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neofelis

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Philosophy and Libertarianism
« on: February 10, 2015, 03:16:50 am »

   I started this new thread to continue a discussion I was having on the price speculation thread.  That thread seems to be a catch-all for almost any subject except price, and I got all caught up in defending the concept of Libertarianism.  Many of those participating in the discussion posed good and well-thought out questions (especially Damelon, whom I respect in this forum), and I attempted to answer as many as possible before realizing I needed a new and separate thread.  I will continue to write on this thread and keep it current as long as there is interest and people post to it.  I have been dedicated to NXT since May 2014 and read this forum daily, although I rarely post.  Until now. This is subject I know alot about, and I believe that there are many libertarians in this community but I suspect few who have studied this as much as I have.  For those that have, I welcome dissention.  I am always capable of learning.

   For the past eight years I have extensively studied philosophy and all it’s branches.  They are politics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, and metaphysics.  They are all interrelated, but can be discussed individually most times.  The discussion in the price speculation thread dealt mostly with politics and ethics.  I talk about philosophy because it is the foundation of any society, and the study of how man should live his life.  I believe that, as a race, we are on a collision course with pain and suffering and a repeat of the dark ages if we continue on the path that we are taking. That path leads to socialism and I am not hopeful we will correct this.

   For the first 42 years of my life, I lived as most people.  I believed that the purpose of government was to protect its country from foreign invasion and care for it’s citizens.  I believed in welfare for the poor and social security for the elderly.  I am an American if you haven’t guessed already.  I believed that some problems could only be solved by the government.  Public utilities needed regulation as these were essential services. Monopolies could not stand as they were detrimental to the citizens. I could not have been more wrong.  In fact, I was worse than wrong.  By believing in and practicing that philosophy, I was actually working against the betterment of mankind. That philosophy is called altruism.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2015, 03:30:11 am by neofelis »
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neofelis

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2015, 03:17:16 am »

   I am not a philosopher.  I only regurgitate what true philosophers have said before me.  I have studied philosophy back to the days of Thales, Plato and Aristotle and forward to present time.  Philosophy was originally the study of everything and philosophers were the rock stars of their time.  They literally knew the entire sum of human knowledge.  As human knowledge expanded, no one person could learn it all and specialization became necessary.  People who mastered a discipline were given by their peers the tile of,  “Doctor of Philosophy”, a PhD.  This obviously persists today.

   As human knowledge progressed, philosophy evolved.  Thales believed that everything was made of water in different states.  Plato believed that knowledge existed inherently our our minds and what we saw as reality was only a reflection of an object’s true form which we posses in our mind.  That was called the Theory of Forms.  It’s no wonder that people nowadays aren’t interested in studying philosophy.  They are so knowledgable about modern science and current human knowledge that they can’t understand what ancient philosophers were thinking. Those ancient philosophers were doing their best with limited knowledge.  Finally,  Aristotle said that knowledge was gained through the use of our senses and the application of reason and he was the first philosopher to get it right although he also believed some things that most of us would reject.

   One of the more recent philosophers that I’ve studied is Ayn Rand.  Her philosophy of Objectivism is based on reason and the use of the senses to acquire knowledge.  It closely parallels Aristotle’s theories and is basically the same philosophy updated with current human knowledge. The study of Objectivism leads to the conclusion that the only moral system of economics is that of laissez faire Capitalism and the only moral system of government is one that places individual rights as supreme and unalienable. Libertarianism is the current manifestation of Objectivism.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2015, 03:33:33 am by neofelis »
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neofelis

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2015, 03:17:35 am »

   I was asked today to define Libertarianism.  EvilDave has given some links to define it and I’ve found that Wikipedia does a pretty good job in it’s first sentence.

Libertarianism (Latin: liber, "free") is a political philosophy that upholds liberty as its principal objective. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association and the primacy of individual judgement.

   My definition is simply - a libertarian is anybody who is for anything that increases freedom and against anything that decreases freedom while simultaneously preserving natural rights.

   That part about natural rights is paramount.  You cannot violate anybody’s natural rights in the exercise of freedom. 

