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What Libertarianism is Not • C. Jay Engel

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posted on May, 19 2015 @ 08:02 PM
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I found this to be a competent delineation of libertarian doctrine.

Much of what is alluded to within this critique is relevant to the (thankfully) growing number of libertarian sympathizers here and I do not intend to merely cast aspersions upon those who may find these criticisms personally applicable.

Instead, this unambiguous explanation seems to be a necessary and beneficial clarification.


What Libertarianism is Not: A Case Study



Bionic Mosquito summarized, in list form, his comments and interactions with a variety of quasi-libertarians, that is, people who quite like the libertarian label and have jumped aboard the train, yet who do not comprehend the sheer simplicity of the libertarian vision.  Confusing lifestyle libertinism with the political doctrine of libertarianism, their efforts merely contribute to the misrepresentation of the libertarian vision, which is simply that each person should refrain from initiating aggression against the person and property of his fellow human being.

Among the categories from BM’s post was one titled “Cato Institute.”  Cato, as I have mentioned before is probably not the best place to learn about libertarianism.  Since the tragic excommunication of Murray Rothbard (and implicitly, Austrianism), from the Washingotn-approved “libertarian” think tank, Cato has been a well funded outlet that has fallen short of presenting a pure libertarianism, undefiled and unapologetic.  What this means in our age of libertine cultural trends and anti-traditional values mentality, is that Cato has, perhaps considering a pragmatic popularity, tended to misrepresent the libertarian doctrine by fusing progressive lifestylism with libertarian “politics.”In other words, Cato is pushing the New Fusionism.  This time around, the fusionism is culturally leftist, not rightist.

Cato’s online “project,” libertarianism.org is largely ignored on my end. Yet this week, something caught my eye; primarily because, as soon as I saw the title, I knew for certain that it would prove an excellent “case study” for the present theme of “what libertarianism is not.”  First, libertarianism is the view that no person, not even if they call themselves the government, can initiate aggression against the person or property of anyone else.  Simple. As. That. Moving on.

Libertarianism therefore has no inherent views about “accepting” or “respecting” persons of different faiths, lifestyles, preferences, or habits to any extent beyond the stipulation that other people are not to be aggressed against.  No, libertarianism does not imply that we should “not judge,” or “support” or “not look down on” other people.  Perhaps you should do those things; perhaps you should not. But whatever the case, such a position stems from something other than libertarianism; because libertarianism is strictly a doctrine referring to the use of aggression in society. Thus, there is no “libertarian position” on homosexuality, transgenderism, marriage, or the like.  Sure, there is a Christian position on these things, or a Mormon position, or perhaps even an Ayn Randian Objectivist position; but again, these conversations are outside of the realm of libertarianism.

But over at libertarianism.org, the misrepresentation of this simple fact is in full gear.  Mikayla Novak writes on “The Condition of Transgender Women: Libertarian Perspectives.”  She starts off with broad, ambiguous language like “libertarian adherence to the freedom of the individual human being.” Nothing there to distinguish our own libertarianism from hers.  This is part of the problem. You have to peel back the onion to see what is there. When words are defined, that is the tricky part.

She goes on to state one of her main points:

“Further, libertarian acceptance for transwomen, transmen, and genderqueer people and, indeed, cisgender people… is not contingent upon whether there are biological or non‑biological bases of gender identity.”

Problem: there is no such thing as “libertarian acceptance.”  Libertarianism says, it is a crime to aggress against another person.  If acceptance means anything other than the idea that individuals are not to be aggressed against, then it is outside the boundaries of libertarianism.  To suggest there is such thing as “libertarian acceptance” of a group of people with a certain lifestyle is an indication that one misunderstands libertarianism. For instance, libertarianism is no more “accepting” to the above mentioned group than it is to the fundamentalist Christian who, say, considers the above group as morally deviant.




The cultural leftist war on society is quickly becoming a cultural leftist war on the political doctrine of libertarianism.

Novak:

the philosophy of libertarianism represents a broader cast of mind seeking to enhance the life of each individual person…

No. The “philosophy of libertarianism” does not seek to enhance anyone’s life. Rather, it seeks to articulate where aggression against person or property is legitimate and where it is not.

…and to extend to them maximum respect for their dignity, freedom, and individuality.

No. Libertarianism does not seek to extend respect to people, and no one has a right to their “dignity.”

