To be generically against markets would be almost as odd as being generically against conversations between people (even though some conversations are clearly foul and cause problems for others - or even for the conversationalists themselves). The freedom to exchange words, or goods, or gifts does not need defensive justification in terms of their favourable but distant effects; they are part of the way human beings in society live and interact with each other (unless stopped by regulation or fiat). The contribution of the market mechanism to economic growth is, of course, important, but this comes only after the direct significance of the freedom to interchange - words, goods, gifts - has been acknowledged. — 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. —
Conservatives are inclined to use the powers of government to prevent change or to limit its rate to whatever appeals to the more timid mind. In looking forward, they lack the faith in the spontaneous forces of adjustment which makes the liberal accept change without apprehension, even though he does not know how the necessary adaptations will be brought about. — Friedrich Hayek
A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities. — Thomas Jefferson (via liberal-democrats-australia)
(Source: americas-liberty, 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.
go away, you cretinous glob of delusions of relevance
everyone knows that libertarians are just dorky young conservatives who want drugs legalised not because they have any real problem with systemic criminalisation, but because they don’t have enough friends to get them through the informal economy
God, shows how little you know about the people involved in the party nor their supporters and their moral values.
Hi, I’m Trish.
I’m an active feminist and have participated in numerous feminist events over the past few years, including being part of the team that organised SlutWalk in Canberra in 2011.
I’m also a WOC who speaks up frequently against white-normativity in activist spaces. After having attended two years of NOWSA and having engaged in WOC Caucus there, I’ve internalised the logic of caucuses - the notion that privilege means that you can’t speak for others - and found it intersects really well with libertarian conceptions of knowledge problems. I believe strongly in just shutting up and listening to people’s experiences. At last year’s NOWSA, which was hosted at my home campus of ANU, I also delivered a presentation on the first wave of feminism where I sought to challenge the socialist version of feminist history, and the white-dominated one.
I also ran in the ACT in 2012 as a candidate for the Legislative Assembly, where one of our major policy issues was changing planning laws so that housing becomes more affordable for everyone and landlords can’t continue to gouge renters the way they currently do.
When I was younger, I used to be a socialist, but as I learned more about politics and that it wasn’t just that being left wing means you’re progressive and being right-wing means you’re conservative, I started becoming more centrist. Gradually over time I learned more about how both historically and contemporaneously governments use their power to screw over the least well-off.
I recognise that I come from a position of socio-economic privilege and for that reason I oppose all aspects of the nanny state. The nanny state either imposes regressive taxes on people as the least well-off are the most sensitive to price increases on ‘vices’, or it’s fundamentally patronising to try and regulate what people eat and what they do for fun. I’m not interested in being a middle-class elitist.
Please tell me more about how I just hate the government and don’t care about the systematic disenfranchisement of the least privileged in our society by the government.
I dare you.
Indeed, an astoundingly small proportion of arguments ‘for free speech’ & ‘against censorship’ or ‘banning’ are, in fact, about free speech, censorship or banning. It is depressing to have to point out, yet again, that there is a distinction between having the legal right to say something & having the moral right not to be held accountable for what you say. Being asked to apologise for saying something unconscionable is not the same as being stripped of the legal right to say it. It’s really not very fucking complicated. Cry Free Speech in such contexts, you are demanding the right to speak any bilge you wish without apology or fear of comeback. You are demanding not legal rights but an end to debate about & criticism of what you say. When did bigotry get so needy? This assertive & idiotic failure to understand that juridical permissibility backed up by the state is not the horizon of politics or morality is absurdly resilient.)
— China Mieville, reminding
us needy bigots what free speech actually means (via albinwonderland)
(Source: angryampersand, via 17acrossiswrong)
To us the whole theory of censorship is immoral. If its functions were administered by the wisest man in the world it would still be wrong. But of course the wisest man in the world would have too much sense to be a censor. We are not dealing with him. His substitutes are distinctly lesser folk. — Heywood Broun in Nonsenseorship (via austene3)
"Why I am not a Conservative" or in the Australian context a liberal but not a Liberal -
I’m joining friends who like to talk politics this weekend at the ALS Friedman conference as well as the CIS’s Liberty and Society conference so it’s a weekend where too much freedom is barely enough.
The only downside is the inevitable hectoring to join a new party. Truthfully no party has a monopoly on the freedom vote in this country and I think even those which make the claim most aggressively could re-read the paragraphs in this essay from Hayek quoting Acton as to the risks of making common cause with anyone and everyone to further what you hope will remain the cause of freedom.
Still the young libertarians are always thought provoking and I look forward to the weekend with much pleasure : )
I’m starting to think that for a small government party to be big enough to have influence becomes a bit of a contradiction in terms. That which characterises our political class isn’t a question of whether government action has a role, it’s a question of to what degree and to advance the causes of which groups of people. All parties are fundamentally paternalistic in this manner, though a more negative way of putting it would be to say that they’re all equally drunk on power. It’s all social engineering, just in different guises.
And then there is the question of whether democracy or liberty is more important. Australians like to bluster about how we don’t need government in our lives and we can do things ourselves, but the data shows that when it comes to specific questions about funding this or that program, everyone will agree that more money is needed. As for where it comes from - anybody but them. Would a libertarian party in government reject democratic, populist policy in favour of a technocratic solution so long as the former was big government and the latter was not? Does that not simply entrench political power in the hands of a legislature and/or executive and develop a culture of alienating the public?
Man, I’ve become so negative about this all.