   You cannot violate anybody’s natural rights in the exercise of freedom.

   Freedom is not easy.  Everybody wants it for themselves but find it difficult to allow others that same freedom.  Most people want to use the force of government to get others to do what they think is “right”.  Every time the government uses force, it is violating an individuals natural rights.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2015, 03:35:57 am by neofelis »
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neofelis

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2015, 03:17:54 am »

I’m sure that if this thread progresses, I will start talking about the nature of Man and Man’s purpose on the Earth.  I also think to fully explain some of the tenets of libertarianism, one needs to examine this esoteric topic in detail.  The answer I hope to get to is the ends rarely justify the means. Both the ends and the means must be evaluated for morality and must pass the test of, “Is this in keeping with the Nature of Man?” If the answer is “no”, then that act is wrong/immoral/evil.
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neofelis

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2015, 03:18:15 am »

   Damelon asked me about a scenario in which one person controlled all of a “vital resource” in a community and refused to allow anybody else access.  He also stipulated that this resource would be passed from generation to generation and would NEVER be available to the community.  Is this right?  Is it moral?  My response was that this is a fantasy scenario and has never happened and will never happen, IF that society is based on pure Libertarianism and the absolute freedom that involves. 
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barbierir

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2015, 06:49:43 am »

   Damelon asked me about a scenario in which one person controlled all of a “vital resource” in a community and refused to allow anybody else access.  He also stipulated that this resource would be passed from generation to generation and would NEVER be available to the community.

seems the description of a state :)

I am a libertarian too and I like to present the idea in the following terms:

Fact: there are some services, mainly security and legal order, that today are esclusive monopoly of the State, that is an organization that exercises ultimate monopoly of force on a given territory.

Question: is such ultimate monopoly a necessary condition in order to provide those services? Or is it possible to imagine a society where multiple providers of such services work side by side on the same territory? Are the services of security and legal order inherently different from others?

This seems counterintuitive to the common experience of most of us but I believe that is possibile and would be by far better than now. Also the XXI century is slowly moving in that direction thanks to internet and crypto.
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youyou

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2015, 09:56:13 am »

i'm a kind of skeptical relativist.

how do you define "natural rights" ?

how do you define "the nature of Man and Man’s purpose on the Earth"
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Damelon

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2015, 10:24:12 am »

   Damelon asked me about a scenario in which one person controlled all of a “vital resource” in a community and refused to allow anybody else access.  He also stipulated that this resource would be passed from generation to generation and would NEVER be available to the community.  Is this right?  Is it moral?  My response was that this is a fantasy scenario and has never happened and will never happen, IF that society is based on pure Libertarianism and the absolute freedom that involves.

Good thread and much better to continue it separately.

My first rebuttal would be that much as you consider my scenario a fantasy IF it's a perfectly libertarian society, is that in our world we cannot have a theoretically perfect society.

I've done some reading up on the concept of property in the various libertarian groups and there is no consensus. One group (the one you seem to adhere to) claims that anyone who stakes a claim and adds his own labor gains those rights. Other groups says that even when labor is added, personal property is still not possible. I won't use "left" and "right" here, as those labels are loaded. They cloud the issue.

Now I posit that where personal property is involved, and given human nature, that there is a HUGE probability that this woúld lead to hydraulic despotism. If this happens: is this considered moral under that philosophy, yes or no?

I also would like to repeat my question that given that resources are scarce by definition, gaining a resource should automatically limit the freedom of the "other". How is this reconciled in libertarianism?
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Classical Cat

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2015, 12:16:28 pm »

Hi all! I have a few questions.

How is justice handled in a libertarian society? Who owns the monopoly of legitimate violence to make sure sentences are enforced? Is it the most powerful supercorporation or is it some kind of elected governing body? Then what's the difference with a normal nation state?
« Last Edit: February 10, 2015, 12:50:34 pm by Classical Cat »
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gs02xzz

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2015, 04:28:01 pm »

It seems the crypto technology can be libertarians' best friend and it can help your guys to build a more objective society.
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ThomasVeil

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2015, 04:42:50 pm »

I can't believe anyone follows the ideas of that vile creature Ayn Rand. Did you listen to what she said about the Native Americans? Calling them savages with no right to live in America? About the Middle East - saying that they are primitive societies that have no rights to their own resources? Let alone about all the "only help others if it serves yourself".
It gives me the shivers that people could agree to any of that. One of the most disgusting personalities I've ever read about.

