Why Libertarianism is wrong

I am feeling energetic today, and I thought I would tackle an issue that I have been thinking about for weeks now.  As with many deep discussions, it started with a beer between friends.

The topic of discussions were the merits of Libertarians and the philosophy.libertarian_vector_logo_by_rstovall

Maybe it is the contrarian in me, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I think the Libertarians’ philosophy is wrong.

Before we begin, there are some ideas from Libertarians that I find attractive – I like the idea of a smaller government, and I like the idea of allowing markets to operate more freely; however, when you take a Libertarians at their word, I think the entire philosophy starts to break down.

Defining Libertarianism

First let’s define Libertarian as I see it:

  • Libertarians feel that government should do as little as possible [ok, we agree],
  • the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others [we are starting to break down here]
  • and finally government should be responsible for a standing army, local security, and a court system, and that’s it [we go off the rails here].

Again, we are going to take Libertarians at their word, and we are going to set aside the contradictory notion that people who think everyone should live their lives as they want, attempt to make the world operate under their philosophy.

I also do understand there are different strands of Libertarianism ranging from Chomsky to Paul – but for this blog post, we are going to work with the definition above.

Criticism of Libertarianism

Let’s start with the light lifting:

1)  At its heart Libertarianism is incredibly selfish.  Libertarians won’t call it that, but at its core, Libertarianism is indulgent, narcissistic, and just plain selfish.

2)  The current Libertarianism coalition will split among social issues.  Libertarians are cool kids at the moment.

When I attend Libertarian meetings, I see friends.  Some of these friends I KNOW for a fact are conservative Christians.  At the moment, economic issues are more salient to them; therefore, they are willing to caucus with the Libertarians to work on those issues.

However, as a country, we don’t have the luxury of working only on fiscal issues.  Social issues will come up and they will matter – when that happens the current libertarian coalition will splinter.

That is a problem with breaking away from the GOP – when you are forced to put on paper what it actually means to be a Libertarian, it fractures the current Libertarian club.

3)  Libertarianism is cruel.  Markets fail and markets are unfeeling and damn right cruel.  Here is a thought exercise:  If someone is in the process of making a terrible decision that will result in their immediate death, do we watch them die or intervene?

4)  There are some societal functions that do not respond to markets.   Example:  Pollution.  If totally unregulated, corporations will pollute.  Okay, if you assume eventually the market will correct it, ‘eventually’ may take 20 years and in the meantime an entire generation of children have jelly for brains.

5)  If markets are completely unregulated, then all market segments will naturally move towards monopolies.    There will be collusion to maximize profits.   Humans cheat, that is what we do.  So in the end, if you take Libertarians at their word, we all end up slaves to large monopolies and are at their whim.  Ironically, the effort to decentralize has the result of centralizing power and economic wealth.

6)  When disputes arise, who decides?   If you are on your property blaring Lawrence Welk music at 2 am in the morning declaring your Liberty, am I not harmed?   Yes, you have the right to your property and I have the right to sanity?  Who wins?  Who decides?  Is it just the strongest person able to force their will?  Is it Lord of the Flies?  You just can’t say we have a court – someone wins – who is it?  Who decides the restrictions on rights?

Ok, but here is some heavy lifting:

7)  In my opinion,  humans are not wired for Libertarianism, and the philosophy does not make sense with my understanding of the human condition.

If you read anything about human decision making, it is highly irrational.

When given unlimited choices, humans suffer from the paradox of choice.  In the face of unlimited choice humans freeze, become anxious, and indecisive.  We just don’t know what in the hell to do with ourselves.

8)  Finally, in my biggest criticism, from all of my reading of modern psychology, absolute freedom is not good for humans.  

Again, if we take Libertarians at their word – everyone decides what is good for themselves and retreats to their plot of land.  If that happens, there is no community, no common bonds.

PLEASE do not mistake me for some collective liberal, I’m not.

But in its purest form, there is nothing binding people together.  There is no core.

This is in conflict with our natural tendencies to form groups.

What we are talking about is achieving anomie, the breakdown of social bonds between an individual and the community.

When we sever these human connections, we see scientific evidence in the rise of suicide and all kinds of ills.anomie

Humans are just not wired for Libertarianism.

For example, if everyone retreats to their acre and we have nothing in common, we no longer have a country.  Even our founding fathers (who were Libertarian leaning) realized there must be something that binds us together.

