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I Used to be a Libertarian

TDGonDP

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I funded my engineering degree by working the drilling rigs during the summer months. Working hard, foregoing recreation, facing the elements, and exposing myself to more workplace danger contributed to a big paycheck. I had contempt for those students who took an easier, but lesser paying, job. So when the libertarian philosophy was first introduced to me, it seemed quite logical: one earns based on one’s effort—and one gets to enjoy the benefits of that effort.

Then I got thinking. I came from the working poor demographic. My father was a farmer, one of these proud traditional farmers putting in long hours to eke a meager living for his family while providing food for all the city people. Society honored such farmers. But we were still working poor.

My father did not have a great value for education. In his mind, a strong back and long hours were the way to make a living. Had society demanded that he pay for his children’s education, he probably would have kept me at home doing the farm labor small boys were capable of. And he just didn’t have the money anyways.

Had the government not paid the expenses for my primary schooling, I could not have gained the skills to enter post-secondary education—and eventually learn about libertarianism. My intellectual abilities were, in a large part, developed by my rural school, the great teachers I had, and my university.

The best answer I could find within libertarian philosophy on how to educate the children of the working poor would be that some wealthy person or organization would make a deal with my father. They would pay for his children’s primary education, and either we children or my father would somehow pay them back in future labor. That “indentured servitude” didn’t sound right to me at the time, so I abandoned the libertarian philosophy.

Still the urge to identify with an ideology was strong. For a very brief time, socialism sounded great. Fortunately, that period lasted shorter than my time as libertarian. Eventually I parked myself into a version of conservatism, one that emphasized self-reliance and independence from government but allowed some interference from government to the “natural order”. This stage of my life lasted about 15 years.

One day, I came across a stunning fact. The drilling rig wages I had put towards to pay my tuition fees only covered 10% of the costs for my post-secondary education. My provincial government picked up the rest of the bill. So here I was with my conservatism ideology, but my education came from a socialist agenda. I had troubles reconciling this paradox. If I were to truly to be a conservative, I should have paid for all my education up front. But even the high wages of the drilling rigs would not have covered these costs.

Had society not collectively educated young men and women from working poor backgrounds, many of them would not have gone on to fill important occupations in society. In essence, society made an investment its people, and society attained a profit a decade or so later. I could see the logic, so I was starting to think like a socialist again.

After several years of thinking, I am neither a conservative nor a socialist. I have gravitated towards this political philosophy:
1. There are situations where society must let individuals make their own choices and live with the consequences.
2. There are situations where society must take collective action to better society. This means paying taxes and providing services to those who cannot afford them.
3. The balance between #1 and #2 shall be determined by democratic means.
4. For each time government tries to effect change in society, it should monitor how well the change is working and make appropriate adjustments.

Western democracies are already providing some sort of balance. I would argue that it is probably not the best balance we could attain for political parties are far more interested in electoral success than the society they may govern. It’s time for a new system, one not based on “isms.”

Ironically, I can now see how a libertarian philosophy could work. Those with higher abilities and drive should be allowed to keep much of their earnings. But they also need to be trained to recognize that they have talents, ambition, skills, and experience other people could never attain. The more talented need to become more compassionate and generous and recognize that a strong civil society helps them earn and enjoy a higher income. And for those on the “receiving” end, they must learn to be more grateful and responsible. They still have a duty to move themselves forward in life.

But we are not in a functional libertarian mindset yet. The only way to get there is to apply a better balance of individual freedom and collective action.
 

William Rea

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I funded my engineering degree by working the drilling rigs during the summer months. Working hard, foregoing recreation, facing the elements, and exposing myself to more workplace danger contributed to a big paycheck. I had contempt for those students who took an easier, but lesser paying, job. So when the libertarian philosophy was first introduced to me, it seemed quite logical: one earns based on one’s effort—and one gets to enjoy the benefits of that effort.

...


But we are not in a functional libertarian mindset yet. The only way to get there is to apply a better balance of individual freedom and collective action.

Your conclusion is what I would call 'democratic socialism' which is a popular approach and one that I take on the basis that I don't think that socialism can be imposed by revolution but, by education and debate.

I flirted with 'libertarianism' at one point but, realised that the internal contradictions and hypocrisy required to apply that tag were not my leaning. I have found that libertarians tend to be 'anarchists' who believe that they already have the means to insulate themselves against the World, usually in league with others of the same status (ironic); they are generally not interested in collectivism unless it is at a level that directly benefits them and are 'drawbridgers' when it suits them.

