Saturday, 20 June 2009

Thought-Provoking Libertarian Philosophy

Libertarian thought begins with the individual. It's individuals that make up our society, not our society that makes individuals, so this is the only sensible place to start.

To each and every person in our society, we say:

YOU OWN YOURSELF

Owning something means that you have the absolute right to decide what to do with it—whether to use it up, keep it, sell it or give it away. Libertarians believe that everyone has the right to ownership of their own bodies, thoughts and beliefs, and honestly acquired property, be those goods, land, or money. Owning these aspects of yourself means that you should be free to do with them what you choose.

Libertarians believe that coercive actions by individuals, or groups of individuals—for example, the State—against others can never be justified. Such actions can rightly be seen as acts of aggression, and are simply an inappropriate way of behaving towards other people. This does not mean that Libertarians are pacifists, as everyone has the right to defend the property that they own—including themselves; rather, it is the act of initiating aggression that is morally unacceptable. What this means in practice, and looking at recent international events, is that Libertarians would have supported military action in the Falklands Conflict, where UK citizens and territory were first attacked by an aggressor, but not the recent war against Iraq, where the UK (along with the US) actually initiated the aggression.

On a more personal level, the right to do with your own body as you see fit means that Libertarians have no moral problems with people using drugs in a responsible fashion. The important thing here is how your own actions impact upon the rights of others. For example, it would be wrong to drive under the influence of drink or drugs, as that would be putting the lives and property of others in danger. Yes, you have rights, but you also have the responsibility to respect the equally held rights of others.

Practical Libertarianism

There are many aspects of our lives where the choices that we have are becoming increasingly limited by the actions of others, notably the State. Examples include which school you can send your children to, and for how long, where and what medical treatments are available to you and your family, at what age you can retire and gain a state pension, and so on.

Sadly, we have recently become so used to having arbitrary limitations placed upon our lives by government that we often don't stop to think about them, other than to briefly curse when some new idiotic rule or regulation hits us for the first time. Why do our politicians think that we need treating like children, and attempt to regulate every aspect of our lives? Who benefits from this?

Libertarians believe that the role of the State should be to protect our basic rights, and nothing more. This means maintaining the rule of law, and providing us, and our country, with an effective military defence.

(from the Party manifesto) http://lpuk.org/pages/libertarian-party.php

5 comments:

Stonemason. said...

What part is from which party manifesto?

IanPJ said...

All of it.

See http://lpuk.org/pages/manifesto.php

A manifesto for the people of Britain under our own steam, rather than one where we are subjugated under the EU, as Cameron, Clegg and Brown would have us.

Stonemason. said...

Sorry IanPJ, for some reason I completely missed the link.

excellent vision.

Dr. Ford said...

In the entire two century history of the USA, there are probably only two wars which were/would have been worth it. The first was the American revolutionary war - to get out from the control of the ROTHSCHILD BANKERS (not for the reasons normally stated - to break away from Britain) and the second would have been WW II - if we had allied with Hitler and went after the communists (it would have been easy to have Churchill and the other ZOG traitors arrested and Stalin would have been quickly finished). That's it.

The US civil war, WW I, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq - all of them are worse than worthless.

Dump Israel and ZOG, deport the non-White invaders, seal the borders, cancel all the insane wars, and enjoy the closest thing to paradise. It's a simple formula to success, really.

Fionnchú said...

I'd like to think we could have a discussion on libertarianism (as opposed to the Ayn-Rand inspired Objectivists who in the U.S. founded the Liberatarian Party) without descending into ZOG conspiracies and antisemitic rants. That aside, I just finished (reviewed on my blog) Pankraj Mishra's "An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the Modern World" that tries, if unevenly, to align Western intellectual and philosophical discourse with engaged Buddhism that reminds me of some of the ideas set out in the manifesto cited; similarly, I'm halfway through Jean-Francois Revel & Mathieu Ricard's dialogue that covers overlapping terrain with political philosophy among many other topics in the dense but rewarding "The Monk & the Philosopher." Curious how E.F. Schumacher's "small is beautiful" ideas come into play as well.