[ExI] Call To Libertarians

Darren Greer darren.greer3 at gmail.com
Sat Feb 19 18:41:39 UTC 2011

Thanks Richard. I wasn't really dismissing the comments. Only the lack of
explanation behind them. I don't think it's assuming too much to ask for an
explanation of a wry comment to an earnest question. So thank you for
providing that. Much food for thought.

I turned on the TV shortly after this discussion got cooking and the first
words I heard was "Somalian pirates." Thought that was coincidental and


On Sat, Feb 19, 2011 at 12:51 PM, Richard Loosemore <rpwl at lightlink.com>wrote:

> Darren Greer wrote:
>> Only different to those who cannot understand the inevitable end-point
>> of libertarianism.<
>> Just as the end-point of democracy is a stagnant bureaucratic state? The
>> end-point of capitalism is fascism and plutocracy? The end-point of
>> socialism is military dictatorship?
>> The end-point of any system is a situation of extremes and therefore not
>> desirable. When I asked the question I made the assumption that was
>> understood. I was looking for a bit of a nuanced interpretation, much like
>> the one Fred gave. I understand that political discourse tends to evoke
>> passionate responses, but I should have made myself clearer: I was looking
>> for an intellectual response, not a politicized, emotive one. My error.
> I think you mistake the seriousness behind my reply (and Olga's).
> Systems settle down into a balance of exchanges -- a state in which all the
> players locally are trying to get what they want in various ways, so that a
> situation emerges in which those players more or less accept a set of
> exchanges that satisfy them.
> Looking at the list of political systems you give above -- democracy,
> captialism, socialism etc. -- we can OBJECTIVELY ask questions about how
> those kinds of systems will settle down, given enough time.  We cannot find
> perfectly good answers to our questions (or we would all be Hari Seldons),
> but we can do some "sanity checks" on the basic ideas in those systems.
> One sanity check (according to people like myself and, perhaps Olga (though
> I make no pretence to speak for her)) yields one glaring, massive difference
> between the fundamental philosophy held by most libertarians and the
> philosophies held by those who cheer for the other political philosophies
> that you list.
> Libertarianism contains a glaring contradiction within it, which makes it
> clear that it could never actually work in practice, but would instead lead
> to Somalia-like anarchy and chaos.  In what follows I will try to explain
> what I mean by this.
> Libertarianism cherishes the idea that "government" should be reduced to
> the smallest possible size, and that individuals should take full
> responsibility for paying for -- or cheating others out of -- the things
> they need.  But at the same time Libertarians also want the advantages of
> civilization.  The problem is, that the things that they want to cut or
> drastically reduce are the "commons" aspects of modern civilisation .... all
> those aspects that have to do with people coming together and realizing that
> it is in everyone's best interest if the community is forced to pool their
> resources to pay for things like roads and theaters and bridges and schools
> and police forces.
> The core of the contradiction is that what the Libertarian wants to do is
> LOCALLY sensible, but globally crazy.  From the point of view of the
> individual libertarian, nothing but good can come from getting the
> government out of their wallet.  Every libertarian on the planet would see
> an immediate increase in their well-being if that happened.  But that
> increase in their well being is predicated on the assumption that nothing
> else changes in the society around them: that all the balances and exchanges
> now established continue to operate as before.  If society continues to
> operate as normal, the local well-being of every libertarian is immensely
> increased, withiout a shadow of a doubt, but that is only true if everthing
> else continues to run as it always has done.
> The mistake -- the glaring contradiction -- is this assumption that
> everthing else will stay just as it is while all the libertarians are
> counting the new money in their pocket, and setting up their own private
> arrangements to pay for healthcare, to pay road tolls on every street, to
> hire private police forces to look after them, to pay for their kids to go
> to school, to pay for a snow plow to come visit their street in the winter,
> and so on.  Why is this assumption wrong?  Because the entire edifice of
> modern civilisation is built on that assumption about taxation and pooling
> of resources for the common good.  Taxation and government and
> redistribution of wealth are what separate us from the dark ages.  The
> concept of taxation + government + redistribution of wealth was the
> INCREDIBLE INVENTION that allowed human societies in at least one corner of
> this planet to emerge from feudal societies where everyone looked after
> themselves and the devil took the hindmost.
> This fact about libertarianism is so easy to model, that the conclusion
> about "SOMALIA == the Libertarian Paradise" is almost a no-brainer. What I
> mean by "easy to model" is that when we try to understand the end point of
> other political philosophies it really is pretty hard to see exactly where
> they will go.  But in the case of libertarianism, it only takes a few
> questions to start revealing that terrifying, inevitable slide toward
> feudalism.  The questions we would ask are questions about what exactly
> would happen when all the libertarians set up accounts to pay for their
> toll-roads, healthcare, schools, snow plows etc. etc., but the vast
> underbelly of modern society cannot do the same because they do not have the
> resources.  Questions about what directions the private police forces would
> go when they have a client base that they must make happy, rather than a
> hierarchy that goes up to the nation-state level. And so on.  We can model
> those local changes quite easily because we have plenty of examples of what
> happens when those circumstances are set up.
> So in the case of libertarianism, the answers to those questions are really
> REALLY easy to come up with, and they all point toward anarchy and
> feudalism.  There are simply no good answers to those questions (i.e. no
> answers that clearly demonstrate that there is a way to push the system
> toward a stable state).
> This is the reason why the world has had, over the years, plenty of
> "democracies", "stagnant bureaucratic states", "capitalist states", "fascist
> states", "plutocracies", "socialist states" and "military dictatorships"
> ...... but not one "libertarian state".
> Or rather, according to the analysis of those who have thought about it in
> an objective way, the world HAS had many libertarian states:  they were all
> the rage in the dark ages, and they are now springing up like wild mushrooms
> in a bog, in places like Somalia.
> So, those were really not just shallow comments that I made, and that Olga
> made, for all that they were delivered with a wry smile.  There is a
> difference between the searches for an end-point of all the various
> political philosophies:  libertarianism is a glaringly obvious
> "locally-smart + globally dumb" philosophy, whereas the others are all much
> much harder to call.
> Richard Loosemore
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