I discovered that it was the Anarchistic side of the philosophy that really attracted me and so, I have adopted some aspects of that in terms of personal responsibility to cooperate and try to improve things at a local level.
 

TDGonDP

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Your conclusion is what I would call 'democratic socialism' which is a popular approach and one that I take on the basis that I don't think that socialism can be imposed by revolution but, by education and debate.

I flirted with 'libertarianism' at one point but, realised that the internal contradictions and hypocrisy required to apply that tag were not my leaning. I have found that libertarians tend to be 'anarchists' who believe that they already have the means to insulate themselves against the World, usually in league with others of the same status (ironic); they are generally not interested in collectivism unless it is at a level that directly benefits them and are 'drawbridgers' when it suits them.

I discovered that it was the Anarchistic side of the philosophy that really attracted me and so, I have adopted some aspects of that in terms of personal responsibility to cooperate and try to improve things at a local level.

Thank you for your thoughtful response. There are different kinds of libertarians and socialists, and this article kind of used these terms in the broad sense. And I'm pretty sure that my four points (of what you have called democratic socialism) would still be taken by some thinkers that I believe in nationalization of all business, confiscating all wealth from the rich, and setting up a police state. It's so hard to have reasonable discussion when all socialism is evil.

As well, there is the philosophical definition of anarchy, which isn't all that bad--and there is the popular definition of anarchy that has us forming groups of 50 or so for our protection in the absence of civil order.

In my conservative days (again many definitions), I came across many hypocrisies of that philosophy as well. For example, many farmers like to think themselves as conservative, but are often asking for help from government.

I think your "drawbridgers" is a good description of a common political philosophy. If a government initiative helps me, it is good. If not, then it can be explained as being wrong.
 

gfm7175

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After several years of thinking, I am neither a conservative nor a socialist. I have gravitated towards this political philosophy:
1. There are situations where society must let individuals make their own choices and live with the consequences.
True.

2. There are situations where society must take collective action to better society. This means paying taxes and providing services to those who cannot afford them.
True, but I will note that this should be done through charity, NOT through compulsion.

3. The balance between #1 and #2 shall be determined by democratic means.
I disagree. I think it should be determined, more or less, by charity rather than "compulsion by majority".

4. For each time government tries to effect change in society, it should monitor how well the change is working and make appropriate adjustments.
I disagree. I want the charity of individuals to be in control of these matters, not federal government compulsion.
 

TDGonDP

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True.


True, but I will note that this should be done through charity, NOT through compulsion.


I disagree. I think it should be determined, more or less, by charity rather than "compulsion by majority".


I disagree. I want the charity of individuals to be in control of these matters, not federal government compulsion.

From an idealistic standpoint, I would have agree the voluntary giving is preferable to compulsory giving.

However, we (or should I say the "more wealthy") just are not generous enough to have much of an impact. Our current "have-nots" will have even less, and this sets up an untenable social order. Until we change our mindsets to become more compassionate and generous, a libertarian society cannot function. Maybe sometime in the future, but not now.
 

gfm7175

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From an idealistic standpoint, I would have agree the voluntary giving is preferable to compulsory giving.
Agreed.

However, we (or should I say the "more wealthy") just are not generous enough to have much of an impact.
Before responding, I will note that this is a bigoted argument, as you are inferring that [all of the "more wealthy" people distinction] are not generous enough from the truth that [a part of the "more wealthy" people distinction] are not generous enough. But, putting that fallacy aside...

This argument is also too vague for me to adequately respond to... Could you please define what you mean by "more wealthy"? As in, what yearly wage/salary amount would you consider to be the entry level for the "more wealthy" category?

I would also counter-argue that even the least generous of "more wealthy" people (awaiting a definition for the term), still end up making more of an impact than "less wealthy" (awaiting a definition for the term) people do, even though the "less wealthy" people would obviously be considered more generous from a 'percentage of total wages/salary' standpoint.

Our current "have-nots" will have even less, and this sets up an untenable social order.
I agree that people who need help should be helped... It doesn't even have to be in the form of giving them money... It can be in the form of "teaching them how to fish" as well, which typically is the more fruitful method of aid.

