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My View of Contemporary Politics

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Brainpolice Posted: Mon, Apr 28 2008 11:25 PM

In contemporary politics, "left" and "right" essentially represents one's personal and/or cultural preferances, not the means by which those preferances are sought through. In this sense, I think that libertarianism is neutral to the "left" and "right" in that either of the two can be either compatible or incompatible with liberty depending on the means that the "leftist" or "rightist" advocates. The libertarian is not naturally allied with either side. Libertarianism is opposed to both to the extent that they advocate and persue political means and forced homogenization (monocentrism/monopoly). Libertarianism is compatible with both to the extent that they advocate and persue voluntary means (which, in my view, naturally leads to a certain kind of pluralism, since the free association of people in light of a diversity of desires creates a polycentric order). There is nothing intrinsic to "the right" in this sense that makes them less prone to political means. The only significant difference between the political "left" and "right" is matter of what ends they wish to use political means to accomplish. The only axis that ultimately counts is the up-down one that represents the means.


By brainpolice2

However, in another context I consider libertarianism to inherently be "left" and conservatism to be its polar opposite. By "left" I merely refer to radicalism, pluralism, voluntaryism and revolution. By "conservative" I merely refer to pragmatism, monocentrism and reactionary sentiment. This is how I view the original meaning of the terms "left" and "right" or "liberal" and "conservative". Merely flip this axis horizontally and you can see what I mean when I call libertarianism "left". To the extent that the libertarian does favor political means (and I do consider active participation in the democratic process and reformism to be political means), they are deradicalized and are "less libertarian" to that degree. The libertarian starts to function as a conservative the more that they persue political means. If they do so to too much of an extent, they cease to be a libertarian altogether and start to function as members of either the "political left" or "political right" on the other spectrum (such as social anarchists who make apologia for state-socialism and anarcho-capitalists who make apologia for corporatism - and in practise start to support the political means that they are enforced by).

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Stranger replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 8:41 AM

The creation of a political spectrum is a pure product of democratic electoral strategy. Individuals seeking to promote their self-interest ally with others with compatible self-interests to make gains at the expense of individuals with incompatible self-interests, or simply unnecessary individuals. The result is social destruction.

Without democracy it is quite clear that people have more interest to cooperate than to align in antagonistic groups.

Just look at what is happening to the Democratic and Libertarian parties. The general party interest is being ruined because two factions of the party are conducting character assassinations on the other faction's leader. The goal is to gain control of the party at the expense of the other side. No one is responsible for the party's interest as a whole. This is what happens in the absence of private property. Conflict and fighting emerges.

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Ego replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 8:58 AM

This bestows unnecessary glorify upon the left.

Modern leftists are bigger fans of democracy than their rightist counterparts; in fact, they always use (democratic) collectivist rhetoric to justify their theft and coercion (taxes aren't theft because "society society agreed to them")

The reason that I feel libertarians are closer allies to the right goes beyond my signature; rightists generally have respect -- no matter how inconsistent their other views are -- for the concept of the individual.

edit: hilarious grammar

Don't allow leftists to play games with definitions! Some of the libertarian-leaning leftists at this forum will try to redefine "left-wing" back to its original defition (Third Estate, limited government, free-markets, laissez-faire reforms, etc.). Fine! We non-leftists can't stop them from using their own personal definitions; they can use whatever labels they want to describe any concept they want.

However, they have the audacity to then use their personal definition of "left-wing" (remember, the original definition, which is no longer valid) to prove that modern leftists are more libertarian than modern rightists! They will say that libertarianism is "inherently leftist" (again, using the original, no longer valid definition), and use that to insist that we should prefer and side with modern leftists over modern rightists.

Question their motives.

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wombatron replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 10:23 AM

Ego:

rightists generally have respect -- no matter how inconsistent their other views are -- for the concept of the individual.

 That depends on what you mean by "rightists."  If you mean paleoconservatives (and probably not even all of them), then I would agree with you.  But if you include "rightists" like the neocons...  I think good ole' Dubya has less respect for the concept of the individual than most leftists do.

Market anarchist, Linux geek, aspiring Perl hacker, and student of the neo-Aristotelians, the classical individualist anarchists, and the Austrian school.

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Ego replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 10:24 AM

I don't know how many people would consider Bush right-wing... even neocons are dismissing him as a generic statist now.

