Just as socialism suggests that all are better off if we give primacy to the objective of equality, and political power to the lower classes; just as postmodernism suggests that we will all be better off if we give primacy to equality and political power to the academic and public intellectual classes; just as clssical liberalism suggests that we will be better off if we give primacy to the institution of the family to conduct the family as a business without the interference of the state, and give power to family property owners; libertarianism suggests that we will be better off if we give primacy to individuals who pursue commercial innovation, and political power to the rule of law (contracts) that allow this innovation to persist unfettered.
Libertarianism is an economic philosophy that states that (a) we all demonstrate a preference for having our own choices (b) that wealth makes possible our choices (c) that wealth is the product of innovation (creating inequalities which we then pay to equilibrate.)
Libertarianism as a political philosophy that states that (a) all monopolies are bad because people cannot use competition to constrain the bad behavior of people in monopolies (b) all bureaucracies are bad because people in bureaucracies pursue the interest of the bureaucracy at the expense of those it purports to serve (c) government is a monopoly and a bureaucracy that pursues its interests at the expense of those who do ‘real work’ of innovating, producing, risking.
Libertarianism is not against ‘government’. It is against monopoly and bureaucracy which hinder individual innovation and competition, and the creating of ‘differences’ (inequalities) which we then seek to eliminate.
Libertarianism allows us to form our own communities with our own rules and norms, in a balance of power between communities with similar interests. These communities will then compete with one another for population, talent, and services. And people can choose which community to belong to. In this model there is no ‘state’. There are just collections of people who form contractual alliances. Just as we make voluntary commercial organizations, we can make voluntary civic organizations.
Libertarianism is not a prohibition on government. IT IS A PROHIBITION ON A MONOPOLY BUREAUCRACY that we call the STATE, that is able to issue COMMANDS under the guise of LAWS, because it maintains a monopoly on th euse of violence to enforce those commands, because that state is isolated from competition, and as such, can pursue the interests of the bureaucracy, or become a tool of special interests that likewise desire monopoly privileges, at the expense of the citizenry.
Consumers arre very important. Without consumers and credit it is impossible for commercial organizations to make money, and without the ability to make money there is no ability for people to organize into groups. The lower classes are consumers, and quite honestly, produce very little of value other than their consumption. Lower classes in the libertarian model will either exchange adoption to norms for redistributions in wealthy communities, or organize into their own organizations and charge fees for access to their consumers, which can then be redistributed, thereby minimizing profit.
The market for competition lets us compete toward different ends and preferences, even if we cooperate on means of achieving them. Monopoly government forces us to compete in government in a win-lose battle for control of the monopoly bureaucracy. Humans have been cooperating in the market on means, despite having disparate ends, for millennia There is no reason that we cannot take this insight as far as possible.
That is, unless your desire is to STEAL rather than EXCHANGE. And you are most likely to want to STEAL rather than exchange if governmetn provides a systematic means of stealing from others. And that’s what government does. It provides a systematic means of stealing. THe common law and property rights provide a systematic means of exchanging instead of stealing.
ANARCHISM, or anarcho capitalism (a branch of libertarianism) is a RESEARCH PROGRAM that seeks to find solutions to political problems without the use of the monopolistic bureaucratic state. Libertarian writers have done a thorough job of solving all but one or two very large problems (I think I may have solved those remaning issues in my work but I am not yet certain.)
ROTHBARDIAN Libertarianism, which is prominent on the web, was designed to be an ideological religion based upon rigorously defended philosophy combining jewish ethics of resistance (the ghetto) with christian legal and moral arguments (natural law) as a means of resisting both socialism and postmodernism. As and ideology he reduced that philosophy to very simple moral principles that can function as an ideology (generating emotion) rather than as an institutional prescription (generating arguments.) This is because Rothbard and his generation understood that the communists had produced a significant literature but could not win the hearts and minds of ordinary voters unless this philosophy was reduced to policy (the ten planks) and ideology (simple, repeatable, emotionally moralistic statements that would incite people to talk and act in support of those ideas. So Rothbardian libertarianism is an ideological philosophy not a prescription for institutional solutions to the problems of politics.
REGARDING WHITE MALES : white males (the european, or perhaps germanic, race) seek status under the ancient indo-european proscription for heroism via competition. The west is unique for having produced this philosophy of aristocratic egalitarianism – inclusion in equalitarian leadership, and therefore obtaining the reward of property rights, by demonstrated heroism. And the high trust society of the west is the result of aristocratic egalitarianism (heroic achievement, demonstrated excellence, virtue). For most of history, and pre-history, males could achieve this only through combat. With the advent of manorialism, males could demonstrate their fitness through hard work. With the advent of chivalry males could demonstrate their heroic status by charitable service. With the advent of consumer capitalism, males could demonstrate their heroic fitness in commerce. Heroic achievemnet grants access to mates (we have a lof of data on this now that confirms this fact – to the point where we know how many dollars in income per inch of height under 5’10” you must earn to gain the same quality of attractive woman…. Really.) Women are as shallow about status as men are about physical attraction – and the data is the data. As such, white males are intuitively attracted to libertarianism if they see in libertarianism a means of pursuing traditional signals for mating, social status, and wealth. That libertarianism is a rigorous philospohy equalled in detail only by Marxism, and is articulated in economic language and analytical philosophy. It is accessible only to those people with both incentive to learn it, and the ability to understand it. This is why libertarianism is a minority white male philosophy. It is an aristocratic philosophy and difficult to access. Other cultures lack both the mythology and cultural values for heroism and egalitarianism Which is why other cultures also cannot produce the high trust society. And without the high trust society, the wealth necessary for redistribution (charity) is impossible to achieve at scale.
