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is libertarianism viable?

 
 
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 07:35 pm
i am a card carrying libertarian. while i don't agree 100% with everything the libertarian party stands for, it comes the closest to my beliefs. i would love to see a libertarian government, but honestly, i do not think it would work in present day america.

from what i understand, what makes libertarianism work is personal responsibility, that seems to be the core of it. most americans i've seen do not have the level of personal responsibility that would make the libertarian system work. e.g. pot would be legal, but we would expect bus drivers and people handling explosives etc to not be high when working.

people can't seem to put their damn shopping carts back, or pick up after their dogs, much less not abuse a system that isn't constantly watching over them. i've worked with people who have said to me "i aint doing that, they don't pay me to do that" when it comes to small things that, while not directly in their job description, are implied tasks and actually ARE part of their job.

and so i'm frustrated and confused. i want it to work, i believe in it, i think it would be the best way, but i can't see it happening because i don't think the majority of today's americans have the personal responsibility.

so...do you think it could work? do you think we could actually have libertarians in the white house? could we ever have a libertarian president?
can humans (americans) be responsible enough to be counted on to "do the right thing" even when no one is looking?
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Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 09:44 pm
@harlequin phil,
Rom Paul's baby put his foot in it today with a comment about private discrimination; which is libertarian, that since a person owns their property they can decide who they will serve...
The reason this is false is that the people are sovereign, and this is a commonwealth, and property rights are not absolute... If a commonwealth for a good reason allows public property to go into private hands that does not mean that ownership is absolute, that rights are absolute, or that the government, meaning the commonwealth, does not hold the ultimate title to the property... Property, even in private hands must still support the whole population... Private property does not even want to pay for its own defense...The rich want the poor to defend the land with their lives, and then to pay all the taxes with their labor... Well, look at how the country was designed...Property was supposed to support the country...Since the income tax was made constitutional, it has gone from taxing 11% of the population, to taxing fifty percent, and the rich cry about that...The rights of the rich, the rights of property demand much more of defense than the rights of the poor...I say: If the rich do not want to support their country and the people they have dispossessed... Okay, then the people should say: no taxes means no ownership... Give it back; because no property right has ever been absolute...
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 May, 2010 11:40 pm
@Fido,
Fido;166730 wrote:
Rom Paul's baby put his foot in it today with a comment about private discrimination; which is libertarian, that since a person owns their property they can decide who they will serve...
The reason this is false is that the people are sovereign, and this is a commonwealth, and property rights are not absolute... If a commonwealth for a good reason allows public property to go into private hands that does not mean that ownership is absolute, that rights are absolute, or that the government, meaning the commonwealth, does not hold the ultimate title to the property... Property, even in private hands must still support the whole population... Private property does not even want to pay for its own defense...The rich want the poor to defend the land with their lives, and then to pay all the taxes with their labor... Well, look at how the country was designed...Property was supposed to support the country...Since the income tax was made constitutional, it has gone from taxing 11% of the population, to taxing fifty percent, and the rich cry about that...The rights of the rich, the rights of property demand much more of defense than the rights of the poor...I say: If the rich do not want to support their country and the people they have dispossessed... Okay, then the people should say: no taxes means no ownership... Give it back; because no property right has ever been absolute...



Very well said. Especially as you mention the poor who must die to defend this "private property." It's not that I don't see the value in personal responsibility, but when we are talking about huge inequalities and scarce resources, there's something indecent afoot.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 05:59 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;166764 wrote:
Very well said. Especially as you mention the poor who must die to defend this "private property." It's not that I don't see the value in personal responsibility, but when we are talking about huge inequalities and scarce resources, there's something indecent afoot.

A guy I once worked with who hated blacks, mostly because, as a teenager delivering news papers he had to run a gauntlet of blacks laying for him on collection day... He had to fight every week to have any income himself, and he was not big by any stretch...

He pointed out that blacks would not take two steps to reach a trash can as long as they could drop their trash on the ground... That may be true, and I have often seen it was true, but if it is true, what does it mean???

I think the meaning is, that black people feel something is owed to them, which may be true, but also it is possible that they do not feel any ownership of this land, that it is their home, and that the keeping of it neat and clean is their pride....The people should know, that from our earliest Supreme court rulings on property, that the United States claims title to all the property because they took it, which is the famous fast fish principal in law...We got our sense of property rights from the Romans, and even there, the citizens long dispossessed from the land by competiton with slaves were entitled to the corn dole...This is our land, and it may be that our theft from the natives defends the theft from us; but if we will defend this place and ourselves from parasites withiin and enemies without we must be able to tax, and it must be freely paid, and if it is not, then the wealth must be taken fromt he wealthy... We are the law...