In summation, there must be something MORE that binds us together other than roads, military, and courts.

Finally,

9)  No Libertarian can make a coherent argument of HOW to get to a Libertarian vision.

Some have proposed moving en mass to New Hampshire others want a floating boat in international water (not kidding).

However, even over beer, no one has been able to express to me the HOW.  They can tell me what is currently wrong, they can tell me their vision for the future, but they can’t tell me HOW.

Most just selfishly say “BLOW IT UP.”   The irresponsibility to humanity that comes with BLOW IT UP is mind blowing.

Every time I end up taking a path down Libertarianism, I end up in treacherous landscape.

Choice?  Yeah, well if the South wants slaves, then so be it. (Rand Paul, later retracted)

Taxes?  Revolution!

Nothing but roads, military, and courts?  What about currency?  Multiple currencies and bit coins for all and when something goes wrong?  Markets baby!

Education?  Private schools for all?  But difficult students who require more attention, time and effort?  There will be little profit in that!  Do we not educate them and turn them lose in society with no skills?  Do they not then commit crimes?   OK, home school everyone?  What if the parent can barely read?  Do they get to homeschool?  If not, who regulates?

Again, it is interesting, but for me, it just breaks down the more you think.  The more you move away from bumper stickers, Libertarianism collapses when it meets with the human condition.

Conclusion

There is always tension between freedom, rights, protection, security, and fairness.  There should be.

In my opinion, most Libertarians I have discussed this with seem to have an overly simplistic worldview and simplistic understanding of the human condition.

As you may know, I reject absolutism to any philosophy.  For me, these philosophies (Libertarianism, capitalism, etc) are a little like simplified economic models.  They have little basis in reality, but are helpful for learning concepts and testing.

When we place the philosophies next to each other, for me the truth lies some where in-between the pure forms.  The right answer lies in the tension between the choices.

The entire key is to keep things in equilibrium.  My equilibrium is leaning towards Libertarianism, but with nuance and conditions.

The problem is there is not an ideologue in the world that would agree with me on that and have a discussion on the location of the line.

PS.  As a final thought – Isolationism is plain wrong.

discuss….

About Alex Patton

29 Responses to “Why Libertarianism is wrong”

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  1. Alex is eaten alive says:

    want to see Alex tangle with reddit? with libertarians? You should, it is awesome!

    http://www.reddit.com/r/Libertarian/comments/1ppnin/why_libertarianism_is_wrong_not_a_fight_a/

    • Jessica says:

      From what I have read on reddit, Alex shut them all up very quickly.

      They don’t have an answer once you engage them past their talking points.

      I declare Alex the winner.

  2. Tom C. says:

    I am sure Alex can hold his own. While this piece is a well thought out critique of Libertarians, one does not simply engage in a discussion with them.

    They want freedom to be total anti-social assholes.

    Ever noticed that most libertarians are COMPLETE douche bags?

    The only thing worse is an atheist libertarian. They are incorrigible.

  3. name says:

    Too bad this Alex character has no real arguments, just assertions, adjectives and opinions.

    Everyone of his points can easily be applied to any ideology (because they are not real arguments)

    For example:

    3) Government is cruel. Government policies fail and governments are unfeeling and damn right cruel. Here is a thought exercise: If the government is in the process of making a terrible decision that will result in the death of hundreds, do we watch them die and wait until the next election cycle to do something about it? Or do we intervene?

    4) There are some societal functions that do not respond to government control. Example: Pollution. If totally regulated, governments will still pollute (FACT: The US government pollutes more than corporations). Okay, if you assume eventually the government will correct it, ‘eventually’ may take 20 years and in the meantime an entire generation of children have jelly for brains (don’t worry about that actually, public education has already reduced your children’s brains to jelly)

    This is just propaganda and emotional scar tissue that Alex regurgitated out (Note: This is Ad Hominem)

    • Alex Patton says:

      I am not sure you understand what Ad Hominem means.

      “a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person”

      I have not attacked an author, just a philosophy.

      “If the government is in the process of making a terrible decision that will result in the death of hundreds, do we watch them die and wait until the next election cycle to do something about it? Or do we intervene?”

