To kick things off - Libertarianism. Discuss. ;-)

With respect to Terp.

 Stir it up. Or not...


Do we have to stay on topic?


My original, unedited thread title was something along the lines of, “seems just selfish”, but I thought it would be more generous not to start that way, so no.


Really, my disagreement with libertarianism just comes down to two points:

- Terp put it well in one post, along the lines of libertarians believe in negative rights (freedom from interference) but not positive rights (rights other are obligated to provide). I disagree -- I think being a human being means inextricably being enmeshed in a social framework, and this means you have claims on other people, and other people have claims on you.

- Private property. From what I understand, most libertarians see property rights as fundamental rights. I don't. Property is a useful tool for organizing things, but I certainly don't see it as a right. It's an attribute of our current culture, but I don't think it's anything on the level of a fundamental right.

That's really it. Pretty much every argument I've ever had with terp can be derived from disagreement on those two points.


Can always count on you, PVW, for a thoughtful post. 

It struck me as odd, the greater focus on property rights over individual or human rights during last summer’s protests, and yes, isolated riots.


PVW: “I think being a human being means inextricably being enmeshed in a social framework, and this means you have claims on other people, and other people have claims on you.”


Wholeheartedly agree.

It seems libertarians must draw the line much more discretely at themselves or their immediate families?


Libertarians think that society would be self-organizing and would just naturally turn into the fairest of all societies because libertarian thought is so pure.


Libertarian or contrarian?


ml1 said:

Libertarian or contrarian?

 Hmm...


I see Libertarianism as focusing on the human drive for competition, while Communism focuses on the human drive for cooperation.

I don't think either can be a successful society on it's own, because the existence of humanity relies on a mix of both.


I think what is called "Libertarianism" is a narrow view of the purpose and benefits of government.  And, that narrow view is based on the viewer's perception of what "benefits" they get, and what "benefits" go to others.


Why are there no libertarian countries? If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early twenty-first century is organized along libertarian lines?

If libertarianism was a good idea, wouldn’t at least one country have tried it? Wouldn’t there be at least one country, out of nearly two hundred, with minimal government, free trade, open borders, decriminalized drugs, no welfare state and no public education system?


It's a form of Utopianism. 

Libertarians can be a positive force in supporting Civil Liberties, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, etc.; or a negative force in opposing Governmental protection of vulnerable members of society.

The only totally Libertarian or Anarchist society I know of exists in the Science Fiction novel "The Dispossessed" by Ursula LeGuin. And the society is on its own planet!  


There is a lot with which "Progressives" could agree.

https://www.lp.org/platform/

And then there is:

https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/dielo-truda-workers-cause-organisational-platform-of-the-libertarian-communists

3. Anarchists and libertarian communism

The class struggle created by the enslavement of workers and their aspirations to liberty gave birth, in the oppression, to the idea of anarchism: the idea of the total negation of a social system based on the principles of classes and the State, and its replacement by a free non-statist society of workers under self-management.

So anarchism does not derive from the abstract reflections of an intellectual or a philosopher, but from the direct struggle of workers against capitalism, from the needs and necessities of the workers, from their aspirations to liberty and equality, aspirations which become particularly alive in the best heroic period of the life and struggle of the working masses.

The outstanding anarchist thinkers, Bakunin, Kropotkin and others, did not invent the idea of anarchism, but, having discovered it in the masses, simply helped by the strength of their thought and knowledge to specify and spread it.

Anarchism is not the result of personal efforts nor the object of individual researches.

Similarly, anarchism is not the product of humanitarian aspirations. A single humanity does not exist. Any attempt to make of anarchism an attribute of all present day humanity, to attribute to it a general humanitarian character would be a historical and social lie which would lead inevitably to the justification of the status quo and of a new exploitation.

Anarchism is generally humanitarian only in the sense that the ideas of the masses tend to improve the lives of all men, and that the fate of today’s or tomorrow’s humanity is inseparable from that of exploited labour. If the working masses are victorious, all humanity will be reborn; if they are not, violence, exploitation, slavery and oppression will reign as before in the world.