Reasonably, when so much of this country's wealth has been put into private hands without a vote of the people, it must have been done for a certain good, as Aristotle says of government -that they are created for good... Well, whether property is in public hands or in private hands it must still support the population which is the original, and ultimate title holder...

People pay taxes as their way of delivering up the goods of the land to the commonwealth... I cannot help it that people think, or have been misled into thinking property rights are absolute, but I know they have always been in flux, and have never, ever been absolute... In quite recent times we have seen natives having no concept of property rights being stripped of all property... Not so long ago, the Catholic Church, by virtue of their control in society in possession of one fifth, to one third of all of Europe, which they held as inalienable- was stripped of most of their property... The commons were closed even though people were everywhere robbed of heritable and inalienable rights in property and thrown on the streets to starve...

The rich have no more claim to absolute rights than anyone else...The fight they are making to avoid paying their share in society brings them closer to the moment they will lose life or property or both... Dead men only need enough space to be buried in, and even that space in not their own...

The taxes the rich pay they pay for the extra rights, the privilage of property...And I own some, and the ability to stray were other cannot wander is worth some taxes... The road comes by here, and the sewer too, and the school bus, and the ambulance going to a public hospital... What kind of fool would expect that the advantages of civilization come without a cost???
harlequin phil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 07:41 am
@Fido,
Fido;166730 wrote:
Rom Paul's baby put his foot in it today with a comment about private discrimination; which is libertarian, that since a person owns their property they can decide who they will serve...
The reason this is false is that the people are sovereign, and this is a commonwealth, and property rights are not absolute... If a commonwealth for a good reason allows public property to go into private hands that does not mean that ownership is absolute, that rights are absolute, or that the government, meaning the commonwealth, does not hold the ultimate title to the property... 1.....Property, even in private hands must still support the whole population... Private property does not even want to pay for its own defense...2... The rich want the poor to defend the land with their lives, and then to pay all the taxes with their labor... Well, look at how the country was designed...Property was supposed to support the country...Since the income tax was made constitutional, it has gone from taxing 11% of the population, to taxing fifty percent, and the rich cry about that...3...The rights of the rich, the rights of property demand much more of defense than the rights of the poor...I say: If the rich do not want to support their country and the people they have dispossessed... Okay, then the people should say: no taxes means no ownership... Give it back; because no property right has ever been absolute...



i disagree on all of this.

1) why must private property support the whole population? what i do with my assets is my own business. as long as i'm not adversely or negatively affecting the population with my property (like BP spilling oil into the water), then you can't tell me what to do with it.

2) this is a trite and boring generalization that sounds great but has no truth to it whatsoever.

3) how do you figure? provide an example. the poor have the same rights as the rich, how can the rich's rights require more defense? please explain.
Night Ripper
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 07:44 am
@harlequin phil,
harlequin;166861 wrote:
3) how do you figure? provide an example. the poor have the same rights as the rich, how can the rich's rights require more defense? please explain.


I guess he's talking about all those unfortunate peasants that are forcefully separated from their families to be used as indentured servants for gaurding the sacks of gold owned by the nobles.

Of course, some people also use banks which actually pay them interest for the service of keeping their money safe.

---------- Post added 05-21-2010 at 08:58 AM ----------

harlequin;166699 wrote:

can humans (americans) be responsible enough to be counted on to "do the right thing" even when no one is looking?


No but I'm not sure why you think libertarianism requires that. Anarchism yes, but not libertarianism.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 May, 2010 08:54 am
@harlequin phil,
harlequin;166861 wrote:
i disagree on all of this.

Quote:
1) why must private property support the whole population? what i do with my assets is my own business. as long as i'm not adversely or negatively affecting the population with my property (like BP spilling oil into the water), then you can't tell me what to do with it.