Until we change our mindsets to become more compassionate and generous, a libertarian society cannot function. Maybe sometime in the future, but not now.
Plenty of people are quite compassionate and generous, if left to their own free will... Other people are not. There's nothing that can be done about that, as not even an entity as great as God can control free will, let alone us humans... The best we can do is 'lead by example' and hope that other people will take notice and want to "join the cause"...

Compulsion is never the answer... Compulsion, as colored by my personal religious views, comes from Satan himself.
 

Conaeolos

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how to educate the children of the working poor would be that some wealthy person or organization would make a deal with my father.
Toward post secondary perhaps not toward primary education.

There is an observation that literacy rates raised not with the amount of available education but as market incentive for having a literate workforce increased. This can be observed in many contexts and has more than one implementation.

In this way there will always be an abundant pool of educational teaching resources as a function of need for literate labour. The public / private then really comes down to efficiently..

The drilling rig wages I had put towards to pay my tuition fees only covered 10% of the costs for my post-secondary education.
Why assume that cost of education is properly reflected? edX offer many courses that can cost $30,000 for a few hundred.

Don't misunderstand. I am only highlighting a budget is a reflection of their condition. Look at dental rates in AB as a function of being on employer-insurance paid the same way medical costs are in the states. I would argue both are highly inflated and are not a reflection of a true free market as seen in other places in the world.

If people are insulated from price than there is no elasticity and market reaction. If market barriers are too restrictive - same same.

Privatizing post-secondary would without a doubt prohibitively increase the costs for a short time. If however the demand of the economy was for high skilled educated workforce [which it is]….we would massively accelerate our modernization by reducing fat and inefficient system of formal education which produces marginal productive gains with a certification system based on meritocracy and open learning, which everyone knows is the future anyway. [with the one big risk of just importing foreign labour: china's top 1% is our entire school system]

Doubt this look no further than secondary education: grades 10-12. How useful an education does the average child receive? ….if preparatory for post-secondary why does it fails in most cases?

The answer is the system, due to how it funded and administered. If administered well - the student outcomes are good - if administer poorly bad. Cost being a non related factor despite the cries of bias parties and instead being directly tied to funding structure.

Why bet the total of your students on a public system when you can micronize the problem and have options in a free educational market which generally multiply and compound success overtime?


I have gravitated towards this political philosophy:
1. There are situations where society must let individuals make their own choices and live with the consequences.
2. There are situations where society must take collective action to better society. This means paying taxes and providing services to those who cannot afford them.
3. The balance between #1 and #2 shall be determined by democratic means.
4. For each time government tries to effect change in society, it should monitor how well the change is working and make appropriate adjustments.
This does seem to be the compromise we need, at least for now. I would argue though 3 and 4 are incompatible and the law must enshrine liberty above democracy by imposing strict limits on the ability of society to tax or impose social programs etc. Governments must be view as a cancer as much as a cure to complex problems.

I honestly though if I could ask one thing in this political world. It would not be internal reform, merely the ability to trade citizenship. If we were allowed to choose our citizenship; I have no doubt my fellow small government conservatives would create our own little slice of paradise. A greater compromise is necessary in a country of millions of divergent views and that leads to too many cooks in kitchen to get anythign close. A socialist to deserves their chance to play god.
 

TDGonDP

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Agreed.


Before responding, I will note that this is a bigoted argument, as you are inferring that [all of the "more wealthy" people distinction] are not generous enough from the truth that [a part of the "more wealthy" people distinction] are not generous enough. But, putting that fallacy aside...

This argument is also too vague for me to adequately respond to... Could you please define what you mean by "more wealthy"? As in, what yearly wage/salary amount would you consider to be the entry level for the "more wealthy" category?

I would also counter-argue that even the least generous of "more wealthy" people (awaiting a definition for the term), still end up making more of an impact than "less wealthy" (awaiting a definition for the term) people do, even though the "less wealthy" people would obviously be considered more generous from a 'percentage of total wages/salary' standpoint.


I agree that people who need help should be helped... It doesn't even have to be in the form of giving them money... It can be in the form of "teaching them how to fish" as well, which typically is the more fruitful method of aid.


Plenty of people are quite compassionate and generous, if left to their own free will... Other people are not. There's nothing that can be done about that, as not even an entity as great as God can control free will, let alone us humans... The best we can do is 'lead by example' and hope that other people will take notice and want to "join the cause"...

