March 10, 2014 by Liberty
Being a site called, “Libertarian Money,” the simple asking of a question like, “Are libertarian’s wrong?” can seem to delve down into a significantly biased positive opinion on the virtues of libertarianism. While, I am significantly biased, I’m going to do my best to explore this question without too much of my own bias leaking in. Don’t believe me? Well, how about this…
Libertarian’s are horribly and miserably incorrect the vast majority of the time. Most libertarians get there information from horribly inaccurate and biased sources. Libertarianism is almost fundamentally based on utopian fantasies.
Libertarian politicians are one of the most obvious examples. Some libertarian’s believe that electing politicians can help reduce politics. That’s like if I went to speak to a barber about not getting my hair cut. The odds of hair getting cut just goes up dramatically.
Libertarian’s tend to be wrong in most of their predictions. They often start saying things like “Charity will replace everything welfare provides.” These are silly and baseless predictions. The economic models they use are valid but the validity of a model doesn’t mean it has any correlation to reality. It’s just a mathematical story being told.
So, with libertarianism being so horribly and embarrassingly wrong so regularly, why would I possibly identify myself as a libertarian? The truth is, libertarian has little to do with being right.
Libertarianism Is About Ethics
Most people do not become libertarians for practical reasons. While I would argue there are some good practical reasons, there are some much more intelligent options that libertarians choose not to use for ethical reasons.
For example, libertarians tend to be against subsidies for businesses. If a libertarian sees subsidies for businesses then the practical thing is not to oppose these subsidies. The practical thing is to support those subsidies for there own personal gain. Having seen an inefficiency in the non-free market, the libertarian is given the option to exploit it. If the libertarian doesn’t exploit it to the best of his or her ability then it’s not a decision based on facts. It’s a decision based on emotion.
The whole philosophy is based on principles that are not practical in nature. A person promoting non-aggression is usually not looking out for their own best interest because aggression is one of the most efficient means of gaining resources for survival.
Libertarians are incorrect about many things but it doesn’t matter because libertarianism is fundamentally about ethics. Statism, on the other hand, discounts the value of ethics based on how right government always believes it is.
Statism Requires Being Right
Statism is a claim of ethics for violent actions. Government is fundamentally violence. If I stop paying my taxes, I will get locked in a cage. If I try to protect myself from getting kidnapped, I could get killed for not paying. People believe that the good of government justifies those violent actions.
Libertarianism does not need to prove that statism doesn’t work. Statism is making the claim.
Statists are so confident in there claim that they’re willing to use violence against people that disagree.
That being said, history is loaded with example after example of old governments that current governments condemn. Those older governments had citizens that were just as confident. America promotes democracy as the most ethical means of government while condemning the German democracy that put Hitler in power.
The revolutionary war in America was started based on a minuscule tax. That war is constantly regarded as a positive in American history classes. At the same time, Americans are working nearly half the year to pay all the taxes they owe. Taxes are significantly higher but to discuss a revolutionary war today is wrong.
Ethics in statism tend to fluctuate.
To believe in a state or a law, you need to be believe you are right. The burden of proof is on you.
An Ethical Government
It is possible to justify the use of aggression to complete certain objectives. Some of the most obvious examples of this come from protection. If I see a man about to shoot someone, assuming I knew enough about the situation, it could be ethical for me to tackle the man with the gun. My tackle is a form of aggression that’s not personal self-defense. Many people believe that government can perform similar actions.
They say things like, “Sure, taxation may be a little bit of theft but it helps to keep us safe.”
There is virtually no provable substance in that statement. What is safe? More importantly, doesn’t the acceptance of the mass stealing of resources constitute a lack of safety? I, certainly, don’t feel safer knowing that someone can take food off my table.
With every government program that gets created, there needs to be an objective way to measure the results. Since the implementation of welfare programs, the number of people in poverty has stagnated. Any objective look at the welfare program makes it obvious that it’s doing more harm than good. If the intention of these programs was to help the poor then why haven’t the politicians changed there approach yet? It’s because the program did exactly what the politicians wanted it to do.
Has Government Worked So Far?
At the last election, did you vote for your dream politician? If you’re like most people, you voted for the lesser of two evils. This has been going on throughout history. Whether the government is a democracy, a republic, or a dictatorship, the power is not in the average person’s hands.
The majority of people are apathetic about their government. Just look at the sub 10% approval rating for congress. Most people do not support the job that their government is doing.
If you’re completely satisfied with your government and the direction it’s going then perhaps you should continue to support it.
If you have some doubts then it’s probably time that you start looking for alternatives. With libertarianism, you don’t have to agree to like or dislike any particular program. The fundamental principle that you need to focus on is non-aggression towards other people that disagree with your opinion. You don’t have to hate wars overseas and love drugs to be a libertarian. All you need is to not use violence against someone just because they don’t want to support your belief.
Are libertarians wrong? Yes but libertarianism is not about knowing better. It’s about accepting that there are things that you don’t know. Statism is the absurd belief that you know enough to control every factor to perfection while giving that control to whoever manipulates audiences best.