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Author Topic: the logic of motivation  (Read 4077 times)

blu

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the logic of motivation
« on: January 29, 2003, 04:44:33 pm »

I think that most people, while aware of political philosophy and opposed in principle to all government overreach, are primarily concerned with avoiding persecution for the activities in which they have an actual personal involvement. Examples would be gun ownership, drug use, homeschooling, property rights, etc. A rationally self-interested person is going to want to live in the state that has the most liberal regime with respect to whatever they're involved with. Many people already have their own personal free state projects, having moved to the jurisdiction where their lifestyle is least likely to be persecuted as things now stand. Few of the states under consideration are among the most liberal on many of these issues, and none is the most liberal on all of them. If a person is already living in a state where they know that as of right now they will not be thrown in jail for whatever it is they're doing, what's supposed to motivate them to move to another state where much more punitive laws are on the books? The hope that at some point in the distant future - possibly decades from now - the laws in the "Free State" will be liberalized due to FSP-migrant activism?

Some comments on this website seem to reflect the wishful belief that a libertarian order will come into being almost immediately after migration. If anything, nonconformists will be more vulnerable to harassment in the early years of the FSP than if they'd stayed home, as their migrant status will be well-known to all in the sparse communities of a low population state. Anybody who has ever moved to a rural area or small town and been subject to disproportionate police attention due to "outsider" status knows what I mean. Government workers are apt to presume that migrants are motivated by a desire for a licentious lifestyle, thus raising the level of scrutiny. Political activism will hardly serve to lower one's profile. And the presence in the FSP, or among fellow travelers, of right-wingers who do not fully embrace the non-aggression principle, plus the necessity of gradualism and compromise with the native population, makes the chances that the FS will have the most liberal laws on any given lifestyle issue "in our lifetimes" almost nil. Furthermore, the really scary Big Brother type stuff - like electronic and financial surveillance, to which geography is irrelevant - is coming from the Feds, whom no state government can ultimately resist unless they put up armed resistance. People whose primary concern is for their personal security against aggression rather than for utopian political ideas will, naturally, stay well clear of that.

The moral ideal of pursuing libertarian policy on all issues, many of which will never affect them directly, is poor motivation for people who are concerned with the actual degree of freedom in their own lives. As a libertarian, I am also an individualist. Sacrificing one's personal freedom for the sake of the libertarian cause is a contradiction in terms. People whose primary allegiance to libertarian philosophy as an undifferentiated whole overrides their personal concerns about specific issues tend to be very young and inexperienced - college students and the like. My comments refer to responsible adult householders. While youth activists are important for effecting change, settled adults are the real foundation of a lasting polity. And that is exactly whom you may fail to attract, for the reasons I've mentioned.

These are my reasons for not signing up. I am not trying to trash what you are doing. I'm not saying it won't work or is "doomed." These are just my personal reasons, generalized to accentuate the principles on which they're based.
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JasonPSorens

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Re:the logic of motivation
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2003, 06:14:48 pm »

I think that most people, while aware of political philosophy and opposed in principle to all government overreach, are primarily concerned with avoiding persecution for the activities in which they have an actual personal involvement.

Maybe most people, but I would hope libertarians are interested in freedom for everyone, and willing to fight for it.

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Examples would be gun ownership, drug use, homeschooling, property rights, etc.

I don't own a gun, use drugs, home school (no kids), or own land.  Yet I'm dedicated to the freedom position on all those issues, both for humanitarian reasons and because a ban on guns or drugs, for example, would harm me indirectly, by stimulating violent crime.

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A rationally self-interested person is going to want to live in the state that has the most liberal regime with respect to whatever they're involved with.

No, only a completely selfish person would take this view: "all I can get, and everyone else be damned."

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Many people already have their own personal free state projects, having moved to the jurisdiction where their lifestyle is least likely to be persecuted as things now stand.

Not many people that I know.  Most people live in a certain place because their family lives there, they got a job there, or it has nice characteristics unrelated to laws (like natural beauty).

