Sunday, August 13, 2006

libertarians, their party and why they'll never take over the government

Well, they don't like government. So, why would they associate with it?

This is a post I've been meaning to write for awhile now, told someone I'd right over a week ago (Emmett, Emmett, Emmett), and have now just been reminded to get on the stick.

So, Jack says:

Mark posts a comment in his own blog that spells out exactly why I’d rather be a “little l” libertarian than be a Libertarian party member. Quoted in its entirety, Mark said:

I don’t agree with Free Libertarian that the “true home” for libertarians is the Libertarian Party. Most people seem to think that the only way to change society is through political means, i.e., through party politics. That only shows that most of us are addicted to politics. What is needed for a free society is the elimination of political influences on our lives. Politicization of decision-making in all areas of life is the collectivist way of running a society.

Joining the Libertarian Party is joining the political process. As in all parties, the end result will be political careerism and political deal-making. Capital-L Libertarians are not necessarily different from any other political operatives. They are subject to (and many will acquiesce in) the pressures on all politicians to keep their jobs and take money for favors.

Relying on the political process to free us from the corrupting and anti-liberty consequences of the political process is a fundamental mistake and a contradiction of libertarian principles.

IÂ’m still learning my way through all this nonsense, but I can always count on Mark to codify something that IÂ’ve been thinking about. Now he just needs to post about the meaning of life and IÂ’ll be set.

So, here's the conundrum: for all libertarians (and some Libertarians) and some Republicans (the kind that are sort of like libertarians), if you think you can't trust government, what are you doing getting involved with a political party? Of course, I come from a civic baphilosophicallysophicaly, so I think "getting involved" is the only path to really good government, so I'm coming to this question from a different path.

While I don't like "political careerism and political deal-making" any more than the original blogger, I think about them as perversions (at least in perception) of the real civic deal: constant citizen engagement (whether or not you get paid) and really listening to other people. It seems that libertarians have the same aversions to government that many of us have, including a lot of Democrats. We don't like government becrottens wrotten, there seems to be a lot of self serving people running for office under many different party banners and no one really believes in anything.

But, to believe that these are fatal flaws of our system of government is short sighted and is seeing the perversion of the system as the system itself.

I'd like to see a world though where people get involved and stay involved and where people hold core beliefs, but are also willing to see the world through the eyes of someone else if that means something gets done.


Don Bangert said...

I think what Mark was driving at can be seen in the following quote by Ayn Rand (Textbook of Americanism):

"A social system is a code of laws which men observe in order to live together. Such a code must have a basic principle, a starting point, or it cannot be devised. The starting point is the question: Is the power of society limited or unlimited?
"Individualism answers: The power of society is limited by the inalienable, individual rights of man. Society may make only such laws as do not violate these rights.
"Collectivism answers: The power of society is unlimited. Society may make any laws it wishes, and force them upon anyone in any manner it wishes."

Mark's point was: "Politicization of decision-making in all areas of life is the collectivist way of running a society. Joining the Libertarian Party is joining the political process. As in all parties, the end result will be political careerism and political deal-making." In other words, to join in the political process only adds to the problem.

I think the major difference between libertarians/anarchists and every other party is that the former view government as a necessary evil that must be tolerated while the latter view government as a necessary good. To admit that government is good is to say that coercion and force are good. This, of course, flies in the face of basic libertarian beliefs.

Emmett said...

I guess it bothers me because it rejects engagement because you might be coercing someone. The word "coerce," is pretty emotive, as compared to convince, prevail upon or influence.