Don't allow leftists to play games with definitions! Some of the libertarian-leaning leftists at this forum will try to redefine "left-wing" back to its original defition (Third Estate, limited government, free-markets, laissez-faire reforms, etc.). Fine! We non-leftists can't stop them from using their own personal definitions; they can use whatever labels they want to describe any concept they want.

However, they have the audacity to then use their personal definition of "left-wing" (remember, the original definition, which is no longer valid) to prove that modern leftists are more libertarian than modern rightists! They will say that libertarianism is "inherently leftist" (again, using the original, no longer valid definition), and use that to insist that we should prefer and side with modern leftists over modern rightists.

Question their motives.

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Inquisitor replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 10:34 AM

Ego, why are you so attached to the left-right division, and those who call themselves rightists? I think BP's point is that one is a libertarian unqualifiedly, with the remnant being cultural choice. I see no reason to identify with the right over the left anymore, as both have no desire to avail themselves of non-statist means to achieve their goals, but rather have no other desire than expanding their share of the economic pie. McCain is a primary example of a rightist who is as statist as either of his leftist rivals.

 

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Ego replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 10:41 AM

I'm not "attached" to rightists at all. I am opposed to any and all attempts to support lefitsts. To be leftist it to be collectivist, self-important, and smug. It's as simple as that.

Regarding McCain, I agree that he's definitely a leftist Republican, along the lines of Bush. He still isn't as leftist as Obama, though. As an aside, I actually think that Hillary would be the best president! She's too polarizing and she wouldn't get anything done.

Don't allow leftists to play games with definitions! Some of the libertarian-leaning leftists at this forum will try to redefine "left-wing" back to its original defition (Third Estate, limited government, free-markets, laissez-faire reforms, etc.). Fine! We non-leftists can't stop them from using their own personal definitions; they can use whatever labels they want to describe any concept they want.

However, they have the audacity to then use their personal definition of "left-wing" (remember, the original definition, which is no longer valid) to prove that modern leftists are more libertarian than modern rightists! They will say that libertarianism is "inherently leftist" (again, using the original, no longer valid definition), and use that to insist that we should prefer and side with modern leftists over modern rightists.

Question their motives.

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Nitroadict replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 11:37 AM

It honestly seems that you basically admitted so without actually saying it :\ .

The concept that leftists are the *only* ones capable of collectivism, let alone of being self-important & smug, is silly as well.  Of course, refuting that leftists aren't the only ones capable, but are worse as your signature implies, would also seem to uphold the lesser of evils idea, which hasn't been the most reliable strategy.

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Ego replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 11:43 AM

We don't have a choice but to choose between the lesser of two evils! To be honest, we could abstain from choosing, but that doesn't change the fact that one or the other will be ruling over us.

And I'm going to come out and make a blanket statement: yes, for the most part, leftists are the only people capable of being that smug and self-important. Their entire philisophy is built around the belief that people are too stupid to run their own lives, so they need wise leftist planners to run it for them.

Don't allow leftists to play games with definitions! Some of the libertarian-leaning leftists at this forum will try to redefine "left-wing" back to its original defition (Third Estate, limited government, free-markets, laissez-faire reforms, etc.). Fine! We non-leftists can't stop them from using their own personal definitions; they can use whatever labels they want to describe any concept they want.

However, they have the audacity to then use their personal definition of "left-wing" (remember, the original definition, which is no longer valid) to prove that modern leftists are more libertarian than modern rightists! They will say that libertarianism is "inherently leftist" (again, using the original, no longer valid definition), and use that to insist that we should prefer and side with modern leftists over modern rightists.

Question their motives.

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Ego replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 11:51 AM

It honestly seems that you basically admitted so without actually saying it :\ .
What are you talking about?

Don't allow leftists to play games with definitions! Some of the libertarian-leaning leftists at this forum will try to redefine "left-wing" back to its original defition (Third Estate, limited government, free-markets, laissez-faire reforms, etc.). Fine! We non-leftists can't stop them from using their own personal definitions; they can use whatever labels they want to describe any concept they want.

However, they have the audacity to then use their personal definition of "left-wing" (remember, the original definition, which is no longer valid) to prove that modern leftists are more libertarian than modern rightists! They will say that libertarianism is "inherently leftist" (again, using the original, no longer valid definition), and use that to insist that we should prefer and side with modern leftists over modern rightists.

Question their motives.

