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Big 'L' vs. Little 'l'

Discussion in 'Legal' started by TheArchDuke, Feb 12, 2006.

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  1. TheArchDuke

    TheArchDuke Member

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    Libertarians, what's the difference? Just curious.
     
  2. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    "l" libertarians believe in libertarian ideals but aren't members of the Libertarian Party (those folk are the "L" Libertarians).


    It is derrived from a quote from Milton Friedman who said something to the effect of "I am a libertarian with a small 'l' but a Republican with a capital 'R'. Not because I believe in the party or all it stands for, but because the Republican party is the only route to implementation of libertarian ideals." (or something like that).

    That pretty much summs up my political position as well.
     
  3. roo_ster

    roo_ster Member

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    Big "L" libertarians feel that the deoderant companies are just part of the "olfactorist" conspiracy and refrain from its use. Avoid hte Libertarian Party convention when it is held south of the Mason-Dixon.
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    Just kidding.

    Big "L" generally means "Libertarian Party" member or supporter. Small "l" indicates someeone who embraces (most) libertarian political philosophy but are not necessarily supporters of the party.
     
  4. TheArchDuke

    TheArchDuke Member

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    Makes sense. Thanks.
     
  5. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Member

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    There are also "social libertarians," who typically are libertarian on behavior (drugs, sex, guns even), but anti-libertarian on issues like welfare or corporate regulations. They use the label as a euphemism because they're too cowardly to admit they're leftists, much like many Democrats use the euphemism “progressive.” Indeed, it's usually hard to tell the differences among a progressive, a Democrat and a "social libertarian."

    "Social libertarians" pick and choose libertarian ideals, usually trumpeting the liberties they admire while being perfectly willing to promote statist solutions in other areas. If you point out to them that their pick-and-choose approach renders them leftists rather than libertarians -- that real libertarians promote liberty even in areas they hate and fear -- they'll cry foul and accuse you of attempting to say who can and cannot be a libertarian (although you're simply adhering to the definition).

    I suppose that the "social libertarian" has its right-wing counterpart, the "economic libertarian," but I've not run across one.

    We even had a "Communist libertarian" :rolleyes: on THR a few years ago -- some teenager from Israel with the handle "Microbalrog." What ever happened to him?
     
  6. Lupinus

    Lupinus Member

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    I am a very little l. I hold many to varying degrees but flat out disagree with others.
     
  7. cosine

    cosine Member

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    Well, you have now. That "economic libertarian" can describe me. I embrace the libertarian ideals of economics and most personal behaviors, but hold to conservative ideals of other personal behaviors.

    That describes me. I hold most libertarian ideals, but the ones I don't I flat out disagree with and have no problem with controlling through the law and government. For that reason I won't ever be a member of the Libertarian Party and will never support the official Libertarian Party.

    Flame me for being a statist if you wish. :rolleyes:
     
  8. cosine

    cosine Member

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    Like Zundfolge said. I'm mostly libertarian, but have a distinct conservative Republican streak. (no, not like the big Federal Republicans of today) Because of the Libertarian ideals I disagree with, the Republican party comes closest to representing my political ideals.
     
  9. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Member

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    There's the rub. Everyone -- I repeat, everyone -- supports liberty in areas he likes. Libertarians, however, support liberty in areas they hate and fear.

    A libertarian who hated guns down to his very core nonetheless would support the RKBA. A libertarian who thought abortion was murder nonetheless would be pro-choice. A libertarian who thought polluters are destined to the rot in Gaia's hell nonetheless would oppose the existence of the EPA. And so on.

    Thus, I have a problem accepting the idea of "I'm a libertarian except..."
    You misunderstand. :)

    I'm not a libertarian. I'm probably as much a "statist" as you. ;)

    I simply don't see how someone can say he's a "libertarian" while supporting liberty only in areas he likes and advocating state solutions in areas he doesn't.

    I too probably agree with libertarian on most issues. But on some issues (most notably national defense), I part ways. Thus, I shouldn’t call myself a libertarian. You shouldn’t either.

    It’s rather like saying you’re pro-RKBA, except for handguns.
     
  10. cosine

    cosine Member

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    ^^^

    I get your point. Well, I guess I can't be called libertarian (and I won't call myself libertarian) because I only embrace the libertarian ideals which are true, and reject those which are false. :)

    What do you do though when you adhere to and believe in the liberties proclaimed by libertarians which you believe are true liberties and thus everybody should have a right to do while rejecting the actions which libertarians claim are liberties because you believe that those actions are not true liberties and are false?

