Constitutional Libertarianism

Constitutional Libertarianism

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A libertarian view of Rights

First of all, We need to recognize the difference between Rights and Privileges.

When we talk about Rights, we are usually talking about Human Rights.  Meaning, those things referred to in the U.S. Declaration of Independence which are given to us by a force beyond the reckoning of mankind, thus, no man or group of men can deny or deprive those rights to any other person because they are "only" human, not having that power from whence those Rights are given.

Privileges are those earned by a variety of ways or even given for some participation or recognition for association or reward usually.  Join a social club, members have certain rights that non-members do not have though non-members may have certain privileges by being guests of members that uninvited guests will not enjoy.

You do not have rights just because of your geographic origin or nationality in the U.S.  You do not have rights because of your skin color or a language you speak.  You do not have rights because of a disability that is recognized as debilitating.

You have Rights because you are a human, for no more and for no less a reason than that.

For the libertarian minded, we don't really care where you are from, what you look like, how you get your freak on, what genitalia you have, etc... to have your human rights recognized and respected.  Those rights, to us, are indisputable.

When someone is denied or deprived of human rights for any reason, we oppose it.  You don't have to prove to us why you like to get some kinky freak on or how you look the way you look or what happened to you to disable you, etc...  We don't care because to us, it doesn't matter why.  You are human, you are entitled to have your human rights recognized and respected.  Period.

However, the moment you try to force acceptance of your personal preferences or how you have adapted in society as a result of your color, disability, who you prefer to have sex with, how you see yourself, etc...  well now, we can revisit that 1st Amendment which says that you can express yourself how you like but you cannot "make" or force others to buy it, accept it, or believe it.

By forcing acceptance, all you really accomplish is alienating people who otherwise wouldn't really have given a rat's patoot but now you are violating the "Do what you want just don't get any one me" principle.  I may personally find what someone does with their life disgusting, stupid and/or reprehensible.  As long as they aren't harming anyone else or forcing someone else to live their life according to their own values and choices, then I will defend your basic human rights as vehemently as I would someone I favor greatly.

Human rights don't get to be played favorites.

If people could get that through their heads, we wouldn't have all this nit-wittery going on about rights for abcdefg, etc...

The libertarian minded folks don't necessarily get into stopping suppression of human rights because we support a lifework or skin color or whatever.  It's not about being Pro whatever.  It's about being AGAINST the violation of any basic human rights for whatever reason.

Don't mistake our support for human rights as support for your cause, condition, choice, etc....  In the end, we of the libertarian mentality really don't care about that.  We just care that human rights are recognized and respected for ALL people.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A libertarian approach to science

To put it simply, the science is NEVER settled.

Most people I know who identify themselves as libertarian minded greatly appreciate scientific research, advance and the scientific process in general.

Something that we will not, perhaps cannot, abide is a close minded approach to science.  The words "the science is settled" are some of the worst words we know.

Why do we abhor that mindset?  Mostly because we know that science is indeed a process but it is a dependent process.  It depends on objectivity, honesty, integrity, and a dedicated commitment to advancement.

We distrust the scientist who is not objective.  We distrust human nature and the fallibility of mankind in being swayed by fame, fortune and self promotion.

We know that science is directly tied to technology.  Our research and data is only as accurate as the tools and methods we use to collect them.

We know that 1,000 years of seemingly incontrovertible evidence can be overturned in a single day by using a new, more powerful and advanced tool to observe and measure than was available the day before.

We know that perspective can influence our methodology and by applying different approaches and concepts from sometimes seemingly unrelated areas, we can fundamentally change how something is understood.

Question everything.  This doesn't mean be rude or confrontational.  It just means be willing to consider that anything used previously to study something may change at any time.  Be willing to pursue possibilities.

Any scientist or business or politician who demands that the science can not be questioned renders themselves immediately untrustworthy to the libertarian minded observer.

We see them as egotistical and potentially motivated by monetary or political influences.

The science is NEVER settled and must always be questioned.  Every aspect of it.  From the formation of the first hypothesis to the tools and methods in how it is tested, observed, measured and documented.

We trust the "pure" scientific process as it allows for being questioned and being objective as a built-in feature.  We do not trust human nature to be counted on to always get it right.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Logical Case For God In The U.S. Founding Documents

First of all, this isn't a discussion to promote the religious concept of a grandfatherly deity.  This doesn't presume to insist that anyone needs to even have a religious affiliation or even believe in any deity by any name.

What it does do is to point to conceptual agreement that in order for men, in the "human" context, to appreciate that no other man has the ability to hold dominion over others because the rights of all men come from a source that is above and beyond the ability of men to overrule.