No surprise that she's a great example of the hypocrisy of Libertarianism - after preaching about self-reliance, she secretly lived her last eight years off Social Security and Medicare.

My definition is simply - a libertarian is anybody who is for anything that increases freedom and against anything that decreases freedom while simultaneously preserving natural rights.

Like I asked in the other thread:
Do you support universal healthcare? (certainly being sick or dead is less freedom than paying taxes)
Free education?
Fee base income? The freedom not to work?

I think what it is really about is the worship of ownership. Because strangely that is the only right that the Government is supposed to defend with violence.
But why is ownership a "natural right"? Not that I'm against it - but there is nothing natural about it. Especially land-property is a modern human concept - it doesn't exist in nature.

The contradictions are clear. The complete impracticality of a Libertarian society is clear. Can't see whats so philosophical about it.
I'm personal someone more relying on science - and that's another field that debunked ideas that all this rests on: Like the myth of efficient markets. Of rational people. Of endless resources...
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crumb-bum

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2015, 05:39:00 pm »

I tend to agree with your sentiment about the vile creature, but I have to admit that Stefan Molyneux's apology for Ayn Rand made me change my mind on a couple of important points. He does address the problem with the American Natives. Have a listen if you're interested. It's four parts long, I think, but fascinating.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-2c7Keic_A

Edit: He also addresses her use of medicare, as I recall.
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gs02xzz

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2015, 05:45:50 pm »

The contradictions are clear. The complete impracticality of a Libertarian society is clear. Can't see whats so philosophical about it.
I'm personal someone more relying on science - and that's another field that debunked ideas that all this rests on: Like the myth of efficient markets. Of rational people. Of endless resources...

However, it seems that the creators of the cryptos such as Satoshi and BCNext all look more or less like John Galt who are technologically super smart individuals and want to bring better things anonymously to this world.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 02:07:40 pm by gs02xzz »
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kwilliams

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2015, 06:33:21 pm »

Quote
Damelon asked me about a scenario in which one person controlled all of a “vital resource” in a community and refused to allow anybody else access.  He also stipulated that this resource would be passed from generation to generation and would NEVER be available to the community.

When it comes to resource competition, the process is governed by the laws of Darwin which (unlike libertarianism) are natural  -  their effects can be observed regardless of the time, place or the beliefs of the observer. According to these laws when a (vital) resource is denied to an actor,  the later ether have to perish or win it back. In the process, all available means will be used (regardless whether they comply with prevailing ideology or not).

Quote
Do you support universal healthcare? (certainly being sick or dead is less freedom than paying taxes)

As to that, it's a deliberate misuse of the term. In libertarian sense, freedoms apply to things occurring naturally and certainly not someone else's labor. You have freedom of speech, sleep, air, etc,. You don't have freedom of education or healthcare because these things are results of someone else's labor. To claim otherwise would be to justify slavery. If "free education" is mandated by law, it only means labor (teachers or someone else's) must be confiscated to back the service. Confiscation of labor is the very definition of slavery. But wait you'll say - even if part of my labor is confiscated (for the benefits of others), I'm still not a slave since I also benefit (get free things back) from "the system".... Yea, sure - olden day slaves were also provided with "free" food, shelter and safety by their masters (to maximize labor output). What they did not have was freedom
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maddy83

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2015, 08:18:47 pm »

Oh dear, I am late to this thread. Hope I can catch up with you guys.

One of the more recent philosophers that I’ve studied is Ayn Rand.  Her philosophy of Objectivism is based on reason and the use of the senses to acquire knowledge.

I love Ayn Rand. Reading Atlas Shrugged changed my life. It warms my heart to know there are other Objectivists here.

