Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Critisisms of Libertarianism...Seem to be Stupid

Last week a post was written for ROK about one of Ayn Rand's books of philosophy.

One commenter posted two links of critisim:
Here are a some rational arguments against libertarianism/objectivism that are far more eloquent than I could ever put together:

I shall go through them paragraph by paragraph to show that they are incorrect stupid as it turns out.

First link first:  The Liberty of Local Bullies
I have not been surprised by any of the quotes that have recently come to light from Ron Paul's racist newsletters. I grew up in Texas, remember, and I know from experience that if you talk to a hardcore Paul supporter for a reasonable length of time, these sorts of ideas are more likely than not to come up.
To start with, if one person who has an economic ideology says something bad and we can tarnish the entire ideology becasue of it, then I'll assume that the author of this statement will accept the tarnishment from all the crazy people on his side of the aisle.   (I'll bet you 10 to 1 that he'll say that the crazies on his side should be ignored, and he's totally not a hypocrite.)

Secondly, I've often heard that a Ron Paul newsletter has contained racist things in them during the 90's.  I have yet to see an actual racist quote from one of those newsletters.  Maybe they exist, but I have yet to read one racist quote.  The link included, which you would think would include evidence of racist writings to support the claim, includes no such quote.  The closest that we get to that is “only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions”.  And that is un-sourced, un-dated, and not specifically attributed to Ron Paul.  If that quote means that he is racist, then every political commenter that talks about any political election is a racist.  Anyone who comments on the "Hispanic vote" is a racist.

Thirdly, his last statement is that Ron Paul supporters will say racist things in debates.  I've been accused of racism during debates several times, including for wondering why public teachers need labor unions.  I suspect that the author of this piece would likely attribute any comment he disagrees with to racism.
So does this mean that Ron Paul's libertarianism is merely a thin veneer covering a bedrock of tribalist white-supremacist paleoconservatism? Well, no, I don't think so. Sure, the tribalist white-supremacist paleoconservatism is there. I just don't think it's incompatible with libertarianism.
What's with the name calling and over-sized words?  Other than sounding stupid, I'm not sure what the point of this paragraph is.
I have often remarked in the past how libertarianism - at least, its modern American manifestation - is not really about increasing liberty or freedom as an average person would define those terms. An ideal libertarian society would leave the vast majority of people feeling profoundly constrained in many ways. This is because the freedom of the individual can be curtailed not only by the government, but by a large variety of intermediate powers like work bosses, neighborhood associations, self-organized ethnic movements, organized religions, tough violent men, or social conventions. In a society such as ours, where the government maintains a nominal monopoly on the use of physical violence, there is plenty of room for people to be oppressed by such intermediate powers, whom I call "local bullies."
How is this hypothetical "constrained society" different from what we have now?

From what I understand, libertarians support the removal of third parties (the government) from issues where they have no business.

With, or without, government rules all of the "his local" bullies would exist.  With, or without, government rules a person would only work for a boss so long as that boss wants him to.  How is favoring the removal of government from a decision to work, or not, lessening liberty?

A person's decision to work for someone, or live with a neighborhood association is something that should be decided by that person and his potential employer, or whatever.  Libertarians argue that the addition of a third party's laws, rules, and regulations only makes things worse.
The modern American libertarian ideology does not deal with the issue of local bullies. In the world envisioned by Nozick, Hayek, Rand, and other foundational thinkers of the movement, there are only two levels to society - the government (the "big bully") and the individual. If your freedom is not being taken away by the biggest bully that exists, your freedom is not being taken away at all.
I'd be shocked if the author of this piece has ever read even one article by Hayek or Rand.

Before reading this article I had not heard of anyone with the name of Nozick.  Apparently he wrote a book called Anarchy, State, and Utopia, which means that he sounds like my sort of guy.

BTW, someone who favors anarchy is not a libertarian.  Why are two of the first three "fundamental thinkers of the [libertarian] movement" an anarchist (not libertarian) and Ayn Rand (who did not like libertarians and so made up her own ideology of Objectivism)?

Libertarians, and this is where they disagree with anarcho-caplitalists, think that the government should exist only to protect citizens from each other (police), protect citizens from outsiders (armed forces), and to provide for a means of conflict resolution (the court system).  Notice that the first part of that is to protect people from each other.

