I'm What Libertarians Call a "Statist". I Don't See Evidence I Should Be Otherwise

Discussion in 'Politics' started by IndependntLogic, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. IndependntLogic
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    IndependntLogic Senior Member

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    Many (not all!) Libertarians seem to love to label or project opinions / beliefs on anyone disagreeing with them. If you disagree with them on a law, suddenly you hate the Constitution because they are all Constitutional lawyers and actually used to drink beer with Sam Adams (as opposed to drinking Sam Adams beer). If you feel that some regulation is necessary to keep companies in check (think Yankee reactor or Three Mile Island or tainted food or whatever), then they claim you want to suck the teet of a nanny state because obviously, not wanting e. coli in your food means you're unemployed. If 100 USDA agents can catch 60% of bad food and 200 USDA agents can catch 69% of food, the solution is to eliminate the USDA altogether. WTF???

    Now I am not referring to ALL Libertarians. But certainly a LOT of them. Thus the topic of this thread. I have lived in countries that did NOT have a strong centralized government or social programs. Guess what? Nowhere in history and nowhere in the world, does this end up resulting in companies voluntarily spending more than necessary to protect the envornment, take care of workers (supposedly to attract the best), stop harmful products from getting to market if they find out too late after investing, putting in safeguards etc...
    What you get is a two class society, an environment which is downright hazardous (but only in poor areas), poor working conditions and the occasional product that kills people. The Ukraine was an example of this. Also Peru.
    Mexico is a better one. In Mexico, the states have all the power. They can literally over-ride the Federal government in many ways. The result? The local government is purchased by PEMEX or whatever cartel offers the most money. Peachy.
    Yeah. I'm a statist. but it's only because there is nothing to support the position that a weak central government ever results in a place I'd like to live.

    So like I said, there are a lot of Libertarian ideals I think are great. This isn't one. If there are some Libertarians who can post on the topic (as opposed to the label-slingers and opinion-projectors), I'd be interested to hear of any example I may have missed where a weak contral government has actually worked well for the general population.
     
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  2. konradv
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    konradv Gold Member

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    We're all libertarians at heart, but as an overarching political philosophy it fails, because it would take a basic shift in human nature to work. What's the incentive for the powerful to keep products safe, not damage the environment and provide a decent wage? It's never happened without democracy and a strong central government.
     
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  3. IndependntLogic
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    IndependntLogic Senior Member

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    You know, that's a really valid point. I love the Libertarian ideals. I wish that all companies would do what the philosophy says they would. It's like Communism - it sounds SO good on paper but inevitibly, it doesn't work out that way.
     
  4. C_Clayton_Jones
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    C_Clayton_Jones Diamond Member

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    It’s more like it would take a time machine for it to work.

    If only we could send the libertarians back to ca. 1800, they’d all finally be happy.
     
  5. EriktheRed
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    EriktheRed Eh...

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    Why go back that far? It was just a century ago that employers could treat their employees any way they felt like and caveat emptor was the general rule concerning consumer goods and food.
     
  6. dblack
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    dblack Gold Member

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    It think your mistake is in equating a limited central government with a weak one. To be fair, many libertarians make the same mistake. But it is a mistake. The libertarian ideal is that government should have ALL the power it needs to perform its legitimate functions. But those legitimate functions should be carefully proscribed and not a blank check that lets it violate our liberties instead of protecting them.
     
  7. dblack
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    dblack Gold Member

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    You're equating libertarianism with anarchy. Anarchy does require broad agreement opposed to the initiation of force. But libertarianism acknowledges that there will be ambitious, unscrupulous actors among us, and they must be dealt with.
     
  8. C_Clayton_Jones
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    C_Clayton_Jones Diamond Member

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    Correct.

    Libertarians need not theorize as to what America would be like subject to ‘pure libertarianism,’ they need only visit any number of foreign countries.

    Actually, you’re not – as there is no such thing. It’s a contrived label used by libertarians and others on the far-right to disparage those who disagree with their dogma, and wish only to pursue a pragmatic course, which is always best.
     
  9. konradv
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    konradv Gold Member

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    Mere platitudes. What would a libertarian government do about food processing, environmental problems, workers' safety and wages, etc.? If wouldn't address them and provide basic protections, I don't care how strong it is. Please define 'legitimate' without referencing the Constitution. I'm interested in this as political theory unattached to any particular piece of paper.
     
  10. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Personally, I've always found it ill advised to try to force people to do what I think they should do.

    I could persuade, exhort, encourage people to do things, but the use of force has lasting negative consequences.
     

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