      I think other political philosophies would differ in their answers: a social conservative would say we value life, so yes. etc. If you are true to libertarian philosophy then you must truthfully answer “He made his choice, it is stupid, but it is his. He has that freedom. Let him die.”

      How is this wrong?

      Maybe you can answer HOW we get to Libertarianism?

      This is not propaganda, it is my opinion (as stated at the very onset); however, you have not offered anything to change my mind.

      • robzrob says:

        I think name meant that what he said before ‘(Note: This is Ad Hominem)’ was ad hominem against you, ie he was admitting it was ad hominem.

  4. Bob O'Neil says:

    This is why I am coming to love Alex Patton. He surprises me. Here I sat thinking he is a right wing nut, and then this article and this blog.

    I have spent the last two hours reading his blog and my entire view of Alex is changing. I realized that I’ve had limited interaction with him personally and only ‘knew’ him through his reputation as a hit man. On these blog pages, he is much different.

    If the GOP was more like him, they would win more elections.

    GOP, toss the crazies aside, NOW! If you split the Libertarians, they will fracture between the D and the R. If you strike the tone that Alex sets, the country will return to a center-right country.

  5. Andrew says:

    1) You are asserting an opinion, not a fact.

    2) Irrelevant to libertarianism. You have socialists and republics split on social issues. You sound like each ideology is 100% coherent and everybody thinks the same.

    3) Markets don’t “fail”. People fail. If you fail to allocate resources correctly you will be freed up to do something again. I am a serial entrepreneur who has been bankrupt. I also now have a high net worth. Just because the market frees you up to do something else does not make it cruel. I was never starving, i always had somewhere to live (moved back in with parents). Without efficient markets, resources would not be allocated in the best way. What you look at as cruel, i look at as efficiency.

    4) You see this is where i would agree with you. Take pollution as an example. I feel like this is an act of aggression towards people. Maybe not all liberatians will agree with me. But personally i believe there should be some negative consequences for excessive pollution. Whether they can be inflicted by the market or you need some form or regulation is unknown to me. That said, take the light bulb problem, if you can say have a lightbulb that costs more and lasts forever, i don’t believe you should enforce people to have this best light bulb because its better for the environment, people should be free to choose what product they want.

    5) There is nothing inherently wrong with monopolies. In all cases that monopolies exist WITHOUT the assistance of government intervention, consumers are served in the best possible way. Monopolies that increase barriers to entry, due to government regulation are in fact the most inefficient markets and serve the consumer less. This is a product of the government creation, not the free market. If you can create the best product at the best price, you deserve a monopoly and there is nothing wrong with that. The current system encourage people to try and buy government in order to create or protect monopolies, which is morally repugnant.

    6) Law enforcers decide. If blaring your must at 2am is a violation of an agreed on law, then law enforcement can stop you. I am not the person to decide whether this is an act of aggression or not though.

    7) So you are saying its better for humans to have no choice because they make bad decisions? Come on really?

    8) Your opinion. This has nothing to do with community or common bonds. Under a libertarian system, there would be even more common bonds, because people would work together through free trade and cooperation in order to help each other. This would happen because it is in peoples best interests to trade with others instead of stay in isolation. People will constantly search for “win win” scenarios instead of “retreating to their plot of landing and interacting with noone”.

    9) Personally i think the best way to achieve this would be to do so gradually. I think when we answer all questions related to all kinds of issues we need to ask us: “How would this work if we added a little more freedom instead of taking a little bit away”. I am not naive, we are nowhere near such a libertarian system, that said, little wins for freedom will start the ball rolling.

    We are currently heading towards a socialist failure, at some point people will realize the answer is more freedom and not less. Whether its an economic collapse or a government “going too far”, something will reverse the current trend of removal of freedom.

    • Tracy says:

      This is the only comment I’ve read so far that made sense to me and actually made me rethink how I felt about what the writer of this piece said. While I don’t agree with everything said in this comment, I think it made some very good points in a way that was neither hostile nor nonsensical.

  6. End the FED says:

    I agree. Balance is key. However, the founding fathers warned of entangling alliances. Frankly, the US does NOT have the money to give aid and the never ending war cycle needs to be idled.

    Calling a libertarian an isolationist, is like calling your neighbor a hermit because he does not throw bricks at your house everyday.

    We do not have balance in the US. Romney would have continued the cycle as would have McCain. The Democrat and Republican party have morphed into one and we need another choice.

