Posts Tagged ‘David Boaz’

I Wonder If I Am A Libertarian # 7

June 27, 2013

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

I Wonder If I Am A Libertarian # 5a

June 13, 2013

I Wonder If I Am A Libertarian # 5

Key Concepts of Libertarianism

By

David Boaz

January 1, 1999

“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.”

What follows is first a quote by the author and then an analysis of the components of that quote, by me

Quote:

The Rule of Law. Libertarianism is not libertinism or hedonism. It is not a claim that “people can do anything they want to, and nobody else can say anything.” Rather, libertarianism proposes a society of liberty under law, in which individuals are free to pursue their own lives so long as they respect the equal rights of others. The rule of law means that individuals are governed by generally applicable and spontaneously developed legal rules, not by arbitrary commands; and that those rules should protect the freedom of individuals to pursue happiness in their own ways, not aim at any particular result or outcome.

End Quote.

_________________________________________________________________

This is an area of Libertarianism that I have problems with.

“Libertarianism is not libertinism or hedonism. It is not a claim that ‘people can do anything they want to, and nobody else can say anything’.” 

Libertarians often advocate that things people do in private, with other consenting individuals, should be legal. This is true in most cases, however, there should be a few exceptions…very few.

They also argue that outlawing the traditional vices such as prostitution, damaging drugs, gambling, and pornography cost more in time, effort and money spent than is practical and this also curtails freedoms that should be the rights and responsibilities of individuals. They promise that, if these activities are legalized, valuable resources could be saved and used more wisely, or be remitted back to the citizens in the form of tax reductions.

The problem with this argument is that the burden of proof should be upon the Libertarians to actually to demonstrate with real-life examples, in sociocultures similar to the America, that these economic outcomes clearly occur. To my knowledge, such idyllic outcomes have not been demonstrated.

Until I see the proof of such cost-savings, without worsening collateral cultural damage, I judge that the risk of great social harm by legalizing the traditional illegal human vices outweighs the hope of costs saved.

Libertarians further argue that the State should not intervene in the private lives of citizens when an individual’s actions harm only that individual. Things “that do not hurt anyone else and are consensual” should not be the business of the state”.

Libertarians state that each individual has the right to make good choices and bad ones and suffer the natural consequences of their actions.  The idea seems to be that individuals who may become drug, pornography, gambling, or prostitution addicted only harm themselves. This is a great fallacy that I will address shortly.

Libertarians assert that when a citizen frequently engages in the traditional vices they will be naturally defamed and shunned from mainstream society. They argue that for this reason such citizen problem behaviors will naturally be kept at low levels. They also argue that societies tend to isolate these activities away from mainstream geographical areas in society, and therefore they have a lessened influence on the rest of the citizenry.

This set of assumptions carries a great danger of the explosive and damaging forces of social chaos. Again, proof of these theoretical assumptions acting as predicted in a socioculture similar to our own is essential before their implementation.

Libertarians state: “The rule of law means that individuals are governed by generally applicable and spontaneously developed legal rules, not by arbitrary commands;”

I will argue that this nation’s laws governing the traditional human vices listed above are examples of “generally applicable and spontaneously developed legal rules,” and not “arbitrary commands;”.

These laws evolved because humans are naturally highly motivated to engage in these potentially addictive reinforcing activities and that the many behavioral damages of such addictions commonly destroys the welfare and productivity of spouses, children, friends, neighbors, and the businesses or vocations of the addicted. Therefore the uncontrolled existence of the traditional human vices in a society works to destroy the health and viability of that socioculture.

The psychological mechanisms through which these destructive human forces increase within a socioculture comprise the force of bad behavioral contagion. behavioral contagion is dramatically catalyzed within dense populations and by social/cyberspace media. It contages individuals directly and indirectly through observation and imitation, word of mouth, through the media, and by someone  physically doing something to them or someone they know or care about.

Virtually everyone is oblivious to the principles and effects of bad behavioral contagion in a socioculture and this is a profound danger to us all.

Someone will have to prove to me, with actual cultural examples, that resources spent to control the traditional vices, are not prudently spent; much as my personal resources invested in health, home  and vehicle insurances are spent to protect the welfare of my family.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.


%d bloggers like this: