Freedom or common sense in the
Cannabis Cafe forums; When does the pursuit for freedom exceed the common good! Answer, when your a Libertarian:
I'm finding Cobbs all over ...
Freedom or common sense
When does the pursuit for freedom exceed the common good! Answer, when your a Libertarian:
I'm finding Cobbs all over the place these days. The latest of these, Steve Cobb, has some good things to say about Libertarianism. I'm going to go off half-cocked before I read his opus so that I can do synthesis later. He sounds reasonable enough to hear out.
My reasons for not being Libertarian primarily has to do with my belief that humans are not be infinitely flexible and we should not pretend that they are simply because history has gotten away with it. Since we know that markets are amoral, they can be conformed to any shape whatsoever. So long as enough people are interested in X, X can come to dominate in a market economy given enough exchange. X may be in total opposition to human value. Market regulation is necessary in order to limit the freedom of markets from being destructive of the limits of human beings.
The best example I can think of is that of Baku. What is Baku but one of the world's most polluted places? There are very likely worse places, but it is Baku that is fixed in my mind because according to what I've heard, it is polluted beyond anyone's means to clean it up. What the Soviet Empire has fouled with oil spills, air pollution and chemical spills no free markets will consequently clean up. Global markets will sustain Baku's oil production business, and the people of Azerbijan will continue to be employed by that business, but no unregulated market forces will improve their health.
Secondly, when I hear Libertarianism championed, it is most often coming from the folks whose lives are well assisted by recent technology. I myself marvel on an almost daily basis on the progress of technology, science, medicine and all forms of civilizing knowledge. But I am also acutely aware that there are limits to the advancement of knowledge and conflict between the dissemination of knowledge and market incentives. The suggestion that knowledge, science and techonology are practically infinitely exploitable resources whose dissemination through market mechanisms will inevitably raise the standard of living is a fallacy I cannot abide. Furthermore, the continuous selling of this story flies in the face of human history as does American exceptionalism. Liberarianism sounds good for the here and now in the rapid and vital markets of America, but it is no good for humanity because humanity cannot sustain it.
This is why I believe Libertarianism to be irresponsible. Markets will not take care of things. There is no market solution to the problems on the ground in Iraq. There are fixed principles which must be pushed. There were no market forces that would ever have deposed Saddam Hussein.
As a global capitalist it sounds like a contradiction for me to suggest as I do that markets be expanded while Libertarianism be contained. That is because I think there are limits that should be imposed on freedom while I recognize that most people on the planet need more. We Americans should champion freedom for others, but we certainly have enough liberties and shouldn't base our politics on the false idea that more is always better.
Libertarianim defunds good government and the result is Enron. I'm listening, but I think it mighty peculiar that other than Samizdata, I don't hear much of Libertarian political parties and movements anywhere else in the world. I think that's because the amount of conservatism and big government liberalism we have at home is a necessary precondition (not to mention huge active markets and great gobs of money) for such Libertarian activism. It simply doesn't make sense anywhere else in the world. The fact that people desire freedom does not mean that Libertarians will deliver it - dismantling governments for markets is the wrong way for the world to go.
Once upon a time...................
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