    In that case it seems to me that one would be libertarian because that person supports all liberties that are true for all people. In a case like that one has to find the basic definition of liberty for oneself, so that one can find what are actual, true liberties because to such a person not all liberties commonly believed to be liberties are actually true liberties. To such a person some of those liberties are false.


    Whew, I just wrote a mouthful. (And yes, you'll probably figure out that I'm describing myself.)
     
  11. BigG

    BigG Member

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    That bolded part almost flies in the face of reason itself. I'd call it as good a definition of insanity as I've read. :eek: :neener:
     
  12. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Member

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    Well, you promote those liberties you like and oppose those you don't. ;)

    But you ask an interesting question, and I don't know the answer.

    The funny thing is that the big-L Libertarians themselves probably have unwittingly promoted the ideas of "social libertarians" and "economic libertarians" with their "World's Smallest Political Quiz." But I doubt that they wanted people to think they're libertarian even if they oppose core ideals of libertarians.

    Agreeing with libertarians and being libertarian are two differennt things.
     
  13. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Member

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    I know you're just trying to ruffle the libertarians' feathers, but...

    There's a virtue in supporting liberty far beyond one's comfort zone. I hate and fear Communism. I nonetheless support 1st-Amt rights for Communists. I don't think I'm being unreasonable or insane in that position.
     
  14. Boats

    Boats member

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    In my view, small "l" libertarian ideals are a useful lens through which to view various issues and arrive at the most free-market approach.

    The "Big L" is a political party that has never accomplished anything, but has provided a platform for various kooks who think the 16th Amendment was illegally added to the Constitution.

    If the Libertarians were serious, they'd run for things like dogcatcher and then somehow abolish their post and demonstrate exactly how they would do things differently. However, they'd rather run 0.3-2.0% campaigns for state and federal offices, (can you say hypocritically pursuing Presidential campaign matching funds? I knew you could), and never win anything so that they can demonstrate against their not being invited to debates.
     
  15. cosine

    cosine Member

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    I meant that you promote all liberties that you believe are true liberties and oppose those actions which are commonly believed to be liberties because you don't believe that they are true liberties and they actually may not be true liberties.

    I hope you understand that I'm not trying to be antagonistic, I just got the impression from your answer that you didn't understand exactly what I am trying to say. In fact, I probably am not presenting my argument clearly and effectively so that it is easy to understand anyway.

    I have noticed the same thing too. They seem to want to make one believe that one is libertarian, even when as you said they oppose some libertarian ideals. I took the test, it called me libertarian, and I know that I do not agree with all aspects of libertarian ideals.

    Yep, I fully understand. :)
     
  16. BigG

    BigG Member

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    Ruffling feathers -

    Cuchulainn - I think enlightened self interest gives a much more reliable picture of human behavior than any prescribed ideology ever could. ;)
     
  17. zahc

    zahc Member

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    Hardly, unless you believe it's pro-liberty to allow freedom to murder other people, which does not describe any libertarian doctrine I've ever heard. If a person believes abortion is murder, then the rights of the murderee trump the desires of the murderer.

    This is correct, because even though you might not like X (say, drugs) you value freedom, and would rather have the drug 'problem' than have it be made worse my an attempt at a government solution. It's not that I think things I hate are good, which is a logical contridiction, it's that I don't think goverment solutions are ever desireable.
     
  18. cosine

    cosine Member

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    Zahc said through example what I've been trying to say hypothetically.
    Many people believe that pro-choice is a liberty. But what do you do when you oppose an action such as pro-choice not because it is outside of your "comfort zone" but because you believe that it is a false liberty, or, in other words, no liberty at all?

    On the other hand, what do you do when you do not wish to oppress liberties outside of your comfort zone because they are true liberties, such as freedom of speech for rabble-rousers, even when such liberties make you uncomfortable?

    Would you call that libertarian?

    (Yes, I'm still describing my political views. ;))

    Maybe I'm dull and am not getting the point you're trying to make. Maybe I'm being annoying with these questions. But, I like having this discussion. It's civil and polite, even though there are disagreements. It's like L&P back from the old days when I lurked here. :) (Not to mention that it is helping me solidify my own political views and ideals because I am forced to write about them. It has been a help. Thanks.)
     
  19. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Member

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    You're saying that libertarians support those liberties they know to be true and do not give support to "false liberties." A libertarian would oppose the false "liberty" to steal.

    Thus, you say you might be a libertarian if you support true liberties and oppose those false "liberties" that other libertarians wrongly support.

