Libertarianism is a Barbarism

Discussion in 'Politics' started by B_bxmuscle, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. B_bxmuscle

    B_bxmuscle New Member

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    Internet History Sourcebooks "The Defense of Laissez-Faire", 1840

    French philosopher Bernard Levy famously called 20th century Communism "Barbarism with a Human Face" back in 1977. That's inspired me to critique what we now call Libertarianism as an old barbarism disguised under a new name.

    It was called "Social Darwinism" for most of the 20th century thanks to Richard Hofstadter’s “Social Darwinism in American Thought” (1944). Francois Quesnay coined the term “laissez-faire” to describe it in the mid-18th century, but that name was popularized by J-B Say during his popularization of Adam Smith in France after the French Revolution (he’s also sometimes credited with “Say’s Law” aka “the Law of Markets”). “Libertarianism” came into vogue by the 1970s in the U.S. to reclaim these ideas from the label of “Social Darwinism.”

    Like most modern barbarisms, Libertarianism has ideological appeal. What most of its defenders or critics don’t address is the real world, real life experiences that these ideas produced. The link above is to an 1840 UK newspaper that was vigorously opposing proposed legislation to regulate (not even end!) child labor in the textile industry, which employed large number of children as young as 8 or 9 for specific tasks in which industrial accidents were routine. It has all the same old arguments that Libertarians/Social Darwinists use to this day to promote their particular barbarism of unfettered capitalism: Freedom! Liberty! Parental and Personal Responsibility! Government ALWAYS causes more problems than it solves when it tries interferes! Legislation should REMOVE interference, not add to it. See it for yourself.

    The Social Darwinists/Libertarians haven’t come up with one new idea since. It was wrong then and wrong now. Civilized people should not fall into the trap of debating barbarisms of any form purely on the ground of abstract theory. As the British say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating!! We know of Stalin’s camps, let’s look at what these other types of barbarians have wrought.
     
    #1 B_bxmuscle, Jan 19, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  2. Drifterwood

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    Barbarism is a meaningless but emotive term that can only be relative to your own presumption of superiority. For example, the Child labour debate in Britain from 1840, could not have taken place in the US because you still operated a slave economy which Britain did not.
     
  3. SilverTrain

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    Come on. Of all the responses you could have made......that intentionally hyper-provocative non-sequitur?

    Still waiting on this thread...
     
  4. Drifterwood

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    Which bit is a non sequitur?

    Edit

    OK, you probably have to go to bed, I have to go to work. If child labour is barbaric in 1840 then presumably slavery is even more barbaric at the same time particularly in a country which has declared universal human rights.

    The non sequitur, if you wish, is that libertarianism, the very concept of these freedoms and rights, is somehow barbaric. On the one hand a society decides what is unacceptable in terms of controlling another human's freedom and on the other controling and restraining unacceptable outcomes of unfettered freedoms. I can't tell whether BX is saying that the pursuit of happiness should involve government interference or not. He seems to be saying that they should be involved in the things he doesn't agree with and to leave it alone when it suits him.

    Barbaric is a greek word and simply represented what non greek speakers sounded like to the Greeks. Bar bar bar bar bar....... It then also came to be a relative judgment on their customs and practices compared to the Greeks. Given that everyone was pretty barbaric at this time, it really was relative until we all agree to sign up to universal truths and rights. If you use these as a benchmark, then you can refer to the non adherence to these principles as barbaric. Hence the US Marines pissing on dead combatants is barbaric.
     
    #4 Drifterwood, Jan 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  5. The Dragon

    The Dragon New Member

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    It's ironic, is it not that so many douchebags have rectal blockages and have to eliminate verbally.

    Eat more fiber!
     
  6. aninnymouse

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    Also, Never underestimate the power of a good Colonic. Can do wonders. Seems like some people got the bezoars, In Spades.


    *Cough*

    Libertarianism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Fairly accurate overview.....


    You can't tar everything with the same brush, nor can you simply throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Reminds me of quiet_man's anti feminist rants, and his assertions that all feminists are Marxists, simply because Marxist thought did influence the second wave of feminism.
     
