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Why I am NOT a Libertarian!

I don't know if people know this, but though I am a die-hard follower of Ron Paul, I do not consider myself a libertarian or a conservative.

In my studies I have found too many issues with the respective main ideologies of our day and for this reason I have wandered around like a lost sheep without a home inside the larger flock of Ron Paul supporters. Thanks to this piece I recently found however, I think I may have finally found my home in the Ron Paul flock because I think this piece nails a lot of the problems with the ideologies of our day.

I am sharing this because I am sure many here on this site have similar problems to mine and have been looking for direction on this point. At the same time I am sure many here would disagree with the sentiments shared in this piece (which is fine, we all have our opinions) and I would love to hear their refutations of the points made since my mind is still very open to persuasion.

So here it is. Because of what is shared in this piece, I am NOT a Libertarian and I welcome a debate on the points raised.

The Ideological Idols | Posted on June 27, 2012 by Professor Wall

Ideologies are a natural result of a democratic-republican form of government. People all have opinions on how problems should be handled at the level of government and in a free democratic-republican system, they are allowed to voice these opinions in debates, elections, and the public square (i.e. talk radio, television and the workplace). Unfortunately, many people believe in their ideologies to an extreme...

Read More at: http://subsidiaritytimes.com/2012/06/27/the-ideological-idols/

Thoughts everyone?



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Social moderate means lap sitting but no kissing? ; )

Over my 40 years of affiliation, right now is by far the high point of Libertarian thought and political effectiveness. By far. Exponential growth of Libertarianism as a political force is now accelerating at a fantastic rate with the internet bringing the whole world on board.

40 years ago NOBODY knew what the "l" word meant and when I informed them, they would wrinkle their noses and criticize the name Libertarian and helpfully offer suggestions for a better name.

In the late 70's' an ignorant AP wire service writer wrote a bizarre article falsely connecting Lyndon LaRouche and his violent (Socialist) Labor Party with us peace loving Libertarians and convinced many people that LaRouchies and Libertarians were one and the same. All the news outlets parroted the connection. I had to defend the movement dozens of times from people convinced we were violent Socialists. Unbelievably, a Libertarian friend of mine (A. Schmidt) had to raise her hand in class and inform the head of the political science department at Lewis University that LaRouche was not a Libertarian and there was no connection.
Through the 90's, much of the energy of Libertarianism was wasted battling obstacles erected to entrench and defend the two party system. Still only a small percentage of the population knew what a Libertarian was. The internet has really helped, and I'd say a third of the country knows what a Libertarian is.

Democrats and Republicans are both threatened by the rapid spread of our political philosophy.

WW2 Bomber pilots would say, “If you’re not catching flak you’re not over the target”

We're over the target.

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty" TJ

I don't think it's gotten a bad name but

even if it did, we really need to stop running from the words which define what we think. When we do, we lose what we think. The progressives tactic of waging a war of language succeeds because we allow it. We used to be liberals. Then progressives took over the word liberal. Then we were sort of conservative, but the progressives took that over as well. We stole the word libertarian from left anarchists, but I think we should stick with it. How are people supposed to find what it is that best describes the way they think if we, the ones who think the way they do, keep changing our banner?

We have a banner, a word, a sigil if you will, so that others may find us. How will budding freedom lovers find us if we keep hiding behind new words?

So you're a statist, join the club

This piece is slanted, and that is being charitable. You don't need to go past the first sentence of the description of libertarianism.

Libertarians worship personal freedom

This says right away he either doesn't understand libertarians, or else he does, but is trying to trick the reader into a false understanding.

Deceitful or ignorant? Let the reader be the judge.

Then he goes on to describe a litany of qualities of libertarians that no libertarian believes.

According to him:

* We feel "that the decisions that an individual makes regarding their own personal habits or livelihood should be left unaddressed by anyone at all"

* We wish to "absolve people from the obligation to “Love Thy Neighbor” whereby one person can help another avoid inflicting great harm to himself/herself".

* We don't think "family has the authority to talk to a person about their personal habits and way of living and in some cases this responsibility extends to members of the community such as the individual’s neighbors and co-workers"

Italics mine.