This criticism of libertarians is just making things up.
In a perfect libertarian world, it is therefore possible for rich people to buy all the beaches and charge admission fees to whomever they want (or simply ban anyone they choose). In a libertarian world, a self-organized cartel of white people can, under certain conditions, get together and effectively prohibit black people from being able to go out to dinner in their own city. In a libertarian world, a corporate boss can use the threat of unemployment to force you into accepting unsafe working conditions. In other words, the local bullies are free to revoke the freedoms of individuals, using methods more subtle than overt violent coercion.
If someone owns something, like a beach, then why shouldn't he be allowed to to with it what he wants?

This segregation he talks about happened thanks to the government, and its rules, laws and regulations.  Can you find one example of city wide segregation that occurred without the consent and la of the laws of the government?

Rather than libertarians being racist, I submit to you that libertarians are so un-racist that they don't want any laws, rules, or regulations that involve race in any way.  Who is more racist: someone who wants people of one race treated differently under the law or someone who wants everyone treated the same under the law?

Why "corporate boss" and not head babysitter?

Not hiring someone is not "revoking a freedom."  I suggest that this person look up the definition of "freedom," as I have no interest in googling the definition for him.

I imagine his ideal employment situation goes like this.

"I have a dangerous job; would you be willing to do it?"

"No.  You are 'revoking my freedom' by offering me a dangerous job.  The government says that you are instead obligated to provide me with a safe, comfortable, at least minimum wage, paid-vacationed, paid rest break, mandatory lunch breaked, and so on, and so forth.....job.  Now where is it?"
Such a world wouldn't feel incredibly free to the people in it. Sure, you could get together with friends and pool your money to buy a little patch of beach. Sure, you could move to a less racist city. Sure, you could quit and find another job. But doing any of these things requires paying large transaction costs. As a result you would feel much less free.
Other than removing an unnecessary third party, how would bosses hiring and firing people be any different?

I suspect he thinks that someone is obligated to provide a beach, a less racist city, and a safe, high paying, paid vacationed........job for everyone.

How is forcing someone to provide a beach, and so on.... for someone else "freedom?"  Who is supposed to provide the things that he wants?

He has the words "freedom" and slavery mixed up.  Were I to debate this person, I would need to define words like these for him. 
Now, the founders of libertarianism - Nozick et. al. - obviously understood the principle that freedoms are often mutually exclusive - that my freedom to punch you in the face curtails quite a number of your freedoms. For this reason, they endorsed "minarchy," or a government whose only role is to protect people from violence and protect property rights. But they didn't extend the principle to covertly violent, semi-violent, or nonviolent forms of coercion.
Somebody get this guy a dictionary.

Libertarians say that a person should be free to do what he wants so long has he harms no one else.

"...so long as he harms no one else."

After he's looked up "freedom," "slavery," "anarchy," and "libertarian" in the dictionary I would suggest that he actually read something by one of the libertarians [and anarchists, and Objectivists] that he so often cites.
Not surprisingly, this gigantic loophole has made modern American libertarianism the favorite philosophy of a vast array of local bullies, who want to keep the big bully (government) off their backs so they can bully to their hearts' content. The curtailment of government legitimacy, in the name of "liberty," allows abusive bosses to abuse workers, racists to curtail opportunities for minorities, polluters to pollute without cost, religious groups to make religious minorities feel excluded, etc. In theory, libertarianism is about the freedom of the individual, but in practice it is often about the freedom of local bullies to bully. It's a "don't tattle to the teacher" ideology.
I'm sure glad that I don't live in the progressives' world, where every corporation, rich person, republican, etc. is evil.

If your employer abuses you, then don't work there.  If there is actual, real, abuse then even libertarians say the role of the government is to prevent violence and resolve disputes.

Rather than having a society where, even if all the evils mentioned occur, a person is free to not participate, our article's author prefers a society where a "big bully" gets to make all the laws and resolve all the disputes.

He's said that people can leave bad situations in an ideal libertarian world, but says the price is high.  You cannot leave the dominion of a big government unless you leave the country.  Is the price of leaving higher when moving between states or moving out of the country?
Therefore I see no real conflict between Ron Paul's libertarianism and his support for the agenda of racists. It's just part and parcel of the whole movement. Not necessarily the movement as it was conceived, but the movement as it in fact exists.
Where is the evidence that racism and libertarianism are in the same movement?

Where is one quote from your specified racist exemplifying his racism?

Such a quote should look like this:

"Quote." -Ron Paul 9/5/1996 (source)

Are there any quotes from other libertarians [or anarchists, or Objectivists since you can't tell the difference] which are explicitly racist?


What a piss-poor criticism.


Rather than go through the other article, I'd like to question its author:

What gave you the right to decide what is best for someone else?

How are you so sure that what you think is best for someone else is actually best for someone else?

1 comment: