My Own Pie

Libertarian Thoughts from Renaissance Guy

You May Say I’m a Dreamer

with 4 comments

     I have been told that libertarianism is a utopian fantasy, as much as communism is.  I have been told that it cannot work in the real world but only in the minds of its adherents.  I have been told that there would be just as much oppression (by Big Business) under a libertarian government as under a socialist one.

      I am actually smarter than people give me credit for.  I never thought, even for a second, that libertarianism could create a perfect society free of problems.  As somebody once said about democracy, libertarianism is the worst political-economic philosophy–except for all the rest.  It is not perfect, I just happen to think it is the best that we have come up with so far.

     I prefer libertarianism for at least two reasons.  First, it is based on freedom.  Second, it accounts for human nature better than any other political philosophy that I know of.

     As I have watched politics occur for 30 years or so, as I have studied history, and as I have read and listened to people’s ideas on government and economics, I have come to one basic conclusion:  a free market system is not perfect, but at least it is free.  There are people who want freedom and people who want control (or who want to be controlled).  I want freedom.  I want to make my own mistakes and live with the bad consequences, because I also want the freedom to achieve my own successes and reap the benefit of them. 

     I have heard that Big Business would exploit and oppress people.  Well, to be really blunt, I would rather have Big Business exploiting people than Big Government.  At least with Big Business you can quit your job, stage protests and boycotts, organize with other workers, start another business, and sue them for damage caused.  With big government, you can be fined and imprisoned, because they have the guns.  

     Notice that I did not ignore the power of big business or its ability to oppress people.  Freedom carries risks.  If people are free, they are free to attempt to hurt or to hurt each other.  That is why libertarians support the non-aggression principle.  Laws are enacted to deter or prevent people from hurting each other.  It’s not as if regulations have kept people from harm recently.  If anything, they have given a false sense of security that everything was all right,

     Libertarianism assumes that people are basically self-centered and that each person wants what is best for him or her.  That goes for business owners and politicians.  In the context of business there is usually no illusion that people are in it for the good of others.  Some business owners are thoughtful and generous, which is great.  Most simply want to make a profit in order to enrich themselves.  That’s a given.  Politicians, on the other hand, pretend to care about other people.  They claim to be selfless.  Right!  That’s why so many people always fall for totalitarian regimes that start out as “benevolent” people’s movements.  They believe that civil servants are just that–servants of the people.

     The good thing about a free society is that if everybody is allowed to take care of himself or herself (fairly and honestly), there is no possibility of somebody else controlling people’s lives in the guise of “helping them.”  As Ronald Reagan said, it’s scary when the government says that they are “here to help.”  I’m not sure that assignining people to substandard housing in a crime infested neighborhood with failing schools is helping them.


Written by ambrosianideas

October 7, 2009 at 8:32 am

4 Responses

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  1. Of course, self-interested people may construct a political system where they choose to impose taxes, regulate big business, and out of self-interest limits some freedoms in order to protect others. In fact, that’s what has happened. People will only get a libertarian system if most people want it. Until then, people will choose something else. I could argue extensively about human nature (it’s a very contentious issue – what self interest is and how it is calculated varies by culture), freedom, and power. But the fact is that in a democratic polity people are free to choose against libertarianism. So far, they have.

    Scott Erb

    October 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    • Scott – I agree, people are free to choose their political systems, but they do not have the freedom to choose it for others. For example, the USA cannot rightfully impose democracy on another nation, and China cannot rightfully impose socialism, correct? I think most people agree that it is not right at the national level. (Some see it right one way but not the other – very confusing …)

      If the state of New Hampshire decided to become a freer state by eliminating virtually all laws, they have the right to do so, do they not? Or is is OK for the other states to impose under the guise of the Federal Government?

      We can work our way down to the county level, the city level, and to the individual – at what point does it become morally right to impose upon another?

      And to be consistent – if you and your neighbor want to agree to impose on each other, I am happy to let you do it. Just don’t involve me.


      October 7, 2009 at 9:17 pm

  2. Indeed, Scott. You make a good point. That’s why libertarians have their work cut out for them.


    October 7, 2009 at 3:30 pm

  3. Greg, I actually would love to see the US divide into fifty separate states which could experiment and run things their own way. One problem now is states are so big, and thus governments so bureaucratic and distant from the people. I do NOT think there is one best system of government. Western culture is more individualist, materialist, and linear than others. I think there needs to be a connection between culture and governance. That said, ultimately I think the world will reach the ideals of both libertarianism and utopian communism. The two aren’t that far apart — total liberty, no state, people choosing to work together and voluntarily cooperate. I think that’s a long, long ways away, and it’ll only happen through the development of a culture that can support that kind of system. Most cultures now would regress to chaotic anarchy and rule by the strong if governments disappear. In that sense, I am libertarian in the long term view, but for now we’re still living in the dark pre-history of human kind, plagued by war, greed, exploitation, and bureaucratic control.

    Scott Erb

    October 9, 2009 at 2:45 am

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