Thoughts on Libertarianism

This page includes some thoughts on libertarianism.  It will be initially unorganized because hopefully it will grow  and be rewritten several times.  These are lessons learned from the pages of "The Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph" while and after we lived there.  It was the only newspaper that delivered the truth in its news reporting and its opinions were reserved for the editorial page. 

One experience we had in reference to that was the news of a church bombing in our home city of Birmingham.  When we read the story in the Gazette-Telegraph, we were shocked and immediately called home.  Our relatives and friends reported that what we read there was more accurate than what was reported in the "Birmingham News", the home city newspaper.

Principles

The underlying principles(from the  Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) of libertarians are

  1. committed to the belief that individuals, and not states or groups of any other kind, are both ontologically and normatively primary;
  2. that individuals have rights against certain kinds of forcible interference on the part of others;
  3. that liberty, understood as non-interference, is the only thing that can be legitimately demanded of others as a matter of legal or political right;
  4. that robust property rights and the economic liberty that follows from their consistent recognition are of central importance in respecting individual liberty;
  5. that social order is not at odds with but develops out of individual liberty;
  6. that the only proper use of coercion is defensive or to rectify an error;
  7. that governments are bound by essentially the same moral principles as individuals;
  8. and that most existing and historical governments have acted improperly insofar as they have utilized coercion for plunder, aggression, redistribution, and other purposes beyond the protection of individual liberty.
From these fundamental beliefs flow all other beliefs and should be referenced back to these as applications are examined.

Questions and Answers

Government

Can a government, like a state government, or the federal government exist in a libertarian state?  Yes! In fact, the Constitution of the United States (original + the first 10 amendments) contain many of the elements of a contract that could serve as basis of a libertarian state.  Several elements of the constitutions would need significant modifications to conform the the principles.  Most notable is the section giving the power of the government to govern interstate commerce which has been improperly used to pass laws contrary to Principles 1-4 and 6 above.  Additionally, the power of taxation, and the means of financing the expense of the government would need to be examined and replaced.

Socialism, Communism, and Communes.

It is conceivable that contracts of local governments organized along the lines of socialistic and communistic lines can exist within the confines of a libertarian state.  If, for example, a community desires to base its existence on a "from each according to his ability to each according to his need" contract, there is nothing that prevents that community from existing.  Unfortunately, the participants would of necessity negotiate away one or more of the principles above.  Ultimately, the participants must be guaranteed a means of exiting the contract.

Religious Freedom

There is no reason that multiple religions can not co-exist in a libertarian state.  The worship or non worship of a god or gods is permitted as long as principles of Libertarianism are observed.


Economics

What kind of general economy can exist in a libertarian state?  Ludwig von Mises suggests that a laissez faire approach (see the Austrian School) is the most appropriate.  Unrestricted capitalism that conforms to the libertarian principles would be the economic engine to build the wealth of the libertarian state.  Capitalism has been responsible for the growth of the wealth for most of its history.  Only in the last century has the attacks of the opposition to capitalism succeeded in calling the capitalistic principle into question.  One must examine those attacks in view of the motivations of those making the attacks.

Foreign Aid

The money, misnamed, is quite often a tribute or bribe.  Almost always, someone opposes payment of a bribe.  Unless all individuals in a libertarian state approve such a tribute or bribe or even true aid, it becomes a violation of principle 7 above, specifically the principle that one person should not take from another without the other's permission.

There should be no restrictions on organizations who wish to aid individuals in other countries if they wish. However, the members of the organizations must realize that such aid to peoples of oppressive governments actually benefit the oppressive government by removing some of their responsibilities and pressures to enhance prosperity by making their people more free.

Progressivism

Progressivism as defined by John Halpin is "Progressivism is an orientation towards politics, It's not a long-standing ideology like liberalism, but an historically-grounded concept... that accepts the world as dynamic." In fact, the history of Progressivism indicates that the objectives that would appear to be good on the surface like "social justice", "free education", "universal health care", "protection of the environment" ... assumes that the government is the agency that can bring bring these objectives into reality.  However, it does it  at the expense of individual liberties and rejection of the capitalist approach.