Summed up none of that describes us. We agree with all that. But apparently because we don't believe using government guns to achieve these things adds to the societal good, that we don't want these good things to happen at all.

None of these criticisms address libertarianism. They don't on purpose because the only real difference libertarians and everyone else is we don't believe in bringing a gun to a conversation. The poster believes in bringing the implied threat of government guns to what he kids himself is a 'conversation'. The poster doesn't want you to know he's talking about guns.

Of course we also don't believe in bringing a knife to a gunfight, which is what this poster did, brought a rhetorical knife to a gunfight in this lame criticism of libertarianism.

Bastiat said it best:

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain

Excellent quote from Bastiat!

Thanks!

Maybe we need to call ourselves LIBERTY-TARIANS..

Because any other political group always seems to have inherent problems with being consistent.

But more importantly, political parties should be ABOLISHED as organizations who run candidates for office.

Political parties have RUINED liberty.

Candidates should run only on their personal philosphies and beliefs - not some party platform which may contain several things their candidates may not even believe in.

George Washington spoke against political parties he was correct.

I believe he was the only president in history NOT to be part of a political party.

"We have allowed our nation to be over-taxed, over-regulated, and overrun by bureaucrats. The founders would be ashamed of us for what we are putting up with."
-Ron Paul

This is the Daily Paul:

I love to see these types of posts.
Thought provoking, and brings about some real discussion perhaps helping others find something they have been in search of, but haven't quite put their finger on.
Thanks.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I love my country
I am appalled by my government

Michael Nystrom's picture

Good - Thank you for posting

I appreciate your thoughts and your contribution to the debate, and ultimately, the expansion of mind - yours, mine and everyone else's here.

Personally, I don't label myself. Labels, in my opinion, are for the convenience of others. They stick a label on you and then they think they know where they can file you away in their little brains: "Oh, that Nystrom, he's a [fill in the blank]. No wonder. All those [fill in the blanks] are like that."

Why make things convenient for other people? In the end, doing that can make things more inconvenient for yourself.

Extreme ideological attachment is a form of narcissism, imo. Some people are so in love with their beliefs and principles that they confuse them with who they are. They love their principles so much that they'll sacrifice everything for them - friends, family, children. Good grief. All for their glorious principles. It is a form of masturbation, imo.

"Oh! My principles! It feels so good to touch them. And to feel them. To stroke them. To believe in them. Yes! Yes! MY PRINCIPLES!"

And then one day they go and change their mind. Or they sneak a little cookie, and they can't even see their violating their own principles because they're so in love with themselves - feeling their oats.

He's the man.

All words are labels

Labels are what makes us human. The more labels you have at your disposal, the richer your world is. People couldn't even recognize the color blue, until they had a word for it. Wrap your mind around that! The ancient shamans used to say that words have power. Knowing the name of something gave you power of that something. Why? Because once you name something, you notice it, whereas before it was just part of the surroundings.

The evolution of the human race is all about creating more labels.

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

Michael Nystrom's picture

Unless the labels are wrong

And don't represent reality.

The more labels you have at your disposal, the richer your world is.

Really? How about this label?

"Ron Paul is an isolationist."

Words to have power, on that we agree. Look at the power of that label above.

How about this one:

"Ron Paul is a racist"

The evolution of the human race is all about creating more labels.

If that is the case, we're in big trouble!

He's the man.

tool vs. tool use

You make good points, Michael. But you are referring to misuse of labels, rather than the labels themselves. We have more tools today than in ages past. That means there are more ways to kill someone today than before. Does that mean that the tools are to blame?

Just as guns don't kill people, but people kill people, we could say that labels do not mislabel people, but people mislabel people. There are more words in the English language today than in ages past. Is that a bad thing?

Ron Paul calls himself a "non-interventionist." Recently, he even said that that is the best way to describe libertarians. As far as I know, Ron invented this label for himself. Aren't you glad that he did, and that we have a way to distinguish between an isolationist and a non-interventionist? Doesn't this new label move the human race forward?

