— Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom (via the-metres-gained)
The result is that many women have observed state legal reform as the biggest step forward for their rights. Women have only recently enjoyed the freedoms that western men have enjoyed for hundreds of years and they still see vestigial threats to that freedom in the form of sexist culture.
Libertarian challenges to the State’s social and welfare programs are therefore viewed as a threat to women’s freedom and security… This is not an inevitable or ‘natural’ condition, but has grown out of our particular social history.
But it is one that will persist as long as a sexist culture does. As long as women feel (justifiably) threatened by sexist culture, they will be thinking politically in terms of protecting their own and other women’s security.
If the libertarian movement wants to solve this problem, we need to make it clear that ours is a genuinely humanist movement that wants all people to reach their potential and achieve their goals.
Libertarians need to show that women have nothing to fear by removing state-mandated protections."
Liberty’s “Woman Problem” - by Jebediah Cole for Voluntarist.net
— Friedrich Hayek
— Thomas Jefferson (via liberal-democrats-australia)
I’ve seen a number of crowdfunding campaigns lately that aim to raise money for a particular person to help them get through a difficult medical event, or life event. I’ve supported a couple; please don’t think I’m questioning the motivation of the donors, or the recipients of this much-needed help.
What worries me is that according to my worldview, many of the things we’re supporting ought to be supported by default in a decent civil society. I wonder if, in addition to the support we currently give to these individuals, we could also support groups actively working to fix the structural inequalities that are causing people to suffer.
My politics are simple. We should constantly aim to build a society that is equitable for all citizens. This, in my view, is an endless goal. I’m concerned that by focusing on certain deserving individuals, we forget the countless others who also need our help.
I’m interested in other people’s thoughts. Thanks.
I have a lot of loosely related thoughts on this.
1) I think there’s a major hole in the libertarian idea that private charity can take the place of public safety nets - and that is, as you’ve observed, charity goes to those who know how and who to ask, not necessarily who needs it most.
2) As individuals we don’t prepare enough for the worst case. We don’t have emergency savings, we under-insure for catastrophe etc. In part that’s because of social safety net programs; in part it’s because we’re bad at estimating the impact of large events.
3) As a society, we have to be very careful in balancing the provision of safety nets with the unintended side effects. Too much government involvement massively corrupts medical research and treatment. Funnily enough, the US is a great example.
So: we can’t rely purely on charity, but providing a better safety net somewhat corrupts the market and makes people feel less of a need to personally guard against risks. It’s a bit of a mess.
I think Aus has a good conceptual balance that falls over somewhat in reality. Medicare *should* take care of people on low incomes, and those on higher incomes can get their own insurance or otherwise manage their risks. The issue is that Medicare doesn’t cover enough treatments and is generally underfunded for what it’s meant to provide. I also don’t think there’s a way to totally opt out (for the “wealthy”) - it’s either pay Medicare or pay private health. I’d like to see a “pay neither and get nothing” option, too.
— China Mieville, reminding
us needy bigots what free speech actually means (via albinwonderland)
— Heywood Broun in Nonsenseorship (via austene3)