Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Unlibertarian libertarians

Unlibertarian libertarians

This past weekend I watched the show "Stossel" on FOX Business News. I really like the show, and recommend you watch it if you can. John Stossel still has a ways to go before clearing out the last few cherished government myths he holds to, but he is on his way.

John Stossel's subject on this most recent show was "Libertarians", and what "libertarianism" means. I enjoyed watching the guests debate their various "libertarian" views, but one thing kept coming to mind: a person (or idea) is only "libertarian"* as long as he (or it) adheres to the principles of libertarianism. Where one departs from those principles, for any reason, one is not "libertarian". Any person may hold some libertarian ideas, and even the most "libertarian" of us may harbor some ideas that fail to be libertarian. Just because someone calls themselves "libertarian" (or anything else), it does not mean that all their notions are consistent with the principles that they claim. Test and examine each position. Some of his guests on that show were so far off base on some subjects as to be absurd, yet they didn't see it in themselves.

Libertarianism is the most consistent philosophy of human interaction thus far teased out of the fabric of the Universe. It is the most kind to each individual human and is the most rational guiding principle there is. If something were ever found that contradicts it, the philosophy would need to be modified and adjusted. So far nothing like this has ever shown up. Criticisms of libertarianism all inevitably fail due to internal inconsistencies. Usually involving misunderstandings of "initiation of force" or by making exceptions to "the rules" for those who wear the silly hat of government. Look into the criticisms closely and you will see how easily they can be discounted as the protests of people who want to be able to use coercion against innocent people for some reason of their own.

Libertarianism can be used as a lens through which to view all human interactions, such as all those involved in politics and religion. Where those interactions clash with the principles of libertarianism they show their flaws and failures. They have shown where they are wrong.

Let's pretend there were a situation discovered where the use of coercion was the only correct and ethical course of action. It would be inconsistent for a libertarian to endorse this, even if it were correct. In that particular case the "libertarian position" would be wrong. A person could advocate coercion in that case and be right, but by doing so would not be "libertarian" in that specific area. Fortunately, this is a fantasy mental exercise, like debating what color the crest feathers of unknown feathered mammals would be.

Libertarianism is just as right as the laws of physics are immutable. It is just a reality of the behavior of a decent person. Some people don't like to have this pointed out. I fully expect to upset some people who like their own particular use of coercion. Yet, I don't expect any clear refutation; just mumbo-jumbo and possibly even carefully crafted, intentionally obscure, "justifications" and exceptions that serve an aggressive agenda.

Libertarianism is strength. It gives you the power and principles to deal with anything that might come up. All you need to do is apply what you know, in spite of protests of the statists. Life and its uncertainty ensure that not everything will always work out the way you want. Nothing can ever ensure perfection. It is still the best way to live.

*Particularly important link explaining what libertarianism (another, different, link) is, and why it is the same as pure anarchism.