Constitutional Libertarianism

Constitutional Libertarianism

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Doing Things The Way They Should Be Done

Keeping things simple, one of the basic disagreements between Progressives and others is that Progressives are seen to be willing to change how things are done, often simply for the sake of change.  Regardless of whether change is necessary or not.

A common excuse, perhaps the most common, given for this is to "keep up with the times".  This is tantamount to "Keeping up with the Joneses".  Which is also a very common excuse we see given for wanting needless change.  For example, see this election cycle's focus on how other countries are addressing issues and proclaiming that the U.S. should change it's ways to match those of the others countries held up as the example.

It boils down to doing what is popular, sometimes easier, instead of a more appropriate way that may be older or less popular.  A phrase I like to use a lot myself is to "Work smarter, not harder."  While this is good advice in a great many things, it can sometimes backfire when the "harder" is meant to be there.  At those times, we just need to suck it up and get it done because in the long run, it is the best or "right" way to accomplish said task.

I think for most libertarian minded people, this amounts to what we call "Common Sense".  There is something called the "Serenity Prayer" that goes as follows;

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Reinhold Niebuhr
Religious connotations aside, this is a great example of knowing when one should change and when to accept that change is not what is called for, but acceptance instead.

In the typical "Progressive" view though, everything should be changed simply because it can be to accommodate people who are trying to avoid rising up to a challenge or, goodness forbid, having to meet expectations of us.

There are a number of things that can be changed with little to no real consequence because new technology becomes available or because a situation has irrevocably changed that forces adaptation.  The change either had to happen anyway or it can have a satisfactory result in a variety of ways.  This is the case for perhaps the majority of things we deal with in life.  There is more than one way to do something and as long as we meet the "do what you want, just don't get any on me"  philosophy, all is good.

However, There are times when things are best done a particular way and using any other method is not as satisfactory in results.  Sure, it can be done, half-assed, as it were, but if it's meant to accomplish a specific result, then the half-assed way just won't cut it and we need to step up and get it done the right way.

The "Conservative" view would have traditional means and methods followed simply because "That's the way it's always been done".  Also an unreasonable position because it too would deny the times when change is warranted or harmless.

As a beekeeper I can tell you that a great many things in beekeeping fall into the "harmless" differences anyway.  Ultimately, the bees don't give a rat's patoot how a hive box is painted or what type of hive box you put them in.  Bees will do what their natural biology and behavior dictates them to do.  If it bothers them enough, they will leave.  Which throws out the Vegan view of beekeepers holding bees as "slaves".  Slaves can't escape.  Bees come and go as they please whether the beekeeper likes it or not.

In a very few areas, directly related to bee biology and natural behavior (those things they are compelled to do through genetic memory and learned through situational adaptation) beekeepers will find there are few things they can change to suit the bees.  For example, a hive must provide defensible shelter and be able to maintain a dry environment.  if it is or becomes indefensible or weather invades it easily, they will "Abscond" meaning that all the bees just up and leave for greener pastures.  Not a goodbye note to the beekeeper or anything.  So, whether we beekeepers like it or not, we MUST provide a minimal acceptable hive to the bees or we won't have bees very long.  That means we have to do a certain amount of work or expense to get a hive that meets those minimum demands.

Sure, I could slap together some sloppy job of a hive but if it gets leaky or allows predators to easily invade then my desire to go the "easy" route gained me nothing at all.

Sometimes, we just need to do things they are supposed to be done.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Libertarian Expectations (Or, What I expect of fellow libertarians)

Americans are actually very idealistic people.  We don't just "hope" for the best, we expect it  The question is, what is it that people think is "best"?   If you call yourself a libertarian, it's probably first and foremost anything that promotes, encourages and calls for individual liberty before anything else.

More and more it seems that people who align themselves with political parties have some sort of expectation of the government to do something for them.  Especially things that people can and most likely should do for themselves.

Something else that has become an issue is that people have become confused on the difference between "rights" and "privileges".  I expect any individual liberty concerned libertarian to know the difference.  I expect self identified libertarians to be better educated than the "average" voter.  Why do I expect that?  Because libertarians, as people who live for the pursuit of individual liberty, understand that there is an expectation of individual responsibility that goes with that individual liberty.

To have individual liberty means that we are responsible individually for those decisions and actions  we make.    That means, if I am going to use my individual liberty to vote for a representative in a representative government, I have not only the right to do so, but the responsibility to make sure I have learned enough about all the candidates to make a rational, reasonable and responsible choice.

I expect that of myself and I expect that from others who claim they believe in individual liberty as a priority.  It is a rational and reasonable expectation.  To expect anything less from a self identified libertarian is to "let them off the hook" for wearing the uniform but not doing the job.

Unlike anarchists, libertarians do not have have an unwavering faith in their fellow man to conduct themselves reasonably and rationally enough to not have some degree of government, knowing that having any government is like raising a wild animal and expecting it to be a docile pet that only does what it is directed to do.

No.  We know people will have moments of irrationality and being unreasonable.  Of not being in full control of their civil behavior.  People, besides having the capacity to be unmitigated asshats, can experience medical, emotional and logical deficiencies requiring intervention by others on behalf of the community as a whole.

We can't trust everyone but we have to put our trust somewhere and hope that trust is well placed.  We know that.  We are uncomfortable with it, but that's reality.  All we can do is accept reality and learn from it.

Libertarians believe in raising the bar and that people should make their best efforts to reach that bar or fail spectacularly in the effort.  We can appreciate spectacular failure as long as it's in the pursuit of achieving those goals, ideals and expectations we set for ourselves and each other.

We also know that there is truth to the phrase that "membership has it's privileges".  Being a member of this community and of American society is voluntary.  Even if you are born here and with American citizenship, there is nothing, no law, rule or regulation, to force anyone to keep it or attain it.  You are free to not be a citizen.  You are free to come and go.  You are a voluntary citizen.

By choosing to be a citizen and being a member of the "U.S.A. Club", so to speak, there are certain perks and privileges that go with that.  Note, the U.S. Constitution recognizes that all people have certain natural rights but then goes beyond those rights to add extras into the package.

We know we have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.  Being financially wealthy, having an abundance of material belongings, being socially accepted despite your behavior (or hygiene), those are example of privileges.

Owning a car and driving it is a privilege. Being able to say you think the presidential candidates are all crooked and in collusion to keep people ignorant is a right and the government cannot imprision you, fine you or otherwise punish you for saying so in public.

I expect libertarians to know this and to expect it from other libertarians.  I expect libertarians to call out those who wear the uniform but don't do the job.  Have high expectations of ourselves and each other.  We will not get the best until we ourselves, individually, start acting our best.