    There is nothing crazy or radical about wanting limited government, fiscal responsibility and free market economics. Calling those who advocate for them is a play from Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky.

  7. Sean says:

    “1) At its heart Libertarianism is incredibly selfish. Libertarians won’t call it that, but at its core, Libertarianism is indulgent, narcissistic, and just plain selfish.”
    Beautifully written, thank you for helping me realize I’m an indulgent narcissist, you’ve helped me see the light!

    2) The almost given definition of libertarianism is social liberalism, economic conservativism. I haven’t met anyone in my political circles who have a problem with my boyfriend.

    3) Life is cruel, governments and bureaucracy are cruel. Get off your high horse and help the starving masses yourself instead of taxing people and ridding yourself of the responsibility.

    4) If someone pollutes my air, water or land I have the right to sue them into the stone age. Property rights solve most of our problems with pollution.

    5) Monopolies are almost always created by government protectionism. Remember when Apple was going to take over the personal computer industry? Yeah, in the 1980’s. Then what happened? Mircosoft was going to take over. Then Apple was going to take over again only to have them both thwarted by Samsung. That’s how a free market should work. Walmart is big, but has it put every other retailer out of business? No, smaller retailers like Aldi have come up from behind and are stealing their thunder. If you want monopolies look no further than China’s state-sanctioned firms. Monopolies are at best, temporary.

    6) Sure, the courts do decide, that’s a perfectly acceptable answer in my book.

    7) We can’t make decisions because we’re not wired for choosing? What kind of argument is that? That’s drawing conclusions between three wholly unrelated ideas.

    8) As a libertarian, I believe in people asserting whatever level of anomie they feel fit. I just don’t think it should be enforced by an overarching bureaucracy.

    9) Just like the peasants of Europe in the 1700-1800’s realized they no longer needed nobles and kings to govern their daily decisions, people will start to realize their fellow man is largely a rational, reasonable human being like themselves. Government will no longer be needed to keep order and people will govern themselves as eventually almost all authority aside from some peripheral military and courts become obsolete. Welcome to the post-modern world of the 21st century Alex. It’s the great unravelling of the arbitrary boundaries instituted by our forefathers.

  8. Dave says:

    “If one rejects laissez faire on account of mans fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action.” – Mises

    In your piece you argue that individuals will not make the best decisions for a society. Well then, to whom do you want to grant the power to properly manage things. I’d say, if you look at the history of the world, any powerful centralized form of government has shown the propensity to abuse their powers. Libertarianism is not anarchy. The power resides with the individuals, and is enforced through laws which preserve those rights.

  9. Heather Johnson says:

    The fallacy in this article starts with the definition and continues through its conclusion.

    First – we already have a system in which the government decides the outcome of disputes, the government is heavily involved in the market, individual lives, social issues and financial issues. We already have a government that is not only involved in a variety of ways beyond the limits set for them by the US Constitution, but a government that is engaged in corrupt activities, selfish politics for one interest group after another, discrimination, inequalities, inefficiencies, over spending – the list goes on for government infractions, violations of the US Constitution, and bad legislation that really benefits some over others more often than not.

    Libertarianism does not advocate a lack of charity or community efforts to work with others. libertarianism does not in fact advocate any one style of community. It advocates that the federal government should not ever be involved with anything that violates an individual’s right to life, liberty, and property as outlined in the constitution. The government is limited by the constitution and anything not in the constitution the government DOES NOT belong in. Anything not in the constitution the people and the states reserve for themselves. Look at constitutional history. There are great resources including the Library of Congress, Cornell Law, Cato, the DOI, the Articles of Confederation, and the personal papers of various founders. Intent is very important here.

    The fact that the people reserve certain rights to the states and mostly to themselves is the key thing here. Personal liberty and protecting the smallest minority group (the individual) demands a limited federal government.

    Who decides in disputes? Easy – that is one area the government does have the ability to work on behalf of individuals. If one person or a group of person’s violates liberty, life, or property rights for another person or group it IS the duty of the courts to judge and grant restitution and jail time if applicable. Restitution is also a key part of libertarianism NOT just jail time paid for by the people.

