Any thoughts on Libertarians?

I just went to a party tonight.... turns out there were lots of Libertarians there. Now I have my thoughts.

What are your thoughts on Libertarians?

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I think libertarianism is a an noble but unrealistic ideal. The idea of "personal responsibility" quickly falls apart when your own stupid actions have adverse effects on the responsible people around you.

I also think their unhealthy fixation on the failings of politicians and government workers distracts them from the often-more-dangerous threats coming from the private sector.

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Libertarianism was a model of living with integrity... back before we fully understood the proliferation of infectious disease and pollution, and the concept of the ecological footprint. Now that the world population is in the billions it's physically impossible for every human interaction to be voluntary and for every man to be an island.

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I respect those who are actual libertarians. The problem I have with most self-proclaimed libertarians in the country I live (US) is that they're hypocrites. They complain about government intruding upon people's lives, yet they want the government to ban abortion, gay marriage, and most forms of birth control.

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Any political ideology that could be considered extreme is idiotic. The same way that full government control doesn't work the opposite isn't going to work either.

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Wagi said:

I think libertarianism is a an noble but unrealistic ideal.

Agreed. Libertarians are the new hippies.

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The general principles of having less government interference are probably mostly sound. I wonder if the recent popularity of libertarianism is due to modern western governments having too much power (the Aaron Swartz case being a good example). People seem happy to quickly make laws banning anything, when in many cases that's a huge, unnecessary overreaction.

What I don't like is all the baggage that comes along with libertarianism: things like Ayn Rand's whole disgusting philosophy, the desire to return to the gold standard, or the view of the "free market" as a sort of magic bullet capable of solving all problems. When someone talks about "libertarianism", that word comes with a whole bunch of dogmatic / cult-like associations because of these kinds of things.

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All political parties suck in the long run. With that, Libertarians may have some good ideas and and some good stuff, but as said already in can end up being a bit unrealistic.

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fraggle said:

I wonder if the recent popularity of libertarianism is due to modern western governments having too much power

But they don't.

Governments have less and less actual power. Sovereignty has been transferred to A) anti-democratic committees (the European Union is a perfect example of this) and B) corporations (Monsanto Protection Act, anyone?).

Libertarianism is actually the dominant ideology. The only role left to the state is that of policing citizens so that they keep obeying corporations; and they keep working hard to benefit the wealthy elite.

The democratic government -- by the people, for the people -- is something that is disappearing, along with all its egalitarian baggage, such as welfare state, social security, workers' rights, full employment, and so on. Libertarianism is one of the tools used to delegitimize democracy, by saying that the people do not have the right to form a coherent entity able to rule the nation. Instead, it's to each their own, which means that those who have power are free to oppress everyone else.

Libertarianism is an ideology of tyranny disguised behind a rhetoric of liberty. The liberty of the mighty to enslave the meek.

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As someone who classifies her thinking very loosely as "libertarian socialist", I'll just say that there's a few different kinds of libertarianism, some of which are quite different from one another. It's not all like the (rather messed up) predominant version that exists in the US.

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Its getting popular for the same reason lolcats do, memes. The primary spewers are alex jones for minarchism, and stefan molyneux for anarchism. Stefan equates putting the "golden rule" non aggression principle at the heart of society similar to copernicus putting the sun at the center of the solar system, simplifying a mess of laws, each of which is an opinion with a gun. @gez "Libertarianism is an ideology of tyranny disguised behind a rhetoric of liberty" is an interesting idea.

The main ideology I've heard that might deal with the wealth gap problem is the zeitgeist movement. And they have some points, like a city block has multiple cars for every house which is economically inefficient.. maybe a handful of cars for each house to borrow whenever instead, and planned obsolescence like lightbulbs lasing 5 months instead of 100 years deliberately so you have to buy more. They basically want science to run everything. Alex Jones fears its tyranny in disguise, like who programs the big computer that runs everything, and what if you don't want to opt into that system. In a free society/free market a group of people COULD opt into such a system voluntarily if they all agreed to do it. People could voluntarily opt to have a government even. In our current system people can't opt OUT of government.

Some say government is a "power monopoly".. but I wonder if the world is a power free market and each country is a competing "power business".. These power businesses are for sale of course.. to corporations. But tax payers HAVE to fund government/war. You HAVE to vote for government and government school. You can't not vote for government, with your dollar nor your actual vote.

