Saturday, February 14, 2009

Liberaltarianism: Why It's A Bad Strategy


There has been a lot of talk lately about the fate of "liberaltarianism" (not to be confused with left-libertarianism). Is creating an "alliance" with left-liberals a good strategy?

I used to wonder about the potentials of such an alliance myself. That was before I started reading liberal responses to the idea on DailyKos (as well as Crooks and Liars).

It became pretty obvious--even during the worst parts of the Bush years--that no such alliance was going to work.

Liberals simply can't conceive of any way of doing anything that doesn't involve massive state violence and authoritarianism. Hiding behind each and every one of their "social justice" programs is a man in uniform with a club. Without Dr. Club, society would become a Hobbesian free-for-all in their eyes. Nobody can be left alone. Underneath the warm-n-fuzzy rhetoric lies a deranged, psychotic philosophy of ruthless, soulless violence.

In my libertarian life, I've had zero success converting liberals. On the other hand, I've converted a number of conservatives. Why are people on the left so much harder?

What I've ultimately learned to accept is that liberals are a group of people so terrified of becoming poor that they are willing to give up every last iota of freedom they have for a gargantuan nanny state that will (supposedly) be there to help them if they fall.

They're so afraid of people smoking, not wearing seatbelts or helmets, treating minorities badly, eating fatty foods, etc that they want the state to run every last detail of society at gunpoint. Like neocons, they think freedom should be sacrificed for the illusion of "security." Being a liberal or neocon means spending each and every day hiding under your bed, worried about the "bad, bad people" lying outside the door of your room. It's a dark, Hobbesian world where terrible consequences are always just lying right around the corner if freedom isn't ended.

Their fallacy is the idea that the state can protect you from every bad set of consequences--every case of bad luck--every bad situtation. It can't, and trying to make it do so will only create a nightmare. A life without risk is not only impossible, but would make for a terrible life.

Liberals have absolutely no use for liberty. Freedom is dead last on their list of priorities--maybe even lower. To be fair, I'm not sure if I've ever heard one claim to believe in liberty in the first place. Liberty isn't their goal: it's an irritating obstacle to their goals.

Obviously, there are liberals who convert to libertarianism, but these conversions usually seem to have more to do with life experience than with someone talking them into it.

So is liberaltarianism a good strategy? Hell no. It was a stupid idea in the first place.

6 comments:

J. Nick Puglia said...

Well said and I agree totally. To put it simply, liberty is not something that 'liberals' value.

I'm just hoping that posterity really does forget that they were ever my countrymen.

Dylan Caron said...

Honestly, I believe most of this view of liberals is way overblown by many of the conservative pundits. That, however, is not to say that liberals don't slander when in the public light either, it just seems that when they attack they can use specifics, where conservative pundits tend to generalize their mudslinging.

I don't understand how you can label nearly a third of the country as believing in a "deranged, psychotic philosophy of ruthless, soulless violence."

In my eyes the liberals aren't trying to control every aspect of life, but trying to raise the lowest common denominator of citizen to a livable state of existence. Now, I disagree with how easy it is to get some of the benefits they suggest, but i do believe that they should exist so no one is left behind.

Trying to make liberal a dirty word isn't a fair way to attack them. Try to actually point out policy that doesn't make sense. I believe that's why most of the country is a bit left leaning now, because the left tends to use logic instead of loudness.

Cork said...

Nick,

Thanks, and I'm a fan of Bureaucrash!

Dylan,

Welcome. First of all, I am an individualist anarchist and nothing close to a conservative (a quick browse through my older posts should make that clear).

In my eyes the liberals aren't trying to control every aspect of life, but trying to raise the lowest common denominator of citizen to a livable state of existence.

Every harebrained attempt of theirs to do this devastates the very people they want to help. Every liberal social program reduces employment for those at the bottom of the economic ladder and/or retards capital accumulation (which is what raises poor people's standard of living and the purchasing power of their wages).

Now, I disagree with how easy it is to get some of the benefits they suggest, but i do believe that they should exist so no one is left behind.

How are these "benefits" created? The state only creates these "benefits" through violence or the threat of it. If you support this, then you are endorsing more prisons, more police brutality, more nightsticks, and deeply authoritarian political structures.

This isn't only true for liberals, btw. Conservatives believe in massive state violence as well, except it's to prop up the military, the police state, and bloodthirsty corporations.

If you are sincere about wanting to help the poor and downtrodden (as I do), stop statists from punishing them through regressive taxes, regulation, gun control and inflation.

I believe that's why most of the country is a bit left leaning now, because the left tends to use logic instead of loudness.

*Laugh* Liberals use emotion, not logic. Their empty promises sound good, which is why they're in power (along with conservatives running the country into the ground).

John said...

"I don't understand how you can label nearly a third of the country as believing in a 'deranged, psychotic philosophy of ruthless, soulless violence.'

I can. The war on terrorism. The war on drugs. The rest is all violent, though not necessarily deranged or ruthless.

"... the left tends to use logic instead of loudness."

I've noticed this idea catching on a bit lately, that left-liberalism is logical. It strikes me as an interesting departure from the prevailing view of the 1990's (in my limited experience and exposure) that leftism was all touchy-feely and small-government conservatism or libertarianism was more logical. This change is probably due to the extreme illogic that the conservatives and neocons have shown in this decade and the unmatched stupidity of everything about the Bush administration. Styling yourselves logical in comparison with those idiots is not much of a claim.

As a challenge to your "more logical" claim, on the off-chance that you return here and see these comments: How is it logical that printing more money and redistributing even more money can create new and additional wealth? How is it logical that stimulation of consumption and borrowing can fix economic problems that were caused by over-consumption and over-borrowing? How is it logical that manipulating the market's interest rates can encourage good and profitable business investments, rather than unsound and unprofitable ones?

anarcho-mercantilist said...

"I've noticed this idea catching on a bit lately, that left-liberalism is logical."

I think Lew Rockwell used "left" to refer to both the Democrats and the neoconservatives:

"Being a liberal or neocon means spending each and every day hiding under your bed, worried about the "bad, bad people" lying outside the door of your room."

Dylan Caron said...

@john

"How is it logical that printing more money and redistributing even more money can create new and additional wealth? How is it logical that stimulation of consumption and borrowing can fix economic problems that were caused by over-consumption and over-borrowing?"

Well, two things...

Printing more money is obviously a terrible idea. And over consumption is just wasteful. But borrowing, and by that I mean loaning from banks, is really one of the only ways wealth is created, due to the fact that we run on a fractional reserve system. I urge you to look it up if you haven't, it pretty much ends up that if our country's wealth isn't being artificially pumped, it cant survive.

And by logical, I was referring more to the fact that conservatives, well, neo-cons, are more likely to try to discredit someone in a debate rather than prove their opinion is better