Libertarianism

Discussion in 'Politics, Etc.' started by Waterd, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. Waterd

    Waterd Well-Known Member

    I just bring libertarianism and defend it so much over many different threads, that I feel I hijack a lot of threads at the same time, so I decided to focus all fire on this single thread to debate the merits and flaws of libertarianism, and decided to start it off with this great interview between Jason stapleton and Austin petersen, which I think are right now the 2 best voices of libertarianism. (not the smartest or wisest, just they have the best combination of attributes to promote the movement, unliek say David Friedman, which is the wisest, but not popular or well spoken outside the libertarian movement).

    I think Jason does a great interview because he pulls no punches and drill as much as he feels to get the answer to the questions he wants.

     
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  2. Waterd

    Waterd Well-Known Member


    Wow I loved this one, very funny, I was never much of a fan of Kennedy despite she is a libertarian, because she is on the "border" line of libertarianism, but the way she crucified weld gained a lot of respect from me, definitely going to pay more attention to her in the future.
    It was me or she was very passionated in this interview? I really liked the combination of passion and cold description of the events with no punches pulled.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
  3. Waterd

    Waterd Well-Known Member

    I hate that I can´t time stamp, but go to 5:14

    It cracked me up.
     
  4. Weaver

    Weaver Active Member

    I'll elaborate the topics a little bit to facilitate discussion.

    Libertarianism as an ideology
    1. Should libertarianism be derived from abstract principles (NAP), or should it be taken as a heuristics backed by historical facts?

    2. How should libertarians easily distinguish themselves from socialists, conservatives and moderates?

    3. Which group of people does libertarianism represent the most?

    4. Who should own nuclear weapons?

    5. What kind of revolutions are moral?

    6. When a communist/socialist government collapses, how to divide the state-owned companies morally?

    7. Are private companies like Blackwater OK to overthrow dictatorship in other countries?

    Libertarianism as a set of policies
    1. Could libertarian policies made to be self-preserving? That is, hard to repeal by politicians 4 or 8 years later.

    2. Could real to-standards (control group vs treatment group, all other variables kept similar, etc) social experiments on libertarianism made? How much land/resource/money do they need?

    3. Does libertarianism work in all circumstances? Does it have requirements on education/economy/geopolitical conditions?

    4. How to make a libertarian Somalia?

    Minarchy/Anarchy
    1. What initial condition do we need in order to make the governments of newly independent countries/seasteading/mars/other new frontiers as small as possible?

    2. Do high-tech based transnational corporations lead to even more regulation/socialism or the downfall of nations and governments?

    3. Was the medieval Iceland really closer to anarchy than modern nations are?

    4. Why did feudalism turn into absolutism monarchy in Europe? Why did nations replaced all other medieval social structures? Were these changes avoidable? Are they avoidable in general?

    Libertarianism as a meme
    1. Is spreading libertarianism really effective? How many people have you converted?

    2. Which is more effective? Trying to be moderate or keeping an unyielding stance?

    3. How to prevent other people from relating libertarians to nerds, cultists and narcissistic Ayn Rand novel protagonists?
     
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  5. Waterd

    Waterd Well-Known Member

    The second, like everything.

    By telling they think initiation of agression is bad for the goals of most humans. That´s where the NAP kicks in. Nap is an easy way to summarize the position.

    Libertarians.

    Whoever like to own one and can do so without being a threat to others.

    Moral the what? I'm a moral nhilist, so wrong person to ask this question to.

    Good question, I don´t know, but just equally to it´s citizens, is an acceptable answer.
    A proposal i hear is to auction all , and the money from he auction is split evenly to all it´s citizens.

    Very complicated question, I'm sure different libertarians have different answers. I personally would say yes.

    Maybe, again it depends what libertarian you ask, Minarchists would say that is the role of the constitution. Anarchists would say "what politicians?, there should be none.
    Anarchist would say that is the problem even with a minarchy (and why I ultimately tipped anarchist) because the short answer to your question is no.

    Lucky, we don´t need such, because kind of alrady do when we see real world and it´s history.
    All you need is two people, and that´s it, btw. So it really depends on what exactly you want to test. But libertarianism is already proven imo, when you see the real world function. You can already compare more or less libertarian countries in history and right now.

