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mrrich724's avatar

Why not Capitalist Libertarianism!

Asked by mrrich724 (8547points) July 12th, 2011

Inspired by This question, why isn’t Libertarianism more popular than it is?! Last I read, it was the third largest registered party of voters in America (to only the Dems. & Repubs).

For the record, I’m not just a gun toting, second amendment advocate whose scared that “they” wanna take my guns away. In fact, it seems obvious to me that the NRA has been successful in getting LOTS of gun rights for Americans, except in those stubborn commie areas like Los Angeles.

I don’t do any drugs, but I think marijuana should be legalized and regulated locally. I don’t see how it harms anyone more than alcohol or tobacco, yet alcohol & tobacco consumption is huge business in America.

I work in “the business side” of the healthcare industry, so I should be all for healthcare reform; but I am not. When my premiums went up this year, in huge part due to Obama’s actions, I was PISSED. To me, that is socialism at its core. Everyone should have the right to SEEK and provide for their own healthcare, but to take more of MY money and REDISTRIBUTE it to others? Sorry, I just don’t think that’s right, although it will help my industry thrive even more.

So why the heck isn’t Libertarianism more popular today than it is? Why does it still seem that the main current out there thinks Ron Paul is crazy?

A huge part of the reason for The War of 1812 was that America was tired of the British continuing to drag us into war. Why are we so complacent about it now? People bitch about it, but a HUGE part of the debt WE ALL hold as a country is because of these uncalled-for war efforts. I don’t think Paul’s isolationist (right choice of terminology?) would be so bad for us today.

This is America! If I want to smoke weed, why can’t I?! If I don’t want to give the elite my money for war and healthcare, why should I?! The whole point our founding fathers came here and set up shop is so people could be free to do what they choose! Why does some of my money go to the US Postal Service and other embarrassingly inefficient and poorly run programs, against my will?!

Please share your thoughts for and against a more libertarian government. I am very curious to see how others feel on the issue!


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21 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

I guess I’m one of the commies who happens to think that capitalism has destroyed our democracy and that any economic system with the goal of becoming the one business with all the assets and resources requires social control.

I ask you, why not a social democracy? Seems to be working well in Europe. That question is rhetorical.

I don’t have a comment about libertarianism. It’s roots in objectivism is laughable. People just don’t work that way.

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mrrich724's avatar

Redistribution is against the founding principles of this country, and frankly I don’t understand it at all. Socialist Democracy is a form of socialism, and I think any school in America will teach that socialism leads to communism.

This is why I ask “why not libertarianism,” take the power back from the government (that is already showing socialist tendencies, and it’s a pity), and give it back to smaller governments who will ultimately let the people decide what they want to do. Which is what the country was founded on: people coming here to do what they want, and not have big government make those decisions for them.

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jaytkay's avatar

When my premiums went up this year, in huge part due to Obama’s actions…

Not true. Health care costs and insurance premiums have been soaring for 20 yeas. And most of “Obamare” has not gone into effect.

mrrich724's avatar

I believe it’s true. One of the leaders of the company and the Director of Benefits (BTW this is no small organization) put out a memo stating that it was a primary reasons for the increase. The guy, who I think has a motivation to remain politically neutral when he sends out his memo’s is also a PhD, who doesn’t often release memos. So I don’t think he’d say it unless he had grounds to say it. I will ask him though.

The company picked up over 70% of the increase, so it wasn’t about passing more of the burden along to us… and our stock price has doubled in a year, so there just isn’t a motivation for that.

But @jaytkay you do make a good point, I shouldn’t directly blame the Obama administration. However, in line with your “soaring for 20 years,” statement, wouldn’t deregulation of healthcare (which is a libertarian value) assist with that problem as well…

The more I think about it, the better it sounds!

I am not trying to argue, or convert anyone to libertarianism. I just have a hard time seeing why it isn’t more popular…

Zaku's avatar

I’m all for liberty, for humans, as long as it doesn’t, and they don’t, harm others…

Like you, I’m for the right to keep and bear arms, and I think the “war on drugs” is awful though I would never do them myself.

