-28 votes

Leaving Paul, (USA style) Libertarianism

Hey guys,

I'm hoping you'll let me get this off my chest. I was once a Ron Paul supporter (donated many times) and poster here on the dailypaul, but I quietly left after the newsletters came to light in early 2008. A couple years later I left (USA style) Libertarianism for good.

There were many reasons, but a few concepts and ideas really shook me:

1) Private land. If someone were to buy the Grand Canyon, I'd have to be okay with them doing whatever they want with their property - including filling it and turning into a parking lot.

2) Science. I come from a family of scientists and too much of Paul's beliefs fly in the face of hard data: Economics (Mises-style Austrian School is proudly anti-empiricism), Climatology, and any sort of empirical study done on the effects of welfare. Philosophy is great, but when it butts heads with science, I gotta go with science.

3) The first libertarian. I was drawn to the USA style of libertarianism because I saw it as the most anti-authoritarian political philosophy, and I'm nothing if not anti-authority. Then I learned that the first Libertarian (Joseph Déjacque) was also a Communist, and in most of the world the terms are interchangeable. That was my introduction to original Libertarianism (called left-libertarianism here), where all hierarchies are called into question: race, religion, gender, wealth, as well as the state. No authority was safe. My mind was blown.

I'm mostly writing this to myself 6 years ago: The word "freedom" doesn't have to include your boss spying on 80% of your waking life. The word "freedom" doesn't have to include someone shooting you for walking off the public trail. The word "freedom" doesn't have to leave anyone dying in the streets.

Thanks for letting me vent.
- FF




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Séamusín's picture

Do you think you deserve to keep what you create?

Like if you were out in the woods and you saw some twigs, and you weaved them together to make a cool piece of artwork.

Do you believe that it belongs to you?

Séamusín

I'm not going to criticize you for any political/philosophical

choices you make. But I've learned that labels mean nothing.

A person can attach any label to his/her head and still go on being whatever he/she was/is.

Labels are a good way for people to get into wars, I think.

There are bad libertarians, bad conservatives, bad liberals, bad *fill in the blank*

and good of each of those.

I never saw Ron Paul as a guru; I just admired him for speaking up about the constitution--

I never got too worried about economics, because I was too busy just trying to survive day to day.

I come on DP to find out what's going on in the world, and I have found a lot of like-minded people.

Oh, and as for religion; that is the worst label of all.

I happen to be a Christian, and some of the most devious/cunning/evil people I have met are . . .

Christians.

So, labels. Get rid of them and stick to being a good person, whatever your philosophy is.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

No offense

But economics is the centerpiece around Ron Paul, and you shouldn't advocate for him without knowing a bit about what he's saying. Austrian School is a very fringe heterodox philosophy, some call it a psuedo-science, as Austrians don't deal with history or reality or mathematical models. Just words.

Advocating for Ron Paul is advocating for the Austrian School, which, as *libertarian* economist Milton Friedman said, has done the world a great deal of harm.

"I think the Austrian business-cycle theory has done the world a great deal of harm. If you go back to the 1930s, which is a key point, here you had the Austrians sitting in London, Hayek and Lionel Robbins, and saying you just have to let the bottom drop out of the world. You’ve just got to let it cure itself. You can’t do anything about it. You will only make it worse. You have Rothbard saying it was a great mistake not to let the whole banking system collapse. I think by encouraging that kind of do-nothing policy both in Britain and in the United States, they did harm." - Milton Friedman

Ban Everything

you're not being offensive, but . . .

not everyone has the same strengths, to be honest.

I am sure there are things I could teach you--

:)

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Séamusín's picture

You should check out American Violence

By Stefan Molyneux. You can find it on YouTube.

Also, if you read Murray Rothbard you will find out that he is quite the historian. Look at the history of money and banking. Very powerful historical analysis.

I wouldn't argue that Austrians don't deal with numbers, especially after you dismissed price theory and the calculation problem so casually.

please let me know what you think about those things which unjust shared with you.

Séamusín

non-academic

Sorry, this is going to seem a little snobbish, but I don't like getting my political philosophy from youtube videos, and further: I've seen several Stefan videos linked on ex-libertarian forums, and he seems somewhat of a kook to me, calling on his followers to abandon all friends who aren't ancaps and whatnot.

Since I'm already out as a snob, another big problem I had with libertarianism is that it's so unacademic. Rothbard, Mises, et. al. were barely professors (mises only a visiting professor), if not for large grants from corporations and wealthy fans, they wouldn't have had university positions at all. In this sense, Nozick is the only true academic libertarian.