Compulsion is never the answer... Compulsion, as colored by my personal religious views, comes from Satan himself.

I think you are missing the point. A truly libertarian society is unsustainable. It will be unable to keep social order and eventually fall in on itself.

I would say Haiti is the best example of a libertarian society. The rich get to keep most of their money. They hire their police force, have their own hospital, etc. etc. The poor have little opportunity for upward advancement, mostly dependent on foreign aid and the poor-paying jobs proffered by the rich. But everyone is free.
 

TDGonDP

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Toward post secondary perhaps not toward primary education.

There is an observation that literacy rates raised not with the amount of available education but as market incentive for having a literate workforce increased. This can be observed in many contexts and has more than one implementation.

In this way there will always be an abundant pool of educational teaching resources as a function of need for literate labour. The public / private then really comes down to efficiently..


Why assume that cost of education is properly reflected? edX offer many courses that can cost $30,000 for a few hundred.

Don't misunderstand. I am only highlighting a budget is a reflection of their condition. Look at dental rates in AB as a function of being on employer-insurance paid the same way medical costs are in the states. I would argue both are highly inflated and are not a reflection of a true free market as seen in other places in the world.

If people are insulated from price than there is no elasticity and market reaction. If market barriers are too restrictive - same same.

Privatizing post-secondary would without a doubt prohibitively increase the costs for a short time. If however the demand of the economy was for high skilled educated workforce [which it is]….we would massively accelerate our modernization by reducing fat and inefficient system of formal education which produces marginal productive gains with a certification system based on meritocracy and open learning, which everyone knows is the future anyway. [with the one big risk of just importing foreign labour: china's top 1% is our entire school system]

Doubt this look no further than secondary education: grades 10-12. How useful an education does the average child receive? ….if preparatory for post-secondary why does it fails in most cases?

The answer is the system, due to how it funded and administered. If administered well - the student outcomes are good - if administer poorly bad. Cost being a non related factor despite the cries of bias parties and instead being directly tied to funding structure.

Why bet the total of your students on a public system when you can micronize the problem and have options in a free educational market which generally multiply and compound success overtime?



This does seem to be the compromise we need, at least for now. I would argue though 3 and 4 are incompatible and the law must enshrine liberty above democracy by imposing strict limits on the ability of society to tax or impose social programs etc. Governments must be view as a cancer as much as a cure to complex problems.

I honestly though if I could ask one thing in this political world. It would not be internal reform, merely the ability to trade citizenship. If we were allowed to choose our citizenship; I have no doubt my fellow small government conservatives would create our own little slice of paradise. A greater compromise is necessary in a country of millions of divergent views and that leads to too many cooks in kitchen to get anythign close. A socialist to deserves their chance to play god.

What good is liberty when society is in a state of chaos?

Civil order is needed for the wealthy to create and enjoy wealth.

Europe went through a great upheaval in 1848. Many cities experienced mass demonstrations and break down in order. The reason was that the industrial revolution did not produce a better life for the masses as they moved from agricultural to factory workers. To prevent a total breakdown, the traditional political power brokers ceded some of their powers to the masses. For example, the Habsburg Empire set up a parliament where citizens could vote for the representatives who would then "advise" the aristocracy. Not exactly a true democracy, but a big step towards that concept. Life was still hard, but the agitators felt enough of their demands had been met that they backed off on their protests and order was restored.

Libertarianism will create a two class system: the extremely wealthy elite and a poor masses. If you can sell libertarianism to the poor masses such that it keeps them placated, then by all means, go for it.
 

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I flirted with 'libertarianism' at one point but, realised that the internal contradictions and hypocrisy required to apply that tag were not my leaning. I have found that libertarians tend to be 'anarchists' who believe that they already have the means to insulate themselves against the World, usually in league with others of the same status (ironic); they are generally not interested in collectivism unless it is at a level that directly benefits them and are 'drawbridgers' when it suits them.

I can completely relate to the middle paragraph of your post, which I cut out and quoted above.

I come out as a libertarian - left on most political mapping tests, but I don't use the label. I'm pretty anti-authoritarian, but I think a functional state is necessary for society to exist on any appreciable scale.
 

gfm7175

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I think you are missing the point. A truly libertarian society is unsustainable. It will be unable to keep social order and eventually fall in on itself.
Okay, then maybe expand upon what you're considering a 'truly libertarian society' to be? Do you mean "no government"? Because I do agree that at least some government is necessary.

