Posts Tagged ‘ libertarianism ’

Who is responsible for the death of Billy Bibbit? A politician’s guide.

Liberal:  Nurse Ratched’s oppressive “therapies” prevented the beautiful flower in Billy’s soul from growing to its full potential.

Conservative:  That R.P. McMurphy was a no-account rabble-rouser if I’ve ever seen one. No respect for that nice Nurse Ratched’s authority; she’s stern, but only because she has to be – people need the stability of tradition.

Libertarian:  Billy Bibbit did not exercise personal responsibility, and that’s the cost of freedom.

Fascist:  Unnecessary excitement and improper expressions of emotion lead to chaos. Such protocols are designed for your protection, and they must be obeyed. Or else.

Neoliberal:  Well, they should’ve looked for alternative methods to compare and then selected the one that would make the most prof– I mean, yield the best patient outcomes. This is really just a case of market restriction.

Communist:  The bourgeois investors who fund the institution and perpetuate a system that shackles the less fortunate for the profit of those who have! Viva la revolucion McMurphy!

Neoconservative:  They should’a lobotomized McMurphy the minute he set foot in that institution! Punk’s like that’ll never learn! You gotta deal with ’em once and deal with ’em for good! Just look what happens when they’re allowed to roam free and do whatever they like …

I knew that “Contemporary Political Ideologies” class would come in handy one day!

Pragmatist:  Well, you really have to look at the big picture and the confluence of several conflicting forces; for example, the stubborn rigidity of Nurse Ratched’s “therapy” against the unrepentant rebellion of McMurphy, which caused an upset in the– Oh, you’re not listening anymore? Oh well. It’s not like anything I could’ve said was going to change your mind anyways …

Not so independent

Check out this post by John Quiggin over at Crooked Timber on the economic realities of “going Galt.” Some snippets:

The state may not do a great job providing services of all kinds, but those services have to be replaced. Libertopia doesn’t sound like a very appealing place for schoolteachers, nurses, and so on, so most public services would probably have to be supplied by external contractor. The cost of that would wipe out any savings from eliminating government inefficiency …

… As everyone who has spent time on an island (even one close to the mainland), or a small remote community, knows, that means everything costs more (often double) and most things aren’t available at all. Even if all the registered Libertarians in the US (about 250 000) moved en masse they would still be heavily dependent on high-cost imports. Almost certainly, that would more than wipe out the gain from tax freedom …

… Of course, the ideal would be a nearby government jurisdiction that would provide the large-scale industry needed for a ready source of consumer goods, a home for contracted-in service providers, support for losers and so on, but would not be able to tax the Libertopians.

But once you think that you realise that a partial approach to this outcome already exists, and has millions of inhabitants across the US. They’re called suburban Republicans. The suburbs benefit from urban centers, but resist paying for them, mostly successfully. It’s not exactly Libertopia, but it’s obviously close enough to be more appealing than going Galt.

So what’s the point? None of us live in a bubble. There is no “me” without “we.”

The belief that “the government which governs best is that which governs least” ignores reality – that it is the actions of government over the last 200+ years which have allowed for the standard of living most (white) libertarians enjoy today. From a purely commercial perspective, the creation of a national highway system and the prevention of tariffs and other trade barriers are only the tip of the iceberg, but these are the very things that have allowed libertarians (and indeed, most everyone) to interact with whom they wanted on terms that were more-or-less acceptable to all involved.

I’m all for self-actualization and doing what you can to provide for yourself, but I’m always brought back to that Habermasian idea that citizens can only be truly free when they regard themselves as both the authors and addressees of the law at the same time.