The Libertarian Philosophy

I often sympathize with libertarian philosophies (but not all). I appreciate the idea of valuing individual freedoms, but I feel libertarians often do not have a realistic view of society.

To a libertarian’s ears, saying the government messes up everything seems to be an  axiomatic statement. They are right about the government not being perfect. It is a system of human cooperation that is just as fallible as any other human system, but to say the government can’t do anything right is a metaphysical statement—and a silly statement at that.




  6 comments for “The Libertarian Philosophy

  1. September 7, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    The libertarian position is not that governments can’t do anything right, but that they can’t do anything without coercion and theft, which is seen to be immoral. Governments in there current state are therefore not legitimate.

    • September 9, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      This is reads as the same thing to me. And I would have to disagree. Human constructs are susceptible to both corruption and non-corruption. The latter is not thrown out just because we name the construct government.

      There is a lot of corruption that needs to be addressed. Absolutely. But, when an essential piece of a car is discovered to be broken, it is my philosophy that this essential piece should be repaired, not removed altogether. It then follows that I am a liberal, not a libertarian. (although I could agree with certain the argument that certain government organizations are unnecessary, but that would be on a case by case basis. I do not accept it as a maxim).

      • September 21, 2014 at 1:25 pm

        I am not arguing with you that the libertarian position is right or wrong (I am a classical liberal, and do not accept the libertarian foundation), but I am just saying that your understanding of what libertarianism is wrong. It would be like a conservative attacking liberalism without understanding the basic Rawlsian principles that are utilized.

        As Nozick points out in chapter 3 of Anarchy, State, and Utopia, if you accept the root idea “individual,” then you have to accept the libertarian constraint of non-aggression (or he gives you three other options that he finds impossible to solve). Governments require taxation without acceptance of it by all members of a society, therefore, that is coercive. But the root idea “individual” states that coercion is immoral, therefore, taxation (the pulse of the state) is immoral. From a Kantian perspective, immoral is illegitimate. So, the state is illegitimate. Again this is Nozick, not I. You can disagree with him all you want, but at least have a conversation with him first.

      • September 23, 2014 at 4:02 pm

        Well put, but what you have cited does not entail the philosophy of every libertarian. Many firmly believe that everything the government touches turns to coal. I am addressing these claims. I do see the distinction now. Thank you for commenting!

      • November 20, 2014 at 8:36 am

        Sure, I don’t speak for every libertarian, but if you read anything by renowned libertarians (Murray Rothbard, Robert Nozick, Carl Menger, H. L Mencken, heck even Ron Paul and Ayn Rand) none of them represent that belief, so I’m not sure where you are getting that idea from. That is called a strawman.

      • November 21, 2014 at 12:09 am

        You have caught me. It would have been better not to name this “The Libertarian Philosophy”. What I am criticizing here is the number of comments I’ve heard libertarians make both in social media and in face to face conversation. I am addressing the claim that “the government ruins everything” which is one I have heard an innumerable amount of times.

        I can’t find a source but I’m pretty sure I’ve heard Ron Paul say something along those lines. I could be mistaken though. Thank you for reading!

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