Libertarianism is flawed
Debate Rounds (4)
My first critique of libertarianism is its attraction to the non-aggression principle.
The philosophy of libertarians is that individual liberty and freedom is paramount that any tampering with the individual's liberty or freedom is the greatest wrong, you can commit. This is all perfectly well. But libertarians seem to take it too far. This is personified in the non-aggression principle or (NAP).
As a utilitarian, I believe that pacifism does lead to a better standard of living. However, if one must die, so 100 may live. There is not a moment's hesitation, but the non-aggression principle says that even though we would save 100 people it is still not right to kill this one, supporters of NAP. Maybe libertarians, maybe not, have come up with an array of solutions to this question. These solutions however were based around slightly more complicated scenarios, which is fair enough I guess. I don't accept changing the parameters of a hypothetical question. But I suppose some people want more details when it comes to life or death, no matter what the outcome is.
So, allow me in detail to give you a different scenario, one, which also incorporates the free-market. Let's say in the last couple of years the world has become Libertarian with governments having only minimal power, in this world there is a man let's call him Larry he is married with two kids. One has a serious illness, but is treatable but involves regular trips to the hospital he is currently unemployed and has been for some time Larry's wife is pulling double sometimes triple shifts at her job to pay the bills and is not home that often. There is no welfare in this world for Larry to fall back on. I am not a fan of welfare, but I can still see the need for some type of state financial support in our society. The money Larry's wife is making is only enough to pay for electricity and heating bills, the mortgage and food. Not enough left over for the car, which they are still paying for.
Larry needs this car, not just for getting around to jobs, but mainly to get his daughter to her medical appointments and drop his wife off at work.
But time has run out.
The firm that loaned him the money to pay for his car have waited long enough and are now going to repo it. Without this car, it would take six hours to get his daughter to hospital by taking the private buses. And what if there's an emergency. That's more than enough Larry isn't going to give up the car, when the repo men come for it. He warns them to stay off his property, the repo men tell Larry that the car is not his anymore and he needs to give it to them. Larry refuses, the well-being of Larry's family is at stake without this car he doesn't know what to do. There are no charities willing to help him. So he's on his own.
Here's where the problem begins. You've heard Larry's side of the story let's hear the firm's side. The two repo men need to repossess this car if they don't, they don't get paid and their reputations are soiled. If they can't do their job, then the firm will just find someone else who can. So if they don't repo this car, they can lose their jobs and be in the same boat Larry's in.
And if the firm lets Larry skip out on his payments and keeps the car. They'll have people doing it all over the country. The company will lose money, and then people will lose their jobs. Then more people will suffer, a utilitarian will instantly take the firm's side. But what about my opponent, allow me to add that Larry is not acting aggressive in anyway.
He has simply refuse the firm access to his private property by closing the front gate. But this can be a form of aggression, but so can breaking down the front gate and stealing the car. But the car technically belongs to the firm because of the contract Larry signed but when he signed this contract. He was making enough money to pay for it. So, which side is the aggressor, and how this doesn't infringe on any one's individual liberty.
Now the firm could just wait for Larry to move the car off his property such as when he takes his daughter to the hospital. Possible, Larry wouldn't just stay in the car and let his young daughter go in alone. But this isn't a problem because the hospital is refusing the firm to take Larry's car from their parking lot. It can look bad on the hospital and may scare clients away such as Larry. But the repo men could just wait for Larry to leave the car somewhere else. But Larry would then have to leave it somewhere they can get to.
It's possible a private car park would be like the hospital in denying them access or Larry can simply leave the car at a friend or relatives home. But he couldn't possibly keep the car at any of these places all the time. Of course not, but all Larry needs to do is make sure someone is always in the car, because the repo man cannot just drag you out of the car... or can they?
The ethics of NAP says that Larry is the aggressor, because he has implemented coercion and the repo men can now act in Self-defense for the firm. And this does entitle them to go onto Larry's property without his permission and take his car, wherever it is, and if Larry should come out with a gun. Do the repo men have a right to shoot him? Even though they can avoid this by simply leaving him alone, they may leave him alone, but the firm won't.
Do they now have the right to send men with guns to Larry's home and force him to give up the car and if so, how this is not infringed on people's liberty. Because is it not one's liberty, to live without the risk of being threatened physically or verbally if so, then Larry's not the aggressor. The firm is unless the closing of one's gate is aggression enough to respond with violence.
I finished this criticism with this, what is the libertarian answer to this problem, who is the aggressor and why.
