Libertarianism: Oppression Under the Guise of Freedom

Libertarianism, as the name would suggest, is a political (life?) belief that individual liberty supersedes all else.  Under Libertarian philosophy an individual has the right to the life they choose to lead, whatever that entails, so long as it doesn’t infringe on another’s individual liberty.  So laws against murder are Libertarian-good because no one has the right to infringe on another’s right to live.  Laws against, say, refusing to serve black people are Libertarian-bad because no one has the right to service from a particular institution whether it’s a pizza or medical care or whatever.

There are several Libertarian answers to this obvious awfulness:

  • Legally compelling people to act against their prejudices is a bad thing because it deepens those prejudices.  Of course, being able to surround yourself with only like-minded, like-skinned, and like-oriented people is not a path to acceptance or empathy, but…
  • An unregulated free market fixes everything.  If black people want or need to be served, then one of them can open said needed business , or they can move.  Never mind that it may not be financially viable to open a certain business in a given area, the absurdity of allowing medical personnel to not help sick, injured, or dying people, and the financial and psychological burdens that places on people just for being born the way they are.  Or, you know, the people that are motivated by something other than money.  Like blind hatred for minorities.  Or, you know that financial interests are often at odds with personal and environmental interests.  (Hey if I put up a sign that says “No Niggers” I do REALLY WELL in my predominantly but not entirely white community.)  But it’s okay because…
  • The only rights people have are individual rights.  And laws do not need to account for those that are born into a community or a country that will fuck them at every turn just because of their immutable characteristics.  The free market is magic and society generally moves forward, just look at isolationsts like North Korea or anarchists like Somalia!
  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Demographics of Libertarians:

  • 68% Male
  • 94% non-Hispanic Whites
  • 73% Religiously Affiliated
  • Mostly straight? (59% disapprove of Marriage Equality)  To be fair, this needs further investigation as many Libertarians would probably say that the government shouldn’t be involved in any marriages, LGBT or straight.  The Libertarian party has generally officially supported Pro-LGBT initiatives.  (Of course the Libertarian party is also made up of a significant portion of (former) Republicans that have moved from the GOP due to personal convenience or distaste for one of a number of GOP ideologies.)
  • The wealthiest Political Demographic

You mean Libertarians are by and large people from majority classes who have never faced any sort of systemic or institutional discrimination and would benefit the most were the United States to suddenly become a country of complete anarchy?  WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT?!  And to be fair, Libertarians (most Libertarians) aren’t inherently racist, misogynist, or homophobic, they just cynically understand that they have almost no chance of suffering in a country that has zero laws on the books to combat these things and they stand a halfway decent chance of benefiting through someone else’s suffering while excusing it with a well-placed “you don’t have a right to that.”  The country is 72.4% white (2010 Census), probably around 90-95% straight, and while it’s roughly half male, men are more financially well equipped than their female counterparts.  Libertarians are the type who think we live in a post-racial, post-feminism, post-homophobic society because they personally have never had to deal with those things (and because so many people think racism is as simple and overt as calling someone a nigger or saying they can’t do something because they’re black).

At this point it probably sounds like I’m bagging on Libertarianism, but I’m not.  The perversion of any sort of government is filled with negatives.  Too far right and you’ve got a dictatorship, too far left and you’ve got communism.  Too populist and you’re placing too much weight on the intelligence and motivations of the average person.  (This is why we have Representatives even though we don’t have a fucking clue how to do that right.)  Too libertarian and…well…

Even if you stray away from Libertarian ideals and think that people need some element of control because they’re generally dicks (where conservatives and libertarians fail), you shouldn’t be too trusting of that government because it’s made up of the very dicks you’re trying to regulate (where liberals fail).  Libertarianism is great for a society that has moved past humanity’s vices, where greed and prejudice have been marginalized to the point of complete political and financial irrelevance.  Where corporations can be trusted to not ravage the planet or to not take advantage of their employees.  Where a subjective definition of “bad employee” doesn’t force unions to protect their weakest members for fear of losing ground (or where unions are unnecessary anyway).  Where anti-discrimination laws are unnecessary because 1). no one would dream of discriminating and 2). subconscious biases and systemic inequities don’t exist in great enough numbers to matter.  Where *continuation of Miss America speech into infinity*

If my criticism of Libertarianism can be summed up succinctly it would probably be the tremendous gap between the present United States of America and the Libertarian ideal United States of America that Libertarians seem reluctant to or unable to fill.  The blueprint is not as simple as America – Laws = Great America.

In any event, the problems in this country are probably so deeply ingrained, and the regional interests that date all the way back to colonization so at odds with one another, I’ll be long dead before the United States has anything resembling an ideal society.  Hooray.

 

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About Alex

I am awesome.

2 comments

  1. You linked to one of my posts. This is a good summary about what libertarian means, specifically in developed Western countries.

    I have some libertarian leanings, although of the leftist variety. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a libertarian. I still mostly identify as a liberal. I just have enough doubts about concentrated power for me to consider certain libertarian critiques.

    The difference I have with right-libertarians is that I’m as wary of big biz as I’m of big gov. If you’re going to be a libertarian, you ought to at least be consistent. Concentrated power is concentrated power. Power used over others leads to the same basic results no matter what form it takes.

    There is one angle you didn’t consider. I’ve come across a significant number of libertarians who were former fundamentalists. They often simply translate their old beliefs by giving them new form.

    I know one former-fundamentalist libertarian who instead of dreaming of escaping earthly life into heaven now dreams of escaping into space after the earthly life is destroyed. This same libertarian also now dreams of being awakened after death for he has signed up to have his body frozen.

    Many libertarians have fantasies about futuristic technologies and utopias that are about as realistic as the Christian fantasies about the End Times and the afterlife.

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