    It depends what works means. Working it always works. the question is can it last? Well for that you need enough peopl/ power to be libertarian. IF people don´t want to live in a libertarian society, the libertarian society will not exist.

    How can you keep people libertarian? That is the hard part, people need to understand reality and why things are how they are. That is very hard to do, and is the major barrier to libertarianism.

    You need libertarians in somalia.

    People should be libertarians and teach and spread libertarianism.

    Lead to more socialism , because corporations have a lot of power and they highly benefit from socialism.

    That is the claim, but I didn´t investigate deeply myself.

    1. Is spreading libertarianism really effective? How many people have you converted?
    That I know of, dozens, for sure over 50. Probably others that I never find out. But I admit is pend a lot of time on it. It´s very hard to spread because it requires time from the other person, and it requires an understanding of some parts of reality that some people just can´t or won´t comprehend.
    Most people never read a paper in their life, most people don´t understand science, logic or even semantics.
    It´s easy to convert rational people that is willing to get to read books and papers and understand how science and logic works.
    But that is a very tiny minority of people. Most people won´t read a paper, much less a book, or just make a mountain of logical fallacies, or just don´t understand what logic even is.

    One of my major barriers to convert people, is also people that just don´t believe science or any organizations. Like I´ve people tell me that all numbers about CHILE GDP are a lie and tha tactually chile is very very poor, is just that chile is friend of USA, and thus the organizations, pressured by usa report faulty, untrue numbers.
    is very hard to convert people that just don´t accept any information about the world (yet they have no problem infering the data from their own statically insignificant observations).

    I´ve said that a lot of people are libertarians for the wrong reasons, and that is because they are like most people, they just got sold libertarianism. Don´t be mistaken, that is true for other ideology like socialism and whatnot. Just that libertarianism is no different. And some people are in the market of convert libertarians through a faulty message, basically playing the marxist game.
    I won´t debate if i agree with this, if its a good idea or not. I think its a complicated subject. But of course i'm not in that business. Of course I don´t reject allies of libertarianism, even if i see they are in the ideology for the wrong reasons.

    I don´t know because i'm not in the business to convince people for the sake of it, but to reveal what I consider to be true.
    I personally take the unyelding stance, because is the only way to be consistent, and shown that it´s logical consistent is to important too my approach. But if you just want to create a herd of libertarians, maybe being more moderate is more effective. I can´t tell.

    I don´t know how.
     
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  6. Erenan

    Erenan Well-Known Member

    It is possible to do both. For instance, I became libertarian mainly via reading Michael Huemer's The Problem of Political Authority, in which he defends an anarcho-capitalist position. His approach is to start with basic uncontroversial moral principles, such as that, all else being equal, doing harm to others is wrong, and then argue that from that it follows that there is probably no legitimate political authority (by this he means that a government cannot create moral obligations for its citizens by making laws). He attempts this by reviewing as many prominent defenses of political authority as he could find and showing that none of them succeed on account of the basic uncontroversial moral principles. (Of course, there could be some other successful defense that he doesn't know about, but there's nothing he can do about that.)

    Now assuming he is successful, this leaves open the possibility that we ought to have a government even though it doesn't have political authority because the world will be significantly better for it. (That is, philosophical anarchism does not entail that political anarchism is the best social structure.) This is where the historical facts would come in. The second half of the book is dedicated to arguing that it is possible for an ancap society to function at least as well as a statist society. IIRC despite being a famous moral intuitionist he doesn't focus on morality in this second part but instead mostly on economics, historical examples, and so on.

    A note to Waterd and other nihilists: I know you don't accept moral arguments, but note the usefulness of an argument like Huemer's. If a moral realist statist accepts Huemer's basic moral principles, and if Huemer's argument is valid, then the statist is logically committed to accepting philosophical anarchism.

    Or look at it the other way: You could start with nihilism and say that moralist defenses of political authority fail because there's no such thing as moral obligations. But then you could add as a contingent clause that even if there were moral obligations, based on the sorts of basic principles moralists typically accept, there would still be little reason to think government can create any moral obligations, so again the moralist defenses of political authority would fail.