The birth, the blossoming, and the realisation of anarchist ideas have their roots in the life and life and the struggle of the working masses and are inseparably bound to their fate.

Anarchism wants to transform the present bourgeois capitalist society into a society which assures the workers the products of their labours, their liberty, independence, and social and political equality. This other society will be libertarian communism, in which social solidarity and free individuality find their full expression, and in which these two ideas develop in perfect harmony.

Libertarian communism believes that the only creator of social value is labour, physical or intellectual, and consequently only labour has the right to manage social and economic life. Because of this, it neither defends nor allows, in any measure, the existence of non-working classes.

Insofar as these classes exist at the same time as libertarian communism the latter will recognise no duty towards them. This will cease when the non-working classes decide to become productive and want to live in a communist society under the same conditions as everyone else, which is that of free members of the society, enjoying the same rights and duties as all other productive members.

Libertarian communism wants to end all exploitation and violence whether it be against individuals or the masses of the people. To this end, it will establish an economic and social base which will unite all sections of the community, assuring each individual an equal place among the rest, and allowing each the maximum well-being. The base is the common ownership of all the means and instruments of production (industry, transport, land, raw materials, etc.) and the building of economic organisations on the principles of equality and self-management of the working classes.

Within the limits of this self-managing society of workers, libertarian communism establishes the principle of the equality of value and rights of each individual (not individuality “in general,” nor of “mystic individuality,” nor the concept of individuality, but each real, living, individual).


STANV said:

It's a form of Utopianism. 

Libertarians can be a positive force in supporting Civil Liberties, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, etc.; or a negative force in opposing Governmental protection of vulnerable members of society.

The only totally Libertarian or Anarchist society I know of exists in the Science Fiction novel "The Dispossessed" by Ursula LeGuin. And the society is on its own planet!  

 I'm a huge LeGuin fan. You can actually get the text of The Dispossessed online in a few places, eg http://libcom.org/library/dispossessed-ursula-le-guin

An important difference between anarchists and libertarians is of course the concept of private property.

I think utopianism has value in reflecting our world back to us in a new way, even if it's not actually workable in practice. My sympathies incline a lot more toward the anarchist utopia than to the libertarian one.


That reads like Anarchists trying to pull together enough support from Libertarians and Communists. But I think people who identify as "Libertarian" in the US tend to support "Free Markets" which tend to result in the advantaged and lucky being in the upper classes, and the disadvantaged and unlucky in the working class and poverty class. So, I don't think they would agree with this Communist ideal:

Libertarian communism believes that the only creator of social value is labour, physical or intellectual, and consequently only labour has the right to manage social and economic life. Because of this, it neither defends nor allows, in any measure, the existence of non-working classes.

The Libertarian Communists were writing almost 100 years ago.

Some of today's Libertarians seem to have "evolved" from being Conservatives. 


STANV said:

It's a form of Utopianism. 

Libertarians can be a positive force in supporting Civil Liberties, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, etc.; or a negative force in opposing Governmental protection of vulnerable members of society.

The only totally Libertarian or Anarchist society I know of exists in the Science Fiction novel "The Dispossessed" by Ursula LeGuin. And the society is on its own planet!  

a lot of liberals are ACLU members who support all of those freedoms.  So while I like that libertarians are on the same side of those issues, their existence isn't necessary to push those ideas.

another negative is in the area of environmental regulation.  I haven't met anyone who calls themselves libertarian who thinks the government should be regulating businesses to protect the air, water, land and natural resources.  As if the market will force businesses to be responsible and move toward clean environmental practices.  And I suppose the flip side of that is if consumers don't make choices to force businesses into good environmental practices, then it's actually not in the best interests of a society for government to force it.

But we've certainly seen all over the world what happens in places that don't have environmental regulation.  They literally become poisonous landscapes if it's in the interests of businesses to pollute.


ml1 said:

a lot of liberals are ACLU members who support all of those freedoms.  So while I like that libertarians are on the same side of those issues, their existence isn't necessary to push those ideas.


Sometimes their support is helpful. Some of them are very active in Criminal Justice Reform-Alternatives to Imprisonment.


