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Libertarianism in Action

Guy Incognito

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There are a lot of libertarians on DP, and I think that's a great thing. I was discussing this recently with another poster and I think that the most basic principle of libertarianism is that of noncoercion. Respect for individual liberty is paramount, and any sort of forcible infringement on personal liberty is invalid. I think that is about as perfect a principle as you can come up with in political philosophy.

Now, where I disagree with most of my fellow libertarians is in thinking that the noncoercive maxim is best served by right-wing economic policies such as deregulation and lowering of taxes. Of course, in Libertopia, where our fundamental maxim is always applied in every situation, there are none of these things and never have been. Taxes and regulatory bodies do not exist in Libertopia, indeed, they have never existed.

But in reality, we don't live there, we live in a dystopic world where coercion is the norm, indeed it has been celebrated for the majority of human history.

Libertopia is a wonderful place, free of coercion. How do we best transition this world into Libertopia, then? Lowering taxes for the rich is not the answer. This only allows the bloodmoney built on the past coercive systems to pool into the hands of a privileged few, producing a de facto aristocracy.

The answer is tempering the libertarian maxim with a dose of rationality. If you apply it selectively it creates market distortions that are just as coercive as any government. You can't just adopt a dogmatic adherence to Enlightment-era economic philosophy (Read: Adam Smith). Libertarians, you have to get real.
 
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Harry Guerrilla

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There are a lot of libertarians on DP, and I think that's a great thing. I was discussing this recently with another poster and I think that the most basic principle of libertarianism is that of noncoercion. Respect for individual liberty is paramount, and any sort of forcible infringement on personal liberty is invalid. I think that is about as perfect a principle as you can come up with in political philosophy.

Now, where I disagree with most of my fellow libertarians is in thinking that the noncoercive maxim is best served by right-wing economic policies such as deregulation and lowering of taxes. Of course, in Libertopia, where our fundamental maxim is always applied in every situation, there are none of these things and never have been. Taxes and regulatory bodies do not exist in Libertopia, indeed, they have never existed.

But in reality, we don't live there, we live in a dystopic world where coercion is the norm, indeed it has been celebrated for the majority of human history.

Libertopia is a wonderful place, free of coercion. How do we best transition this world into Libertopia, then? Lowering taxes for the rich is not the answer. This only allows the bloodmoney built on the past coercive systems to pool into the hands of a privileged few, producing a de facto aristocracy.

The answer is tempering the libertarian maxim with a dose of rationality. If you apply it selectively it creates market distortions that are just as coercive as any government. You can't just adopt a dogmatic adherence to Enlightment-era economic philosophy (Read: Adam Smith). Libertarians, you have to get real.
It's very hard to respond to this, when you have made many errors to the belief system of libertarians.
I think you need to read more about it, before coming to your conclusions presented in the OP.
 

Guy Incognito

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It's very hard to respond to this, when you have made many errors to the belief system of libertarians.
It's even harder to respond to somebody who won't bother to make an argument. Unfortunately for you, this is basically a concession on your part.

And you're right to concede. You can't point out the errors in my logic because there aren't any. I have argued from the maxim we both agree on to an irrefutable conclusion that is almost precisely the opposite of the one you have. And you can't figure out how to respond because it is sound. That must be hard for you. The fact is, most people who call themselves Libertarians do not really think deeply enough to understand the principles of their own philosophy.
 

Johnny

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I'm not a Libertarian per se BUT Libertarian is the best lean to describe me.
 

ReverendHellh0und

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It's even harder to respond to somebody who won't bother to make an argument. Unfortunately for you, this is basically a concession on your part.

And you're right to concede. You can't point out the errors in my logic because there aren't any. I have argued from the maxim we both agree on to an irrefutable conclusion that is almost precisely the opposite of the one you have. And you can't figure out how to respond because it is sound. That must be hard for you. The fact is, most people who call themselves Libertarians do not really think deeply enough to understand the principles of their own philosophy.


basically you call for not lowering taxes and deregulation, both fundamental foundations of Libertarianism. You want to be called a libertarian but you need to redefine libertarian to fit your very un libertarian positions.

:shrug:
 

Harry Guerrilla

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It's even harder to respond to somebody who won't bother to make an argument. Unfortunately for you, this is basically a concession on your part.

And you're right to concede. You can't point out the errors in my logic because there aren't any. I have argued from the maxim we both agree on to an irrefutable conclusion that is almost precisely the opposite of the one you have. And you can't figure out how to respond because it is sound. That must be hard for you. The fact is, most people who call themselves Libertarians do not really think deeply enough to understand the principles of their own philosophy.
No it's that you automatically assume that libertarians are, for no regulation and tax breaks for the rich.
Both of those are fallacious.

