Libertarianism is a cult

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  TheEncogitationer 3 weeks, 2 days ago.

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  • #53138

    Unseen
    Participant

    A cult is obsessed with a set of beliefs that “explain everything” or else they revere and follow (or even worship) an individual leader or thinker who they believe has it all figured out. In the former case, for our purposes it’s a set of ideas they think are undeniable and are thus sacrosanct. In the latter case, there  is one libertarian figurehead, Ayn Rand, a deeply disturbed and dysfunctional person who founded modern day libertarianism.

    Now, here, I believe I’ve laid out the core beliefs of libertarianism as well as the main consequences and problems pursuant to those beliefs. Here goes:

    1. Libertarians believe in a “hands off” approach which often leads to dissatisfactory results. Polluters, for example, without government regulation, can benefit from the profits of activities damaging the environment, enriching a few, while the general public, made up mostly of middle- and low-income workers have to subsidize cleanups and other fixes.

    2. Libertarians value prosperity over equality and fairness. A country dominated by rich and powerful overlords is preferable, to them, over one which functions to help make life tolerable and healthy for the majority. For any attempt at fixes, see 1. above.

    3. Libertarians want a minimal state with few social programs. However, some level of government spending is needed to provide public goods like roads, national defense, and education, which benefit everyone. Libertarians would privatize much or all of that. The failed and failing experiment of privatized prisons hasn’t sunk in, so they’d love to see a privatized Post Office.

    4. The individual liberty revered by libertarians tends to come at the expense of collective needs. Libertarians have no problem with a system (the one we’re living in) where some people may not be able to afford healthcare or education on their own, whereas society benefits from a healthy and educated population.

    5. Libertarians argue for a much smaller role for government, but some level of government control and supervision is necessary to enforce contracts, maintain law and order, maintain a foreign policy, and protect individual rights. It’s hard to imagine how a fully libertarianized country could even function.

    6. A completely unregulated society would likely be less stable and secure, leading to a Hobson’s choice between two responses from the government: a turn toward repression and oppression on the one hand or acquiescing to chaos on the other.

    #53158

    Unseen
    Participant

    Bernie Sanders vs. a corporate libertarian.

    #53171

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    If Libertarianism is a “cult,” than it is the most contrary, cussed, cantankerous, contentious, quarreling “cult” that ever existed! Herding Libertarians, much like herding Atheists, is like herding cats.

    For one thing, it didn’t begin with Any Rand, who denounced Libertarians as “Hippies of the Right,” even though many Libertarians admire her works.

    Libertarian ideas go all the way back to Socrates with his eponymous Method and Lao Tzu’s Tao De Ching. Then, they get further inspiration from Aristotle who gets revived from The Dark Ages by Aquinas, then get boosted during the Renaissance and Enlightenment with input from Giordano Bruno and Pico Della Marandola and Adam Smith, Frederick Bastiat, John Locke, the British Levellers, Montesquieu, and the French Philosophes.

    All of these served as information and inspiration for the Founding Fathers and their famed documents, who in turn, informed and inspired the Abolitionists and Suffragettes to extend the Founder’s ideals to all.

    The Austrian School of Economics of the Nineteenth Century and The Chicago School of Economics in the Twentieth Century both argued and bolstered Free-Market Capitalism and still do today.

    The basic idea of Libertarianism is Individual Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property, exercised through a Free Market, with the only purpose of Government being the protection of those rights. Government should do so via a limited Police Force to home-grown criminals, a limited Military and Border Patrol to stop foreign invaders, espionage, terrorists, and fugitives from justice, and a system of Courts to arbitrate disputes. Everything else can be and has been handled by individuals and voluntary organizations.

    We are a varied lot, practically one sect to each person. Although I admire Libertarianism as a philosophy, I find the Party bearing the name as an embarrassment and won’t be voting for them any more than Biden or Trump. Case in point:

    I’ve said before about them: Look, Vermin Supreme, the boot on the head is a nice Owellian flourish for a comedy act, but normie wear is best when conveying ideas to the general public! And, guys, save the striptease for the after-party! We’ve got a Nation and a World to win!

    #53172

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    I would not have been as charitable to Bernie as that executive. I would have said:

    “Bernie, if you want 40 hours pay for 32 hours work, then scrunch 40 hours of work into 32 hours the way that humans have always done it: with labor-augmenting and labor-saving technology that humans invent and create when they are free to use their minds and free to invest their earnings. That AI that all ya’ll want to ‘pause’ shows a lot of promise!”

    “So, Bernie, what have you done besides lean on a shovel in a commune in your mis-spent youth?”
    😴💤

    #53175

    Unseen
    Participant

    The basic idea of Libertarianism is Individual Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property, exercised through a Free Market, with the only purpose of Government being the protection of those rights.