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Solredime replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 12:23 PM

Ego:

We don't have a choice but to choose between the lesser of two evils! To be honest, we could abstain from choosing, but that doesn't change the fact that one or the other will be ruling over us.

 

If you're really a free-market anarchist, you have to be consistent. Being consistent includes consistency between your goals and your means. If your goal is an apolitical society, using politics to achieve that is absurd. It's like saying "We need to stop using cars because they pollute" and then going ahead and using them. It's called integrity.

Besides, even if you are ready to abandon your consistency for the lesser of two evils, do you really think there are enough ancaps around right now to make any serious difference in the election of a president? If there were enough, they could certainly achieve much more than  by voting.

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Ego replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 12:51 PM

That's a poor analogy. A better analogy:

Ancaps are opposed to using violence to achieve their goals. However, if someone is threatening an ancap with violence, ancaps will use violence to fight back.

I wrote a reply about this last night: here.

I'll quote it:

It seems like you're trying to explain to me the evils of democracy. Believe me, I'm not a fan!

The left's favorite excuse for trashing rights is that "the people agreed", and you have to realize that I hate democracy with every ounce of my being.

That doesn't mean that I'm not going to participate in it, though. We all agree that democracy is a tool used to transfer property and rights from one group of individuals to another group of individuals, regardless of whether the victims voted or not. That's the problem. When you say things like:

There are 3rd parties or innocent bystanders of people that are effected.

You're almost implying that by not voting, those people won't be affected. Well, they will be, and that's the entire reason that democracy is a sham. If they weren't affected, then we'd have no right to oppose it! By voting for the lesser of two evils, you are minimizing the injustice.

Don't say that all injustice is created equal! For an extreme example, the United States' government is much, much less evil than the North Korean government; neither is legitimate, but one violates more rights.

 

In casting a vote for any politician, you are supporting their position of power by definition.

No, it's acknowledging the fact that their position of power will exist, regardless of whether I vote.

Don't allow leftists to play games with definitions! Some of the libertarian-leaning leftists at this forum will try to redefine "left-wing" back to its original defition (Third Estate, limited government, free-markets, laissez-faire reforms, etc.). Fine! We non-leftists can't stop them from using their own personal definitions; they can use whatever labels they want to describe any concept they want.

However, they have the audacity to then use their personal definition of "left-wing" (remember, the original definition, which is no longer valid) to prove that modern leftists are more libertarian than modern rightists! They will say that libertarianism is "inherently leftist" (again, using the original, no longer valid definition), and use that to insist that we should prefer and side with modern leftists over modern rightists.

Question their motives.

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This bestows unnecessary glorify upon the left.

We're always talking past eachother when we use these terms because we assign different meanings to them. Going by your definition of "the left", much of what I call "the right" is allegedly "the left", since you seem to essentially equate statism as a whole with "the left". But I would think that libertarians should know better than to actually accept the false dichotomy presented in most political discourse in which "the left" equals more and more government while "the right" equals less and less government. This dichotomy is rather blatantly falsified by a libertarian analysis of contemporary politics.

Modern leftists are bigger fans of democracy than their rightist counterparts; in fact, they always use (democratic) collectivist rhetoric to justify their theft and coercion (taxes aren't theft because "society society agreed to them")

Support for democracy is generally manifested among most people of all political persuasions. It is simply a common assumption in modern western society that democracy is good. It's not exclusive or specific to the political "left" by any stretch of the imagination. Furthermore, the neoconservatives are democracy fetishists and essentially advocate global democracy. Yet they most certainly are not political "leftists" in any strict sense. At the same time, despite Hoppe's brilliant comparison between democracy and monarchy, I see no reason why I should necessarily have more respect for monarchists.

The reason that I feel libertarians are closer allies to the right goes beyond my signature; rightists generally have respect -- no matter how inconsistent their other views are -- for the concept of the individual.

"Rightists" often have their own forms of collectivism that they tend to cling to. Collectivism is not specifically "left-wing". Politial individualism derived from what used to be considered the "left". The idea that "the right" are a bunch of "rugged individualists" is largely a pop culture myth. I consider nationalism, racism, theocracy and various forms of traditionalism to all be collectivist views (and they are embraced more by political "rightists" than political "leftists"). To extreme traditionalist "rightists", the individual is not the primary unit of value. Instead, the individual must be a servant to "the nation" or "the culture". Emphasis is placed on certain collective identities, just different ones than what many political "leftists" tend to emphasize.

