Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice?

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Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice?

Postby Setar » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:46 pm

I'm creating this thread mostly to redirect any libertarians who are filling up the classism/economics discussions on the main forum. Feel free to post resources, etc for debunking libertarianism.

Resources:
Critiques of Libertarianism
Libertarianism Makes You Stupid
"...authoritarian followers feel empowered to isolate and segregate, to humiliate, to persecute, to beat, and to kill in the middle of the night, because in their heads they can almost hear the loudspeakers announcing, “Now batting for God’s team, his designated hitter, (their name).”" -Bob Altemeyer, The Authoritarians
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby eNeMeE » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:53 pm

Good idea for a thread.

Libertarianism has no mechanism I'm aware of for reducing or diffusing power - it is thus unable to alleviate any social ill that requires such a thing.
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Ketsan » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:31 pm

eNeMeE wrote:Good idea for a thread.

Libertarianism has no mechanism I'm aware of for reducing or diffusing power - it is thus unable to alleviate any social ill that requires such a thing.


Libertarianism is the reducing and diffusing of power; that's the whole point, that's why so many Libertarians are anarchists. It's about handing power over to the market and the legal system which is the most democratic institution there is or at least a free market would be because it would be based purely on voting with money. If you can make the statement you've just made you've not read any serious Libertarian literature, you've not checked out Mises institute stuff on youtube; you literally know nothing about Libertarianism.
Last edited by Ketsan on Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby eNeMeE » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:33 pm

Ah, so all the money and resources in the world will be equally distributed under libertarianism? Is this before or after all the weapons are destroyed?
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Setar » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:37 pm

From the original thread, abiding by my own request that discussions of libertarianism be taken here:
Ketsan wrote:
Setar wrote:
Ketsan wrote:And do we have those now? No, the economy has grown

No, you disingenous asshole. Laws were enacted banning the practice, which had fuck all to do with your continued (and baseless) insistence that all history can be reduced to a graph of GDP over time, something which you are treating as dogma.

Correlation does not necessarily imply causation. History is not a graph of GDP over time. Get some real arguments or get out.



Yes but look at the timing of those laws. It's about the time when the economy needs educated workers, it needs children in school, and increasing mechanisation means that children aren't much use in the work place anymore. Look at the third world where child labour ends not because of laws and, in fact persists in spite of laws, but because economic growth means that families no longer need their labour and can afford to send them to school.

No. What you're doing is arguing god of the gaps, only instead it's economy of the gaps. Where you say "the economy", I can just as easily substitute in "the capitalist class", or, yes, "god". And does the decline in educational quality under neoliberal policies of deregulation -- which are inherently based on libertarian "small government' philosophy -- mean that "the economy" no longer needs as many of these well-educated people?

Quit conjecturing and show some actual evidence.

edit: And what the fuck happened to "correlation is not causation"? Or do you just get to throw those rules out the window when they support libertarianism?
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Ketsan » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:44 pm

eNeMeE wrote:Ah, so all the money and resources in the world will be equally distributed under libertarianism? Is this before or after all the weapons are destroyed?



No but everyone would be continuously getting better off. Remember that we're dealing with a gold standard so money is always getting more valuable, spending power is always increasing so even people at the bottom are always finding that their money buys more. There isn't a central bank printing money to ensure price stability or to create inflation and companies are always working to find ways of producing goods more cheaply. So prices are always falling and money is always increasing in value....like the 1880's in America.

Also there isn't a central bank controlling interest rates so interest rates are a reflection of how much money is in the bank and how much credit the market is demanding. So interest rates would co-ordinate the flow of credit and we wouldn't end up with credit crunches.
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Jadehawk » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:48 pm

Libertarianism is the reducing and diffusing of power
incorrect; it's merely about reducing political power. as that is far from the only, or even the currently most influential kind of power, libertarianism in fact promotes the concentration of the kinds of power that political power is capable of reigning in.
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby eNeMeE » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:48 pm

Ah, so the guy with the most weapons wins. Yay!
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Ketsan » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:02 am

Setar wrote:No. What you're doing is arguing god of the gaps, only instead it's economy of the gaps. Where you say "the economy", I can just as easily substitute in "the capitalist class", or, yes, "god". And does the decline in educational quality under neoliberal policies of deregulation -- which are inherently based on libertarian "small government' philosophy -- mean that "the economy" no longer needs as many of these well-educated people?