I can't believe anyone follows the ideas of that vile creature Ayn Rand. Did you listen to what she said about the Native Americans? Calling them savages with no right to live in America? About the Middle East - saying that they are primitive societies that have no rights to their own resources? Let alone about all the "only help others if it serves yourself".
It gives me the shivers that people could agree to any of that. One of the most disgusting personalities I've ever read about.

No surprise that she's a great example of the hypocrisy of Libertarianism - after preaching about self-reliance, she secretly lived her last eight years off Social Security and Medicare.

You sound very hateful. So, you try to find one sentence that she said that makes her "bad", and then propose that it invalidates the other 99% of what she said?
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maddy83

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2015, 08:35:07 pm »

Hi all! I have a few questions.

How is justice handled in a libertarian society? Who owns the monopoly of legitimate violence to make sure sentences are enforced? Is it the most powerful supercorporation or is it some kind of elected governing body? Then what's the difference with a normal nation state?

I don't speak for libertarianism but objectivism supports the idea of a minimal state, not the abolishment of state (that's anarchy). So, state owns the monopoly to the use of physical force, it just doesn't do much else. This is also known as a night-watchman state.
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Damelon

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2015, 08:36:05 pm »

To keep this thread clear, I think we should clearly distinguish between Objectivism and Libertarianism.

These two are not identical.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_(Ayn_Rand)
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duluth

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2015, 08:54:16 pm »

Until today I had never heard about Ayn Rand. I guess the Wiki page is a bit short for forming an opinion, but I couldn't agree less with objectivism!

IMO, there is no such thing as objective reality http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C5%ABnyat%C4%81

Amazing as Human Thought is rich and diversified, isn't it?  :D
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maddy83

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2015, 08:39:08 am »

To keep this thread clear, I think we should clearly distinguish between Objectivism and Libertarianism. These two are not identical.

That's really important, and precisely the reason why I made the distinction between the two in my previous post.

The problem with "libertarianism" is that there is no clearly defined meaning for it. It is used to refer to a wide range of political systems which are not compatible. Here's a quote from the wikipedia article:

Quote
Rather than embodying a singular, rigid systematic theory or ideology, libertarianism has been applied as an umbrella term to a wide range of sometimes discordant political ideas...

So, how can we discuss about "libertarianism", when it has no clearly defined meaning? Intelligent discussion becomes rather difficult if a word means something to one person, but something else to another. There is even something called "libertarian socialism", how's that for a contradiction?

Objectivism, on the other hand, is fairly strictly defined. That's why I prefer to use that word.
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Classical Cat

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Re: Philosophy and Libertarianism
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2015, 12:17:54 pm »

Hi all! I have a few questions.

How is justice handled in a libertarian society? Who owns the monopoly of legitimate violence to make sure sentences are enforced? Is it the most powerful supercorporation or is it some kind of elected governing body? Then what's the difference with a normal nation state?

I don't speak for libertarianism but objectivism supports the idea of a minimal state, not the abolishment of state (that's anarchy). So, state owns the monopoly to the use of physical force, it just doesn't do much else. This is also known as a night-watchman state.

Thanks for the answer! I read the wiki articles.
But now I have more questions.
How is objectivism different from classical liberalism? How do you define "minimal state"?  Won't there be a different instance for each populations or is it one-size-fits-all (and then a world government becomes desirable for its efficiency)?

Also, in such a system, how is it not in the interest of the average worker to organize into unions and ask more from their government and the owners of the means of production? One could be altruistic and argue that it weakens the whole system for everyone but on average each organized worker does get an individual gain. Now that sounds very similar to the system we live in.

Is there a perfect political/economical system or is the long term survival of the human race not grounded in the diversity and dialectics of its political systems instead, just like all systems with a dynamics of "natural selection"?

Personally I think that more transparency in governments would alleviate a lot of our problems (corruption, growing social inequalities, inefficiencies, etc.) and blockchain technologies are a very big step in this direction once we can force our way into the system.

But then we are slowing creating an autonomous Skynet ... so we are all doomed anyway.

Have a good day!
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