Ming the Mechanic:
Libertarians

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Libertarians2002-12-25 18:41
4 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

I sort of considered myself libertarian. But then there is this libertarian who was running for office somewhere and who for some reason was e-mailing me his various statements and letters to the editor, etc. And when I finally got around to looking at them, I realized I disagreed with a lot of he was saying. Anti-environmentalist, pro-corporate kinds of views. When I wrote to him, to ask to get off his list, and I told him he sounded more like a religious right republican than a libertarian, he wrote back with some surprise, saying that he scored 100-100 on the libertarian quiz and that he agreed with 100% of the libertarian party platform.

So, I figured I've better take that test and re-evaluate things a bit for myself. It is actually a rather good test, based on a more sensible political spectrum than the normal left-undecided-right thing. There are some important dimensions missing, which I'll get to in a moment, but it does make things more clear. The idea is that the Liberal Left wants people to be free when it comes to their personal behavior (but wants to control their money), and the Conservative Right wants people to be free when it comes to money (but want to control people's behavior and morals). An Authoritarian wants to control all of it, and a Libertarian wants people to be free both when it comes to money and personal morals.

My result was a Personal Self-Government Score of 100% and an Economic Self-Government Score of 80%. Well, there were only two sticky points there. Whether there should be a minimum wage and whether foreign aid should be privately funded. I'd like everybody to survive well. But minimum wage does nothing for people who don't have a job. A real minimum wage should mean that everybody would get that, no matter what. And foreign aid in the form of private individuals sending money to foreign governments, I can't quite see that being enough in the current world.

But the real problem is the issues and attitudes that aren't being mentioned. I want individuals to be free to make their own choices, both in terms of their morals and their personal resources. But I don't consider corporations individuals, so I wouldn't dream of extending such rights to huge artificial entities. Most libertarians don't make that distinction, it seems, and will happily give corporations free hands to do what they want.

Personally, I would like the world to work for most everybody, and I think that requires widespread cooperation and collaboration, and I think it requires great respect for the environment we live in. It appears that many people who use the 'libertarian' label for themselves are mainly thinking "Get off my property! Keep your hands off my life!", and the only plan they have for making the world work better is to privatize what governments do into the hands of big corporations. None of which I think is useful.

Hm, seems like the only label that would sort of fit for me is Libertarian Socialist. Which doesn't really have anything to do with the U.S. Libertarian Party. I believe in inalienable rights to personal and economic liberty, and the right to freely organize. I believe in free markets and direct de-centralized democracy. I don't believe it is reasonable that one can be tricked into giving up one's basic rights and freedoms. I believe that authoritarian governments and large corporations and private land ownership and a number of other institutions are destroying such basic rights and freedoms.


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4 comments

26 Dec 2002 @ 14:54 by sharie : Private land ownership

So you believe the world would be a better place if all land was owned by the public? And corporations had were outlawed and had no legal rights? Or what exactly are you saying?  



26 Dec 2002 @ 15:25 by ming : Land Ownership
I'm saying that corporations should not have the same privileges as a natural person, and fewer liabilities. Any group of people should be able to get together and do something they want to do. But there shouldn't be anything to hide behind.

And I'm saying that nobody can own the sun or the wind or the sea or the land. And that includes governments. They belong to the planet. I'd say that in practicality ownership would be that you 'own' what you're taking good care of. In other words, no ownership in absentia. No owning 1000's of acres somewhere, just to be sure nobody else ever uses them. If you live somewhere and you're doing good things with what is there, for most intents and purposes, that would be yours.  



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