Why Libertarians Suck


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MicroBalrog
December 26, 2003, 01:11 PM
Why Libertarians Suck
by B. Karpa

I have always agreed with libertarians on most things. Gun control, drugs, prostitution - be my guest. I not only agree to live in a society where any sane adult may buy AK-47's, hashish, and Bunny Ranch visits at one swipe of his credit card, I revel in the notion. I agree - I find the ATF, DEA, FBI scarier than my next door neighbor, even if he arms himself with an MP-5. My neighbor probably doesn't have the propensity to burn people alive like that bunch does.
However, libertarians suck. Fundamentally. Why? Let's look at a libertarian's view of welfare. Libertarians are fundamentally immune to any discussions of the effectivity of welfare programs, public schooling, the answer is always "As for the consequences, that doesn't justify the immorality of the solution." or something to that tune. To a Libertarian, taking away even a dime of your money to give someone else is immoral, because he views it as an act of theft, and theft is always immoral to him, even if that someone else is starving. To a libertarian, property is right up there with life and liberty, and those who want to take a dime of his money are down there with Hitler and Stalin. Nevermind the potential benefit! You don't think that ANYTHING justifies STEALING, now do you? You don't believe THE END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS, right?
Obviously, that is the big flaw with libertarians. They believe in absolutist ethics. To a libertarian, theft is NEVER justified, and so welfare is evil. Because he rates property as equal to life and property, people who support welfare are evil, maybe even approaching the evil of Ted Bundy and Janet Reno. That is, of course, pure, unadulterated, unmixed nonsense.
The idea that ethical rules are absolute, simple, and unyielding to circumstances is the basis of libertarian ideology and it is demonstrably false. For example, take the statement "Killing is wrong". But is it ALWAYS wrong? Even when somebody tries to kill you? Was the assassination of Nazi leaders wrong? Or let's say abortion is wrong (abortion rights people will have to bear with me for a moment) ALWAYS wrong? Even when it saves a life? Obviously, as the writers of the Bible and Talmud already knew, you cannot have a hard and fast law which will fit all situations - in fact, according to the Talmud, in some situations you MUST steal.
Libertarians and other political writers have almost invariably used the appeal to absolutist ethics for the same reason: to avoid using statistics and facts, and in fact to avoid discussing the efficiency of a given policy. Why discuss the efficiency of welfare if it’s an intricately immoral institution in the first place? Obviously, to a non-absolutist reader, welfare would only be an immoral policy if it caused damage. To an absolutist, welfare would be an immoral policy even if it aided untold millions of people – because “how does that justify stealing one red cent?”
I have a friend who lives in the UK. He is suffering from a CF. The National Health Service provides him with access to Britain’s best doctors. The “immoral” NHS system is why he is still alive. If the libertarians had their way, it would be almost absolutely impossible for him to have that access. Yet to them, it is “unjustifiable” to steal “one red cent” to keep my friend alive.
Libertarians view foreign policy from the same angle. They believe America (or whatever country the libertarian is question is in) should never involve itself in foreign affairs except to direct defend herself – even to prevent a war. Even to prevent genocide. (Note: America’s lack of opposition on the UN 1994 decision to ban arms imports into the Balkans, combined with it’s non-interventionist position caused Sriebrenica. They further extend these position to apply to – well, anything.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why libertarians suck – because they build their entire social platform on an unsupportable basis of absolutist ethics and logic. A pure libertarian government would unyieldingly steer America, Israel, or any other country to a total social collapse, unwilling to steal “one red cent” from Enron and Haliburton – yet willing to watch hundreds spend whatever remains of their lives on the verge of starvation, unwilling to send “one soldier abroad” – yet willing to watch thousands of people being massacred by the dictator du jour.
Which is not to say, of course, that libertarians suck MORE than the current political party. If a libertarian party existed in Israel, I would vote for it. In the current climate, all the difference between the major political parties (in Israel as well as elsewhere in the West) is the colour and size of the proverbial government boot. Voting for libertarians would at the very least shift the focus of the debate to whether such a boot was needed – and help candidates from other parties gain a dose of healthy respect to my civil rights. So if libertarians were available, I’d vote for them, until a liberal supportive of my rights popped up (maybe an Israeli John Dingell variant?)

Hold on for part two – “Why Republicans Suck?” and part three – “Why Liberals Suck?”

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Art Eatman
December 26, 2003, 01:17 PM
Republican suction and Liberal suction ain't gonna live any longer than this suctionitis, either.

Art

Marko Kloos
December 26, 2003, 01:22 PM
In other words, you totally agree with the Libertarians on their absolutist stance to the rights you agree with, and you think they suck because they have an absolutist stance on the rights you disagree with.

Listen, MB: the reason why a Libertarian has to be an absolutist in all of those matters is because of the core of Libertarian philosophy. It's a very simple litmus test by which all political and social questions can be decided. It's called the Non-Aggression Principle.

I, as a Libertarian, believe that the initiation of force is always immoral. I may use force in defense of self and others, but only in response to someone else's attempt to infringe on my rights or property by force.

You believe that you have the right to threaten other people with death or imprisonment in specific circumstances. The fact that you only claim to use that right in support of causes that are worthy does not matter one bit in the end. You have already consented that the threat of force is a legitimate way to deal with other people when the circumstances require it. Your conflict with your fellow Liberals, and with the Conservatives, is that some of them disagree with you on the specifics on some of these circumstances, that's all. In reality, you are kin with both Liberals and Conservatives, in that you all think you have the right to mug your neighbor as long as the cause is right. You all just disagree over which cause that is, and how much money you ought to leave in your victim's purse.

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