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

"Oh! My principles! It feels

"Oh! My principles! It feels so good to touch them. And to feel them. To stroke them. To believe in them. Yes! Yes! MY PRINCIPLES!"

-reminds me of an incessantly useful old zen saying...

"Do not seek the truth, merely cease to cherish opinion." :D

Michael Nystrom's picture

Good on John

Thank you.

He's the man.
Michael Nystrom's picture

On the other hand, some people benefit from labels.

On the other hand, some people benefit from labels. Anyone who can position themselves against something by use of a label can gain an advantage. Politicians come to mind. They label themselves as Conservatives, Constitutionalists, Liberals, etc. - whatever they think will give them the greatest advantage among their constituency.

The thing about politicians is that they rarely let the labels interfere with their beliefs. That's a whole different ballgame.

He's the man.

The Description Seems to Be Off

Regardless of political leaning, I don't believe most people who identify with a political ideal are expecting an absolute utopia.

For instance, "They think that if everyone is left to rise or fall based on their own virtues or vices regarding their personal habits, then a more complete and happy society can be achieved." I don't know any libertarian who thinks that. Libertarianism doesn't guarantee happiness, it guarantees liberty. The view is that it isn't the government's job to protect people from their own choices or stupdity. Others should not have to cover the price for it. Liberty does not guarantee any individual's happiness. It's up to the individual to find happiness.

"This view is dangerous in the sense that it does not acknowledge the legitimate place of authority on many levels, sometimes not even at the family or community level." I've heard it before, 'Libertarians want to go back to the lawless Wild West.' Untrue. I've never known libertarianism to profess no-government lawless anarchy. To have liberty in the form that libertarianism espouses, laws preventing infringement on other's basic rights is necessary and accepted, as well as authorities to enforce them.

"This mindset tends to absolve people from the obligation to “Love Thy Neighbor” whereby one person can help another avoid inflicting great harm to himself/herself." Wrong, it doesn't prevent anyone from being good to their neighbor. However, legislating it is unethical.

"While libertarians are correct in feeling that certain levels of government should not dictate personal habits because government is force, they are incorrect in feeling that the decisions that an individual makes regarding their own personal habits or livelihood should be left unaddressed by anyone at all." Way off again. Libertarianism says nothing about making laws against citizens addressing individual problems. But again, mandating it is unethical. If someone needs help, they will ask for it, and there is nothing under libertarianism that prevents people from helping. If someone doesn't want help, that's a liberty also.

"The family has the authority to talk to a person about their personal habits and way of living and in some cases this responsibility extends to members of the community such as the individual’s neighbors and co-workers." Misuse of the word 'authority' here. A family and members of the community have the right to talk to a person about their personal habits and way of living. Libertarianism does not in any way take that away. In fact this description completely loses the whole essence of libertarianism, that it wouldn't be the job of government to force family or community into non-action, but neither does it have the authority to prevent people from choosing to help either. That's the whole idea, government shouldn't be involved in such personal things.

"Tragic deaths from bad personal habits such as drug abuse and irresponsible driving often stem from the same mindset as that which would fuel a libertarian society." WAY WAY way off on the driving. Irresponsible driving is not expected to be allowed under a libertarian system. Driving on the wrong side of the street? C'mon, the writer of that article needs to have a little sense. Unsafe driving that can endanger others? Forcing motorcyclists to wear helmets? Two completely separate issues.

As far as drug abuse, it goes back to personal choice. Making it illegal feeds violent organized crime, wastes policing resources, and burdens the prison systems. Look up Portugal legalizing all drugs as an example. Not only did drug use go down (most notably among the teen/young adult group), but spread of AIDS through needles declined.

I am simple

I am libertarian who believes in a small form of government....very small. If some don't like the fact I label myself to a group that would be their problem not mine! Now trying to agree with all my fellow Ron Paul supporters is as challenging as a town hall meeting on cutting taxes...we agree 98% on most issues but its the other 2% of disagreement that tends to keep us on the fringe out of the mainstream. In the end we would all love that the Ron Paul message would become mainstream? Well for me anyways!

