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Libertarianism = committing a naturalistic fallacy?

Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
edited May 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
Just like the title asks. Is libertarianism, and I understand that it's a squishy, general term with a lot of variance among actual libertarians, resting, fundamentally, on a big naturalistic fallacy? To err on the side of--indeed, to generally advocate--no government (the state of nature)?

This may be more appropriate for D&D, but I thought I'd vet this idea here, just in case I made a dumb definitional or logical error.

Loren Michael on
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  • DodgeBlanDodgeBlan Gaderen PSN: GaderenRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I don't know if If that many libertarians say no government is more natural- just better.

    OooOOOoOoOOOooOOOoOOOoOoOOoOOoOOOOOOOOoooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooo
  • Monolithic_DomeMonolithic_Dome Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I suppose it depends on whether or not you take "All men are born free" type statements as empirical or philosophical.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • thatfroodthatfrood Registered User
    edited May 2010
    You're confusing libertarianism with anarchy, libertarians do not believe there should be "no government", they simply oppose big government.

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    No, libertarians don't think things are better with little government because it's more natural.

  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    DodgeBlan wrote: »
    I don't know if If that many libertarians say no government is more natural- just better.
    No, libertarians don't think things are better with little government because it's more natural.

    Well, they believe in "freedom" as an intrinsic good, which is necessarily opposed by government-imposed structure. Government, being necessarily un-natural, is by definition opposed by this--and perhaps I am in error--natural "freedom"?

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  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    thatfrood wrote: »
    You're confusing libertarianism with anarchy, libertarians do not believe there should be "no government", they simply oppose big government.

    Well again, they want to minimize government, because... why? Because it is an artificial construct that is necessarily in opposition to freedom, which--though it isn't advocated as such--is natural?

    2ezikn6.jpg
  • nescientistnescientist Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    In the US, lately, "libertarian" has been increasingly conflated with "anarcho-capitalist" which I am not at all okay with. I am a dedicated and unflinching libertarian, under one definition of that word, but at the same time I occasionally suspect we'd be better off with the means of production in the hands of the proletariat. Despite what Ayn Rand's legacy would have you believe, there is no contradiction in this; capitalism is no more an inherent principle of libertarianism than it is of democracy.

    Of course communism as it is known and understood today is antithetical to libertarianism; the examples we remember typically concentrated power in the hands of a single, authoritarian political party which predictably stamped out dissenting opinions without shame. I suspect, however, that the true "maximization of individual liberty" envisioned by libertarian idealists would be more easily achieved by a society which holds its resources in common (but lacks, of course, a State-appointed Commissar doling them out) than one like ours, where liberties are expensive and life is cheap.

    EDIT: wait what the hell this is HA? What am I even doing here? Sorry I immediately went way D&D and way overboard even by those lower standards, but I'll leave this here because who knows if Loren will find it useful.

    Carl Sagan wrote:
    The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.
  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Just like the title asks. Is libertarianism, and I understand that it's a squishy, general term with a lot of variance among actual libertarians, resting, fundamentally, on a big naturalistic fallacy? To err on the side of--indeed, to generally advocate--no government (the state of nature)?

    This may be more appropriate for D&D, but I thought I'd vet this idea here, just in case I made a dumb definitional or logical error.

    I don't know many liberals/libertarians who will ever say that the state of nature is to be preferred - all of the major social contract theorists posit a state of nature precisely because it is imperfect, even minimally. In Locke's case, for instance, there are really only three problems: no known law, no known judge, and no known executive. A state would be able to provide these things, and thus end the undesireable outcomes that arise in the absence of sovereignty.

    However...it may be the case that freedom, as such, is the most desirable outcome (ala Rousseau) but for a variety of reasons, the state of nature prevents such a flourishing - Hobbes makes the point when he conceives of the state of nature as being equivalent to the state of war, something which would actually prevent exercise of freedom, as one's sovereignty of the body would constantly be in peril from others.

    I suppose my answer would be that in some cases, yes, libertarians commit the naturalistic fallacy if and only if they conceive of the state of nature being (a) perfectly free (such as Rousseau did) and (b) ultimately desirable. If they do not, and instead conceive of the state of nature as being fraught with problems (such as Hobbes) - in essence, it's a little "too free" and so prevents exercise of one's freedom in a reasonable manner - then it does not appear to be a case of the naturalistic fallacy.

