May 9, 2010

Kneejerk Libertarianism

Some libertarians have kneejerk opinions. They believe that only government (and union) power is bad and are comfortable with corporate abuses and monopolies. They have fallen hook, line and sinker for the "intellectual property" trope.

I'd like to see a metric of liberty that includes and quantifies constraints from as many sources as possible in addition to the government.

Freedom involves the freedom of the strong to take advantage of the weak. Too many people behave as though that's a feature, not a bug. (Within limits, the advantages presumably outweigh the costs, but I can't take seriously the position that there are no costs.)

Addendum 20100520. The simplistic libertarian views society as composed of a government which exercises force and of individuals in voluntary associations. That ignores the likelihood that systemic concentrations of power, i.e. compulsion, will spontaneously arise from such a starting point.

The simplistic liberal views society as composed of individuals and a government which expresses their enlightened will and consensus. That imputes an unlikely degree of competence and purity to the government.

I agree with libertarians when they say that government overreaching is rampant and illegitimate, but I part company with many of them wrt to the financial crisis, which IMO required major government intervention.

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