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Old 07-24-2011, 05:35 AM
ledocs ledocs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: France, Earth
Posts: 1,165
Default Re: Suggestions

If we strip my prior post of its overwrought components, I seem to have been saying that it might be better to have fewer self-described libertarians but better and more theoretical ones on bhtv. I don't think I have learned very much about libertarianism or the libertarian movement in the US by being exposed to lots of self-described libertarians on bhtv, and that seems a shame, in a way. As I understand it, libertarians differ from other American "conservatives" in two ways: (1) they are more socially "liberal," people should be allowed to do what they want to do in private; (2) libertarians generally countenance even less government than conservatives. So libertarians might advocate open borders, no government involvement in family planning anywhere on the planet, the end of central banking, the end of welfare statism, and so on. In fact, there must be a lot of internal squabbling among the more theoretically inclined, because it is hard to imagine that there would be widespread agreement upon abolishing the Federal Reserve, but perhaps I am wrong on that point. I am guessing that McCardle, Lindsey, and Wilkinson all think that the Federal Reserve is necessary but perhaps should be subject to more democratic control than it is.

My point of view is that if we're going to hear so much from libertarians, then I would like to hear libertarianism described and discussed in detail, I want to know what it really means, what the major fissures in the movement are, I want to have a sociology of the movement. And I want to hear the more radical parts of the platform argued for and against. Some of these arguments could be, and perhaps should be, between libertarians. I want to know if Ron Paul gets elected because of, or in spite of his libertarianism.

There is something peculiar about being exposed, on the one hand, to so many people who call themselves libertarians, and on the other hand having so little idea of what their common political platform really is. Above all, I would like to know the extent to which the platform is intended to be a political program and the extent to which it is utopian, whether explicitly or implicitly.

What is it that libertarians believe that no one else believes? Presumably, it is that individual freedom and its accompanying responsibilities trump every other political and social consideration. "You're on your own, buddy."

What form does insurance take in the libertarian scheme? Private insurance is OK, but then one presumably needs courts and police to enforce the contracts. As far as I know, insurance companies are regulated by government in every advanced industrial economy, but I have never looked into this. Libertarians presumably believe that this regulation is unnecessary or counterproductive. Or do they? If they don't believe this, what is the point of saying you're a libertarian? I think, but am not sure, that I might be willing to let my judgment of libertarianism stand or fall upon the question of how libertarianism deals with the idea of insurance and with the regulation of private insurance companies by government.

I have more questions than answers.
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