    3DS: 0232-9436-6893
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    saggio wrote: »
    Just like the title asks. Is libertarianism, and I understand that it's a squishy, general term with a lot of variance among actual libertarians, resting, fundamentally, on a big naturalistic fallacy? To err on the side of--indeed, to generally advocate--no government (the state of nature)?

    This may be more appropriate for D&D, but I thought I'd vet this idea here, just in case I made a dumb definitional or logical error.

    I don't know many liberals/libertarians who will ever say that the state of nature is to be preferred - all of the major social contract theorists posit a state of nature precisely because it is imperfect, even minimally. In Locke's case, for instance, there are really only three problems: no known law, no known judge, and no known executive. A state would be able to provide these things, and thus end the undesireable outcomes that arise in the absence of sovereignty.

    However...it may be the case that freedom, as such, is the most desirable outcome (ala Rousseau) but for a variety of reasons, the state of nature prevents such a flourishing - Hobbes makes the point when he conceives of the state of nature as being equivalent to the state of war, something which would actually prevent exercise of freedom, as one's sovereignty of the body would constantly be in peril from others.

    I suppose my answer would be that in some cases, yes, libertarians commit the naturalistic fallacy if and only if they conceive of the state of nature being (a) perfectly free (such as Rousseau did) and (b) ultimately desirable. If they do not, and instead conceive of the state of nature as being fraught with problems (such as Hobbes) - in essence, it's a little "too free" and so prevents exercise of one's freedom in a reasonable manner - then it does not appear to be a case of the naturalistic fallacy.

    I think there's a pretty big distinction between liberals and libertarians, though there are obviously areas of policy preference overlap and shared goals, etc etc. Libertarians hold freedom--generally meant to be free from government--to be an intrinsic good, whereas liberals to not. Freedom in the "free from government" sense may be desirable to liberals but only insofar as it serves the purposes of equality and liberty. (Likewise, government is only desirable insofar as it serves those same purposes.)

    2ezikn6.jpg
  • SaammielSaammiel Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I think there's a pretty big distinction between liberals and libertarians, though there are obviously areas of policy preference overlap and shared goals, etc etc. Libertarians hold freedom--generally meant to be free from government--to be an intrinsic good, whereas liberals to not. Freedom in the "free from government" sense may be desirable to liberals but only insofar as it serves the purposes of equality and liberty. (Likewise, government is only desirable insofar as it serves those same purposes.)

    That doesn't describe a wide range of government programs favored by liberals (and I am assuming we are talking about American liberals here).

    And the libertarian stance is varied. Some believe that limited government serves the general welfare better than increased government. Some have more strident philosophical beliefs regarding the nature of freedom. And so on and so forth. That isn't any sort of fallacy, even though you may disagree with that stance. And where you draw the line on what constitutes 'limited' is going to vary depending on who you talk to (the Libertarian party for instance is generally pretty insane, due to the structure of the American political system).

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I've always interpreted libertarianism to be a personal philosophy rather than a political one. Hence, I've not had to worry about it not making any sense politically because it wouldn't technically apply.

    After all, to maximize personal liberty -- to be free to do what you want -- would imply a minimization of the state. Without the state, individuals are free to steal liberty from others, though, implying that the closer one gets to libertarianism the further you get away from it. Perhaps that proves that your impression is correct.

    Anyway, there's a pretty good Wikipedia article on libertarianism. If you are interested in making a D&D thread, you'd probably want to read that page pretty thoroughly first.

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    saggio wrote: »
    Just like the title asks. Is libertarianism, and I understand that it's a squishy, general term with a lot of variance among actual libertarians, resting, fundamentally, on a big naturalistic fallacy? To err on the side of--indeed, to generally advocate--no government (the state of nature)?

    This may be more appropriate for D&D, but I thought I'd vet this idea here, just in case I made a dumb definitional or logical error.

    I don't know many liberals/libertarians who will ever say that the state of nature is to be preferred - all of the major social contract theorists posit a state of nature precisely because it is imperfect, even minimally. In Locke's case, for instance, there are really only three problems: no known law, no known judge, and no known executive. A state would be able to provide these things, and thus end the undesireable outcomes that arise in the absence of sovereignty.

