Rationality Rules has published a video “debunking” libertarianism: Here’s Why I’m NOT a Libertarian. Let’s have a look at his inane arguments.
I have always found it quaint and rather touching that there is a movement libertarians in the u.s. that thinks Americans are not yet selfish enough.
Ooh, a straw man right out of the gate. People who don’t want other people to have the power to lock them up at the whim of the majority are “selfish”.
Libertarianism represents a wide array of movements and beliefs but all are predicated on the core principle of Liberty. What exactly Liberty means depends on the libertarian. Traditional libertarians sought to abolish capitalism and private property.
This is just muddying the water. The term libertarianism hasn’t been associated with anarcho-communism for a century.
Contemporary libertarians advocate laissez faire capitalism [i.e. no government intervention in the economy] and strong private property rights. A fair summation of all libertarians is that they seek maximum freedom of the individual and minimum authority of government. They tend to insist upon freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to bear arms, freedom of and from religion, freedom of the press, freedom of ownership, and freedom of the economy.
This is a fair assessment.
They almost always oppose the welfare state and taxation, which they see as a form of slavery.
Wrong. Libertarians see taxation to create the welfare state as theft of property by force by the state, empowered by the majority.
“Let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then, tell me how much of what I earn belongs to you and why.” — Walter Edward Williams
I agree with Williams, but Rationality Rules attempts to knock him down:
Why do I think that strangers are entitled to some of Walter’s fruit? Well to put it bluntly, Walter fell out of the right vagina at the right time and inherited a biological and/or socio-economic advantage that he did not earn and he does not deserve all of the fruit of his labor [because] he was dealt good cards.
So let me get this straight: because I was born to upper middle class parents, you think you have the right to empower men to steal from me at gun point? Laughable.
Walter came from a broken family in a relatively racist country and so how about hell can I say that he had an advantage? Well for him it’s got more to do with nature than nurture.
So because of his genetic makeup, you feel you have the right to steal from him? That makes you no better than a racist.
In 1971 the American political philosopher John Rawls wrote a theory of justice and within it … observed that when people contemplate and determine the structure and rules of society, they do so selfishly based on their personal circumstances … and most crucially their conception of what’s good.
Assuming that you have made an effort to seek the truth, trying to organize society to match your conception of good seems to be the correct thing to do. How is that selfish?
It’s no surprise that some people who can afford the basics such as shelter and food want a society in which they are not obliged through tax to pay towards other people’s bare basics.
I agree, but not with the straw man argument that they only do this through selfishness.
It’s no surprise that some people who can afford to pay for their family’s medical bills want a society in which they’re not obliged through tax to pay towards strangers medical bills.
In British Columbia, where I live, doctors are legally prevented from practicing outside of our socialist medicare system. Is it any surprise that I should want the option to buy a legal service with my own money without having to travel to a free country?
It’s no surprise that some people who can afford to send their children to school want a society in which they’re not obliged through tax to pay for other people’s children to go to school.
As if people can’t see the benefit to themselves of making good education widely available. But why must I pay (by force of law) for an inferior school system that indoctrinates children with communist and social justice ideals? Church and state are separated, but the state school system preaches just as much as a Catholic school. Only the dogma is different.
The only reason they seek such a society rules argued is because of their lucky circumstances.
To get around this prejudice, Rawls proposed what he called the original position and argued that a just society is a society that if you knew everything about it you’d be willing to enter it in a random place.
I would prefer to enter a society where I could win or lose based on my merits than to enter a communist state.
Rawls reasoned that if people determine the basic structure of society behind a veil of ignorance which would deprive them of information about their specific characteristics such as their ethnicity, social status, and gender, they would create a welfare state. They’d elect a society that maximizes the prospects of the worst off because they themselves might be the worst off. They’d create a society that would ensure that if they or their loved ones were born blind deaf or dumb they’d nevertheless have a life worth living.
A welfare state like Venezuela where the poor starve certainly doesn’t seem to maximize their prospects. The possibility to improve my life based on my own merits in a society without a welfare state is preferable even to a comfortable living in a communist state.
I’m convinced that some of the fruit of my labor should go to those less fortunate.
That’s what charity is for. You have the right to give to whoever you want. You don’t have the right to steal from me and give my property to whoever you want.
“Many of my critics pretend they have been entirely self-made. They seem to feel responsible for their intellectual gifts, for their freedom from injury and disease, and for the fact that they were born at a specific moment in history. Many appear to have absolutely no awareness of how lucky one must be to succeed at anything in life. No matter how hard one works one must be lucky to be able to work. One must be lucky to be intelligent, to not have cerebral palsy, or to not have been bankrupted in middle age by the mortal illness of a spouse.” — Sam Harris.
This is not an argument against libertarianism. Life is not fair. Because one is lucky doesn’t mean one owes anything to those less lucky.
I don’t believe in natural rights, which I would argue is the very bedrock of libertarianism.
So you don’t believe in my right to person? The United Nations and most individual nations encode this right in their declarations and constitutions. If you don’t believe in it, do you believe that some have the right to enslave others? Not believing in fundamental human rights makes you evil.
I see absolutely no justification for this.
These rights are axiomatic. Seeing no justification for my right to not be murdered makes you a sociopath.
Kant [insisted] they’re categorical imperatives but I reject this because I don’t believe any action is non-contingent.
So you believe that there is a contingency that justifies murdering someone who has done you no harm and intends to do you no harm?
The third reason I’m not a libertarian is because I don’t believe in free will. I don’t think we’re responsible in the libertarian sense for anything.
Everything is predetermined, and therefore if I murder you I’m not responsible? This is why I prefer Christians to determinists.
True liberty in my opinion requires equal opportunity and libertarianism doesn’t deliver this.
And yet with liberty, all do have the equal opportunity to pursue their own goals, whereas, in your system, where the welfare state continually grows, we see over and over again the move through socialism to an authoritarian communist state where no one is free.