I can't respond to your post adequately because you've come to an incorrect conclusion, about something you don't understand.
 

Coronado

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It's a bait thread. He's here to show us how damn intellectual he is and that he's the world's only true libertarian. Evidently we're all just supposed to get big ol' hard-ons over just how smart he is and how well considered his version of libertarianism is. Then, and only then, will he finally be able to take a picture of his gorgeous self and go rub one out.

:yawn:
 

Johnny

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AFAIK, Libertarians are for the Constitution, are against the federal income tax, are against the IRS, against big government, war on drugs, pro state rights, pro individual liberty, advocate a non interventionist foreign policy, against the Federal reserve. AFAIK, more or less Libertarians believe the government exists to serve the people and protect our liberty not to control us.
 

Guy Incognito

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It's a bait thread. He's here to show us how damn intellectual he is and that he's the world's only true libertarian. Evidently we're all just supposed to get big ol' hard-ons over just how smart he is and how well considered his version of libertarianism is. Then, and only then, will he finally be able to take a picture of his gorgeous self and go rub one out.

:yawn:
I'm here to show you how you've misapplied the fundamental principle that forms the core of your espoused ideals. If you can't be bothered to make an argument against it, and can only back up your position with ad hominem attacks, it just demonstrates how indefensible your position actually is.
 
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Guy Incognito

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No it's that you automatically assume that libertarians are, for no regulation and tax breaks for the rich.
Both of those are fallacious.
I'm hardly arguing against a straw man here. So you're saying most right-wing Libertarians support the estate tax? They are generally against corporate personhood? The ones I meet support deregulation and tax breaks for the rich reflexively. The Libertarian Party are like hippy Republicans.

I'd be only too happy to address a real argument from you, if you think something I said is wrong then please take the time to explain how it is wrong.

That is why I started this thread in the first place. If you have a counter argument I'd love to hear it. If I'm mistaken about something then explain why.

If, on the other hand, your only response is to behave obnoxiously because you disagree, then kindly stay out of it.
 
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samsmart

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AFAIK, Libertarians are for the Constitution, are against the federal income tax, are against the IRS, against big government, war on drugs, pro state rights, pro individual liberty, advocate a non interventionist foreign policy, against the Federal reserve. AFAIK, more or less Libertarians believe the government exists to serve the people and protect our liberty not to control us.
The issue with "states' rights" libertarianism is that while the concept is often used to protect against the tyranny of the federal government, it is also often used to promote tyranny of the state governments. Remember, it was the state governments that perpetuated racial segregation and Jim Crow laws. And it was the federal government that struck such laws down.

"States' rights" libertarianism should never be a synonym with local despotism.
 

Guy Incognito

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"States' rights" libertarianism should never be a synonym with local despotism.
QFT. I don't see anything libertarian about preferring coercion that is closer to home rather than in Washington. The guiding principle of libertarianism is noncoercion altogether.
 

TurtleDude

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I'm here to show you how you've misapplied the fundamental principle that forms the core of your espoused ideals. If you can't be bothered to make an argument against it, and can only back up your position with ad hominem attacks, it just demonstrates how indefensible your position actually is.
you cannot coerce others into providing freedom for have nots and that is why you fail as a libertarian. Your belief system is that those without cannot be free and thus freedom requires them being given certain essentials which of course requires coercion of others
 

Binary_Digit

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you cannot coerce others into providing freedom for have nots and that is why you fail as a libertarian. Your belief system is that those without cannot be free and thus freedom requires them being given certain essentials which of course requires coercion of others
I think you're describing Liberalism, not Libertarianism.
 

Harry Guerrilla

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The issue with "states' rights" libertarianism is that while the concept is often used to protect against the tyranny of the federal government, it is also often used to promote tyranny of the state governments. Remember, it was the state governments that perpetuated racial segregation and Jim Crow laws. And it was the federal government that struck such laws down.

"States' rights" libertarianism should never be a synonym with local despotism.
Remember too, that there were other state governments who had no such laws.
Wasn't perfect but it's much more preferable to Federal Jim Crow laws.
At least people could leave.

By the way, why are a few instances of wrong, completely acceptable to dismiss an entire belief?
If you're asking for perfection in this world, I've got news for you....
 

Harry Guerrilla

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I'm hardly arguing against a straw man here. So you're saying most right-wing Libertarians support the estate tax? They are generally against corporate personhood? The ones I meet support deregulation and tax breaks for the rich reflexively. The Libertarian Party are like hippy Republicans.
You're framing your arguments with mockery and personal attacks.
Stop doing that.