    However...it may be the case that freedom, as such, is the most desirable outcome (ala Rousseau) but for a variety of reasons, the state of nature prevents such a flourishing - Hobbes makes the point when he conceives of the state of nature as being equivalent to the state of war, something which would actually prevent exercise of freedom, as one's sovereignty of the body would constantly be in peril from others.

    I suppose my answer would be that in some cases, yes, libertarians commit the naturalistic fallacy if and only if they conceive of the state of nature being (a) perfectly free (such as Rousseau did) and (b) ultimately desirable. If they do not, and instead conceive of the state of nature as being fraught with problems (such as Hobbes) - in essence, it's a little "too free" and so prevents exercise of one's freedom in a reasonable manner - then it does not appear to be a case of the naturalistic fallacy.

    I think there's a pretty big distinction between liberals and libertarians, though there are obviously areas of policy preference overlap and shared goals, etc etc. Libertarians hold freedom--generally meant to be free from government--to be an intrinsic good, whereas liberals to not. Freedom in the "free from government" sense may be desirable to liberals but only insofar as it serves the purposes of equality and liberty. (Likewise, government is only desirable insofar as it serves those same purposes.)
    You're using "liberal" in the way academics don't use "liberal." Libertarianism is one kind of liberalism.

    Before you start trying to take down entire philosophical traditions, you would do well to get acquainted with what the words mean. This is a good definition of liberalism. This is a good definition of libertarianism. Read those two, plus any links in the articles that you don't understand, and you'll never again think of trying to take on a libertarian by saying that freedom is only good because it's natural and that this is a classic fallacy.

  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    saggio wrote: »
    Just like the title asks. Is libertarianism, and I understand that it's a squishy, general term with a lot of variance among actual libertarians, resting, fundamentally, on a big naturalistic fallacy? To err on the side of--indeed, to generally advocate--no government (the state of nature)?

    This may be more appropriate for D&D, but I thought I'd vet this idea here, just in case I made a dumb definitional or logical error.

    I don't know many liberals/libertarians who will ever say that the state of nature is to be preferred - all of the major social contract theorists posit a state of nature precisely because it is imperfect, even minimally. In Locke's case, for instance, there are really only three problems: no known law, no known judge, and no known executive. A state would be able to provide these things, and thus end the undesireable outcomes that arise in the absence of sovereignty.

    However...it may be the case that freedom, as such, is the most desirable outcome (ala Rousseau) but for a variety of reasons, the state of nature prevents such a flourishing - Hobbes makes the point when he conceives of the state of nature as being equivalent to the state of war, something which would actually prevent exercise of freedom, as one's sovereignty of the body would constantly be in peril from others.

    I suppose my answer would be that in some cases, yes, libertarians commit the naturalistic fallacy if and only if they conceive of the state of nature being (a) perfectly free (such as Rousseau did) and (b) ultimately desirable. If they do not, and instead conceive of the state of nature as being fraught with problems (such as Hobbes) - in essence, it's a little "too free" and so prevents exercise of one's freedom in a reasonable manner - then it does not appear to be a case of the naturalistic fallacy.

    I think there's a pretty big distinction between liberals and libertarians, though there are obviously areas of policy preference overlap and shared goals, etc etc. Libertarians hold freedom--generally meant to be free from government--to be an intrinsic good, whereas liberals to not. Freedom in the "free from government" sense may be desirable to liberals but only insofar as it serves the purposes of equality and liberty. (Likewise, government is only desirable insofar as it serves those same purposes.)

    I'm talking about philosophical liberalism. Libertarians are philosophical liberals. They just usually prefer earlier thinkers such as Locke over later thinkers such as Rawls.

    In fact, talk of "Liberals" and "Conservatives" in contemporary American political discourse is terribly misleading: there really is little to no distinction, philosophically. They're all just liberals, and generally accept the same or very similar first principles. This is true even when there is large apparent disagreement over policy or practical matters.

    To start to find non-liberal political philosophers and philosophies then you would have to start looking in other places. The typical ones people still read are Plato (Republic, Laws, and Statesman) and those who responded to him (such as Aristotle in the Politics), Machiavelli (Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy and The Prince), and most recently, Marx (Das Kapital).