Edit: Obviously not 'no government' since Haiti has a government.

I would say Haiti is the best example of a libertarian society. The rich get to keep most of their money. They hire their police force, have their own hospital, etc. etc. The poor have little opportunity for upward advancement, mostly dependent on foreign aid and the poor-paying jobs proffered by the rich. But everyone is free.
When you say "they", are you referring to Haiti or to 'The rich' (which remains a buzzword until you define what makes someone 'rich')...
 

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What good is liberty when society is in a state of chaos?
What good is liberty when society is in a state of chaos?
I will address your valid point shortly.

First, what good is a "democratic" government that can't correct itself from its woes?

I simply can never advocate trading temporary peace for longterm destruction of civilization itself…an unemployed / unproductive disgruntle mass is far less dangerous than its alternative…

I would always rather be apart of a cruel barbaric society than a dying or dead one…

That is the seeming result of this compromise without the libertarian restrictions. Libertarianism fatal flaw of course by your own recognition is the majority of a libertarian society must be libertarians[it is democratic that way]. It is sensitive to the masses rejecting its ideals. Only in a society which liberal values could it exist. This was seen even early on with European democratic ideas in early Russia…liberalism has always required a liberal culture. Seeds do not grow where other values exist.

As is…
The majority of the western world lacks the military capacity to defend their interests and borders. Even well threats to it, within and without, grow by the day. All well most build ever expanding social programs on the back of fracturing alliances; a naive and short lived peace.

Speaking to the people benefiting from these social programs[those facing poverty, homelessness, not affording healthcare or education] - the message always thankful but not enough to change the ultimate consquences…the poor still poor, the sick still sick....

We have almost universal acceptance of a state retirement program that is all but a financial scam as there is no math that supports the demographics. How are our elders not going to suffer when there is no money to give them a fair living even now and they grow year after year? And the lie is such few of them prepared.They all think they paid for that already. They didn't even pay a penny - they spend it all via their democracy.

We have healthcare systems that again demographic models show will lead to worse and worse health outcomes. Not enough money to sustain the mandate. But who knows with this one maybe innovation will save the day….

Factual reserve banking has most countries in 250+ year debts with a generation to two from no other reason than gross public overspending. Add to that record personal debt….prospects of fewer and fewer jobs for people of sub 110 IQ. I believe it sub 80 currently were your basically unemployable. That a lot of what is best termed handicapped people.

Even downplaying climate alarmists it is this compromise that is directly tied to contributing to mass ecological destruction, lose of species and habitat.

So imho the current state has zero chance of being a longterm viability. The evidence for this is extensive.

We can move one of two directions. We socialize. We move "communist". We will have global beucratic governmentand two classes. There must be "big brother" to make people play by the rules afterall...

Or we, double down on what works - face the reality we live in the wild west and we trust and promote libertarian values. A shortterm cruel meritocracy is at least a chance....
 

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Okay, then maybe expand upon what you're considering a 'truly libertarian society' to be? Do you mean "no government"? Because I do agree that at least some government is necessary.

Edit: Obviously not 'no government' since Haiti has a government.


When you say "they", are you referring to Haiti or to 'The rich' (which remains a buzzword until you define what makes someone 'rich')...

All versions of libertarian philosophy have some government. I think the Ayn Rand version only allows for foreign affairs, a standing army, and courts. Everything else, including sewers and ambulances, belongs in private affairs or co-operative movements.

The antecedent pronoun is correct. "They" refers previous noun phrase "the rich."

Haiti is not a full libertarian society. The rich put all sorts of roadblocks for the any of the masses to become successful. But maybe that is just good business.
 

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If you can sell libertarianism to the poor masses such that it keeps them placated, then by all means, go for it.
I will advocate as best I am able, after all the barriers to class mobility and the market are under attack by the day especially in the minds of youngest generation. There does remain hope in a more balanced equation. Thanks to what remains of the libertarian values of the early period.

If and when it does fail to hold though. I am likely well insulated from fallout, so perhaps I fit your assumptions well as I would personally be less subject to the same short term reality shocks of a libertarian direction as most.

That said, I would give it all to that ends via my faith in its benefit but neither would I hesitate to join the true authoritarians when they arrive in the aftermath of our current folly. The principles of liberty are no doubt the wellspring of a better tomorrow, but better to survive than die clung to an ideal dream absent its proper time.

