caught up in the current political system?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by NCbear, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. NCbear

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    Last night I got into a conversation over supper with a good friend who's a die-hard libertarian. You may know the type: hardheadedly anti-government of any kind, says the personal income tax is groundless, etc.

    We talked a lot about my own fairly simplistic understanding of "traditional liberal" and "traditional conservative" viewpoints as opposed to current "liberal" and "conservative" viewpoints--agreeing that both liberals and conservatives seem to be after people's money and tending toward a reduction of individual freedom.

    But we got stuck on one point: How can he live true to his ideals if he's still stuck within the current system? For example, if he feels government shouldn't be in the business of granting licenses (e.g., marriage licenses or drivers' licenses), then how can he escape having to buy into the whole mindset of the current system--at least enough to move within it as freely as possible with the correct ID (for example)?

    NCbear (who may not have expressed himself as clearly as he wishes, but who will be happy to clarify in later posts once general interest is established)
     
  2. SpeedoGuy

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    There's times when I admire libertarianism and there's times when I don't, for all the reasons NCBear listed. Either way, pure libertarianism seems about as utopic and practically unattainable as true environmentalism. It can't really work IRL. Perhaps the ideal of libertarianism is more valuable as a goal to work towards rather than a place to actually be.
     
  3. DC_DEEP

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    True and honest libertarians do not actually want zero government, they want minimal government. Zero government is the goal of anarchists. Personally, I have some doubts about the government's authority to do a lot of the licensing that they do, but I understand that some is necessary. Sometimes, some compromise is a necessary evil.

    I do not believe that the government has authority to tax anything that they cannot justify (just saying "because we need money and we want to tax it" is NOT justification", saying "we will tax this fuel at this rate to fund road maintenance IS justification") nor do I believe that the government has any authority to issue licenses without demonstrating the government's vested interest in regulating whatever is being licensed (drivers do need some regulation; the government has never demonstrated its vested interest in marriage) nor do I believe the government has any authority to regulate some of the things it regulates (if I want to run a moonshine still or grow pot for my own consumption, its none of their fucking business.)
     
  4. Pumblechook

    Pumblechook New Member

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    I don't think there should be any conflict of ideals with your friend. All throughout history people have lived in systems that were against what they believed. It is like two separate worlds. There is the reality that one lives in and the "perfect" ideal that one advocates. Simply by existing in a system that does not coincide with his ideals does not make him any less of a libertarian.
     
  5. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    DC said about what I was going to. I have strong libertarian sympathies myself, though I'm not libertarian on all issues as I believe that there are some functions a government should perform. I'm not an anarchist, either. Those guys are often more hypocritical than Republicans.
     
  6. JustAsking

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    I think your friend has three choices. Work within the system (in other worlds support the libertarian candidate, work to change the opinion of others, etc), drop out of the system (don't get married, don't drive a car, etc), or be a civil disobediant and risk being charged with crimes.
     
  7. shadow28

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    Yes, the best option is to just live his life and try to be healthy and happy without worrying about the government too much.
    That to me is the true definition of libertarianism.

    "Life is short, live it up" - Nikita Krushchev (look it up!!)
     
  8. hypolimnas

    hypolimnas Well-Known Member

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  9. HazelGod

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    God, I love you. If I weren't a straight man, you'd light my fire like no other. Well, you and NIC both. Oh, and JA, too.
     
  10. DC_DEEP

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    Just in the last 4 years, I've had 3 amusing/frustrating experiences due to my "libertarian" attitude.

    At the current time, I do not hold a valid driver's license, nor have a valid state-issued ID. I have refused to supply my social security number to the DMV for a variety of reasons, but mainly because I do not acknowledge the DMV's authority (nor will they verify their authority) to collect it, nor will they comply with the Privacy Act of 1974.

    I can't remember the exact situation, but I was writing a check to pay for something, and the clerk asked for my driver's license.
    "I don't have a driver's license. You may see my passport if you need identification."
    "Um... uh... well, you have to have a driver's license to write a check."
    "Why?"
    "I have to write your license number on the check."
    "Are you telling me that a passport is not valid identification in the Commonwealth of Virginia?"
    "Uh, well, I have to write something on there. How about your social security number?"
    "You are less likely to get that than my license number. May I speak to a manager?"
    The manager ended up agreeing to accept my phone number instead.

    The other situations were similar, and one was showing ID to gain entrance somewhere. In each instance, I was pretty much told that my US Passport was not acceptable identification. <sigh> And none of this had anything whatsoever to do with driving.
     
  11. NCbear

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    I think part of the point I was trying to make in my original post is that limited government (not zero government; I was clumsy with the way I worded things and inadvertently mixed apples and oranges) is what the U.S. Constitution seems to be advocating, but what we've got is centuries of accretion of nanny-state officiousness designed to tell people what they need to do (and think).

    Just as others are, I'm guilty of swallowing down (sometimes choking down) the current system and not pushing back in the kinds of ways DC_Deep describes. When someone asks me for my (sheep) number, I don't always ask why they think they need it. Sometimes it's because I'm unprepared to argue at that particular moment; sometimes it's frankly because of the naked authority displayed. At those times, it can be easier to just go with the flow instead of pushing back.

    Perhaps what I was wanting is more serious thinking--both from myself and from others--about what "government" really is, and how much we really want (and/or need), and what shape that government should take in the real world. And more serious push-back.

    NCbear (who wishes more people, including him, would ask representatives of our government why they think they need to do certain things in certain ways)
     
  12. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    Yes it is, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind about Constitutional government.

    First, the Constitution was almost entirely concerned only with the structure of the federal government. It placed only a few specific fetters or limitations on state governments. Unlike the federal government, the state governments could grow almost without bound without violating the Constitution in letter or in spirit. So the Constitution need not be read as prescribing limited government; rather, it constructed a limited federal government.

    The extension of federal control into affairs formerly considered the sole domain of the states and state law didn't begin until after the Civil War. The basic understanding of the structure and function of the federal government had to be changed and expanded to eliminate the Peculiar Institution. It was certain that it had to be eliminated, and that the states wouldn't do it if left to their own devices. Hence, the federal government had to be expanded - there was no other real option, except national dissolution.

    Second, the Constitution had to specify a very limited government if it was going to be accepted by the colonies, as none were willing to surrender too much sovereignty (in part because none were willing to cave to the others on the question of slavery). Institutions like the Senate were put in to allay fears by the smaller colonies, such as Rhode Island, that they would be exclipsed and submerged by the larger ones, such as Virginia. In a government run solely on the basis of popular representation, there would be nothing like the Senate, which represents the states equally, not the populace. The entire structure of the federal government, as specified in the Constitution, had to be subordinated to necessity; better a fairly weak government which the colonies would ratify than a stronger and more effective government which would never happen.

    The first attempt at a federal government was an immediate failure, mainly because it was too weak. The second attempt, the government as specified by the Constitution, was stronger and better, but, as was revealed fourscore and seven years or so later, still not strong enough. It was strengthened postwar by amendments rather than revolution. But it did have to be strengthened if it and the federal system on which the United States of America was built were to survive at all.
     
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