Much like arguing with Religionists, Libertarians don't seem to need to have facts. Simple ideas and rhetoric is all that you need. I've hammered on the free capitalism arguments they make. If you take it to it's end, either you have too much government or two little and we never have the right mix to show where capitalism works. We are looking for friggin Goldilocks on all issues only we can't ever find the "just right" example of Libertarianism working. I have a Facebook friend whom I like. But he has 1800 FB friends and it's a Libertarian Hive Mind on his page. He posted a question today. There were 15 answers of bullshit. One of the persons had posted three times. I post the likely answer to his question, and the circle of denial starts all over again.
If you are a Libertarian, you should ask yourself this question. Am I arguing based on historical evidence, or wish thinking? If you are an Atheist you undoubtedly are choosing to live based on reality. The following has been altered to the relevant posts, but is an example of being dishonest with one's self. Consistently, this is what I run into with Libertarians. Facts... don't need those, I have ideology! It's as much a douche move as denying science and accepting religion.
On a large scale, libertarianism (which didn't exist until the 20th century) has not been tried. Classical Liberalism, libertarianism predecessor, had limited successes and while it influenced historical patterns of the last 200 years, it was not the only ideology influencing state actions and never had an ideological monopoly anywhere. I know many An-Caps cite the Icelandic Commonwealth as an example of a past libertarian society but I honestly don't know much about that historical period so i couldn't say. I will have to check that out for you to see how legit that is. The internet, though a government invention (a Pentagon one at that!), has been somewhat of a libertarian society in it's own unique way. Private sites set their own rules and people come and go as they please based on their likes, dislikes, reputations of sites, etc... I'd count that as pretty libertarian.
If you were to ask a libertarian to get to the point on what they advocate, they would say something along the lines of "a society where as many forms of human association should be as voluntary as much as possible." There's nothing sinister or evil in wanting a society where our interactions are purely of a voluntary nature (so long as we're not infringing on anyone's life, liberty, or property). We merely recognize that we have no right to tell other people what to do or what morals to live by, or what they should do with their money/property and ask for the same respect from them in turn. For all practical purposes, it's the same as the Golden Rule of treating others how you would want to be treated.
Wherever there are any number of people interacting voluntarily there is an example of libertarianism.
Honestly, I don't understand all the hatred and vile language poured out at Libertarians on this thread.
-Almost all Atheists I know outside of ThinkAtheist are Libertarians. Among political groups, Libertarians are probably the most friendly toward Atheists in my experience (b/c so many Libertarians seem to be Atheists mainly).
-Libertarians and Atheists are natural allies on political issues such as Seperation of Church and State, and their opposition to government legislating religious values.
All this hate toward libertarian is irrational. It'd be just as irrational if it came from a Libertarian, or any other, forum directed at another group. When you group and entire people together and start promulgating hateful stereotypes about that group and demonizing and dehumanizing them then rationality and reason fly straight out the window.
All? There wasn't a single valid or reasonable point to dislike Libertarianism made in the entire thread? Or were you using hyperbole?
And where was the demonizing and dehumanizing, exactly? More hyperbole?
While many Libertarians may have large numbers of atheists or atheist friendly persons, I see that as no reason to accept what I view as a seriously flawed world view. They don't get a free pass on every issue because we share a non-belief.
You can disagree with my stance which I am more than happy to explain so you can understand my political point of view but the whole emotional aspect of this thread, specifically the dehumanizing/demonizing of "the Libertarian" is just completely distasteful to me. There's no desire to understand of have Libertarians explain themselves on this thread: too many straight attacks and hate, and not enough free inquiry on this thread to make this discussion rational IMHO.
"Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind."
If you are so happy to explain and discuss, then why did you completely ignore my questions? So far you are crying victim and not taking a chance to get into the discussion that you claim to want. If these so-called "dehumanizing" attacks are so severe, then why post at all? Isn't that painting a target on yourself for dehumanification?