Ban Everything

Séamusín's picture

So you criticize libertarianism for being unempirical

Nonmathematical, unhistorical, and non-academic. In the same breath you suggest that, calculation theory doesn't matter, historical works written by Murray Rothbard don't count because he was not a true academic(despite an ivy league PHD and teaching positions in multiple colleges one of which he held a tenured position) You disregard empirical evidence(the existence of which you denied before it was presented to you) because it is presented on youtube and I guess what, Its too accessible?

You dismiss YouTube as a source for communication of ideas and then you come to the Daily Paul to discuss your philosophical conversion.

You refer to Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand as a libertarians.

I am trying very hard friend to understand your position, your aim even. You are not going to convince anybody here with the explanations you have given. Most people are going to read what you have written and immediately dismiss you. Believe me, I don't think you should be dismissed. I would like though for you to give me more compelling evidence, and maybe use some of the concepts of which I am familiar to make your case. I think that would be helpful for both of us.

Séamusín

Glad to see you go!!

While you're at it, how about knocking off the trolling.

It only takes one to KEEP AMERICANS FREE. Know your duties & rights as a juror. Stop the unconstitutional conviction of innocents in federal custody. The Fully Informed Jury CALL 1-800-TEL-JURY www.fija.org IMMEDIATELY if not sooner. It's that important.

I only agree a bit...

After some 8 years of mostly calling myself libertarian, I also disagree with certain parts of the whole philosophy. Example?

The whole concept of "property" is something that has only meaning AFTER a group of people decides to have some social contract, and then only within that group. That is, IF they decide upon libertarian style property rights.

See it as a big grab bag full of interesting and often useful ideas! By the way I believe Mises' economic thoughts are right and Keynes' are mostly wrong.

You are correct

Property is a concept that is at once personal and social. If you were the only man on earth, property might be an idea in your head, but it would be meaningless in life. However, if you were one of two people on earth, there might arise a need to divvy up resources so you could both act with maximum freedom.

The Lockean solution to property is certainly one way...if the rest of society agrees. I know of one island in the South Pacific that has a different concept of property. The fruit trees grow wild, but the fruit 'belongs' to various individuals at various times of the year. This arrangement has drawbacks, but the people living on the island have adopted this kind of ownership and it helps to organize their society.

Even the most primitive people have had some concept of property (yes, American Indians, too). The origins of property claims sometimes rest on thefts long ignored. Sometimes they are based on Lockean 'mixing labor' with resources. Sometimes it is strictly an artifact of a legal system whereby paying a small amount of money to a government apparatus allows you to 'own' thousands of acres.

How property a property was acquired in the past can have implications about its' legitimacy today, but in general once a property claim has been acknowledged by a group of people, it is to their advantage to keep that claim sacrosanct. Arbitrarily messing with property arrangements introduces insecurity and a deep seated sense of unfairness. People, unsure of what they own and do no own, cannot know what they can and cannot do.

I sometimes wish libertarianism were a manual and all answers could be found in well-crafted and entirely logical phrases. People would treat it like the Bible. However, this can never be. It is a dynamic philosophy that struggles with the issues of life. Life, being infinitely complicated, virtually assures that libertarian ideas will have to evolve as humans try to find ways to remain free and independent despite constantly changing conditions around them.

Would you...

...be able to clarify what your political philosophy is now? Some type of authoritarianism?

The key to everything is the highest authority from which comes the highest command: Love thy neighbor as thyself. Where people are in tune with this Love, you will find a more live-and-let-live approach, more Liberty, less government, as people self-regulate. Obedience to Love demands and produces Liberty. Deviation from Love brings strife, hatred, fear and decaying into more government.

Not really

I don't have a fully formed political philosophy anymore. The world is pretty messy and I no longer see any easy, one-step, fix-all solutions like "less government".

But if you put a gun to my head...

If I were feeling conservative, I'd say the Nordic Model has a proven track record.
If I were feeling radical, I'd say anarchism and direct-democracy, then I'd tip over a cop car.

Ban Everything

Who ever said...

...that anything good in life, in this world was easy, or 'one-step'?

And be careful to note: less government in itself does not produce Love (although it can remove barriers for it to act), but Love will generate less government. Actually, not even the outward motion of a good deed fulfills Love, if it is not Love that is driving the heart of the person doing it. Love fulfills the natural law; the law does not fulfill Love. That's the key: for people to discover and align themselves with Light, with Love.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God... [God is Love] and all these things shall be added unto you...