Clearly, this must incorporate the dignity, freedom, and individuality inherent in the ways in which people identity with, and express, their gender identity, if libertarianism is to maintain relevance and meaning to the lives of each and every human being.

No. Libertarianism does not need to change its message to stay relevant. Libertarianism is the age old idea that each person should refrain from initiating aggression against the other. Libertarianism is not about promoting acceptance and approval for all these new lifestyle preferences that keep popping up. In the name of “maintaining relevance,” libertarianism as a label is now being applied far beyond its intellectual boundaries.

Don’t go around confusing libertarianism with libertinism. Your only accomplishment will be pushing away those who properly understand the doctrine and bringing in those who do not.
edit on 19-5-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 19 2015 @ 08:34 PM
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Yeah...heres my problem with this post: political parties co-opt ing terms. I agree with you usually...but parties are fluid if they represent their constituents. .so rigid definitions only define the totalitarian origins of the the op.





a reply to: greencmp



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 08:43 PM
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a reply to: BlueJacket

You are certainly not the only one to consider the active correction of others opinions on this subject as somehow coercive.

I contend that it is not. It is an elucidation of the simple and inexpansible concept of non-aggression that embodies libertarian thought.

One may have a variety of ideas outside of that basic principal but, those ideas are necessarily not libertarian, desirable as they may or may not be.
edit on 19-5-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 08:55 PM
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a reply to: greencmp

All political parties have evolved so much over time.

I consider myself a libertarian as of now, but I might have to change that if the libertarian party gains some real momentum.

With more and more people identifying with a certain label, more and more fringe elements can change and twist and disassemble the core values into something unrecognizable.



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 08:57 PM
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a reply to: greencmp
The only true Libertarian is the statement "I do not care what you do in your life as long as you are not hurting someone or yourself or do not try to interfere with my right to live my life " period.



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 08:58 PM
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Appreciated. ..I cannot absolve myself completely from aggressive behavior. Not to imply that I lead with it...its just after you raise kids and live a bit...kinda like a momma lion...sometimes a roar and a hard bite to the neck drives the lesson home. Much respect for you...dont misinterpret.

Im for LIBERTY not withstanding ideology. ...as a result I vote mostly Libertarian.
nice thread.
reply to: greencmp


edit on 19-5-2015 by BlueJacket because: eta



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 09:01 PM
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Thats what I believe. ..but fact is nature doesnt. Perhaps Im a naturalist? reply to: Gothmog



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 09:03 PM
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Correction

I dont give a rats bum if you hurt yourself.


a reply to: Gothmog



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 09:06 PM
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originally posted by: BlueJacket
Thats what I believe. ..but fact is nature doesnt. Perhaps Im a naturalist? reply to: Gothmog


Well , a Libertarian does not have to accept just acknowledge , but absolutely does not judge except for the cases I noted in my post .But in certain cases I would agree with your statement of certain people harming themselves.

edit on 19-5-2015 by Gothmog because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 09:10 PM
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originally posted by: BlueJacket
Appreciated. ..I cannot absolve myself completely from aggressive behavior. Not to imply that I lead with it...its just after you raise kids and live a bit...kinda like a momma lion...sometimes a roar and a hard bite to the neck drives the lesson home. Much respect for you...dont misinterpret.

Im for LIBERTY not withstanding ideology. ...as a result I vote mostly Libertarian.
nice thread.
reply to: greencmp



Boy howdy, don't I know it.

I have been struggling with the seeming incompatibility between my near complete consistency with the principal of non-aggression and my advocacy for war against what I consider to be enemies of humanity.

I do not believe that my position is at odds with the non-aggression principal because those enemies have declared war against each and every one of us and, therefore, merit a violent response.
edit on 19-5-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 09:24 PM
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Love your thoughts...

a reply to: greencmp



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 09:24 PM
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originally posted by: rockintitz
a reply to: greencmp

All political parties have evolved so much over time.

I consider myself a libertarian as of now, but I might have to change that if the libertarian party gains some real momentum.

With more and more people identifying with a certain label, more and more fringe elements can change and twist and disassemble the core values into something unrecognizable.


I am encouraged by the increased identification with libertarianism among so many people and I do not want to discourage that trend.

That said, better to expound upon the philosophy now while people's formative jumble of thoughts are still malleable.

I do not mean to dissuade any opinions outside of this core definition, only to make clear the finite nature of the concepts that can be truly referred to as 'libertarian'.