STANV said:

ml1 said:

a lot of liberals are ACLU members who support all of those freedoms.  So while I like that libertarians are on the same side of those issues, their existence isn't necessary to push those ideas.

Sometimes their support is helpful. Some of them are very active in Criminal Justice Reform-Alternatives to Imprisonment.

 all support is helpful.  But if there were no libertarians in the U.S., there would be plenty of progressives and liberals working on those issues, as well as some old-school conservatives.  On balance, I'm not sure it's worth the influence some of their dogmatic ideas about "freedom" have had in this country over the past couple of decades.


PVW said:

Really, my disagreement with libertarianism just comes down to two points:

- Terp put it well in one post, along the lines of libertarians believe in negative rights (freedom from interference) but not positive rights (rights other are obligated to provide). I disagree -- I think being a human being means inextricably being enmeshed in a social framework, and this means you have claims on other people, and other people have claims on you.

- Private property. From what I understand, most libertarians see property rights as fundamental rights. I don't. Property is a useful tool for organizing things, but I certainly don't see it as a right. It's an attribute of our current culture, but I don't think it's anything on the level of a fundamental right.

That's really it. Pretty much every argument I've ever had with terp can be derived from disagreement on those two points.

 

-Regarding your first point. I would agree, as would every libertarian I know that being human involves being enmeshed in a social framework.  I don't know if I'd say "claims on other people", but certainly we would rely on one another.  Where a progressive and a libertarian may part ways is that the libertarian would expect all of that to be voluntary.  We cooperate where our interests align.  We exchange with one another where it is mutually beneficial.  We help our neighbors as we see fit through charity.  The progressives want to initiate force to ensure society can make claims on you.


-Regarding property rights. Your property is a product of your labor.   This is your time an effort. It is an extension of you.  While you are free to exchange in property, nobody else should be able to lay claim on your property or the fruits of your labor.  


drummerboy said:

Libertarians think that society would be self-organizing and would just naturally turn into the fairest of all societies because libertarian thought is so pure.

 While liberty can be messy, it is really much less destructive than government.  Think about how much of wealth is used to produce machines of murder.   Think about how ubiquitous this activity is.  We bomb every day and it doesn't even get a mention in the news.  

While individuals can certainly be selfish, they are not likely to be able to muster such destruction.  I cannot support the evil described in the prior paragraph.   

What you are alluding to(you are making a charicature of it)is the idea of spontaneous order. This is a phenomenon we see all the time.  People will cooperate in their own self interest to provide enormous value.  I think this has been brought up on this board prior, but I'll post it anyway as it is a really good illustration of this phenomenon:


The amazing thing is how difficult it is to centrally plan thse complex arrangements.  However, it the free market it just happens. 


jamie said:

Why are there no libertarian countries? If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early twenty-first century is organized along libertarian lines?

If libertarianism was a good idea, wouldn’t at least one country have tried it? Wouldn’t there be at least one country, out of nearly two hundred, with minimal government, free trade, open borders, decriminalized drugs, no welfare state and no public education system?

 Most of Western Civilization has involved a small percentage of society aka the ruling class ruling over the masses.  This was true in monarchies, in communist societies and even in this country.   The question you should ask yourself is why would these people cede power in such a way.  

Libertarianism exits on a continuum.  I do not expect to ever live in a purely libertarian society.  The idea is to move the needle in that direction and away from centralized power.


sprout said:

I see Libertarianism as focusing on the human drive for competition, while Communism focuses on the human drive for cooperation.

I don't think either can be a successful society on it's own, because the existence of humanity relies on a mix of both.

 Interesting that in a libertarian society you would be free to create a commune & live the dream of cooperation and communal existence.  The opposite is not possible.


STANV said:

The Libertarian Communists were writing almost 100 years ago.

Some of today's Libertarians seem to have "evolved" from being Conservatives. 

There is a mix of libertarian backgrounds. I think they come from both the left and the right.  Its usually one issue that gets them thinking along these lines.  For many its anti-war(many of those come from the left see Scott Horton), and for others its economics and many come from the right(Tom Woods), for some its drugs(usually the left), for others its gun rights(typically the right).

