This is topic Authoritarianism vs. Libertarianism in forum General Comments at The Ornery American Forum.


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Posted by Kent (Member # 832) on :
 
I've been thinking a lot about that political leanings survey someone posted not too long ago, and I've been discussing with my friend (yes, I have only one) the idea that the difference between right and left is very small compared to the difference between Authoritarians vs. Libertarians. Taken to extremes on the Authoritarian side you have Soviet Union under Stalin, Naziism, Pol Pot, etc. On the Libertarian side you really don't see many examples, because it appears to me that nation-states can't exist in anarchy.

I believe in Libertarian ideals, but are they antithetical to government? My fear from the right and the left, from the Democrats/Socialists/Republicans is that the parties are moving more and more authoritarian.

What is the Concord Party's take on this concept?
 
Posted by jm0397 (Member # 916) on :
 
Yup. Demopublicans... Republicrats. Little difference. One wants to cut taxes to spend like a drunken sailor, the other raise taxes to spend like a drunken sailor.

The best ideas on paper rarely work in the real world.

"little c" communism and true libertarianism on a national scale, for example.

Although, the Constitution + bill of rights as originally followed came pretty darn close to true libertarian... That didn’t last long, though.

You'll have to ask Everard about little c examples.

--------

And to quote Ferris Bueller: "Isms in my opinion are not good".

[ March 26, 2007, 02:24 PM: Message edited by: jm0397 ]
 
Posted by caladbolg1125 (Member # 3666) on :
 
My high school government teacher had us take that quiz on The Political Compass just for us to see where it is we actually ranked. I thought it was more interesting and complete than the simple left/right alignment.

I think it comes down to balance. We have to balance authoritarian ideals that allow governments to run at all, and thus allow us to live with each other, with libertarian ideals that safegaurd individual freedoms.

I think the system in America has been roughly near equilibrium for the most part with some sudden violent shifts to one side or the other as well as many subtle ones. Those are just the system maintaining equilibrium, I think. Right now, for instance, there has been a shift toward authoritarianism with the whole War on Terror deal. It is only a matter of time before we swing back around to the libertarian side.

Ideally that won't happen to the extent to which we have swung to the authoritarian side, though. Such closeness to extremes is a sign of sickness in the system and needs to be remedied as soon as possible.

I find it doubtful that any system can just rest on equilibrium. Such stagnation would be death. There will always be activity that pushes us to one side or the other and IMO that is a sign of a healthy system. In my most personal opinion, I think its about time we swung back the other way. So much authoritarianism can't be healthy, can it?
 
Posted by caladbolg1125 (Member # 3666) on :
 
Just an after thought: wasn't the creation of the US a libertarian response to what the founding fathers percieved as too authoritarian? Since then, it seems that we have generally been moving toward authoritarianism. But isn't that natural? We'll swing back toward libertarianism eventually, now that things have gotten nicely out of hand. *sigh* (They need a sigh graemlin [Mad] )
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
I wouldn't say "libertarian" response. Libtertarianism is something different then classical liberalism
 
Posted by caladbolg1125 (Member # 3666) on :
 
Pedantic loyalty to the definitions of words aside (I'm not criticizing. I do it, too [Wink] ), I think my point stands. I say libertarian as one pole of the authoritarian/libertarian duality. The US was still created as a move away from authoritarianism.
 
Posted by Kent (Member # 832) on :
 
Can communism even be practiced in a "free" society. I believe communities could practice it (little "c" here), but if you have no "big stick" . . .
 
Posted by Richard Dey (Member # 1727) on :
 
It rarely takes a crowd of people for a libertarian to make up his mind; for a communist to make up his mind, all it requires is the mob.

"Communism is a theory of political practice in which everybody shares everything except responsibility." - Schostoff -

One might conclude from that way of thinking that democracy is a political practice in which people share only if they have to, and libertarians don't have to share at all because each man has taken care of his own needs.

The essence of libertarianism is found in Thoreau -- but he never practiced it; but, then, he never pretended to be a libertarian.
 
Posted by FiredrakeRAGE (Member # 1224) on :
 
Everard said:
quote:
I wouldn't say "libertarian" response. Libtertarianism is something different then classical liberalism
How so?
 
Posted by WarrsawPact (Member # 1275) on :
 
This will not end well.
 
