Saturday, September 25, 2010

Do Authoritarians understand Libertairans?

Sometimes, after hearing anti-authoritarian arguments, a question comes up: do those who are against libertarian ideas even know what they are arguing against? It seems that some are confused when someone takes a principled stand against government wrongdoing in the abstract.

Take the case when someone argues against police abuse invariably suggest that the only reason someone could take a stand against police activity is due to personal animosity due to a personal bad experience. Very shortly in the conversation the topic will turn to what individual personal experiences one has had that could cause someone to actually have a bad opinion.

If someone takes a stand about taxation, especially taxation in whole as a concept, the assumption is always that the person taking that stand is doing so because he simply wants his own taxes lowered. Often it is simply assumed that the actual argument is nothing more than a cover, in order to create the illusion that there is theory behind the anti-tax argument.

It is the same with arguments about drug use, in which advocating legalization is assumed to be because it is a cover for personal use of drugs. And the Tea Party protests are assumed to be angry because a particular party is out of office and not because of the policies of the party that is in office. Arguments against business licensing reduce to wanting to got to unscrupulous or unqualified vendors, or wanting to be an unscrupulous or unqualified vendor.

Over and over the one thing missing is any recognition that someone is actually making a principled pro-liberty argument. Authoritarians seem incapable of believing that a pro-liberty argument is being made.

Are libertarians capable of understanding authoritarians? In general later societal stages can understand earlier ones. If they try barbarians can understand tribesmen and citizens can understand barbarians. Libertarians can understand that authoritarians believe people need to be taken care of. Do authoritarians understand that libertarians believe people don’t need to be taken care of?


Kent McManigal said...

I ran into this yesterday.

I was compared to a ("gifted") high school senior as a way of saying my views were juvenile, told I was selfish and only wanted "mine" while not caring about anyone else, was told people have to have government, blah, blah, blah.

So, no. They don't. Authoritarians are totally incapable of understanding libertarians UNTIL and unless they have an awakening and become one themselves. Then it is all so obvious where they were wrong before. It is like an evolutionary leap. From tapeworm to human.

Anonymous said...

Are not libertarians authoritarian when they insist that libertarian is a political system more friendly to liberty? If you are not authoritarian, then do you advocate libertarianism while handcuffed to a wall in prison?
My point is this.
I'm not apposed to authoritarianism, if its used to protect certain inalienable rights. I have problems with libertarians who cannot or do not have a moral basis, nor identify a source for their morality when asserting liberty and freedom. There are some libertines who confuse me, but I believe its because they are confused. A tapeworm has no morality, and a lot of humans have no morals by which they guide their lives, thus, I've noticed that some people who have little understanding for why they believe in freedom are not lovers of freedom, they are lovers of themselves, and so they are no friend to liberty.
I love liberty and libertarians who hold to a world view formed by the Bible. Those who reject the Word of God do so, but are without any moral standard, and they have no standard to compare to the one they instinctively create. I take an issue of freedom and liberty and hold that up to the light of God's word to see if it comports with the character of God. After all, he created it. I don't believe I can be right about everything, so I'll take an issue and hold it, or my opinion, up to the light of the Bible to compare my experience, my observations and what I'm told, read, or witness and see if it comports to God's right order. If a fellow libertarian has an opinion that is contrary to right order, then they might be authoritarian if they want me to believe or act upon something that is contrary to God's right order. They might be considered "authoritarian" by the way they impose their beliefs on me. So, I think "authoritarian" is more complex, and cannot be used in a simple comparison with libertarian.
So, if I appear to be authoritarian when defending liberty, please forgive me.
This is my problem with libertarianism.... Jesus Christ is the ultimate libertarian, but it can only be practiced within the confines of a world order where we "sinners" strive to be like Christ. Sinners who strive not to be like christ can claim to be libertarian, but their actions that fall outside God's right order would be.... anti-liberty.
My 2-cents.

Kent McManigal said...

Anonymous- I think you are deluded.

Libertarians recognize we can not force liberty on another. It is not authoritarian to declare we will not be coerced. We are not taking away the person's liberty to be a tyrant- if they find willing victims, they can keep being an authoritarian jerk. we are simply asserting our right to be left alone.

God is imaginary, and the Bible is full of authoritarian advocacy and atrocity. It is not "libertarian" to sell your daughter into slavery, nor to kill people for doing things god dislikes. Yet these things are fine with God in the Old Testament, and since the Bible says God is "perfect" and never changes, if it was fine with him at one time, it is still fine with him now.

"Morality" has nothing to do with right and wrong. It is a pale shadow. It has to do with what a particular culture (based upon their idea of "God") thinks is good. What is "moral" based upon one god interpretation is a horrible abomination based upon another.

Free yourself from this myth and recognize the theme that transcends such nonsense: it is wrong (regardless of your culture of god) to attack someone who is not first attacking you. No matter what your god or Bible tells you. God and liberty are irreconcilable concepts.

Ayn R. Key said...

Holy cow, the Albuquerque Libertarian Examiner reads my blog!

I ran across an article in Science Magazine that tracks moral development as people age from children to adults. Children are most focused on everyone being treated equally as the standard of fairness but as they age they start to view merit as the standard of fairness, especially when they become teenagers.

That means when someone accuses a libertarian of being adolescent, they are saying "you are older and more mature than I am."

Science, 28 May 2010, Vol 328, Fairness and the Development of Inequality Acceptance.

Ayn R. Key said...

When I eventually understand your comment, then I will reply to it.

Kent McManigal said...

LOL! Of course I read your blog. I subscribe to it through Google Reader so as to not miss a post.