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Tue Jan 24, 2012, 03:55 PM

Partisan opposition to Libertarianism

Last edited Tue Jan 24, 2012, 04:37 PM - Edit history (1)

There has never been a partisan reaction to libertarianism because libertarianism is irrelevant and outside the polarized axis of our domestic politics.

It makes a lot of sense to oppose the republican party. (Using "oppose" to mean polar policy opposition, not strive against, though it is also sensible to strive against the republican party.)

But if a person diametrically opposes Libertarianism that person is not a liberal, that person is an authoritarian -- someone who supports state infringement of liberties as an independent good. Libertarianism is mistaken... it is a thing with which sensible people disagree.

(As a poster notes below, there are speciffic tenets of libertarain thought that one can sensibly oppose diametrically. Opposing tenets in a rigorous philosophical sense will not, however, lead to reflexive partisan gainsaying of the opposition any more than me thinking the state has a role in the economy makes me a Stalinist. Also, if we treat libertarianism as an isolated economic theory then it is opposed by communism or anarchism on a distinct economic axis. But for purposes of this OP, I am thinking primarily about the authority axis.)

There is no need to apologize for agreeing with libertarians about some things. (As has become the mode.) Everyone short of Mussolini agrees with libertarians about some things. And everyone who has given much thought to government in the real world disagrees with libertarians about a lot of things.

Libertarianism is impractical. The current American variant of it is bizarre and distasteful. No serious person supports the libertarian platform as actual governance. And most American libertarians have a screw loose.

But to use the usual mode of polar partisan two-party political opposition ("Whatever they're for, I'm against") outside its sensible boundaries leads to madness.

Unless one wants to become a reflexive authoritarian.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 04:11 PM

1. I oppose Libertarianism, and I am NOT an authoritarian

A fundamental principle of Liberatarianism is "non-coercion".

Private wealth = private power.

A person without wealth is coerced, of necessity, to do the bidding of those with wealth.

This creates an asymmetry of power in regards to employment negotiations.

Any contract (like accepting a job) entered into when one party is in distress (such as being one payment away from being foreclosed on) and the other party is not (business goes on with an open position) is a:

Contract of Adhesion

***

Economic coercion is the hidden coercion that Libertarians don't see.

Economic coercion has had a far greater impact on the overall course of my life, and the life of everyone I know, than any kind of government regulation.

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Response to NAO (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 04:22 PM

2. You have only discussed the economic component are you also opposed to civil and social libertarians

I don't see how one can be and not be an authoritarian, the state is supreme and the individual largely irrelevant in such a world.

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 04:35 PM

4. because I see the Corporation/Big Money as supreme and the state is merely a tool

Either the state serves the interests of private wealth and power (they benefit from no action, also) ...

or people use the state as a means - the only means available to them - to rein in the influence of private power.

A private company is ALWAYS an authoritarian totalitarian dictatorship. Employees cannot democratically vote to change the way things are done. They cannot vote out their CEO. They have NO say in the running of the company.

At least with the state, there is a possibility of democracy Citizens of a state CAN vote democratically and shape the direction of the state.

I used to be a Libertarian, and still admire the spirit of libertarianism, but I think there is a fatal flaw in the logic (the failure to see the reality of economic coercion, the source of coercion (private power), and the means to resist coercion (the state).

Either that or the ideology was created by wealthy powerful people to create the illusion of absolute freedom while dismantling the only means to freedom for those who were not born into wealth.

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Response to NAO (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 04:43 PM

6. In argument with libertarians

I usually ask to see their contract with the indians whose land they occupy.

Any system that favors the guy with the most chips at the start of the game mocks liberty at some breaking point or another.

(In a fantastic political philosophy contest I might be a libertarian leveler. Have all the fun you want with the game-pieces but you don't get to keep them.)

I agree with you about the fantastic nature of individual economic autonomy by fiat when that autonomy does not, and will not exist in the real world.

And as an atheist I reject any idea that there is any higher justice served by bad outcomes. (If people don't think it is fair then we have exhausted the range of entities whose opinion I care about.)

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:35 PM

8. The Libertarian Extremists have an answer to the Indian "problem"

if someone does not have a system of contract law and a concept of private ownership, and they are not using something, it is OK to take it from them.

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Response to NAO (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 04:28 PM

3. And you are also probably not a blind partisan.

I agree with what you write here, and I agree that an oppositional mode is sensible when one pares a thing down to something philosophically stringent enough to sensibly take an opposite view.

But you are primarily disagreeing with my choice of usage of the word "oppose" which is, in the OP, meant to stand for partisan opposition of the reflexive gain saying variety.

If your opposition took the form of gainsaying whatever a libertarain says you would end up with a senseless authoritaraian mirror-view.

You are obviously a person of political sophistication and probably do not use an automatic reactionary partisan frame-work for much of anything.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 04:39 PM

5. Ok, you got me. My framework is of my own making

and all of the parties seem misguided when seen from my perspective.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 05:12 PM

7. Libertarianism sounds nice but...

 

Unfortunately it falls apart when put to the test of human nature like most other political theories. The fact is it is in human nature to have some people who want to be dominant over others and to have social structures. We see it in nature all the time. We need a little more interference with the natural order in order to bring about equality, but it goes a bit deeper than any single large bureaucratic organization like government can deal with. I think we need more independent organizations around to keep government in check while it keeps the more rowdy individuals in check.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:18 PM

9. Suppose this:

A black man walks into a restaurant, sits down, and asks for a sandwich. The owner walks up and demands that he leave because this restaurant doesn't serve people like him. The black man refuses saying that this is a violation of his civil rights. The restaurant owner explains that his staying is in violation of the owner's property rights. Having reached an impasse, the restaurant owner calls the police who arrive and have to deal with the situation.

What does a liberal expect that an officer of the law will do in this situation?
What does a libertarian expect that an officer of the law will do in this situation?
Why?

When this leads to a legal battle, what does the liberal suggest the outcome should be? What about the libertarian?
Why?

I don't see why I shouldn't consider myself diametrically opposed to a political philosophy that categorically rejects the notion of positive liberty. A political philosophy that considers everything else subordinate to property rights is a very evil thing, even if they do allow one to smoke lots of dope.

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