Liberty 101

Perry de Havilland has an interesting rebuttal to the Daily Kos on the idea that libertarians should be attracted to the Democrats. As much as the idea of the PATRIOT Act and the Republicans tin ear to social rights chafe on libertarian sensibilities (and even some conservative ones), the Democratic Party does not grasp the idea of individual liberties at all. For more of why that is the case, the original article is too full of good points to quote selectively from – it’s well worth reading the whole thing.

4 thoughts on “Liberty 101

  1. I would guess that half of libertarians would be closer to the Democratic side of the aisle and the other half are closer to the Republican side, depending on which aspect of the libertarian party appeals to them more…personal freedom or economic freedom.

    Several libertarians I know align themselves with the party because of very strong feelings on issues such as drug legalization and restricting government’s ability to dilute civil liberties. Most libertarians in this camp fall closer to the Democratic worldview, just feel as if the party has sold out to popular opinion and is no longer worthy of their vote. They see how maintaining the prohibition on narcotics is devastating poor urban neighborhood and turning them into crime-infested war zones…and can’t understand why making the hard choice to repeal the prohibition is being skirted by a party historically aligned with progressivism. They also see the corruptive power of a government that pretends to uphold the law by ignoring it on matters of civil liberties. Given that the ACLU and civil liberties groups have been blamed for the 9-11 attacks by prominent factions tied to the Republican party, they are far from associating themselves with these hate-mongers.

    The other half of libertarians are the free-market ideologues who are libertarian because they don’t believe the Republicans have gone far enough in embracing a culture of corporate lawlessness. They are less concerned with lifting the government boot off the necks of pot smokers and terrorist suspects being illegally detained without legal representation than they are about incorporating a Financial Peyton Place. They want to privatize everything from utilities to schools to sidewalks and lift any and all regulations to commerce and cut every form of government spending that isn’t directed at the military. Clearly if the libertarian party was removed from the ballot, this faction would become Republicans.

    Given that the party has such disparate and often conflicting interests (much like what’s left of the Reform Party), it will never be a viable force in American politics. Bill Maher and Larry Elder wouldn’t exactly be compatible running mates on a libertarian Congressional delegation, although both are self-professed libertarians.

  2. Given that the party has such disparate and often conflicting interests (much like what’s left of the Reform Party), it will never be a viable force in American politics.

    Quite so. As people who have my sort of views regard the things you regard as legitimate politics as little different to a mafia protection racket, of course we will never be a viable political force in the USA whilst the choices on offer are nothing more that ‘who gets to benefit from the proceeds of state crime’. Until things like the Free State Project get off the ground, a vote for anyone is just legitimising the illegitimate (and that includes the LP).

    As for describing what free market libertarians want as ‘corporate lawlessness’, that does indicate you really have no idea whatsoever about libertarian concepts of responsibility-for-actions. You correctly see that we reject the failed model of state regulation both on moral and utilitarian grounds, but were you under the impression Enron and WorldCom and Credit Lyonnais all happened in unregulated markets? Clearly that is not the case! Yet you conclude we are the ones who want corporate lawlessness? Riiiiiight.

  3. In a way you’re right that I’m not familiar with specifics of the libertarian economic platform…I can only summarize about their irrational exubarance towards unregulated markets knowing that history records 200+ years of failure in making such a system work in a society, except in a few remote circumstances.

    We do not have an unregulated market in the US, but the abilities of companies like Standard Oil and Enron to effectively pull off their misdeeds have a lengthy historical correlation with a reduced presence of checks-and-balances by government and organized labor, both of which libertarianism frowns upon….at least to my marginal knowledge of the party’s platform. Please inform me if this is not the case.

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