So, what's wrong with Libertarianism?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Tahuti, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    Sure, when they're not enacted by communists. "Socialism" in the case you've described is generally welfare capitalism, a widening of the social responsibility of a still-capitalist state to release the pressure of revolution. The goal of true socialism is communism, and thus a true socialist state is continually working toward its own superfluity. State ownership in the meanwhile is seen as the smallest evil, until such responsibilities can be taken over by the people themselves. When all state duties are taken over by the people, then the need for the state evaporates, and so does the state.

    Such cannot be said to be the purpose behind the capitalist welfare state, and its "socialistic" programs.
     
  2. lovett

    lovett Deity

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    Perhaps there are several different strands of contemporary libertarianism, and its a mistake to lump them all together and generalize about the succeeding lump.
     
  3. Pangur Bán

    Pangur Bán Deconstructed

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    I agree with the first part, but not the others.
     
  4. Tarquelne

    Tarquelne Follower of Tytalus

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    All strands of "libertarianism" aren't made up posers, greed-boxes, or misanthropes. Merely almost all of them.
     
  5. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    While that is true, lumping them together is still something to be guarded against, because those who are not as he suggested are as often worse as better than that.
     
  6. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    Actually, it is the other way around, and to say otherwise would be an intellectual crime comparable of labeling all Marxists as "eggheads". Modern Libertarianism actually descended from various intellectual movements (including 19th century enlightenment thought) that was eventually co-opted by some rich guys, like the Koch's. In fact, most of the super rich and large corporations would actually dread a libertarian world without things like corporate subsidies, government enforcement of intellectual property and all the like. Most billionaires are smart enough to realize that they would lack much the wealth they have without such government policies. Not to mention corporate bailouts. I'm sure GM and CitiBank would love to collapse by the whim of the markets.

    Which is why libertarianism why never catched on to begin with and will probably never catch on ever: The common folk generally dislikes libertarianism, but so does the elite. Which is a shame, since for example calls for simplified regulation to allow individuals to start businesses now carry the stigma of being associated with "Free market nuttery" and thus never catch on until it's far too late, even though that's pretty much the main reason why Western European countries and the USA are far more successful than say India, which suffered from the licence Raj, partially precipitated by its own capitalists, until the (evil) IMF forced India to deregulate to the benefit of the country's populace itself. Then again, Libertarianism should never be adopted 1:1, but like every almost every movement, it offers quite a few useful ideas, despite going too far, as every movement does. Now that's what's wrong with Libertarianism.
     
  7. Lone Wolf

    Lone Wolf Deity

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    That's correct. These super-rich and large corporations like to use elements of libertarian discourse to justify themselves, though, as libertarian Kevin Carson famously pointed out.
     
  8. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Most rich people are not the CEO of CitiBank. Most of them are what the American right, die-hard illiterates as usual, call "small businessmen", by which they mean the owner-proprietors of various regional or specialist firms, in fields such as construction, engineering or law, who despite their wealth and power remain distant enough from national and international elites to be convinced that they represent "the little man". Its these people to whom libertarianism appeals, and their discontents who it expresses.
     
  9. lovett

    lovett Deity

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    Well, in that case I look forward to your analysis of how it is that Robert Nozick's championship of right-libertarianism in the locus classicus in that field can be dismissed as motivated by 'pernicious self-serving interest'. It's not entirely clear to me what a successful philosophy professor has to gain from the night watchmen state - especially when his prior success lies in epistemology. You can follow up this interesting thesis by explaining why Michael Otsuka's subtle version of left-libertarianism is a mere 'popular intellectualization of popular anti-government sentiment'. For I don't see how Otsuka's insightful rejection of extensive world-ownership principles can be extracted from any sentiment found in popular discourse - anti-government or otherwise.

    Of course, I trust you are entirely familiar with these defining strands in the libertarian tradition. For if not, how could you ever be so confident as to make the generalizations you have doubled down on?
     
  10. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    That's largely true. However, compared to figures like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, they aren't really that influential, and even as a collective, their influence is dwarfed by that of large corporations. Besides, libertarianism as a "popular" movement would have died long ago if they were the only group that supported libertarianism. Quite a few libertarians are actually decently salaried workers and one-man enterprises. And there are enough libertarians (think of that Justin Raimondo guy) for whom economics is just a side-issue.
     
  11. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    Indeed. There are the left-libertarians, the original libertarians. The ones who actually oppose authority.
     
  12. Azurian

    Azurian The Azurian

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    What is the stance concerning polygamy and having multiple lovers with Libertarians?
     