It might be important to consider that it was interaction that got me to the position that I'm in. It was a desire to see something different (besides repubs and demos) that led me to join with another guy in promoting Libertarianism on Facebook with a group. Consistently as the group grew we moved away from having government only where needed to arguing for the rights of businesses to discriminate or pay any wage. There are historical reasons these things changed.
The real dehumanization comes from the support of the rights of a piece of paper or ideals over the proper way to protect humans. Slavery would not have ended without government for example. For proof, ask what countries have laws against it, and what countries still have slavery.
The ideal is fine and appealing to me as well, only in rational doses. Turning the ideal into a religion (no evidence required for advocation of a position) is where it becomes distasteful.
Slavery is inconsistent with Libertarian principles. It is pretty much the most un-Libertarian thing there is. The axiom from which libertarianism draws all its' positions and stances is the principle of self-ownership. (From wikipedia: "Self-ownership is the concept of property in one's own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to be the exclusive controller of her or his own body and life.")
In a Libertarian society, there would be a minimal government protecting everyone's life, liberty, or property.
You aren't describing any government in practice. The reason is because it doesn't work. It's great to write about, but what happens is the government seeks to have the minimum government. Then someone takes advantage of their neighbor, because they can. So now someone else is being deprived so we need a new rule. This continues until the original premise is no longer held. Communism has a beautiful premise as well in everyone helping each other. Neither system addresses human nature to what to just do better than their neighbor and feel special. Too many rules, or too few, someone ends up being the victim.
RD, when you are talking to people who are not familiar with Libertarian philosophy and Objectivism, or are quasi familiar and are coming from the outside, using such ideal language does not help the cause, at least, without acknowledging it to be such. One of the major issues that I have with libertarian leaders and Objectivism today is that they are not applying it to real world issues. For example, the healthcare bill. To say we don't like it is not acceptable. Objectivism, like free thought, is a nuanced philosophy. There are many good parts of the healthcare bill that deserve attention and can be reconciled within Libertarian mindframes quite easily and might make us look a little more sane.
I apologize in advance for the length of this reply, but I had to get this out. If you can stick with it to the end, I thank you.
It's so funny that I come across this post right now. I was talking to my girlfriend about this earlier today, albeit from a different angle. I happen to subscribe to Objectivism. She does not. We get along great. I do not think it is necessary to read Atlas Shrugged in order to understand it, but I do love that book. However, the fifty page speech by John Galt is in essence her philosophy in monologue form, and if you can find a copy in the bookstore, it's worth sitting down for a half an hour to look over. You also have to understand where Ayn was coming from biographically. She grew up watching the Socialist revolution thrust an entire nation of people into poverty before emigrating to America. Being a Russian, she probably constantly had to PROVE she was not a communist, and to this degree she perhaps overcompensated. Her goals in writing The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged were the same as many socialist authors who put their politics into story form. It is not unusual. If I were to want to introduce someone to Objectivism however, I would offer one of her collections of essays, like "Virtue of Selfishness" or "Introduction to Objectivism." You know who should be ignored when, if you ask them about their philosophy, hand you the equivalent of the Da Vinci code. It's fiction. Give her a little credit, guys.
Let me state this right now. These modern "libertarians" for the most part are not objectivists in any sense of the word. Glenn Beck calls himself a libertarian- yea, the guy who said tithe your churches. Atheism is a huge part of Objectivism, and those that preach this producer/leecher mentality the loudest, much like those who bash homosexuality the loudest, are often the biggest leeches.