As a libertarian I believe no

As a libertarian I believe no individual should have the right to initiate infringement upon another's life, liberty, or property. I only see 'self defense' and 'apprehension of an individual that has harmed another' as necessary violence in a free society.

As a libertarian I have no problem at all with family, friends, or complete strangers trying to 'talk' to me or 'educate' me on things they think I'm doing which might harm myself or others, but I sure as heck don't believe they should have the right to do harm to me because of what they think.

Maybe you can also educate me on what you think an 'authority figure' is? As a 40+ year old small business owner I stopped thinking of others as authority figures 20 years ago when I grew up. Maybe you, like most Americans, just haven't grown up yet and need a mommy telling you how to live so you won't be so scared of individual freedom and liberty.

Responding to a couple points:

" ... does not acknowledge the legitimate place of authority on many levels ... "

If the Declaration of Independence is wrong that just authority does not derive from consent and there are other legitimate authorities as the author suggests ... what are they and what do those authorities derive legitimacy from? I suspect if we start talking about any family authority to compel a 10 year old daughter to marriage this author is going to dry up like every other hypocrite contradicting themselves with every misspoken word of so called family authority.

Furthermore if one is searching for some kind of Biblical principle ... name one Hebrew delivered from Pharoah by the strong hand of the Lord using coercion. I am not referring to any Egyptian that was coerced, I want to know the name of a Hebrew that was compelled to be delivered from Egyptians.

"This mindset tends to absolve people from the obligation to “Love Thy Neighbor”

Is that any kind of command or directive backed up with a threat of force? Without any compelling external source it must be a self imposed obligation which is arbitrated in the court of self.

"While libertarians are correct in feeling that certain levels of government should not dictate personal habits because government is force, they are incorrect in feeling that the decisions that an individual makes regarding their own personal habits or livelihood should be left unaddressed by anyone at all."

What the hell is being said here? It sounds like the author wants to force some people to do some crap or feels some people can force some people to do some crap but they are uncomfortable saying that outright? Please ...

The natural order of things is generally for people who make bad choices to die sooner than people who make good choices. That sounds like a reasonable system to me. Why do you need to prop up people who make bad decisions like propping up a dictator in order to keep them around longer? The world needs people who make bad decisions propped up about as much as it needs more bombs dropped.

It is impossible to force goodness. Let bad live its intended naturally shorter life so it can get out of good's way.

Finally the author doesn't even address a core argument of voluntaryist philosophy. No system is perfect, no system prevents bad apples, and no system eliminates all bad apples. The reasoning for maximal freedom is that the effects of bad apples will be far, far less than any other model of human organization. The author does not even address this fundamental point which is amplified by Austrian economic thought. The "idol" of libertarianism is bad apples possess the least amount of impact or influence upon society.

The author of this article

Doesn't understand Libertarianism at all, Samuel Washington said it well below, but I'll add that the Family is not suppressed or ignored, quite the opposite the Family should be more involved with an individual then the Government. This Author seems to equate Government with Family that's right out of Marxism or Hillary Clinton.

i read your post

but I will not bother with the article to convince you your approach to an ideology is fallacious.

First things first, You are basing the whole frame work of Libertarianism on one persons perspective. The problem here is there are dozens upon dozens of different views and achos of thought under the Libertarian ideology.

I would subscribe myself as an Austrian Libertarian, whT does this mean? well it doesn't mean much unless I wrote a dissertation on every single view I hold because even in the austrian school you have plentyof disagreement on different issues.

However, there are certain distinctions that embody specific schools that all thinkers of a particular school would adopt its principles. I consider myself an Austrian LibertariN because of their methodology, they take a philosophical approach of Methodological Individualism; something in principle I embrace whole heartedly. This would be opposed to say a Methodological Libertarian Utilitarianism, expressing in principle of their reason whats best for everyone or a majority.

There are many thinkers whome I'll agree with 90% of what the advicate, and I would consider myself as part of their philosphy. I suggest you read more, even listen more to the arguments made by many of the archetypes of the LibertariN tradition. Check out Mises.org, they have volumes of work and even audio lectures that are quite invaluable. In the end consider your self what ever you'd like, I just ask that you keep questioning as you go about any and all theorists you come across; I have faith you"ll find heart in this one if you hold dear to the principles of truth, reason, logic, and an ever sense of questioning.

