by Ethan Glover, Wed, Aug 14, 2013
Libertarianism Criticism - Introduction
Since creating this site I have fallen into the role of defending anarcho-capitalism against those who believe they have got the philosophy into some sort of imaginary corner. The points they make and the questions they ask have been beat to death and I have no problem answering them over and over. See here, here, and here. Even more recently I have come under fire from Libertarian Party supporters for having "deluded and stupid views". One fine upstanding citizen took it upon himself to send me a PM only to call me an asshole. This article is not a "revenge" post but as more of a way to go directly to the source so to speak. Instead of responding to an "anarcho-capitalism criticism" I think I will create a libertarianism criticism. Of course, one thing must be noted. The libertarian philosophy transcends any modern politics and has simply been deluded by the Libertarian Party which has turned into the most hypocritical party in the political spectrum. This criticism is for the official party and its followers, not those who recognize that the "LP" is not a representative of libertarianism.
Playing Tea Party
The Libertarian Party does not like to associate itself with the Tea Party but rather it claims it is attempting to "convert" those who do not totally agree with every one of the TPs stance. However the only issues that the LP and the Tea Party seem to disagree on is small distraction issues such as gay marriage. The Tea Party as a whole however is very unorganized, they are essentially a Republican version of Occupy Wall Street. As the LP continues to try their "conversions" they get closer and closer to the ideals of the Tea Party. Mainstream libertarians have begun to follow Tea Partiers like Glenn Beck, Rand Paul and Justin Amash. All vary on key issues and all are just playing politics. It is because of this support that the line between the Tea Party and Libertarian Party continues to become more and more blurred every day.
Ron Paul is the man that gave both of these parties their current strength and both have strayed from and removed themselves from the values he often preached; which he learned from Murray Rothbard, from the non-aggression principle to voluntarism. The two parties are practically synonymous and the differences between them are minor.
Gary Johnson has for awhile been a primary presidential runner for the libertarian party. Yet, when you hear about happenings in the libertarian world you never hear about him. The extent of Gary Johnson's reach seems to be poorly made YouTube videos and appearances on obscure internet podcasts. He makes his appearances on talk shows from time to time, but let's be honest, he's a terrible speaker. He is simply not the man who will propel the libertarian party into popularity and he does not serve it well.
Just Your Honest Neighborhood Taxman
The most concerning issues for the Libertarian Party seems to be the total disrespect for private property. They talk a big game about wanting to "cut" taxes but can never give an honest look at removing them entirely. This is a political party that needs to fund its own existence by forcefully taking money from people without their permission. Gary Johnson has spoken highly of the fair tax which would replace all federal taxes (not state taxes) with a national sales tax. As we all know, the government has this innate instinct to grow out of control when given an ounce of power. There would be no upper limit for this sales tax in the long run. Not only that but cutting only federal taxes can only reduce the amount of subsidies given to the local state gangs known as state legislature "forcing" them to raise state taxes. Punishing people for exchanging their labor for goods is no moral act. Theft is theft, it doesn't matter how many pretty words you give it.
Social Security... If You Want
To be fair the Libertarian definition of social security is a little different than the current one. They believe that if you want to pay into social security it should go to your account and not someone elses. Pretty noble right? Except who pays the administration fees? We all know the money people put in will not fund that. When the government "provides" services it never does a very good job of managing the funding. Current social security is a prime example of that. Money paid in gets moved somewhere else; to pay for a tank for example. Who's to say a little mismanagement doesn't happen resulting in some of that "fair tax" money going into social security accounts? Government is the only institution that claims a "right" to do just that. To move money around, that it stole, to pay for services that it can not provide morally, properly or financially.
This land here? It's MINE.
If somebody wants to walk from one place to another or move their home, no "government" has any moral authority to tell them no, so long as they do not trespass. The Libertarian Party takes a very light stance on immigration wanting to make it easier for immigrants to become "legal". This shows a claim of property over the particular area of land known as the United States. When you want to move from one area to another you have a right to do so, you have absolute rights over your own body and actions. By that same logic you may not tell somebody he is not allowed to cross an imaginary line because you have grown particularly fond of it. The only thing that a person can "trespass" on is privately owned property and the only person who has any authority over that property is the owner.
Shut Down Welfare... Except...
