Introduction to Libertarianism – Part Two

In Intro to Libertarianism on March 16, 2012 at 9:39 am

In our last discussion, I presented “laws” and how most of the laws we find ourselves clamoring for are illegitimate. We also looked at the sole legitimate function of government. This time we’ll explore how we end up with “state”, instead of “lawful government by the consent of the people”.

When we begin to articulate our dissatisfaction with how our socio-political environment is turning out, we turn to applying labels instead of directly addressing our complaint.

We rail against “Big Pharma”, the “gubmint”, and “corporations”. When we want to get specific we claim “Obama is planning to take away our guns” or “the Christian Taliban” wants to establish rules for marriage.

This renaming process is called reification. The term originated with Karl Marx and Georg Hegel. It refers to giving something that does not exist a name. It is a defense mechanism related to deflecting ownership of an idea, ideology, or economic plan.

We use, “the government” instead of saying precisely with whom in government we have an issue or issues. We don’t know the names of the people who manipulate the pharmaceutical market, so they become “Big Pharma”. “Big Tobacco” is another villain from the other side of the common political spectrum.

It’s a lazy practice and one that libertarians should disavow. Let’s be specific in our complaints about those who seem to be running things. Say, specifically, how and by what methods President Obama intends to disarm American citizens. Has he specifically said so?

The honest answer is, “no”.

Who is “Big Tobacco”? What do they want? Who are “they”? Who are “welfare cheats”? The list goes on and on.

“Government” does not exist as an entity. Government exists as a collective of individuals. Government is not evil, but people within government can turn it into an instrument of evil. Libertarians strive to be specific about the names of people within an existing government who are at odds with the cause of individual freedom.

Next time think, before railing about “the government”.

We’ll finish up with a discussion about how two, hugely erroneous, beliefs are used to trample individual liberty.

Belief in the ‘free lunch’.

We hear it all of the time. “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” But that’s exactly what many people expect a government to provide for them.

We hear a laundry list of “free” (State-provided) goods and services like, “free” education, “free” health care, “free” legal advice, “free” highways, and an ever-lengthening list of “free” things.

Here’s the truth about “free” anything…

…The cost of whatever is provided “free” to someone else; must be compelled from someone else.

 The dollars that buy a “free” school lunch for a child had to be confiscated, at the point of a gun and with threats of imprisonment, from someone who earned the two dollars by performing wage-work or by selling a good or service.

“Free” appeals to us because we see men (and women) busily constructing roads, hospitals, schools, and other amenities. But we do not see the un-built homes, un-purchased refrigerators, or other commodities. These “unseen” things slip our minds because they are not “real” to us…like the construction workers, teachers, or government office workers. It is as though these amenities and projects magically appear via government “generation of wealth”.

Ladies and gentlemen: There is no free lunch. It is the illegitimate use of force by the state, against the individual, that makes such state-provided goods and services available.

So, why do people persist in an unrealistic belief in the free lunch?

Some people strive to create “Utopia”.

Thus, goes the soulful chorus:

“You can’t guarantee that, without government, that people would educate children, treat workers fairly, care for the sick, and provide for the needy.”

No, and neither can government.

It’s been tried. We continue to try it. Like alchemists pursuing phlogiston with which to make gold from base metals, it just can’t be done.

One cannot advocate for freedom and expect to deliver Utopia.

A Utopia is a place where everyone has everything and is universally happy. How happy are the people when they are informed that a portion of their property will be confiscated by the state? All? No. Some? Perhaps. A few? Probably.

Unless everyone in such a system is happy, it is not Utopia.

Therefore, there can be no Utopia. It just isn’t an option.

NEXT: “The social contract lie and the myth of the ‘Happy Slave’.”


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