally perform, and the problem is that there are thing you can do which will prevent other people to do whatever they want. There are certain freedoms that will always trump the freedoms of someone else. To allow for freedoms all the way may mean that others will not have the opportunity to have them.

Depricated Zero wrote:Libertarianism is the philosophy that individuals are free above all else, simply put. The conclusions drawn from that vary enormously. I, for instance, believe your freedom extends only as far as mine. That is, you are free insofar as you do not limit my freedom, or anyone elses. It goes in different directions, but the focus is on the freedom of the individual rather than on the system.



Master_Ghost_Knight wrote:And I also contest your view of "individual welfare should trump the welfare of society", in some cases that may be ok but let me perhaps change your perspective a bit by pointing out that societies are made of several individuals. Effectively, improving the welfare of society means improving the welfare of several individuals that composes the society.
Case in point about freedoms and welfare is the example of public roads, they are on public ground and yet they trump your freedom of going anywhere you want on foot (mainly the physical place where the road is built). Yet no one complains about their freedoms being stolen or contest that one should have roads (well at least sane people).
Also no one contests of putting you in jail, taking away your freedom if you have stolen something, something by the way that is put together by materials that can be picked up (or mined) and shouldn't belong to anyone.


Depricated Zero wrote:By no means do I vouch for minimal public assistance, quite the contrary - it would be a beneficial investment to improve the productive value of all people. One of the cheapest and easiest ways to do this, morally, would be the free exchange of knowledge. In other words, free public education. This is a worthy cause for tax dollars, since the purpose of government should be to protect its citizens from threats internal and external. My reasoning is that it keeps the workforce sharp - books are the whetstone of the mind, after all. Ignorance is a threat to all people.

Likewise with public health care - I'm all for it, similarly because it promotes a healthy workforce. With minimal contribution through taxes, companies and citizens can easily protect their own livelihood. I don't approach it with a "lets save all the peoples who are too poor" outlook, but rather the outlook that we would be investing in our own greater profit.



now with that out of the way, to the people who read before responding:

RichardMNixon wrote:May I assume she's on social security? What are your thoughts regarding that?
I only help support her. I don't know all the details, my mother is the one who takes care of her. As it goes, though, social security is deeply flawed, since it isn't even a proportional return on what's put in for anyone.

RichardMNixon wrote:How does saying facts are facts lead to the conclusion that we ought not be required to provide a social safety net? It strikes me as a complete nonsequitur.
Do you see it differently?
That's why I said influenced by. There's much more than simply acknowledging facts are facts, to the Objectivist mindset. It's also tied deeply with fair exchange and capitalism qua morality. I understand that and incorporate it slightly - I abhor leeches and have no tolerance whatsoever for them, but I don't take it to the extreme where you're either contributing or leeching, either. I cited the parts that were important to me, though, the focus on observing reality and accepting it for itself.

RichardMNixon wrote:The same with the views you've stated: I can't really infer any political ideology from your philosophy. Where do you fall in American politics? Do you support Obama, Boehner, Cantor, Romney, etc.?
I voted for Barr, because I liked the ideas he presented. Politically, I'm not sure where I fall. Ideologically I'm a libertarian, but that was the first time the party got my vote, also. As it goes, I'm impressed with Obama and I'd keep him another 4 happily.

devilsadvocate wrote:If that is what libertarianism is about, isn't it silly to restrict yourself to maximizing freedom instead of, say, happiness and well-being? Why would it be good to maximize freedom instead of happiness, should those two interests ever clash?
My own morality absolutely is focused on the achievement of happiness. I think ensuring that all people are (within reason) free to pursue their own happiness is the best way to maximize happiness. On the other side of the same coin, it's depraved to oblige one person to sacrifice their own happiness for the happiness of another (so long as said happiness likewise does not require the sacrifice of another). I hope that makes sense?
Why does my life have to be so small
And death is forever
And does forever have a life to call its own?
Don't give me an answer cause you only know
As much as I know
Unless you've been there once
And I hardly think so

Green Day - One of My Lies
Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:52 am
Master_Ghost_KnightContributorUser avatarPosts: 2708Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:57 pmLocation: Netherlands Gender: Male

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

DepricatedZero wrote:My response, previously stated in the original post:

Allow me to contest that.
Because:
Master_Ghost_Knight wrote:The problem with accepting a principle in general allowing for exceptions is that you can always find a group of people where at least one of them will have a different opinion on a topic for every topic you can come up with and still fall under the same label. To say that someone is liberal, conservative, democratic or what not effectively tells you nothing about the policies they support, rendering the labels completely useless.