But I’m not for extreme “Capitalism” that profits conscienceless megacorporations at the expense of humans and the natural world, nor am I for the abandonment of good public services.

As for insurance, I think it’s mainly a leech that sucks money (look how big and profitable it is) while artificially inflating prices until everyone needs to have it, or they can’t afford the services it insures. The out-of-control insurance industry is the problem, not public health care, it seems to me. And most of the civilized Western world agrees, and thinks we are barbarians for not providing it.

mrrich724's avatar

I agree with you @Zaku but the problem is where do you then go? The democrats support healthcare reform and other programs that want to take your hard earned money and give it to too many people who don’t do anything valuable all day. The repubs have things like the GW tax-incentives that help the greedy-rich continue to be greedy, etc.

And I’m young (26) but I’ve yet to see too many good public services! I’d pay for FedEx to deliver my mail any day. And I just don’t have the need for the USPS now that I do everything online, frankly.

How many public services can you think of that can’t be waaaay outdone by the private sector?!

zenvelo's avatar

@jaytkay So deregulating heath care would do what? Drive down prices? Or just reduce the number of people who have health care? The most efficient/cost effective insurance health insurance in the US is Medicare. The unregulated Blue Cross insurance for individuals raised premiums in California by over 40% this year.

Deregulation/getting the government out of the health industry would mean a significant number of people would not be able to afford healthcare.

What Libertarians fail to realize about health care is that it is not like deciding one cannot afford a TV, or comparison shopping for cars. When you need health care, you need it now. When you need cancer treatment or a pacemaker, you have to pay what ever the cost is or you die.

Many of us believe medical care is a right, not a privilege.

You express a desire to not pay for what you consider optional services. But many of us do not consider them optional. You express a desire to be isolationist, but there was no outcry about Afghanistan back in 2001, and there were strong pockets of support in 2003 for Iraq.

You criticize the Postal Service, and they are open to criticism, but who else guarantees delivery to every town in every state? FedEx, UPS, DHL, can all decide to drop unprofitable destinations, or charge a premium.

And you repeat a tired refrain of “take your hard earned money and give it to too many people who don’t do anything valuable all day.” That is a specious argument; most of the people who are not covered by health care are working people working in lower wage jobs. (Welfare recipients have had Medicaid for decades).

A lot of the programs you don’t like are actually investment in human capital by society, because it benefits everyone, including you. If you are in a position to hire someone, you want to be able to hire from a healthy educated workforce, that can get to work on reliable roads and transportation, with the use of clean water and clean air, and in a workplace your workers know is safe.

The airlines are a good example of deregulated industries. The aircraft are filthy, they fall apart regularly, maintenance is often deferred, and the comfort is non existent. And the prices fluctuate in such a way as to have no transparency.

Want to get rid of the SEC? Then don’t complain about people ripping you off over investment schemes or selling you junk stock.Don’t like the EPA? Go live by Love Canal and don’t complain about the cancer cluster.

We have a lot of problems in the US, but shutting down the government won’t solve them.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Most of the objections to Libertarianism seem to be related to fears that we would all be on our own and have to sink or swim. This has a degree of legitimacy in my mind, since most of the people in modern America have been indoctrinated to think of the government as some sort of panacea, a kind of big sugar-daddy. Some people are unable to care for themselves, but those who SHOULD care for them are first family, then community, then State government. Things don’t always work this way anymore, especially with the disappearance of homogonous communities. But as I said above, I think the primary reason for people not supporting Libertarianism is fear.

King_Pariah's avatar

Because I feel that any and all form of gov’t always comes back home to what gov’t always has been (this is my opinion), Oligarchy. That’s why I could be considered to be an anarcho-nihilist.

