Please help me respond to a "well meaning" friend about libertarianismSubmitted by happygeorge on Mon, 12/31/2012 - 03:25
UPDATE: I am adding responses below. Please keep the comments coming!
Dear Everyone! I have a political science student friend. I have been debating him for weeks, and need help responding to this letter:
Although you may not know it, your Libertarians are advocating Plutocracy as a superior form of government than democratic state oversight. Even today, despite corporate-government collusion (i.e. the corporatocarcy) we can see evidence our own Canadian or USA pseudo-democratic states (polyarchies) demonstrating at least have some minimal checks and balances to stop monopolies in the form of anti-trust laws ... here is my proof:
Without a state with at least some minimal kinds of laws, how would a Libertarian political system control cartels and oligopolies from tyrannizing the masses? They can't. They like free markets. They believe in that magical invisible hand that does good to everybody and not primarily powerful corporations. Unfortunately, Libertarians have no use for the state's already existing anti-trust (i.e. anti-monopoly) laws.
Your Libertarian utopia is in fact a demented Plutocracy or in other words a corporate tyranny whereby the wealthy have free reign to pay your mother less than minimum wage, make profits from people when they get sick. Your Libertarianism endorses private banking corporations who benefit from usury, and no health care for the poor and sees nothing wrong in paying exorbitant fees for water !!! Yes George, under your system the rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The first guy to the oil well owns all the oil!!! haha! It is so stupid and self-serving!
I keep repeating, that the Thrasymachus argument was already successfully proven wrong by Mr. Socrates 2500 years ago in his famous book Republic: Might does NOT make right!!! In other words, it is wrong to take advantage of weak people just because you can. Duh! Isn't that obvious?
Also, on gun control as in war, an eye for an eye and the whole world is blind. You really seem to be putting a lot of faith in the dummy average citizen's peaceful nature and kindness. Why would you put guns in the hands of stupid people? Ridiculous! And why put the power of society in the hands of the greedy and wealthy people? You really think they will give it away ;-) C'mon seriously? Your naive system tears apart society into brutal class warfare!
Eventually, after just a few years of Libertarianism, a very few select elite group of people (less than 1%) would control the economy. It would be the same as today, yet FAR WORSE, since the corporate tyranny would not provide any social assistance, benefits, medicare, NOTHING for the poor. It is really a very cruel and shortsighted world the Libertarians are envisioning. Kind of like a naive fantasy world if you ask me! It would be funny if it wasn't so cruel. Libertarianism is the worst nightmare for the Occupy movement. It is making society worse off, not better. The pendulum swings even further into the hands of the elites, and there is nothing you are anybody else can do to stop it. No state to complain to. But hey, you asked for it. And I know you would be the first to protest against such a Libertarian corporate tyranny once you could see (if you can't now foresee) the temendous damage it would do to human virtue, the classes, the economy and our collective social fabric.
Finally, Libertarian system would also pay for private police, who would obviously get paid to protect the rich before they would defend the poor. Just do the math!
Any suggestions much appreciated... especially ones with some good scholarly links etc.
THANK YOU ALL, in advance!
-- my quick response 1:
Here is a short thought on another small thing I've mentioned, and now I will put in writing.
Whatever "utopia" you suggest... have it pass the test of it being INCLUSIVE. What I mean is... if your version of "utopia" allows for my version, then it is fine by me. If it does, and the reciprocal can be said of my version of "utopia" being inclusive of yours... well, then we can discuss whose is better in that they are MORE ENCOMPASSING ... thus greater in their "inclusiveness"
My libertarianism says that you can live as you please. You can form whatever associations you wish. Want to be a communist? Great, form a commune and go for it. Want to be a hermit? Have at it. Want to participate with others in a free and voluntary society? Welcome to the club. Why is voluntarism so scary to the statists?
Because they are afraid that left to their own choices, most people will reject their prescription for what ails us, and go back to taking care of themselves and their own communities.
--- his response:
Voluntarism is very scary to everyone because it means you can have voluntary tyrannical oppression, voluntary cruelty, voluntary wage slavery, voluntary class warfare, voluntary corruption, voluntary corporate tyranny, voluntary pollution of the environment, voluntary profiteering off the sick, voluntary private hegemony, etc.
You are wrong, multiple systems could never coexist. Under voluntarism you cannot have multiple systems, because the more powerful systems will subsume the weaker systems EVERY TIME, so that a commune or Kibutz would be slave under the outside forces of free market capitalist system. They would depend on the tyrannical Libertarian corporations hegemonic domination of the market and thereby be dependent on it for survival. For example, try to cross the US border without a passport or I.D. ... you CANNOT because no matter how much you believe in voluntarism you will not be allowed to cross the border. This is how naive voluntarism is in your model. Nobody could volunteer to do whatever they want because pre-existing Libertarian structures would always impede that progress. Under Libertarianism you get tyranny of the majority, as well as tyranny of the minority. Absolutely no checks and balances to filter the greed and cruelty or bad behaviour. If it were a society of angels, then Libertarianism would work. In a society of devils, which is ours, you need a social contract with progressive open minded socialism.
When you advocate for no rules it is free like the old wild west, where people would commonly kill each other because the sheriff was not around. If you think that people can be trusted for taking the laws into their own hands, then read Hobbes. .... or go back to caveman days when raping and stealing was allowed.
you are trying to give an example of why voluntarism would not work, and give the US border (controlled by THE STATE) to prove your point.. you just proved my point that THE STATE is the tool for KILLING voluntarism.