    This article leaves out quite a lot about libertarianism and does not address the very core idea of life, liberty, and property (already protected in our foundation). If people find that reality and truth uncomfortable perhaps there should be a movement to abolish the government and rewrite it as a socialist or another type of democratic or perhaps even a monarchy if that is what the people want. However, it isn’t that and any actions contrary to what we have now is a violation of our legal basis in the constitution. Any legislator or supreme court justice that upholds law that violates the constitution has in FACT violated their oaths to the offices they hold and deserve to pay restitution, lose their jobs, and possibly face jail time.

    On a state level or local level the people have a right to enact efforts on a social level or live in a community that is more liberal or conservatives, but no ONE person or one Group of persons has a right to force through fraud, force, and/or coercion another person or group to live and support that which they do not want to or believe in. That is criminal and violent and goes against libertarian views.

    Heather Johnson
    Libertarian Party of Minnesota
    State Secretary

  10. I’m afraid I’ll have to agree with Ms. Johnson above as the author does not seem to grasp the true philosophical foundations of libertarianism. I would suggest reading Mises and Hayek and referring to the classical liberalism tradition as opposed to the modern distortions imposed upon libertarianism. The author presents a caricature of libertarians, which does little to advance the discussion. Neither Mises nor Hayek would agree wholly with Rand or Ron Paul.

  11. popping of bubble says:

    I think the author understands it much better then you think. You guys crack me up – he offers an opinion on a philosophy and your demand “facts”.

    Here is the bottom line: If you have the answer, why is there NO government that operates this way? Provide a FACT on that one.

    It is because it is a failed line of thinking.

    As far as taking three ideas and melding them into an opinion that is what smart people do instead of reading one to two authors and say, “wow, they are right.”

    Again, he is right to call the line of thinking simplistic and selfish. I just wish he would have preached the truth and said most libertarians are self-righteous asses.

    Finally, the author makes the argument, but is tucked in there – with your maximizing of choice “to the people”, a vacuum of power will be created. To fill this vacuum you will have large corporations (like your idols the Koch brothers), so in a sense power to the people is all an illusion.

    You ideologues are fooling yourselves and acting like children to boot.

    You may think you have power with the people, but with Google sitting on 3-5b in quarterly earnings, you will live in Google, Inc – especially after they buy Apple. (sitting on 30b in cash). Also, don’t forget Microsoft made 5B last quarter.

    Like the author asks, please tell me how you take the power of these three corporations and give it to the people? What happens when they merge? GooAppSoft? In your world, there is nothing to stop that from happening?

    In your world, the people really have NO power and end up being subjective to GooAppSoft.

    Deep down, the author is right and you know it. Now, back to your kook-aid.

  12. BEER!!! says:

    I laughed when I read the above comment about GooAppSoft because I had read the following this morning:

    http://business.financialpost.com/2013/10/28/massive-merger-expected-between-anheuser-busch-and-sabmiller/

    What happens when the world’s beer production is handled by one and only one company? Talk about the concentration of power! The people will be powerless.

  13. Grateful Dan says:

    Sean writes: “Beautifully written, thank you for helping me realize I’m an indulgent narcissist, you’ve helped me see the light!”

    I am sure Alex says, “You’re Welcome!”

    • Sean says:

      That was sarcasm of course, if Alex moved past the 10th grade I’m sure he’d understand calling people names doesn’t work as a logical argument.

  14. The Truth says:

    If you want a recent and top of mind example of why Alex is right – look at silk road and Ulbricht.

    What started as a free-market experiment, but because of the human condition Alex writes of, spiraled into drugs, crime, and murder for hire. There will always be a section of population that will fill the tyranny of ultimate freedom.

    Libertarians as a whole are anti-social, selfish people who preach freedom, while at the same time are perfectly willing in their retreat from civilization to cede power to corporations.

    Alex is right, and you can’t stand it.

  15. qwerty says:

    Obvious not my real name, but I have learned not to tangle with Libertarians on the web.

    Alex is right. Libertarians by their very composition are selfish little brats. Most of them want to retreat to their compounds and exit society. They want to contribute nothing for any common good and break laws they see fit to break. “There is no law but mine.”

    The entire mindset is anti-social and yes selfish. “I got mine; therefore, all of you can screw off.” Make a bad decision or have some bad luck? Screw you, I couldn’t possibly be bothered with your shit. There is a reason libertarians attract assholes.

    This blog is spot on and demonstrates why libertarians have never been successful in establishing their version of utopia.