ETpro's avatar

I have a lot of libertarian sympathies, but every core libertarian I hear has some wild ideas like going back on the gold standard, or having no central bank to control the money supply, or healthcare support being socialism. Look up what socialism means in the dictionary before you bandy the word around wrongly. And all those past years when your healthcare insurance went up (it’s been rising at 3 to 5 times the rate of inflation for 30 years now) that was all Obama’s fault too? The industry just had a time machine and was adjusting upward for the day healthcare reform came? Give me a break!

Every other industrialized nation on Earth manages to provide healthcare coverage to all their citizens at a cost around half what we pay here, and we leave 52 million without coverage. We rank at the bottom of the industrialized world in healthcare outcomes while spending nearly twice as much per capita as any other country. And you are determined to double down on that. No thinks, libertarian. If that’s what it means to be a libertarian, count me out.

Sorry, I would love to see a viable party emerge to give us an alternative between the Democrats and the Republicans. But all the ones that do emerge bring in some insane fringe ideas that make it impossible to consider them seriously.

lillycoyote's avatar

I believe Libertarianism isn’t more popular because it’s essentially unworkable and impractical in the real world.

Entrepreneurial Socialism anyone? :-)

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

@lillycoyote I’ve actually been wondering if “Entrepreneurial Socialism” is the practical way to go given the way America appears to be headed. The setting of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash no longer seems so outlandish to me.

bob_'s avatar

Libertarianism is only useful as something to laugh at.

Zaku's avatar

@mrrich724 I think that some sort of political and voter system reform is in order, because my version on what you are saying is that the two-party “system” here in the USA is a very poor excuse for democracy. The two parties, and the other binary labels of “Liberal” versus “Conservative”, “Right” and “Left” wing, seem to me like bullshit to mainly keep the status quo going, for no good reason. I think a new voting system where there is no artificial advantage given to the top two parties could go a long way to correcting that. My idea would be to allow you to vote for all candidates you thought you could stand, and not for the others, and have all votes count, so no one would think they “need” to vote for a Dem or GOP or else their vote “wouldn’t count”. A proposal which is effectively the same is also out there called Instant Run-Off Voting or Alternative Voting.

Meanwhile, I strongly prefer the current Dems to the current GOPs because the current GOPs seem to be in the pocket of megacorps and are pushing for stuff that seems like evil juju to me, the anti-union stuff, the defense of zero taxes for megacorps, subsidizing the oil industry, risking environmental disasters in areas I feel should be protected, and pushing to defund government agencies I appreciate, such as the Environmental Protection Agency.

If someone wants to create a private corporation to defend the environment and kick other corporations’ assess when they violate the environment better than the EPA does, I’d be all for it.

mrrich724's avatar

I forgot about this post until last night when I was buying my yearly plane ticket to San Francisco, then I remembered @zenvelo ‘s comment about deregulation of the airline industry.

I have to say, that did not (to me) effectively illustrate the point I think @zenvelo was trying to make. For the past ten years it has cost me the same $250 to fly from Ft. Lauderdale to California. I’ve never been delayed due to maintenance issue, and hell nowadays I can get ACROSS THE COUNTRY for half of what it would take me to drive from FTL to Tallahassee in the same state! The only thing that is unpleasant about airlines nowadays is the poorly executed TSA. I may be wrong here, but I think if anything that supports my view of things! Yea, you see planes downed due to maintenance issues on the news… but for every one of those stories, how many successful and pleasant flights took place in the same amount of time.

You will ALWAYS find extremists in any group including Libertarians who shout that they shouldn’t have to pay for roads and that the road system should be privatized. Although to me it’s obvious that even if you don’t drive, roads are used to bring you your commodities, they are what brought all the construction to allow you to live in the place you lived in.

But at this point in our country’s state, I think “what do we have to lose?” Like @Zaku said, this two party system is evidently not doing for us what needs to get done, because at the end of the day, no matter which way you vote, you options are limited to self-serving, incompetent, carpetbaggers. Whether dem or repub, the only thing that will get done regardless of who you ‘elect,’ now adays it seems is the whatever the richest lobbying organizations push for.