To use the term "God given Rights" as presented in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, is to say that some authority is the source of said rights that cannot nor should not be interrupted by other men.

Call them "Natural" rights if the terminology "feels" better but give respect to the idea that there is a recognized source of those basic human rights that no government, religious or social organization or any conclave or individual man can interfere with.

Be atheistic, agnostic, spiritualistic, religious all you want, but recognize that neither you or any group of people, regardless of majority, can cancel, veto or negate any individual's basic human rights.  They inherently lack the authority to do so.

For many, if not most, people there is an acceptance of some type of supernatural relationship to a sentient, intelligent creator or force typically referred to as "God" or many other names.

Lacking any supernatural recognition, it is still reasonable to accept that wherever or however mankind has come about, the general force of Nature in and of itself has provided that each person is born their own person and that no one has an inherent right to dominion over any other.  For convenience and discussion's sake let's call that force "God" it serves the same purpose of identifying a source beyond that of mankind.

Personally, I don't give a rat's patoot what you refer to that source as, as long as it is fundamentally recognized.  Without that recognition and acceptance, there cannot be liberty.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Barter is Better

I have no faith in "money".

I don't care what kind of money it is.  I don't even trust bitcoin.

Why?  Mostly because it boils down to someone else trying to tell me what I should find valuable.  Other people, groups, businesses, governments, pre-determine the value of money before you even see it.  That includes bitcoin.

Barter however, let's me decide what is valuable to me.  You may find something not very valuable because you have no use for it.  I may see that thing you have no need or want for and think it is the very thing I have been looking for.

I may be willing to barter or trade something I have, make or do that you find valuable in order to have that thing you do not think of as valuable as I do and call it fair.

I decide what is valuable to me.  You decide what is valuable to you.  No one else is involved.

Only barter allows for that.  Money does not.  It cannot.  It's value has already been determined.

I tolerate money because it is the currency of society.  Yet I barter every chance I can.  That way I get to decide exactly what I think is a fair value for myself.

Idealistic Yet Realistic

Libertarians can maybe be boiled down to this;

We are idealistic enough to believe that people are capable of self control, self discipline and being a good person that we should not need a government to babysit and be overseers.

We are realistic enough to know that despite our potential, people are also irrational, unreasonable, unmotivated and undisciplined for a variety of reasons ranging from biological and mental disorders to some people are just assholes.

Because of that, we are willing to tolerate an objective third party to be an impartial referee when conflicts between individuals and groups of people arise.

We know that much as we can't hold our breath on it, we have to give some level of trust to this third party to step in and keep things right.

However, we can't help but be disappointed time and time again when that third party forgets it's place and goes too far, betraying the trust we give them.

Being idealistic still, we have to believe that somewhere out there are the most consistent rational, reasonable, disciplined people who can be counted on to do things the way they should be done.  So, we sigh, shrug our shoulders, and try again.

Libertarians know what the best is that people can be.  We also know that people are not perfect and far too many people don't even make the effort to be the best person they can be.

It's frustrating to be so idealistic about people's potential and so painfully aware of the likelihood of failure of people and government run amok at the same time.

But, to give up our ideals and stop believing in the potential in people is just not something we can settle with.   We want to believe people don't "need" government, yet we can't deny that people can't always be counted on to be in control of themselves enough to not need at least a minimal government.

But even in a world where no people were selfish, lazy, greedy or just plain assholes, people still suffer from insanity, chemical imbalances, anger, desperation, dire circumstances out of their control (drought being one example), and other things we are prone to dealing with as human beings.

We complain about the state and the seemingly inevitable problem of "who polices the police".  Yet when given a situation of just a bunch of people doing things cooperatively and privately, we still have the same problems of favoritism, nepotism, racism, sexism, etc that pit people against people.

Who steps in as a private sector third party to address those things that will not be corrupted to back their buddy or their son or play favorites, etc...?

Be it government or private sector, these are human problems and hating on government as though it solely is vulnerable to these things is being in denial of reality.

We, as libertarians, can only keep working to educate other people about self ownership, free association, and other ideals that motivate people to be self controlled, disciplined, responsible and respectful.

We need to have our ideals to give us goals and something to work for and be hopeful for.

We need to be realistic and practical and honest with ourselves to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

It's a balancing act to be a libertarian.  Just enough idealism and just enough acceptance of reality.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Libertarian Party is not this libertarian's party

The Libertarian Party is a political party whose purpose is to get people elected.  Like any other party, they have a party platform which details the ideals, motivations, goals and objectives of the party and what they expect of the people they endorse and assist in getting elected.

