I have only really just started studying Marxism in depth (though I am stopping short of Capital for now). Subsequently, while reading Bertell Ollman‘s Alienation: Marx’s Conception of Man in a Capitalist Society, it once again struck me that (right-)libertarianism is really just lazy Marxism. In many ways libertarianism reads like the first third of Marxism: the area which explores methodological questions and the nature of man. Both libertarianism and Marxism are generally fairly agreeable – and in agreement – in this area, but the former never really fleshes out its arguments satisfactorily. Often I find libertarians, after describing some basic principles (non coercion etc.), make the jump to property rights and capitalism being the bestest thing ever, without fully explaining it.*
Now, I’m not saying what I’m about to say is how it is or that these are the facts. It’s just my opinion.
There’s actually a good amount of common ground. The main point is that the government sucks, and both sides want them to have less power over our lives. Simple enough. We both think the government should stay out of the bedroom, and we agree on just about all the other social issues as well as our views on the war spending.
Liberals and Libertarians are equally boring in that regard, in that they oppose government intervention in their personal lives, but fail to understand the socio-economic mechanism that gives the state so much power (ie capitalism).
Both understand the power and corruption of the rich and the destruction of all the other classes because of it. Most liberals I know, or see on TV/Tumblr/Facebook, feel it’s the government’s job to feed and house the poor by taxing the rich or raise minimum wage and welfare and basically legislate the rich into redistributing their wealth to the less fortunate, all while pushing laws to make everyone equal and all the things that, ideally, shouldn’t even really be a problem. Nobody can really argue with what they’re trying to achieve. It’s basically peace and acceptance of everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation and whatever else makes us different. An honorable cause.
You are too kind to liberals. Liberals support those things on paper, but by supporting a State capitalist system, they really are unable to do any of those things because the rich control the political process.
The difference, in my eyes, is personal accountability. I identify as a libertarian. Here’s why. Here’s also why I feel that, if more liberals even knew what a libertarian was, there’d be a lot more libertarians. Libertarians believe that it’s not the government’s job to really do much of anything. Instead of using their power to do good things, Libertarians feel they should just be stripped of their power and the money we give them via taxes should just be put back in the hands of the people. We feel that people should be left to make their own decisions and run their own lives with their own money. That includes taking government out of our social and love lives. Instead of increasing taxes and just blindly giving the government our money to spend on what they wish, we’d rather keep the money and spend it however WE wish.
Here you set a good goal (money/power being back in the hands of the people instead of an ineffectual government), but you don’t account for the oppressive economic aspect of our society. Let’s assume we create this world of limited/no government. By definition, bigger businesses will get richer and poorer people will become poorer because of economies of scale. Thus, economic power will be shifted away from the people. If you truly want power to be in the hands of the people, you will want some mechanism that either renders economies of scale obsolete or makes it economies of scale not hurt the people. Doing so will either require government intervention, or a change in the economic system itself.
I feel, and I’m sure many others feel this way, that people only get selfish once the things they work for get taken from them. If we were able to keep the fruits of our labor, it would give us the freedom to financially support whichever causes we want to, as opposed to some of our money being spent on billion dollar research to find out how much an ant eats in a day, or a war we don’t even agree with. We wouldn’t be forced, by law, to have car insurance. It would be an option. Instead of school loans and insurmountable debt, college would just be more affordable, so you wouldn’t have to take out a 50,000 dollar loan.
I honestly feel like life would be much better for everyone if we lived that way. Let rich people be rich, but make it so they don’t get rich off of our efforts, but their own. Nobody should be taxed any more than anyone else. You can’t force equality by tipping the scales in any particular direction. The only way is to get rid of the scales.
If you truly believe that, and extend these statements to their logical conclusion, you are a socialist. (not necessarily a socialist who supports government. ie Anarchism is a type of socialism)
There’s a lot more I want to say, but I have to go and I don’t know how to save on this new Tumblr format.
That’s at least what I think.
PS, I welcome different opinions to be openly discussed. Just be civil and not a dick.
Civility is boring, but I tried to be relatively nice (at least nicer than usual).
In free markets, property is controlled by individuals and entities. They use a monopoly on violence to set rules and regulations dictating what does and does not happen on their property.
The current system has this one really large entity that sets rules and regulations dictating what happens on its vaste property, therefore this isn’t capitalism because that large entity calls itself the state.
But if walmart owned all that land and dictated what happened on it, then it would be the free market. Because the state is coercive.
Yeah, I know that I can always leave the USA and pick another large entity to live under, just like how in my super ideal free market people could just quit their jobs and find other jobs/find other property to live on/find other capitalists to toil under, but the difference here is that the US government is a STATE and states are coercive!!!!!!
Baseballlibertarian, whilst talking about Stefan Molyneux.
Libertarian Star Wars
Max Weber, in Politics as Vocation.
Note: Capitalism entails capitalist control of property by means of violence. The capitalist, or owner, of any given private property claims the monopoly legitimate use of physical force over/within the territory/property he controls. In other words, capitalists are NOT anarchists.
- Libertarian/Anarcho-capitalist la-la land is created
- Become super fucking rich
- Buy almost all the capital in the world
- Own almost every business
- Give workers control of means of production
- Since land will be protected by militia groups, the militias you’ve been hiring to keep your land safe will be paid to protect every worker collective.
- Since anarcho-capitalism is 100% voluntary, every person is now ‘voluntarily’ a socialist
Society must observe and respect property for it to be valid, and thus a social contract is required for property.
If you disregard the concept of a social contract, you are disregarding property as well. There is no natural right to property (or anything). All rights are created by man and are justified via social contract or something similar.
Libertarians have no problem justifying property. They do seem to disregard every other aspect of the ‘social contract’ in the name of “individualism”. When they are provided property and the means of oppressing the proletariat, they are fine with the social contract. But when they are told they should at least try to pay for the health care of the working class, or fund science to improve society, it’s thievery.
That’s total bullshit.
I’ll leave you with a quote by Rousseau (who I don’t even like that much):The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared, had some one pulled up the stakes or filled in the ditch and cried out to his fellow men: “Do not listen to this imposter. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one!
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract and The Discourses
Libertarians often say that they don’t owe anyone anything because they worked hard to get where they are. The thing is, people do not live in a bubble. We are all part of society and all suffer with and gain from what is going on in the world. Libertarians are ignoring reality when they say that they shouldn’t be paying for someone else’s healthcare when that “person hasn’t done anything for them”. No person is self made. Don’t act like you are.
“bootstraps” has been and always will be a terrible argument.