Pro said it himself that pacifism leads to a better standard of living, yet he accuses me, (or at least my philospohy) of taking that stance too far. I fail to see how using the idea of not hurting anyone, as a baseline for your decisions, as a flaw.
Pro gives a specific scenario for us to chew on. To be fair his scenario has been taken to an absurdity.
Why is there no charity willing to help out Larry?
Does Larry not have ANY family to help him drive his daughter to the doctor?
He can't call a Taxi?
He can't ask the doctor to please make a special house call for his dying daughter?
Would a doctor be so heartless as to tell him no?
Are there no private companies willing to conduct the treatment at Larry's house?
Why is there absolutely no welfare for Larry to fall back on?
Why does Larry have to have a car loan?
He can't scrape together five hundred bucks to buy a beater car?
I neither expect nor really want Pro to answer these questions. I am merely pointing out that even in his very detailed scenario Larry still has other ways of getting through what is obviously a hard time. Further these questions are meant to illustrate the fact that we cannot envision every possible choice and outcome for every single individual circumstance in the world. However, what we can do is have a basic philosophy to guide us through the gray.
But for the sake of argument lets assume the above scenario is valid. The bottom line is that Larry entered into a contract. He agreed that he would pay a certain amount of money on a certain basis and that if he failed to do so, the loan company could take the car. Larry therefore, has no right to use force in order to keep his car. He can use any other means he wishes, as I outlined above in my questions, but force is not one of them.
Assuming that you consider the taking of the car an act of force by the company, yes it is justified. Why? Because those are the terms that Larry, (assuming) a fully capable and responsible adult, agreed to. He cannot get mad at the company as he has failed to complete his end of the agreement.
In the above scenario Larry's personal liberty is not being violated by the repossession of his car. In fact the repossession is the affirmation of his liberty. Larry never owned the vehicle out right. He had it on loan from a company. The vehicle is the property of the company.
What do I mean that his liberty is not being violated, but in fact being affirmed? Because Larry is free to enter into any legal contract he wishes. However, he is not free to violate said contract as that would mean he is causing harm to the other party.
So what about compassion? Don't I feel bad for Larry? Don't I want his daughter to live? Well of course I do. Which is why I would willingly give Larry either the money he needs or another car. That's called charity. To assume it doesn't exist is to assume that all humans have lost compassion.
Pro has created a Kobayashi Maru, and as Kirk said, "I don't believe in a 'no win' scenario."
First let me say to HandsofManos. I'm sorry, but I must answer some of your rebuttals or else I risk leaving holes in my argument, please note this is not a continuation of my scenario. It is simply to state the reasons for my argument. Yes, the scenario was taken to an all-out worst-case situation, but I wouldn't quite call it absurd. I don't recall mentioning anything like Larry's car being a Hummer with good fuel mileage.
However yes, it was a little rushed and rough around the edges, but all the events mentioned in the scenario were all based on real-life incidents.
I'm sure my opponent will agree that families with sick or dying children will do anything to protect them, even if that means for getting reason and logic.
There have been cases of repo men being threatened with weapons. And physical harm, the three links you see are examples.
Unlike these people, Larry is not selfish, and does have a reason to fight for this car, and if he could simply give it up and get a new car, he would.
As for the lack of support from Larry's friends and family, simply put: I never stated the size of Larry's family but from the scenario, we can assume it's small. Possibly just an elderly grandparent, as for his friends, they do have lives of their own, they have jobs and their own concerns, they can help, but not possibly all the time.
The doctor could make a house call, but we can assume that Larry's daughter needs to go to a specialized facility for treatment, which is unable to be performed at his home.
I'm a bit surprised my opponent commented on the lack of welfare. This link takes you to the Libertarian party's website.
As for why no charity is willing to help Larry and his family. He's simply not in serious need of charity; Larry has a home in enough money to pay for it. Therefore the charity is better spent on people without homes and anyway, I don't think any Libertarian can promise that charities will always have an infinite amount of money to give to everyone who needs it.
After all, you can't force people to give to charity. And if you do, then it's no different to state welfare.
Now Larry situation was not to be a no-win scenario, it was simply a hypothetical question meant to show libertarians, not everything goes to plan, and not everyone is perfect, that there is possibly a situation in the world where the right course of action is to initiate force, but that is kind of the problem was a volunteer society, and that problem is, you can't force people to volunteer the same way. You can't force them to give to charity, and also, funnily enough, you can't expect everyone to follow the rules.
