[Exi-bay-chat] Re: on Geoethical Nanotechnology

Anton Sherwood bronto at pobox.com
Sun Jul 10 19:10:53 UTC 2005

Natasha Vita-More wrote:
> Yes, I would like to see libertarianism as an ethical theory rather than 
> a political theory, but unfortunately it is most widely known as a 
> political stance or position.  Like most political position it falls 
> short because it is dogmatized in a stance that is unwilling to 
> negotiate. 

Are you talking about reality or about public perception of 
libertarians?  We negotiate all the time, that's the nature of social 
life.  Have you known libertarians to refuse to negotiate the terms of a 

Why, just two days ago I had to negotiate how some papers (which were in 
my custody but not of any interest to me) were to be transferred to 
someone thirty miles away.  A mutually beneficial arrangement was found, 
and no one had to bend any principles.

 > Resolving conflicts and developing procedures for creating
> workable solutions is about negotiation.

Agreed.  Libertarians hold that the consent of a political majority to 
impose a resolution on everyone is not a legitimate substitute for the 
consent of all those affected, and that the outcomes of such processes 
are less likely to be "workable solutions" in the long run than the 
spontaneous orders generated by private negotiation.  In the private 
sector there's room for a thousand parallel solutions and people can 
choose, in light of both theory and experience, those that seem likely 
to work best.

The political process is not about resolving conflict, unless that's an 
euphemism for suppressing some interests in favor of others.  Democracy, 
from the point of view of its professional practitioners, *requires* 
conflict.  Political solutions inherently *create* conflict: there would 
be no quarrel over evolution or sex-ed, for example, if most people were 
not stuck with paying for and sending their children to 
politically-managed schools.

Anton Sherwood, http://www.ogre.nu/
"How'd ya like to climb this high *without* no mountain?" --Porky Pine

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