Free State Project Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: 1 [2] 3   Go Down

Author Topic: Libertarian vs. Conservative  (Read 17782 times)

Robert H.

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1361
  • Jeffersonian
    • Devolution USA
Re:Libertarian vs. Conservative
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2002, 01:57:35 am »

Many classical liberals (including the American founders, of course) thought that the rights to "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" were "self-evident."

Yes I understand that, at least up to the "self-evident" part. A person who drowns on a sinking ship would likely prefer to see this concept upheld, but... To my thinking, for something to be self-evident" it must hold under all circumstances. Make sense?

Yes, the concept of self-evident truth is an interesting one, and the Founders were heavily influenced by the so-called "Age of Reason," which I really think of as being more an Age of Skepticism.

For something to be truly "self-evident," I would think it would have to be indispensible to coherent thought.  For example:  truth itself.  Even if I choose to argue against "truth," in order to do so in any meaningful fashion, I must first assume the very thing that I am arguing against.  If I say:  "There is no such thing as truth," I have made what I assume to be a true statement, thereby contradicting my own premise.  A self-evident truth would thus be something that proves itself by the impossibility of its being un-true, something that you cannot think coherently without.

I posted some thoughts on inalienable rights before, but some while back, as follows:

I think that individual rights can be demonstrated, or at least "assumed," automatically.  It seems to me that "individual" rights can be established by the fact that we ARE individuals, and not parts of some mass-mind or simple components of some mass physical being.  We are separate from one another physically, mentally, and I would say spiritually as well.  There are various types of objects and animals that have natural connections to one another, and their mutual attachment and influence would seem to seem to merit their treatment as a whole to at least some degree.  We can see obvious relationships between them.  

But this is not the case with human beings.  We are separate from one another unless we are artificially connected somehow.  Thus, I think that individual rights can be established by asking a more natural question:  "Where do we derive the concept of corporate rights among clearly individual and distinct beings?"  The lack of any justification for establishing artificial connections or obligations upon beings that are clearly individual and separate from one another presupposes the existence of individual rights and status by itself.  And this lends itself quite handily to the way in which we naturally think and act.  As individual human beings, we pretty much go our own way unless someone acts against us to prevent us from doing that.  But forcing us to refrain from that which we would do naturally creates an artificial link between us.  It does NOT establish a corporate "right" for everyone to interfere in everyone else's affairs.  It is an arbitrary use of force to unify that which is naturally separate and distinct.

All of this, in turn, lends itself to the general philosophies upon which a free-state is based.  If someone asks me why I should not have to pay a social security tax to provide for general public retirement, it is not necessarily incumbent upon me to prove that I have some right to avoid paying it.  It is actually incumbent upon them to prove why they have a right to violate my natural, individual state and force me to conform to their communal wishes.  Their question by itself is wrong-headed because it violates the natural order of things and imposes a false, artifical unity.

In short, we exist naturally as independently-functioning, separate beings.  Imposing unity upon these separate beings is thus an artificial act because it alters what naturally exists.  Therefore, I would say that the absence of any natural, communal rights among individual beings is ultimately what presupposes, or assumes, individual rights.  And the fact that these rights would then be based on our natural state, and that they could only be taken from us by artificial means, would seem to demonstrate that our individual rights are "inalienable" because they cannot be taken from us by any natural means, only by artifical means.  Our rights may be subverted, but they cannot alienated from us because they are a natural part of what we are as separate and distinct beings.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2002, 02:08:18 am by Robert Hawes »
Logged

PongGod

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 64
  • Live free... and let the socialists die!
Re:Libertarian vs. Conservative
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2002, 12:06:07 pm »

But the fish will likely understand, and help me work through these issues... They are also quite tasty. ;D

Hey, MouseBorg, you're not going to violate the self-evident right to life of those fish, are you?  :D

- member of PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals)
Logged
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free. --Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Mr. Roboto

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8
  • I'm a llama!
Re:Libertarian vs. Conservative
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2002, 03:06:50 pm »

Ponggod makes a very good point.  From robert's discussion, I think it would be very hard to deny that a dog has all the rights of a human.
Logged

JT

  • FSP Participant
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 136
  • How can someone else know what's best for you???
Re:Libertarian vs. Conservative
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2002, 04:50:23 pm »

People Eating Tasty Animals
http://www.petasucks.cc/



I think all animals have the same rights as all others.  That's why the creator(s) gave us 'survival of the fittest'.  You can't pass a law against grizzlies eating humans, and you can't pass a law against humans eating catfish.
Logged

mlilback

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 38
  • I'm nobody's llama!
    • home page
Re:Libertarian vs. Conservative
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2002, 01:26:08 am »

I don't argue his answer, but I do question how the athiest & agnostic libertarian achieves the same results, without violating the concept of TANSTAAFL... being given (in fact demanding) something for nothing. Or in effect, unearned welfare "rights".