Adresses the fact that such labels have no specific atributes.
Whilst you response:
Depricated Zero wrote:Further, I believe all views need to be tempered with a strong dose of realism. That is, understanding that simply wishing it so does not make it so. I may see fair exchange as the most moral method of interaction between two individuals, but I have no delusions about the nature of con men.

Adresses that one should not be blind to reality. The 2 have nothing to do with eachother.

Plus this quotes:
Depricated Zero wrote:Libertarianism is the philosophy that individuals are free above all else, simply put. The conclusions drawn from that vary enormously. I, for instance, believe your freedom extends only as far as mine. That is, you are free insofar as you do not limit my freedom, or anyone elses. It goes in different directions, but the focus is on the freedom of the individual rather than on the system.

Depricated Zero wrote:By no means do I vouch for minimal public assistance, quite the contrary - it would be a beneficial investment to improve the productive value of all people. One of the cheapest and easiest ways to do this, morally, would be the free exchange of knowledge. In other words, free public education. This is a worthy cause for tax dollars, since the purpose of government should be to protect its citizens from threats internal and external. My reasoning is that it keeps the workforce sharp - books are the whetstone of the mind, after all. Ignorance is a threat to all people.

Likewise with public health care - I'm all for it, similarly because it promotes a healthy workforce. With minimal contribution through taxes, companies and citizens can easily protect their own livelihood. I don't approach it with a "lets save all the peoples who are too poor" outlook, but rather the outlook that we would be investing in our own greater profit.

Are not part of your original post, go read it, they aren't there.

I would also contest that this pseudo-quotes are antithetical to your orignal post, but since it is late I will adress them tomorow.

It maybe that I sometimes missread what it is writen, this however is not the case.
"I have an irrefutable argument for the existence of...." NO, STOP! You are already wrong!
Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:39 am
DepricatedZeroChat ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 1333Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:43 amLocation: Cincinnati, OH Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

Master_Ghost_Knight wrote:Adresses that one should not be blind to reality. The 2 have nothing to do with eachother.
If you can't see the correlation between accepting reality and the necessity of exceptions, then I'm not sure there's much hope for you. The existence and necessity of exceptions does not make a label magically meaningless. I block all devices from connecting to my router, for instance, except ones with a specific MAC address. Those are exceptions. It doesn't mean that the block is magically meaningless, likewise exceptions don't make the rule magically meaningless. You may not like the fact that you can't pin down their political stance based on someone simply saying they're conservative, but that doesn't magically make the label meaningless. It has meaning, it's just not the meaning you want. The world isn't as black and white as you and the mainstream media want it to be, sure, single words will rarely define all policies under a unified system of belief among hundreds of thousands of people. Issues are more complex than that, and one must consider a great deal when deciding on a stance towards most policies. Rarely does a single mode of thought satisfy the necessity to reason.

Are not part of your original post, go read it, they aren't there.

sauce 1
sauce 2

Sorry, I said I would quote myself, not I would quote only the original post. I guess I wasn't clear on that. It was subsequent to those that IJoe asked me to discuss my views. :)

I'm not trying to talk about specific policy, but ideology, at any rate.
Why does my life have to be so small
And death is forever
And does forever have a life to call its own?
Don't give me an answer cause you only know
As much as I know
Unless you've been there once
And I hardly think so

Green Day - One of My Lies
Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:41 am
AndiferousUser avatarPosts: 2727Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:00 amLocation: Laputa Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

With respect, Sir Ghost Knight is not from the United States, so communication is going to require a few nuances. :) I generally require the same, but I make my career from understanding the language.

I've always summed it up as this: Utilitarianism: make the most cows happy. If you are a farmer raising cattle, and a utilitarian to boot, ultimately, you would do what you could do make as many cattle happy at once as possible (even disregarding one or two unhappy cows in the process). Utilitarianism is about making the most happy (as compared to unhappy folks) at any given time.