    All of these thinkers are quite novel in their approach to political matters, and differ quite considerably in not only how they determine which principles ought to be privileged (freedom, liberty, whatever) but also in the very structure of their political philosophy. Most liberal philosophers are constantly thinking in the mode of the social contract, which is something completely different than the method of Marx - his Hegelian, "scientific" dialectic of history, which is different again from Plato and Aristotle and Machiavelli.

    I hope that helps.

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  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Yeah, it's what makes Marx complete rubbish 90% of the time.

  • LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Just like the title asks. Is libertarianism, and I understand that it's a squishy, general term with a lot of variance among actual libertarians, resting, fundamentally, on a big naturalistic fallacy? To err on the side of--indeed, to generally advocate--no government (the state of nature)?

    This may be more appropriate for D&D, but I thought I'd vet this idea here, just in case I made a dumb definitional or logical error.

    This is a problem that I have run into from time to time...what exactly do you think the "naturalistic fallacy" is? Because philosophically it has nothing to do with nature. The naturalistic fallacy is deriving an ought from an is. Basing things on what is natural isn't a fallacy. So, I think the answer to your question is no.

    Also, Saggio's list is not nearly complete enough. There have been numerous writers in the 20th century who have dealt with questions of justice (not legal, but rather what constitutes a just form of government) in response to Rawls. People like Alisdair MacIntyre, Micheal Sandel, Habermas, Nozick. I just finished a seminar class on modern theories of justice. Nozick is a liberal (in fact, a huge libertarian), but the rest aren't.

    "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to give into it." - Oscar Wilde
    "We believe in the people and their 'wisdom' as if there was some special secret entrance to knowledge that barred to anyone who had ever learned anything." - Friedrich Nietzsche
  • jbraggjbragg Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I do enjoy a good philosophical ethics debate...

    I think the better topic in American Politics is to do logical argument vs. rhetoric.

    "Kids! Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous. Do not attempt it in your home." - Good Omens"
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Just like the title asks. Is libertarianism, and I understand that it's a squishy, general term with a lot of variance among actual libertarians, resting, fundamentally, on a big naturalistic fallacy? To err on the side of--indeed, to generally advocate--no government (the state of nature)?

    This may be more appropriate for D&D, but I thought I'd vet this idea here, just in case I made a dumb definitional or logical error.

    We're going to get mired in a semantic clusterfuck about the various definitions of "liberal" and "libertarian" if we continue on this path.

    But I see what you're saying. I think it might be more useful to phrase the question this way:
    Is the notion of 'natural rights' a naturalistic fallacy?

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I need more from the OP. Are you saying that government is naturalistic, libertarianism is anarchism, and therefore libertarianism can't be naturalistic? I can't quite tell.

  • surrealitychecksurrealitycheck NONSTOP INFINITE CLIMAX POSTING you must go on i cant go on ill go onRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I think the most sensible definition of libertarianism that I have seen - namely that, in general, people are happiest when able to do what they want without outside strictures - isn't based on the is-ought fallacy at all.

    Note: Is-ought is not the naturalistic fallacy.

    obF2Wuw.png
  • MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Yar wrote: »
    I need more from the OP. Are you saying that government is naturalistic, libertarianism is anarchism, and therefore libertarianism can't be naturalistic? I can't quite tell.

    I've always felt that people form groups naturally, and government is currently the ultimate expression of group. So in a way the government just is form of what we do naturally on a bigger/rigid scale.

    edit: The problem I've had with libertarians, or the people I know who call themselves libertarians is the general "Fuck Everyone Else" vibe that they have going on. It's like the world begins and ends at what they care about and once you're out of that sphere you're trampling on this or impeach the Fed that.

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  • LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I think the most sensible definition of libertarianism that I have seen - namely that, in general, people are happiest when able to do what they want without outside strictures - isn't based on the is-ought fallacy at all.

    Note: Is-ought is not the naturalistic fallacy.

    Fair enough, I was mistaken. Though I see where the confusion lies, since the naturalistic fallacy also isn't simply appealing to nature, but rather founding ethical principles on something that is considered to be naturally arising.

    Also, interestingly, controversial as to whether it's a fallacy or not.