Personally, I've never worried about philosophy or justifcation, etc. I just believe that reason is what defines intelligence, and basic reasoning says to me that you have to follow the golden rule of "do unto others...", or society cannot exist.

Survival is the most basic instinct, and they only way to gurantee survival is a society where you respect the rights of others and they respect yours.

I've never felt a need to define a source of these rights, either from a divine being or some other source. I feel I have them to the core of my bones and would rather die that give up my liberty. I know they are right and have no need to justify them or claim they come from god. I'm perfectly happy in excepting that I can't know the answer to everything, and the unknown doesn't scare me.

As insulting as it may seem to many, I think Jesse Ventura had it right when he said religion is the crutch of the weak-minded. I really don't see a difference between modern religion and the ancient ones--they both exist to provide comforting answers to questions that can't really be answered.

Mark
Logged

JT

  • FSP Participant
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 136
  • How can someone else know what's best for you???
Re:Libertarian vs. Conservative
« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2002, 01:33:03 am »

I really don't see a difference between modern religion and the ancient ones--they both exist to provide comforting answers to questions that can't really be answered.

Mark


My thoughts exactly!  To me Christianity is the same as Greek Mythology.  They both talk about the intentions of the Gods and of Mankind's place in the universe.  Both make for fascinating stories, but to me they're just that: interesting stories.  I've been saying that for years.
Logged

Robert H.

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1361
  • Jeffersonian
    • Devolution USA
Re:Libertarian vs. Conservative
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2002, 04:17:39 am »

Thanx Robert, I'll be bouncing some of that around while out trying to catch a fish or two today... always the best place to go to ponder the mysteries of the universe. ;)

Gotta love it!  Sadly, I don't get to do very much of that nowadays.

Quote
I still have a few things to sort out there, as it would appear that nature, physics, and such universally doesn't seem to honor those rights (we all meet death - a serious breach of our right to life. If we fall into a hole, and can't get out, gravity is not swayed by our statement of the right to liberty.)

If nature itself doesn't honor such rights, then they do not hold true in the natural world... but hold only within our own minds, and with those who mutually agree to honor those principals.

I would say that rights exist conceptually, as you hint, and would thus apply only between those things are capable of understanding concepts.  Rights can only be applied, and thus defended, when they are first understood.  Since natural objects, such as the black hole, are not capable of understanding rights, then when you fall into one you are essentially dealing with an amoral situation in which the concept of rights has no legitimate place.  Nature abides by natural law; man abides by both natural and moral law.  So when we deal with nature, unfortunately, our complaints regarding the consequences of natural law (and the exclusion of moral law) fall on deaf ears.

Quote
John Adams seemed to hint that there was a problem in this area, which required divine intervention to provide these rights. I suspect he saw this problem (better than I obviously) and provided a sort of "short circuit" answer.

I don't argue his answer, but I do question how the athiest & agnostic libertarian achieves the same results, without violating the concept of TANSTAAFL... being given (in fact demanding) something for nothing. Or in effect, unearned welfare "rights".

The problem that the atheist or agnostic runs into is that his or her worldview centers on a naturalistic, materialistic system.  Rights are immaterial, and thus cannot be accounted for by such a worldview.  In the above posts, I provided an argument by which you can establish individual rights as a defacto element of our natural distinctiveness as human beings, but this argument rests upon concepts that must exist before such an argument can be framed.  It does not explain how those concepts can exist themselves, nor does it explain how they can be applied to the natural world with any degree of validity.

This is a basic problem of unity.  Humans have long sought to unify their experience both with material and immaterial things.  Scientists are still in hot pursuit of GUT (the Grand Unified Theory), which will supposedly unite all universal forces under one theoretical umbrella.  Philosophers, on the other hand, are still in pursuit of uniting the elements of Kant's conceptual dilemma:  "the starry heavens above and the moral law within."

If reason is, as Kant and Hume thought, a "habit of the mind," then so is the concept of rights, and as you suggest, rights could then only extend an obligation upon those who recognized and honored them.  They could not be logically applied in any universal sense, therefore, those who chose to ignore them could not be condemned in any universal sense either.  As you pointed out, Adams recognized this problem.  Jefferson did as well.

Quote
But the fish will likely understand, and help me work through these issues... They are also quite tasty. ;D

Yes, fish actually can help you work through conceptual dilemmas.  For instance, Benjamin Franklin finally resolved his problem of "interspecies pacifism" when he caught the smell of frying fish on board ship on day.  