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Few of the states under consideration are among the most liberal on many of these issues,

No, that is incorrect.

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and none is the most liberal on all of them.

No state is libertarian.  If there were a libertarian state, the FSP would be unnecessary.

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If a person is already living in a state where they know that as of right now they will not be thrown in jail for whatever it is they're doing, what's supposed to motivate them to move to another state where much more punitive laws are on the books?

This is a very unlikely situation.  Laws in most states are pretty similar on criminal matters.  If you use drugs, for example, you can be jailed anywhere.

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The hope that at some point in the distant future - possibly decades from now - the laws in the "Free State" will be liberalized due to FSP-migrant activism?

People's definitions of "distant" may differ.  On some issues we will have an effect within 10 years.  We libertarians need to take a long-run perspective; only by continuing the struggle over the long haul will we make permanent changes in politics.

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Some comments on this website seem to reflect the wishful belief that a libertarian order will come into being almost immediately after migration.

No, no one believes that.

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If anything, nonconformists will be more vulnerable to harassment in the early years of the FSP than if they'd stayed home, as their migrant status will be well-known to all in the sparse communities of a low population state. Anybody who has ever moved to a rural area or small town and been subject to disproportionate police attention due to "outsider" status knows what I mean.

Most of us are probably not "noncomformists" in an extreme sense that would invite suspicion and discrimination.  Those who are should move to larger cities or very remote rural areas.

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Government workers are apt to presume that migrants are motivated by a desire for a licentious lifestyle, thus raising the level of scrutiny.

What a bizarre statement.  People move for lots of reasons, very rarely having to do with "a desire for a licentious lifestyle"!

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Political activism will hardly serve to lower one's profile. And the presence in the FSP, or among fellow travelers, of right-wingers who do not fully embrace the non-aggression principle, plus the necessity of gradualism and compromise with the native population, makes the chances that the FS will have the most liberal laws on any given lifestyle issue "in our lifetimes" almost nil.

You're wrong.  Doing nothing, as you advocate, is the surest way to make sure that laws on lifestyle issues will not be liberalized.

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Furthermore, the really scary Big Brother type stuff - like electronic and financial surveillance, to which geography is irrelevant - is coming from the Feds, whom no state government can ultimately resist unless they put up armed resistance.

Paranoia.  State governments, and federal representatives from recalcitrant states, can stop a great deal.  Again, doing nothing isn't going to solve the situation.

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The moral ideal of pursuing libertarian policy on all issues, many of which will never affect them directly, is poor motivation for people who are concerned with the actual degree of freedom in their own lives.

People who are so self-absorbed that they are not willing to work hard to make investments in the future are not good candidates for the FSP, I grant you that.

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As a libertarian, I am also an individualist. Sacrificing one's personal freedom for the sake of the libertarian cause is a contradiction in terms.

What you're describing is relativism, not individualism.  Laziness and selfishness are not libertarian virtues.

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People whose primary allegiance to libertarian philosophy as an undifferentiated whole overrides their personal concerns about specific issues tend to be very young and inexperienced - college students and the like.

Evidence?  Of course, most people are interested in both, and the success of the FSP will help with both.

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My comments refer to responsible adult householders. While youth activists are important for effecting change, settled adults are the real foundation of a lasting polity. And that is exactly whom you may fail to attract, for the reasons I've mentioned.

You're wrong; only a small minority of our members are college students.

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These are my reasons for not signing up. I am not trying to trash what you are doing. I'm not saying it won't work or is "doomed." These are just my personal reasons, generalized to accentuate the principles on which they're based.

You are of course free to do what you will, and I'm glad you stopped by.  However, the assumptions that you make are factually incorrect, and your reasoning is fundamentally flawed.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

Kelton

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Re:the logic of motivation
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2003, 10:33:27 am »

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A rationally self-interested person is going to want to live in the state that has the most liberal regime with respect to whatever they're involved with.