    Yes. Assuming the dictatorship is a large-scale violation of large groups of people's rights (as they usually are), then liberation efforts are justified IMO. Even violent liberation efforts may be justified to the extent that the positive effects of the violence significantly outweigh the costs. But that's a big contingency. It is obviously possible for well-meaning freedom fighters to do things in a very reckless manner that causes big problems that could have been avoided had things been organized more carefully. So it isn't that just anyone may feel free to go running off to foreign dictatorships and start indiscriminately shooting government officials or something.

    Same for vigilante justice. I approve of vigilantes assuming they actually do things in a just manner, such as affording suspects a due court process for defending themselves before a jury of their peers, not torturing their targets after tying them up, not executing those who commit relatively minor crimes, and so on.

    The point is that how you do it matters a lot, not whether the ones doing it are a government or a non-government. The government doesn't have some magical authority to defeat evil that regular people don't.

    I don't know about libertarianism in general, but there are probably circumstances in which a country could not survive as an anarcho-capitalist society. Huemer suggests, for instance, that an ancap country would have much better chances of surviving without a state military if it is surrounded by liberal democracies who are its allies than if it is surrounded by violent dictatorships.

    I have converted zero that I know of, but I don't really try to convert people. I just share my thoughts when the subject comes up and focus on exchanging ideas and learning stuff instead of getting people to become libertarians. But I spend almost no time talking about this stuff outside of Dinofarm.

    I note that I was converted, which means that it does happen. However, I converted because of reading a book, and if it's true what Waterd says above about not many people reading books, then I'm an outlier, I guess.

    Well, I think Petersen is on to something. Libertarians need to act professional, groom themselves well, don't act like buffoons in the public eye, etc.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
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  7. Erenan

    Erenan Well-Known Member

    Immigration: Open borders or not?

    Some people say that removing restrictions on immigration is the libertarian thing to do because it is giving more freedom to more people.

    Other people say that a libertarian government ought to restrict immigration because having too many immigrants or the wrong immigrants will probably lead to reduced freedom or reduced well-being or prosperity or whatever for the country's citizens. Presumably the idea here is that the government's concern should be its citizens' interests, not foreigners. Sometimes the example of Detroit is given. The argument goes that Detroit was once a very nice and safe city and then the wrong people moved there and it went to hell. (I have no idea if this is true. I'm guessing it's too simple to be correct.)

    I would say that anyone should be free to restrict people coming onto their own property, so if a country was understood as the property of the government, then it would be libertarian to allow the government to restrict immigration.

    But of course I don't think countries are typically in any sense the legitimate property of a government. The USA, for example, was largely created out of the violent conquest of indigenous peoples and it is hard to see how this could possibly justify respecting the government's ownership of the land in any sense that is remotely libertarian.

    Anyone else have any thoughts?
     
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  8. alastair

    alastair Well-Known Member

    It may give more freedom to people, but what if you bring in people that don't value freedom? What if you allow people in who are going to deteriorate the society by increasing violence, rape, theft, taxes, adversity? What if these immigrants outnumber and have higher birthrates than the natives? Do you think people of that sort would help in the goal towards an ancap/libertarian society?
     
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  9. Waterd

    Waterd Well-Known Member

    The most extreme capitalist, doesn't have to answer this question. However as soon as you make a step into socialism, then the question becomes more complicated.
    The reason for this is that in the most extreme capitalist society, there is no common goods, and thus there is no "border" to open or close.

    But libertarians are not always extremely capitalist (some argue that it may be not even practical or possible, even if desirable), and conclude there should be common property.

    So the access to the common property should be indiscriminated or there should be citizenship requirement or have shareholder system or how?. Sadly nor capitalist or libertarian ideology have an answer to this.
    Capitalist doesn´t make statements about how common property should be handed. Libertaranism does, but only in the sense about how common property authority should be distributed.
    So Libertarianism state that the owners of the common property should decide who has access to it, but there is no specific way or rule to determine that, just a direction to get on. (which is basically decentralize as much as possible).
    What those that have the power should decide? open borders or not? Well it doesn´t really say. So I would say this question is not defined by capitalist or libertarian ideologies.

