Archive for the ‘Libertarianism’ Category

The Political Motive: Imposition

25. June 2017

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. And unselfishness is letting other people’s lives alone, not interfering with them. – Oscar Wilde

But what if living as one wishes to affects other people? What if it compels others to act in a different manner in effect imposing one’s will on to others,  well this may be because their will is weak enough to be affected by someone else, but if “no man is an island” and if the ‘bell tolls for thee’ then can we really allow people to have personal autonomy regardless of how it will affect others? I am not talking about clear cut cases such as whether we should allow murder, of course we should not but what about something more subtle than that such as say a drug addict who is negatively affecting the life of his family,  a sexually liberal individual who is once again affecting his family negatively, someone who wants to divorce herself even if it will harm her children, someone who wants to have a late-term abortion or a racist or homophobic person, or a mysoginist who has an unpopular bigoted opinion which will negatively affect those to whom it is directed towards by spreading harmful stereotypes? The question is if society and more pressingly the state should impose limits on behaviour then how far should they go? Should these limitations stop at any point in any part of people’s lives at all? Should personal autonomy be banned entirely if possible? Is someone’s liberty always an imposition on someone else’s freedom? Well, Peter Hitchens and Karl Marx seem to believe that that is the case. And if that is the case why have any respect for liberty at all and why not treat it as none other than a temporary compromise because it is impossible to impose one’s will on every other ideological group in the country? Couldn’t Erdogan’s analogy of democracy being a bus ride that one gets on and then gets off once one has reached one’s destination, also be applied to ALL liberties?

Let’s say you are a part of ideological group A and you hate ideological group B and what they stand for. Now let’s say that group B gets into power, tell me, is there any reason that B should not impose its will unilaterally on  if B has the power to do so effectively? Why should liberty not be discarded in favour of whatever right-wing or left-wing ideology you may hold to be true?

Another problem however is the less violent of imposition in society, for example if you have certain conservative views about homosexuality, race and gender you may be denied employment in certain sectors especially if you can affect public opinion, isn’t this a form of imposition? However how can one be against this if one is in favour of impositions onto the side such as that two people should remain married whether they want to or not? In both cases innocent people are being affected, in one case minorities are purported to be affected by the spreading of harmful self-fulfilling stereotypes and in the other children may be affected negatively by the lack of a parent. It doesn’t have to something as heated as that, what about the proposition that there must be a day of rest every week, what right does the state have to be allowed to impose such limits onto businesses other than the simple fact that it has got the power to impose such a thing? What about taxation to help the destitute? Isn’t that an imposition too? It almost seems like all political motives(and this includes those of the religious right) have a way of degenerating into the pursuit of the power to impose one’s ideals onto others.

There is no solution to this conundrum but a step in a right direction would be to promote(once again at what level of level of ‘promotion’ does it become ‘imposition’) a belief that the state is not there to solve everyone’s problems, it’s just there to maintain stability and freedom so that we can each solve our own problems. I don’t think it is possible not to interfere with others, which must mean that according to Wilde we are all selfish, but that doesn’t warrant us to be as selfish as we want to be by going out of our way to impose our ideals onto others, and if we do so we immediately open the gates for them to try to do the same to us, which I suppose we can’t help but do.

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Re: ‘What’s wrong with ‘Libertarianism’?’ by Peter Hitchens, and some thoughts on the Manchester attack

2. June 2017

Karl Marx

“No man fights freedom; he fights at most the freedom of others.” – Karl Marx

Peter Hitchens, columnist for the Mail on Sunday criticizes liberty and equality on the basis that they are merely inadequate substitutes to Christianity.

“It is obvious to the slowest thinker that (as Karl Marx pointed out) the freedom of all is impossible, as it will lead to conflicts between groups who wish to be free to do something which tramples on the freedom of another.  ‘No man fights freedom’, wrote the sage of Trier,  ’He fights at most the freedom of others’.” writes Mr. Hitchens.

