Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hiding from Reality
Against Libertarianism

Suzzane Wright on a blog site entitled The Whig had a good crack at the libertarian philosophy.

I couldn't help toss in my $0.02 worth. Being the lazy procrastinating sod that I am I've posted the comment. You can read Suzzane Wright's article if you like, it's just as interesting as her photo - on The Whig.


I think the reason libertarians (viewed in somewhat more general terms regarding their philsophy than say, Libertarianz!) get such little support is because at a very fundamental level by far the majority of the population have an intuition that the philosophy is flawed. And they are not far wrong.

If we assume libertarians advocate for the maximisation of individual rights and laissez-faire free market economics (I'm happy to be corrected) as well as private property rights. We can say this, these somewhat Benthamist ideals will of course benefit the individual but only insofar as he continues to deny the truth of such behaviours impact on society as a whole.

The libertarian adheres to the utilitarian ideal that we all necessarily want to maximise our individual utlity largely regardless of any consequence (and if there is to be any consequence the market will indicate as such). Thus, such a philosophy has us all rushing toward a global shit heap at ever accelerating speeds.

This philosophy would argue that in order to solve the problem of a depleting resource (for example) we must simply deplete it at a quicker rate - the "market" in combination with technology, will continue to provide cheaper and more efficient substitutes. The corollary to this of course is that eventually technology will provide an infinite amount of energy (for example) for free, thus allowing economic growth to happily continue ad-infinitum.

Libertarian philosophy would defer action or recognition of future options until a crisis is so clear and evident that it becomes detectable through market and monetary mechanisms, by which time in reality, it is mostly too late.

How in a world supposedly guided by science and reason such an ideology would take precedence over other senses (those informed say, by science) has me baffled. The idealisation of the free market is bizzare given the markets inability to act as an indicator of anything at all in the longer term - Dotcom bubble, Enron and LTCM collapses come to mind.

The argument against libertarianism is well rehearsed, (Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons) "but", in Kuhns words, "there are always some men who cling to one or another of the older views, and they are simply read out of the profession, which thereafter ignores their work." ACT and Libertarianz showing in the recent election... Perhaps ironically a market indicator itself.

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