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dongiovanni
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02 Aug 2008, 5:03 pm

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed a lot of Libertarianism/Objectivism/Anarcho-Capitalism running around on WP? Can anyone explain this trend? Does it have to do with individualism perhaps?

BTW, if someone says "Because it's the most logical.", I will trout slap you. Don't test me.


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Orwell
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02 Aug 2008, 9:25 pm

Because it's the most logical.


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02 Aug 2008, 9:26 pm

Wasn't this topic discussed in the "What's with the left wing bent" thread?


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02 Aug 2008, 9:49 pm

As a disclaimer, this is only my personal, gut feeling about libertarianism. Libertarians are scum, or rather support for libertarianism detracts from a person who may otherwise have noble and laudable qualities. The problem with libertarianism is that it considers the individual in isolation from the society he or she lives in. Libertarianism basically allows people to get away with whatever they want with their property as long as they are not directly physically hurting someone and the market lets them continue in their enterprises. A factory owner may pollute the air and water as much as he or she wants as long as the market keeps buying its wares to keep it afloat. If a person loses his or her job during a recession, libertarianism would do away with the welfare that would keep this person from becoming homeless and starving; it would instead depend on voluntary charity, and if there is none, well, libertarians don't care what happens to that person who has become victim to market forces. Saying the market will eventually level out really does nothing to help the human beings who are suffering in the mean time.



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02 Aug 2008, 11:39 pm

Well, the libertarian philosophy can include a few concepts that AS people might like:

1) Libertarian rationalism
2) Libertarian individualism
3) Libertarian intellectualism
4) Libertarian popularity
5) Libertarian anti-authoritarianism

1) Libertarian philosophies often stress rationalism, which AS people like due to their rationalist tendencies. Just look at the major sources of libertarianism: Objectivism, which stresses human reason, the Chicago school of economics, which is known for a number of powerful theories, the Austrian school which is a major defender of a priori rationalism, and finally classical liberals(who are often adopted as precursors to libertarianism, despite their relative moderateness) who emphasized reason.

2) Libertarian philosophies often stress individualism, which AS people like because they stick out and libertarianism does not stress conformity and often tries to reject it a lot(we can debate the success thereof)

3) Libertarian philosophies often can hold some intellectualism to them, possibly due to their rationalism, and often due to the prominent proponents or proponent groups of libertarianism such as a number of Nobel Laureates in economics, a number of GMU economists, the CATO institute, and the Mises institute as well, not only that, but some development of libertarian philosophy philosophy exists from the work of Robert Nozick, Isaiah Berlin, and arguably Ayn Rand.

4) Libertarianism is a popular internet philosophy. Most internet forums have a reasonably large and prominent libertarian population, especially the more US based they would tend to be as many libertarians are Americans(some are from abroad, but it is rarer).

5) We have a few conspiracy nuts here too and a few people with bad experiences with authority, and libertarianism fits well for that to some extent.

Perhaps we can refine, add or subtract reasons from this as we go on, but this provides some good basis to start upon.

NeantHumain wrote:
As a disclaimer, this is only my personal, gut feeling about libertarianism. Libertarians are scum, or rather support for libertarianism detracts from a person who may otherwise have noble and laudable qualities. The problem with libertarianism is that it considers the individual in isolation from the society he or she lives in. Libertarianism basically allows people to get away with whatever they want with their property as long as they are not directly physically hurting someone and the market lets them continue in their enterprises. A factory owner may pollute the air and water as much as he or she wants as long as the market keeps buying its wares to keep it afloat. If a person loses his or her job during a recession, libertarianism would do away with the welfare that would keep this person from becoming homeless and starving; it would instead depend on voluntary charity, and if there is none, well, libertarians don't care what happens to that person who has become victim to market forces. Saying the market will eventually level out really does nothing to help the human beings who are suffering in the mean time.

Well, an issue with libertarianism is that it is methodologically individualist. An issue with libertarianism on the economic front is that it does not separate people from the market so much as other philosophies do. Other philosophies tend to have the market be very separate from the people as an impersonal force, libertarians tend to emphasize the market as an interpersonal force, as found with the idea of the "invisible hand", and Hayek's desire to rename market economics "catallactics" because of the ideas of exchange and interpersonal connectivity. This difference constitutes a major one between libertarians and non-libertarians.



