Sunday, June 17, 2012

Libertarianism: Short Essay

An interesting article by someone who used to be a conservative, then decided to become a liberal, and finally decided that libertarianism is the way to go...

Title: Why I Am A Libertarian: A Brief Treatise About My Politics

Both conservatives and liberals are wrong!

For most of the earlier years of my life, I was a conservative. Like most conservatives I was pro-business, pro-tax cuts, pro-life. I believed that government could tell people what they could and could not put into their bodies, that it should be involved in marriage, and that we needed to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. As I got older, I let altruism and my feelings make me more liberal. I began to think that capitalism was flawed, and that the government needed to do more for people.

I continued down this psychotic path until the election of President Obama. That is when I started to “wake up”. I began to realize that conservatives and liberals are not that different. Both are Statist. Both want to control people—liberals want to control people economically, conservatives want to control people morally, and both are pro-war.

Liberals were never really anti-war, they were anti-Bush. Observe that the war movement among the liberals virtually disappeared overnight after Obama became president. Even though he is now waging three immoral wars, liberals are silent. He has continued the foreign policy of the Bush administration, but you will not likely find liberals rallying or protesting in the streets like they were while Bush was in office.

This leads me to my next point: both conservatism and liberalism are inconsistent and contain within their own philosophies, many contradictions. Upon further examination, the liberals are actually more consistent than the conservatives. For example, conservatives claim to be defenders of capitalism while acting as apologizers. They have a disdain for the welfare state but love corporate welfare. Some of them are advocates of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. How can any moral man be a defender capitalism, i.e., property rights, and be in favor of socialism (redistribution of wealth), i.e., Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid? He cannot. To be in favor of both is a complete and utter contradiction. But such is conservativism.

Conservatives say that capitalism is good, but some parts of it are bad(!). They say that men should be free to trade while at the same time admitting that government needs to impose some regulations and interfere in the market place. Observe the anti-trust laws. Many conservatives advocated them and continue to advocate them to this day in the name of “preserving competition”.

Conservatives, like liberals, are altruistic, though not as much as the liberals. Altruism is incompatible with capitalism. One cannot be a capitalist and an altruist at the same time.

Conservatives are worse than the liberals. Why? They lack intellectual leadership and have failed to defend capitalism by moral default. It is their inconsistency and miserable failures that aid the liberals in their attacks against capitalism, thereby becoming accessories to its destruction.

If I am neither a conservative nor a liberal, then what am I? If I am to be identified by a political label, then I would have to be labeled a libertarian. What is a libertarian? A libertarian is anyone who believes in and advocates individual liberty. They are individualists that are for limited government. They are most often described as socially liberal and fiscally (economically) conservative. They don’t want to control people neither morally nor economically (unlike liberals and conservatives) and believe that men should be free to pursue their own self-interests as long as they do not violate the rights of others.

Many of the Founding Fathers were libertarians, or classical liberals (libertarianism and classical liberalism are the same thing). They created a politico-economic system of maximal liberty and minimal government.

Modern liberals have perverted the term liberal. It no longer means advocating individual freedom. The only way that they are really “liberal” is with other people’s money. Conservatives used to be very classically liberal but the modern conservatives have completely changed that. They are willing to protect only those freedoms that they are comfortable with.

Libertarians do not necessarily believe that there is nothing wrong with certain people like drug abusers or prostitutes. They simply believe that those people should be free to be immoral and that government should leave them alone as long as they do not violate the rights of others.

Before finally deciding to become a libertarian, which was a process that took months, I had to re-examine my core values and beliefs. The very most core belief that I examined was that of man’s agency. Man owns his life and has a right to it. No one else owns his life or may control it. Therefore, man must be free to choose. Freedom means absence of force. No other man may violate his rights, nor may he violate the rights of others through force.

Since each individual man owns his own life, he owns the products of his life: his property! No man may forcibly confiscate the property of others nor may any other man forcibly confiscate his. It is only by voluntary trade that men may obtain resources from each other. This means that taxation is theft. The income tax is a complete and utter violation of individual rights.

Only individuals have rights. No group, or collective, has rights, as collectives do not exist. A collective is only a number of individuals. It is only an abstraction, not a concrete, and can, therefore, not be embodied as a living entity that has rights. Only an individual man can have rights, because he exists. Rights do not come from government, as a government is merely another abstraction composed of individual men who may not violate the rights of others. After all, how can a disembodied abstraction grant rights if it doesn’t even exist at all but is merely a number of individuals? Therefore, rights are merely an effect of existence. We have them because we exist. No majority can vote away the rights of any minority and the individual is the smallest minority of all.

It is for this reason that the founders created a Constitution and a republic (not a democracy) that protects our natural, inalienable rights from the arbitrary whims of government. All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator (whether that Creator is God, or nature, or some other force) with certain inalienable rights: Life, Liberty, Property, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The right to Life, the right to Property, and the right to the pursuit of Happiness are redundancies. They are all one in the same. You do not have a right to your life if you do not have a right to what your life produces. You do not have the right to your life if you are not free to pursue your happiness through trade and living how you see fit. Any limitation on anyone of these is a limitation on all—on life, on freedom.

Therefore, in order to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men. That means that the only proper role and function of government is to protect the rights of its citizens, or, in other words, to protect them from force. That means that the government must have a police force to protect citizens from criminals that are among them. It must also have a strong military to protect its citizens from foreign attack and invasion. It must also supply a court system in order to enforce contracts among traders and settle their disputes if any should arise, all in order to protect them from force and fraud. That is all government may do. Nothing else! Anything beyond that is not morally justified.

Conservatives do not believe this and neither do liberals. Neither is based upon reason or in reality. That is why I reject both. My political philosophy is based on reason. Not on irrationality, not on dogma, not on my feelings, and not my subjective beliefs. This is why I am a libertarian.

source: Why I Am A Libertarian: A Brief Treatise About My Politics

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