No, only a completely selfish person would take this view: "all I can get, and everyone else be damned."

If everyone were rationally self-interested to the point of being truly selfish then communism, socialism and all forms of authoritarianism would only be abstract concepts, and not reality.  Ayn Rand was really on to something profound in that regard.

--In the real world, however, I doubt that such a world could ever exist, let alone survive if it did come about.


In my own dream of an idealized world. . .
   selfishness has no part of it.  
--Everyone would be personally accountable to the same just and forgiving God and would let him alone be sovereign over their lives and the lives of others.

But, no matter the dream, I think that only people that hope for a better world are people who are worth their salt, no matter what the dream they may cling to, so long as it is a hope and not hatred that motivates them.     :)  
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. . .the foundations of our national policy should be laid in private morality. If individuals be not influenced by moral principles, it is in vain to look for public virtue --The U.S. Senate's reply to George Washington's first inaugural address

JasonPSorens

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Re:the logic of motivation
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2003, 10:50:51 am »

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No, only a completely selfish person would take this view: "all I can get, and everyone else be damned."

If everyone were rationally self-interested to the point of being truly selfish then communism, socialism and all forms of authoritarianism would only be abstract concepts, and not reality.  Ayn Rand was really on to something profound in that regard.

Perhaps so, but it depends on what you mean by "truly selfish."  I think what Ayn Rand was advocating, if she was a libertarian, was not actual selfishness, but respect for everyone's pursuit of his own ends.  That's very different from selfishness as most people understand it: "everything for me, and everyone else should serve me."  That kind of selfishness leads to destructive relativism &, ultimately, fascism.

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But, no matter the dream, I think that only people that hope for a better world are people who are worth their salt, no matter what the dream they may cling to, so long as it is a hope and not hatred that motivates them.     :)  

Hope is certainly necessary.  I think our friend "blu" may have lost hope.  Hopelessness breeds apathy, laziness, and failure.  Of course, hope isn't sufficient for success, either.  If the hopeful were powerful, we might not be in the situation we are in today.  Unfortunately, the cynical often take advantage of the hopeful.  We will be fighting cynicism as much as hopelessness.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

JasonPSorens

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Re:the logic of motivation
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2003, 02:36:16 pm »


Jason wrote:
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Hope is certainly necessary.  I think our friend "blu" may have lost hope.  Hopelessness breeds apathy, laziness, and failure.
No Jason, it is also the running smack into reality and witnessing other people doing so and getting beaten down.

Sure.  Hopelessness still breeds apathy, laziness, and failure.  I guess I'm not sure what function the word "no" is serving in your text quoted above.

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Blu is entirely correct in the post that began this thread.

No, because blu's solution is not action but inaction.  He would like to give up because it's hard.  You can't give up because it's hard.  Buck up, Joe! :)

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The Free State needs thousands of serious activists and not people who find themselves pressed come out to meetings at inconvenient times or during bad weather when they are feeling poorly -- or even just to come out and vote.

Of course.  Let's help make that happen.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

jeanius

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Re:the logic of motivation
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2003, 03:19:07 pm »

I'm forty something, have children, homeschool, my husband makes a living as a software engineer (still), and we don't do drugs.

 I will homeschool regardless of state rules and am confident I would fulfill any state requirements because I have high standards. I could easily get a teaching credential (but won't) since I already have a college degree and homeschooling isn't going anywhere soon because of the large numbers of people homeschooling and their successes in venues like spelling and geography bees.

We don't do drugs but we think they should be legal.  The "war" on drugs is ridiculous, costly and some things, like marijuana use, are just silly to prosecute.

I can't imagine any FSP state being more restrictive than our current situation.  I don't see how I'd have to give up freedoms in the establishment of FSP.  It certainly won't happen overnight and must be approached with care but it is a cause I believe in, a cause I believe has a right to exist and flourish, and I am happy to work towards the goal for myself and for my family.  
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