Posted by kenmeer livermaile (Member # 2243) on :
 
If ever.
 
Posted by KidB (Member # 3016) on :
 
quote:
Everard said:
quote:
quote:
I wouldn't say "libertarian" response. Libtertarianism is something different then classical liberalism
How so?
I would argue that Libertarianism is a subset of classical liberalism. The latter really encoumpasses a whole body of thought and debate - a philosophical tradition, if you will - whereas Libertarianism refers to a specific platform/agenda.
 
Posted by Jesse (Member # 1860) on :
 
For starters, Classic Liberalism predates the Randian NeoFeudalist Movement.
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
And every major classical liberal philospher argued for certain forms of government control that a libertarian would shudder at.
 
Posted by flydye45 (Member # 2004) on :
 
One could argue that the Articles of the Confederacy were much more Libertarian and see how well they worked out. They assumed virtuous and farsighted state governments.
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
"One could argue that the Articles of the Confederacy were much more Libertarian"

What makes you say this?
 
Posted by hobsen (Member # 2923) on :
 
"Articles of the Confederacy" can refer either to some drawn up in the 13 colonies in the 1770s or in the South during the Civil War in the 1860s. It would be well to establish which is meant.

The former is more commonly called the Articles of Confederation. The full name I think was "Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union."

[ March 28, 2007, 09:30 AM: Message edited by: hobsen ]
 
Posted by flydye45 (Member # 2004) on :
 
Yes, the Articles of the Confederation. Excuse me.

One of the tenents of Libertarianism is the smallest least intrusive government possible, which it shares with certain factions on the Right and the Left. Certainly the Federal aspect of the Confederation was as light and toothless a government as I can imagine. At one point the entire army was 700 men. IIRC, the Confederation Congress was driven out of Philidelphia by unpaid soldiers gathered into a mob.

[ March 28, 2007, 09:58 AM: Message edited by: flydye45 ]
 
Posted by Everard (Member # 104) on :
 
Ah. Ok. I automatically assumed the confederacy within the context of what you wrote.

Yes, the original articles were much more libertarian then the constitution is.
 
Posted by KidB (Member # 3016) on :
 
quote:
One of the tenents of Libertarianism is the smallest least intrusive government possible
The "possible" part is often what seperates one political philosophy from another. I'm sure there are many folks in the Bush administration who believe they are as non-intrusive "as possible" (Clinton too, I'll be fair). Libertarianism, properly defined, makes certain specific statements about the government's relationship to individual rights, about what constitutes the public sphere vs. the private, and about the inherent rationality of the free-market. It really is an assertion about Natural Law as much as it is about politics, I think. There are plenty of other societies or philosophies that would minimize goverment or even reject it completely (as least anything we would call government) but which would also be opposed to free-market capitalism, and this difference is traced to different fundamental assumptions about nature, labor, and rights.

So I guess I'd say that Libertarianism is the result of certain specific (debatable) conclusions emerging from the more general parameters of Classical Liberalism.
 
Posted by flydye45 (Member # 2004) on :
 
I know you'll find it hard to believe, but I don't support "The Cause", whatever the heck that means.
 
Posted by kenmeer livermaile (Member # 2243) on :
 
Today's Gibson blog says interesting things on communism East German style.
 
Posted by kenmeer livermaile (Member # 2243) on :
 
I don't support The Cause either, because it's just a B-cause.

I'm an A-causal kind of guy myself.

Forward into the anterior!
 
Posted by WarrsawPact (Member # 1275) on :
 
It's a good thing everyone's giving their definition of what a "classical liberal" is, and what a "libertarian" is, before saying what the difference is.

I mean, really, no respect for the different kinds of libertarians, even? Much less the differences between the classical liberals? It's not like either has ever been monolithic.
 
Posted by KidB (Member # 3016) on :
 
We've been spelling Libertarian with a big "L", which refers to a fairly specific set of tenets that I think everyone here understands. Likewise, I'm guessing everyone here has been to college and has a workable understanding of what is meant by classical liberalism.

If you talk about "different kinds of libertarians" with the little l, then, yes, someone should define "libertarian" - because at that point it could mean almost anything.
 
Posted by Kent (Member # 832) on :
 
Yes, and while on the topic, AUTHORITARIANISM VS. FREEDOM.
 