Quit conjecturing and show some actual evidence.

edit: And what the fuck happened to "correlation is not causation"? Or do you just get to throw those rules out the window when they support libertarianism?


Go show me a picture of "the economy" if you really want to be pedantic. Yeah. The economy is just us making choices, real economics is just the analysis of choice making. The thing is that you're trying to do economics the way that physicists do physics; I'm not. I've seen how the neo-classicists do economics and how the Keynesians do it and it's insane. Nice little models of "Well if we pump this much money into the economy then GDP will rise by this much" and it doesn't and then someone points out that GDP is just an amalgam of arbitrary numbers and so GDP is pretty much pointless. Wanna increase GDP? Pay a million men to stack bricks 10,000ft high. Government spending goes up, GDP goes up, total increase in wealth? Zero. As soon as the money runs out the workers get laid off and the whole lot gets shown for what it is, insane.

Government spends 40% of GDP; that is not small government. Also you forget education is a government run business, not a market run business.
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Ketsan » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:05 am

Jadehawk wrote:
Libertarianism is the reducing and diffusing of power
incorrect; it's merely about reducing political power. as that is far from the only, or even the currently most influential kind of power, libertarianism in fact promotes the concentration of the kinds of power that political power is capable of reigning in.



Actually you're wrong there. Like I said it's about handing power mostly over to the market, which is us. Don't like Pepsi? Don't buy it. Pepsi ceases to exist. The other thing of course is that Libertarianism still values a legal system and there are various methods of running that.
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Ketsan » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:10 am

eNeMeE wrote:Ah, so the guy with the most weapons wins. Yay!



No he'd be arrested and locked up. And made to work and pay his bills.
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby ArchBrian » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:11 am

Ketsan wrote:No but everyone would be continuously getting better off....like the 1880's in America.

Ketsan wrote:...everyone would be continuously getting better off....like the 1880's in America.

I'm not sure the 1880's in America is what I would call a beacon of brilliance in the history of social justice.

I'm also pretty sure that not everyone was continuously getting better off (financially) in 1880's America.

Notably, it took government intervention to get human beings to stop asserting that they had the right to own other human beings.
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Grimalkin » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:17 am

I am totally willing to believe that Libertarianism is about "reducing and diffusing power", if by that you mean "reduce power of federal government and increase the power of states"

Which is precisely why I hate Libertarianism. Having power at one top level gives us checks and balances between the states and allows the country to be more uniform. It also means that states can't just do their own thing if it is radically different from the rest of the country.

And the thing is, states doing their own thing only really hurts you when you're a minority. It's fantastic if you're a straight, cis, white, able-bodied male that's only interested in making it easier for California to legalize pot.

So what if we give all powers to the states to self govern themselves... and they fuck that up? What if one state outlaws being gay, another outlaws abortion, another determines that women don't deserve equal pay... what do we do when we just so happen to live in the state that fucked up something regarding us?

The argument I hear from Libertarians is "well, just move to a better state! If you don't want to smoke pot, just move out of California!*"

Because moving is that easy, amirite? If you're gay, live in a state of homophobes, and your state starts criminalizing homosexuality, just move to one that doesn't! then move out of the next state when you need an abortion but it's illegal because of all the religious there, and then maybe in abortion state there's no protection for being an *insert minority group here*. Perhaps there would be a caravan of oppressed people that just moves from state to state depending on which state suits their needs the best at the moment.

Which, yes, is hyperbole. I hope. But this is the ideal country I see Libertarians claiming we would have. And every time I've brought up "Caravan of oppressed people because the states are all too different" nobody ever says "Well that would never happen." Just "Moving isn't that hard."

