Brian Peacock wrote:
How could a Libertarian Party ever get anything done when the individual freedom of its members outweighs the authority of its leadership and when the process used in decision-making would be little more than forceful coercion upon those that did not agree with those decisions?
That is something of a conundrum. The problem of how to get to a Libertarian society is a different debate from how a Libertarian society functions however.
Perhaps if an individual Libertarian doesn't like what the party is doing they get a refund and a twenty-minute head start?
Again, any Libertarian can freely bind themselves to an obligation, it's called "freedom of contract," and contracts are enforceable. Thus, if you "join" the Libertarian party you agree to support it and its platform and candidates and, at least morally, you are obligated to do so. The essential component of this is that your membership is voluntary, not compulsory.
I still don't know what Libertarianism thinks about poverty and the poor from the Libertarian perspective,
It thinks people should be given a hand up not a hand out. It thinks people usually act in their own rational self interest and in doing so they recognize that legions of beggars and starving people on the sidewalks is not good for business or morality and so it encourages Libertarians to contribute to caring for those who are in need. But it doesn't DEMAND that they do so, and it permits each individual to decide which persons and to what extent they will grant their support. It also allows them to band together and voluntarily bind themselves to a contract that requires them to pay a certain amount into a fund for the poor and sick and appoints an agency to administer those funds. Again, however, they do so only voluntarily. No Libertarian can be compelled to give to others against his or her will. This does not mean that Libertarians are not charitable, altruistic or that they do not act out of rational self-interest in giving to others, it just means that they refuse to let someone else dictate to them how much and to whom they will give.
This is a point I've made many times that has been routinely ignored by all the liberals here. The common strawman condemnation of Libertarians is that they are greedy and uncaring, which is absolutely not the case. They make this claim merely because Libertarians object to coercive, non-voluntary redistributive taxation. But an objection to such coercive redistribution is not the same thing as not caring about the poor and sick at all.
Libertarians merely require that they be ASKED to contribute, and that they get to determine for themselves how much they will contribute and to whom they will contribute it. They don't dispute the need to care for the poor, the elderly or the sick.
which I am calling the Utopia of Solipsistic Anarchism (not only because it describes the example of Libertarianism provided here perfectly, but also because I enjoy the irony of its acronym).
Just another Alinsky slur is all.
In a Libertarian world is poverty abolished, or just an irrelevant concept?
Is everybody born equally impoverished and must therefore, by their own hand alone, elevate themselves into security, or die?
Is poverty actually a good thing, and if so why and for whom?
It's not a good thing, it just is. There will always be those who have more than others, that's the nature of humanity. Unlike socialists, who (fallaciously) insist that it's "not fair" that some people have more than others and justify stealing from the rich to give to the poor, Libertarians believe that what belongs to the individual is his, to dispose of as he pleases. This does not mean he cannot dispose of it charitably to the poor, merely that the poor cannot use the force of government to take it from him for their convenience.
Is theft a legitimate alternative to starvation?
Is violence a legitimate means of securing personal resources?
When one has to endure a paucity of necessary resources and/or access to necessary resources, and has little or no opportunity to mitigate that shortfall, should one just throw oneself off a cliff, or submit oneself to slavery, or go on a rampage and hope for the best?
One should ask for assistance and demonstrate worthiness of the contribution of the labor of others.
In such circumstances, where the probability of survival is low, could a parent sell their children to ensure their own survival?
I feel that there are two main cognitive biases inherent in all proto-anarchist political philosophies: the first is that those who expound the virtues of an anarchist utopia always assume that they will come out on the positive side of the equation;
Nonsense. The philosophy of Libertarianism, which is not anarchistic at all, speaks to the morality of the imposition of force or fraud by one upon another. It holds that it is immoral to initiate force or fraud, no matter what the supposed justification. This is based on the fundamental principle of personal autonomy and responsibility. I am free, and I am responsible for my actions and the consequences thereof. You are free and you are responsible for your actions and the consequences thereof. So long as I do not initiate force or fraud against you, I cannot be made responsible for your actions or the consequences thereof and vice-versa.