We live in a time there are quite a few who believe a Donald Trump or a Jair Bolsonaro is an example of an Authoritarian. They are in for a rude awakening as to the consequences of our choices to call public social welfare programs policies designed to equalize and benefit the less wealthy. They are and will remain the collar and leash and only work to enshrine rejuvenated elite class by give way to give advantage outside the free market & natural justice.

You think the freedoms and middle class sprung from the people raising up and being a threat? Fair. They did not imho. It was always upper to upper silent 'game'.

Protest were and never are a true threat to the establishment. Lobby if you want change. Poverty comes and goes as a function of interplaying forces. There is no difference in the choice of the last Hapsburg to that of the early ones. The Market made new men more powerful than the Habsburg family and they adapted, those new men were true nobles and enshrine libertarian principles which powered the market to create the middle class. Rome once understood this principle: Meritocracy. It is wiser to let the worthy join your ranks than to bolster weaker tribal bonds…

so, you say
Libertarianism will create a two class system: the extremely wealthy elite and a poor masses
Create what has always been? No give a name to it so that it can be overcome.

These are conditions…society can choose to sheltered wealthy elite or challenge the poor masses to be better via dignity and freedom.
 

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True.


True, but I will note that this should be done through charity, NOT through compulsion.


I disagree. I think it should be determined, more or less, by charity rather than "compulsion by majority".


I disagree. I want the charity of individuals to be in control of these matters, not federal government compulsion.

WHy?? It is shown that charity leaves people behind to suffer. What do you think the purpose of charity is?
 

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The best answer I could find within libertarian philosophy on how to educate the children of the working poor would be that some wealthy person or organization would make a deal with my father. They would pay for his children’s primary education, and either we children or my father would somehow pay them back in future labor. That “indentured servitude” didn’t sound right to me at the time, so I abandoned the libertarian philosophy.

Still the urge to identify with an ideology was strong. For a very brief time, socialism sounded great. Fortunately, that period lasted shorter than my time as libertarian. Eventually I parked myself into a version of conservatism, one that emphasized self-reliance and independence from government but allowed some interference from government to the “natural order”. This stage of my life lasted about 15 years.

One day, I came across a stunning fact. The drilling rig wages I had put towards to pay my tuition fees only covered 10% of the costs for my post-secondary education. My provincial government picked up the rest of the bill. So here I was with my conservatism ideology, but my education came from a socialist agenda. I had troubles reconciling this paradox. If I were to truly to be a conservative, I should have paid for all my education up front. But even the high wages of the drilling rigs would not have covered these costs.

Had society not collectively educated young men and women from working poor backgrounds, many of them would not have gone on to fill important occupations in society. In essence, society made an investment its people, and society attained a profit a decade or so later. I could see the logic, so I was starting to think like a socialist again.

After several years of thinking, I am neither a conservative nor a socialist. I have gravitated towards this political philosophy:
1. There are situations where society must let individuals make their own choices and live with the consequences.
2. There are situations where society must take collective action to better society. This means paying taxes and providing services to those who cannot afford them.
3. The balance between #1 and #2 shall be determined by democratic means.
4. For each time government tries to effect change in society, it should monitor how well the change is working and make appropriate adjustments.

Western democracies are already providing some sort of balance. I would argue that it is probably not the best balance we could attain for political parties are far more interested in electoral success than the society they may govern. It’s time for a new system, one not based on “isms.”

Ironically, I can now see how a libertarian philosophy could work. Those with higher abilities and drive should be allowed to keep much of their earnings. But they also need to be trained to recognize that they have talents, ambition, skills, and experience other people could never attain. The more talented need to become more compassionate and generous and recognize that a strong civil society helps them earn and enjoy a higher income. And for those on the “receiving” end, they must learn to be more grateful and responsible. They still have a duty to move themselves forward in life.

But we are not in a functional libertarian mindset yet. The only way to get there is to apply a better balance of individual freedom and collective action.

You're not a socialist, you're a social democrat, with a certain wistful fondness for your libertarian dreams from the past.
No worry, those will fade eventually.

You're normal.
 

TDGonDP

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You're not a socialist, you're a social democrat, with a certain wistful fondness for your libertarian dreams from the past.
No worry, those will fade eventually.

You're normal.

Thank you.