  7. monel

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    This was the response that best displayed his anti-American bias. Until his follow-up that is.
     
  8. Drifterwood

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    The US is almost entirely irrelevant to my life. Don't big yourself up that I care at all about the US. You are one of many bits of land and many cultures throughout history as far as I am concerned. I am a lot more interested in individuals than nationals.

    I am sorry that you didn't understand my problem with the Op from my first post. Or rather perhaps that you find the pointing out of the obvious double standard of your country's history to be offensive.
     
    #8 Drifterwood, Jan 20, 2012
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  9. monel

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    It is sometimes amazing how words can profess one thing while at the same time betraying the exact opposite. Your post is one of those things. Don't patronize me with your "assessment" of my understanding. I fully understand the concept of a gratuitous insult as you have displayed in all of your post to this thread. I get it, you have the USA and that's fine. You're entitled to your bigotries. But don't try to veil it in some righteous analysis of history. We know where you're coming from. At least give us that much credit.
     
  10. Drifterwood

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    That is your opinion for whatever reasons have lead you to it. I don't care.
     
  11. B_bxmuscle

    B_bxmuscle New Member

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    In fact the child labor did occur in the U.S. at the time and subsequently in the northern industrializing states, where child labor also widespread. One form of barbarism does not exclude an another, which is why I used the plural form. This response demonstrates why I say debates should be rooted as far as possible in demonstrable experience, not only abstractions.
     
  12. B_bxmuscle

    B_bxmuscle New Member

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    Again, doesn't address the question of what were the real consequences of what is now called "libertarian" principles in action. The response reminds me of Trotskyists and other apologists of post-Lenin Communist ideologies, who to this day argue that if only their particular version of that ideology were implement then the abuses of Stalin, or Mao, or whomever would never have happened then, or never again occur. Yeah , right. Libertarians of the past, like the defenders of American slavery before 1865, were on the wrong side of history. Even though the correctly argued that slavery had always been a part of great civilizations (Rome, Greece, the Byzantines, the great Arab caliphates, etc.), as if morality did not evolve and change along with other aspects of humanity. But as we've seem in 20th century, society can also regress morally. And will if the libertarians have their way.
     
    #12 B_bxmuscle, Jan 20, 2012
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  13. B_bxmuscle

    B_bxmuscle New Member

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    Back to Libertarianism/Social Darwinism, topic of the OP........

    I assert that the debate should include an examination of the realities of what this ideology has led to in practice when and where it was applied. But I can't blame it's defenders from wanting to avoid that discussion. I won't want to either if I wanted to make it attractive to others.
     
    #13 B_bxmuscle, Jan 20, 2012
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  14. coveryerteeth

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    In my second PolySci course, the prof presented us with a quadrant diagram delineating four different ideologies. The vertical axis separated Social Liberals from Social Conservatives and the horizontal axis separated Fiscal Liberals from Fiscal Conservatives. The breakdown was this:

    Democrats - Socially & Fiscally Liberal
    Libertarians - Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative
    Republicans - Socially & Fiscally Conservative
    Communists - Socially Conservative, Fiscally Liberal

    I had never heard of Libertarians before that class and my reaction was, "Wow! That's me, exactly. Why do the Dems & the GOP have a strangle-hold on US politics? Why don't some savvy people get in gear and start pushing hard for Libertarian ideals?"

    As the years have gone by, I've stopped referring to myself as a Libertarian and simply describe my political position as "maximizing individual liberties while minimizing the role of the state (read: code for Libertarianism, as I understand it)." The reason I don't refer to myself as a one is because every time you see a self-proclaimed Libertarian on TV, they're some racist ass-clown that wants to dismantle the government starting with the Civil Rights Act.

    The problem with Libertarianism is that it appeals to people who take ideals like "freedom" & "liberty" as carte blanche to whatever the hell they damned well please and screw over whomever they like without consequence. What these chimps don't get is that exercising your freedom in a way that infringes upon another's doesn't maximize individual liberty, at all.