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 That depends on what you mean by "rightists."  If you mean paleoconservatives (and probably not even all of them), then I would agree with you.  But if you include "rightists" like the neocons...  I think good ole' Dubya has less respect for the concept of the individual than most leftists do.

While I agree that paleoconservatives may tend to have some good qualities in comparison to neoconservatives, nonetheless I tend to challenge the assumption that they are necessarily particularly libertarian in their outlook. I'll grant that they often have a better outlook on issues of war and international hegemony, but it's not always particularly consistant. The main problem that I see with many paleoconservatives is their tendency to support nationalism and protectionism. I mean, if Pat Buchannan is the model for today's paleoconservatism, then we have a huge problem on our hands, for the man is fairly statist when it comes down to it and a lot of what he advocates frankly scares the crap out of me.

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Ego:

I don't know how many people would consider Bush right-wing... even neocons are dismissing him as a generic statist now.

 

And if you really would get the gist of my analysis, a generic statist is not necessarily particularly "left" or "right" in terms of their contemporary political manifestations. The cliche left-right spectrum cuts out the meat of the matter entirely: the question of liberty vs. coercion itself. Often, political "moderates" or "centrists" may actually be more dangerous than either the political "left" or "right" (as Anthony Gregory has posted about on LewRockwell.com - I'm not going to take the time to dig up a link), as they may theoretically embrace the statist tendencies of both sides and oppurtunistically switch their positions with the times. Indeed, it would seem to be the case that the status quo in politics tends to move towards "the center" as the politicians compromise with eachother to find a generally statist common ground.

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Inquisitor:

Ego, why are you so attached to the left-right division, and those who call themselves rightists? I think BP's point is that one is a libertarian unqualifiedly, with the remnant being cultural choice. I see no reason to identify with the right over the left anymore, as both have no desire to avail themselves of non-statist means to achieve their goals, but rather have no other desire than expanding their share of the economic pie. McCain is a primary example of a rightist who is as statist as either of his leftist rivals.

 

Right. In the first spectrum I present I'm merely echoing Walter Block from his analysis of fascism and communism or his article about libertarianism and culture. He basically advocates what he calls a "plumb-line" approach to libertarianism that is "thin" and neutral to the political "left" and "right". Libertarianism doesn't require any particular cultural preferances per se. The second spectrum I present (which is really the same spectrum with a word change that eliminates the inconsequential axis of the political left and right) stills holds on to that premise but tries to put it in historical context.

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I'm not "attached" to rightists at all. I am opposed to any and all attempts to support lefitsts. To be leftist it to be collectivist, self-important, and smug. It's as simple as that.

If "leftist" uniformly equates to "collectivist", then explain to me how 19th century individualist anarchism, which is often considered to be a "left-wing" and "socialist" tradition, is collectivist and self-important. Or explain to me Proudhon's rather emphatic writtings on "the sovereignty of the individual". Or explain to me how collectivists such as white nationalists, theocrats and hardcore racists are actually "leftist". It's downright absurd when one actually breaks it down.

"Leftists" may actually be more prone to oppose certain forms of collectivism depending on the context. Historically, it has been "leftists" who have most often opposed religious, national and racial collectivism. Anti-war sentiment has always been strongest on "the left". Opposition to police powers has always been strongest on "the left", while "the right" is largely filled with "law and order" fetishists. To simply brush the entire "left" aside as inherently collectivist and statist is simply ignorant.

The political left does not have a monopoly on collectivism and the political right does not have a monopoly on individualism. Your own analysis is collectivist in that it assumes that one side or the other is holistically one or the other. You know why I have respect for certain segments of the historical "left" (such as Proudhon and Tucker)? Because without the ideas of such people, libertarianism as we know it wouldn't exist. It simply wouldn't exist because libertarianism grew out of the "left" of the 18th and 19th centuries. That's simply a historical truth that libertarians who consider themselves to be a part of "the right" are going to have to come to terms with in order to have a better self-understanding. 

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We don't have a choice but to choose between the lesser of two evils!

This is a common premise that statism relies on to keep itself going, I.E. to force the lay population into being pragmatic to the point where they don't meaningfully challenge the root problem at all.