Also like any other political party,  it is a collection or generalized umbrella for a wide spectrum of people ranging from one extreme to the other in how they see, interpret and put into practice their libertarianism.  It is all inclusive, like every other party in order to get as many people involved in pushing the people they endorse into elected office.

There are the total extremist whacking who naturally get all the attention because of their outlandish antics and seemingly nonsensical comments.  These range from the anarchists wanting no government or "State" whatsoever to the "near-beer" constitutional republicans.

Most of the people are likely regular, average, reasonable and practical people looking for someone to represent their views in the place they live.  They just want to have more individual liberty, freedom of association, minimal, if any, unnecessary government intrusion or dictation.

More than likely, most of the "average" libertarians" are not affiliated with the Libertarian or any other political party because they want representatives who represent all of the people in their district, state, etc... and not just one group of people.

This is where we hear about "lowercase l" libertarians vs "uppercase L" Libertarians.  The uppercase L Libertarians are those affiliated with the Libertarian political party.  Lowercase l libertarians usually have no political party affiliation and see libertarianism as a lifestyle more than a political ideology.

I, for example, am a lowercase l libertarian.  I have never registered for any political party let alone the Libertarian Party.  I never will.  I hold the ideals of free will, individual liberty, personal responsibility and self determination too close to my heart to say my libertarian values were merely political.

Please don't make the mistake that the Libertarian party is reflective or representative of all or even most libertarians or libertarianism.  It is a political vehicle only and far too often and too easily compromises it's proclaimed values in the effort to get someone elected with a capital L next to their name.

Voluntary vs Volunteer

Far too often, people who for whatever reason don't "get" being libertarian, feel the need to bash the very notion of it because of misunderstandings of terms like "voluntary" as related to "volunteer".

When libertarians talk about voluntary, we are talking about something being a choice without coercion or force.  We do something because we choose to do it of our own free will or we choose not to do something of our own free will.

This is obviously not the same thing as volunteering to do something as opposed to being conscripted, drafted, enslaved, given few or no other options.  No one should be picked up off the street, tossed into a truck and forcibly taken to a military induction center.

For example, our military is a voluntary military.  That means that people join the military by their own choice.  People who have joined the military are not volunteers though because they are being paid to do the job.  As opposed to being told that they have to do everything with only the basics provided but with no pay or other compensation.

There can be are frequently are things people do which are both voluntary and volunteer.  For example, say you join a local beekeeping club and when the opportunity comes up to be part of an unpaid team to regularly maintain a property used for keeping "training hives", you participate in that project.

You have made a voluntary choice to join because no one made you, forced you, corrected you into agreeing to participate in that project.  You are participating as a volunteer because the only compensation you receive is for your personal satisfaction and sense of community.

Often it is lamented that people nowadays are neither very interested in voluntary association nor volunteer participation.  Quite frequently, inducements have to be made to incentivize participation or in some cases, threats and negative consequences.

Here is where the idealistic libertarian contrasts to a progressive or conservative.  A libertarian is involved because they see something they want to see done isn't being done, and so because they want it and don't mind sharing, they do it.  They will usually do it until one of a few things happens.

  • They get burned out trying to do it all by themself and it's simply too much for one or few people.
  • They get what they want out of it and there is no one else come forward expressing interest in the same.
  • Enough other people participate that the project can keep going without them to "keep it alive"
  • Their interest or need wanes.
The main point is that the libertarian believes or sets the ideal that something"should" be done and they set themselves to do it in order to achieve their goals.  They will try to recruit others to help but not "make" anyone else participate if they don't want to be there.  To libertarians, if someone does something they really don't want to do or doesn't believe in, they will not fully invest themselves and the effort will be minimal at best.

The progressive believes something "should" be done but doesn't want to do it alone or themselves.  There they make the effort to "make" others participate even if against their will.

Conservatives also believe something "should" be done and that everyone should do it or others should be made to do it as well because of tradition or nationalism or some religious doctrine demands it, etc...

Libertarians figure that people shouldn't have to be bribed to do something they "should" be doing.  They also shouldn't be forced to do those things either.  If people don't want to do the work, they take the risk of missing out on something they might need or want.

Progressives and Conservatives think that if something is important enough to a majority of people or even to enough of the "right" people, then it's justifiable to "make" everyone or certain groups of people do that.

That is the guts of talking about voluntary vs volunteer.  Libertarians believe in voluntary association and we believe in letting people take the consequences related to their free will choices. Whether those consequences are "good" or "bad" is something the person making the choice should have taken into consideration when making that decision.

That of course leads us into ensuring that people have the necessary information available and accessible to make an informed decision.  Another discussion for another time.