    It is a fatally flawed philosophy. Sorry to pop your teenage dream.

  16. Libertarians Suck says:

    “Honestly, what does being a Libertarian mean beyond legalizing drugs, banging hookers and sitting by while the rest of the world blows itself up?”

    Good piece on TownHall that explains the crap that is thrown around as Libertarian.

  17. Aaron says:

    Once you said “the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others [we are starting to break down here]” I had no reason to continue reading. Tell me exactly how it is that allowing people to do as they please, so long as they don’t hurt anyone else doing those things, is bad? If it’s bad for them, it’s their choice and who are you or anyone else to FORCE them to do otherwise?

    Anyone who cannot even fathom this most basic idea of freedom will never understand anything but statism and control and will forever be caged in their own ignorance. This is the basic, inherent problem all Democrats and Republicans face. They whine about “freedom” while having no idea what it actually is. All they really want is the “freedom” to force other people to be like them.

  18. Raj says:

    A critique of this Article: –
    1) At its heart Libertarianism is incredibly selfish. : How is “Everybody owns themselves and nobody owns another” more selfish than “I am entitled to XYZ…. and it is okay to use the initiation of force to get it”?
    2) The current Libertarianism coalition will split among social issues: Social conservatives are NOT libertarians and libertarianism is better off without the social conservatives. (Philosophically speaking)
    3) Libertarianism is cruel: A better question is ” If someone is in the process of making a terrible decision that will result in their immediate death, is it moral to hold a gun to someone else’s head and force them to intervene?”
    4) There are some societal functions that do not respond to markets: The only difference between ‘society’ and ‘markets’ is access to non-equal resources. Good Libertarianism should encourage everyone to ‘vote with their wallet’. Stick up to your ideals while spending. Do not buy stuff from bad companies. It just puts a greater burden on individuals to be moral. Is that utopian? Sure.
    5) If markets are completely unregulated, then all market segments will naturally move towards monopolies: This is wrong. In a free-market, there is tremendous opportunity and incentives for people to bust-up monopolies and get rich in the process.
    6) In my opinion, humans are not wired for Libertarianism: Humans are not ‘wired’ for politics, economics or science either. I mean, we do not intuitively make scientific discoveries, vote smartly or earn/spend/invest money wisely. That doesn’t mean we give up on all that.
    7) Finally, in my biggest criticism, from all of my reading of modern psychology, absolute freedom is not good for humans. : COMPLETE straw-man argument.
    8) No Libertarian can make a coherent argument of HOW to get to a Libertarian vision: Personally, I think philosophical libertarianism is more important that political libertarianism. By teaching people libertarian principles and applying the principles in our day to day life, our society can improve drastically. examples of the principles I am talking of are: – 1) Do not live with a sense of entitlement and morally justify using force to get what you want. 2) Try to be self-reliant. 3) Help out and uplift people in need. 4) Teaching a person how to fish is better than giving him fish. 5) Be active in your community. 6) Be active in organizing people to form teams and help each other to achieve common goals.

    Would love to hear back from you.

  19. Gage Counts says:

    I dissent. DISCLAIMER: I am a libertarian, and as usual, all I see are mischaracterizations of libertarianism. So I want to rectify that.

    Defining Libertarianism
    As I’m sure Alex will agree, there is more to different philosophies than the people that practice them often show. So for all the boogeyman definitions of libertarianism, this is what it is: a philosophy based off the Non-Aggression Principle (no one can initiate physical aggression against someone or their property). So, in reality, the government could only function if it receives its revenue from non-coercive sources (because taxation is theft; that’s immoral).

    Alex admits that there are different strands of libertarianism so he doesn’t have to answer every strand, however, this is the most dominant one in the movement and it’s almost dishonest to object to libertarianism without objecting to the NAP.

    Criticisms of Libertarianism
    1) Libertarianism is not selfish. First, I would say that there are no warrants for this claim; it is just an unsupported assertion. Second, libertarianism is not selfish because at it’s core, peaceful social action is put at it’s helm. How could any libertarian defend the NAP without showing that a world without a coercive government would succeed? There is nothing more selfless than giving because you want to, not because you are forced in to doing so.

