Total Posts:17|Showing Posts:1-17
Jump to topic:

The Problem with Libertarianism

Conservative101
Posts: 191
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/6/2014 10:33:13 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
There is a temptation for many people across the political spectrum to conform to libertarianism. Although I do agree with them about various issues, there is one ideal on the subject of morality that I cannot comply with.

The central libertarian principle is freedom, and to defend freedom, some find themselves arguing that whatever people choose is always right. However, one can arrive at this view with the premise that human nature is so good it is virtually flawless. In reality, human nature is flawed, and freedom/agency is used badly.

If you said to a libertarian , "What if 300 million Americans opt to become pornographers? Would that make for a good society?" While most people would say no, the pure libertarian would have to answer yes, because those people have chosen freely. This philosophy is indifferent to virtue, a value that the majority of people live by.

My point is that, if everyone was a libertarian, where would be the virtue in our laws? Whatever people choose would be good, which would lead to the legalization of basically everything that is morally OK for the some people, but wrong for most others. Morals exist of course, but no one could imagine where our society go if we dropped our levels of virtue down to the least common denominator. I cannot agree with this kind of thinking, which is why I don't believe in the libertarian philosophy.
When in doubt, start riots and scream racism
Conservative101
Posts: 191
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/6/2014 10:35:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Btw: I know this might belong in the philosophy section, but this topic has a lot more weight politically, so this may be a better place for it.
When in doubt, start riots and scream racism
jimtimmy4
Posts: 321
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/6/2014 10:40:02 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/6/2014 10:33:13 PM, Conservative101 wrote:
There is a temptation for many people across the political spectrum to conform to libertarianism. Although I do agree with them about various issues, there is one ideal on the subject of morality that I cannot comply with.

The central libertarian principle is freedom, and to defend freedom, some find themselves arguing that whatever people choose is always right. However, one can arrive at this view with the premise that human nature is so good it is virtually flawless. In reality, human nature is flawed, and freedom/agency is used badly.

If you said to a libertarian , "What if 300 million Americans opt to become pornographers? Would that make for a good society?" While most people would say no, the pure libertarian would have to answer yes, because those people have chosen freely. This philosophy is indifferent to virtue, a value that the majority of people live by.

My point is that, if everyone was a libertarian, where would be the virtue in our laws? Whatever people choose would be good, which would lead to the legalization of basically everything that is morally OK for the some people, but wrong for most others. Morals exist of course, but no one could imagine where our society go if we dropped our levels of virtue down to the least common denominator. I cannot agree with this kind of thinking, which is why I don't believe in the libertarian philosophy.

I forget. Who makes the laws again? I guess whoever does that must understand what is objectively right better than the people in a nation, right?
jimtimmy4
Posts: 321
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/7/2014 1:31:35 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Still. Some good points made. I'm libertarian in my view on the state, but I am not a fan of libertarianism's anti traditionalism.
Libertopia
Posts: 28
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/8/2014 3:00:10 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/6/2014 10:33:13 PM, Conservative101 wrote:
There is a temptation for many people across the political spectrum to conform to libertarianism. Although I do agree with them about various issues, there is one ideal on the subject of morality that I cannot comply with.

The central libertarian principle is freedom, and to defend freedom, some find themselves arguing that whatever people choose is always right. However, one can arrive at this view with the premise that human nature is so good it is virtually flawless. In reality, human nature is flawed, and freedom/agency is used badly.

If you said to a libertarian , "What if 300 million Americans opt to become pornographers? Would that make for a good society?" While most people would say no, the pure libertarian would have to answer yes, because those people have chosen freely. This philosophy is indifferent to virtue, a value that the majority of people live by.

My point is that, if everyone was a libertarian, where would be the virtue in our laws? Whatever people choose would be good, which would lead to the legalization of basically everything that is morally OK for the some people, but wrong for most others. Morals exist of course, but no one could imagine where our society go if we dropped our levels of virtue down to the least common denominator. I cannot agree with this kind of thinking, which is why I don't believe in the libertarian philosophy.

These are all good points, but, concerning the human nature question, the view is not that our nature is "so good it is virtually flawless", but that the human mind, as supported by a lot of modern psychology, is tabula rasa (i.e. blank slate) at birth and so, through social conditioning, the individual is *able* to be "so good" that he/she is "virtually flawless". That the mind is an "empty container", so to speak, and so it is through internalization and learning that we develop our flaws in the first place. If social institutions such as the state, and other authority figures like parents, did not normalize violence within society by monopolizing its production or by exercising corporal punishment towards children then violence would cease to exist as a social norm.

Of course, the point is that you personally, as an individual, need to define what you consider to be a "flaw" in order for this concept to have any meaning. In your note here, for example, you do need to demonstrate why you think 300 million Americans opting to be pornographers is a "flaw" or a bad thing for society rather than simply appealing to the prejudices of "most people". Ultimately, the libertarian view, unlike those of socialists or conservatives, maintains that no individual, and certainly no collective group, has intrinsic flaws or problems, but simply that we are all different, complex, and unique. What you don't appear to have considered is that, if we *do* have intrinsic flaws, then this is certainly no argument in favor of the state, a monopoly on the production of violence within society, because such a monopoly, and the politicians who exercise it, would be just as susceptible to these flaws (and monopolize such a flaw i.e. violence).

