Liberty Über Alles!

Libertarian on political map

But I ain’t joining no fuckin’ parties!


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12 Responses to Liberty Über Alles!

  1. rawr_becca says:


  2. rinku says:

    I’m beginning to think even that chart is a sham.

    • MRDA says:


      • rinku says:

        The concepts here are intangible abstractions.
        For instance, does the US have more “economic freedom” than China? Does the US have more “personal freedom” than China? In some ways yes, in some ways no. It’s not just a scale that can be easily measured by a number. The questions in that test also take into consideration some forms of personal and economic freedom and leave out may other forms which would result in different results.
        Not to mention that both concepts revolve around the idea of negative rights rather than opportunities. E.g. imagine you were born on an asteroid or a desert island with nobody to trade with and nothing to do. You’d have perfect economic and personal freedom, because nobody else would be there to tell you what to do. But would anyone choose that fate over living in even the more restrictive nations in the world, considering that their chance of survival, of living very long, or having a happy life or even remaining sane is so low if they aren’t around anyone else for your entire life? This is an extreme example, but it shows that rights are not the only things that matter with respect to politics. The situation matters more.
        The ability to enforce laws and protect rights also matters; for instance property rights do no good in a country too weak to enforce them, as many third world nations are, where they have to bribe the police just to report a crime, and even then they’re not likely to get what was stolen back. Corruption in general is a big problem in government, there’s never been and probably never will be a government without corruption.
        In sum, the concepts of libertarian, conservative, liberal, authoritarian, centrist, etc. are only relevant in our particular political context at this moment, and even within it they tend to be somewhat contradictory and there are tons of disagreements within then about what does and what doesn’t constitute economic or personal freedom. For instance, a lot of people feel having copyright means protecting economic freedom, others think it restricts it, and both have good arguments. Others think that allowing people the use of illegal drugs is good for personal freedom, others think it restricts it, others think it depends on the drug (because according to them some drugs always restrict a person’s freedom when they use them), and all three groups have good arguments.
        There are also issues which are important to politics which have little to do with these two scales. For instance, whether to start a war or not; there are libertarians in favor of the Iraq War and libertarians against it. Same with the idea of invading Iran. As another example, how elections are done, the structure of a government, how large governments are, all kinds of issues are important to politics that fall outside of these two scales, and which these two scales don’t describe at all. Another example still is how criminals are punished: some libertarians want harsher punishments (I’ve seen some argue for just killing anyone who steals anything) and some libertarians want to eliminate the prison system all together and reduce most punishments greatly, even for things like murder and rape. And that has nothing to do with what one believes should be a crime, it has to do with what one does with criminals after they’re found guilty of a crime. The very nature of the process of determining whether someone is or is not a criminal is important to politics (the justice system in general), yet doesn’t fall under these scales. Likewise rules about what police can or cannot do: some libertarians are much more lenient toward police brutality than others.
        And as someone said, this doesn’t even really include anarchism, and doesn’t distinguish between all the different forms of anarchism and all the different ways it could be attempted. There’s even very different forms of authoritarianism: both the USSR and Nazi Germany were authoritarian, but in vastly different ways.

  3. wisdomdancer says:

    What I hate about that damned chart, which has been making the rounds for at least a decade in libertarian circles, is that all of its area is statist, except one single free point where pricipled anarchism is presumably included too. :/ What about the varied continuum of all possible “anarchist,” i.e. non-statist social possibilities?
    Overlapping with that point, its axes rather miss the point of the most relevant livable qualities of a society in my view, which have to do with collectivism versus individualism, force versus liberty (represented in the chart), and orthodoxical thought versus independent thought. For example, you can live in a society where you are theoretically free to do what you want according to authority, but most people adhere to orthodoxy so closely it’s still pure hell for experimental or different thinkers… which, if coupled with collective thinking about the society, would likely lead to expanding authority’s direct control over you at some point. This kind of a realization is one a whole lot of libertarians miss.

    • psuedoid says:

      This is an interesting comment. But unfortunately “non-statist society” is pretty much an oxymoron unless each citizen perfectly conforms to some set of ideals that provide for a harmonious existence of all members of the society. And that is simply internalizing the “state”. Either way there is still a state authority. The only way to be mostly free of a state is to do so individually; treating all social relations conditionally as opposed to unconditionally(internal super-ego “state”: laws, morals, habit, etc).
      Furthermore, statist societies have, as entities in themselves, serious advantages over lone wolfs or loosely associated groups. In the battle of the fittest, states win. Natural selection for superorganisms. So expect the future to be filled with authority just as the past has been. If all nations were dissolved by war, new ones would rise up to replace them.
      I’m not saying I like states or want them, but I am saying they are inevitable. I do like that I live in the US though, it provides me with much more than I could have ever provided myself alone.