Cool

This is the first time I've heard of Subsidiarism, and it seems pretty accurate to how I feel. However, the author didn't identify any fatal flaws in that political philosophy, except maybe to those who do not accept the idea of a Great Creator who deserves our respect and worship.

I can get the flaw talked about under Libertarianism. Though there isn't anything in Libertarianism that denies me the right to voice my opinion on any matter to anyone, there is nothing in it that places human life, and specifically the lives and well being of those who are unable to help themselves, above the freedom of others to not be involved. I don't see how a nation-wide system of road "rules" could be formed, for example, under a strictly libertarian society.

"Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice." -- Thomas Paine

Flawed Logic

Well I love reading about this stuff so I gave it a read and I found some major flaws in his premises.

He got Libertarianism WRONG: "Libertarians worship personal freedom." This is a sentence straight from Joseph Goebbels - Hitler's Propaganda man. I've never seen anyone describe an ideology centered around FREEDOM like it was a 4-letter word.

"They think if you let people rise and fall on their own, that makes for a happy society."

EH! WRONG! We think you should get all the help you want or need from people who VOLUNTEER to help, not from the application of GOVERNMENT FORCE.

Volunteerism is a central tenet in Libertarianism. You shouldn't be FORCED to "help" someone as the Government sees fit. You should be able to CHOOSE where the fruits of your time and labor go.

Choice. FREEDOM. Libertarianism.

"Libertarianism neglects the 'love thy neighbor' principle whereby one person can stop someone else from harming themselves."

By this logic, this guy MUST admit that he places the GOVERNMENT's CHOICE about your life, AHEAD OF YOU.

"I reported you to the police because I saw you were smoking weed. I think weed is a harmful substance and I wanted to INTERFERE IN YOUR PERSONAL BUSINESS to FORCE MY VIEW OF THE WORLD on you. Enjoy getting raped in prison - I love you, neighbor."

In a libertarian worldview: Your Brain. Your Body. Your Life. YOUR DECISION. No one else's.

That writer should read Frederick Bastiat's "The Law" from 1787 wherein he clearly defines the role of government within a libertarian society: The line is drawn at FREEDOM and if someone crosses it - - the government is allowed to step in. And the government is NEVER allowed to cross that line (i.e. Remove some of your freedoms to give you added security) -- and if they DO cross that line - then we know what the constitution says should be done.

And what is the point being made? That a democracy is a problem because it allows for some people to form EXTREME ideologies? BTW - he completely neglected to address Fascism, and I thought he invented 2 ideologies:

Moderatism and Susidiarism -- I read that second word and I was like: WTF is that?? and then I saw the website name "SubsidiarityTimes" and realized - he's inventing his own words.

CONCLUSION: Good effort. At least this guy is TRYING to think things through -- but I didn't see his solution, and I didn't agree with his analysis of the "problem".

His argument against Libertarianism is: Too much freedom can be a bad thing.

And that's just horse shit.

"Because of what is shared in

"Because of what is shared in this piece, I am NOT a Libertarian"

Please be more specific about what it is that is shared in that piece that influences you as such. Thanks for the link. It was a fun read, but so far you have not been clear about what it is in the piece that has helped you resolve your identity crisis. Not that I assume this, but for all you've written you may as well be a fascist. I think it's more likely that you have been swayed to align with what the piece describes as "Subsidiarism", but you fall short of mentioning that and have left us all guessing.

Fess up. You first. Your post remains ambiguous and provocative. ;)

Apparently the Principle of Subsidiary comes from the Catholics

I had never heard the word Subsidiarism so I looked it up.

Apparently the Principle of Subsidiary comes from the Catholic Church:

http://bit.ly/k22Xre From the link:

One of the key principles of Catholic social thought is known as the principle of subsidiarity.

"This tenet holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization.

In other words, any activity which can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be.

