Originally Posted by David Octavius
I wish to submit the outrageous claim that libertarianism is in fact not liberty at all, that it is in fact a form of utilitarianism (the greatest good for the greatest number of people) and social darwinism (survival of the fittest in society) that is wholly inconsistent with those who believe that all people ought to have their basic liberties (however you define basic) protected.
yes, this claim is thusfar outrageous
Libertarianism in its simplest elements is formed around the concept of "full self-ownership" - that is full ownership of your person and property. So far so good, but then it gets hairy when it branches out, the two I will deal with are the anarchists and the Consequentialist (I will not go into the objectivists view because Ayn Rand herself said it has nothing to do with libertarianism).
anarchism is anarchism, libertarianism is libertarianism
The Anarchist version of libertarianism holds that the free market and society itself is enough to provide all that is needed which includes infrastructure, security and punishment, while Consequentialists believe there should be some government use of force to protect liberty (as minimal as possible of course).
yes, smallest government possible to ensure personal liberty and provide the common defense
The Anarchists version would inevitably lead to Social Darwinism as those that do well in the market (whether by going by the market rules or not) gain much power and are able to better control the market and all that it creates to violate the rights of those who don't do as well.
this vague statement seems like an argument against monopoly? that is the only time where those that do well can violate the rights of those that do poorly with the market - when there is not adequate competition
Liberty itself is a commodity that can be bought at volume, if you have it you command more power over others and the ability to violate rights - after all, those who control the markets sets the rules, what is to stop them from using that control to violate the rights of the poor since they control the resources that give liberty?
this section highlights a fundamentun misunderstanding of how a market works
how exactly do you suppose the market will be controlled to violate the rights of the poor, and what resources "give liberty"? (if there is such a thing)
Moreover, there is no self ownership, not everyone can be a king in the marketplace, there must be some losers who will involuntarily lose their property and there also must be some who are just workers under the rule of someone else - which could include long hours, poor conditions and unreasonable expectations that violate a persons private life - the marketplace itself becomes the state. As stated above, the ones that control it, control the rules and thus will control liberty as we will not have enough power to overrule them.
a market is not a zero-sum game, exchange relationships can be mutually beneficial. People will work jobs that they agree to work, nothing more. If they need to find a new employer, they are free to do so. A labor pool has competition both ways, and those who are valuable to employers are obviously going to do the best in the labor pool. how do you suppose liberty will be controlled?
The Consequentialists are a little more in line with reality, admitting that the markets are not always perfect or rational and that some government power in needed to correct it. But the problem here is, who defines what needs correcting and how much is needed? Such legislation that affects the markets and thus affects the individual is a violation itself since it holds the theory of negative liberty to heart (that is no interference unless the person violates another persons rights). So in essence this becomes positive liberty - that is we must act to maximize liberty - and this falls squarely into being active in the forum of government.
yes, you have just made a lengthy but common sense statement that minimal government is necessary to ensure liberty
But there is a problem with that, by being active in government libertarianism must concede some power. That power could be to any form of government man can think of, but the very act of giving up some power means that there is no "full self ownership" anymore, that we give some of that up to attain greater liberty.
another common sense statement that minimal liberty must be given up to maintain a society with any form of government
The best form of government that can protect liberty is the republican form of government our founders advocated whereby certain rights must always be protected from encroachment from the people or government itself through checks, election and fragmentation of power. Such a government that seeks to gurantees the rights of everyone is not consistent with Consequentialists in that they focus on maximizing the consequnces of actions to maximize (especially) market effectiveness, which is utilitarian in nature - protecting everyone equally is not effective or efficient for the market, it doesn't maximize its potential thus it would not always be protected.
Here is where you become the "most wrong" - there is nothing about our republican form of government that itself violates the wishes of libertarians. Your bolded statement simply makes no sense at all - protecting the rights of individuals is not against the market unless you suppose that rights extend beyond their logical bounds.
Libertarianism is these two forms at least would become a form of tyranny because it DOES NOT seek to protect everyones basic rights, in the Anarchists version, the few would have more rights than the many, in the Conseq. version it is for the benefit of the many over the few. Thus libertarianism is not consistent with those who believe everyone should have liberty.
the bolded section is another false statement - our original government, as setup in 1787 and the Constitution, was a libertarian form that did protect basic rights, as were listed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights
the "Conseq. version" is not setup to benefit the many over the few, it is setup to provide liberty to all and the benefit to each individual will be decided by their actions
libertarianism is infact very consistent with those who believe in personal liberty for everyone - a statement to the contrary is a falsehood
PS - I realize I opened myself up for a lot of personal attacks but I think every ideology should be questioned and its defenders should prove its fitness - I am open to hearing constructive arguments, but personal attacks will not be answered and will assumed to me as you could not defend your beliefs
a defender of libertarianism really has nothing to answer to someone who has such a perverse view of its tenets that it could not be construed as factually accurate in the least