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Offlinephi1618
old hand

Registered: 02/14/04
Posts: 4,102
Last seen: 6 years, 6 months
philosophical failing of libertarianism
    #2768865 - 06/06/04 02:24 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Supporters of natural rights assume that people naturally exist as individuals; that the natural state is isolation, and the goal of public policy should be to ensure and return the freedoms that a man could excersize in his natural state.

This is not the case: no person exists in isolation. It is inevitable that your actions affect my wellbeing.

Consider a person who smokes too much pot and cigarettes, eats too much junk food, never excersizes, lives a stressful life and doesn't keep his house clean. You might claim that he can do what he wants - only he pays the price for his neglect. But, this isn't true. By living an unhealthy life, such a person becomes weak to disease. When he becomes sick, he can then spread his illness to people he interacts with. Because of this, no matter how well I care for myself I am more likely to become sick with this person for a neighbor than I would if my neighbor were also healthy.

Similarly, a person who doesn't care for their land harms his neighbors. By allowing weeds and disease to fester on his lands, these infections can more easily spread to my land, making it more difficult for me to care for the plants, animals, soil, etc. on my land.

Similarly with violence: if a person decides to deal with violent drug dealers, the presense of these people in my neighborhood is more likely to disrupt my life.

Similarly with ideas - people are generally affected by the notions and opinions of the people they deal with; to my way of thinking, the frequent advocation of avarice as the highest value in our society is unfortunate, and it pollutes our social environment by affecting those exposed.


I am not claiming that the government should be involved in regulating the ideas people can express, or any of the other things I have listed above - I think there are definite practical limits to how much the government can improve our lives. I am simply pointing out what I percieve to be a flaw in the fundamental reasoning behind natural rights - which is simply that every action a person can make affects the entire world in a small, but not insignificant, way - and thus the prohibition of "initiation of force" is a null concept.


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InvisibleVvellum
Stranger

Registered: 05/24/04
Posts: 10,920
Re: philosophical failing of libertarianism [Re: phi1618]
    #2769028 - 06/06/04 03:27 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)



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OfflineTao
Village Genius

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 7,935
Loc: San Diego
Last seen: 1 year, 5 months
Re: philosophical failing of libertarianism [Re: Vvellum]
    #2769073 - 06/06/04 03:45 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I've been looking for an essay on that, thanks :thumbup:


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Anonymous

Re: philosophical failing of libertarianism [Re: phi1618]
    #2769398 - 06/06/04 05:37 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Supporters of natural rights assume that people naturally exist as individuals; that the natural state is isolation

you have the first part right. human beings do exist as individuals, but the natural state is not isolation; people generally do live in groups. neoclassical liberalism, by prohibiting the initiation of force or fraud, aims to minimize negative results from associating with other individuals within the group.

Consider a person who smokes too much pot and cigarettes, eats too much junk food, never excersizes, lives a stressful life and doesn't keep his house clean. You might claim that he can do what he wants - only he pays the price for his neglect. But, this isn't true. By living an unhealthy life, such a person becomes weak to disease. When he becomes sick, he can then spread his illness to people he interacts with.

if you put another person in danger without their consent, you have initiated force against them.

Similarly, a person who doesn't care for their land harms his neighbors. By allowing weeds and disease to fester on his lands, these infections can more easily spread to my land, making it more difficult for me to care for the plants, animals, soil, etc. on my land.

if you ruin another person's land without their consent, you have initiated force against them.

Similarly with violence: if a person decides to deal with violent drug dealers, the presense of these people in my neighborhood is more likely to disrupt my life.

see response to the first example.


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OfflineTao
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Registered: 09/19/03
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Re: philosophical failing of libertarianism [Re: ]
    #2769605 - 06/06/04 06:57 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

so the state would start forcing people to clean their houses, eat healthier, weed their yards and only do business with those with solid reputations? Starting to sound more like totalitarianism than its opposite, libertarianism.


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Anonymous

Re: philosophical failing of libertarianism [Re: Tao]
    #2769611 - 06/06/04 06:59 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

where did you get the idea that i would support that?