Which brings me onto my next criticism of libertarianism.
It's biased towards the free market over government.
To illustrate my point, let's put it like this, the football team's coach thought that the referees were biased when they made many bad calls for their team without penalising the other team for similar plays.
I just wonder, why is it only the government that can sponsored terrorism, international espionage, and manipulating the press to convince the people to ignore the obvious problems, because last time I checked Fox news was a privately owned news network. So why can't a multibillion dollar multinational corporation do any of these things. They've got the money, and no one can vote them out of office.
You could be a shareholder however and then your vote does count. The problem is, you may only have one share and the guy you voted against has 1000 and that, my friends, is what we call jenga.
But what am I getting at here, well let's say they are two companies competing with each other, both are easily matched in wealth and size, but one has better management than the other. This company let's call it Company-A, over the long-term will prove to be the better, whilst the other one, and let's call this one Company-B, will inevitably fail. So what are the options for this weaker company?
Well there are two options it can take.
1.It can admit defeat and fail: 9 times out of 10 this is what would probably happen. And unless the company is bought by another business, a lot of people, including the shareholders, would either lose their jobs or their invested money, because when a company goes under, it's not a pretty sight.
2.It can find another way: there are always other options. Problem is, you'll have to ask yourself how far are you willing to go to win, because that's what this thing is, a competition, but the stakes are a whole lot higher.
Let's say Company-B takes option 2. I see no reason why they wouldn't consider using corporate espionage to get valuable information to help them get a leg up on Company-A, or even inside trading to try to weaken their competitor. This can be done through bribery, using this tactic they could convince many members of Company-A board of directors to use their shares of the company to help carry out a hostile takeover.
But this is not a form of aggression. You see, Company-A was at risk of going under because of bad management, and concerned shareholders secretly open negotiations with Company-B, who haves superior management to intervene and save their company by performing a merger. They were force into this predicament from the hostile nature of Company-A.
Now, does that make sense to you, well it shouldn't, this contradicts what I said earlier, this wasn't a peaceful secret merger. This was a hostile takeover, but that's not what Company-A's privately owned news channels says.
Whoops, I mean that's what Company-B's brand-new news channels says.
So, just like Kirk Company-B doesn't believe in a no-win situation, that it will cheat to win.
But unlike Kirk, the company did this for selfish reasons and destroyed its rival to maintain its survival. This small, scenario can expand to include 3 companies, and the 2 weaker companies join forces to defeat the larger more successful one, because they didn't want to lose.
This is less of a criticism of libertarianism, more of a question actually.
And that question is this, how do libertarians deal with this, because this is not what libertarians want, what is in place to prevent this from happening.
Pro's next situation is that of a failing company breaking the law in order to beat its competition.
What really bothered me about this scenario is that Pro sees this as how a free market is supposed to work. And make no mistake about it, he intends for this scenario to show how a free market economy is just as bad as one ran by the government.
Pro states the following "Which brings me to my next criticism of libertarianism. It's biased towards the free market over government."
Pro then asks us "why is it only the government that can sponsored terrorism, international espionage, and manipulating the press to convince the people to ignore the obvious problems..."
He then goes on and uses Fox as a real world example of a corporation that engages in the actions above.
I personally don't like to accuse someone or something of wrong doing without evidence, but i won't deny the very real probability that Fox and many other large corporations engage in said actions.
However there is one thing that Pro has missed, that the above actions do not fit into the libertarian or the free market philosophy.
Company B is breaking the law. Yes we currently have laws that make it illegal to do many of the things mentioned above, unfortunately we don't investigate or prosecute white collar crime with the same amount of energy as we do blue collar crime. That is not a failure of the free market. It is a failure of (or success depending on your point of view) of corporatism.
Republicans/conservatives on the whole do not support the free market. They support a form of corporatism and call it a free market.
Libertarians, in general, do not wish to see a removal of the state. Rather we wish to see it shrunk down to as small a size as possible, while still having the power to enforce laws. Now to be fair there is a group of libertarians called Anarcho-capitalist ( you can read about them here. http://en.wikipedia.org...) that believe we do not need a government at all. However to place all libertarians in that camp is the same as calling all democrats communists.
As Thomas Jefferson said, a government is a "necessary evil." That is what Pro has failed to realize. We do need a government to make and enforce laws, but those laws should be as minimized as possible to allow for as much freedom as possible.
