Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Does Voluntaryism Work?

I've not engaged in debate with libertarians a lot, because i tend to look for areas of agreement, & see libertarianism as an ally against statism.  But at some point, i knew i would need to look at the basis for the libertarian ideal.

What is the basic duty of government?

Provide justice.

This is the essence.  We want our rights protected from violators, either foreign or domestic.  The declaration of independence phrased it like this:  'That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.'

People want to live in peace & provide for themselves.  A good govt does this without over burdening them with excessive taxation, or exploiting them for the benefit of the state.  A good govt is a deterrent to criminal activity & foreign aggression.  They provide common infrastructure & fair trade rules.  They  provide a stable currency so the citizens can engage in commerce & build a nation.

How does voluntaryism provide this?  By the open market.  They quote the non aggression principle & expect everyone to voluntarily observe it.

But here is where it fails:

1. If justice is a commodity, it can be bought & sold to the highest bidder.  This is a 'devolution' of society into more primitive governance, where 'might makes right'.

2. Without a common defense, and the power to enforce it, there would be a proliferation of 'justice providers', battling each other for control, & none as strong as if they combined their forces.  This weakens the society, & would encourage crime & foreign aggression.
3. There are NO examples of this actually working in any society in the history of mankind.

The non aggression principle is a fantasy.  It is just as much an illusion as collectivism.  Both require altruistic citizens, or a totalitarian system to enforce it.  That is the logical progression.  Any vacuum of power is filled by competing entities, looking to consolidate their authority & control.  The people will be at the mercy of those providers of power.. they do not choose them, or have any balance of power or rights to appeal to.  It opens the door for aggressive, power hungry oppressors, & does not secure the rights or interests of the people.

Everything in libertarianism hinges on following the non aggression principle.  But the whole history of man is that of aggression.  Governments are formed, either by aggressive powers, or to ward off those powers.  An aggressive force needs an equal or more powerful force to deter it.  Voluntaryists expect a balance of power to come naturally, not systematically.  But that is not how balance is achieved   It must be provided & enforced by a common force of will, powerful enough to deter competing factions.  This force is government.  Anarchy brings chaos, not order.

What we should be asking is, 'What is the best system of government we can provide for ourselves, to establish justice & provide for a common defense?'

Does 'no government' do that?  Anarchy movements seem to breed violence & destruction.  It is not a positive force on society, but negative.  There is destruction of property, looting, & lawlessness.  Generally, where anarchy has increased, the response of society is to turn to a totalitarian force to deter it.  Lawlessness breeds totalitarianism.  It does not increase freedom for the people, but decreases it.

The american ideal is that the people have a right to 'institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.'  (declaration of independence)

'We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.'  (preamble of us constitution)

This works.  Yes, we've got some problems, but if we can get back to the basics, we can have a simple, effective government. The us constitution is a good base to work from. It provides a solid framework for governance.. justice, self defense, & protection of individual liberties. Of all the governmental systems in the history of the world, NONE have provided more freedom, prosperity, & opportunity than the US system of government.

It was very difficult to set something like this up.. we needed a lot of idealistic, altruistic people at the onset, which is extremely rare in human history. The usual scenario is for nice sounding words to be corrupted by those ascending into power, & the original ideals being set aside for the rulers' convenience. Look at every place where a statist system was rebelled from.. monarchies, dictators.. just about every nation on earth has had one oppressive state replaced by another, with less freedoms than before. The US evolution of govt is very rare.. for MORE freedom to be dispensed to the people by the central state entity.  We should not take it for granted, or toss it aside casually, for some pie in the sky fantasy.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité
Factories to workers, land to peasants! 
Peace, Bread and Land"
"Revolution is not a crime! 
Rebellion is justified!"
"Dare to think, dare to act".
"Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer!"
"Change We Can Believe In!"

None of these slogans provided freedom for the people, but only led to more oppression.  Some people may be bored with the US constitution, or think it obsolete, but the alternative is authoritarianism, if we cast it aside.

I've had enough slogans.  Give me something that works, with a real track record.

No comments:

Post a Comment