In order to leave Paul...

you kinda have to stop posting here. At least it's a good first step. Wish you the best.

Cya, Troll ...

... we won't be losing any sleep over a fake libertarian "leaving" behind what he never was.

regarding your concerns

1) You propose something ridiculous as an argument against private property, as if the government never does ridiculous things with public land. And also, have you ever heard of the Nature Conservancy? Who do you think would pay more for purchasing the Grand Canyon? Someone that wants to preserve it or someone that wants to destroy it? I guarantee that private organizations interested in preserving natural beauty would be able to leverage money from people to purchase such land, just as the Nature Conservancy does today. Such land is much safer in their hands than in the hands of the government.

2) There is nothing in libertarianism that contradicts science. If someone who thinks the Earth is flat becomes a communist, does that mean communism is wrong for that reason? This is just a 'guilt by association' logical fallacy. Regarding Austrian economics and deductive reasoning, do you think you can invalidate a law of logic with an experiment? How about a mathematical proof? Can you invalidate a mathematical proof through empiricism?

3) I've never heard of Joseph Dejacque and I guarantee you he is not the first libertarian. I am not sure what he has to do with whether libertarian philosophy is a desirable philosophy. As for questioning all authority, such, question away. But to be opposed to all authority seems foolish to me. Should young children rebel against their parents? Should construction workers rebel against the engineer that designed the bridge? Should a nurse rebel against a doctor's orders?

“With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.”
-Njal Thorgeirsson

do some research

1) A Libertarian has no right to be upset about what a man does with his property, correct? However unlikely it is to happen, you'd have no right to be upset if someone destroyed Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, or the Appalachian mountains. Actually that last one is happening. http://earthjustice.org/slideshows/campaigns/images-of-mount...

2) Funny you bring up math in regards to economics, as the Austrian School's rejection of math is probably the biggest reason it remains a fringe theory (if mentioned at all) in academia.

3) You seem very confident for someone who proudly admits to have not done any research.

Ban Everything

.

1) No right to be upset? Of course you have a right to be upset. I think you mean no legal recourse. Yes, you have no claims on someone else's property. Guess what, most of our current society works that way already.

2) Austrian economics does not reject math. Austrian economics rejects mathematical simulation.

3) Not done any research about what? Joseph Dejacque? That doesn't affect my argument regarding the foolishness of fighting all forms of authority.

“With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.”
-Njal Thorgeirsson

You can totally get upset,

but devaluing private property won't help the environment. Governments typically broker the deal for resource exploitation and often expropriate against private land owners and Indian Bands (all the people that actually care about the land and live there) to get it done. Then the clean up costs come, whether by design or by accident. These get socialized on to the backs of the tax payers so that the extent of the operations don't necessarily have to be limited by the costs of remediation or the potential for spills. There are no shortages of mega projects done this way. The TPP is getting brokered right now to usher in a new wave.

also, I wouldn't say Austrian economics is anti-empirical, more like the reliance on myopic data sets to make generalized arguments about whole systems and autonomous individuals confounds reason. They're also held back in some regards by being aware of the unseen externalities of imposed economic incentives that no one want's to talk about.

Cyril's picture

Austrian School's rejection of math?

Austrian School's rejection of math?

Well, well, well... Now that's news to me.

What I had observed, rather, was their rejection of fraudulent math, of fraudulent use of math, and of disastrous economic fallacies, that are backed by no evidence, and yet repeated by parrots over and over again in mainstream economics, yes:

The Keynesian Fiscal Multiplier is so fraudulent that it's brilliant :

http://www.dailypaul.com/284503

Dimensions and Economics - some problems with the Cobb–Douglas Function :

http://www.dailypaul.com/263316

Disastrous Economic Fallacies - Frederic Bastiat Vs. Paul Krugman :

http://www.dailypaul.com/295532

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Uuuuhhmmm...if the Federal government gave-up National Parks...

they would belong to the state in which they reside. So, to believe that someone would turn the Grand Canyon into a parking lot is silly.

The state could sell it to a private business but they would be thrown out of office before the deal went through.

Libertarianism requires common sense and for many that don't understand what it is...well, let's just see if you can figure out the rest of this sentence on your own.

Jesss your so lost.

Wake up its real easy. Breath one free breath of air. Now say with me I WAS BORN FREE and individual I am free I am me.

