Friday, 7 September 2012

Losing Faith In The Libertarian Way

As you may know I'm a, often inconsistent, "liberaltarian". That is basically a libertarian who doesn't have the balls to go all the way and just say "Screw the Government". Perhaps calling myself a lightweight minarchist is the best way of describing my usual political stance on most issues.

Reading back through my personal blog (which is far older than this) I have often gone through periods of libertarianism. It is a running theme through the last decade or so. I have a strong belief that the Government should keep out of people's lives.

And yet, I'm a huge a fan of co-operatives (I know that is not mutually exclusive with being a libertarian!).  At the same time I'm a great idealist who loves big building projects, space exploration (for exploration's sake) and who just wants everyone to get along. Worse, at times in my past I've been very sympathetic to many of the aims of Communism (even if I believe that those who follow Marxism so strictly that it's become a religion are just as crazy as those who think L. Ron Hubbard discovered the solution to life's problems)

I have spent the last few years of my life working at a housing association and now a public utility. In both instances I've encountered a great deal of people suffering in poverty and even more who appear helpless without the assistance of others ("My tap is dripping, we're all going to die!") . I've often tried to blame this on their dependency on the state and argued in my head that if the state just got out of their lives they'd find deep within themselves the ability to stand on their own two feet and help themselves out.

I don't believe that any more.

I speak to so many people who either through illness/disability or sheer ignorance NEED guidance and assistance. Their family situations don't allow for the support they need from their family. I often wonder what their lives would be like in a libertarian world. Charities and individuals would help many I'm sure. But so many more would fall to even great depths of destitution than they are in now that it makes me wonder whether I personally could stomach their suffering for my freedom.

I know there are libertarian answers to this out there, but my experiences are starting to make me think that, just as we weren't cut out for a nearly 100% planned economy and an authoritarian state, humans just aren't made for libertarianism.

And other things rankle me. I love freedom of speech but my personal morality just cannot stand the idea of people abusing each other in the streets without retribution. I hate the selfishness of many individuals and I'm often distressed that they are allowed to get away with treating others like scum. I've bit my lip to try to keep consistent with my libertarian leanings but some things just shouldn't be allowed (in my opinion).

I'm certain I don't like how things are now under this weird corporate capitalist state where Government and business are far too close, to the detriment of both. PFIs and PPPs drive me crazy. I can't stand Government monitoring of our every move in the interests of some imaginary "security". But then I have a distaste for those who need assistance being denied it, I can't stand the idea of people suffering needlessly.

And I hate compromise. Which leaves me at a loss as to what I believe will be the best way forward for this country. I don't see the Tories, Labour or the Lib Dems offering a vision of the future that I like. So I'm in the process of trying to work out what I actually believe is right before I can decide if there is anyone I'd want to support. It will probably be a long process.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

1 comment:

Paul Brownsey said...

There are those who would abuse you for 'elitism' for your suggestion that not everyone can, as the old Tory phrase had it, stand on their own two feet. But the evidence plainly is that not everyone can.