    "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to give into it." - Oscar Wilde
    "We believe in the people and their 'wisdom' as if there was some special secret entrance to knowledge that barred to anyone who had ever learned anything." - Friedrich Nietzsche
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    This should get moved to D&D(where it will degenerate into "FUCK ATLAS SHRUGGED GINOSFDNODNHGODSF" and be locked in 20 pages). But one of the things that any such discussion is going to pivot around is negative vs positive liberty, as libertarianism rejects positive liberty more or less completely, while social liberalism(aka US liberals) embraces it.

    A very simplistic example for you is this:
    Assuming a basic education as a right:
    In a negative liberty view you not being able to afford school is not an infringement on your right. Where as something like a law banning your race, from attending school would be. Its freedom from restraint, not access to means; this is what generates the derisive "bootstraps" comments about libertarianism.

    Positive liberty: Would include being unable to afford school as an infringement, it centers on the ability to achieve a outcome not simply the absence of restraint from achieving it. Its a view favored in Marx style thought under the assertion that someone who if they quit their current job will starve to death is no more free than a slave. The problem with this view is that it leads to an infinite number of infringements on your freedoms(any exclusive or choice limits freedom), and and correspondingly infinite list of freedoms that are infringed.

    An example you have 2 people Alice started a company during the dot-com boom made $10b during the IPO and is now retired at 35. Bob is a high school dropout who receives food stamps and rent assistance, while working as a night janitor.

    If Alice wants to sit around playing video games all the time, she can with no major consequences.
    If Bob does that he will get fired, and lose his assistance programs(since he isn't looking for work).
    Is Bob's liberty unfairly infringed because Alice can play PS3 80 hours a week while he is required to work a menial job? What if Bob wants to go on an exotic vacation he will never be able to afford? What if Bob decided he wanted to get his GED and go to college, but he can't afford it?(ignoring if it is in the public interest to pay for that process).
    The problem then becomes justifying taking Alice's money to pay for Bob's desires. Or for a less trivial challenge taking money from Charlie a middle manager making 100k a year. Charlie may desire a Ferrari or a nicer house or to retire sooner, what makes Bob's desires more valuable than Charlie's desires, to such an extent that Charlie's desires will be prevented(taxes) to fulfill Bob's.

    Libertarians stick very strongly to the non-coercion principle, and thus are generally against taking such actions.

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I think the most sensible definition of libertarianism that I have seen - namely that, in general, people are happiest when able to do what they want without outside strictures - isn't based on the is-ought fallacy at all.

    Note: Is-ought is not the naturalistic fallacy.

    Fair enough, I was mistaken. Though I see where the confusion lies, since the naturalistic fallacy also isn't simply appealing to nature, but rather founding ethical principles on something that is considered to be naturally arising.

    Right. We can appeal to nature as long as we: first, attempt to make a reasonably accurate assessment of what is actually true in nature; second, acknowledge that what is true in nature is not necessarily desirable; third, justify how such "natural" truths are relevant in a moral discussion.

    In this way, it's vaguely analogous to an appeal to authority or an appeal to popularity; we need to acknowledge that authorities or popular opinion are not necessarily true or good, but if properly justified they may have relevance in a moral discussion.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    We started a libertarian thread with no mention of Rand Paul's latest controversy with the Civil Rights Act?

    This is disappointing.

  • surrealitychecksurrealitycheck NONSTOP INFINITE CLIMAX POSTING you must go on i cant go on ill go onRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Also, interestingly, controversial as to whether it's a fallacy or not.

    imo George Moore did a pretty good job in explaining that one, but some people don't like his "appeal to common sensiness" so

    obF2Wuw.png
  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    We started a libertarian thread with no mention of Rand Paul's latest controversy with the Civil Rights Act?

    This is disappointing.

    Why? He's a terrible example of a libertarian.

  • HamurabiHamurabi Cambridge, MARegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    mrt144 wrote: »
    We started a libertarian thread with no mention of Rand Paul's latest controversy with the Civil Rights Act?

    This is disappointing.

    Why? He's a terrible example of a libertarian.

    That, and I honestly feel like that sound bite was blown way out of proportion.

    I'm as much a pussy lib as the next guy, but I just don't see good reason to jump on the guy; from the sound of it, he's being perfectly honest in saying that, while he backs the intent of the legislation 100%, it's against his principles to coerce private citizens into doing something.

    Whether or not you agree (I don't), at least he's being straight about it.