Ok Its about individualism the indidual right to be free. that is it

sovereign

You're what I'd call a "Bill Maher Libertarian"

He uses the term, but he doesn't understand it.

I don't think you can leave something you were really never part of.

No true Scotsman, eh? I was

No true Scotsman, eh?

I was a part of it. I protested. I read Mises, Rothbard, Friedman, et. al. I debated professors. I posted here (check my history).

As far as understanding "Libertarian" - I think I understand it much more now than ever, mostly thanks to learning its history.

I know why the word was, and is still considered synonymous with socialism in most of the non-english speaking world.

I know why the word "libertarian" came to be synonymous with the radical right in the 1970's, and the strategy behind Paul's racist newsletters in the 1980's (read the Rothbard-Rockwell Report, titled "Right-Wing Populism: A Strategy for the Paleo Movement.")

Ban Everything

Séamusín's picture

But yet you dont understand the libertarian position on

Private land ownership?

Methinks you talk out of your behind...

Séamusín

I'm seeing a 6 year gap

Until a few days ago, you last posted in 2008. Not much to go on.

If you were debating professors, then you were (and are) pretty young. There is a lot of material that has been written in the last 50 years addressing many of your concerns. But there is only so much time to read all that stuff. It takes time. And thought.

Libertarian philosophy is comprehensive, but it is not complete by any means. There will always be issues to be resolved. Forever. There will always be discussion, disagreement, and hopefully some degree of resolution. But it is a dynamic philosophy that constantly evolves.

There is no single source I can point to and say "Study this text..it has all the answers." Doesn't exist. Never will, unless someone turns libertarianism into a religion. God, I hope that never happens.

So you've wandered off the reservation. Ok. Consider other arguments, formulate your own ideas. Call it what you want. The test isn't what you call yourself, it's what ideas you bring to the table. If your ideas can stand scrutiny, then maybe you're right and we're wrong. Engage. Dispute. Maybe we'll all get smarter.

Whoa, you're really off the reservation.

In addition to not understanding the basics of libertarianism, you also don't seem to get the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. There were many people in the original 2008 movement who poured money into Paul's campaign who didn't fully buy into libertarian philosophy. Anybody can protest, just ask a person who work for George Soros, and I guarantee you very few of them would describe themselves as libertarian. Debating professors and reading a few important intellectuals doesn't mean you fully grasped the entirety of the philosophy.

Communism has, at it's very basis, a hostility with a logical understanding of the world, which is ironic given your verbal fetishism for empiricism, or perhaps not completely given that the link between Empiricism and Tabula Rasa theory of epistemology lends itself to an irrational understanding of phenomena. This also ties into your goofy fixation with the "Newsletters", if you had any interest in evolutionary biology or genetics, or even basic statistics, it becomes pretty clear that your so-called pro-science views are at odds with your utopian communist politics.

But do tell me more about how 2+2=5, I find it quite entertaining.

“My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.” - G.K. Chesterton

Rand

No offense, but your word use reads like you've had a pretty intense interest in Ayn Rand. Definitely more than just her novels.

Also, you're big on attacks, but don't give me much to work with. What, specifically, did I not understand in my years as a Libertarian?

Ban Everything

Nope, try again.

I did go through a time in my early 20s where I read and researched Ayn Rand's non-fiction. Unfortunately for your cute little dismissive straw man, my remark on genetic causation of intelligence and my strike against the Aristotelian concept of Tabula Rasa epistemology are both anti-Objectivist viewpoints. Actually, one of my preferred philosophers is Plato, whom was a frequent victim of both Ayn Rand's attacks and those of her various subordinates over the years.

You are correct on one thing, I didn't give you much to work with, which was not really my intent. Mine was simply to point out that for someone who has an woefully inflated view of oneself, you can't be bothered to learn what the "No True Scotsman Fallacy" actually entails. Now, your butchering of libertarian economics ties into it, and for that I will simply defer to what others on here have said on the topic.

But go ahead, tell me I worship Ayn Rand and therefore have nothing to say on the matter.

“My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.” - G.K. Chesterton

Séamusín's picture

Can you point to any empirical evidence that

European libertarianism, anarcho-syndicalism, or anarcho-socialism solves the calculation problem?

You spoke out of turn with the anti-empiricism comment, the private land property comment, and probably the most absurd comment being the lack of empirical study on the effects of welfare.

Ayn Rand was not a libertarian.

Humans are autonomous and make their decisions based on there environments and and social-spiritual-mental disposition. This is not an opinion.

Séamusín