Hobbit@Law

Looking carefully at that which is unseen.

Thinking about: Libertarians

Mama Liberty pointed out in comments that she’s not a libertarian. I suppose I’d ask her in comments here just what she defines “libertarian” as, and why she’s not one (since she’s of some nodding acquaintance). But there’s a difference between “libertarian” which is another flavor of, say, “anarcho-capitalist” or “free-market adherent” or – my personal favorite from law school, as used by one of the Green professors, “privateer.” I’d offer as my definition that a libertarian is someone who believes that “that government is best, which governs least,” who supports the freedom of individuals to consensually engage in behavior (contracted or not) without interference* from third parties, and agrees that the initiation of force is a Bad Thing.

Then there are the “libertarians” who like to sign on for the “personal freedom” part, but really are nothing more than libertines. Anybody, like this guy, who says he’d “torture for fun” is not a libertarian, was likely never a libertarian, and a screed that explains why he’s not something he decidedly wasn’t is just so much web-based ego stroking.

Which, for that matter, is what my friend Brian says most blogs are, likely this one included. πŸ˜€

*attempted persuasion, verbal or in writing, is not interference.

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6 responses to “Thinking about: Libertarians

  1. MamaLiberty August 23, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    “…my definition that a libertarian is someone who believes that β€œthat government is best, which governs least”

    There are too many definitions of “libertarian” to start with, but yours above is probably the primary reason I cannot identify with any of them.

    The only legitimate “government” is SELF government, complete personal responsibility, and VOLUNTARY association with others who are also self governors. That self government has to be a full time, total commitment – and is totally incompatible with any sort of external, non-voluntary government in any size, shape or form. They are matter – antimatter.

    Self government can’t “govern least,” and government by others is not compatible with true government at all. So there is an impasse here of epic proportions.

    And, I do not just “support” the freedom of individuals or think that aggression is a “bad thing.” I absolutely will not tolerate any initiation of force against anyone, for any reason, if it is humanly possible for me to fight it. It is not something I take lightly or will compromise on.

    I have yet to run into any sort of “libertarian” who thinks that way – and few people of any label who are willing to do the hard work of making that their way of life.

    • Hobbit@Law August 23, 2011 at 8:21 pm

      Great. I agree. The best government is self government.

      So.

      What do you do when faced with someone who will not self-govern? “Gimme yer wallet” comes to mind. Are you going to comply with the demand? What if he wants more than your wallet? Anybody demanding anything of you at any time gets what he wants? If the answer is “no” anywhere along that continuum then you’ve just agreed that there are times when you need to exercise government over someone else and that “government by others” is acceptable sometimes. πŸ˜›

      Also, without “other government” then you have no such thing as an enforceable contract, for instance. Again, if you’re willing to just walk away rather than require others live up to voluntarily assumed obligations, that’s fine – but that’s not even anarchy, that’s chaos.

  2. MamaLiberty August 23, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    We don’t seem to share a compatible definition of “government.”

    Self defense is not any kind of “government” over someone else. It is just self defense, the response to aggression. There might be times when one needed to ask for help from others to provide that defense, preferably mutual defense, of course. That has nothing to do with government over others either.

    You seem to miss the idea of a VOLUNTARY association being the basis for society. This voluntary association can only be built and maintained by people who are first responsible self governors. Working together and agreeing on whatever rules seemed good to them, they would definitely find many ways to see to it that people honored their contracts, did not aggress against others, and minded their own business. Those who did not agree to these terms would not join that association, leave it when asked to do so, or be the subject of self defense. No third party, non-voluntary government would be required or tolerated.

    And there are probably a thousand or more ways this might work itself out in real life. There is no “one size fits all” answers to any of life’s problems, and I’m certainly not saying that there would be no problems in a voluntary society. Obviously, human beings will always have differences and conflicts. They are best taken care of by rational, responsible people who govern themselves. Those who refuse to be self governors would find themselves outside of rational society. If they persisted in their aggression, they would die. That seems simple enough to me.

    Oh, and if some decided to form irrational, aggressive groups, it doesn’t seem as if they’d last long either. With nobody to threaten or steal from but each other… well… But they’d be perfectly free to try.

    If some people are given power over other people, tyranny is the inevitable result. You can’t have a “little” non-voluntary, coercive government. It just won’t work that way.

  3. MamaLiberty August 23, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Whatever you want, dear. It’s your blog. πŸ™‚

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