I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Libertarian Exegesis

I found this video on line and it exerted an awful fascination on me - and I do mean awful! Watch it and weep! 
Seconds in:
 .07 -.18   "The Philosophy of Liberty is based on the principle of self ownership.  You own your life. " Sure - interject the language of commerce into the concept of liberty first thing!  And what does this mean, anyway?  If someone enslaves you, they're not transferring your 'ownership ' to themselves - they are committing a crime and a fundamental injustice.   In fact, selling yourself into slavery is a fundamentally unjust practice.   (Furthermore,  a Buddhist would deny that your 'self" exists.)  My friend Bel says:  Some people are more equal than others so those foreign views don't count for nuthin!  "

.26 "to deny this is to imply that another person has a higher claim on your life than you do."   If you have children,  I'd say your children have a higher claim on your life than you do.  Particularly when they are small, vulnerable, and helpless; your children have a very large claim on your life.   But perhaps libertarians are like Ayn Rand and don't like children.  

.55 "You exist in time.  Future, present , and past. "  Other cultures don't share  the Western sense of time as  linear; and would therefore dispute this vision.    See Bel above.....

1:57 "Property is that part of nature which you turn to valuable use."   This video privileges humans over everything else.   Some folks dispute that this world view is ethical.   What about the rights of non-human entities - possibly including Gaia herself- to functioning ecosystems undisturbed by someone turning said ecosystem  to a 'valuable use?'  One may laugh at the idea that non human entities have rights - but American slave owners scoffed at the thought that slaves had rights.   Or were human......  There may come a time when we regard a mindset that thinks of nature as property with the same horror we direct at those who defend slavery.

2:06  "Property is the property of others which is given to you by voluntary exchange and mutual consent."   Not always - there was very little 'voluntary' about the enslavement of Africans.  See Bel above.....

2:16  "Two people who exchange property voluntarily are both better off or they wouldn't do it." Really?   REALLY! ???   Libertarian have never heard of unequal exchange, apparently.  Or listened to music:  I cain't die cuz I owe my soul to the company store!"  

4:11 "you have the right to seek leaders for yourself but no right to impose rulers onto others."  Ah yes - the old democracy as dictatorship argument.    One hears it everywhere! 

5:47 "Your actions on behalf of others ...is virtuous when it is derived from mutual consent."  Apparently libertarians never send anyone to jail for murder or confine them to a forensic psychiatric hospital as that would be an action on behalf of others NOT derived from mutual voluntary consent.  We constrain the choices of corporations and real people all the time - or did I only dream that the manufacture of crystal meth is illegal?    Would it be practical to remove all  limits on behaviour?  

7:.01 "Having confidence in a free society is to focus on the process of discovery in the marketplace of values."  What the hell is a market place of values?   My friend Bel says "Isn't that between XS Cargo and Papa Murphy's Pizza?  Evidently you and I  just don't get the right fliers!"

7:13 "Using governmental force to impose a vision on others is intellectual sloth."  No, intellectual sloth is not thinking critically about what one views or reads.  Actually, Bel says "  Thank you for clarifying that.  I thought intellectual sloth was a tree hanger, similar to an opossum, that quotes Freud and Nietzsche.  We had them in Parque del Este in Caracas."

 Bel says " Buried here [in this video] is the basic denial that anything is seriously wrong with our natural systems, and that we might actually need a functioning planet in order to thrive."

Ron Paul, an American libertarian, and astonishly, a former candidate for the Republican nominee for President,  believes that:

contrary to the claims of the supporters of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the sponsors of H.Res. 676, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not improve race relations or enhance freedom. Instead, the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty. 

Making discrimination illegal is an act that reduces freedom?   Successfully lobbying the government to pass laws that  eliminate the production of greenhouse gases is a reduction of liberty?  Sure - right - absolutely. If one lives in an insane world, it is.

A thank you goes to my friend Belinda Darlington for letting me quote her. You rock!  Thanks as always for sharpening my thinking. 

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