  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    This should get moved to D&D(where it will degenerate into "FUCK ATLAS SHRUGGED GINOSFDNODNHGODSF" and be locked in 20 pages). But one of the things that any such discussion is going to pivot around is negative vs positive liberty, as libertarianism rejects positive liberty more or less completely, while social liberalism(aka US liberals) embraces it.

    A very simplistic example for you is this:
    Assuming a basic education as a right:
    In a negative liberty view you not being able to afford school is not an infringement on your right. Where as something like a law banning your race, from attending school would be. Its freedom from restraint, not access to means; this is what generates the derisive "bootstraps" comments about libertarianism.

    Positive liberty: Would include being unable to afford school as an infringement, it centers on the ability to achieve a outcome not simply the absence of restraint from achieving it. Its a view favored in Marx style thought under the assertion that someone who if they quit their current job will starve to death is no more free than a slave. The problem with this view is that it leads to an infinite number of infringements on your freedoms(any exclusive or choice limits freedom), and and correspondingly infinite list of freedoms that are infringed.

    An example you have 2 people Alice started a company during the dot-com boom made $10b during the IPO and is now retired at 35. Bob is a high school dropout who receives food stamps and rent assistance, while working as a night janitor.

    If Alice wants to sit around playing video games all the time, she can with no major consequences.
    If Bob does that he will get fired, and lose his assistance programs(since he isn't looking for work).
    Is Bob's liberty unfairly infringed because Alice can play PS3 80 hours a week while he is required to work a menial job? What if Bob wants to go on an exotic vacation he will never be able to afford? What if Bob decided he wanted to get his GED and go to college, but he can't afford it?(ignoring if it is in the public interest to pay for that process).
    The problem then becomes justifying taking Alice's money to pay for Bob's desires. Or for a less trivial challenge taking money from Charlie a middle manager making 100k a year. Charlie may desire a Ferrari or a nicer house or to retire sooner, what makes Bob's desires more valuable than Charlie's desires, to such an extent that Charlie's desires will be prevented(taxes) to fulfill Bob's.

    Libertarians stick very strongly to the non-coercion principle, and thus are generally against taking such actions.

    Fortunately there are highly esteemed people with concepts of "common sense" and "social utility" that are able to not present a gigantic slippery slope fallacy. For instance, having a social support network means people won't host a bloody revolution during an economic downturn.

  • SaammielSaammiel Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Robman wrote: »
    Fortunately there are highly esteemed people with concepts of "common sense" and "social utility" that are able to not present a gigantic slippery slope fallacy. For instance, having a social support network means people won't host a bloody revolution during an economic downturn.

    You mean like Greece? Which has an extremely generous social support network.

  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    mrt144 wrote: »
    We started a libertarian thread with no mention of Rand Paul's latest controversy with the Civil Rights Act?

    This is disappointing.

    Why? He's a terrible example of a libertarian.

    That, and I honestly feel like that sound bite was blown way out of proportion.

    I'm as much a pussy lib as the next guy, but I just don't see good reason to jump on the guy; from the sound of it, he's being perfectly honest in saying that, while he backs the intent of the legislation 100%, it's against his principles to coerce private citizens into doing something.

    Whether or not you agree (I don't), at least he's being straight about it.

    That's the problem with modern politics, you can't have a good high-level discussion without some asshole mining the transcript for choice quotes. If he was legitimately saying "I support equal rights but I do not think the law as it was framed was constitutional" then that's a fine thing for a scholar to say. If he was saying "heh heh heh I 'support' equal rights, but really let's toss the Negroes back in the cotton fields" then that's another thing.

    And knowing who Ron Paul has associated with, I'm wouldn't be surprised if his son was in the second group. But that's how it should be presented, not just OMG RAND PAUL HATES CIVIL RIGHTS

  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Saammiel wrote: »
    Robman wrote: »
    Fortunately there are highly esteemed people with concepts of "common sense" and "social utility" that are able to not present a gigantic slippery slope fallacy. For instance, having a social support network means people won't host a bloody revolution during an economic downturn.

    You mean like Greece? Which has an extremely generous social support network.

    That's funny, I can't find "greece" in my post. Why don't you go greek yourself before you try and put words in my mouth again.

  • MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    An example you have 2 people Alice started a company during the dot-com boom made $10b during the IPO and is now retired at 35. Bob is a high school dropout who receives food stamps and rent assistance, while working as a night janitor.
    This could actually be a reality. Bob might even be employed by Alice, they could walk past each other at the office every day. You would think that Bob's contribution to Alice's company would be enough to keep him alive and sheltered, but it's not. In fact It's amazing to think that Alice's company would expect Bob to come in every day since he can't afford food or find a place to live maybe he should work some extra hours or just invest wisely, or stop being so damn lazy.
    If Alice wants to sit around playing video games all the time, she can with no major consequences.
    If Bob does that he will get fired, and lose his assistance programs(since he isn't looking for work).
    Is Bob's liberty unfairly infringed because Alice can play PS3 80 hours a week while he is required to work a menial job? What if Bob wants to go on an exotic vacation he will never be able to afford? What if Bob decided he wanted to get his GED and go to college, but he can't afford it?(ignoring if it is in the public interest to pay for that process).
    The problem then becomes justifying taking Alice's money to pay for Bob's desires. Or for a less trivial challenge taking money from Charlie a middle manager making 100k a year. Charlie may desire a Ferrari or a nicer house or to retire sooner, what makes Bob's desires more valuable than Charlie's desires, to such an extent that Charlie's desires will be prevented(taxes) to fulfill Bob's.

    Libertarians stick very strongly to the non-coercion principle, and thus are generally against taking such actions.
    I don't think Bob is worried about that vacation, or video games, and even getting his GED would be a dream, something that would probably take some sacrifice. In fact he's probably not worried about anything past whatever it is that's required for him to keep going. Anna and Charlie want him to keep going though, someone has to clean the bathrooms. That's not fair or unfair, it's just the way it is, and since no one wants poor people falling down in the street (or at least no one wants to pay enough to clean up that mess) we have things like food stamps and rent assistance.

    What exactly would you have Bob do? He can't work six jobs, and unless he's lucky he won't be able to increase his worth in the workforce much over the course of his lifetime. There needs to be a viable alternative if what we have now is so bad.

    14271f3c-c765-4e74-92b1-49d7612675f2.jpg
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    There are too many variations of libertarianism; OP should cite what he thinks is 'libertarian' first, or we're going to be arguing in circles a lot.

  • SaammielSaammiel Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Robman wrote: »
    That's funny, I can't find "greece" in my post. Why don't you go greek yourself before you try and put words in my mouth again.

    You said;
    For instance, having a social support network means people won't host a bloody revolution during an economic downturn.

    It certainly does not mean that, and Greece is a reasonable counterpoint. It both has a generous social support network and it is currently busy rioting in response to the ramifications of its economic woes.

  • SchrodingerSchrodinger Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Libertarians stick very strongly to the non-coercion principle, and thus are generally against taking such actions.

    Really?

    This is Leonard Peikoff. "Leonard S. Peikoff (born October 15, 1933)[1] is an American Objectivist philosopher. He is a former professor of philosophy and a former radio talk show host. He is the founder of the Ayn Rand Institute and the legal heir to Ayn Rand's estate.[2]"

    See what he has to say following 9/11.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoAWCwm-UXw

    The non-aggression principle sounds nice, but is completely worthless.

  • enc0reenc0re Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Libertarian is not the same as Objectivist. Notice how Libertarianism has an entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, while Objectivism doesn't. There's a reason for that.

  • MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    He sounds like every crazy thing I've believed about neocons my entire life.

    14271f3c-c765-4e74-92b1-49d7612675f2.jpg
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    This should get moved to D&D(where it will degenerate into "FUCK ATLAS SHRUGGED GINOSFDNODNHGODSF" and be locked in 20 pages). But one of the things that any such discussion is going to pivot around is negative vs positive liberty, as libertarianism rejects positive liberty more or less completely, while social liberalism(aka US liberals) embraces it.

    A very simplistic example for you is this:
    Assuming a basic education as a right:
    In a negative liberty view you not being able to afford school is not an infringement on your right. Where as something like a law banning your race, from attending school would be. Its freedom from restraint, not access to means; this is what generates the derisive "bootstraps" comments about libertarianism.

    Positive liberty: Would include being unable to afford school as an infringement, it centers on the ability to achieve a outcome not simply the absence of restraint from achieving it. Its a view favored in Marx style thought under the assertion that someone who if they quit their current job will starve to death is no more free than a slave. The problem with this view is that it leads to an infinite number of infringements on your freedoms(any exclusive or choice limits freedom), and and correspondingly infinite list of freedoms that are infringed.