It is because by definition, we are a common wealth, and they government, meaning the people took this whole land from king and natives, and holds the ultimate title to it, and defends those titles in the hands of individuals for a price, because it can hardly do so for free... And why should it do so, defend the rights of people to have and control wealth far beyond their own needs and keep others off of it if there is no ultimate and immediate good...The government provides services, defense, and protection, but the country; the land must still support the common wealth, or the people who are the common wealth, whose rights are infinged upon for the sake of privatee property have the right to take it back...Not one person anywhere has ever enjoyed any property right as the privilage is called without the support of the people, and no one has ever owned property free and clear of taxes... Many people in this country have picked up the dirty habit of saying my property and meaning it without giveing a thought to the many thousands who have died in defense of "their property"... It is theirs so long as the people say it is, and if the property of this land does not support the population, then it is the population supporting that private privilage to own free and clear without obligation what many have suffered and died for.... I enjoy my property, and it is my honor to pay taxes and support my rights and my community...I don't know how many people, even today are risking life and limb in defense of property they will never own for the hope of opportunity that should be theirs for the taking but for hereditary wealth, which again, will never be theirs even in fraction without opportunity... People say: Why should I pay taxes??? Is it not for the benefit they have that all desire??? This country was constituted with certain goals in mind, not one of them being the defense of private privilage, but for a general good, which if pursued would require the rich to pay with money what another pays with life or labor...Property taxes once supported the federal government, and it was fair... As soon as labor began to pay taxes property knew sudden relief, and labor has become more worthless by the year, so that to have anything labor must first make profit and pay for government while property stands idle waiting for a good price... You look at the preamble of our constitution... That is the goal, but if justice, tranquility, general welfare, or freedom were the goals in fact, then property would find itself hard pressed by taxation...If it could not pay the taxes it would be sold cheap, and everyone could afford some, and then we could all cry about how rough we have it..
Quote:

2) this is a trite and boring generalization that sounds great but has no truth to it whatsoever.


Answered
Quote:

3) how do you figure? provide an example. the poor have the same rights as the rich, how can the rich's rights require more defense? please explain.



If all I have is my personal and civil rights and you have those in addition to property rights then you have more rights, and the result is that fewer and fewer people own property, and most pay a great deal of interest to enjoy the privilage that is only given to property... The right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure, for example, does not pertain to a man on the street, or in his car... A person has that right only on their property...

We think of violence as a terrible curse in this society, and the price of putting people behind bars is great... Far more people are in prisons for crimes against property than for crimes of violence... In this land where so much of police protection is given to property, and to the wealthy at the cost of all tax payers, there are more private police than public police so that these people who plead poverty at tax time have far greater protection than even the police who make them safe... The greatest victims of crime and violence in this country are the poor, because the rich are highly protected, and the poor, though poor victims, are generally defenseless...

Consider rights as a game of cards where you are dealt six cards everytime I am dealth five... Do you think it possible that you could lose if I did not give up the game??? If you want to blame immigration or even illegal immigration then consider that it is the rich who invite those people in to maximize profits while casting the lost and left over onto public support... The Romans had to forbid the freeing of old slaves without the payment of a fee because once free, they were eligible for the corn dole...What property can do, hiring and firing, bringing in migrant labor, using them and losing them, and generally forcing down labor makes them rich while the whole population is made poor...That is what only a slight difference in rights does in the course of 200 years...

The way to equity is to tax property, and because extra rights equals better access in Washington, that will not be done... And part of the housing meltdown was the result of Mr. Greenspan recognizing that we are reaching a tipping point in this country, where so few people own property that its political support could vanish... To try to get people into houses at any price was a political one...
0 Replies
 
davec
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 11:43 am
@harlequin phil,
Pure libertarianism would be little different than anarchism. Given human nature there would be huge disparities in living conditions with those at the bottom unable to elevate themselves (no public education for example).
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Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 12:19 pm
@harlequin phil,
If you have it, you want to protect it; and the Libertarians think they need protection from the poor; but they, and we need protection from the rich...Libertarians are all tools...
exile
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 01:51 pm
@harlequin phil,
Libertarianism does have some attractions, the same ones as anarchism. It would be nice if we could either do without governments or at least ensure they keep out of our affairs except when we commit a crime.

HOwever I am suspicious of it as the residual powers of libertarian government seem to be designed to allow the wealthy to enjoy their wealth whilst the rest of us are forced into effective slavery
0 Replies
 
harlequin phil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 02:13 pm
@Fido,
Fido;168629 wrote:
If you have it, you want to protect it; and the Libertarians think they need protection from the poor; but they, and we need protection from the rich...Libertarians are all tools...


i think you have that a bit backwards. libertarians want protection from the government.

please explain why you think they want protection from the poor.