    Some clever person (whose family name isn't Paul) needs to sit everyone with Libertarian leanings down and say, "The role of the state is [this]." Planks on the platform should be things like protecting minorities from the tyranny of the majority, combating poverty & hunger, protecting the health & safety of the citizenry, etc, in addition to basic things like maintaining infrastructure, national defense, law enforcement, etc. Nothing vague or ambiguous, like "provide for the common good."

    Then they should say, "If you aren't on board with all of these things, stop calling yourself a Libertarian and GTFO!!!"
     
  15. Drifterwood

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    Great post Coveryerteeth. Your planks on the platform expression is precisely what I was trying to communicate, as well as nebulous concepts needing some benchmark.

    I am not sure that I go with your old professor, I tend to be wary of simple boxes, but they are useful for demonstration or bones upon which flesh needs to be put. I'll also go with BX's use of barbarism, it is his thread, I just wished to put a caveat on it. Interesting though that you have four boxes and only two political parties, perhaps this explains the evolution of those parties around the Libertarian ground.

    I am interested in how Republicans can be considered fiscally conservative, given the reality that we have seen of an unfettered Wall Street. I will throw out there the opinion that their fiscal conservatism is more a reluctance to fully support the less fortunate. Was this a change in Republicanism that came with Reagan?
     
    #15 Drifterwood, Jan 21, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  16. Drifterwood

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    If you are going to presume to put people into camps BX, and then be antagognistic, this discussion will either end or descend to name calling. Beneath the title, there is an interesting discussion to be had.

    What do you take Libertarian to mean?

    I see Jefferson as one of the great Libertarian proponents. I just have a problem with his utter racism at the same time as advovating that all men are created equal. But I'll try to move on from that unfortunate problem.

    Rights are tempered by responsibilities IMO and experience. I have no time for people who wish to control other people's rights because of their personal moral, religious or other compass. I don't have time for people who make a lot of money but won't educate or provide medical and other care for their fellow citizens. I don't have time for people who over consume and waste resources without consideration to the consequences.

    Does that make me a libertarian?
     
  17. dandelion

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    Someone suggested looking at the wiki definition, and I did. The problem -as with many ideas- seems to be there is no clear definition of libertarianism. It broadly means having less law, but supporters vary from totally no law whatsoever to essentially what we have now. So hard to comment on any particular viewpoint unless it is clearly defined what is meant.

    I favour the concept that law should exist to maximise personal freedom. So there have to be laws allowing private ownership and to protect the individual from harm. So where does that stop? there have to be laws forbidding pollution, because that affects the individual. There have to be laws preventing banks ripping off private individuals, from behaving in a socially irresponsible way which might make them fantastically rich but leaves the rest of jobless. There have to be laws ensuring the wealth we have created as a nation is available to all citizens. Currently the US and indeed the UK are failing in this. The laws we do have protect private ownership to the extent that money collects in the hands of the few.
     
  18. B_bxmuscle

    B_bxmuscle New Member

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    100% correct. My whole point in posting this thread is to show how like all purest ideologies, Libertarianism has immense theoretical appeal -- until you see it in action. The real problem with combating it is that too few people know what the world was like when these principles were powerful and influential.

    Unrestrained capitalism had its own particular types of barbarism; we need to look at and learn from them no less than we've learned about other barbarisms produced by other purest ideologies.
     
  19. B_bxmuscle

    B_bxmuscle New Member

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    A valid point. That's why we can't allow ideologues of any sort to push debates onto a purely abstract plain devoid of references from concrete examples from the real world, past or present.

    That's why I draw a parallel between the Libertarians and the old Trotskyists. They may diametrically opposed in what they believe, but both would argue that the barbarisms produced by their ideologies in action had nothing to do with problems inherent in their principles, just the misapplications of the principles by party bureaucrats; or robber barons; or specific people like Stalin; or government that distorted genuinely free markets -- anything except the principles themselves!
     
  20. Drifterwood

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    BX, libertarianism is multifaceted. You seem to be sayng that fiscal libertarianism has gone too far, hence you condemn it as barbaric. But where do you stand on the Human Rights side of libertarianism? Surely not barbaric.
     
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