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 09:35 PM
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It seems to me that saying "libertarianism is strictly a doctrine referring to the use of aggression in society" is a bit of a simplification. It's not just about being peaceful and never being aggressive... maybe that is a type of Libertarian life style but it's far too simple to be a political philosophy. That seems some what ironic to me considering the first paragraph quoted by the OP talks about confusing those two things.

The way I see it, libertarianism really promotes individual freedom / personal liberty above any other principle. Some times aggression is needed to control those who would wish to infringe upon the personal liberty of others. So some type of police and/or army is necessary imo, it's just that libertarians are very careful about keeping those types of institutions in check and not letting them grow too large.

That is why you often hear libertarians promoting small government which doesn't spend money it doesn't have. If you let them grow too large they can abuse their power and minimize personal liberty and if they start spending money they don't have it creates debt that future generations will have to deal with, and when wealth is taken from someone without their consent it infringes on their liberty.
edit on 19/5/2015 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 09:36 PM
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originally posted by: Gothmog
a reply to: greencmp
The only true Libertarian is the statement "I do not care what you do in your life as long as you are not hurting someone or yourself or do not try to interfere with my right to live my life " period.


It really is that simple.




posted on May, 19 2015 @ 09:40 PM
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I had a detailed response to this thread written up ... and my iPad dumped it.


In summary, there are wolves out there in sheep's clothing.

I tend to respect Libertarianism, but I lean towards the Tea Party and a more pro-active stance on the issues. The Libertarian temperance isn't something to be discredited.

I'd love to see the Libertarians and Tea Partiers as the two main political parties in the U.S.



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 09:47 PM
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originally posted by: ChaoticOrder
It seems to me that saying "libertarianism is strictly a doctrine referring to the use of aggression in society" is a bit of a simplification. It's not just about being peaceful and never being aggressive... maybe that is a type of Libertarian life style but it's far too simple to be a political philosophy. That seems some what ironic to me considering the first paragraph quoted by the OP talks about confusing those two things.

The way I see it, libertarianism really promotes individual freedom / personal liberty above any other principle. Some times aggression is needed to control those who would wish to infringe upon the personal liberty of others. So some type of police and/or army is necessary imo, it's just that libertarians are very careful about keeping those types of institutions in check and not letting them grow too large.

That is why you often hear libertarians promoting small government which doesn't spend money it doesn't have. If you let them grow too large they can abuse their power and minimize personal liberty and if they start spending money they don't have it creates debt that future generations will have to deal with, and when wealth is taken from someone without their consent it infringes on their liberty.


In fairness, most political doctrines severely frown upon individual acts of aggression against others.

The primary difference between libertarianism and other political doctrines is that we do not differentiate between individuals and government. Both must adhere to the very same rules without exception.

Additionally, since the NAP is not a manifestation of pacifism, there is virtually no need for the monopoly of violence that the state currently possesses since each and every one of us may defend our persons and property with deadly force.



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 09:49 PM
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originally posted by: Snarl
I had a detailed response to this thread written up ... and my iPad dumped it.


In summary, there are wolves out there in sheep's clothing.

I tend to respect Libertarianism, but I lean towards the Tea Party and a more pro-active stance on the issues. The Libertarian temperance isn't something to be discredited.

I'd love to see the Libertarians and Tea Partiers as the two main political parties in the U.S.


I hate that!



I like the forced summary though, I agree!




posted on May, 19 2015 @ 09:53 PM
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originally posted by: BlueJacket
Yeah...heres my problem with this post: political parties co-opt ing terms. I agree with you usually...but parties are fluid if they represent their constituents. .so rigid definitions only define the totalitarian origins of the the op.

a reply to: greencmp


Who gives a flying-f what the political parties think or co-op. This is really is quite simple, my rights end where yours begin and do no harm. If political parties can't get it right, screw 'em, their relevance is diminishing.

Cheers - Dave
edit on 5/19.2015 by bobs_uruncle because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 10:18 PM
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I believe in voluntary interactions and that a person should not infringe on others or their property. Now if someone asks for my help I will gladly give it to them in most situations. I simply don't believe that we meddle uninvited with the lives of others.



posted on May, 19 2015 @ 11:27 PM
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a reply to: greencmp

I agree with you, and I appreciciate your OP.

Instead of bashing one side vs. the other, you used a well reasoned and educational approach.

I was just thinking out loud on how a very good idea can spiral out of control.

Probably not relevant in circumspect, but there has been a pattern.



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