One political tactic is for statist/authoritarians to camouflage themselves as libertarians or environmentalists etc; deception, just like an angler fish pretending its lure is food. Like al gore and "carbon taxes" taxing us for gas that plants breathe "for the earth". Conspiracy theory? I'm sure they absolutely regulated cars because they know almost everybody NEEDS one.. smog checks, registration fees, licenses, required insurance.. all a tax disguised as safety, since everyone needs a car just like everyone needs to use carbon dioxide (maybe I'll walk down the street someday and someone will just hit me in the head with a golf club.. do I HAVE to buy golf club insurance?)

One thing that might hold anarchy in balance is reputation, but anonymity throws a wrench in that. You could consider an anonymous person as having 0 reputation history though. Like if you don't have to work till may for free to pay tax, and drugs aren't illegal to make a black market to drive prices up and take down competitors with law, and the free market wasn't regulated with all these crap licenses and such, people would have more incentive to simply participate normally and cooperate to build reputation for future business rather than risk all that future business by cheating/stealing/etc once. In a free market, everything would be under absolute scrutiny with free press. There'd be no "power monopoly" (you can fund or not fund any one) so if one appears to be hitler like, stop funding it. In reality I suppose the wealthy would be their biggest customers.. But there's this idea called "dispute resolution organizations" which is basically alternative free market legal systems. If someone steals or whatever they can pay their debt economically by working IF THEY WANT, otherwise they'll get bad reputation similar to "credit ratings" which will cause many businesses to ostracize them, which isn't a violation of the non aggression principle.

So, uh, yeah or something.

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I like social libertarianism, but I also like stop-lights, highways, and food safety standards. I believe in capitalism, but not in an unbridled way. Perhaps the gov't should take step back from a number of things, but not all.

According to this survey, I seem to lean towards right-wing libertarianism. Nevertheless, I support the idea of nation-states being administered by governments. I also support the idea of standing professional armies, over militias. Moreover, I want the government to be involved actively in research and development as well.

Economic Left/Right: 5.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.97

http://www.politicalcompass.org/test

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gggmork said:

One thing that might hold anarchy in balance is reputation, but anonymity throws a wrench in that. You could consider an anonymous person as having 0 reputation history though. Like if you don't have to work till may for free to pay tax, and drugs aren't illegal to make a black market to drive prices up and take down competitors with law, and the free market wasn't regulated with all these crap licenses and such, people would have more incentive to simply participate normally and cooperate to build reputation for future business rather than risk all that future business by cheating/stealing/etc once. In a free market, everything would be under absolute scrutiny with free press.

But if business is completely unrestrained, what would stop a company or person with the necessary capital from paying off the press to keep quiet about certain stories? So much for scrutiny.

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gggmork said:

So, uh, yeah or something.

I dunno, I just miss that penisfish avatar. Why was it ostracised?

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gggmork said:

One thing that might hold anarchy in balance is reputation


Ha.

You know how the United Fruit Company -- the same one who is responsible for the term "banana republic" and who bribed armies into slaughtering uppity workers -- still exists today? They just have adopted the cutesy name of Chiquita to shed the bad reputation. They've done it twice, actually.

It's just one example among many. If something has bad PR, just change its name and there you go, instant virginity and good PR. Look at how everyone hated Windows Vista but loves Windows 7, which is nothing more than Vista SP2.

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Doom_user said:

I respect those who are actual libertarians. The problem I have with most self-proclaimed libertarians in the country I live (US) is that they're hypocrites. They complain about government intruding upon people's lives, yet they want the government to ban abortion, gay marriage, and most forms of birth control.


The Libertarians I hung out with didn't care. They felt why should Government care what you do? Maybe that means they're not conservative or it just means they are their own person.

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Doom_user said:

I respect those who are actual libertarians. The problem I have with most self-proclaimed libertarians in the country I live (US) is that they're hypocrites. They complain about government intruding upon people's lives, yet they want the government to ban abortion, gay marriage, and most forms of birth control.


They sound more like regular socially and fiscally-conservative Republicans. Actual Libertarians do not desire for the government to solve social issues.

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Kontra Kommando said:

According to this survey, I seem to lean towards right-wing libertarianism. Nevertheless, I support the idea of nation-states being administered by governments. I also support the idea of standing professional armies, over militias. Moreover, I want the government to be involved actively in research and development as well.

Economic Left/Right: 5.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.97

http://www.politicalcompass.org/test

doomworld.com/vb/everything-else/55632-your-political-side/

Last time I took it, I got this:

Economic Left/Right: -9.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.64

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yukib1t said:

doomworld.com/vb/everything-else/55632-your-political-side/

Last time I took it, I got this:

Economic Left/Right: -9.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.64


I've taken the test a bunch of times, and always seem to get different results. For a while the results would place me slightly right of center, and a little above the authoritarian line. But now, I'm more toward the right economically, and less authoritarian socially.