I am totally open to see your point... but please give an example that proves it!
Give me an example of where voluntarism is actually "corrupt", "tyranical", and "hegemonic"... you list all these things, and give one "proof": the US border (?) wft.
Can't you see how you are completely WRONG?
Your whole line of thinking is confused, and circular and brings you back to what I am saying:
THE STATE is the thing that creates: " voluntary tyrannical oppression, voluntary cruelty, voluntary wage slavery, voluntary class warfare, voluntary corruption, voluntary corporate tyranny, voluntary pollution of the environment, voluntary profiteering "
oh, and of course, that is because there is absolutely NOTHING VOLUNTARY in your model!
Second. Your statement:
"When you advocate for no rules it is free like the old wild west, where people would commonly kill each other because the sheriff was not around."
This is a strawman argument... you are restating my statement falsely by saying "When you advocate for no rules..."
I gave a very, very short version of what I advocate.. and here it is again. I agree with Ron Paul where he says, the role of government is:
"to provide national defense, a court system for civil disputes, a criminal justice system for acts of force and fraud, and little else."
Do you see this to equal "no rules" ????
--- his response:
Under Libertarianism there would be a huge rise in homelessness, disease, drug addiction, crime and overall suffering especially among the poor ... but a Libertarian does not give a flying f_ck about the poor. As long as they are free to carry their guns and make money they are fine. They want to build huge walls to keep the immigrants out of the US. Go figure, the white man is an immigrant himself. The entire country is founded on immigrants including the Europeans (who were not the first to claim North American soil, the primary tenet of Libertarians is the first people to grab the land own it ... except of course if you happen to be native ;-)
Ron Paul has some good ideas on the diagnosis of the problem of neoliberalism where he is very strong, and in particular on foreign policy, but his economic solution, whether he knows it or not, is corporate tyranny. He is a nightmare for social justice ethics. His solution for poverty is: Fuck you poor people, the corporations are going to screw you so bend over ... Especially silly is his health care solution where only the rich can afford to pay for health care, the others, well shut up an die !!!!
Talk about giving a break to big corporations at the expense of the poor, and weak. There are absolutely NO guarantees under Libertarianism that the price of health care will not skyrocket above the $3000 per year per American!!! The $3000 is already double what it should be because insurance companies need to make their profit. IF you get sick (and it is extremely naive to think you will not eventually) you could easily lose your bitcoin savings, your home, etc.
It is naive to think everybody will behave like you! Noblesse oblige is a dying phenomenon. I would not risk my health on hoping some nice people will take care of me. I would rather pay taxes on cigarettes, and alcohol. I would not want to risk my life hoping the moronic loser who just bought his first gun won't use it on me.
Libertarianism places individual freedom HIGH above the good of the community or even family. Trust me, everybody owning guns and the abolishment of welfare and the minimum wage is not a great recipe for crime reduction. Just check out ANY policy research on welfare and the prevention of crime and homelessness (only a moron would not recognize this connection).
As an analogy for the example of Ayn Rand selfishness that Libertarianism can breed, you as a Libertarian would have the freedom and right to ignore the poor, or abandon your mother at home for xmas because there are no laws stating that you have to be with her or help others. You are at "liberty" to do what you want, even at liberty to be a cruel asshole. You might be nice and behave otherwise, but others would not. There are no rules for kindness and decency in Libertarianism. If you start to make rules for kindness, then you begin to go down the socialism path, like having anti-trust laws, minimum wage, the police, a legal system, universal health care for all, and other progressive ideas. etc.
You might be safe with a gun, but others might try to shoot innocent people. While many people will not behave badly, many others will, and nothing can stop them. Is that the anarchy you really want? There worst danger is in the economic arena where survival of the fittest takes over ... a draconian and unsophisticated way of behaving. WHY ARE YOU A SUCKER FOR COMPETITION? Competition is uncivilized. Again, do you think eugenics is a good idea? All those cripples, elderly and mentally retarded people are really costing taxpayers money, maybe you should take care of them all George, and if you don't want to, who will?
---Finally, my answer to the ORIGINAL Post based on comments here:
Before I respond to this email in more depth (and I WILL) please answer some of these questions I need to know your answers for:
1. You use the word "plutocracy," which is rule by the wealthy. Can you please define what you mean?
2. What are the Occupy Wall Street people protesting in your view?
3. Please define "libertarian", (there are more than one variety, what does it mean to you in general?)
4. Please define "free market"
5. We agree that now we have BIG gov't now, right? -- How is your vision of utopia attained with all the things that could happen not already happening right now -- with BIG government?
6. Please give me a specific example of where a monopoly has been established and sustained without collusion with government. The term corporation is a special class of business with special privileges granted by government.
7. Who gets to decide who is "too stupid" to own a gun?
8. "Tyrannical Corps" and Cartels Hate the Free Market, if they loved it why didn't any of them throw their support behind Ron Paul, and why did the Big Banks / cartels support Romney / Obama who want gov controlled markets...
9. What was the ratio of income, rich to poor, in 1900? What is it today, after a century of progressive taxation?
10. What is the history of corporations, as they did not seem to exist in 1830 the way they exist today? Why?
11. Does the concentration of power attract honest or corrupt men?
I need these definitions, and quick answers to better formulate a FULL ANSWER to your email! :)