While I cannot be compelled to come to your aid, I cannot be prevented from doing so. All that is required of you is that you ASK for aid and not initiate force or fraud if its denied to you.
the second is that anarchist utopians generally assume that everything will pretty much remain as it is except that they will have more individual freedom. This is aside from the obvious fact that proto-anarchist political philosophies fundamentally release one from any obligation to give a shit about anyone but oneself (and that anyone who doesn't agree with it is automatically rendered a vile Marxist enemy of freedom of course!).
Libertarianism denys an obligation to give a shit about anyone else. By "obligation" I mean a requirement for compulsory action imposed by an outside force compelling the Libertarian to do something or give something to someone else, or to society, without his or her consent.
But your construction falsely presumes that one person has an "obligation" to "give a shit" about another without any foundation or argument as to how this obligation came into being. You simply assume that it exists because your socialist lenses don't allow you to see things any other way. And it's not just a moral argument that people "ought to give a shit about others" that you're stating, you state it as a fact of nature that this "obligation to give a shit" exists and is therefore enforceable by society.
This is the false presumption of socialism upon which all the rest is founded, that every person owes a duty of care to every other person, and that this duty of care can be enforced by the use of force and government power even if some particular individual denies that duty.
But socialists never reason out whether this duty actually exists or whether it's simply a moral imperative that is held as an a priori
I think that nature makes it pretty damned clear that there is no "natural law" consisting of a duty of care to every other person. This duty of care is a fiction created by socialist philosophy because it's a convenient way for the have-nots to justify their theft from the haves. Marx was quite clear about it in the Communist Manifesto. He didn't give a rat's ass whether or not the bourgeoisie merchant class had come by its wealth honestly, through its own labor and risk, he made the a priori
claim that wealth in and of itself was proof of theft, and that therefore taking that wealth was not also theft, but the righting of a wrong against the working class.
This is where this vacuous presumption of a duty of care comes from, and it's complete bullshit.
From the purely scientific aspect, nature doesn't impose any duty of care, it just says "adapt or die." Social behavior that may LOOK LIKE expressions of a duty of care are actually nothing of the kind, they are simply beneficial evolutionary behaviors engaged in because they are iterations of rational self-interest on the part of the individual organism.
In other words, voluntary participation in socially beneficial actions that enhance the survival of the species.
Whereas socialism insists that there is a duty of care for everyone in equal measure and that this creates a right to compel participation in socialism on the part of the collective, nature does not function this way. The lone organism that does not choose, out of rational self-interest, to participate in the communal activities is simply excluded from those communal activities by the others and must therefore suffer the consequences of its own actions against rational self-interest.
This is the fundamental nature of Libertarian philosophy. Libertarianism holds that communal action is a good thing because it is usually in the individual's rational self-interest to participate in the community in positive ways because when the community prospers, so does the individual. But Libertarianism does not REQUIRE the individual to participate in the community, and it does not REQUIRE that he participate at any particular level if he does. Those decisions are his.
On the other hand, one who does not choose to participate in the obligations of making the community function can justifiably be denied the benefits that such participation brings by the other members of the community. So any "obligation" to participate is actually nothing more than voluntary participation out of rational self-interest because not to participate in a socially-acceptable manner means being excluded from the community.
Socialism presumes an a priori
obligation to participate and punishes those who refuse are forced to participate even if they choose not to use the benefits, and it presumes that the individual owes a duty of care (labor) to the collective and that this obligation can be forcibly extracted.
Libertarianism presumes that rational beings will generally act out of rational self-interest and will choose to participate voluntarily in the community because it is in their interests to do so. But if the individual does not wish to so participate, Libertarianism respects his right to be a lone wolf and do as he pleases, so long as he does not initiate force or fraud on another, including by consuming or using community resources that he has not contributed to.
Socialism is compulsion.
Libertarianism is persuasion.
"Seth is Grandmaster Zen Troll who trains his victims to troll themselves every time they think of him" Robert_S
"All that is required for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke
"Those who support denying anyone the right to keep and bear arms for personal defense are fully complicit in every crime that might have been prevented had the victim been effectively armed." Seth
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