    I´m pretty much on the closed borders side, but my definitive answer to the question is very dependant on what is the border, what implies that some crosses the border, how citizenship works inside those borders, how capitalist the society is and so on and so forth.

    More freedom to whom? what about the owners of the common good?. There are two options, you recognize citizens or whoever you want as owner as the property and they shoudl have the freedom to use the property as they wish, and thus is closed border (Because the border is closed to anyone the owners doesn't want to get in), or you say that piece of land or place have no legitimate owner, and then no one should be allowed to impede others to cross that border. So this is mostly dependant on your property rights. But again imo libertarianism does not define the "correct" position here.

    Well what I would argue is that many of the land is commonly owned by it´s citizens now. (though I would claim only a percentage of that land is legitimately owned, but there are pieces of land which right now, I woudl say this hold true). And if so those citizens have the "right" to create a goverment that manages the common property. If so, yes the goverment should restrict the inmigration as their citizens desire.
     
  10. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Doesn't not having healthcare lead to reduced freedom?
     
  11. Erenan

    Erenan Well-Known Member

    No, freedom is about being allowed to decide for yourself what you do with your property. The people saying that immigration leads to reduced freedom for the citizens are IMO stretching the definition of freedom. It is not a violation of your freedom if someone else gets a resource that you wanted, like a job or apartment or something that ended up in the hands of an immigrant. Similarly, if you can't afford healthcare, that's a problem for you, sure, and if others care about you it's a problem for them too, but the problem isn't a lack of freedom (unless you don't have healthcare because the law says it's illegal to give or sell it to you for some reason or something like that).
     
  12. Batlad

    Batlad Well-Known Member

    Doesn't curable failing health impede someones ability to make and enforce decisions about their property?
     
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  13. Erenan

    Erenan Well-Known Member

    Okay, just guessing at what you guys seem to be insinuating, I guess it's that you think libertarianism doesn't or can't provide for its poorest citizens or something like that. I don't know enough about economics and social policy to argue convincingly about whether a libertarian capitalist society can provide healthcare for those citizens who didn't prepare themselves well enough for maybe not having it or those who can't because of poverty or whatever. But I think it probably can. I will defer to Waterd to deal with this question if he is willing to go into it. The last time it came up (in the Distributism thread IIRC) he didn't really answer it, I assume because he focused on Distributism just not being a complete theory or whatever and then he got sucked into a discussion about a thought experiment posed by Lemon which I don't really understand because for some reason I specialized in music and comedic pirate novellas instead of economics.

    @Waterd, not to spread you too thin, but can you correct me since I think I might be conflating libertarianism and capitalism by saying freedom is about controlling one's own property. That's what capitalism is about, right? I am confused about where libertarianism and capitalism don't overlap, I guess. If you don't want to answer both me and Keith/Batlad then go with the health care thing instead. (Though obviously since I am a libertarian I will leave the decision of what you decide to talk about to you. :p )
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  14. Batlad

    Batlad Well-Known Member

    I think its more complicated than 'Libertarianism can't provide for the poor' I think it can in theory, just not in practice. In fact I think like most hypothetical ways to structure a society it could work perfectly if it wasn't for the pesky intrusion of reality. If everyone followed libertarian ideals I agree everything would be great, people would all voluntarily help out the less well off because they know lifting up the poor is both cheap and has knock on benefits for themselves. I would be happy to live in such a world.

    But the point is that if we replace 'libertarian ideals' in this society, with any other set of beliefs lets say 'everyone follows the law and the laws are designed to be fair'. Then that too would be a great society to live in. There are very many optima when you eliminate criminality and defection by citizens and lawmakers. The problem is that criminality and defection are guaranteed to occur, and so any solution is going to have to be a mixed solution. i.e. some liberties are forfeited in order to ensure that the minimum possible well being of any individual in the society is held above an agreed upon minimum threshold.
     
  15. Erenan

    Erenan Well-Known Member

    Okay, but libertarianism includes, for instance, minarchy, which allows for at least some government intervention. I don't know if wealth redistribution for the purpose of providing healthcare to those who can't get it on their own would qualify to push us outside of minarchyland. Again, I can only defer to our resident expert.

    At the very least, I'd say your argument points us away from more extreme applications of socialism, though I'm guessing you don't advocate for radical socialism anyway. Maybe Keith does, I dunno.

    And I will at least point out that there are significant amounts of charitable giving even now.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  16. Batlad

    Batlad Well-Known Member

    My view shifts, but at the moment I advocate for finding local optima, and ways of pushing us towards nearby optima with the least amount of cost. I also think that there are many paths to improving our current societies. But it seems clear to me that pushing towards libertarianism given societies (mine and the US) structure will have growing negative repercussions. And that more socialist type government (for example progressive rather than regressive taxation), is one way to make huge gains in almost every bodies well being.

    Now libertariasm might be a higher peak, but the path there is paved with misery as corporations and greed consume and destroy the world while personal ethics steadily lags behind the shifts in laws and governance.
     
  17. Waterd

    Waterd Well-Known Member

    @Erenan
    Both libertarians and capitalist do this all the time. And there is a reason for it.

    Capitalism is the economic theory that a society is more productive when the means of production are private. One problem is that many capitalists like myself expand the meaning of the theory to modify what means of production is. and expand it to humans (instead of only non-humans)
    The real reason imo thinkers of capitalism started to think about libertarianism, is because the definition of means of production is limited to non-humans in the capitalist theory.
    But many capitalist think that is an arbitrary separation and in this instance it works as well for humans and non human inputs.

    Some people believe the capitalist theory should expand to humans. So what did they? Well some created the concept of Radical capitalism, and others started to use the term libertarianism as basically "capitalism as related to human inputs".

    Honestly that was a hijack. Libertarianism was originally meant to refer to communists, and many communist call foul, and I kind of agree, I think it was a bad thing, but here we are.

    What communist (or left libertarians, social libertarians) share with libertarian capitalist or ancap, is the idea that central authorities are bad. They want to decentralize power as much as possible, and avoid giving special rights or power to a class of people.

    So when I talk about libertarianism, I talk about the degree in which that is true, because I want to still remain consistent with the position of libertarianism from the left.

    Of course in practice the left and the right say basically the other make no sense. Left libertarians say property rights are a violation of freedom, since there is no reason why someone should have property, and one can only have property by removing the freedom of others to use it.
    Right libertarians say the left makes no sense, because they are removing your right to control and own.

    In a funny turn of events, I agree witih the left here. I personally do not believe in property rights because it´s "true freedom" or whatever. I just do because it´s the most productive system, period. I even agree that is a kind of limitation of freedom, since property rights are ultimately arbitrary.


    I call libertarianism the degree in which a society have the power of the common property centralized and how it gives special rights to a special class. However that has some overlap to the popular usage of libertarianism, left and right libertarians are saying more than that, and often are also defining the the economic system. This creates a problem of communication between them that is counterproductive since they use the term in different way and fight for a word. I prefer to just go ahead and use it for the properties they share.

    So that is how i use libertarianism but understand people generally mean more, but you will have to guess what they mean based on their socioeconomic position.
    And many people (super specially true in US) basically include capitalism in the meaning of libertarianism.

    Then you have capitalist like me (And I think voluntarist fall in this category) which basically say I want capitalism in all things. (which would mean a position that includes libertarianism and the classical use of capitalism).

    TLDR

    In a practical sense that is compatible with most uses:
    Capitalism refers just to the idea that societies are more productive when the means of production (which refere to non human inputs) are privately owned.
    Libertarianism refers to the idea humans should have autonomy (basically control over themselves), and that there is no special authority or people with special rights should interfere with that autonomy.

    If you think about it, is basically both are about controlling what is yours and not let others interfere with it, one referse to the human/personhood and others referes to things that are not humans.
    But people tend to use both terms to refer to both frequently.
     
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  18. Waterd

    Waterd Well-Known Member

    Freedom of what?
    Sure we can talk about all kind of freedoms, freedom of physics, freedom of mind, freedom of worries etc.

    When libertarians refers to freedom, and the only freedom political freedom they care about to fight for, is for autonomy, freedom to act on their property as they see fit in the absence of coercion through threat of aggression or direct aggression.

    So under that context if someone doesn´t have healthcare they aren´t threatened by any third party to do X or be assaulted.

    If you find this use of the word confusing, I'm all open to use a new word for it that isn't freedom. Tell me your suggestion.

    What erenan refered to with "allowed", it didn´t mean by the state of nature or the capacity of his mind. But being allowed by other individuals, in the sense that other individuals won´t aggress against the person if that person try to act.

    I think it doesnt make sense if I say "I´m not allowed toteleport" or "I´m not allowed to grow fangs". People would say I´m allowed, because nobody would act against me to impede that. I´m unable for reasons related to physics and biology.

    I´m not "unallowed to fly" but if someone gives me an helicopter "now I´m allowed to fly". Now I can fly.

    But even if you think it makes sense to use the word allow that way, Again im open to use a different word. What would you use for a word to refer as the state in which person X can decide to act in pursue of Y without other humans being physically agressive against it?
     
  19. Waterd

    Waterd Well-Known Member

    Probably not. No libertarian think everybody would voluntarily help. Hey maybe nobody help, but if nobody help, then so be it. But that is the point, what happens in the society should be a reflection on the will of the society.
    If nobody helps the poor, is what individuals in that society wants.
    "But I want to help the poor" Then go and do it. Nobody in a libertarian society will stop you. "But I want others to help that". Go convince them to do so, tell them etc. "Oh but they don´t want to, so I want to FORCE THEM". Ok, now libertarians have a problem.

    Libertarianism is an ideology that I tihnk result in a society, where most individuals inside that society end in a better position and get what they want.
    The truth is that everytime a society has given more freedom to it´s citizens and has become more capitalist, the society improved by most measures that an individual of that society would apply.
    Singapore, Hong kong, china, Sweden, Chile, Switzerland, New zeland, etc etc.
    The story is always the same, closer to libertarianism/capitalism, higher economic growth, less poverty, higher quality of life, further away like Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba etc, lower economic growth, more poverty, lower quality of life.
    That is why I don't get why we need experiments, we already have the evidence.

    USA and european union, started to become more socialist after the 90s, and see how it´s working out (and will keep working out), Same goes for Japan.
    Their economic growths started o become more and more stagnant and will keep becoming more stagnant until they start go into negative (I predict will start to happen in the 5 years as I said in other places). Their drain outs will be very long though, because they accumulated a lot of riches during their capitalist era, and now spending everything away. It´s the same cycle Argentina Did in the early 20 century, except USA is extremly more rich, thanks to being one of the most libertarian and capitalist countries in the world for decades.

    People don´t flee from capitalist countries. People flee from socialist countries. Nobody is constructing boats and risk their life to get into cuba/VEnezuela/Bolivia, they do so to get into USA/Singapore/Chile.

    Poor people are always that suffer the most socialism, rich people flee. In venezuela everyone with money is already in England/USA/Chile/Germany, is the poor that has to suffer the costs of socialism.

    I guess we should find countries where the increase of capitalism in the country doesn´t match an increment quality of life of the poor. Let´s talk historical evidence that suggest the correlation isn´t there.
     
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  20. Weaver

    Weaver Active Member

    The main problem is that the variables were not controlled in history.

    When I argue about why a place has more prosperity than others, the opponents can always think of some other reasons, for example:

    "West Germany was more prosperous than East Germany because US gave West Germany a lot of money to start with."

    "Japan and South Korea are more prosperous than China because Japanese/South Korean people have better work ethic."

    "Chile is richer than Argentina because Chile has a lot more mineral resources per capita."

    "Hong Kong's economy is better than China because Hong Kong has a unique geological location."

    "Texas created more jobs than other states because it used lower tax rate/lower income to gain an unfair advantage. What Texas gained is what other states lost. It's a zero-sum game."

    They can go on and find thousands of excuses. Unless most other conditions are the same, you can't rigorously say that the difference is made by free economy/free society instead of other things.
     

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