Lies, Damn Lies, and Libertarianism

Don’t get me wrong, libertarianism in the sense of a policy of promoting individual liberty is an attractive and worthwhile philosophy.

But Libertarianism in the sense of a political movement has very little to do with that concept, though it does bow toward it as if it were a big, black lodestone that fell from the sky. Libertarian philosophers talk a lot about personal freedom but what is meant by that phrase in political terms is the freedom for the large bulk of people to be bullied, coerced, cheated, killed and ignored by those who happen to have power in society through the accidents of birth, location or precedence.

When it’s at home, Libertarianism is a belief in a natural aristocracy; a conviction that those that are advanced over others got there by the superiority of their moral character. Any third grader who has ever been bullied by a middle schooler knows this is hogwash.

At the end, Libertarianism is simply a lie. A manipulative lie when told by those in power, a hopeful lie when told by those who refuse to examine the consequences of such a foundation to morality, an ignorant lie when repeated by the victims of the first and second classes of liars.

To illuminate the lie, one has only to ask a Libertarian what a government constructed according to Libertarian principles would do when faced with a widespread natural or manmade disaster like Hurricane Katrina, Deep Water Horizon, Fukushima Dai-Ichi, Japanese 9.0 Earthquake, or the recent tornado cluster in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.

For a follow-up, ask who would build an effective, integrated highway system with bridges and stoplights and enforce safety measures on such a highway system. Try to find out how a Libertarian government would organize the defense of the Nation against an invading army from a country not organized by Libertarians. Ask who funds education and the effective response to widespread epidemics and pandemics.

There are a lot of questions and all the answers are lies or silence or a horrifying abandonment of even the pretense of morality.

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