So, y'know, if Libertarianism doesn't involve taking power from the country and giving it to the states, removing a balance and cohesion between the states that make them a country and not just a bunch of wildly different places because of the lack of a higher power to report to, then I would love to hear it. But from every Libertarian I've ever encountered, it does.

Because if the states are all wildly different, that means that one of them will have legal pot!

TL;DR: Handing power to the majority in the way that Libertarianism does fucks over the minority.

*- seriously, I'm starting to think that we should legalize marijuana just to appease the Libertarians. They always bring up California and pot, or how Ron Paul will legalize pot (and so who cares if he thinks the earth is 6000 years old)...

EDIT: Missed this the first time:
So prices are always falling and money is always increasing in value....like the 1880's in America.

You realize that the 1880's were not stellar times for anyone who was not white, male, and straight, right?
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Ketsan » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:21 am

I'm also pretty sure that not everyone was continuously getting better off (financially) in 1880's America.

Notably, it took government intervention to get human beings to stop asserting that they had the right to own other human beings.


The Civil War ended in 1865 and slavery with it. Depends what you mean by better off. Wages probably remained fairly static but spending power increased and the number of consumer products exploded which suggests high demand and high disposable income.
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Ketsan » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:31 am

I am totally willing to believe that Libertarianism is about "reducing and diffusing power", if by that you mean "reduce power of federal government and increase the power of states"
No. Replacing one tyranny with another is not the idea. I think Thomas Woods floated the idea that you could use state government to balance the power of federal government so that it would have to stick to the constitution, but to be honest I'm English so I haven't looked into it all that much.



TL;DR: Handing power to the majority in the way that Libertarianism does fucks over the minority.
It's not about handing over power, it's about destroying the structures of power. We don't want government, state, federal or corporations. We want no centers of power; at all. If there is someone to hand over power to then it isn't Libertarianism.

EDIT: Missed this the first time:
So prices are always falling and money is always increasing in value....like the 1880's in America.

You realize that the 1880's were not stellar times for anyone who was not white, male, and straight, right?

[/quote]

And what? You realise that doesn't actually make the economic growth any lower in the 1880's?
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Jadehawk » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:34 am

No but everyone would be continuously getting better off.
observably untrue, given loss of environmental services and the demonstrable negative effects of rising inequality on human wellbeing.
Remember that we're dealing with a gold standard so money is always getting more valuable
one of these days someone will have to explain to folks like you that gold has actually very little inherent value. also, constant deflation does not lead to prosperity

like the 1880's in America.
oh, you mean the period on the New Imperialism? the one famous for its robber barons and urban slums? the decade in which life expectancy at birth actually dropped?

something tells me you won't convince people that we should recreate that time period
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby ArchBrian » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:34 am

I'm still bothered by the fact that you used late 1800's America as an example of an awesome libertarian utopia, even if you're only speaking in economic terms. Everything I know about history suggests to me that the regulatory protections we enjoy have all come about precisely because something was thoroughly messed up and someone capable of enforcing the rule of law had to step in to stop people from doing things that were thoroughly messed up. In the USA we have OSHA labor laws because children and adults alike were putting in 80 hours a week in shops with no windows and no fire exits. We have the FDA because a bunch of kids died on account of someone deciding to save a few bucks by sweetening antibiotic solutions with toxic diethylene glycol. We have prohibitions against slavery because people decided it was okay to own slaves until were enforceable laws saying they couldn't.

"Libertarianism" is too vague a position for me to construct an argument against anyway, because I'm either going to get No True Scotsmanned or goalposts are going to get moved around wildly when someone asserts that they're talking about fiscal versus social policy or whatever.

But in general, if you want to live in a libertarian paradise, I hear Somalia is nice this time of year. Every assertion that eliminating various government programs and protections that I've ever heard has seemed more likely to produce some kind of constant squabbling between feudal warlords than an ideal society where everything is fair and no one is forced to pay taxes to buy horrible things like education or health care.

