Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Core Libertarian Philosophy

I'm not a card carrying member of the Libertarian Party.

I'm not even a registered voter...I no longer find it a worthwhile or meaningful action to participate in the sham facade of American "democracy" by showing up to even bother a protest vote for the LP's candidate.

This country was initially designed to be a Constitutional Representative Republic...who's primary feature was a strict limitation on the size and growth of the Central/Federal Government.

The current status quo of the present day is nowhere even close to the kind of country and society the founders envisioned when they first designed the US of A.

The biggest reason, I believe, is that the core principles of the Founders was a fear and mistrust of a powerful, central government that would use the power of coercion to create a tyranny that would take away individual freedom and liberty of the average citizen.

Lew Rockwell.com contributer, Michael S. Rozeff, writes about how and why a government based on coercion eventually always grows into a leviathan state headed towards self-destruction.

From Government Based on Coercion Cannot Be Tamed

...Washington insiders attempt to alter the course of the government while preserving it. Their goal is to tame the government. It’s not going to happen. It can’t be done.

Why not? Why can government not be reformed? The government we have is coercive by construction. The law of the land is coercive by construction. They involve majority rule in which one group is able legally to impose its wishes on other groups by force. A non-coercive government can be reformed. People only need to stop using its services. It then either shapes up and responds to people’s needs or it loses out to alternative means of governance.

A coercive government invariably imposes losses on some while providing gains to others. (The same person may gain from one vote and lose from another.) To survive, the state has to juggle these losses and gains so as to not to alienate too many people. Power has to ensconce itself. It cannot rely solely on the use and threat of force. That is too costly a means to maintain power. Instead, it seeks to make itself indispensable. It seeks to weave itself into the basic fabric of daily life. It inserts itself into basic needs that involve food, health, money, financing, education, and so on. Thus, the survival of the State goes hand-in-hand with growth in government because the growth allows the State to entangle many more people in many more ways so that undoing the resulting society becomes too costly and scary a possibility to the people caught in the web.

Furthermore, the growth of government is assured by a second circumstance, which is that the use of power attracts people who want to use that power and who compete to use that power.

Any attempt to cut back this growth or tame it poses a threat to the State’s survival and to the power-using inclinations of those in power. Such attempts at reform open up politics to new negotiations, new votes, new priorities, and new coalitions. They threaten to reduce the scope of power exercised by rulers. They alert the citizenry to entirely new possibilities. They unhinge old and established alliances and interests. In all reform movements lie great risks to the established system, interests, and people in power. If they cannot control these reforms, they will want to squelch them. If they control them, you can be sure that no real reforms will be forthcoming.

The governing establishment, left and right, is highly conservative in one major respect, which is the maintenance and extension of the existing power structure and hold of coercive government over the private lives and liberties of Americans. Not wanting to take the risks of reforming government and having much to gain by extending government, the government grows.

The interesting phenomenon emerges, which is that the government grows too much and risks its own destruction, even while those who are close to government, in and out, see that the government’s very survival is threatened. This is because growing government is advantageous to the rulers, both personally and in terms of managing to hold power over society, and because cutting government back opens up many political risks. It is far easier for those out of power, like many on the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, to identify the survival threat and warn against it, than it is for those in power to do anything about it. Those in power want to retain power and get re-elected. Their time horizons are rather short. It hardly pays them to do something for the long-term good, even of the government, especially when that something involves large political risks. To upset one or two constituencies by cutting back their benefits may mean losing office.

Rozeff has distilled the very essence of at least MY own core, libertarian philosophy: the enemy of freedom and liberty is the ever-growing, ever-expanding leviathan known as THE STATE.

There is no fixing the problems of our current status quo, because the government is UNFIXABLE.

We are headed for a crash...as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow.

Are you ready?


Brian Dean said...

True. All laws, even laws that a lot of people agree with, are coercive. Laws against murder are coercive to someone that wants to commit murder. Laws against restricting free speech (such as the first amendment) are coercive to people that want to shut other people up.

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Patri Friedman said...

The answer is to go build floating cities on the ocean :). At least, I think so.