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02 Aug 2008, 11:55 pm

Personally I am against libertarianism as it doesn't coincide with many of my beliefs, but I do like some aspects. I do like some sense of individuality but it stresses it too much that I'm put off by it.


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03 Aug 2008, 12:09 am

oscuria wrote:
Personally I am against libertarianism as it doesn't coincide with many of my beliefs, but I do like some aspects. I do like some sense of individuality but it stresses it too much that I'm put off by it.

well, I kinda agree with you there, which it doesn't seem to go with my idealism, which is based mostly on (social) liberalism, although social democracy doesn't sound that bad to me, perhaps I am in-between.


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Orwell
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03 Aug 2008, 6:59 am

Another thing going for libertarianism could be its elegant simplicity.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z1buym2xUM[/youtube]

The entire philosophy can be summed up in a single "rule:" You can do anything you like as long as you don't hurt anyone else.

That one rule also seems to appeal to a sense of fairness, which arguably might be somewhat stronger in Aspies.


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Hector
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03 Aug 2008, 7:49 am

dongiovanni wrote:
Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed a lot of Libertarianism/Objectivism/Anarcho-Capitalism running around on WP? Can anyone explain this trend? Does it have to do with individualism perhaps?

BTW, if someone says "Because it's the most logical.", I will trout slap you. Don't test me.

Libertarianism is also popular on most of the other internet forums I go to, so I doubt it has much if anything to do with AS. I can only guess it's due to the majority demographic I typically see - young people from the United States with upper-to-middle-class backgrounds. I can see that being a strong pool for libertarian organisations of various kinds, relatively speaking.

As someone who has lived happily and comfortably under more left-wing governments than that of the United States, it's always looked fairly ludicrous to me to be quite honest. I see phrases like "personal liberties", "small government", and "free market" and I don't need to read anyone's book to see how they inherently conflict with one another.



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03 Aug 2008, 9:27 am

@ Orwell - This thing that confuses me about that video, and Libertarianism in general really, is how that kind of thinking will naturally lead to unions. But most libertarians appear to be opposed to unions, which seems highly inconsistent. I just don't see how someone can be for personal liberty and against both government regulation and unions.


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slowmutant
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03 Aug 2008, 9:33 am

It seems to me that Libertarianism has no legally mandated concern for others, which great if you're a douchebag.



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03 Aug 2008, 1:06 pm

@Speckles: Re:Unions. Libertarianism is a very individualistic philosophy, so many libertarians probably don't like the idea of a group like a union, with their insistence on "collective bargaining" and their roots in the Communist Revolutionary movement. Unions tend to stand for collectivism rather than individualism, and unions as they are currently constituted often do not give members the freedom of association that libertarians would promote- eg, there are many places where you must join a particular union in order to be employed there. This goes against libertarian principles such as voluntary association. However, I would have nothing against truly voluntary workers' associations that attempt to intermediate between groups of workers and their employers. However, such an ideal group is very different from the unions in existence today. Also, unions attempt to establish labor market monopoly power, and the downward inflexibility of prices that they caused were part of the reason for the breakdown of the classical model and Say's law. Unions attempt to restrict the freedom of employment of workers who do not desire to belong to that particular union and in general attempt to introduce non-market forces into the labor market.

Basically, unions really don't stand for personal liberty, and neither do government regulations. so there is nothing inconsistent in being for personal liberty and against unions. Now, if one were for legally banning unions, that would contradict libertarian views. But workers must be free to enter into any voluntary association and to not have attempts to get a job interfered with by third parties, and employers have the right to choose who they do or do not want to employ. If workers can have unions, employers can choose not to hire union workers.

Also, one interesting aspect of libertarianism is that a libertarian will tend to want to allow things they do not support. I don't support drug use, or even the consumption of alcohol, but I am for the decriminalization of drugs because my own ideas of what is or is not a good idea don't need to be the rules that everyone must live by. Similarly, I don't think unions are a good idea (they end up hurting workers more than they help, and cause problems for businesses and consumers) but I think people should still be free to form and join unions if they so choose.


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dongiovanni
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03 Aug 2008, 1:13 pm

Orwell,
You will receive your trout slap in the mail.