In Pro's latest scenario Company B has used illegal or unethical tactics to win. This is not acceptable. Company B should be punished.
That is how libertarians deal with people who wish to harm others. We get together as individuals and vote on laws that are intended to provide protection or compensation from being harmed by other individuals.
Thank you, you have no idea how long I've been trying to find someone who can give me a straight forward answer.
I been talking to a few libertarians over the last few weeks, who at first seem like they actually wanted to discuss their beliefs in a rational and logical chat and that was true, until you bring up any criticism, which then it's you're a fascist or you're a Communist or you're an idiot and you don't know what you're talking about.
Out of 12, so-called libertarians I've talked to, HandsofManos and MrDaMan on YouTube seem to be the only actual libertarians who weren't anarchists or anarcho- capitalists, and all my criticisms of libertarianism were because of those people and their extreme ideology. So, because my opponent is not one of these anarcho- capitalists, all my hypothetical scenarios have been a waste of time and I hereby forfeit the argument to my opponent, but I will like to spend the rest of the debate asking straightforward simple no-nonsense questions about actual libertarianism and not the anarchist BS being circulated across the Internet disguised as libertarianism.
But on that point, I will say this to HandsofManos and any other libertarian out there reading this, there are a lot of idiots out there calling themselves libertarians, and spouting a load of nonsense and the problem is, these are the people everyone including me are seeing when we researched libertarianism. For the sake of your beliefs, you got to get out there and set the record straight.
Because actual libertarianism is still hard to swallow, and takes a lot of convincing so the last thing you want is people comparing you to these freaks. Here is a good example of what I'm talking about, this is a video I found a few years ago, it's a libertarian talking about an experience he had with some libertarian socialists.
(Please click on the first video at the top of the page)
This video state's my point exactly, that there are some diluted brain dead idiots out there calling themselves libertarians, who have no problem with violence, as long as it pushes ahead their agenda. And I can easily tell you, these are the people I was talking to over the last couple of weeks. So to finish off this point, any future strategy to spread the word of libertarianism make sure to distance yourselves so far from any of these crazy so-called libertarians, so that people like me, we'll be able to tell the difference.
One other thing, I don't know if you notice but he mention utilitarianism in that video. Sadly saying that utilitarian theory is used mostly by statists and I think he's correct. However I am more concerned with the greatest happiness principle, and if more people are happy in a libertarian society then I'm all for it.
But before I give my support I first need convincing, so here's a plain simple question, how much power should the government have and what is its duties to the people.
Basically what I'm looking for with this question is are there still police and is there still a military of some sort.
Now I could see a world where we don't need police or the army, but that's in the future and definitely not now, I mean you can probably still go to Los Angeles and ask around and hear all the problems people have with the police and a lot of it is most likely true, but if you asked those same people, would you feel better if we got rid of all the police and had nothing official to take its place. They would probably look at you like you're crazy.
And as for the army, will let me just say I have complete respect for Britain's Royal Armed Forces. And every soldier in it and because of that, I don't want them going off to fight a war in a country we have no business being in. I support the war in Afghanistan but I don't support the war in Iraq, and we should stay the hell out of Iran and North Korea, unless they actually are stupid enough to fire a missile at us.
So what I'm wondering is what libertarians believe a country's military is for, and if there is no police or army.
Then what exactly would take their place.
One last thing, now this is definitely more towards the extreme right, but libertarian policies on immigration are another thing a lot of people are confused on, our libertarians for completely open borders, or simply for more movement across said borders.
Now here's a video, I think you should watch it says on the title "A Case For Libertarian Immigration Control (US)" but I'm not quite sure if it's criticizing or supporting libertarianism. You be the judge, and I would like to see your comments on it.
(Please click on the second video at the top of the page)
You see, no more crazy over-the-top scenarios, and no more talking about Larry and his stupid family, just straightforward questions, I look forward to your response.
The Police. So first lets get the crazy out of the way. There are some people who would fall under the libertarian umbrella, that would say we should privatize our police force. They often cite that private companies are far more efficient than the government and would be so in regards to law enforcement. They will often give various private security firms as evidence.
I am not an anarcho-capitalist. I am not for privatizing law enforcement. At least not entirely. I believe that it is the duty of the government to provide a police force.
Lets think about what the government is. It is essentially a pact, made by individuals, that codifies into law how we will behave with one another. It is an agreement on how to run our society. Thats the beauty of government run by individuals. It only has the power over them that they allow it to have.