And I'm going to come out and make a blanket statement: yes, for the most part, leftists are the only people capable of being that smug and self-important. Their entire philisophy is built around the belief that people are too stupid to run their own lives, so they need wise leftist planners to run it for them.

There is nothing exclusive or particular to "the left" about the idea that people are too stupid to run their own lives so they need wise planners to run it for them. That's the general hobbesian premise of statism altogether: people are naturally evil and selfish and greedy and stupid, therefore we need the state to keep them in check, we need to place people in positions of power to hold back our baser natures (of course this is a self-contradictary premise, since those who make up the state will therefore be evil, selfish, greedy and stupid too). The premise that people are incapable of self-rule and therefore they need to be ruled by eachother is not a "leftist" notion, it's part of the root all statism.

Why do you equate statism as a whole with "the left", when quite clearly "the right" is a significant part of it? The political left and right don't disagree on the statist premise. They only disagree on how to apply it.

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Ego replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 1:54 PM

I agree with you on this: the terms "left" and "right" are incredibly confusing and are sometimes entirely meaningless. That doesn't mean that we can't (or shouldn't) draw distinctions of our own!

It serves no purpose to lump college leftists (you know, the self-important idiots who want a maximum wage, cradle-to-grave welfare, affirmative action, and a maximum work week) with people like Neal Boortz, who hate leftists' guts, purely because they are all "statists".

Regardless of the words you personally want to use to describe the first group or the second group, don't try to claim that the distinction is insignificant (or purely "style"). It's not. They represent vastly different mindsets and beliefs, and one group (hint: the leftists) are much less likely to support capitalist reforms. This isn't even an argument.

Don't allow leftists to play games with definitions! Some of the libertarian-leaning leftists at this forum will try to redefine "left-wing" back to its original defition (Third Estate, limited government, free-markets, laissez-faire reforms, etc.). Fine! We non-leftists can't stop them from using their own personal definitions; they can use whatever labels they want to describe any concept they want.

However, they have the audacity to then use their personal definition of "left-wing" (remember, the original definition, which is no longer valid) to prove that modern leftists are more libertarian than modern rightists! They will say that libertarianism is "inherently leftist" (again, using the original, no longer valid definition), and use that to insist that we should prefer and side with modern leftists over modern rightists.

Question their motives.

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I agree with you on this: the terms "left" and "right" are incredibly confusing and are sometimes entirely meaningless. That doesn't mean that we can't (or shouldn't) draw distinctions of our own!

The main distinction to draw is between liberty and tyranny, not "left" and "right". That's the whole point of my first spectrum.

It serves no purpose to lump college leftists (you know, the self-important idiots who want a maximum wage, cradle-to-grave welfare, affirmative action, and a maximum work week) with people like Neal Boortz, who hate leftists' guts, purely because they are all "statists".

It serves no constructive purpose to lump these college "leftists" in with the actual radical libertarian "left". Speaking of the need for distinctions, you don't seem to draw any distinctions between segments of "the left". Going by your view, I should lump Benjamin Tucker or Mikhail Bakunin in with Stalin or Hillary Clinton.

And Neal Boortz is a statist himself, so there is an inconsistancy here. Furthermore, as I alluded to in my own distinction, clearly the entire "left" is not made up of statists, for that would ignore the anarchist movement entirely (which, mind you, is in fact dominated by "the left"). In comparison to some "leftists", it is Neal Boortz who is the statist.

Regardless of the words you personally want to use to describe the first group or the second group, don't try to claim that the distinction is insignificant (or purely "style"). It's not. They represent vastly different mindsets and beliefs, and one group (hint: the leftists) are much less likely to support capitalist reforms. This isn't even an argument.

From the standpoint of consistancy, the distinction between person A ("left") who wants to violate my rights in the name of preferance X and person B ("right") who wants to violate my rights in the name of preferance Y is largely irrelevant.

Define "capitalist reforms". I might actually oppose all of them depending on what you mean by the term.

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Ego replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 2:08 PM

If you consider yourself a member of the "radical libertarian left" then I do indeed draw a distinction between you and people like Obama.

You're the one using misleading language, however, when you say things like "leftists are our natural allies" when you aren't actually talking about modern leftists. It serves no purpose to use personal definitions.

What's a capitalist reform? A ballot initiative to cut taxes and eliminate price controls.