Libertarianism: More confusing to me, but in general libertarians call for fewer laws, justice and government and call for the general freedom of the individual. This whole mess conflates a bit when one factors in welfare, health care and the like, within current society. This is why libertarianism is on a different trajectory than left or right politics.
"As there seemed no measure between what Watt could understand, and what he could not, so there seemed none between what he deemed certain, and what he deemed doubtful."
~ Samuel Beckett, Watt
Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:27 am
ImprobableJoeUser avatarPosts: 6195Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:24 pm

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

Depricated Zero wrote:By no means do I vouch for minimal public assistance, quite the contrary - it would be a beneficial investment to improve the productive value of all people. One of the cheapest and easiest ways to do this, morally, would be the free exchange of knowledge. In other words, free public education. This is a worthy cause for tax dollars, since the purpose of government should be to protect its citizens from threats internal and external. My reasoning is that it keeps the workforce sharp - books are the whetstone of the mind, after all. Ignorance is a threat to all people.

Likewise with public health care - I'm all for it, similarly because it promotes a healthy workforce. With minimal contribution through taxes, companies and citizens can easily protect their own livelihood. I don't approach it with a "lets save all the peoples who are too poor" outlook, but rather the outlook that we would be investing in our own greater profit.

Here's my problem with your ideology, I think. You seem to define the "public good" as something that is "good" because it is "profitable". People are better the more "productive value" they have. The purpose of education and healthcare is to create better employees.

As someone who sees people as something other than cogs in a machine designed to maximize profit, I find your ideology to be amoral and sociopathic. The fact that you can come to similar outcomes in some circumstances doesn't mean we're getting there from the same direction, and your outcomes seem to me to be "right for the wrong reasons". Maybe you have other, more human motivations that you're not expressing here (I assume that this is true), but there's certainly nothing human in your ideology.
Come visit my blog! There will be punch and pie!
Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:25 pm
televatorUser avatarPosts: 1252Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:02 amLocation: In hell, rocking out with Satan! Gender: Cake

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

My thoughts exactly, Joe. While I think that something profitable can be preferable under some circumstances it's not always the determining factor for "good". Heavily depending on or completely conflating profitability for good is ultimately where a lot of libertarians are playing with fire.
a·the·ism: The absence of belief in god(s)

There are no additional, claims, laws, commandments, rules, doctrines, presuppositions, stand alone ideologies, dogmas, and/or faith based beliefs required by or inevitably derived from atheism.
Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:33 pm
impikuUser avatarPosts: 211Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:58 amLocation: Hell. Gender: Cake

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

I will get back to this post after I address Joe's assertions.

ImprobableJoe wrote:Here's my problem with your ideology, I think. You seem to define the "public good" as something that is "good" because it is "profitable".
No, many libertarians(like Adam Smith and Stuart Mill) advocate public good for humanitarian purposes, and the very reason why they are advocating a non-exclusive, non-rivalry institution enforced by the state(instead of the private sector offering such services) is because they believe the market cannot adequately provide such services(ie. it is unprofitable). This is disputable however. By the way, your critique doesn't make much sense, it's incoherent. There is nothing implicit in libertarianism that states "public good" is good because it is "profitable", I had to infer what you were saying and this is my response.

ImprobableJoe wrote:As someone who sees people as something other than cogs in a machine designed to maximize profit, I find your ideology to be amoral and sociopathic. The fact that you can come to similar outcomes in some circumstances doesn't mean we're getting there from the same direction, and your outcomes seem to me to be "right for the wrong reasons". Maybe you have other, more human motivations that you're not expressing here (I assume that this is true), but there's certainly nothing human in your ideology.
Libertarians recognise that people seeking profit, is natural. Just like human's strive for survival is natural and hence, it is not something that should be "fought against", like some Marxists claim. There is nothing dehumanizing about people voluntarily engaging in transactions and pursuing happiness. Market orders emerge when people are left to their own devices that will consequently raise living standard even for the poor. It seems like you are under the impression that coercive state action is the only humanitarian thing to do which is mistaken.
"Who needs Satan when you have a God like this?" -- Robert M. Price

"In the sphere of thought, absurdity and perversity remain the masters of the world, and their dominion is suspended only for brief periods." -- Arthur Schopenhauer
Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:18 pm
ImprobableJoeUser avatarPosts: 6195Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:24 pm

Post Re: A Libertarian, am I?

Shit, I had a post that got lost.

Anyhoo, what I was going to say is that, especially based on what DZ has posted, libertarianism is amoral, sociopathic, immature... because it is fundamentally incomplete, and based on assumptions about "personal liberty" that don't scale up from the personal level to communities and societies. That sort of hollow ideology is a framework upon which people can clearly hang pretty much anything they want to, but those things can't really be derived from libertarianism itself.
Come visit my blog! There will be punch and pie!
Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:51 pm
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