Posted by kenmeer livermaile (Member # 2243) on :
 
"Likewise, I'm guessing everyone here has been to college"

No, but I've spent my share of time in the " fever swamps of my internets".

Ooga-booga!
 
Posted by WarrsawPact (Member # 1275) on :
 
KidB - This thread is probably dead, but you're wrong. Not everyone was using the capital-L "Libertarian"... see Everard, Richard Dey, caladbolg, and jm0397. Kent's capitalization of the word seems a bit inappropriate next to a capitalized "Authoritarian" too (has there ever been an "Authoritarian Party"?). So be sure to qualify your use of the word "we" by stating that you're really only talking about half of the contributors to the thread.

The vast majority of people who think along essentially libertarian lines (not "conservative" or "liberal" in the modern American political sense) do not belong to the Libertarian Party. Included in that group are some of the contributors to this thread.

[ March 29, 2007, 10:12 PM: Message edited by: WarrsawPact ]
 
Posted by WarrsawPact (Member # 1275) on :
 
The antipoles of the government spectrum are totalitarianism (not authoritarianism, which can be much more selective) and anarchism. Even these extremes do not exist on a simple left-right spectrum (which hasn't been truly useful even since its conception) or even a 2-dimensional map (which is convenient for the Libertarian Party but only marginally improves on what it replaces). The types of coercive intervention in the life of an individual or existence of any level of organization (including, but not limited to, church, firm, household, and union) are legion and cannot be split in such simple ways as "social versus economic" intervention. Cataloging even existing forms of the ways decision-making is impacted by coercion would be a monumental task.

A more fitting term for most libertarians tends to be "minarchist" rather than "anarchist," but they come in many flavors and have a range of justifications ranging from complete principle/natural law to utter amoral pragmatism. Various types of libertarians are intellectually balkanized to such a degree that it cripples most efforts at political organization; the broader ideology is not especially conducive to collective political action.

And yes, generally both major parties in the US are moving toward greater government intervention in citizens' lives. Sadly, they even move on many of the same axes of growing intervention.

[ March 30, 2007, 03:37 AM: Message edited by: WarrsawPact ]
 
Posted by Kent (Member # 832) on :
 
Is there anyone here that believes we need more government intervention in our lives at this point? If so, in what areas?
 
Posted by flydye45 (Member # 2004) on :
 
No.

As an additional note to what Warsaw wrote is to divide authoritarianism into sections of life. For example, one can be for very strong authoritarianism in the military and police, where such measures are needed, while still holding differing views when one speaks of a private life, economics, and free speech.

One expects soldiers to receive orders. Civilian control of the military hinges on it.
 
Posted by Kent (Member # 832) on :
 
Yes, if Battlestar Galactica has taught us anything it is that in order for the human race to survive, orders must be obeyed.
 
Posted by KidB (Member # 3016) on :
 
WP,

I stand corrected. But there is a big "L" in the thread title, so naturally I assume we're talking about laissez fair capitalists.

You state:

quote:
The vast majority of people who think along essentially libertarian lines (not "conservative" or "liberal" in the modern American political sense) do not belong to the Libertarian Party. Included in that group are some of the contributors to this thread.

As I stated above, once you go into little "l" territory you really do have to define terms. The traditional use of the word does not specificy laissez-faire capitalism, or even capitalism in any form - though little "l" is often used to express only moderate deviations from big L. A century ago, "libertarians" were socialists and anarchists who opposed big business. So when you speak of "libertarian lines" I'm sure what you mean at all. You give the reason yourself quite clearly here:

quote:
The types of coercive intervention in the life of an individual or existence of any level of organization (including, but not limited to, church, firm, household, and union) are legion and cannot be split in such simple ways as "social versus economic" intervention. Cataloging even existing forms of the ways decision-making is impacted by coercion would be a monumental task
But big L does mean something quite specific policy-wise, even if people have different reasons for arriving at many of the same conclusions. And while "authoritarianism vs. libertarianism" is a false dichotomy, "authoritarianism vs. Libertarianism" really isn't. I take it as a given that the question here is confined exclusively to government authority rather than other forms.
 
Posted by Kent (Member # 832) on :
 
Dang, I shouldn't have taken the terms that were used in that political survey.
 


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