Resolved that problem nicely!   ;D
« Last Edit: November 08, 2002, 04:19:17 am by Robert Hawes »
Logged

Elizabeth

  • Former FSP Vice President
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1650
  • Someone has to ask the tough questions...
    • Free State Project
Re:Libertarian vs. Conservative
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2002, 05:48:58 pm »

MB - again from the lurker, I received this email:

Re Mousie's 'libertarian vs conservative' problem, he can gain a lot of
insight into the answer sought by entering various response-combos into
the "World's Smallest ... Quiz". There are lots of combos to try but a
simple program could be written to exhaust all  of them or,
alternatively, 25% or so of the possibilities could be enough to help
your friend to understand where the several philosophies place one on
the political landscape.

Another simple answer lies in who (the state or the individual) more or
less controls our behavior in the "boardroom" and the "bedroom". (Of
course, assault, theft, and fraud are to be prohibited in _both_
venues.) The four flavors of politics involve state control in:

a) Both Board _and_ Bedrooms = Totalitarianism

b) Board but _not_ Bedroom = Liberalism

c) Bed but _not_ Boardroom = Conservatism
 
d) Neither Bed _nor_ Boardroom = Libertarianism

Warmly,
Frederik Bastiat
Logged

libertyVSlibertine

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 90
  • I'm a llama!
Re:Libertarian vs. Conservative
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2002, 03:50:38 am »

Quote
If you examine the record and not the rhetoric you will see that there is virtually no difference between the democrats and republicans.  Just look who all voted for the USA PATRIOT Act for example.  I'd say anyone who still believes republicans mean what they say about liberty and small government is deluded.  No, I've never voted for a democrat either.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There are huge differences between Demos and Repubs.  How about eliminating the gift and estate tax (passed the house)?  How about permanent tax cuts?  It's as much as they can get done, and as much as they are able to restrain themselves from the easy way of big government, to which they are constantly encouraged by our society.

Citing the USA PATRIOT act as proof that demos and repubs are the same is hardly a persuasive case.   Clearly they both have problems and vote anti-freedom frequently, but the Republicans can at least still smell the scent of freedom and move toward it.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Demanding the freedom to do as one wants with one's own body is not asking for a "hand out".

No, but its really not about demanding my freedom, that's selfish.  Our founders gained freedom for us.  Making the legalization of drugs and prostitution centerpieces gives the air of selfishness, not a thirst for true liberty.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So, we are all children who need to be fenced in by our Nanny government?
 
   To some extent, yes.  If I answer no, I'm an anarchist.  This is the problem with much Libertarian rhetoric.  The question is how and where to draw the line of what government should and should not enforce.
   When Libertarians are able to enunciate what the line should be in such a way that citizens' consciences are touched, then the party will have a chance.
   Government should enforce a Godly moral code and no more.  Our Creator has written in text and imprinted upon every heart what is right and wrong (that's why people say 'everyone knows that murder is wrong' or how we come to the conclusion that direct physical harm to another must be wrong).


Logged

libertyVSlibertine

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 90
  • I'm a llama!
Re:Libertarian vs. Conservative
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2002, 03:58:33 am »

Quote
Our various political factions here are more than ripe for the same fate unless they can figure out that there ain't a damn thing for them to really discuss unless that common enemy can be handled first. Afterwards, then the other issues can be worked out.

And what precisely is the Libertarian movement, or the Free State Project, but another political faction?
Logged

libertyVSlibertine

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 90
  • I'm a llama!
Re:Libertarian vs. Conservative
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2002, 01:12:55 pm »

My order of preference (not exhaustive, just recently discussed and related political philosophies).

1. Liberty
2. Republican
3. Anarchy
4. Democrat
« Last Edit: November 09, 2002, 01:17:47 pm by libertyVSlibertine »
Logged

Robert H.

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1361
  • Jeffersonian
    • Devolution USA
Re:Libertarian vs. Conservative
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2002, 12:24:59 pm »

I'm still a registered Republican, but I've been thinking about changing over to Independent for quite awhile now.  I was almost about to do it, but then we began discussing the prospects of possibly working through the GOP in our chosen state, and I thought better of it.

So, for the moment, I suppose that I won't change my registration until we reach the state and then settle on a course of action.

Robert H.

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1361
  • Jeffersonian
    • Devolution USA
Re:Libertarian vs. Conservative
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2002, 01:38:11 pm »

Well nothing personal there in my above comment of course... was simply a conceptual statement. As Joe has mentioned a number of times, libertarians often run as republicans, as that tends to get more done than otherwise. :)

No problem.   :)  I've made statements myself to the effect that voting for a Republican as opposed to a Democrat is, more often than not, like choosing between muggers in an alley.  On the one hand, you've got the guy who'll only mug you for $5.00, while the other will take you for $10.00.  You're still being robbed!