I get frustrated with many left-wingers wanting to fix things that should be well left alone. About every five years, some MP puts forward a bill to reduce the interest rate on credit card payments. So this bill gets put on the legislative docket. What irks me is that people who got themselves in credit card debt (me included) did so willingly and with full knowledge of what the interest rate was. There is no need for the government to interfere in this marketplace. Such bills are not passed, but they do consume energy from Parliament

And once in every years, a parliamentary committee is set up to investigate collusion from the refining industry about fixing gas prices. So this committee does its investigation and finds that retail gasoline is a very robust market--and sellers and consumers are responding to all sorts of free market signals. So the committee disbands, but not after a great expense has incurred.

Social democrat, you say! Maybe this label is me. Unfortunately, too many right wingers automatically assume that I want to nationalize petroleum companies, banks, and airlines as well as set marginal tax rates at 95%. Then I would give everyone a job where they didn't have to work. Then I would set up a police state that jailed anyone who opposed me. Then I would kill others just to show how powerful I really am.

I just saw a documentary on a railroad that is run in the Norway and Sweden. I am uncertain whether this railroad is government owned or private, but it was interesting to see how the employees were quite motivated to adhere to schedules and deadlines, despite being such a socialist culture.
 

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Because charity is people actually wanting to make a true difference and set a good example, while compulsion is not.

It is shown that charity leaves people behind to suffer.
Yup... and how would that be different for compulsion? In fact, I would argue that more people would suffer under compulsion and more negative results would come out of compulsion than out of charity. -- I think there's a lesson to be learned from The Bible (whether those stories are truth or fiction) in realizing that "the way of Jesus" was charity and "the way of Satan" was compulsion.

What do you think the purpose of charity is?
To help people in need of help. To lift up society. To "make a positive difference".
 

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Because charity is people actually wanting to make a true difference and set a good example, while compulsion is not.


Yup... and how would that be different for compulsion? In fact, I would argue that more people would suffer under compulsion and more negative results would come out of compulsion than out of charity. -- I think there's a lesson to be learned from The Bible (whether those stories are truth or fiction) in realizing that "the way of Jesus" was charity and "the way of Satan" was compulsion.


To help people in need of help. To lift up society. To "make a positive difference".

That of course, makes it all about YOU, and not about the people to be uplifted. Ans the reason the government got involved is that 'charity' wasn't doing the job completely. So you re argument is null and void
 
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gfm7175

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All versions of libertarian philosophy have some government. I think the Ayn Rand version only allows for foreign affairs, a standing army, and courts. Everything else, including sewers and ambulances, belongs in private affairs or co-operative movements.
Okay, gotcha now.

The antecedent pronoun is correct. "They" refers previous noun phrase "the rich."
Okay, gotcha now.

So, you're saying that "the rich" can afford to hire police, get health care, etc. etc. while "the poor" can't afford it, so they don't get those services.

Here, I agree that things such as the police should probably be in the public sector.

Haiti is not a full libertarian society. The rich put all sorts of roadblocks for the any of the masses to become successful. But maybe that is just good business.
I'd still like to know what exactly "the rich" means... Over 50K/yr? Over 100K/yr? Plus, the number will vary by location (since cost of living varies by location).

I'm not sure how "the rich" stop "the masses" from being successful... Capitalism has brought great wealth to America, to where even the poorest people in America typically have a sizeably higher QOL than wealthier people in 2nd and 3rd world countries. Richer people make this happen for poorer people, and they provide jobs for the poorer people.
 

gfm7175

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That of course, makes it all about YOU, and not about the people to be uplifted.
No, it doesn't... For some people, charity might be about themselves (and making themselves feel better). For other people, charity might be about the 'needy people' (and making THEM feel better). It depends on one's motives... Either way, the end result is needy people receiving help by means of free will instead of compulsion.

Ans the reason the government got involved is that 'charity' wasn't doing the job completely. So you re argument is null and void
Government got involved because government wants control and power. Charity can and does do just fine without government involvement and compulsion. Once the government gets involved, it isn't even charity anymore. It is compulsion and force.
 

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Lots of good discussion here. I was think thinking about responding to individual points, but maybe this response is a better way to keep things goin.

If we go back to 1900, Canada and USA were much closer to a libertarian society than we are today. There weren’t as many social programs run by governments. But there weren’t any income taxes either.