The Libertarian Party response to both Healthcare and Welfare are pretty similar. With welfare they propose that private charities be able to supply welfare tax free. With healthcare they propose the use of the Republican solution of "Medical Savings Accounts" in which people and employers can contribute to tax free. In both cases they recognize that taxes get in the way. However, instead of abolishing them all together, the Libertarian Party merely 'allows' you to not get stolen from if you participate in approved of programs.
One of the biggest problems with these two things is the lack of free market competition. The current welfare and healthcare for example allows people to gain services for free. It's impossible to compete with these programs so the only open market for private companies are the ones that offer services to the "rich" who can afford both public and private programs.
Instead of just handing out healthcare the Libertarian Party wants in incentivize people to buy theirs as a way to avoid those intrusive taxes. They want to incentivize particular charities (because you know not all will get the honorable title of charity) as a way to convince people to those charities donate whether they want to or not. This is a clear example of favortism.
Patriots Love The Military
While the Libertarian Party is all for "bringing the troops home" and ending the immoral and disgusting wars on the rights of foreigners to defend their own homes, they do not however support getting rid of a publicly funded military to begin with. Theft is theft, no one has the right to steal your money and the Libertarian Party does not have the right to steal your money for the purposes of funding a local military. The LP believes in "armed neutrality" which means a standing army. An army in which soldiers are essentially paid for doing nothing but posing as a "strong force" for an otherwise peaceful country. Not only is this theft but it is a total waste. As a former military member I can tell you that the soldiers who are not currently deployed spend almost all of their free time getting drunk and destroying private property. Hell, even when they are deployed this is often the case. People should reserve their money for mutual agreements to pay for private security insurances agencies who are actually accountable when somebody says, "Hey my money isn't going towards anything but some freeloader." Private companies scale themselves for what is appropriate and when it comes to security in a place where local protection is the only issue you do not have to worry about giant bases full of excessive weaponry and bored teenagers.
We've accomplished... nothing!
The Libertarian Party does not fight "the system" but instead plays its games by its rules. It is merely a part of the system. Year after year they have a goal of educating people and getting 5% of the vote just so mommy government might give them a little recognition.
dnap (Link) - Taking donations based on the promise of political change they all ought to know that they cannot deliver. Grass roots political minarchism has exploded in the last two decades and they have -literally nothing- to show for it except relaxed drug laws in some ultra-liberal locations (who needed no prompting from libertarians on why they ought to appreciate marijuana) and a Ron Paul TV channel.
I don't mean to downplay the "importance of educating people," (to use their catch-phrase) but you can do a hell of a lot more educating if you stop spending millions of failed political campaigns and lobbying to satisfy the needs of the cato/heritage-conservative bloc.
thisdecadesucks (Link) - ...they have worked for 40 years to infiltrate the political system and don't have a single congressman and less than 1% of the vote. They have pretty much failed in every way imaginable, because their goals were crap to begin with.
LP is Just Not... Quite... There
Let's be honest mainstream libertarians are all either zombies or incomplete anarchists who haven't taken the non-aggression principle to its logical conclusions. It is tough to imagine a world without government, but when you make politics your job and even more importantly, liberty your job, at some point you've just got to figure it out. Government is immoral and inherently evil.
vulgarman1 (Link) - ...they don't realize they're anarchists. They're just a few more private industries away, but why don't they accept private roads, security, and defense?
They're not going all the way,
and that's fine, they're like the people who populated Missouri because their wagon broke, so that was the home.
Fuck Everyone Else
As I mentioned in the introduction I have been attacked by Libertarians for adopting anarcho-capitalism. Amanda Billyrock was recently attacked for being an anarchist by former fan who is "Libertarian". Libertarians are so set on being accepted they have forgotten the radical nature of opposing the state. Instead they are trying to gain the states favor which will inevitably lead them further and further towards socialism just like the rest of the country.
jackson720 (Link) - The biggest of many HUGE issues for them is that in recent years they closed up the ambiguity that made the platform so broad and tried to make libertarian into a brand like Republican or Democrat, pushing out AnCaps and Lefties, and making a party for the more "tame" classic liberals. Instead of being an alliance where people for the reduction or abolition of the state could vote for a candidate who could work towards that, it's specifically for people who use the utterly useless "socially liberal/fiscally conservative" label. If you're trying to convince libertarians in the broad sense of the word bring up that and the shitty candidates, even by minarchist standards they've run (Bob Barr?).