  13. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    that it's fine

    edit: unless you mean polygamism's stance with having multiple libertarian lovers. In that case, perhaps not :p
     
  14. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    Objectivists are worse.
     
  15. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    You're assuming, here, that libertarianism is both popular and influential, but I don't think it's either. A lot of American conservatives have added a more pronouncedly anti-federal, anti-tax inflection to their rhetoric, but that does not imply meaningful participation in or even influence by a libertarian movement.
     
  16. Pangur Bán

    Pangur Bán Deconstructed

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    Believe it or not Libertarianism isn't the only intellectualization in the history of human beings, so is Liberalism, Marxism, or indeed any particular form of Christianity you find at any place and time. Marxism for instance is an intellectualization of tensions new to a particular form of socio-economic organization in the 18th/19th century. The ideas Marx et al had are very interesting, but peasants don't rise up because of the particulars of such ideas, the important point is that Marxism delegitimizes the social order of the time and weakens the rival ideology behind it. Likewise Libertarianism is not significant for any particulars of the ideas argued or held by people claiming to be proponents, but for.how it is used more widely.
     
  17. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    I didn't, hence the scare quotes round the word 'popular'. However, it owes much of its visibility from the fact its supported slightly more widely than you seem to suggest.
     
  18. lovett

    lovett Deity

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    So I take you to be saying two things here.

    Firstly, you want to defend your use of the word 'intellectualization'. Your defence is a little remarkable: you defend it by saying well nigh every tradition in political philosophy is an 'intellectualization'. Marxism, Liberalism, even any form of christianity. Now, if this is the case (an unlikely 'if') I'll just point out you shouldn't use the word 'intellectualization' as a slur, unless you mean to slur all political traditions equally.

    Secondly, you want to defend you ignorance about the actual content of libertarian thinking. Here, your line of argument seems to be that the ideas extant in libertarian thought simply do not matter. We should only be interested in the role libertarianism plays in popular political culture. I assume here you want to allude to your assertion that libertarianism is solely the preserve of rich people trying to defend their own interests. This is how you think libertarianism works in political sociology and the political sociology, so you are saying, is all we should care about.

    Of course, that alone wouldn't make your ignorance defensible: it might be that acquaintance with the content of libertarian thought helps us understand the sociology of libertarianism. So you need a supporting point: namely, that 'peasants don't rise up because of the particulars of ideas'. Of course, in the western world we are not dealing with what peasants do, so I suppose you just must think people in general don't do anything because of ideas. Without this point the fact that the political sociology of libertarianism (i.e. its role in popular culture) is something we should be interested in wouldn't mean we should ignore that ideas extant in libertarianism, for those ideas would effect the sociology.

    So by unpacking your position I have made it fairly explicit. I've done that because, when made explicit, it is clearly pretty dubious. Your (much needed) supporting point, that people don't do anything because of ideas, is probably false. There are many events in history in which 'ideas' seemed to have a considerable influence. But I don't want to spend much time talking about this: I'm not a sociologist (and there are a lot of Marxists in the neighbourhood).

    Importantly, your main thesis is that we should only be interested in political sociology. I do not know why you believe this, but I think it is certainly not true. There are plenty of reasons why we should be interested in ideas themselves, and the main one is whether we should believe them or not. For it matters a great deal - to us- if we should believe libertarianism. That is why the thread you are posting in is called 'What's Wrong with Libertarianism?'. This is a question about what is wrong about libertarian ideas. Saying 'Libertarians are typically greedy' is not an appropriate response, because it does not tell us much of anything about why we should not believe libertarianism (lots of greedy people believe true things). To stress, an interest in political sociology on its own will not discharge this crucial interest of ours: believing only those things we have reason to believe.

    Now, I see why you have a problem with this. To decide what is wrong with libertarianism -why we shouldn't believe it in any of its forms- one actually has to know something about libertarian thought. One has to know what libertarians have said, what arguments they have used to support their positions and -indeed- what the content of libertarianism actually is. All those things you have dismissed as the irrelevant 'particulars of ideas'. Unfortunately, here your ignorance really does get in the way: without knowing those things you aren't fit to say much about of anything about this facet of the discussion. And 'much of anything' does, of course, include unwarranted generalizations.
     
  19. Part_Time_Civer

    Part_Time_Civer Warlord

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    Please do me the courtesy to tell me which part I "made up".
     
  20. Part_Time_Civer

    Part_Time_Civer Warlord

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    I'm talking about dictionary definitions, not my personal opinion.
     

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