And if you think that you can somehow dissolve all structures of power--government power, corporate power, whatever--and have everyone live in harmony, you're just flat out wrong. Power will always exist. And it will always be distributed somehow. If I have anything I can use to exert leverage over my neighbor, whether it's the grain that I have that he wants or the AK-47 that I'm pointing at his head, power structures are going to form. Period.
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Xenologer » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:34 am

Ketsan wrote:And what? You realise that doesn't actually make the economic growth any lower in the 1880's?


I think I have found where you and I disagree. You seem to see economics as a pure numbers game, an abstract thought experiment. I know I personally see the fates of individual people in an economic system as being about more than their contribution or irrelevance to the cause of Overall Growth, and the fact that you don't seem to mind the human cost of a high score in Sim Economy is where you and I diverge.
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Jadehawk » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:36 am

Like I said it's about handing power mostly over to the market, which is us.
the market is less "us" than a political system is. but thanks for confirming that libertarians have no means to prevent accumulation of power other than political power.
No he'd be arrested and locked up. And made to work and pay his bills.
by whom? the police they bribed? like in the 1880's?
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby eNeMeE » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:37 am

Ketsan wrote:No he'd be arrested and locked up. And made to work and pay his bills.

What? How? Guy has the most weapons. Or are you saying that the government does not tax but manages to pay for a military? 'cause as soon as it taxes anyone, it interferes in the market. Also, given that you want no centres of power, who would be forced to go pacify "Best armed guy"? And pay for the prison? And who gets to make use of the sweet, sweet convict labour?

Ketsan wrote:And what? You realise that doesn't actually make the economic growth any lower in the 1880's?

Hi! Welcome to Atheism+, a site that concerns itself with social justice and the oppression of disadvantaged groups!
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby ArchBrian » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:39 am

Ketsan wrote:No he'd be arrested and locked up. And made to work and pay his bills.

By whom!?

I realize this question has already been asked in a previous post, but I am totally serious, because I think it bears repeating. Again. Arrested by whom?
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Grimalkin » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:39 am

The Civil War ended in 1865 and slavery with it. Depends what you mean by better off. Wages probably remained fairly static but spending power increased and the number of consumer products exploded which suggests high demand and high disposable income.


And the (particularly southern) states, with the limited federal government power that existed at that time, totally didn't use their heightened power to try to keep black people in as close to slave-status as possible, right?

And what? You realise that doesn't actually make the economic growth any lower in the 1880's?

I'm sure the economic growth was fabulous. But the 1880's as a time period were not exactly good.

From an economic standpoint though, and correct me if I'm wrong- wasn't the 1880's right when we started to actually regulate what went on in factories and such? Wasn't the period around the 1880's called the "gilded age" because we hid actually horrible shit under "wooo! Money!" ?

Oh, side note: People who have their lives voted on and legislated by politicians tend to not care *too* much about the economy, because we're too worried about whether some governer is going to declare him the right to our uterus or something equally fun.

It's not about handing over power, it's about destroying the structures of power. We don't want government, state, federal or corporations. We want no centers of power; at all. If there is someone to hand over power to then it isn't Libertarianism.

But destroying power structures hurt people who are not in the majority. Power structures protect the rights of people who otherwise would be fucked over in anarchy.
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Xenologer » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:40 am

Yeah, uh. If you don't let some person or organization be The Man, then you can't get The Man to arrest anybody for you. You pretty much just have to hope you can take them in a pistol duel or something.
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby Jadehawk » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:41 am

And what? You realise that doesn't actually make the economic growth any lower in the 1880's?
irrelevant, since "economic growth" is not synonymous with increased quality of life, and depending on the sectors of growth often actually decreases it.

It's not about handing over power, it's about destroying the structures of power.
incorrect, since libertarians have no means to prevent accumulation of power via accumulation of social status, wealth, or any number of other sources of power, while curtailing the ability of people to counteract any of these via collective action AKA political power.
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Re: Why is libertarianism not compatible with social justice

Postby eNeMeE » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:44 am

Xenologer wrote:You pretty much just have to hope you can take them in a pistol duel or something.
:lol: I actually did laugh aloud!
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