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Registered: 03/06/02
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Re: philosophical failing of libertarianism [Re: phi1618]
    #2769684 - 06/06/04 07:24 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

Similarly, a person who doesn't care for their land harms his neighbors. By allowing weeds and disease to fester on his lands, these infections can more easily spread to my land, making it more difficult for me to care for the plants, animals, soil, etc. on my land.





The level of liability in such a case is difficult to define. If the "nusiance" species were naturally occuring and not due to the farmers actions I don't see how he could be held liable for inaction.

That isn't his fault, that is nature doing what nature does.

On the other hand, if somebody imported a species in from somewhere else, or genetically modified a native one, they sould be held responsable for some or all of the damages caused by the new or newly introduced organisms.

If your neighbor pours 10 gallons of gasoline on an anthill down the road from your house, and that gasoline seeps into your groundwater, he could be made culpable, but only if you could prove at least some of the gasoline in your water came from him.


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InvisibleRavus
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Registered: 07/18/03
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Re: philosophical failing of libertarianism [Re: phi1618]
    #2769728 - 06/06/04 07:40 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Most systems don't work in their purest form, as no system is perfect and therefore will have flaws that can often be patched up with a compromise of one aspect of the system. But as a response to, "so the state would start forcing people to clean their houses, eat healthier, weed their yards and only do business with those with solid reputations? Starting to sound more like totalitarianism than its opposite, libertarianism," where do you get this idea from the posts? Does our democratic government do this to people? A libertarian government will intervene even less with people's affairs, so of course they're not going to start telling people to clean their houses, eat healthier and weed their yards, especially if it's not affecting anyone else. These people can still exist happily, or even miserably, and still pay their rent and such, so the problems all end up falling on that person's shoulders anyway. If what one person does doesn't harm anyone else, then it is their own choice. If he cannot pay for himself because he does too many drugs, then it was his own choice and he will probably be kicked out until he gets a job. Government intervention usually causes more problems than it solves, such as with the war on drugs.


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So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.


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OfflineTao
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Registered: 09/19/03
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Re: philosophical failing of libertarianism [Re: Ravus]
    #2769910 - 06/06/04 08:59 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

mush was saying that those negligent actions were an act of initiating force, thus the state would have to retaliate against them.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: philosophical failing of libertarianism [Re: Tao]
    #2769966 - 06/06/04 09:22 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

The state already can force you to clean your house if you have children. I saw it once on Cops.


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"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Offlinecb9fl
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Registered: 06/12/03
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Re: philosophical failing of libertarianism [Re: silversoul7]
    #2770054 - 06/06/04 10:03 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

State forces you to wear your seatbelt.
State forces you to wear a helmet on a motorcycle.
State forces you to refrain from smoking in certain public places.
State forces you to refrain from smoking in your car in some places.


By forces I mean has laws, of course anyone can violate those laws but they will be breaking the State's law.


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Offlineunbeliever
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Registered: 05/22/04
Posts: 5,158
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Re: philosophical failing of libertarianism [Re: phi1618]
    #2770377 - 06/07/04 12:12 AM (12 years, 5 months ago)

A perfect civilization can have two origins. One is where somehow the citizens are perfectly socially and personally responsible. Bees, ants and other hive insects are a pretty good example of this. The other route is the totalitarianism one mentioned above, a forced perfection. This obviously never really works for any species, except possibly herd animals where there is a strong alpha-male (or female) that "controls" the herd. Really though it's like infinity, only works in concept. :wink:


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Happiness is a warm gun...


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InvisibleEvolving
Resident Cynic

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 5,385
Loc: Apt #6, The Village
Re: philosophical failing of libertarianism [Re: unbeliever]
    #2771593 - 06/07/04 02:02 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

A 'perfect civilization' is a subjective concept. The never was and never can be an objectively 'perfect civilization' for each of us can create our own unique definitions of 'perfect.' To give an idea where the quest for a perfect civilization may lead, look at the historical record encompassing the actions of dictatorial regimes throughout history. The unfettered striving for the 'perfect' by a single person or a group of like minded individuals has repeatedly created the perfect hell for other individuals who are either considered impediments to or tools for the 'higher' end of perfection.


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To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.'  Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence.  Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains.  Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.


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Anonymous

Re: philosophical failing of libertarianism [Re: Evolving]
    #2775375 - 06/08/04 06:49 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

well said.


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