@zaku says “I strongly prefer the current Dems to the current GOPs because the current GOPs seem to be in the pocket of megacorps and are pushing for stuff that seems like evil juju to me,” but for some reason it’s not unreasonable to believe that dems are just the same way. I can easily picture someone like B.O. sipping a whisky rocks with G.W. once the cameras go off.

I think @CaptainHarley hit it on the head when he made the relation to fear. We have become WAY too dependent on our government for our own good! Look at @zenvelo comments. I may be taking it out of context (plaese correct me if I’m wrong) but it seems like @zenvelo states that with a less intrusive government we’d all just have polluted air, rank water, masses of uneducated people (which we have now), and we won’t get mail…

I’m sorry, I think that’s a little too far in the opposite direction.

On a seperate note, regarding the USPS: I’m a child of the late 20th century. I’ve embraced technology, and I think it’s ignorant when people are too “scared” to do the same. Let Fedex charge whatever premium they want. If you don’t need it you won’t be effected! The only purpose my mailbox serves is killing trees to get junk mail. All my banking and correspondence is done online. Unless you are a business owner who needs the mail, it’s really getting to the point where it is irrelevant. Even all the commodities I purchase online for delivery are shipped FedEx and UPS. To each his own, but really, I have a sneaking suspicion that more and more people every day are going this route…

Anyway, a very very late followup to the posts on here. And I thank everyone for contributing. I’m just spouting off here b/c like I said, the way it’s working now isn’t (working). People want change? It’s going to take more than a black man with a great marketing team in office. And it’s going to take more than a 80 year old, highly decorated war veteran… If people really want change, why don’t they try something REALLY new is what I’m stumped over… We keep electing the same kind of person every term, whether they call themselves a dem. or a repub.

Ron_C's avatar

“I work in “the business side” of the health care industry” I really have a problem that health care is an “industry” instead of a right for every citizen. I have voted libertarian before but now, after listening to Ron Paul understand that they hold many positions that are anti-human. By that, I mean that they favor the rights of business over the rights of employees or even customers.

There are certain things that must be run by the state. Prisons, financial regulation, health care, the war department, and infrastructure improvements are necessary parts of government. These things cannot be left to the “market” or business decisions. By the way, the post office is mandated by the constitution. I believe that a letter package from UPS costs about 12 dollars and they hand over those packages to the USPS in remote areas. There is absolutely no reason to privatize (ruin) the post office.

bolwerk's avatar

Why not democratic fascism? ‘Cause it’s an oxymoron.

SmartAZ's avatar

Libertarianism is based on personal responsibility. Most people desperately want a government to take over all their responsibilities, and they don’t ever want them back for any reason. They are scared to death of any crackpot who thinks he is responsible enough to do the right thing without being forced to. The average citizen gives lip service to freedom until somebody does something actually free. Then he starts saying “Uh oh, we gotta put a stop to that!”

georgeob1's avatar

I believe the continuing traction of socialism after its lamentable record in the 20th century and its continuing record of failure in this century is by far the most amaszing feature of today’s political scene.

From the failure of Soviet style socialism from Russia to China, eastern Europe, South Asia, to the first generation of post colonial governments across Africa to the recent tragicomedies of Venezuela. Bolivia and poor, sad Cuba, the debris of socialist failures, dysfunction and poverty has littered the hisorical landscape.

Indeed even a little bit of it demonstrably hurts the economic lives of the countries it infects as demonstrated by past Labor governments of the UK, the continuing, the relatively sclerotic economioes of the EU region with their inflexible labor markets, and chronic high unemployment of the young, and of course recently in Brazil.

Ihn contrast. despite it’s many inequities capitalism delivers relative prosperity, and for those who have the will do so so, ample opportunity for social and economic mobility. The historical record of all this is abundantly clear, notwithstanding the vaporous therologizing of the proponents of socialist oirganized equality, which, more often than not, means only authoritarian tyranny, coupled with poverty.

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