The libertarian view, therefore, is that no individual ought to infringe upon any other individual's natural rights, providing that individual has not violated the non-aggression axiom. That they ought to define the course of their own life, and be free to be pornographers, to sell drugs, to secede from the state in order to create their own forms of private security and dispute resolution organization (or all of these things), simply because it's only other individuals like yourself disagreeing with their choices (and imposing your disagreement at gunpoint) that is forcing upon people certain involuntary behaviors which they would not necessarily choose if exercising their own volition.
Libertopia
Posts: 28
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/8/2014 3:23:29 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/6/2014 10:33:13 PM, Conservative101 wrote:

P.S. I also agree with you that "no one could imagine" what the structure of a libertarian society, or a polycentric legal system (which is what you describe), would look like. However, this is a good thing. Individuals "imagining" what would be best for others is the source of the problem. Rather like priests imagining a non-existent deity when exerting social influence, politicians "imagine" that invading countries will liberate them, they "imagine" that criminalizing drugs stops drug use, they "imagine" that this or that redistributive effort will have such and such a consequence, and will benefit this amorphous entity called "society" (which doesn't really exist). Social engineering of this kind is anathema to libertarians. By imagining what an ideal society would look like (and what's best for others), individual socialists and conservatives succumb to the same fatal conceit that poisons the minds of dictators. If I were to give you a description of what I "imagined" the ideal structure of a future libertarian society to look like then that would be an argument for me being dictator, you see?
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,325
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/8/2014 8:04:21 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/6/2014 10:33:13 PM, Conservative101 wrote:
There is a temptation for many people across the political spectrum to conform to libertarianism. Although I do agree with them about various issues, there is one ideal on the subject of morality that I cannot comply with.

The central libertarian principle is freedom, and to defend freedom, some find themselves arguing that whatever people choose is always right. However, one can arrive at this view with the premise that human nature is so good it is virtually flawless. In reality, human nature is flawed, and freedom/agency is used badly.

If you said to a libertarian , "What if 300 million Americans opt to become pornographers? Would that make for a good society?" While most people would say no, the pure libertarian would have to answer yes, because those people have chosen freely. This philosophy is indifferent to virtue, a value that the majority of people live by.

The majority would say yes, not no.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,325
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/8/2014 8:07:16 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
The problem with fiat rule is that you work under the assumption that people cannot take care of themselves and do not have enough inherent herd instincts to take care of society.

This assumption doesn't help a society grow.
Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,078
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/8/2014 11:43:00 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I agree with Libertarianism for a moral people. An immoral people need to be controlled.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
Conservative101
Posts: 191
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/18/2014 7:09:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/8/2014 11:43:00 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
I agree with Libertarianism for a moral people. An immoral people need to be controlled.

Moral by who's standards? The most moral people are immoral to someone.
When in doubt, start riots and scream racism
Vox_Veritas
Posts: 7,078
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/18/2014 7:14:07 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/18/2014 7:09:03 PM, Conservative101 wrote:
At 11/8/2014 11:43:00 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
I agree with Libertarianism for a moral people. An immoral people need to be controlled.

Moral by who's standards? The most moral people are immoral to someone.

See the quote on your own profile.
But to answer your question, an immoral people can be seen by a high violent crime rate, sexual promiscuity, regular use of alcohol and drugs, and stuff like that.
Call me Vox, the Resident Contrarian of debate.org.

The DDO Blog:
https://debatedotorg.wordpress.com...

#drinkthecoffeenotthekoolaid
Conservative101
Posts: 191
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/18/2014 10:58:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/8/2014 8:04:21 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 11/6/2014 10:33:13 PM, Conservative101 wrote:
There is a temptation for many people across the political spectrum to conform to libertarianism. Although I do agree with them about various issues, there is one ideal on the subject of morality that I cannot comply with.

The central libertarian principle is freedom, and to defend freedom, some find themselves arguing that whatever people choose is always right. However, one can arrive at this view with the premise that human nature is so good it is virtually flawless. In reality, human nature is flawed, and freedom/agency is used badly.

If you said to a libertarian , "What if 300 million Americans opt to become pornographers? Would that make for a good society?" While most people would say no, the pure libertarian would have to answer yes, because those people have chosen freely. This philosophy is indifferent to virtue, a value that the majority of people live by.

The majority would say yes, not no.

What planet are you from?
When in doubt, start riots and scream racism
Conservative101
Posts: 191
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/18/2014 11:00:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/18/2014 7:14:07 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 11/18/2014 7:09:03 PM, Conservative101 wrote:
At 11/8/2014 11:43:00 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
I agree with Libertarianism for a moral people. An immoral people need to be controlled.

Moral by who's standards? The most moral people are immoral to someone.

