Thursday, July 20, 2006

In Search of Libertopia

More of our discussion, and I believe it is getting deeper now to some of the underlying issues of both sides of the debate. Brian’s words are teal; mine are white.

I want to make one thing clear, which I think may be murky at this point. I am a Libertarian voter. I happen to vote Republican most of the time because of the lack of Libertarian candidates and (traditionally), Republicans have been advocates of a smaller/limited Federal government. The Libertarian Party's primary issue is that of very limited government and the freedom of persons to make decisions and govern themselves on their own. I am a social conservative on many issues (like abortion and gun control), I am also more liberal on others: I oppose the war in Iraq and I oppose capital punishment.

I apologize, Brian. All this time I’ve thought you were a Republican, when in fact you consider yourself a subscriber to a political ideology even less rational, in which pretty much the same people are in charge as under Republican government, except all safeguards in place to prevent their abuse of power are removed.
You have made many points, which I will address. But first:
About Libertarianism
I understand the vision of libertarians, the general idea of a world where everyone has the most possible liberty--and it is a vision I share. But when you go from there, into the practice of libertarian theory, things would inevitably break down into suppression.
Libertarianism works in Libertopia, where everyone has their niche and every niche is fulfilled, like a magical market-regulated ecosystem where a balance is always kept. Everyone has access to opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way, and for those who don’t, there is enough consideration in the minds of those who do have opportunity to share that opportunity and avoid human catastrophe. Employers respect and honor and take care of their employees, the market fills every need of human society and progress, and people respect each other and no one uses their money and/or power to take advantage of and dominate others.
We don’t live in that world. I’d like to, but we don’t. We live in the real world. Wealthy business owners and managers who control the means of production can wield power and shape society exactly how they want it, and oppress and exploit the vast majority of people. In the end the only right you hold, if you do not happen to be one of them, is the right to be a subordinate and/or slave to those who holds the means of production... or die. It is the same kind of tyranny that existed before the development of basic human rights. It is primitive; it undoes hundreds of years of human progress. It opens the door back up for child labor, sweatshops, poorhouses, company towns, monopolies, oligopolies, trusts, cartels, blacklists, private goons, slumlords, etc.
We should also venture, for a moment, to a hypothetical place called Libertarian America. This is an actual possible place, not to be confused with the fantastical Libertopia. It’s a vision of what it would be like if the libertarian ideology (I’m not even going to talk about the actual Libertarian Party--which would be a true hell), with its extreme viewpoint, were to become prominent and gain majority influence in American government. In Libertarian America, the only state function, the only intervention of the government, is the protection of property rights. That pretty much eliminates all government functions except the justice system--police (and military), lawyers, and judges. All else is left to those who have means to themselves--the wealthy. The poor, having no means to acquire property/capital/wealth themselves, as the rich have commandeered all opportunity, must then either humbly accept their circumstance in life, or act as freedom-fighters and take from the rich. Then, however, the justice system acts on its sole function, and we see for whose purpose it is established: the property owners; the rich! The police are effectively owned by the rich, as the poor, who have little property besides their very lives, have almost nothing to protect. So the poor are prosecuted. Then, of course, as they cannot afford good lawyers as the rich can, they have no chance in court. The rulings of the Law, the existence for which the protection of property is the only reason, are for the rich.
Who are the oppressors in Libertarian America? Those who are forced to act to redistribute wealth themselves, or those who hold all the wealth and control society? In such a case, I say that the lawless freedom-fighters, who take away property from the wealthy, are the real heroes. I would gladly be one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men in such a place, to begin again to fight the power for real humanity and social justice. In truth, I don’t believe such a country would exist for very long (a decade, maybe two) before there arose a revolution--actually, it would by definition be a socialist revolution. That’s what this is really about: the means of production, the balance of opportunity, and whether it is held collectively by people as a society or concentrated in the hands of a few.
A true democratic progressive society helps everyone find their full, true potential. It focuses on and unleashes human capital to make the world better, instead of just concentrating money capital in the hands of those few who already have it and enabling only their children to succeed. ____________________
I’ve made many of these points already, and you still haven’t addressed them. You continue to ignore the problem of the means of production being concentrated in the hands of the few, and the inability of people (save for the few lucky ones) in such a society to improve their situation, or that of their children, if that situation is indigent or less well-off to begin with.


Post a Comment

<< Home