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Registered: 02/15/05
Posts: 1,296
OK, let's talk about free will and government then
    #4338307 - 06/26/05 03:39 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

As per Phred's suggestion, here's a new thread for anyone interested in talking about this further.

Here's the re-cap from the "Governements in need of regime change" thread...

I said:

But since the purpose of government inherently contradicts free will, it is, to me, unacceptable.

Then LSDempire said:

A Libertarian government would not contradict free will. Only people that force their own will on someone else would be punished. So unless you need the right to rape, torture, and murder people that have done you no harm, you are free to do as you please.

Then I said:

No, this is a common misconception. Libertarianism still has principles that ignore free will. I used to be a libertarian until I realized this. I'll explain why, but before I do that let me first clarify some things: First of all, everyone has free will regardless of the presence or absence of government. You can do whatever you want in any situation, but there's gonna be consequences for your actions. Right? There's always reactions to your actions. In the absence of government, there's only personal consequences (revenge, seeking restitution, whatever), but when there's a government there's both personal consequences and legal consequences.

Now, secondly... by the principles of free will, a person has sole authority over -- and responsibility for -- their actions. Personal authority and personal responsibility. Right? So if you're forced to do something, it's not of your own free will. However, the term 'forced' here is tricky because there are differing ideas of 'force.' If someone commands you to do something, that's not really force. You still have the choice not to do it. Right? Now, the problem is, people think they're forced into doing something by this type of manipulation. It's usually a command associated with a threat or promise to initiate force against you if you don't do it -- ie. do this or face the consequences. This is how a government enforces law. It's what "crime prevention" is based on. In this case people abridge their own free will because a command or threat limits their choice of action. This is even more evident in democratic governments where people choose (by voting for laws) to limit their own free will.

Therefore, government usurps your authority. Or, that's what people think. Not really though, right? Because you always have free will. You still have sole authority over and responsibility for yourself, even if you live under a dictatorship. But, through government people are made to think that their authority on some matters is now the authority of the governing body. And that is why government contradicts free will. Government doesn't get rid of your free will. It doesn't make it "go away." That's not possible, but what government does do is contradict the principles, which are, as I've said, 1) personal authority and 2) personal responsibility. Those two things are inherent traits of your autonomy as a human being. The second principle still holds true under government, but the first is contradicted by the government's attempt to claim your authority as their own. Follow me?

Now, libertarianism. I have to generalize here, because libertarianism has never (as far as I know) been put into practice on this planet anywhere. And so there are differences in libertarian theory on some issues. Anyway... the libertarian system has several principles which can be seen as attempting to claim authority over you, which would contradict free will. Most of these are "social contracts" and include: property ownership, which entails business agreements and transactions, and of course punishment for initiating force. Let me talk about property ownership, because this is a big one. Property ownership is a social contract, which is enforced by government law. In the absence of government, this social contract can still exist, but it's not enforceable. It would have to be practiced by consenting volunteers under the "honor system." Without government, it's your word against mine, so who knows who owns what then.

And punishment for initiating force against someone is just the same under libertarianism as any other government. It's the same deal, imposing authority by threat of punishment. Suppose I go up to a random stranger and bitchslap them. I've "initiated force" against them, right? The other person has a choice to react in any way they can, including inaction. Their free will remains intact. Now suppose I'm really angry and I actually kill someone. Free will is a moot point here because the person can no longer exercise it. You might wonder why I'm telling you this. Well, because some libertarians believe initiation of force limits or abrogates the free will of the "victim" party. This is NOT the case. The person I initiate force against still has their free will. They can choose to react however they wish. If they're dead, free will no longer exists for them so it's irrelevant. The saying goes, "If it harms none, do as ye will." My saying goes simply, "do as ye will."

Then Phred said:

While this is not the thread in which to address in detail your misapprehension of the foundation of Libertarian principles (if you wish to continue this digression further I suggest you start a new thread) I will give a very brief response, then let this thread get back on track.

Your error is in conflating free will with individual rights.

Then LSDempire said:

The problem here is you seem to have collected a number of facts on Libertarian policy but you choose to continue to attack it without offering a valid replacement, and your attacks don't make any sense. Your "saying" tells me you are an anarchist. If you believe the strong should have the right to do as they wish to the weak, only the strongest, sneakiest, most ruthless scum has any freedom, the rest of the population lives in terror and has no freedom despite the fact that they might have freewill, that is until they are murdered. If I am wrong tell me how.

Now, Phred, I don't want to put words in your mouth, so could you please expand upon what you said? I don't really understand what you meant. There was a reason I didn't bring up the word rights, but now that the cat's out of the bag let's talk about it.

LSDempire, concerning libertarianism... I'm not attacking it. I'm not out to attack anyone's ideas. I was simply explaining why government contradicts free will, including the libertarian style of government. If you feel the need to label me you're correct that I'm an anarchist. I'm not an idiot though. I know anarchy wouldn't be peaceful. This is because probably 95% of people don't exercise personal responsibility, and is why they want government to watch over them in the first place. However, I think the libertarian style of government is a good compromise between my views and the majority's desire for order. Anything more than this minimal style of government, though, is unacceptable to me. But that's just my opinion. I'm not here to force it on anyone or to say I'm right and someone else is wrong. It's not like that.

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