1) The first reservation that I have about libertarianism is that unlike classical liberalism (conservatism) and socialism, libertarians are pacifist and unwilling to use violence to establish their social order – and as such it is impossible to put into place. Theft is powerful motivation, and profitable to use in pursuit of political power, and theft is antithetical to Libertarians. Socialism is by definition kleptocracy, and wither you conquer as Rome or as Washington DC, conquest by theft, backed by threat of violence is more successful and profitable than pacifism. (If India had been a French colony, Ghandi would not have been an old man.)
2) The second reservatoin I have about libertarianism is that all philosophies are class philosophies, and that classes are of different sizes. The indo europeans from the Kurgan’s onward were technology using pastoral conquerors and brought aristocratic egalitarianism with them by the use of force. Aristocratic philosophy generates wealth, but also makes visible our differences. And when those differences in value are visible, people who are in the bottom half of society, or who gain their status through less meritocratic means, feel left behind and ‘unequal’. For these reasons I think libertarianism is a minority movement and despite having found solutions to every political problem that we know of, we cannot both create inovation and differences while preserving equality This is logically impossible. The only solution is to ‘buy’ the compliance of the lower classes through redistribution.
3) The third reservation I have about libertarianism is the discord its less sophisticated advocates create by creating confusion between state, government, court and market.
The market allows us to compete upon ends while cooperating upon means. However, competition is morally objectionable to human beings inside the family group, village or tribe. We licence and encourage competition, because it produces positive results: a virtuous cycle. We tolerate only one form of immorality: competition. Every other form of involuntary transfer: violence, theft, fraud, omission, externalization, free riding, rent seeking and priviatization, systemic corruption, systemic procedural involntary transfer and warfare – we have constrained or outlawed.
We can, in the market, use boycott to deprive organizations of wealth. But it is not always a strong lever. We can use the courts to protect us from violence, theft, fraud and omission if we do not surrender our right to sue.
We can use government to protect us from unnecessary competition, free riding and privatization of the commons. when we invest in commons.
We can use the state ‘bank’ as an insurer of last resort.
We can use multiple houses of government, where we have them, to negotiate exchanges between the classes where market exchange is not possible or creation of commons is not possible, because of the asymmetry of reward of investment in various commons’.
But we can only use market and government to cooperate on means of achieving disparate ends, if government is not open to corruttion. And government is open to corruption if it can make laws rather than conttracts. Only the courts can find or discover laws. The government if not corrupt, can only negotiate contracts impossible to negotiate in the market.
THis emphasis on contracts relies upon the morality of exchange, rather than the immorality of majority rule, or arbitrary command in pursuit of some artificial common ‘good’.
ON THE FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNMENT
A) NECESSARY PROPERTIES
The NECESSARY properties of of a government are
1) provide a means of resolving differences without the use of violence (ie: to create a monopoly of violence within a geography.)
2) To provide a means of resolving differences requires a definition of property rights.
3) To prohibit alternative definitions of property rights from being imposed by force, theft or fraud, (or immigration.)
4) To provide a means of investing in commons (human and physical infrastructure) by prohibiting free-riding, privatization, and competition when investing in commons.
These are the minimum properties of a government.
B) ADVANTAGEOUS PROPERTIES
In addition to these properties, it may also be possible for a group of people to afford to also have government engage in the following:
5) To provide a means of cooperation between classes where privatization, free riding, rent seeking and competition prevent cooperation between classes.
6) To reduce both transaction costs and fraud by implementing weights, measures and currency.
7) To perform as an insurer of last resort against catastrophes.
These are advantageous properties of government.
C) PROPERTIES THAT ARE LUXURIES
In addition to these properties, it may be possible for a group of people to afford to also have the government engage in the following LUXURIES:
8) Redistribution of all kinds, both in services, and in direct payments.
9) Inter-temporal redistribution from young to old, rather than saving and lending from old to young. (But this is very fragile.)
These are LUXURIES that can be provided by some governments under rare circumstances in exceptional periods of time, where malthusian and group selection problems have been temporarily held at bay by technological innovation.
The government is not the source of the ‘good things’. The courts, under the common law and property rights is the source of ‘good things’. The government has destroyed the common law, the rule of law, and crated both corporatism and socialism. And we now suffer between two factions that try to control the government for corporatist or socialist means.