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Heh.

-7, -7 in 2010
-6, -6 in 2011

Now:
Economic Left/Right: -5.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.44

In a couple of years I should reach 0, 0.

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Belial said:

In a couple of years I should reach 0, 0.

only if you start making crazy money and maybe become religious belial. you dirty communist you.

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Heh, this thing again.

Economic Left/Right: 0.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.77

Pretty similar to last time, and some distance from the first time (some of the questions have been tweaked, I think).

dew: You can be close to 0,0 without being at all religious.

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fraggle said:

What I don't like is all the baggage that comes along with libertarianism: things like Ayn Rand's whole disgusting philosophy, the desire to return to the gold standard, or the view of the "free market" as a sort of magic bullet capable of solving all problems. When someone talks about "libertarianism", that word comes with a whole bunch of dogmatic / cult-like associations because of these kinds of things.


I'd prefer the gold standard or even a currency such as Bit Coin over the current Petrodollar any day. The idea that money in my pocket is tied to a natural resource in another country is scary. Even more so when you think of the old saying "He who controls the money, has all the power." If OPEC controls the oil, then OPEC more or less holds all the power. Even if they where to do something like raise the cost of oil to $200+ a barrel and we had to payout as much as $5 a gallon, the US GOV couldn't do shit. Because OPEC could also stop honoring the dollar, causing the value of the dollar to sink like a rock and take our entire economy with it.

The gold standard or a currency like Bit coin would also help push the US out of the Middle East and that's something that the citizens of the US need ASAP.

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Kontra Kommando said:

Economic Left/Right: 5.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.97

http://www.politicalcompass.org/test

yukib1t said:

Economic Left/Right: -9.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.64

Belial said:

Economic Left/Right: -5.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.44

Grazza said:

Economic Left/Right: 0.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.77

If this thread's in the process of transmuting into "Political Compass 2013", start posting results and I'll update the graph. Haven't decided what colour to use this year.

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Wagi said:

I think libertarianism is a an noble but unrealistic ideal. The idea of "personal responsibility" quickly falls apart when your own stupid actions have adverse effects on the responsible people around you.


True, but the same applies about a lot of people on the left as well. Socialism is pretty much the go to example for "noble but unrealistic" when it comes to economic and social thinking.

Its ironic,because libertarians and socialists keep attacking each other and call each other unrealistic and stupid even though both ideas suffer from more or less the same problem: The fact that people are too flawed for their ideas to work.

I personally find conservatism to be the most logical idea. Provided that its a non-religous form of conservatism that leaves religion alone, rather then being American style conservatism that appears to contain too many fundimentalists for my taste.

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I have personally never liked the politicalcompass test. I think it is biased. A good example would be the fact that it calls people who are against more state libertarians and people who are for more state authoritarians. Why not just called the 2 groups "more state and less state"? Why call the other group "authoritarians" because they want more government?

Then then there are also some issues I have with the actual questions in the test, like the one that claims globalism is inevitable and asks you what purpose it should serve. What if I don't think globalism is inevitable? The question doesn't allow you to choose that kind of option, it just asks you what purpose globalism should serve.

The test looks like its biased in favor of libertarians.

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I get what libertarians are going for, and I respect them for that, but I think they tend to have too much of a "throw the baby out with the bathwater," mentality, in that they tend to ignore cases in which having government regulation and whatnot is actually a good thing. For instance, many libertarians I know want to do away with the FDA. I'm like, no matter what your stance on government is, surely you want some control over what goes into your food. Surely you want someone stepping in and making sure companies aren't putting poison in your food, or harmful bacteria. This kind of thing can't simply be left to the private sector. The average consumer has no way of knowing what chemicals or bacteria are in their food, so they can't simply choose not to purchase food that might kill them.

Another problem is that their definition of personal liberties tends to be very narrow. For instance, they'll argue against the regulation of pollution. My problem with that is that the companies polluting don't own the air and water they ruin, and in doing so, they're hurting other people. Why should corporations be given the freedom to harm others when even libertarians will argue that individuals should not have that right? I'm sorry, but if I'm harmed by your actions, whether individually because you punched me, or on a larger scale because you polluted my air, it's no longer about personal freedom, it's about infringing upon the rights of others.

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