I do think that Libertarianism or Objectivism is in serious need of reform. Ayn died in 1982 and was scornful of many conservatives and what her own movement had become. There has been no major innovation since her passing in her field, nobody to improve upon it, or update it with the times, and it is painfully obvious. Nathaniel Branden, her intellectual heir/open affair lover and her had a falling out, and nobody has really stepped up to the plate to take the mantle. Rand Paul comes out and says he would have voted against the Civil Rights act of 1969 because it would violate private business rights. When I heard that, my first reaction was, "COME ON!" Not because of the blatant surface racism it represents, but because I immediately recognized the argument as a hackneyed, poorly represented rip from one of Ayn's essays written in the early seventies! It's a good argument and interesting to consider, but pitifully outdated at best. I find most people claiming themselves to be libertarians today to be mediocre in expressing ideas and production themselves.
I have a few ideas as to how we could take steps towards a smaller government, but it is easily a twenty year process, and we have gone so far in the opposite direction since Rand was writing, that to listen to anybody think they can just overturn public schooling to privatization in a four year term makes me shudder. Some premises that have been put forward so far in the comments need to be corrected before I outline some ideas.
1. We do not live in free market capitalism. This country never was a free market. It was always designed as a mixed economy. A free market is secular from government intervention much like religion.
2. This BP oil spill is NOT an example of free market capitalism run amuck. It is quite the opposite. It is fascistic capitalism run amuck. BP much like other oil companies have specifically rigged the mixed economy to allow themselves to skip out on safety regulations. "Well who puts the safety regulations in there if not the government?" Tranquilo. I will get to that, but I'm just putting it out there that the government's fingerprints are all over the scene of the crime.
3. Economically, Libertarians are not hardcore Republicans. Republicans make back door deals with companies to use the leverage of the government to inhibit competition and create monopolies. Libertarians find that repulsive.
4. It is not “out of the goodness” of their hearts that businesses pay people a living wage in Objectivist society. It is what they feel the work is worth to them. I think that is fair. Ayn Rand actually supported unions, as long as it is a collective of individuals coming together to negotiate for better conditions and pay.
5. Objectivism, does not, under any circumstance, advocate NO TAXES, or NO GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS. That is propaganda. What it does advocate is a voluntary tax system. Now, I know… this sounds ridiculous at first. My first reaction when I read it was, “get the hell out of here.” But think about where voluntary tax is already implemented, and how you might have already contributed. Lotteries, credit transactions, are a couple of examples. We are human beings. I’m sure we can figure out a few more ways to implement voluntary taxes that can keep a functioning government going that would be in the self-interest of citizens to participate, rather than grumble every April. Now the modern sound bited Libertarian will say, “I want a voluntary tax so I don’t have to give a penny to Obamacare!” And make us all look silly. I honestly don’t like taxes because I am repulsed by the idea that sixty cents out of every dollar I give to the government is going to the military on wars I don’t support like Gaytor mentioned earlier. I would rather that money go towards education, grants, scholarships, science research, etc. Now admittedly, this idea itself has become somewhat outdated due to the direction of the country, but I just wanted to correct the notion that we wanted to privatize everything. We believe in government too! Also, Teddy Roosevelt is one of my heroes- Favorite president by far.
6. This came up early with Cara- the notion of good and evil. Randian philosophy flips this notion on its head. She strips away the idea of conventional morality, and comes about it this way: That which is arrived at rationally is good, as it is formed in a healthy human mind, and that which is arrived at irrationally is formed in an unhealthy mind and therefore evil. We would agree on many of the behaviors you listed as evil. But it’s an important distinction to be made. She explains this very well in Virtue of Selfishness. Objectivism is absolutely self-centered. That is not a bad thing necessarily, as long as it is arrived at rationally. For example… your significant other is dying and you can save him/her. However, it is revealed to you that you can save ten other people instead who are strangers, but you have to make a choice. Objectivism would state: SAVE THE ONE YOU LOVE. Altruism would state: MAKE THE SACRIFICE AND SAVE TEN OTHER PEOPLE. I must confess that I do not feel entirely comfortable summarizing a really great essay in a couple of sentences, the same way I don’t feel comfortable summarizing Laurence Krauss without referring people to his “Universe from Nothing” talk. It’s not that I’m afraid to talk about it. I just think she puts it much more eloquently than I can in a discussion board.
