«

»

Sep 04

Print this Post

Libertarianism and Labor Day

Libertarians and Labor DayWhat most annoys me about Libertarians — and free market purist of all varieties — is that they see the only potential liberty killing force as being the government. Or if they don’t believe that they believe that it is only the government that we should be fighting against.

This seems to come from the idea that they can’t stop businesses from doing what they want because that would limit the individual liberty of the business owner. And they are unwilling to make any judgments to maximize liberty. Even if a law would greatly increase the liberty of workers and only decrease the liberty of employers by a tiny amount, it can’t be done. This is largely because libertarians don’t see in terms of trade-offs, and they don’t even know they are making a trade-off.

The result of this is that their philosophy comes down to support for oligarchy. Since they start with business owners’ rights as undeniable, workers always get screwed. And this is why for example Libertarians almost to a person are in favor of Right to Work laws, even though they are clearly liberty killing on the part of the workers and employers. Libertarians just don’t like workers. It is simple as that.

What Limits Your Liberty?

If you vote for a libertarian what you end up getting is a politician who is against all of the good things that the government does. But they are all for continuing the gravy train for the rich.

But think about your life. Do you find it is the government that destroys your liberty? Unless you have spent a lot of time in jail, the answer is almost certainly no. The single biggest thing that gets in the way of your liberty is your boss.

Libertarianism might not be so bad if we still had a rural economy where almost everyone was a self-employed farmer. But today almost no one has any choice but to get a job working for someone else. And depending upon their boss, they are living in tyranny.

I stress the fact that workers had no choice because Libertarians always throw this idea up. To them everyone has endless choices. This may come from the fact that most libertarians are themselves from affluent or at least upwardly-mobile families themselves. But the truth is that people have at most an alternative not a choice. And most people don’t even have an alternative.

Libertarianism Just Helps the Rich

So libertarianism is a useless philosophy. All it stands for is bashing the government and allowing in the rich to do whatever they want. And I will fully admit that governments are often a huge problem. But in the United States it is not. The government is a problem mostly to the extent that it acts as a protector of the rich. Thus it isn’t surprising that the rich tend to be libertarians. In the United States it’s quite a deal. You have a government that supports the powerful and here is this supposedly scruffy political philosophy that wants to destroy the government.

This goes back to something I noticed many years ago and is probably the biggest reason why I stopped being a libertarian. If you vote for a libertarian what you end up getting is a politician who is against all of the good things that the government does like helping the poor, providing healthcare, providing for retirement, and so on. But they are all for continuing the gravy train for the rich.

Now it is true that if you talk to libertarians, they will usually tell you how they don’t believe in all this crony capitalism. But there are two important issues here. One is that in practice this is the way libertarians always act when elected. And the other is if you look at the libertarians themselves and how their default position is pro-business and anti-worker, you will see that it’s no accident that in practice libertarian philosophy always comes down to the worst form of conservatism.

Libertarianism Is Anti-Worker

What workers need to know is that libertarianism is not their friend. Even if it says some nice things about workers and rights it is dead set against them. It believes that if you aren’t a business owner you are just a taker and you should be glad that some great Job Creator is there to give you a job.

When you get down to it, libertarianism is the worst political theory that gets any kind of a fair hearing in our society. It is quite amazing that libertarianism hasn’t been soiled the same way that communism and fascism have been. But I believe this is only because a major country has not explicitly called itself libertarian. The truth is that Pinochet’s Chile was a libertarian system of government. Of course libertarians will never admit this.

Libertarians Will Not Accept Its Practical Results

Libertarianism only exists as a platonic ideal in the minds of its adherents. When it exists in practice it simply reduces to the worst kind of conservatism: absolute law of the jungle capitalism for the poor and crony capitalism for the rich. But this is never the fault of libertarianism. This is because libertarianism is a cult. It can never fail; it can only ever be failed.

Thus I get incredibly tired of even talking to libertarians because they aren’t willing to talk about the real world. They are stuck in their minds. But even on that level they are no friend of the workers. Remember that. If you work for a living, libertarians hate you.

Happy Labor Day!

Afterword

On this Labor Day, you should really read Elizabeth Anderson excellent article How Bosses Are (Literally) Like Dictators. I read it right after writing this article, and I was pleased that she said much of what I had. But she goes into a lot more depth overall. What’s more, she talks about how all the great free market (libertarian) writers were talking about a totally different economic environment, and how the Industrial Revolution made what they were talking about irrelevant. I highly recommend reading it. I’m going to get her book, Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk About It).

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2017/09/04/libertarianism/

Amazon Ad

5 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. Dave L

    “‘Your right to throw a punch stops where my nose begins.”

    Attributed to various https://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/10/15/liberty-fist-nose/

    “My right to throw a punch is absolute. If your nose is in my way, that’s your own fault. My right to put my nose where I wish is absolute. If I even think that your fist might be anywhere near my nose my right to punch you in your nose is absolute. My nose, or at least the noses of my ancestors, were here first. Sucks to be you.”

    Attributed to various Libertarians

    “The winner refuses to admit the game is rigged.”

    Attributed to me

    I know that the corollary is : “The loser insists the game is rigged.” You have to look at the game from the outside. If the same people win repeatedly, either skill is the main factor or the game is rigged. I look at the winners in capitalism. Skill is a factor occasionally, but not as frequently as the winner claim.

    1. Frank Moraes

      Proponents of capitalism always claim that it is efficient. It is interesting that they don’t claim it is just — at least the smart ones don’t. My main interest in capitalism is how random the rewards are dispersed. But you are quite right about people who “win” time and again: it isn’t that they are great at the game that is evident. Look at Trump. He hasn’t even been that successful. But in as much as he has been, he has been good at getting the government to give him tax breaks and things like that. So yes: the game is rigged. The thing is, I think people like Trump and others of capitalism’s “winners” aren’t even aware of how rigged the game is. They are so used to believing their own BS that it doesn’t even occur to them to question it.

      1. Dave L

        Pure capitalism IS efficient, which is a good thing if you’re okay w/ humans being exploited, reduced to abject poverty, enslaved…

        I’ve noticed that people like Trump declare bankruptcy, get government bailouts, etc. Pure capitalism? When your unfair advantage isn’t enough to win the game you can change the rules.

  2. James Fillmore

    We were driving through Madison, WI yesterday — residence of the odious snake Scott Walker — and a local station was playing “The Union Maid”: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2A7gfxG86-w

    I started tearing up a bit.

  3. paintedjaguar

    Entrepreneur

    from the French: entre + preneur

    literal translation: “In-between Taker”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>