I have no faith at all in the Republican leadership.  They're party people who are, more often than not, bent on their own advancement.  What principles they once had seem to have been sold to the system for the token thirty pieces of silver.

Or was that $30 million in highway funds for Wisconsin?

Robert H.

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1361
  • Jeffersonian
    • Devolution USA
Re:Libertarian vs. Conservative
« Reply #28 on: November 12, 2002, 01:52:23 am »

So I guess I'm still confused as to the source of said rights where athiests & agnostics are concerned. If the source is other than mentioned above, then does that negate this document for them? If so, then can they lay claim to what it declares, and has provided for, without it equating to a "free ride"?

You'd have to ask Reaper about that.  Most of the atheists and agnostics that I've spoken with seem to believe that you can arrive at human rights/morality via unaided assumptions of reason.  I suppose that it was Immanuel Kant that revived this thinking in modern times, and the philosophical basis that he provided was then further developed by thinkers like Nietzsche, who took those ideas to their logical conclusion:  relativism.  

Jefferson expounded somewhat on the reasons for why the Founders generally concluded that the rights of man came from a Creator in his Notes on the State of Virginia:

"And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?  That they are not violated but with his wrath?"

Jefferson's reasoning was that, if man's rights merely exist because they are recognized by man, then they can be negated if man no longer recognizes them.  For that reason, in order to be truly inalienable, they would have to stem from a source higher than man himself, and anyone who chose to negate them would have to challenge the Creator Himself.  Thus, man could not negate the divinely-inspired rights of other men, and so, as far as human beings were concerned, such rights were seen as inalienable.

Quote
Again though, in the real world, "rights" are only what one can actually enforce, either by direct force, or by implied force, so its prolly irrelevant anyway, but I do get curious about such seeming contraditions in principal.

The Founders were generally people who believed in God and in the idea that God had some sort of role to play with regard to the affairs of human beings, but they were also heavily influenced by the rationalistic thinking of the Enlightenment.  Rationalism, by definition, depended upon a system in which man was forced to reason all that he could know of the universe independent of God (Who was, at best, considered unknowable in any objective sense).  So you're basically dealing with people who attempted to build their core philosophy on two competing worldviews.  This was bound to create problems in logic for them.  

Quote
Hmm... as an aside, I do have to wonder, given the above quoted text from that document, just how our Founding Fathers would have addressed something like the Anti-Patriot Act? Somehow I strongly suspect they would have drafted a sequel to that document.

I suspect that Patrick Henry would giving a certain speech again, and copies of that Act would be found floating in Boston Harbor.

libertyVSlibertine

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 90
  • I'm a llama!
Re:Libertarian vs. Conservative
« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2002, 09:46:34 pm »

Quote
Quote

You'd have to ask Reaper about that.  Most of the atheists and agnostics that I've spoken with seem to believe that you can arrive at human rights/morality via unaided assumptions of reason.  I suppose that it was Immanuel Kant that revived this thinking in modern times, and the philosophical basis that he provided was then further developed by thinkers like Nietzsche, who took those ideas to their logical conclusion:  relativism.  

The Founders were generally people who believed in God and in the idea that God had some sort of role to play with regard to the affairs of human beings, but they were also heavily influenced by the rationalistic thinking of the Enlightenment.  Rationalism, by definition, depended upon a system in which man was forced to reason all that he could know of the universe independent of God (Who was, at best, considered unknowable in any objective sense).  So you're basically dealing with people who attempted to build their core philosophy on two competing worldviews.  This was bound to create problems in logic for them.  


This is the problem.  Reaper should advocate anarchy.  If there is no Creator, there is no authority and no logical reason to hold to any code, except as an individual sees fit.  This sort of thinking is precisely what causes people who are disgusted with the Republicans' and Democrats' taking of freedom, and see the Libertarian movement as an alternative, to balk at going Libertarian.  They see through this logical flaw, and the arrogance of the same people, that somehow the other parties are corrupt, but not theirs.

The laws we hold to, even those which atheists accept without a solid logical foundation, are moral laws that we know inside because someone has designed us to know.

It's times like this when you wish the founders were here to clarify what they thought.  Adams, for example, and Jefferson held very different views philosophically...Adams, an awful conservative Christian such as some on this post despise - didn't hurt the cause too badly, and Jefferson with an odd, yet Christian-based philosophy.

Logged
Pages: 1 [2] 3   Go Up