    Yeah… I get that. That’s an is, not an ought. WHY should that be the basic goal of “Libertarianism” (and why the capitalization, since you think the Libertarian Party is a joke?). What proof do you have that you should believe this? What makes an every man is an island society a better one than one founded on helping one another?

    Government should do so via a limited Police Force to home-grown criminals, a limited Military and Border Patrol to stop foreign invaders, espionage, terrorists, and fugitives from justice, and a system of Courts to arbitrate disputes. Everything else can be and has been handled by individuals and voluntary organizations.

    When you say “Everything else can be and has been handled by individuals and voluntary organization,” where and when are you talking about?

    Why are there no libertarian countries? If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early 21st century is organized along libertarian lines?

    It’s not as though there were a shortage of countries to experiment with libertarianism. There are 193 sovereign state members of the United Nations—195, if you count the Vatican and Palestine, which have been granted observer status by the world organization. If libertarianism was a good idea, wouldn’t at least one country have tried it? Wouldn’t there be at least one country, out of nearly two hundred, with minimal government, free trade, open borders, decriminalized drugs, no welfare state and no public education system?

    When you ask libertarians if they can point to a libertarian country, you are likely to get a baffled look, followed, in a few moments, by something like this reply: While there is no purely libertarian country, there are countries which have pursued policies of which libertarians would approve: Chile, with its experiment in privatized Social Security, for example, and Sweden, a big-government nation which, however, gives a role to vouchers in schooling.

    But this isn’t an adequate response. Libertarian theorists have the luxury of mixing and matching policies to create an imaginary utopia. A real country must function simultaneously in different realms—defense and the economy, law enforcement and some kind of system of support for the poor. Being able to point to one truly libertarian country would provide at least some evidence that libertarianism can work in the real world. (source: The Failure of Libertarianism)

    So, the question I pose is similar to the one I pose to those proclaiming matriarchy superior to patriarchy: If it’s so good, why isn’t there one for you to point to on the scale of a modern nation-state?

    #53176

    Unseen
    Participant

    I asked the Gemini AI “What would an interstate highway system created by libertarians look like?” and got the following answer, which lays out, I think, why libertarianism won’t work: Nobody would like the result!

    Libertarians generally advocate for minimal government intervention in the economy. So, an interstate highway system designed with libertarian principles would likely be quite different from the one we have today. Here are some possible characteristics:

    Funding and Construction:

    Private ownership and tolls: Instead of federal funding, highways could be built and maintained by private companies who would charge tolls for usage. This would incentivize efficiency and prioritize routes with high traffic volume.

    Competing companies: Multiple companies might build parallel routes, creating competition and potentially lower tolls for drivers.

    Regulation:

    Limited safety regulations: Libertarians generally believe in individual responsibility. Speed limits and other safety measures might be less strict, though private companies could implement their own for insurance purposes.
    Environmental regulations could be relaxed: This would reduce construction costs but could also lead to environmental concerns.

    Overall Structure:

    Focus on profitability: Routes would likely connect major population and economic centers, prioritizing commerce over rural access. Less profitable rural routes might be underdeveloped or non-existent.
    Varied road quality: Depending on the company and tolls collected, road quality could vary between stretches.

    It’s important to note that this is a hypothetical scenario. Libertarians themselves might have differing views on how such a system would work. Here are some potential drawbacks to consider:

    Inequality in access: Relying on tolls could make travel cost-prohibitive for some, limiting social mobility and economic opportunities in remote areas.
    Environmental impact: Relaxed regulations could lead to environmental damage during construction and operation.
    Uncoordinated development: Competing companies might create an inefficient patchwork of highways, lacking a cohesive national network.

    That’s the end of the AI reply.

    I see the biggest problem of libertarianism is that it sees working for the common good as a sin. Private entities with no commitment to the commonweal could easily work to make life worse or worthless to the common man.

    A certain amount of freedom is good. Freedom minus restraint is chaos. We already have a multibillionaire exploring space now and wanting to put mankind on Mars. That’s a nice and probably harmless hobby. But suppose another mega-wealthy individual starts developing potentially superior weaponry and starts raising a private army while gaining control of the major media. Then we will want a national government with the resources to step in on behalf of the common man. In a libertarian country, would there be a national government big and powerful enough to stop him?

    #53177

    RichRaelian
    Participant

    So what!

    #53178

    jakelafort
    Participant

    So aah Rich Raelian are you an alien?

    A mamalian alien?

    In praise of cults.

