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Monday, March 07, 2005

Libertarians: Marxists of the Right?

Marxism of the Right

The American Conservative
by Robert Locke

...Libertarians in real life rarely live up to their own theory but tend to indulge in the pleasant parts while declining to live up to the difficult portions. They flout the drug laws but continue to collect government benefits they consider illegitimate. This is not just an accidental failing of libertarianism’s believers but an intrinsic temptation of the doctrine that sets it up to fail whenever tried, just like Marxism.

Libertarians need to be asked some hard questions. What if a free society needed to draft its citizens in order to remain free? What if it needed to limit oil imports to protect the economic freedom of its citizens from unfriendly foreigners? What if it needed to force its citizens to become sufficiently educated to sustain a free society? What if it needed to deprive landowners of the freedom to refuse to sell their property as a precondition for giving everyone freedom of movement on highways? What if it needed to deprive citizens of the freedom to import cheap foreign labor in order to keep out poor foreigners who would vote for socialistic wealth redistribution?

In each of these cases, less freedom today is the price of more tomorrow. Total freedom today would just be a way of running down accumulated social capital and storing up problems for the future. So even if libertarianism is true in some ultimate sense, this does not prove that the libertarian policy choice is the right one today on any particular question...

While I don't agree with everything this writer concludes, I found the article very interesting and thought provoking. Sometimes Libertarianism does seem at times purely ideological and not practical. As Locke states, "Society in fact requires both individualism and collectivism, both selfishness and altruism, to function." I think politics and government, like everything in life, require a certain amount of balance and moderation. If you're purely ideological you can end up reaching the point of fanaticism, and very few politicians get elected that way, let alone accomplish anything in office.


 
conservativerebel.blogspot.com: Libertarians: Marxists of the Right? <body>

conservativerebel.blogspot.com

Monday, March 07, 2005

Libertarians: Marxists of the Right?

Marxism of the Right

The American Conservative
by Robert Locke

...Libertarians in real life rarely live up to their own theory but tend to indulge in the pleasant parts while declining to live up to the difficult portions. They flout the drug laws but continue to collect government benefits they consider illegitimate. This is not just an accidental failing of libertarianism’s believers but an intrinsic temptation of the doctrine that sets it up to fail whenever tried, just like Marxism.

Libertarians need to be asked some hard questions. What if a free society needed to draft its citizens in order to remain free? What if it needed to limit oil imports to protect the economic freedom of its citizens from unfriendly foreigners? What if it needed to force its citizens to become sufficiently educated to sustain a free society? What if it needed to deprive landowners of the freedom to refuse to sell their property as a precondition for giving everyone freedom of movement on highways? What if it needed to deprive citizens of the freedom to import cheap foreign labor in order to keep out poor foreigners who would vote for socialistic wealth redistribution?

In each of these cases, less freedom today is the price of more tomorrow. Total freedom today would just be a way of running down accumulated social capital and storing up problems for the future. So even if libertarianism is true in some ultimate sense, this does not prove that the libertarian policy choice is the right one today on any particular question...

While I don't agree with everything this writer concludes, I found the article very interesting and thought provoking. Sometimes Libertarianism does seem at times purely ideological and not practical. As Locke states, "Society in fact requires both individualism and collectivism, both selfishness and altruism, to function." I think politics and government, like everything in life, require a certain amount of balance and moderation. If you're purely ideological you can end up reaching the point of fanaticism, and very few politicians get elected that way, let alone accomplish anything in office.