I Wonder If I Am A Libertarian # 7


Key Concepts of Libertarianism

By

David Boaz

January 1, 1999

I quote:

The key concepts of libertarianism have developed over many centuries. The first inklings of them can be found in ancient China, Greece, and Israel; they began to be developed into something resembling modern libertarian philosophy in the work of such seventeenth- and eighteenth-century thinkers as John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine.

Free Markets. To survive and to flourish, individuals need to engage in economic activity. The right to property entails the right to exchange property by mutual agreement. Free markets are the economic system of free individuals, and they are necessary to create wealth. Libertarians believe that people will be both freer and more prosperous if government intervention in people’s economic choices is minimized.

End of quote.

These assertions about a free markets, private ownership of property, the stultifying effects of governmental over-regulation, governmental ownership of businesses, and high tax rates to sustain an increasingly bloated, voracious and predatory governments are factual and beyond dispute.

However, one assertion needs special clarification because it is so universally mispercieved. Human’s can be largely free from governmental coercion, or the coercion of other people, and this is a main goal of a Libertarian cultural design. However, we are never free from the effects of our genetics, our learning histories, our current state of  health, or our immediate sociaocultural, economic, political and physical environments. The psychological laws and principles of conditioning and learning always affect us in major ways, without fail. And when we fail, we are failing to let them guide us.

The psychosocial casualties to which I refer are complex, layered and circular in nature; but our human behaviors remain a major part of this causal chain.

I will take, on faith and because we already did it one time, that humans can learn to design better sociocultures and that such improvements will in-turn shape more adaptive and generally beneficial forms of our thoughts, emotions and behaviors.

For an intellectually stunning and revealing book about human nature, the causes of our good and bad behaviors, and  important principles of cultural change, you must read Beyond Freedom and Dignity, by B. F. Skinner.

The assertions above are, or should be, beyond dispute. If someone wishes to argue against these bed-rock main features of human psychology or Libertarian cultural designs…the very principles that made America the greatest Nation on earth…I will ask that they do some reading to educate themselves.

A good start would be the following:

The Road To Serfdom, by F.A Hayek

The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society’s Descent into Tyranny, by Michael E. Newton

Libertarianism, by David Boaz

What It Means To Be A Libertarian, by Charles Murray

The Secret Knowledge: On The Dismantling of American Culture, by David Mamet

Trust: The Social Virtues and The Creation of Prosperity, by Francis Fukuyama

The End of History and the Last Man, by Francis Fukuyama

Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy, By Thomas Sowell

There are many more sources of historically factual and well-documented  information that powerfully support the basic tenants of psychology and Libertarianism. Some of these principles are counter-intuitive to ways of popular thinking, and that is the greatest of all problems now driving America’s decline.

In a word, what drives America’s decline is ignorance.

It is ignorance about the causes of the quality of our own behaviors, within an electorate that votes to design and redesign America’s political and social cultures so that its population may live long and well…or fail and fade into history.

To live long and well requires that our electorate understand the determinants of their own behavior and how various human behavior patterns will survive (or fail to survive) the many inter and intra-cultural stresses of the future, most of which are now known and often predictable.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.,  6/27/13

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