I'd be only too happy to address a real argument from you, if you think something I said is wrong then please take the time to explain how it is wrong.

That is why I started this thread in the first place. If you have a counter argument I'd love to hear it. If I'm mistaken about something then explain why.

If, on the other hand, your only response is to behave obnoxiously because you disagree, then kindly stay out of it.
Obnoxiousness is your error filled, prejudiced opening post.
 

Solidus

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Guy Incognito;

I disagree with your choice of "libertarian first principles" in general and you more specific point of how particular policies examined independently somehow violate those principles.

Since you were not very far off the mark on the first principles issue I'll start there. While you identified individual liberty as being "paramount" you chose to instead focus on non-coercion. Why? Most "mainstream" libertarians agree that the role of government is to protect our individual liberty, our individual rights, from others. This requires coercion, courts, a military, and taxation to fund it all. The "Libertopia" you reference would indeed have taxation and laws protecting individual rights and liberties. "Libertopia" does not assume that everyone is "good" or "just" or "moral", indeed it assumes that some people are the opposite. So instead of identifying the central principle of libertarianism as non-coercion, I would suggest individual rights or individual liberty.

Now on to your comments on 'how to get there from here'. I'm unaware of mainstream libertarians who argue that lower taxes (I'll ignore your class warfare rhetoric) will lead to any libertarian ideals, weather you identify those ideals as non-coercion or as individual rights. Mainstream libertarians do indeed prefer lower taxes, and if asked will most likely support or advocate for them, but they do not do so as a means to move towards "Libertopia". However, by a vast margin, the most referenced means of moving the current system towards "Libertopia" is a reduction in the scope and size of government. I find it a bit silly that you admonish others against applying their principles selectively, by selectively examining their policy preferences. The mainstream libertarian train of thought is not, "In Libertopia we would have lower taxes, thus if we lower taxes we will be closer to Libertopia". Instead the train of thought incorporates other policy preferences in conjunction, "In Libertopia the scope and size of government would be greatly reduced, leading to more individual liberty, reducing the necessary level of taxation, leading to more overall growth, etc; thus if we reduce the scope and size of government we will be closer to Libertopia and lower taxes, etc."

In summary, "libertarian first principles" are better identified as individual rights or liberty rather than non-coercion. It is incongruous to claim that since lower taxes do not lead to non-coercion, libertarians are somehow violating their principles to advocate for lower taxes.

J
 

samsmart

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Remember too, that there were other state governments who had no such laws.
Wasn't perfect but it's much more preferable to Federal Jim Crow laws.
At least people could leave.
On the other hand, because of 1) the sheer size of the federal bureaucracy and 2) the amount of scrutiny that federal officials are under as compared to state officials, it is easier to deal with such instances on a federal level than on a state level.

While it only took an executive order from Wilson to segregate the U.S. military, it only took an executive order to desegregate it from Truman.

Also, some rights are universal. Some rights a person has no matter which government he has over him. Those rights benefit from having a higher government authority to protect.

By the way, why are a few instances of wrong, completely acceptable to dismiss an entire belief?
If you're asking for perfection in this world, I've got news for you....
If you ask me to accept states' rights libertarianism despite "a few bad apples" and because nothing is perfect, why can't I ask you to accept centralization of government despite "a few bad apples" and because nothing is perfect?
 

Harry Guerrilla

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On the other hand, because of 1) the sheer size of the federal bureaucracy and 2) the amount of scrutiny that federal officials are under as compared to state officials, it is easier to deal with such instances on a federal level than on a state level.

While it only took an executive order from Wilson to segregate the U.S. military, it only took an executive order to desegregate it from Truman.
You'd think so but a federal bureaucracy can be completely resistant to change.

Like I've said before, people are rationally ignorant when it comes to federal elected officials.
No one has a rational reason to research policy and candidate history because of the sheer insignificance of their individual vote to change things.


Also, some rights are universal. Some rights a person has no matter which government he has over him. Those rights benefit from having a higher government authority to protect.
I agree, that's why we have a federal constitution with a basic set of universal rights.
The Federal government is completely with in their power to protect those rights.



If you ask me to accept states' rights libertarianism despite "a few bad apples" and because nothing is perfect, why can't I ask you to accept centralization of government despite "a few bad apples" and because nothing is perfect?
Because the "bad apples" of centralization affect everyone, while the "bad apples" of decentralization only affect some people.

Slavery was a completely horrible system for the South the use but at least there was the off chance that those slaves could escape to free states.
What if there were no free states?
 
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