Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Principled better than wishy-washy

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for November 13, 2019)

A common criticism of libertarians is that we are wrapped up in principles; in absolutes. We are called "purists" as if this is a bad thing, yet the opposite of "pure" is "contaminated".

Ethical principles function like a conscience. You won't always do what your conscience tells you, but without it, you can't know you've done the rest...

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  1. tens of thousands of years of human history and thousands of cultures- please name one long lasting "Absolute Libertarian" society. ......

    What works as reasonable guiding principles for individuals, has not EVER worked for any group of even moderate size. That always amazed me.

    1. what principle(s) is/are "missing", that would enable such a sustainable societal level libertarianism? Constructing a more complete philosophical framework would be a good project for me for a few years, and for other folks so inclined.

    2. If a society allows government/the state to exist in it, it is no longer a society. So comparing such a non-society to a society which hasn't been allowed to exist seems a flawed exercise.

      Things don't exist... until they do. I won't support violating you just because it's the way it is always done (so far).

      works. At all scales. Government never does, but it has a good PR Team convincing people it does. They lie. Or at least they redefine "works".

    3. agree that "government=compulsion at gunpoint" always fails.

      also, agree that Libertarianism works at individual and small community level.
      But at larger groupings- the sociopaths ALWAYS take over (even within the libertarian party usa!). So what is needed at those levels is robust multi-level checks and balances. Those that govern least, govern best.

      But something is needed at that level. It always pops up, and is repugnant.
      Something is needed for larger groupings, something missing in current attempts at libertarianism. Somehow, a harsh negative feedback loop is needed, to prevent abuses.

    4. What would you propose?

      Maybe big groups simply can't work for humans and "we" need to stop trying to force them to. You can't keep a solitary bee alive, healthy, and functioning. Perhaps you can't have a healthy, functioning hive of humans-- the level where The State always arises.