---------- Post added 05-25-2010 at 02:16 PM ----------

exile;168661 wrote:
........

HOwever I am suspicious of it as the residual powers of libertarian government seem to be designed to allow the wealthy to enjoy their wealth whilst the rest of us are forced into effective slavery


can you please explain why you think this. what in libertarian writings makes you think people are forced into some sort of slavery?
exile
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 May, 2010 03:43 pm
@harlequin phil,
Libertarian writings? I don't think I'll find my own doubts about libertarianism expressed there any more than I'll find my scepticism about communism expressed in Marx.

A libertarian government dedicated to preserving and increasing the wealth of the already wealthy through the exercise of state power would inevitably (in my view) lead to an aristocracy of wealth - a plutocracy. Eventually (as in ancient Greece and Rome) the working class would eventually lose any property including property in their own persons and would be forced into slavery.

Give me anarchy in preference to libertarianism!
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 May, 2010 03:49 pm
@Fido,
Fido;166817 wrote:

I think the meaning is, that black people feel something is owed to them, which may be true, but also it is possible that they do not feel any ownership of this land, that it is their home, and that the keeping of it neat and clean is their pride....

I think this concept is better extended to the poor in general, but of course allowing for exceptions. I think you are on to something here. Imagine a man who lives in a city owning nothing or next to nothing. Even where he sleeps is not his own but must be payed for continually or accepted as charity. All around him is owned by others, and arguments concerning this are managed by the police who just might favor the respectable man, the man with money. And indeed, the man with money and property probably won't do this sort of thing, except when it comes to business. Then he treats the air or the river with little or no respect. There are fortunately exceptions, I'm sure.

---------- Post added 05-27-2010 at 04:58 PM ----------

Fido;166817 wrote:

Reasonably, when so much of this country's wealth has been put into private hands without a vote of the people, it must have been done for a certain good, as Aristotle says of government -that they are created for good... Well, whether property is in public hands or in private hands it must still support the population which is the original, and ultimate title holder...

I agree. Property is a dangerous abstraction, useful within sane bounds. I don't object to a measured inequality, as some are more efficient and disciplined than others. But too much inequality tips the boat. We all understand a natural version of property, such as our intimate objects, our homes, our little patch of privacy. This seems natural and sane. But for one man to claim property that is a million times the size or worth of another man is not so natural. An honest man who is willing to work should not lack for his own little piece of security and privacy. This is obvious, I think, beneath our abstractions. But as you say, values are infinites. And those who have a little aren't worried in the short term about the long term effects of severe inequality. I'm guilty of this selfishness myself. Not that I have much to give, but I wonder what if anything can or will be done.

---------- Post added 05-27-2010 at 05:07 PM ----------

Fido;166817 wrote:

People pay taxes as their way of delivering up the goods of the land to the commonwealth... I cannot help it that people think, or have been misled into thinking property rights are absolute, but I know they have always been in flux, and have never, ever been absolute...


I think we have some complex issues here. The more alienated the people feel in regards to the government, the more they resent taxes. If those in power start wars that one's conscience can't approve of, then taxation becomes more odious. Because one is not paying for the commonwealth but for an empire one feels guilty about. How much tax money goes toward the making of bombs that the taxpayers don't want dropped? But many taxpayers do want the bombs dropped. This is related I think to the media, which is owned by you know who, those who profit from starting wars. The "culture wars" are connected to this. It seems to me that both major parties are all too eager to give tax-money to the rich.

Those who have enough aren't eager to risk what they have, because they see the poor, and don't want to be them. Of course in the long run, a tolerance of this sort of thing will perhaps slide them slowly in this direction. A strong middle class seems essential, doesn't it? And elimination of poverty as well. The poor function as a sort of scarecrow. A threat to those who won't shut up and pay for the next war. The conservatives are right that welfare culture is a terrible thing, and it exists. I've seen it. I think that this welfare culture is an exaggerated doppelganger of the general attitude. Every man for himself, and money is money.

---------- Post added 05-27-2010 at 05:18 PM ----------

Fido;166817 wrote:

The rich have no more claim to absolute rights than anyone else...The fight they are making to avoid paying their share in society brings them closer to the moment they will lose life or property or both... Dead men only need enough space to be buried in, and even that space in not their own...