7. Objectivism does not hold anything against emotions. We recognize emotions are a large part of the human condition. Objectivism does argue against acting based on emotions without an examination of a situation. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.
Rocio, I am absolutely willing to have a conversation. This would actually really help me in my quest to try and reform Libertarianism, which it so desperately needs. I have a few ideas moving forward about where we are today and what we can do to help the country. I feel like I should start a new discussion for that however.
I understand that I never answered the question from number 2. I think that is something I will address in the new discussion if you all sincerely want to have it.
First, let me say I hate you and you are a lemur. There, got my hateful dehumanizing out of the way.
I know some Libertarians and not all agree on everything. But, one who I asked to explain it to me preferred to point me towards Atlas Shrugged in order to best understand the philosophy. I have yet to read it just as I have yet to read the Quran. So, I am cherry picking what I disagree with, at first glance, out of your response.
4) Gilded Age. Need I say more? Bloody battles were fought for living wages. They were not awarded out of the kindness of a magnates heart.
5) Voluntary taxes? The main problem I have with Libertarian solutions such as this is that they do not work in the real world. Jeffersonian ideals have many tinges of Libertarianism to them, yet Thomas Jefferson learned the hard way when he tried to implement them during construction and commencement of the University of Virginia. He even went as far as to ban an executive administrator role. Yet, as President, he realized the failings of the self governed and in an amazing breach of power at the time, especially for a Jeffersonian like Jefferson, purchased the Louisiana Territory in a mind blowing act of "extra-Constitutionality".
Basically, the lesson that Jefferson learned (or didn't learn but died disappointed about) is that people do not have it in them to self govern effectively. Voluntary taxes will yield very little in the way of tax revenue.
6) Not all rational conclusions are the best. In fact, I'd challenge the rational conclusion that saving ten strangers is better for me than saving my wife. I find that quite irrational, actually. From an objective standpoint, that may make sense, but rationalism need not always be objective. It is not in my best interest to sacrifice my wife for strangers and it would be irrational for me to do so. I can see where this argument will lead. To point 7!
7) Well, sure it does. It also argues that whatever is in your best interest is best! Unless it is in the best interest of others. Whoa, wait a minute. I smell a contradiction! Care to reconcile the whole "wife sacrificing" thing with the whole "do what is in your own best interest" thing with "voluntary taxes" thing?
4) The gilded age is an excellent example of how working people were shitstomped until they said enough and our work is worth more. It was an absolutely horrible time in which government agents acted on behalf of corporations to undermine unions out of fear of communist revolution. It is a perfect example of fascistic capitalism taking hold until things got so bad that they could not stand behind companies any longer at the risk of losing their own necks. Objectivism states that people need to be in constant negotiation for what their work is worth and fight for it.
5) This has the potential to get really narrow. It was my understanding that Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists were more of the libertarian perspective- arguing that powers of government are limited to what the constitution says, and the Democratic-Republicans led by Jefferson were of the mindset that government can and should do things that the constitution does not specifically forbid. We should probably hash this out in dialogue.
Consider the following proposition on a voluntary tax- every transaction that occurs offers an 8 cents on the dollar court binding charge, every contract some sort of higher rate to be determined, that allows your purchase or your contract to be contestable in public court. Who would not pay for such a service to have an enforcable contract? With the tens of billions of transactions that occur daily... even ten percent of people choosing to purchase the protection adds up to a sizable tax quickly. That's just one way. Perhaps we also use a sliding scale of tax to make sure the rich pay more, so the more expensive the item purchased, the more expensive the protectable contract tax.
6. Re-read my proposition. I say save your wife.
7. It does not argue that. It argues to never live your life for another's sake, nor ask another to live their life for the sake of yours. To be a thug and take from another person is irrational and wrong.
Again, it reconciles, because I say save your wife.