Don't allow leftists to play games with definitions! Some of the libertarian-leaning leftists at this forum will try to redefine "left-wing" back to its original defition (Third Estate, limited government, free-markets, laissez-faire reforms, etc.). Fine! We non-leftists can't stop them from using their own personal definitions; they can use whatever labels they want to describe any concept they want.

However, they have the audacity to then use their personal definition of "left-wing" (remember, the original definition, which is no longer valid) to prove that modern leftists are more libertarian than modern rightists! They will say that libertarianism is "inherently leftist" (again, using the original, no longer valid definition), and use that to insist that we should prefer and side with modern leftists over modern rightists.

Question their motives.

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Niccolò replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 2:13 PM

Stranger:

The creation of a political spectrum is a pure product of democratic electoral strategy. Individuals seeking to promote their self-interest ally with others with compatible self-interests to make gains at the expense of individuals with incompatible self-interests, or simply unnecessary individuals. The result is social destruction.

Without democracy it is quite clear that people have more interest to cooperate than to align in antagonistic groups.

Just look at what is happening to the Democratic and Libertarian parties. The general party interest is being ruined because two factions of the party are conducting character assassinations on the other faction's leader. The goal is to gain control of the party at the expense of the other side. No one is responsible for the party's interest as a whole. This is what happens in the absence of private property. Conflict and fighting emerges.

Confused

 

The Origins of Capitalism

And for more periodic bloggings by moi,

Leftlibertarian.org

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Ego:

If you consider yourself a member of the "radical libertarian left" then I do indeed draw a distinction between you and people like Obama.

You're the one using misleading language, however, when you say things like "leftists are our natural allies" when you aren't actually talking about modern leftists. It serves no purpose to use personal definitions.

What's a capitalist reform? A ballot initiative to cut taxes and eliminate price controls.

 

I never said that "leftists are our natural allies". I merely put libertarianism in its historical context as in large part being an outgrowth of "the left" in the 19th century. According to my view of the political spectrum, the libertarian's natural allies are - libertarians, wether they lean "left" or "right". The problem with the assumption that "the right are our natural allies against the evil left", as I see it, is that the bulk of contemporary conservatism is not particularly libertarian and to oppose the entire "left" irrespective of context is to aschew all libertarian-leaning or outright anarchist people on "the left".

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Solomon replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 2:21 PM

Supporting liberty and individualism is not a quality of (American) rightists qua rightists.  That some do is rather a result of 1) the fact that the US has historically been a relatively libertarian country, and 2) traditionalism of some degree being in general an attribute of rightism.  Ultimately, the only reason republican talk show hosts (and as a result, all republicans) might like lower taxes and free trade is because that's what Americans of a hundred years ago liked.

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Niccolò replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 3:17 PM

Brainpolice:

Define "capitalist reforms". I might actually oppose all of them depending on what you mean by the term.

 

He means Pinochet style capitalism.

 

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Ego replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 3:38 PM

From the standpoint of consistancy, the distinction between person A ("left") who wants to violate my rights in the name of preferance X and person B ("right") who wants to violate my rights in the name of preferance Y is largely irrelevant.

Surely, you don't mean to say that the distinction between nationalized health care and banning flag-burning is irrelevant!? Nationalized health care is not only a much larger violation of rights, it's much, much, much, much, more difficult to undo.

Don't allow leftists to play games with definitions! Some of the libertarian-leaning leftists at this forum will try to redefine "left-wing" back to its original defition (Third Estate, limited government, free-markets, laissez-faire reforms, etc.). Fine! We non-leftists can't stop them from using their own personal definitions; they can use whatever labels they want to describe any concept they want.

However, they have the audacity to then use their personal definition of "left-wing" (remember, the original definition, which is no longer valid) to prove that modern leftists are more libertarian than modern rightists! They will say that libertarianism is "inherently leftist" (again, using the original, no longer valid definition), and use that to insist that we should prefer and side with modern leftists over modern rightists.

Question their motives.

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Ego:

From the standpoint of consistancy, the distinction between person A ("left") who wants to violate my rights in the name of preferance X and person B ("right") who wants to violate my rights in the name of preferance Y is largely irrelevant.

Surely, you don't mean to say that the distinction between nationalized health care and banning flag-burning is irrelevant!? Nationalized health care is not only a much larger violation of rights, it's much, much, much, much, more difficult to undo.



I thought the boogeyman didn't exist? 

