Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Libertarianism

A while back I wrote a post about true freedom.  At that time it was pointed out to me by a man I consider my elder, someone who is deserving of a great deal more respect than he is given, that what I wrote that day, was the reason libertarianism fails on just about every level.
But have no fear, I doubt this will be one of those posts.  I mean really, it does fail.  As soon as you grant rights to one group of people, someone somewhere is going to scream about their rights being infringed.  Unless you are a libertarian anarchist, someone has some issues.  But lets take it a step further, if you are a libertarian, and you want to restrict rights in any way, you are a hypocrite, so all those Tea Party members who say they want smaller government, but want to protect the "sanctity of marriage", yeah you guys hypocrites.

But it also fails on some other levels.  I often hear the libertarian side talk about how it is wrong to be forced into doing something.  They will comment, why should I be forced to pay for your stupid mistakes?  IE: You smoked for 10 years, came up with stage two lung cancer, why should I pay for your treatment.  To some extent they might have a point.  Sure, you are being forced to help someone who picked up a horribly nasty habit, that has known health risks.  What they neglect is, when something happens to them, say they come up with cancer, we will cover them, just as they cover the other person.  It works the same way as many social programs, we cover everyone's six.  I pay to have your back, you pay to have mine. 

They scream taxes, but the fact is, even if I got 100% of my paycheck, paid no taxes at all, my money would go to the causes I champion, which may or may not be you, or some other person who is in genuine need that I do not know about.  Lets face it, even if we have a thousand Facebook friends, how many do we know, really know?  How many people do you really talk to across your social media experience? 

Really, when you look at libertarianism as a whole it does sound nice.  I have to give them credit.  Small government, lower taxes, and in theory people leave people be.  The problem stems from the attitude of the libertarians themselves.  We see more and more libertarians calling for violent means to fix this nation.  Sound familiar?  That is right out of the anarchists cookbook.  Sure, they do not want to see the complete destruction of the government, but what they want is a government with no teeth, no ability to step in, basically no real government.  Yeah, a government that does nothing, says nothing, has no means to protect the rights they so preciously hold dear.  I mean one libertarian quipped that anarchists are just extreme versions of libertarians, quote not shown here is attributed to Andre Marrou, however I have not found a great source for it, which is why I did not put it up.

Sure they tend to equate anarchists to more violent behavior, but their goals are similar.  Certainly they want rights to be protected, but they tend to want to trample the rights of others.  And while they say that we own our own bodies, minds, and souls, that what we earn should be ours and ours alone, they tend to miss one key factor; they miss that we are not individual people on our own little island in a sea of the world, we are all connected by the common thread of society.  When I drag society down, somewhere down the line, they are also pulled down by it.  Sure, if we are coworkers, and I pull up lame, they make more money, but they suffer for it as well. 

Take this example, we are coworkers, I become ill, I am forced to take time off from work, you as my libertarian (or whatever) co-worker are forced to cover my job.  You make more money, but you also loose more money.  You are stuck working, while you pay someone to clean your home, mow your grass, watch your child, or whatever else it is you were planning on doing that day.  That in turn puts someone else into the same role, they are working rather than doing what they need to do, and it goes on.  Sure, its not a great example, but it shows the pattern.  If we do not have something in place (a government with teeth), one could become ill from tainted water, ground or air.  One could become ill for any number of reasons.  But one is ill and unable to work.  In years past, people became ill because they were unable to eat properly, by eating properly I mean eating in general.  Sure it fell to the community to ensure that these people ate something, but as it happens, people are usually selfish.  I want what is best for me, not what is best for you.  Before I give money or food to someone, I am going to make sure I have enough for me and mine. 

I am going to ensure that my bills are paid, I have gas to work, heat in the winter, clothing, and whatever else I need, before I even begin to concern myself with you.  But we have a government that ensures that while I am making sure I am taken care of, you have something as well.  Remember, you cover me, I cover you.  Sure you might be forced to, but we are all forced to, if you follow the illogical logic of the libertarian mind.  It is the perspective of the libertarian mind that is wrong, not the theory.  I see it as helping people, doing things with my money that I would otherwise would not be able to.  With those taxes, I am helping the poor I do not know, I am assisting the old I have never met, I am ensuring that the environment I reside in is protected.  Whereas libertarians tend to see, I am forced to support welfare queens and kings, I am forced to take care of some old people, regulations that protect the environment, and ensure worker safety take away the ability to earn more. 

I will leave you with some other quotes I found about libertarianism:

The Bill of Rights goes way too far. It should have stopped at "Congress shall make no law".
Libertarian proverb

Some people object to libertarian ideas because there are too many irresponsible people int he world; people who will cause trouble if the government doesn't restrain them.
Harry Browne

He always pictured himself a libertarian, which to my way of thinking means "I want the liberty to grow rich and you can have the liberty to starve". It's easy to believe that no one should depend on society for help when you yourself happen not to need such help.  
Isaac Asimov

I am hard put to find something to say to people who still think libertarianism has something to do with liberty. A libertarian is just a Republican who takes drugs.  
Bob Black


One of the more pretentious political self-descriptions is "Libertarian." People think it puts them above the fray. It sounds fashionable, and to the uninitiated, faintly dangerous. Actually, it's just one more bullshit political philosophy.
George Carlin



I'm not an anarchist any longer, because I've concluded that anarchism is an impractical ideal. Nowadays, I regard myself as a libertarian. I suppose an anarchist would say, paraphrasing what Marx said about agnostics being "frightened atheists," that libertarians are simply frightened anarchists. Having just stated the case for the opposition, I will go along and agree with them: yes, I am frightened. I'm a libertarian because I don't trust the people as much as anarchists do. I want to see government limited as much as possible; I would like to see it reduced back to where it was in Jefferson's time, or even smaller. But I would not like to see it abolished. I think the average American, if left totally free, would act exactly like Idi Amin. I don't trust the people any more than I trust the government.
Robert Wilson

The basic premise of libertarianism is that each individual should be free to do as he or she pleases so long as he or she does not harm others. In the libertarian view, societies and governments infringe on individual liberties whenever they tax wealth, create penalties for victimless crimes, or otherwise attempt to control or regulate individual conduct which harms or benefits no one except the individual who engages in it. 
US Internal Revenue Service as quoted by Mary J. Ruwart

people object to libertarian ideas because there are too many irresponsible people in the world - people who will cause trouble if the government doesn't restrain them.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/libertarian.html#WOqjddjLr4kspWMs.99