The taxes the rich pay they pay for the extra rights, the privilage of property...And I own some, and the ability to stray were other cannot wander is worth some taxes... The road comes by here, and the sewer too, and the school bus, and the ambulance going to a public hospital... What kind of fool would expect that the advantages of civilization come without a cost???

Well said. Perhaps the reason this isn't mentioned much is that many of us dream of nothing but exactly this. We are all going to win the lottery somehow, and then we will be the demigods who claim miles and miles of the country as ours, and only ours. And if others have not even a square foot, that's there fault!
Obviously, being poor doesn't make one virtuous. And growing up without confidence that one can attain the white picket fence is not going to bring out the best in a person. Nor is the half-conscious knowledge that the rich can't afford to let the poor starve. A starving man is dangerous, of course. The starving man only believes in food, not in property rights. Was the French Revolution caused more than anything by hunger?

We have so much entertainment today that if a man can get a little food and a bed to rest on he can spend his whole life as a sort of marginal character, owning nothing, depending on others for everything. If we demand a person to work 40 hours at some menial labor to survive, that might be reasonable, but not if this work won't make one safe, and well-fed, with access to medical care. Why slave away, one might think, if all this work only marginally increases ones advantages? Do we really expect the dirty work to be enthusiastically embraced by those who see others living in luxury without sweating? If this dirty work doesn't even insure one real access to medicine and protection against old age?

It's as if our decency and sense of justice were obscured by this abstraction money. Because we can now afford to hide away in boxes and see the world through our magic box, it's easy to forget that we depend on one another for safety and survival. Money the tool has become money the master. I know it's not that simple.

---------- Post added 05-27-2010 at 05:23 PM ----------

harlequin;168678 wrote:

can you please explain why you think this. what in libertarian writings makes you think people are forced into some sort of slavery?


I see it this way. If one is born into a world where everything is owned and nothing is free, not even dirt to build or plant on, what is one forced to do to survive? Works for others, beg, or steal. One needs paper, the green paper, to survive. If we had a frontier, a poor man could claim a little capital. But if all is owned, and one is born without property, and even education is expensive, we are dealing with a sort of slavery. Admittedly, some can and will work themselves out of this slavery. But it's a fair question to ask if the jobs even exist that pay enough for all working honest citizens to really make it. And I just mean the ownership of a little house, decent health care, the ability to save for old age.

I won't deny for a minute that most of us squander what little paper we have on junk, on addictions. This problem is deeper than just economics. It's a problem of value and attitude. Smile
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 May, 2010 10:35 pm
@harlequin phil,
Quote:

harlequin;168678 wrote:
i think you have that a bit backwards. libertarians want protection from the government.

please explain why you think they want protection from the poor.

---------- Post added 05-25-2010 at 02:16 PM ----------





The object of government is good, and the preamble is short, easy to understand, but all but ignored... Now, we, the poor need protection and justice and we have no one but government to achieve these aims... What many of the glorified republican libertarians see, and justly so, is that the government takes from those with little to save those with nothing from dire poverty, and there by adds even greater numbers to those in poverty...

Taxes should not be used to avert death, or disease, which in fact is in the interest of denying revolution... Taxes should be used to achieve justice, and to force the rich to be creative, and be useful, or to join the ranks of the nobees they have made so plentiful...

Government has enough power to do good, and every right; but they do not chose to do so... The government needs the power it has, and it needs an effective means of communication with the people which it does not have since the house, our most democratic and numerous body has long been limited in number... It was designed to grow with government, but government built a house too small for it, and then cut the size of it to fit the house... Our decline as a people began at that point where the house became a sellers market...It once represented 30K of citizens each, and now each representes over 600K, usually from consciously, and deeply divided districts with the purpose of maintaining party power..

The house should be thousands strong, enough to make the naturally conservative Senate, and the servile lobbyists feel the wrath of God... Everyone needs a vote, and that vote is denied...With democracy, we would not need to fear Government...We would be the government, but we have no means to talk to government...

Rather than unity, the government has allowed the parties to divide us between themselves... They can always point fingers, and blame the other guys...The parties are extraconstitutional, and for the sake of freedom we cannot get free of them... Our government was made conservative on purpose, and it was made to resist sudden change... Parties have added a whole new level of inertia to government... Any good must be got past the parties before the people in government will consider it...And again, the parties have divided the districts to deny the greatest percentage any representation, and this gerrymandering is done by both parties... Napoleon made parties illegal, so why can't we??? We don't need another party... We need no parties...
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