    But what I'm saying is that the libertarian philosophy does identify certain areas where liberty should be applied. Yeah, it's the consensus of a bunch of eggheads with too much time on their hands -- but those area are nonetheless core to the libertarian philosophy. If you oppose any of them, I don't see how you can call yourself libertarian.
    Maybe so.
    I see your point. Perhaps that's a poor example on my part. Abortion certainly is one of the, um, stickier points of the libertarian philosophy for just the reason you describe. But we should let it go -- abortion is a forbidden subject on THR, and I don’t want this thread shut down. I shouldn't have mentioned it. :)
     
  20. cosine

    cosine Member

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    Exactly. I'm glad that I was expressing myself clearly and that you were able to understand.

    Yes. That is what I was trying to say.

    I understand now. Thanks for putting up with me.

    I see I'm raising questions without answers in this discussion. As for abortion, I don't mean to start a debate about it, I just used it as an example of an action which some people believe is a true liberty and which others believe is a false liberty. (For anyone else posting in this thread: Don't start a debate about the liberty, true or false, of abortion. It has just been used as an example and is not the relevant subject at hand.) I want to see this thread continue.


    Apologies to TheArchDuke for hijacking his thread in which he simply asked the difference between large and little "L" libertarians with a discussion about who could be considered a libertarian.

    Well, I don't have anything more to say right now about this topic. Take care all. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2006
  21. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    Some observations

    (l/L)ibertarian threads seem to ultimately degenerate into some permutation of the following:


    - Unresolvable contention concerning libertarian ideological purity.

    - Unresolvable contention concerning the virtues/lack thereof of third party politics. There are probably at least a half dozen major varieties of these, not worth listing here.

    -Space saver, I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

    And occassionally, once in a blue, before the thread settles down into its degenerate state, someone says something constructive regarding the practical limits of the application of (l/L)ibertarian theory, constructive criticism towards explaining/remedying the Libertarian Party's 30 year long failure to gain traction, or ways of fostering of libertarian principles within the major parties.
     
  22. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Libertarian threads at the High Road are a lot like Libertarian Party meetings: lots of truly energetic quibbling.
     
  23. mordechaianiliewicz

    mordechaianiliewicz Member

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    I'm a small "l" libertarian. I vote for either democrats, or republicans depending upon who I think will infringe upon civil liberties less.

    Because the US is not a parliamentary system, we have coalitions. The Big L Libertarian is a member of the party. Despite what some may think, in a parliamentary system the Libertarian party would be big. But not in thie current system.

    libertarians mostly go republican (I've always thought maybe 20-35% of Republicans are truly libertarian in ideals).This is b/c of the supposedly lower tax, more constitutional approach the republican party has generally championed for a while now.

    However, many libertarians oppose market interference by corporations (as well as subsidies), and they appreciate the Constitution in a way most neo-cons do not. Obviously, the neo-cons and libertarians are at odds right now.

    But to get our votes, the Democratic Party would have to change drastically, and it ain't happenin'
     
  24. Lupinus

    Lupinus Member

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    One of the reasons I consider myself partly libertarian. I fully support people doing things I hate but feel should be a right. I don't smoke, feel it is your right to do it in a public place so long as it is well ventalated. I hate drugs and wont put up with druggies or alcoholics. But if you do it, don't hurt anyone, and don't expose me to your drug induced stupidity I could care less if you do drugs. I support regulated abortion, but would be totaly opposed to a woman aborting my child. List goes on.

    But I am in favor of some goverment controls. I'm not 100% free trade, free trade with countries which have provin good allies but thats it. I am for foriegn aid to some countries who are genuinly good to their people and put it to good use. I am also for foriegn aid that return, basicly agreeing to come in build up industry with american companies under american control which are then turned over with a payment plan either as a percentage of gross revenue or a certian amount of good. Say if we go to a country and build up a lumber industry the people who it is turned over too after it is up and running are required to ship a certian tonnage of wood to the US at a certian very cheap price to American companies. And I completly disagree with open boarders, easy immigation yes, open boarders no. And I support welfair programs. NOT in their current idotic bankrupting form, but I support them for the people that are truly disabled and needy.

    I support some lib. ideals, totaly oppose others....and not just on if I like them or not personally.
     
  25. PershingRiflesC-7

    PershingRiflesC-7 Member

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    Liberty is a binary condition...

    similar to pregnancy -- you can't be a little bit pregnant nor can you choose the liberties you support/don't support, no matter how noble.
     
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