So we all get together and set up laws. It only follows then that we should also get together and figure out a way to enforce them. And the fairest way is by having an impartial third party oversee it.
That is what government is. The police are a part of that.
However the government, which includes the police, have gotten far to large and horridly inefficient. There is a lot we can do to fix that, but I don't have enough characters and this is my last round.
The Military. We need a military provided by the government (which is merely an agreement amongst individuals, an entity that is subordinate to said individuals).
However the Military, which is included in the government, has grown far to large and is horribly inefficient. We are fighting wars we don't need to, we are stationed in far too many places around the globe. We need a complete overhaul of the Military.
I say we knowing you are British. Your military is just as much a bureaucratic, money pit, nightmare as ours is.
Immigration. Its an economic problem with an economic solution. Immigrants want to come to america to work, to have a better life. Business want to hire them because they will work for less. Thats two individuals coming to a mutual beneficial exchange. Thats capitalism, thats a free market. I love it.
Officially this is the party's position on immigration. http://www.lp.org... In a nut shell it says we are for doing away with existing laws that make immigration a crime.
Personally, I would streamline the process. Anyone who wants to move here permanently shows up at an immigration office we set up on major entrances. They spend a few hours going through a series of interviews and counseling. They have a general interview to ensure they aren't on the run from a foreign government or anything crazy like that. then they talk to some counselors about how to adjust to america and then help guide them to a staffing agency or similar company that would like to hire them and on how to find a place to stay if they need one.
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
- "The New colossus" Emma Lazarus
Thats just beautiful.
Take a look for yourself http://lpuk.org...
Even after our rich history of immigration to Great Britain, there are still those who hide behind a psychotic notion of ultra-nationalism. I am very proud of my country and yes, I would consider myself nationalistic, but I welcome those who want to come and live here, because everyone has something to contribute culturally. But economically that's a different story altogether, it is true that immigrants come and take the jobs that most British citizens have refused to do, but illegal immigrants only take up a fraction of these jobs. But many of them are paid unacceptable wages for their work.
And our force, quite often into sweatshops and dangerous working conditions to make products for companies that sell them for millions. Which the company only spends a fraction on the workers, leading to the removal of the 85% labor costs of the product.
This is wrong by any ethical person standards. If these companies simply wanted a cheap workforce, then all we have to do is simply put the prison population to work. This method would satisfied even the most picky right wing nut and contribute more to society. The only people who will suffer would-be illegal immigrants, since legal immigrant's wheel still be able to apply for multiple jobs.
But I wonder, shouldn't we be put in more effort into mechanizing these undesirable careers, machines can perform faster, longer and of course most importantly, cheaper than any illegal immigrant. After all, that's what Japan is doing right now.
One of the very very very very very few problems I have with Japan. Is that they are quite racist, not to people visiting their country, but just simply people staying, immigration to Japan is basically non-existent, because of this and a rapidly aging and shrinking population they have focused a lot of effort into their robotic technologies. Yes, they are doing this for selfish reasons, but the benefit to the world is unimaginable. They estimate we've in 30 years, they can start mass producing walking talking commercial robots, and this will be the start of something amazing. These machines combine with next-generation GM crops and alternative fuels might make it. So that one day in the hopefully not too distant future we may no longer need money, but I probably won't be around to see that.
Oh well, one can dream can't he.
But still, the free market is absolutely superb at creating abundance through technology. To the extent that technology can also improve quality at the same time, it provides quality. The tremendous growth in computers is a prime example.
Virgin Airlines expansion into space travel is another promising technology jump, which hopefully one day we'll all be able to afford an economy seat into outer space.
Just too quickly mention I have no problem with capitalism. I have a huge DVD collection, a big TV in my bedroom with a Xbox 360, PS3, and a fantastic PC, which I got at a great price. Because of the competitiveness of the free market.
I mention this because in a few online arguments I was called a communist for criticizing libertarians. First off communism sucks. It didn't work for the Soviet Union, China and Vietnam have adopted capitalism, and don't get me started on North Korea. My criticisms of libertarianism come from social problems, not the free market.
As a matter of fact, one convincing argument I've heard against libertarianism comes from an article written by Steven Dutch, he is the link to said article http://www.uwgb.edu...
Yet again, this might be criticism against more anarchistic-libertarians, but you should still be able to use this to build a defense against future criticisms.
Allow me to finish by saying congratulations to HandsofManos for winning your election. I wish you much success in all your decisions, and hope you convert more heathens like myself in the future.
It has really been fun.
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