It really just seems that you keep bringing up "greater evils" (nationalized healthcare) in order to excuse voting at all, in order to lessen the impact of overall evils, by going for the lesser of evils (McCain, in this instance, since he would supposedly delay healthcare).  The lesser of evils argument is irrelevant since it does not address that both evils are just plain and simple evils that should not be tolerated either way. 

Tolerating the lesser, instead of the greater, serves to ultimatley apologize for evil itself, which is why political means will not be the answer, as the increasingly Statist-pandering LP party itself shows, the RP platform (while supposedly "radical" compared other Statist candidates, is still Statist), and the infilteration of the libertarian movement by Statist sympathizers (whether left right or rainbow, whatever) clearly indicates.  Libertarianism is apolitical movement, and so called libertarians who are political are not really libertarian at all. 

Libertarianism is not a polite dinner conversation, it is an inherently radical philospohy that advocates gettting rid of a inherently flawed, Statist system in favor of apolitical system that favors the non-aggression principle and solves the problems of the Statism system.

Honestly, if the Statist system were represented or paralleled as some type of flawed system (say in mathematics, computer science & programming, etc.), I hardly see how people would have any qualms about abolishing it in favor of a new system that would solve the previous' system's problems.


So yea, basically you're argument doesn't make sense to me.  Sorry for the sligtly long winded post, Ego.

 

"Look at me, I'm quoting another user to show how wrong I think they are, out of arrogance of my own position. Wait, this is my own quote, oh shi-" ~ Nitroadict

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Ego replied on Tue, Apr 29 2008 5:08 PM

I absolutely agree that neither evil should be tolerated.

Don't allow leftists to play games with definitions! Some of the libertarian-leaning leftists at this forum will try to redefine "left-wing" back to its original defition (Third Estate, limited government, free-markets, laissez-faire reforms, etc.). Fine! We non-leftists can't stop them from using their own personal definitions; they can use whatever labels they want to describe any concept they want.

However, they have the audacity to then use their personal definition of "left-wing" (remember, the original definition, which is no longer valid) to prove that modern leftists are more libertarian than modern rightists! They will say that libertarianism is "inherently leftist" (again, using the original, no longer valid definition), and use that to insist that we should prefer and side with modern leftists over modern rightists.

Question their motives.

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Ego:

From the standpoint of consistancy, the distinction between person A ("left") who wants to violate my rights in the name of preferance X and person B ("right") who wants to violate my rights in the name of preferance Y is largely irrelevant.

Surely, you don't mean to say that the distinction between nationalized health care and banning flag-burning is irrelevant!? Nationalized health care is not only a much larger violation of rights, it's much, much, much, much, more difficult to undo.

 

From the standpoint of consistancy to a principle, the choice between canidate A who wishes to violate the principle for issue X and canidate B who wishes to violate the principle for issue Y is a false choice that forces you to aschew the principle no matter which way you choose. The choices presented to us in political democracy all suffer from glaring inconsistancies. The distinction between which particular inconsistancies they have is irrelevant from the perspective of one who is trying to remain entirely consistant. Even if you can prove that canidate A's inconsistancies are moderately less dangerous than those of canidate B, it does not logically follow that you should support canidate A or that canidate A is the best goal to strive from at the moment. If one is actually trying to remain consistant, they must reject both.

The radical tries to remain on the side of consistancy. Only the pragmatist or utilitarian would be willing to breach consistancy in the name of a comparative or mere cost-benefit analysis.

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Solredime replied on Wed, Apr 30 2008 10:31 AM

Ego:

That's a poor analogy. A better analogy:

Ancaps are opposed to using violence to achieve their goals. However, if someone is threatening an ancap with violence, ancaps will use violence to fight back.

How is this even related? The secular ethical system acting as a backbone to ancaps only condemns the initiation of violence, not violence per say. Whether you use violence in self-defense or not is purely a personal preference, and has nothing to do with a general theory of libertarian ethics.

My analogy might not be great, but that really doesn't matter. The fact remains that by advocating means that are inconsistent with a goal, you essentially forfeit ethics. If you then adopt a purely utilitarian position about the political process, in the hopes of choosing the lesser evil, that's fine, but from that point on you must, in order to be consistent, abandon any attempts to defend anarcho-capitalism from an ethical perspective, and instead focus purely on the economical advantages - something that certainly won't be easy.

 

Edit: Damn, what I typed up was essentially already said by others. Ah well, I'm leaving it anyway.

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