This principle is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom. It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State."

... which is just beautiful. Because this is exactly what I have come to believe strongly on my own.

Russel Kirk:

"As Russell Kirk observed, Tocqueville strongly opposed the centralizing impulse which afflicts modern democracies.

In accord with subsidiarity, true democracy is a product of local institutions and self-reliance.

Consolidation is the weapon of tyranny, but the friend of liberty is particularism.

“Among the public men of democracies, there are hardly any but men of great disinterestedness or extreme mediocrity who seek to oppose the centralization of government; the former are scarce, the latter powerless.”

No No No No NO

fyi, I read just the libertarianism section.

>> Ideologies are a natural result of a democratic-republican form of government.
This very first line in the article is a big joke. Libertarianism and most isms being discussed pre-date the modern US democratic-republican setup. Infact libertarianism has been alive since time immemorial (from anarchism to tradition based middle ages) and has been properly codified as a philosophy atleast since 17th century (such as Locke's natural rights)

>> is dangerous in the sense that it does not acknowledge the legitimate place of authority on many levels, sometimes not even at the family or community level. This mindset tends to absolve people from the obligation to “Love Thy Neighbor” whereby one person can help another avoid inflicting great harm to himself/herself.
>> The family has the authority to talk to a person about their personal habits and way of living and in some cases this responsibility extends to members of the community such as the individual’s neighbors and co-workers. {Tragic deaths from bad personal habits such as drug abuse and irresponsible driving often stem from the same mindset as that which would fuel a libertarian society}.
These are classic mis-representations of libertarianism. Someone recently posted an article on DP about voluntary communities vs collectivism. Libertarians are not anti-community and they tend to have the greatest love for their family and fellow people.

Yes I didn't 100% agree with the critiques of all the ''ism's'

But I do wholeheartedly agree with the Principle of Subsidiary in the last paragraph.

Many people's personal concept of libertarianism is closer to subsidiarism than it is to the authors critique of libertarianism imo.

I agree but I find

I agree but I find subsidiarism as a subset or flavor of libertarianism. What if the smallest, lowest, or least centralised authority capable of addressing certain matters effectively happens to be the individual himself? Does that stop being subsidiarism then?

By his definition of subsidiarism, the evil endogamous caste system in India (which was pretty localized in each village without any central authority) would be a subsidiary and a good thing.

Libertarianism is not individualism per se. Libertarianism is about freedom; including the freedom to associate oneself to a community or a group.

Interesting, because neither do I

Although libertarian ideals are the closest to my own thoughts and those I end up agreeing with more often than not - and I have done extensive reading and pondering on personally ..

I do not self-identify as any group label other than Liberty.

I add support to anyone who is working toward shrinking down the current corporate-state leviathan in any way that is sincere and not a psy-op or a con job.

The Declaration, the Constitution and Bill of Rights are not only the foundations of Law here, they were also originally the best blueprint for a decentralized, localist Republic the world had ever seen.

I love the spirit of the anarchists that bring the essence of liberty to it's extreme. But I am not one and don't identify with that either.

Rather I agree with what the article had to say about what it calls subsidiarism .. another new label but this is close to where I am at - which is essentially Localism:

" Subsidiarism believes in problems being resolved at the most local level possible. People following this ideology wish to govern themselves by setting forth most of their own laws that they wish to follow in their own communities rather than always looking to the provincial or national government to run their lives and set their laws.

Subsidiarists hold that the Creator is the one who is to be worshipped and respected because human beings receive their dignity from the Creator, Who made them as individuals and gave them their rights. They acknowledge that, as human beings, they are not perfect and cannot achieve total perfection, but that the faults that individual human beings show, (whether its in dealing with their fellow human beings, or in their own personal habits), can be best handled and settled at the appropriate level, whether it be the family level, the community level, the provincial level (for serious faults such as murder), or the national level (for grave crimes, such as treason).

This will not bring about utopia, but it can isolate the instances of abuse and poor management of problems which arise and so keep the harm that comes as a result restricted to the lowest number of people possible. {The argument could be made that the early United States is the closest historical example of this kind of society}.