See the quote on your own profile.
But to answer your question, an immoral people can be seen by a high violent crime rate, sexual promiscuity, regular use of alcohol and drugs, and stuff like that.

Hm, sounds like any big city. Guess we should apply libertarianism to just the rural areas?
When in doubt, start riots and scream racism
Philocat
Posts: 728
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/19/2014 5:47:32 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/18/2014 7:14:07 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
At 11/18/2014 7:09:03 PM, Conservative101 wrote:
At 11/8/2014 11:43:00 AM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
I agree with Libertarianism for a moral people. An immoral people need to be controlled.

Moral by who's standards? The most moral people are immoral to someone.

See the quote on your own profile.
But to answer your question, an immoral people can be seen by a high violent crime rate, sexual promiscuity, regular use of alcohol and drugs, and stuff like that.

I agree that such actions are immoral. But on what grounds would a libertarian say they are?
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,325
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/19/2014 6:53:19 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/18/2014 10:58:12 PM, Conservative101 wrote:
At 11/8/2014 8:04:21 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 11/6/2014 10:33:13 PM, Conservative101 wrote:
If you said to a libertarian , "What if 300 million Americans opt to become pornographers? Would that make for a good society?" While most people would say no, the pure libertarian would have to answer yes, because those people have chosen freely. This philosophy is indifferent to virtue, a value that the majority of people live by.

The majority would say yes, not no.

What planet are you from?

The planet where 300 million out of around 316 million Americans comprises a majority. That would be most people. They would say they are normal for Americans. They would say yes, not no to your question.
sdavio
Posts: 1,801
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/19/2014 7:58:00 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/6/2014 10:33:13 PM, Conservative101 wrote:
If you said to a libertarian , "What if 300 million Americans opt to become pornographers? Would that make for a good society?" While most people would say no, the pure libertarian would have to answer yes, because those people have chosen freely. This philosophy is indifferent to virtue, a value that the majority of people live by.

You assume first of all that pornography is somehow inimical to virtue, but also that the state could somehow intervene and upset what is in this case clearly a common and natural desire, being with the fact that so many people see fit to do so. What makes you think that your judgment is so much better than the vast majority of people, and that this will be remedied by foisting it upon them?

My point is that, if everyone was a libertarian, where would be the virtue in our laws?

The other issue with your logic, other than what I said above, is that you assume there's some way to get around this. No matter what system, it will inevitably in some sense be decided by common consent, ie by majority and might. "Might is right" is a truism, not a moral commandment. Hence there's no way to ensure virtue in law, only to ensure protection from law itself.

Whatever people choose would be good, which would lead to the legalization of basically everything that is morally OK for the some people, but wrong for most others. Morals exist of course, but no one could imagine where our society go if we dropped our levels of virtue down to the least common denominator. I cannot agree with this kind of thinking, which is why I don't believe in the libertarian philosophy.

The problem is that "virtue" is something each person imagines, according to their own proclivities and prejudices. The only difference is in a political system, whether certain people are allowed to project callously their own vision onto the wider society by force, or whether each individual is allowed to attempt their own personal idea of virtue, so long as it doesn't impinge upon the property of others.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/19/2014 3:52:13 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/6/2014 10:33:13 PM, Conservative101 wrote:
There is a temptation for many people across the political spectrum to conform to libertarianism. Although I do agree with them about various issues, there is one ideal on the subject of morality that I cannot comply with.

The central libertarian principle is freedom, and to defend freedom, some find themselves arguing that whatever people choose is always right. However, one can arrive at this view with the premise that human nature is so good it is virtually flawless. In reality, human nature is flawed, and freedom/agency is used badly.
I think there is a difference between a political belief and a philosophy.


If you said to a libertarian , "What if 300 million Americans opt to become pornographers? Would that make for a good society?" While most people would say no, the pure libertarian would have to answer yes, because those people have chosen freely. This philosophy is indifferent to virtue, a value that the majority of people live by.
I most certainly would not say that makes for a good society.
However, if that is their wish, so be it.
The virtue in the law is that freedoms is protected. What virtue do you want to use, and how do you ensure it is not corrupted by others?

My point is that, if everyone was a libertarian, where would be the virtue in our laws? Whatever people choose would be good, which would lead to the legalization of basically everything that is morally OK for the some people, but wrong for most others. Morals exist of course, but no one could imagine where our society go if we dropped our levels of virtue down to the least common denominator. I cannot agree with this kind of thinking, which is why I don't believe in the libertarian philosophy.

There is a difference between believing something is moral, ethical, good, right, and whether or not it should be legal.
Adultery is bad. It should not be illegal.
Drug abuse is bad. It should not be illegal simply because people abuse it.
Prostitution is gross and I would disown my daughter if she engaged in it. It does not mean it should be illegal.
Swearing is unrefined. It doesn't mean it should be illegal.

You can engage in these behaviors, but keep it away from me.
Why do I have to be in support of an action to be opposed to its prohibition?
My work here is, finally, done.