However, life was still not easy for most Canadians and Americans. The average worker struggled to buy food and pay rent. Neither food nor accommodations were of high quality. Food poisoning and vermin were normal. Other than church and the pub, there were few hobbies and luxuries. Work was hard, and lack of education meant most workers were limited in their economic advancement. Life expectancy was about 50. While child-bearing and childhood diseases were big factors, there was also a lot of food poisoning in those days. For many, life was not good in those more-libertarian times.

So we have a paradox. As North Americans started adopting various social programs (like the New Deal) and various regulations, life got better for the working poor. Housing got better. Fewer people are afflicted with food poisoning, children from this economic class can attend university, people were living longer, the middle class was expanding, etc. etc. If application of a libertarian philosophy is to be the “tide that lifts all boats”, it has failed historically---in that it was socialism that has been the engine to lift the plight of the working poor since 1900.

Since 1980, income increases for the professional and business classes have outstripped the increases for the middle and lower classes. Not only that, the wealthy are taxed less than they used to be. In this sense, we are again moving towards a more libertarian direction.

Yet the middle classes are not seeing the “tide that raises all boats.” There is growing frustration that economic opportunities are fewer than a decade or two ago. Part of Mr. Trump’s base comes from this frustration and, for the time being, are putting up with his unconventional political style.

Theories are great, but the evidence suggests that libertarianism creates a society that really doesn't benefit the lower classes.
 

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I will address your valid point shortly.

First, what good is a "democratic" government that can't correct itself from its woes?

I have to concur. Western democracy sometimes comes up with half-baked ideas for both a capitalist or socialist agenda. I have a solution for this; if you are interested private-message me.

On another internet forum, I came to the conclusion that social assistance in USA is a real mess.

A generation ago, social assistance in Canada used to a hot political topic as far too many people were abusing the system. Over the years, the programs have been refined: Aid is more likely to go those who have been physically or psychologically damaged. And most able-bodied people prefer to find and keep a minimum wage job than go on welfare.

My point: If USA's social assistance programs are not working, is it the fault of the philosophy of social assistance by government or the fault of poor management and monitoring of the social assistance program? What can be learned from the Canadian experience?
 

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Okay, gotcha now.


Okay, gotcha now.

So, you're saying that "the rich" can afford to hire police, get health care, etc. etc. while "the poor" can't afford it, so they don't get those services.

Here, I agree that things such as the police should probably be in the public sector.

When we make collective decision to hire police for all citizens, we are moving away from a pure libertarian philosophy. We could make the same argument for elementary schools, sewage systems, roads, public health, etc. And I should add that there are branches of the libertarian philosophy that support this level of government intervention.

Again, it is due democratic process that decides what level of libertarianism (or socialism) we want to employ, not some ideology.


I'd still like to know what exactly "the rich" means... Over 50K/yr? Over 100K/yr? Plus, the number will vary by location (since cost of living varies by location).

I'm not sure how "the rich" stop "the masses" from being successful... Capitalism has brought great wealth to America, to where even the poorest people in America typically have a sizeably higher QOL than wealthier people in 2nd and 3rd world countries. Richer people make this happen for poorer people, and they provide jobs for the poorer people.

There really isn't a line to define rich or poor. My family would be classed as "lower middle class". But a single mother with 2 kids and a minimum wage job would see our income as rich. It's all relative.

The life of the poor has improved dramatically in the century in western societies. But was that because of libertarianism or socialism?
 

gfm7175

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When we make collective decision to hire police for all citizens, we are moving away from a pure libertarian philosophy. We could make the same argument for elementary schools, sewage systems, roads, public health, etc. And I should add that there are branches of the libertarian philosophy that support this level of government intervention.
We could...

There really isn't a line to define rich or poor. My family would be classed as "lower middle class". But a single mother with 2 kids and a minimum wage job would see our income as rich. It's all relative.
That's kind of why I'm asking... My thoughts on what constitutes "rich" and "poor" are probably different than yours, so it's rather hard to use undefined terms equally... Plus, we don't even live in the same country, if your location is to be believed... How far one's income goes in Alberta (Canada) is likely different than in Wisconsin (USA). Heck, even different cities and regions within our states likely differ quite a bit...

The life of the poor has improved dramatically in the century in western societies. But was that because of libertarianism or socialism?
Libertarianism... it was definitely NOT because of Socialism... Socialism creates no wealth. Capitalism is what creates wealth.
 
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