Friday, March 28, 2008

Type 6: "Libertarian"

. Friday, March 28, 2008

The United States has the most cultivated sense of liberty in the world. However, like all of the mindsets discussed so far, it too has a tendency towards perversion, especially when modernity is celebrated as some kind of welcome relief from the shackles of oppressive communalist tradition. I would prefer to be governed by a perverted "type 6" over a perverted "type 1" mindset without reservation, but in an ideal world an enlightened absolute monarch is naturally superior to an anarcho-capitalist system without roots.

statue_of_liberty_1Mindset: "I am an opponent of the central state, its wars and its socialism. I have suffered personal loss from government greed and corruption. I have been directly deprived of property and prosperity by the actions of large out of control government. The sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the individual citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression. Three groups spend other people's money: children, thieves, and politicians. All three need close supervision and accountability."

Resulting Government: A non-interventionist government that recognizes the sovereignty of the individual over the collective will of the people.

Intellectual/Manifestations: Classical liberalism is the fusion of many strands of economic/political/civil libertarian thought including John Locke (property rights), Voltaire (religious freedom), Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations), Thomas Paine (The Rights of Man), David Ricardo (comparative advantage), J.S. Mill (utilitarianism), Ludwig von Mises (Human Action), Friedrich Hayek (The Road to Serfdom/Constitution of Liberty), Murray Rothbard (anarcho-capitalism), Ayn Rand (Objectivism), Milton Friedman (monetarism)...

Practitioners: Barry Goldwater, Margaret Thatcher ("Thatcherism"), Ronald Reagan ("Reagonomics"), David Lange and Sir Roger Douglas ("Rogernomics") Nigel Farage (UKIP), Ron Paul (Libertarian Republican)...

Political Parties/Movements: United Kingdom Independence Party, Libertarian Party of the United States, British Libertarian Alliance.

Contemporary: Still very much on the political fringe, however large swaths of the Internet and Blogosphere contain a huge libertarian streak, as well as numerous Think Tanks.

Think Tanks/Schools: Adam Smith Institute, Ludwig von Mises Institute, Austrian School of Economics, Chicago School of Economics, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Independent Institute, Cato Institute, Prometheus Institute, John Randolph Club, Rockford Institute,...

Lew Rockwell Slogan: "Anti-State, Anti-War, Pro-Market". Read his principles of libertarianism in The General Line.


Splendor Sine Occasu said...

Though I do tend to lean towards the libertarian side of the "conservative" tent, I do find pure libertarianism to be souless and impractical, and talking to pure libertarians an exercise in frustration!

If I'm not mistaken, I believe that PM Harper personally leans towards this school of thought, but is tempered by pragmatism (which is not a bad thing, in my mind).

Samuel Gonzalez said...

"Anti-State, Anti-War, Pro-Market"
That sounds bloody Anarchist
My trought on this matter of Government types is that a Monarch who Rules and Governs,limited and backed by a Constitution,yes,like a British tricameral system but with a more or so Absolute Monarch

J.K. Baltzersen said...

I never thought of the Austrian and Chicago schools of economics as think tanks.

I'd say the mindset includes the concept that government need be checked, but not people. This, I would say, easily leads to tyranny of the majority.

I'd also say the mindset includes the concept that "no one is to be above me." However, there is someone above. That may be a minority elite, the majority or the representatives of the majority. That "no one is above me" is an illusion, and it can be a very dangerous illusion indeed.

Realist said...

Libertarians tend to believe in natural rights and they tend to be individualistic, so the problem of tyranny of the majority is not particularly severe. But an excess of individualism does veer toward self-centeredness. In terms of foreign policy, many libertarians lean toward isolationism (without the protectionism). Their anti-statist position leads them to downgrade the importance of the State in vital functions such as national defense.

Blazing Cat Fur said...

Libertarians like anarchists may profess to be anti-state. But how many have given back their Health Cards?

Lord Best said...

I think this form is one of many that look good on paper and suffer in the implementation. The problem with putting the market above all else is that the market is inherently non-conservative, if there is money to be made in destroying something then it will be destroyed.
Mt Baltzersen is right with the 'no one above me' mentality, which may explain why two thirds of Americans think they are inthe top 1% wealth bracket.
Libertarianism, in my opinion, encourages the creation of psychological fantasies and a disconnect from reality which can become very dangerous indeed.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

Libertarians tend to believe in natural rights and they tend to be individualistic, so the problem of tyranny of the majority is not particularly severe.


The libertarian mindset may be dominating when the government is formed.

That need not imply that a majority believes in the philosophy. That need not imply that a majority will practice the philosophy as it is preached. That need not imply that the belief or practice is continued into eternity.

I believe this is an important part of the explanation for the degeneration of the American Republic.

How many Americans believe that their system has been the freest in the history of mankind? How many Americans believe that it still is? How many Americans reflect seriously over the fact that their government is way more burdensome than that of His Britannic Majesty George III?

In this illuded world with the "none above me" mentality, symbols are apparently more important than the real life truth.

Beaverbrook said...

For J.K.B. No, the "Austrian School" is not a think tank, it is a school, but you catch my drift.

El Jefe Maximo said...

Libertarianism has much to commend it, at least in the realm of economics. But libertarianism pure and simple, without God; without any State, with nothing superior to the individual or the will of the individual, is positively dangerous.

Democracy, or, more specifically, Republicanism, tends, over the long run I think, to militate again libertarianism and freedom generally. Taking up J.K.'s point above, the problem with Republicanism is that once sovereignty is recognized as based totally in the will of the people (however many constitutional obstacles you may place in the way of its exercise), then there are no practical limits on what may be done with political power. Anything is possible with the votes.

The old 18th-19th century monarchies, even the parlimentary states common in Europe pre-1914, were severely constrained in terms of what they could exact from their subjects. They did not dare impose crushing taxes, or the prolix sort of regulation we live under now -- had they done so, that would have been the end of them. Simply put, the issue of governments that stick their noses into everything -- from the width of crosswalks to the raising of beef cattle--raises troublesome questions about the legitimacy of power. Republics are better placed to produce unchallengable answers to this question: it's much easier to regulate economic activity or to tax if a government can say it derives its power so to do from popular consent.

By contrast, the old monarchies had to be much more careful about where and how they chose to deploy their political power. With hindsight, George III was indeed much less burdensome a ruler to ordinary people in his American colonies than the Republic that followed -- because he had to be. When the British government of the day moved away from "salutory neglect" as a policy (for arguably sound reasons), than his rule in America fell into the legitimacy trap.

Anonymous said...

Excellent analysis. There are few constraints on a government that imagines it speaks for the people.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

Thank you, El Jefe Maximo, for your follow-up.

A similar debate is going on here.

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