I've been listening to a Freakenomics podcast today that is mostly about, and fairly supportive of, Libertarians and their ideas.
While it's good to get the information, it mostly serves to remind me why their ideas and ideals tend to irritate me.
First... I want to state that I actually support what I understand to be the main goal of Libertarians. I support not having any more rules or laws than necessary, and generally cutting out those laws and rules that are overly restrictive and only serve to aid in corruption and putting money into politics or otherwise hurting people.
My problem is that in the consideration of what laws and rules are necessary.. . What I usually hear about Libertarians is that they support deregulation..across the board, and privatization or many things that our government currently provides. And. . if they are even interested in social justice of any kind, it's entirely along the lines of lessening restrictions on what people do, and not doing anything to fix or make the landscape healthier for those that are disenfranchised.
My perception is that Libertarians have a couple of broken fantasies: 1. that the Market is free and will self regulate, and 2. that people don't actually need government for very much in their lives.
Again I completely think that our current system *is* too convoluted, and rigged in favor of the rich, and politically connected. Unfortunately I hear so often about how they want to get the government out of business, take out the regulation, and basically let people make money however they want. And I think that results in those with money having way more money to stay in their money and bar entry to others doing anything that might encroach on their ability to make money. It turns out. . . when one is rich, one tends to have the power to influence the market way easier than those that have less money. Without regulation that tends to be the case in general money = power.
The market is not free without regulation.
Also the only way people even begin to have equal chance at equal opportunities is if those with fewer opportunities are lifted up to the same level as those that already have them.
If education quality is not the same for everyone (ideally the best that we can design) then we get people who have wildly different opportunities from the beginning, not even taking into account humanity's general natural biases and different economic or social power differences.
The bottom line is that there are a lot of things that it is nearly impossible for individuals to do, and one *needs* a community, really a government to do them Even if you can somehow fairly create infrastructure for a community in a privatization level, it's very challenging to create a community that is fair and supports *everyone* if it is run and fueled by private concerns instead of government regulation.
Maybe I'm cynical, but I really believe that individuals really need laws and regulation or at least larger organizational motivation in order to actually be significantly charitable and look out for those with less might to make right.
This may be another bit of cynicism, but when people complain about laws and regulation that are designed to help others economically or otherwise and keep people safe from individuals and corporations/businesses. . all I can think of is that those people are upset at not being able to exert their power at the detriment of others.
I'm really in favor of having as few of laws as possible, and eliminating loopholes for taxes etc, and really taking as much money out of politics as possible. But even more important, I'm in favor of doing everything we can as a society to make society better. We need to support educating *everyone* as a default setting. We need to support making sure everyone has housing, everyone has food, everyone has healthcare as a default setting. I'm actually very in favor of a guaranteed not uncomfortably surviving level of income. There can still be incentive for people to "do better" but if you are focused on just surviving, you can't focus on making the world a better place. We need to construct a society that actually makes everyone better, and not "Every person out for themselves".
Show me a Libertarian movement that is not based on deregulating big business and that supports social equality and programs that really help those that don't have the power to help themselves and I might just sign on.
- ► 2011 (22)