    First off, you conflate "rights" with "liberty." A right is an explicit guarantee - we have a right to free speech, for instance. Liberties aren't explicitly guaranteed, though they may be implied. We may say that people should be free to go to school - or, stated slightly differently, people should have the option to go to school. From this, we can then state that the government should do what it can to encourage people to go to school, but it doesn't necessarily have the legal responsibility to guarantee an arbitrarily long or prestigious education to every citizen.

    Put simply, if education is a good thing, then it follows that it is a good thing for more people to have access to education, and it would be good for government to improve that access for the common people. A failure here is unfortunate, but not necessarily an infringement of rights.

    Secondly, even if we accept education as a legal right - by explicit guarantee - then we still may accept some failure on the part of government to guarantee that right. Rights are not infinite; there are sometimes necessary infringements upon rights - the grade-school example being, of course, yelling "fire" in a crowded theater (but also libel, slander, treason, copyright infringement, fraud, etc.). This is because a right is a legal method by which we maximize a certain desirable value; but if a particular exercise of that right confers none of the desirable value while being destructive to other values, then we accept a limited infringement of that right. It's impossible for the government to take all possible actions to guarantee every right.

    Honestly, this seems to be difficult for American anarchocapitalists to accept - that we can say, as a people, that the government should attempt to promote value (be it healthcare or education), but recognize that there are reasonable limits to the actions the government can take. Anarchocapitalists want everything that government does to color perfectly within the lines - it does everything in its power to uphold certain values, and nothing to uphold others. The belief that any gray area, any appeal to 'reasonable measures' or moderation, will inevitably lead to some kind of social collapse or dictatorship, is deeply paranoid thinking.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • AegisAegis Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    mrt144 wrote: »
    We started a libertarian thread with no mention of Rand Paul's latest controversy with the Civil Rights Act?

    This is disappointing.

    Why? He's a terrible example of a libertarian.

    That, and I honestly feel like that sound bite was blown way out of proportion.

    I'm as much a pussy lib as the next guy, but I just don't see good reason to jump on the guy; from the sound of it, he's being perfectly honest in saying that, while he backs the intent of the legislation 100%, it's against his principles to coerce private citizens into doing something.

    Whether or not you agree (I don't), at least he's being straight about it.

    I personally liked Sullivan's response to the Rand Paul situation, defending the man's attempt to at least make a theoretical argument while also criticizing the fact that the theoretical argument might not be applicable to actual politics today:
    Spoiler:

    Currently DMing: None right now! :(
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  • Ethan SmithEthan Smith Origin name: Beart4to Arlington, VARegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    A pair of really good works on American libertarianism are

    -The Liberal Tradition in America by Hartz, who argues that the reason that Marxism hasn't taken hold in America is that Marxism is that Marxism is an egalitarian antidote to the intensely anti-egalitarian philosophy of feudalism. America never really went through feudalism, so we never really developed an antidote to that. Because of this, while pretty much every other major democracy in the world has an equivalent to a Social Democratic party, we do not. It's pretty simplistic because it was written in the 50's when Marxism was still a very monolithic concept, so he presents liberalism as a similar monolith. It's also a history, so it's a pretty easy intro

    -Democracy's Discontent, by Sandel. He says that America's lack of any antidote to liberalism (IE, anyone can do what they want so long as it isn't violating someone elses rights) has left us in pretty bad shape to deal with the modern world, in which people in fact have very little agency and independence. He goes even farther into what 'liberalism' means, giving us two major lines of liberalism.

    Republicanism, arising out of Plato's want to create a good society, and the later philosophical arguments about what the good society is.
    Liberalism, which says that people should have their own choice over what they think 'good' is, and public arguments about what the good is are pointless at best, attempts at conversion at worst.

    If we are a republican society, then it's useful to have all of our citizens well versed in philosophy so that we can move further towards the good society. If we are a liberal society, then teaching all of our citizens philosophy is weakening people's own wishes to learn what they want, and it is too close to indoctrination for some liberals.

    Ironically, in the modern political clime, the Republicans are more liberal, while the Democrats are more republican.

    I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks. When I rise it will be with the ranks, and not from the ranks..
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