Originally posted by: GodlessAstronomer
You're obviously passionate about libertarianism (which anyone could have guessed from reading your posts here) but you say nothing new in this essay. It's the same boring anti-government tripe we hear from RPBs and libertarians day in and day out with no solutions. No offense but this article did nothing for me.
Originally posted by: Ozoned
I heard a similar story 40 years ago, and 30 years ago, and 20 years ago, and 10 years ago. Despite that, every time and every where that I have looked, the average living condition is improving.
~~No matter how you write it down, when you look in the box, the only thing you are going to see is what is in the box. The human condition is so much more than what you have tried to make it be about. Grow up...
I'd say those two comments just about sum up the OP. I agree with bamacre regarding the errors of neo-conservatism, but otherwise his post essentially is a doomsday rant placing the blame on the existence of government and perhaps the absence of a perfect world (which necessitates a government). I agree that the current Bush Administration has done much to hurt the nation - however, like most libertarians (or at least most Ron Paul supporting libertarians), bamacre seems to not understand that the sins of individual politicians or administrations in a democracy are not sins of the system as a whole. In other words, just because Ted Stevens inserts the bridge-to-nowhere earmark or because Bush allows Haliburton to profit tremendously off of the Iraq war, both things that should be opposed, doesn't mean that's the own course the democratic government can take.
Americans being tax to death? Please, taxes in the United States are far lower than in virtually all other industrialized countries. I'd say we need more taxes, not less, primarily to pay for the things the current administration has thus far failed to pay for (i.e. the Iraq War), though most of that could be made up by removing Bush's tax cuts for the rich plus getting rid of loopholes primarily to their benefit in the first place.
Bamacre's main gripe is not that he objects to the current level of taxation, or current government policy, but that, as far as I can tell, he seems to object to essentially any taxation or government involvement in society whatsoever. Which again isn't surprising for a Ron Paul supporter, but still. For people like him, taxation of any kind amounts to "theft", in that it is not money he specifically wants to spend. And thus, I'd say democracy itself is incompatible with at least his brand of libertarianism, since ultimately any decision not universally supported amounts to "forcing" people to do or accept something that they do not. Such thinking has a level of appeal on a basic level and in theory, but obviously falls completely apart in the real world. It assumes that accidents do not happen, that no one can do wrong, and that everyone is born equal (so far as having an equal opportunity to succeed in life). Thus libertarianism, dealing solely with the ideal, ignores the need for a third party arbitrator (I.e. a government) to step in and deal with the defects of an imperfect world. Obviously doing so reduces the liberties of others, but I think its clear to most that the government ?demanding? everyone, for instance, pay an extra tenth of a cent a year to support someone who developed cancer is far more respective of liberty than leaving that person alone to foot the medical bill. Ultimately libertarianism I think denies that violations of liberty can exist at different levels ? in such a mindset, everyone paying a fraction of the costs of someone's cancer bills is far worse than just one man being denied his liberty of well-being (or perhaps libertarians don't in the first place consider his/her liberty being denied by such a handicap of their well-being).
On a random side note, I find there to be many interesting similarities in the thought process of extreme libertarians and extreme communists. Both assume essentially a perfect world, libertarians in the way outlined above, communists so far as that leaders will not abuse their power, and that everyone will contribute what they can and will receive what they need. Like libertarianism's focus on the ideal of individuals deciding what is best for them, communism sounds good in theory until you again approach the reality that there is no simple way to measure one's needs and means, nor can you ensure people will contribute all they can and take only what they need.
Wow, I better cut off my post here before I spend all night ranting against Internet libertarianism (it is more fun than studying for midterms though).
Edit: I should add that references to "libertarianism" above refer primarily to the Internet libertarianism exposed by bamacre and other Ron Paul supporters seen here. Obviously "libertarianism", like "conservatism", "liberalism", "socialism", etc, is not a monolitehic ideology, nor one that can't exist in degrees.