    2) Libertarians are just as passionate about social issue as we are about economic issues. I will admit, there are huge splits on how to deal with abortion and immigration (and most libertarians will have an answer on how to fix these issues – even if they are different answers, these issue are still on the conscience of libertarians). Even still, a poor economy is a perfect segway to having social problems, as the economy affects every single aspect of our lives.

    3) The economy is not cruel. a) Markets do not fail on their own. Government causes markets to fail. Ex1: Federal Reserve lowering interest rates artificially, sending an incorrect market signal to investors. Ex2: Bailouts not allowing bad businesses to fail (when they should and allow better businesses to flourish). b) Markets are not cruel. Markets have led to people being lifted out of poverty at rates that government cannot hope to meet. For more, go to the podcast episode “Pope Francis on Captialism” by Tom Woods. c) If you see the government is pushing everyone off of a cliff, wouldn’t you want to stop them?

    4) Markets resolve most societal functions (I saw most and not all, because I really don’t know what is meant by “societal functions”). Corporations will not pollute if people defend their own property. (note: tragedy of the commons). Corporations can pollute now because there is so much land owned by the government (which means owned by nobody). If every chunk of land was privately owned, the owners of that property would ensure that their land is protected.

    5) This is such a red herring. Markets that are unregulated lead to competition (example: internet). Markets with government involvement leads to monopoly (due to regulations and subsidies that favor bigger business). Also, humans cheat. So why would someone want to give them the monopoly of law that is the government and allow them to do whatever they wish?

    6) According to libertarianism, in order for something to be a right, everyone has to be able to exercise said “right” at one time. So, if you’re annoyed at someone’s music, you deal with it. Where do rights begin and end under the type of thinking that “if I don’t like it, it’s not a right?” What if I am also a neighbor of the person blaring music at 2AM, and I like it? So if makes that person stop, I can say that he violated my right to listen to that music at that time. So, no. You have a right to your body, and you have a right to your property. That’s it.

    7) Humans are totally wired for libertarianism. What makes more intuitive sense than to respect a person’s body and his stuff? This is a premise that humans operate on every day (normal humans, not government or its caretakers). I would say that the paradox of choice also applies to the humans in charge of the government (they’re not gods), so they’re just as prone to poor decision making, so offering government as a solution is a non-answer. Even if that’s not true, the NAP is a moral, and not utilitarian argument, so this wouldn’t really apply too terribly much.

    8) No libertarian would argue for absolute freedom. No one can legitimately: kill someone, rape someone, beat someone, kidnap someone, key someone’s car, rob someone’s house, steal someone’s cash, etc. Just because there is no government coercion doesn’t mean that communities would just cease to exist. In fact, communities would have to band together to provide for their own basic needs (probably), so the community would be even stronger than it would be now. Here’s something bonding people together: survival (comfortable survival, in my community).

    9) I would say abolishing the government is the most effective way to reach a libertarian society. However, that’s only my personal opinion. A lack of creativity among libertarians does not disprove that libertarianism is true. Also, I would say that you haven’t talked to many good libertarians if they have no idea on how to reach a genuine libertarian society. If you want actual resources (assuming that you are seeking the truth and not just trying to make an argument) I would suggest going to these websites: tomwoods.com, lewrockwell.com, reason.com, freemansperspective.com, consultingbyrpm.com, freedomworks.org (caution: they border tea party), ronpaulinstitute.org, larkenrose.com, mises.org. That’s enough to get you started. By favorite is tomwoods.com (and his podcast: tomwoodsradio.com), mises.org, and lewrockwell.com

    P.S. Interventionism is just plain wrong. Non-interventionism is the purest foreign policy model.

  20. KD says:

    Alex’s biggest misunderstanding is of human being-ness. Humans are selfish, yes, but part of what makes us human is emotional connection to one another. In seeking for ourselves, we will also seek cooperation with others – in many ways.

  21. Saje Williams says:

    Another way we’re not wired for Libertarianism, or Anarchy, for that matter. Most of us LIKE having someone else to blame if things go wrong. This is part of the reason many of us are so inclined to play follow the leader. It’s a kind of cover. We can avoid ultimate responsibility by saying “It was THEIR idea.” Worthless dodge, in the end, but that doesn’t seem to prevent us from doing it.

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  2. […] spin libertarians as pretty antisocial.  For example, Alex Patton, blogging at OzeanMedia.com, describes libertarian philosophy […]