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Liberalism and Libertarianism

seraine
Posts: 734
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7/31/2011 10:28:34 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I am trying to put together an argument against liberalism (American, not English) and for libertarianism, but I'm having a very difficult time putting my finger on what exactly I think is wrong with it. I can make arguments against specific programs, but I can't point out what's exactly wrong with liberalism.

For example, with universalized healthcare, my argument is that a) We would still be paying for it, because the money comes out of taxes, not ex nihilo, b) The private market can provide a more superior and efficient product and c) Taxes are very high, and that's one of the big reasons why many are having trouble paying for healthcare in the first place.

Against liberalism, my arguments I've made are a) Private markets are almost always better than public markets, b) Regulations are unnecessary, as the same can be emulated by the free market but without the problems regulations cause (i.e. affirmative action) , c) Taking away money from people who will otherwise spend it hurts the economy, d) Regulations often cause problems that they then try to fix, while ignoring the actual problem, and e) Most government programs are unnecessary, hurt the economy, and hurt the government.

I think I could be doing a lot better. Does anyone have a good critique of liberalism?
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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7/31/2011 1:28:10 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/31/2011 10:28:34 AM, seraine wrote:
I am trying to put together an argument against liberalism (American, not English) and for libertarianism, but I'm having a very difficult time putting my finger on what exactly I think is wrong with it. I can make arguments against specific programs, but I can't point out what's exactly wrong with liberalism.

For example, with universalized healthcare, my argument is that a) We would still be paying for it, because the money comes out of taxes, not ex nihilo, b) The private market can provide a more superior and efficient product and c) Taxes are very high, and that's one of the big reasons why many are having trouble paying for healthcare in the first place.

Against liberalism, my arguments I've made are a) Private markets are almost always better than public markets, b) Regulations are unnecessary, as the same can be emulated by the free market but without the problems regulations cause (i.e. affirmative action) , c) Taking away money from people who will otherwise spend it hurts the economy, d) Regulations often cause problems that they then try to fix, while ignoring the actual problem, and e) Most government programs are unnecessary, hurt the economy, and hurt the government.

I think I could be doing a lot better. Does anyone have a good critique of liberalism?

My guess is your problem lies on a more axiomatic level. Liberals have the stewardship assumption that a government should look out for the wellbeing of its citizens. Libertarians have an assumption that the government's function is as an organizing force to allow for libertarian action (protecting property, fighting war, etc).
freedomsquared
Posts: 450
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7/31/2011 2:26:53 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/31/2011 1:28:10 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 7/31/2011 10:28:34 AM, seraine wrote:
I am trying to put together an argument against liberalism (American, not English) and for libertarianism, but I'm having a very difficult time putting my finger on what exactly I think is wrong with it. I can make arguments against specific programs, but I can't point out what's exactly wrong with liberalism.

For example, with universalized healthcare, my argument is that a) We would still be paying for it, because the money comes out of taxes, not ex nihilo, b) The private market can provide a more superior and efficient product and c) Taxes are very high, and that's one of the big reasons why many are having trouble paying for healthcare in the first place.

Against liberalism, my arguments I've made are a) Private markets are almost always better than public markets, b) Regulations are unnecessary, as the same can be emulated by the free market but without the problems regulations cause (i.e. affirmative action) , c) Taking away money from people who will otherwise spend it hurts the economy, d) Regulations often cause problems that they then try to fix, while ignoring the actual problem, and e) Most government programs are unnecessary, hurt the economy, and hurt the government.

I think I could be doing a lot better. Does anyone have a good critique of liberalism?

My guess is your problem lies on a more axiomatic level. Liberals have the stewardship assumption that a government should look out for the wellbeing of its citizens. Libertarians have an assumption that the government's function is as an organizing force to allow for libertarian action (protecting property, fighting war, etc).

I agree. I think you need to focus more on why each group do what they do and why this is right or wrong. Focus less on the effect and more on the cause.
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Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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7/31/2011 2:43:07 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
My suggestion is to put the pro-liberal side onto your playing field.

Before you establish which is "better" ask the question "what ought a government to do?" Then, have the definition of "government" be "a body governing a group of people" as opposed to "a body governing a nation, state, or community."

If you start with "group" then you can talk about state of nature relationships (a la Locke) instead of starting with a governments ruling over 100 million people.

Paternalism is harder to justify as the group gets smaller and interests converge. Exactly what the heck would a "liberal" government do in a tribe of ten hunter-gatherers?

As you might notice, this is a somewhat sneaky approach, but you will start on the low-ground if the initial image is a state where millions are in poverty and dying while a rich elite influences governors chosen by an electorate of strangers. Then it's "how could let all those poor people die" or "blacks would bear the brunt of policy x, are you racist?"
seraine
Posts: 734
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8/1/2011 11:32:56 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/31/2011 1:28:10 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 7/31/2011 10:28:34 AM, seraine wrote:
I am trying to put together an argument against liberalism (American, not English) and for libertarianism, but I'm having a very difficult time putting my finger on what exactly I think is wrong with it. I can make arguments against specific programs, but I can't point out what's exactly wrong with liberalism.

For example, with universalized healthcare, my argument is that a) We would still be paying for it, because the money comes out of taxes, not ex nihilo, b) The private market can provide a more superior and efficient product and c) Taxes are very high, and that's one of the big reasons why many are having trouble paying for healthcare in the first place.

Against liberalism, my arguments I've made are a) Private markets are almost always better than public markets, b) Regulations are unnecessary, as the same can be emulated by the free market but without the problems regulations cause (i.e. affirmative action) , c) Taking away money from people who will otherwise spend it hurts the economy, d) Regulations often cause problems that they then try to fix, while ignoring the actual problem, and e) Most government programs are unnecessary, hurt the economy, and hurt the government.

I think I could be doing a lot better. Does anyone have a good critique of liberalism?

My guess is your problem lies on a more axiomatic level. Liberals have the stewardship assumption that a government should look out for the wellbeing of its citizens. Libertarians have an assumption that the government's function is as an organizing force to allow for libertarian action (protecting property, fighting war, etc).

Good point... though I think I will keep the effects in case they bring up points like "The Jungle" or "At least we are helping people".