Interestingly, I will see eye to eye on a lot more with an ardent leftist than I will with a progressive.  That is typically because the leftist is at least red pilled so we understand where we are coming from.


ml1 said:

STANV said:

ml1 said:

a lot of liberals are ACLU members who support all of those freedoms.  So while I like that libertarians are on the same side of those issues, their existence isn't necessary to push those ideas.

Sometimes their support is helpful. Some of them are very active in Criminal Justice Reform-Alternatives to Imprisonment.

 all support is helpful.  But if there were no libertarians in the U.S., there would be plenty of progressives and liberals working on those issues, as well as some old-school conservatives.  On balance, I'm not sure it's worth the influence some of their dogmatic ideas about "freedom" have had in this country over the past couple of decades.

 What influence are you referring to?  I hear this refrain often, but all I see is perpetual war, an ever-growing welfare state, and a monetary policy only a drummerboy could love.   All of the major trends are antithetical to a libertarian.  How exactly are we having influence?  


terp said:

PVW said:

Really, my disagreement with libertarianism just comes down to two points:

- Terp put it well in one post, along the lines of libertarians believe in negative rights (freedom from interference) but not positive rights (rights other are obligated to provide). I disagree -- I think being a human being means inextricably being enmeshed in a social framework, and this means you have claims on other people, and other people have claims on you.

- Private property. From what I understand, most libertarians see property rights as fundamental rights. I don't. Property is a useful tool for organizing things, but I certainly don't see it as a right. It's an attribute of our current culture, but I don't think it's anything on the level of a fundamental right.

That's really it. Pretty much every argument I've ever had with terp can be derived from disagreement on those two points.

 

-Regarding your first point. I would agree, as would every libertarian I know that being human involves being enmeshed in a social framework.  I don't know if I'd say "claims on other people", but certainly we would rely on one another.  Where a progressive and a libertarian may part ways is that the libertarian would expect all of that to be voluntary.  We cooperate where our interests align.  We exchange with one another where it is mutually beneficial.  We help our neighbors as we see fit through charity.  The progressives want to initiate force to ensure society can make claims on you.



Yes, the "voluntary" part is a pretty major difference. You don't choose to be born, and even as you grow older and gain more agency, many of the relationships you find yourself in are less voluntary than you're arguing for here. What, precisely, your claims on others and their claims on you are is a very wide open field with plenty of room for disagreement, discussion, and debate, but yeah, this idea that you can just go around and choose your obligations with complete freedom is at the root of where I part ways with libertariaism. Not that I don't see the appeal. I mean, if I the town I grew up in disappeared off the map, I wouldn't shed a tear. But that vision of purely voluntary associations just doesn't line up with any of my lived or observed experience.

-Regarding property rights. Your property is a product of your labor.
This is your time an effort. It is an extension of you. While you are
free to exchange in property, nobody else should be able to lay claim on
your property or the fruits of your labor.

To make that argument work, I think you'd have to at minimum end inheritable property. There's more issues beyond that, but start there -- how can inheritance be justified if property is the fruit of your labor?


terp said:

sprout said:

I see Libertarianism as focusing on the human drive for competition, while Communism focuses on the human drive for cooperation.

I don't think either can be a successful society on it's own, because the existence of humanity relies on a mix of both.

 Interesting that in a libertarian society you would be free to create a commune & live the dream of cooperation and communal existence.  The opposite is not possible.

 Dude, there are no libertarian societies. They don't exist. That should be a hint.


another thing about the "product of your labor".

Other than the most trivial of things, all products of "your" labor will rely on the products of others' labor.

i.e. - you didn't build that.


terp said:

sprout said:

I see Libertarianism as focusing on the human drive for competition, while Communism focuses on the human drive for cooperation.

I don't think either can be a successful society on it's own, because the existence of humanity relies on a mix of both.

 Interesting that in a libertarian society you would be free to create a commune & live the dream of cooperation and communal existence.  The opposite is not possible.

 You can't create communes in a democracy? News to me.



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