We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The ‘liberty’ to run the economy by force

    lib·er·ty n. pl. lib·er·ties

  1. a. The condition of being free from restriction or control.
    b. The right and power to act, believe, or express oneself in a manner of one’s own choosing.
    c. The condition of being physically and legally free from confinement, servitude, or forced labor. See Synonyms at freedom.
  2. Freedom from unjust or undue governmental control.
  3. A right or immunity to engage in certain actions without control or interference: the liberties protected by the Bill of Rights.

Like some undead zombie in B-grade horror movie, we have pumped the hideous thing full of lead from our rifles and shotguns… it falls riddled with logical holes and yet somehow the creature staggers to its feet again with bits falling off, lurching forward once more.

Gauche is clinging remorselessly to the term ‘Libertarian Socialism’

But I’m still an enthusiast for egalitarian self-managed market socialism; and I still want the state to leave us all alone as much as possible. My big difference with libertarians of the right is that my ideal minimal state concentrates not on maintenance of property rights and defence of the realm but on redistribution of incomes and wealth to provide basic needs to everyone as of right (citizen’s income and free healthcare, education and housing) so we can all get on with whatever we want. And OK, I know that’s utopian. But so what?

Well on one point I am in complete agreement with Gauche… his view is utopian. In fact, the notion that a state which redistributes wealth by force and provides ‘education’ to its citizens can be a minimal state is more than just utopian, it is fantastical. Wage control? Nationalised healthcare? Nationalised education? Nationalised housing? And how, exactly, would this be different to the non-libertarian modern socialist (i.e. social democratic) states found all over the western world?

The answer is it is exactly the same thing. The only liberty in Gauche’s libertarianism is the liberty to take the money of others by force without prior consent and to run the economy on political, rather than social, interaction.

Sure, there is a long history of people calling themselves libertarians. But so what? Liberty means not having one’s life under the force backed direction of others… socialism means using force backed politics to direct people’s life in accordance with socialist political ends. The two are antithetical.

The horror of undead socialist libertarianism

Arrrggg… I’m a…libertarian…too!

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11 comments to The ‘liberty’ to run the economy by force

  • Russ Goble

    I’m sorry but that guy is a complete moron. He wants minimal control but control of the means of production. Idiot.

  • back40

    Perhaps he means anarcho-socialism and is using the confused term ‘libertarian-socialism’. Anarcho-socialism is theoretically possible if technologies to produce basic consumer goods for near zero cost are developed. It would not involve ‘redistribution of income’ to ‘provide basic needs’.

    But even then anarcho-capitalism would be better. The property of value would be different and creative/inventive genius would be highly prized. Services would still be valuable but not menial services.

  • thanks for the info

  • Theodopoulos Pherecydes

    It is certainly my opinion too that the state has no legitimate business in education. After all, “education” – a leading out – begins in families.

    Further, if “public goods,” as separate from ordinary goods, are defined as being both non-rival and non-excludable then education is almost the archetypical private good. National defense, of which the most stupid and unrepentant tax-evader in Leavenworth Prison cannot get more nor be excluded so as to have less, is the archetypical public good. How different from any “school” where one can be excluded from the premises for improper conduct or ejected because of one’s own ignorance or stupidity.

    Free people should be allowed to buy the education they believe will produce the most personal utility, or choose to do without.

  • Dave

    Free people should be allowed to buy the education they believe will produce the most personal utility, or choose to do without.

    I’m not sure how this can work in the context of an advanced technological society.

  • John J. Coupal

    To: Dave

    In the context of an advanced technological society, parents are given a voucher by the state. That voucher is redeemable for “education” for said parents’ children by any provider felt to be qualified by those parents.

    That is not only a potential, but is actually occurring in many places in the USA today. In the future, it will be more common.

  • I don’t think appealing to reason is going to work with this guy. He probably just likes the way the word “libertarian” sounds and will come up with any old rationalisation to justify labelling himself thus.

    If his blog had been subtitled “Atheism with a Christian punch” and some Christian blogs had pointed out that Christianity requires belief that Jesus was the son of God and therefore is incompatible with atheism, he’d probably say that it was just one particular sect of Christianity who took that view, and he is one of many Christians who vehemently deny God’s existence or that there is anything special about Christ.

    Noting that Christian was a derivative of “Christ” wouldn’t have any more impact than noting that libertarian derives from “liberty”.

  • John J. Coupal: Vouchers-as-choice is a canard used by people who cannot make the final logical step to get the state out of education all together. It is still state funded education, which means the state takes people’s money and required it be spent on education for other people. Once the state gets invopves, the content of education becomes political by definition and so ‘choice’ only exists to select education that the state approves of. Vouchers are just an illusion of choice.

  • Theo … Education IS a public good. Read The Wealth of Nations by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen.

    Back 40 … If you reduce production costs competition will reduce market prices to that of a functioning distributive level of return. So where’s the magic bullet that makes anarcho-socialism suddenly possible?

    Perry … My daughter’s independent school education sets me back a heck of a lot of pocket money. Alright, this is an expensive way of doing thing. But I seem to recall reading somewhere that even the state sector weighs in at an average of £2,300 per child per term. I don’t love the state myself. But without some redistributive engine how are, say, the bottom 20% of wage earners (and non wage earners) meant to pay for the education of their (generally larger) broods?

    Peter C … On the money, again.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I love the way this guys talks of redistribution of various resources “as of right”. Note the casual transformation from the idea of a “right” as a negative prohibition against the use of force against one’s person and property into something justifying wholesale State-licensed thieving.

    The guy is no libertarian. He is a collectivist in drag.

  • Dave O'Neill

    Peter: I have no more of a problem with Libertarian Solcialism than I do with Atheism with a hint of Christianity, likewise, there is actually a real organisation called “Jews for Jesus”.

    I am afraid I still don’t see how vouchers solve any of the real problems. If people can opt out entirely, how do you avoid making the whole education thing more unequal than it is now.

    While it goes against my personal grain, we should not condemn children to suffer for the problems of their parents, and getting the “state” out of education looks to me like just that.