Though it is true that the markets have caused damage to people’s lives I believe that today we live in a much more economically stable society in Britain thanks to those sacricifes. As for Marx’s point, it is only true for the ‘freedom’ of groups/collectives over other groups/collectives but Libertarians argue for the freedom of individuals over that of groups/collectives.

Peter Hitchens claims that the values of equality and libery  “lack the universal power over all humanity(my emphasis) of the Sermon on the Mount and the Commandments, and that they are based on a desire for power, rather than on Christianity’s preference for love, and its central suspicion of power and the mob, as so graphically set out in the story of the Passion.”

First of all I would like to point out that Mr. Hitchens’ appeal to the ‘universal power’ of Christianity is nothing more than an appeal to consensus, to a consensus that is now gone and a mob is a group of people with a consensus. I doubt that Mr. Hitchens realizes this but his appeal to a consensus which is now gone just means that he is just dissatisfied that the mob is not his mob anymore. And secondly that desire for liberty and equality are based on a desire for power over oneself, whereas ‘Christianity’s preference for love’ nearly always in effect involves giving oneself to others with more power here on earth (usually some self-appointed moral arbitrers), speaking of which, Christinaty’s ‘suspiction of power’, is very dubious given the historical role that the clergy has played when Christianity had ‘universal power.’ Mr. Hitchens may have his own interpretation of ‘the story of the Passion’ but scripture does not supercede history. Sometimes I think a little light mockery is the best way to make people think. After all, one day they may realise that it is possible they are mistaken.


The youtuber called TheBritisher made a video called “In conclusion: About the Manchester attack  in which he argues that the freedom of the non-muslim British people might be prioritized over that of the Muslim people in Britain because the muslims are a security risk. In effect he suggests that (only) muslim faith schools must be closed and immigration from Islamic countries should be blocked. This is an instance of what Marx pointed out playing out in action. I don’t think that it is possible to do things always purely out of principle, the world is more complex than it appears on paper, however is that an excuse not to adhere to one’s principles in the name of ‘pragmatism’ and ‘realism’? When one looks far enough this realism is only concerned with the short term, Morality is or should be long term reason (if not it will become irrelevant and/or simply retard progress).

‘Progress’ is another interesting word, I have heard some relativists/post-modernists/(or whatever they are called) say that there is no such thing as progress, but if that is the case doesn’t that mean that in effect the only difference between ‘reaction’ and ‘progress’ is that they are opposed to each other? Of course this consequence does not mean that there is such a thing as progress.  I believe that there is progress on an individual level and a society in which people are free and equal, a delicate balance tilted towards free, to achieve whatever personal progress(i.e. socially acceptable ambition) is a step towards ‘progress’ in society. I still see why people would not like the word though, I don’t like it either, it just sounds like something exaggerated that could mean anything vaguely good that those who use it want it to mean, and in the hands of the wrong people in power it could be nothing more than a dull word in some communist/nationalist propaganda. I much prefer the word ‘ambition’, it sounds a lot more personal and real.

Back to Europe many people have died in various terrorist attacks, TheBritisher argues that the Muslim populations deserve to forfeit some of their liberty for the safety of society. Personally I believe that if the police paid more attention to the incitements to violence in mosques and faith schools that would suffice. There is such a thing as national interest, Peter Hitchens once (actually more than once) said that the nation-state is “the largest unit in which it is possible to effectively unselfish”, ofcourse ‘effectively unselfish’ is not the same as ‘selfless’ so that’s a good choice of words, he goes onto say that ‘loyalty to it permits sacrifice and generosity on a large scale, and is the foundation of tolerance.’ The ‘generocity on a large scale’ in most cases is taxation but in some cases it is more but that doesn’t say a damned thing about the rest of us, the ‘tolerance’ the nation provides is the narrow window that provides all the liberty and equality and therefore individual ambition, if that window is closed even a little you will find that people will become a lot less ‘generous’ very quickly.

Notes:

Peter Hitchens’ article on Libertearianism: Link