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Old 05-10-2010, 01:00 AM
hamandcheese hamandcheese is offline
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Default Re: What are the philosophical merits of libertarianism? (jimM47 & hamandcheese)

I fully endorse and agree with Jim's post, the one that begins with "That distinction".

If you ignore the causal chain then the state is only ever coercive on the margins -- on those civil disobedients and criminals who defy the law. The other 99 out of a 100 people pay their taxes and smoke their weed in private, only occasionally feeling as if they're being "forced" to do anything, it's in our human nature to simply go with the flow.

My arguments were addressed specifically to the crowd who think the only legitimate way to organize society is in a way altogether voluntary -- not those libertarians who simply say "well, a smaller government just works better." And I did so by trying to point out that their constant focus on government interventions ignores the huge anti-libertarian forces of, say, cultural homophobia.

Ireland has blasphemy laws, for example, that any good libertarian should be opposed to. But if one removes those laws to reveal beneath a society that ostracizes and boycotts anyone who heresies than by what measure has one increased the liberty in a society? Perhaps culture is more malleable, as Jim suggests (thats dubious at best. its certainly easier to pass a law freeing the slaves then it is to eradicate racism). But what of the here and now?

Depending on the situation we might need more adamant norms, in the form of laws. The first amendment comes to mind. Modest social safety nets are also important, in my opinion, not only to minimize the perversities of an occasionally arbitrary and volatile market place, but also to place economic security in a more solid and egalitarian foundation, not subordinate to the whims of private charity.

In short, I want to argue for a more robust understanding of both liberty and coercion.
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Last edited by hamandcheese; 05-10-2010 at 01:06 AM..
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