Thursday, June 14, 2012

What Libertarian Isn't

[Copied from a forum I argue in, because I liked it]

It is not a solution. It doesn't seek to solve any problems.

It is not a utopia. Society will still be messed up under a libertarian government. People will still be dicks to one another.

It is not magical. It doesn't skip any phase in logic, because it doesn't have any.

It is not ideal. If there is a perfect solution out there for a problem, it doesn't use it, or force people to use it in its stead.

There's not a goddamn problem in the world that libertarian will solve.

That's exactly the point.

Libertarianism is, at its root, humility. It's the idea that other ideas should be tried out.

Under libertarianism, you can form a commune, and try out socialism to your heart's content - you're not allowed to force other people into your commune, but if your commune works, other people will want in on it.

And that, right there, is the fundamental idea of libertarianism, and the free market more generally: It's the idea that we don't know the right solution, and that people should be free to try things out until they find something that works. And when somebody finds something that works, others should be free to find something that works better. Libertarianism is the free market - and very specifically, the free market of -ideas-.

The sole thing it does, is to protect ideas from one another. You can't force people to join your commune, because otherwise they -aren't- free to try out their own ideas. It limits ideas to solely those which do not prevent the free exercise of other ideas.

You want welfare? You're free to set up a welfare system. You just can't take resources from other competing ideas to try it out.

All other systems derive from a single precept, a single underlying idea - that the person instituting it -knows- the best solution to a problem, and that permitting other people from trying different solutions, or even focusing on different problems, is merely permitting the perpetuation of problems. All other systems derive from the idea that one idea is the best, and should be instituted at the expense of all other ideas.

Libertarianism denies each idea one thing, and one thing only - the "right" to force other people to support that idea.

"But inequality/rich people/oppression/classism" is fundamentally dishonest. It is framing the debate by making the implicit claim that one's philosophic and political enemies are evil. If the sole argument you can make for your idea is that the other guy is evil, your idea is not worth pursuing. You've forfeit any value your idea has, because if evil is truly in charge of society, your idea would be forfeit to their designs and their power. Even if instituted, your idea would be subverted to their ends, for they have the will and the power to do so.

"But poverty/starving people/medical care" is fundamentally dishonest. It is framing the debate by making the implicit claim that a problem is too important to be subject to the marketplace of ideas - it is making the claim, in effect, that a problem is too important to be solved by the best possible ideas.

So here's my challenge to this board: Why is your problem, and your solution, different? What problem is better solved by the solution you think is best, instead of solutions tried and failed and tried and failed until something -works-? What solution is so good that it can solve the problem, but so poor that it would not stand up to competing ideas?

What value does -any- other system have?

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