    Indoctrinate cuz he can’t wait
    Isolate em before its too late
    The leader will be pleased
    with virgins for the fire
    Heretofore diseased
    switch off inborn desire
    Leader will be pleased
    to be received on their knees
    Indoctrination freeze

    Feed em gefilte fish
    that is the cultish dish
    when he makes a wish
    no resistance
    it’s a swish
    workers free or slaves to thee
    sexual gratitude like worker bees
    the queen’s a he
    and it is not a tease

    THAT SUCKED….BLECH

    #53182

    _Robert_
    Participant

    The “crypto bros “are a concrete implementation of the ideology. Just a cesspool of libertarians scamming each other with “pump and dumps” and “rug pulls”. And then a bunch of them start complaining “we need some regulation”, LOL. As if that is a new idea.

    As if individuals are going to do better than an organized attempt at creating a just society. Every time we allow individuals complete freedom, we get warlords and fiefdoms.  It is as if libertarians have no concept of the first 6 millennium of human history. And from there they get ideas like “arm everyone with guns”. This way every barfight and road rage incident can have the freedom to play out as it will. Great idea!

    It’s all black and white and they have an excuse for all their personal fails. The government.

     

    #53183

    _Robert_
    Participant

    And unseen has said it many times; the only “rights” ever respected are those given by a government with the strength to enforce them. Not saying that governments never go astray; but notice that whenever this happens it is always because an individual or a small number of individuals gain too much power.

    #53184

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    Everything you said regarding Libertarianism in the first paragraph can be also said of any flavor of Statism or Collectivism. They are all “oughts,” though “oughta” can be based on an “is,” which “is” the case with Individual Rights, which are conditions of existence for survival and flourishing of Man, The Rational Animal.

    I capitalize the word “Libertarianism” for the same reason I capitalize other Philosophical concepts. They are important.

    And Libertarianism is not an “every man is an island” idea. Rather, everyone is a modular floating platform, capable of connecting by choice and which should only be connected by choice and to mutual benefit.

    Michael Lind’s whole article is an Argument From Incredulity Fallacy. The fact that there is no nation that is fully Libertarian does not make it impossible or invalidate Libertarianism. Nor does it mean we cannot compare instances where individuals are free versus when they are regimented and enslaved.

    We know that the best ideas and culture have a chance to survive and thrive when individuals are free to think and express their ideas, both with their voice and with their other privately-owned resources.

    We know that individuals have the best chance to prosper when they are free to think, to produce goods and services, to innovate and invent, to keep and invest the fruits of their production, and to keep and re-invest the fruits of their investment.

    And we know that these benefits accrue to all when the Individual Rights to do these things are recognized, respected, and protected for all, regardless of creed or conditions of birth.

    Libertarianism is just the attempt to amp it all up as high as it can go and bring it all to full fruition.

    #53185

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Robert,

    The biggest “cryptobro” con-artist was Sam Bankman-Fried, and he was a proponent of Effective Altruism. He certainly achieved “Effective Altruism” by getting others to sacrifice their earnings.

    Anywho, Effective Altruism is ya’ll’s baby, not Libertarianism’s.

    Me, I wouldn’t fully trust any electronic currency that’s not based in exchange of a precious metal.

    And the entirety of human existence on Earth up to the last 500 years has been some form of absolute rule of one or some men over others. Only in the last 500 years have men questioned that and incrementally tried to fight against and change that sorry state of affairs. Libertarianism acknowledges all this and is just keeping up the good fight.

    And what do you mean “Not saying that governments never go astray”? Government going astray from it’s only proper limited role is precisely the greatest threat to Individual Rights ever. According to the Late Great Professor Rudolph Rummel, unlimited government resulted in 160 million + deaths just in the Twentieth Century alone!

    Serial murderer Henry Lee Lucas claimed to have murdered 600 people. That number would be Auschwitz-Birkinau or the Siberian Gulags on a slow day!

    The Libertarian bumper sticker says it all: “Warning! The Government Is Armed And Dangerous!”

    #53186

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Unseen,

    More proof that AI is only as good as it’s input and processing and still has many roads to travel, so to speak, before it is our Robot Overlords.

    Private solutions to ameliorating transportation problems are happening now in the form of miniaturization, micro-ization, and nano-ization of products. It means many more products get shipped with less wear and tear on the roads, rails, planes, and ships.

    Also, telecommuting work-at-home and work-from-home has minimized impact on transportation infrastructure, yet ever since I heard of the concept in 1982, union-backed work rules and zoning laws have fought tooth-and-nail against telecommuting and didn’t let up until the Wu-Flu, during which time, government actually made telecommuting mandatory for at least some.

    Drone delivery is another private transportation solution and could be made more prolific, safer, and faster with privately-owned and financed drone tube networks ran above existing infrastructure. The columns that hold the tubes up could take no more room than cellular towers and wouldn’t require eminent domain. Just offer landowners a cut of the take and many would love a drone tube over the Back Forty.

    And that’s just a sample. There’s more to come:

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