      • wisdomdancer says:

        a) You’re fudging the meaning of the State, which is precise in its socio-political meaning. It is a territorial monopoly on ‘legitimate’ force (which eventually provides for other monopolies, such as money, and criminal law enforcement) and associated social roles such as (in historical times) legal systems. If you confuse the State with internalized morality, you lose the point I was trying to make, that yes, there is more to a healthy society than anti-Statism.
        b) A stateless society is an “oxymoron” unless it “perfectly conforms to some set of ideals that provide for a harmonious existence of all members of the society”? What? Why should it have to be a utopia?
        c) Are states’ advantages at warfare so clear as all that? Ask partisans, guerillas, terrorists. Ask Hezbollah how they beat the Mideast’s biggest power. It’s called 4th generation warfare. To go further, my personal belief is that a future, proper individualist army would be superior to any other, but that’s the product of years of studying military/cultural ideas and not something I can summarize here.
        d) Also, are states’ military advantages in building conventional armies compulsorily (in taxes, drafts, inflation) advantages for their actual citizens, or only “collective” advantages for the “State”? Evolutionary advantage can and must be examined on multiple levels. But this is where the point of collectivism comes in; are individuals the same as the collective? Are the individuals equivalent? No, often they pay and suffer for the “collective.” The State may become so aggressive it falls, or fall from economic excesses, but even if it does not, the individuals along for the ride will not necessarily gain simply because the State is powerful. Most people lose out from State power.
        e) You’ll be sorry you live in the US soon enough. State war (I’m sorry, “security”), has a heavy price tag, called blowback and debt and centralization. All the real advantages come from being part of the worldwide economic system which provides for peaceful exchange of goods, services, and ideas. That’s not American, per se.

        • psuedoid says:

          Re: counterpoints
          a) Fair enough to say that I’m using a related but different concept when I use the word “state”. I was referring to a more general concept…call it “stayte”. I take this more general concept of stayte from Max Stirner..and I find his arguments persuasive enough to maintain it. Morality and “legitimate force” are intimately related. It’s not that I think external government and morality are the SAME thing, nor do I think two different dogs are the same because they are both dogs. I just see that with further abstraction they can be brought under one heading.
          b) I’m not expecting an utopia, I’m just expecting a society. All societies with decent longevity will end up having ‘legitimate force’, because otherwise a few lawless brutes would ruin society for everyone else. Thus it would pretty much become a State all over again.
          c) Yes, states have clear advantages in warfare. An organized band of guerrillas can be a loose and mobile state itself(yes i’m aware your definition of state might not quite jive with this). I know you don’t want to hear it, but “individualist army” IS an oxymoron. Big time. More on that in the last part of this message.
          d) When executed intelligently, responsibly, and idealistically(with unknown others abstractly taken into account), a states’ military advantages are of enormous benefit to both it’s citizens and itself. This doesn’t happen very often though. But when it does, the state and its people both flourish.
          In relatively “well-run” states, it is entirely false that people “lose out” from State power. Send them out on their own and watch them fuck themselves and be fucked man. In a free for all you end up back in a hierarchal struggle, and a much more brutal one. Where we are now is better for most people. If I go off to my own island that isn’t could just go there and kill me and take what is “mine”! I have to stop you, and put efforts into stopping you. And we get back on the same merry-go-round. Of course its easier if I live in a society that will protect me, my ‘property’, and give me personal leeway, rather than me having to nervously clutch a gun and fists at every turn. It’s a philosophical thought experiment..imagine an individual free-for-all and the resulting progression through time.
          It goes without saying that people in general have come a long way from the stone age, from feudal times, and so on. All that was made possible by society, and stable society was made possible by states.
          Look at the places where intellectual pursuits and the arts flourish…places with huge guns guarding the borders. Potent military states. And these are certainly the highest states of being for people..when they need not worry about food on their plate or someone coming to pillage their property…when they can go on fanciful mental explorations. Play sports for fun. Generally have much more recreation..and so on.
          e) Maybe. That happens when the president for 8 years is a short-sighted and self-serving dumbass. I was really just trying to say I’m glad I’m not living in a cave having to fend entirely for myself every day. I at least have decent security. I think ..scratch that..KNOW..that US policies are overall..pretty disastrous right now. But I’m still glad to live here. I’d still take it over most countries in the world. I don’t place special value on “American” this or that.
          My impression is that you have too much faith in people generally. People are, in general, petty and selfish buffoons. A nice society and grooming can make them look good, but send them out to the jungle, or maybe just a reality show, and they’ll show their true colors. Even if half of all people could get along well and voluntarily follow rules knowing it would help them live in a society to help them and would thereby be worth the sacrifice…the other half would still be raging monkeys pounding whatever ass they could find. And in reality the proportion of people capable of being both intelligently civil and independent is…well it’s very low, probably too low to mention in civil company. Let’s just say the “wisdom” of the systems we live under is probably underestimated by both of us.

          • wisdomdancer says:

            Re: counterpoints
            • Defining your terms, such as “State” and “society,” is important. Conflation muddles up arguments.
            • “Look at the places where intellectual pursuits and the arts flourish…places with huge guns guarding the borders. Potent military states. ”
            Haven’t you ever heard of correlation not equalling causation? Especially since I’m having no trouble thinking of numerous counterexamples throughout military history, such as early America. I’m having much more trouble thinking of any examples to fit your claim, especially factoring some knowledge of relative economic prosperity and cultural vitality into the mix.
            • If you think so little of human nature, why on earth would you prefer to entrust it with a power hierarchy?
            • You seem to have confused social atomism with individualism.
            • You also don’t seem to be aware that many successful human societies have not had States in the sociological sense. Read Franz Oppenheimer, for one theory of its formation, for example. He’s a sociologist. There are also many anthropological and economic analyses of pre-State and non- or quasi-Statist societies.

  4. konami says:

    My score was about 3 grid squares to the left of you.

  5. psuedoid says:

    But I ain’t joining no fuckin’ parties!
    HAhaha! Daymne rite!

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