NeantHumain,
I agree wholeheartedly. Of course, I am a Marxist-Leninist, so the red-baiting will probably start shortly. But it seems to me like a pseudo-intellectual ideal that holds government as evil. Of course, libertarians often have (a) very little understanding of economics, (b) even less understanding of law, and (c) no codified ethical system. I feel like it's a process of wrongly applying a philosophical ideal when it doesn't work out practically. History backs me up: the "socialist" strivings of the New Deal (which weren't socialist, but welfare-capitalist) brought unemployment down 10% in four years while giving the GDP a rise that exceed the rise during Reagan's infamous seven years. Also note that every country that has employed nationalised or socialised medicine has seen a significant increase in the life expectancy. By contrast, Andrew Jackson, champion of the free market, refused to charter a Second National Bank after the statutory end of the First National Bank came and distributed the funds to private banks, which caused one of the worst economic panics in U.S. History, rivalled only by the "Great" Depression of '29 (of course, the Specie Circular didn't help either). Moreover, once one comes to the realisation that morality is simply a measure of maximising happiness (long live J.S. Mill and J.S. Bach, both of whom increase my Hedonae), the axiomatic nature of Libertarianism falls because it is not necessarily true the Libertarianism increases happiness as I have explained above.

Awesomelyglorious,
Good explanation. I think you summed up the link between AS and Libertarianism. I think that all of these reasons are a bit silly, but that's because I believe that the problems with conformity and authoritarianism come from our plutocratic system which Libertarianism only serves to exacerbate. There other stuff I addressed above.

greenblue,
I would go on my rant about how social freedom and economic freedom are incompatible, but I'll just use a sentence or two. Libertarianism fosters plutocracy, which takes a specific interest in abridging the people's rights.

Orwell (again),
I'm sorry, but "fairness", "justice", and what not are crocks in my opinion. Tit-for-tat (fairness) is exceedingly sub-optimal and "to each his due" (justice), arbitrary. I also watched your video, which cites Lockean values of Life, Liberty, and Property (the infamous "LLP"). The two main problem I have with this is that it does not understand social contract at all and has no real ethical weight. Social Contract is an abridgement of the state of nature. In nature, one's LLP are unprotected. A person has those rights, but they can only guarantee those rights by their own strength. When society comes together under the institution of the state, we abridge rights so that those rights can be guaranteed. To do this requires the state to make judgements in a hierarchical value system as to which rights to protect. For example, one's liberty is protected from those who would abridge it via kidnapping, unlawful restraint, etc. However, liberty is abridged by the state when one's actions impinge upon another's natural rights. To do this requires the state to act as an administrative body, which has economic costs. This necessitates taxation, which is an abridgement of the natural right to property. Such abridgements are necessary on any social scale to keep the system going, but if LLP are axiomatic rights, this creates an inherent contradiction: how can the government abridge natural rights to maintain them? The answer is usually that this is a small infraction to prevent larger infractions. The problem here is that we now see that "natural" rights are not axiomatic, but practical. In doing this, we create a complex value hierarchy to try to be most ethical. This hierarchy is anything but elegant or simple. There is, however, a very reasonable alternative. Rights to LLP serve to maximise happiness, so why not make happiness the value instead of LLP. That's the second problem I have: LLP has not inherent moral weight. I don't believe in entitlement; I believe in utility. So the purpose of government is to maximise pleasure and minimise harm. Thus, abridging rights is justified of greater happiness can be achieved with these rights being abridged than without. I still maintain that autonomy is the "natural" state of things and must be considered "default" (meaning the burden of proof lies with he who wished to intervene), but I think to hold autonomy as an axiomatic value is silly indeed.

slowmutant,
Not the most lengthy and exhaustive of explanations, but yeah, that too.


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dongiovanni
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03 Aug 2008, 1:19 pm

Re: Unions

There are two kinds of unions: business unions and socialist unions. Business unions are entities which try to derive profit from the employers, and they are to some extent Bourgeois (although I still support their struggle against the actual Bourgeoisie). Socialist unions are less bureaucratic and more geared toward the working class due to their understanding of class conflict. There are almost none of these.


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03 Aug 2008, 1:24 pm

dongiovanni, I may have a simpler understanding of Libertarianism but what little I understand does not appeal to me. I think it's an inherently selfish system. And isn't just a trumped-up version of Anarchy?



dongiovanni
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03 Aug 2008, 1:25 pm

slowmutant wrote:
dongiovanni, I may have a simpler understanding of Libertarianism but what little I understand does not appeal to me. I think it's an inherently selfish system.


I wasn't putting you down. Sorry if it seemed that way.


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