The most powerful argument for libertarianism and anarchism

in #anarchy4 years ago

There are a lot of good economic arguments in favor of libertarianism and anarchism. For example, often you'll hear that free market capitalism works better than state intervention, that private institutions are more efficient than government bureaucracy, that the state can't do price calculation, and so on and so forth.

While these arguments are all quite strong and the working of free markets has been proven many times, they often don't win you debates. You'll often get responses like: "You only care about your stupid economy," or "But what about the poor?" or "But everyone has the right to X, Y and Z."

In my opinion, economic arguments are the least powerful to advocate for libertarianism. Firstly, because many people don't have deep knowledge about economics. Secondly, because the people you argue with care more about other things. Thirdly, because it instantly builds a barrier between you and your conversation partner and you'll get responses like the ones I just mentioned.

Moreover, when libertarians advocate for free market enterprise, they don't really talk about economics, but rather about a concept called catallactics. This is because libertarianism advocates for voluntary exchange, regardless of what those exchanges are, rather than the social engineering that economists tend to advocate for. As James Corbett of the @corbettreport points out in one of his international forecasters:

This also explains why economists are doomed to fail in their attempts to construct the perfect set of policies for directing the national economy. There is no such thing as a unitary plan to balance out the needs of any group of humans, let alone entire nations. Worse yet for the would-be managers of human activity, even the idea of a "best fit" plan or some utilitarian "greater good" policy package for the direction of resource allocation is a pipe dream. Human values are incommensurable, to say nothing of material wants, needs and desires. The calculation of the ideal allocation of resources to meet all of those needs, fulfill those desires, and maintain those values is not just impossible but nonsensical.

Indeed, although there is an argument to be made about capitalism being more sustainable in the long run, there is no way of knowing what the best outcome for society is. Therefore, using the economy as an argument makes you an amateur central planner yourself, while that is exactly what libertarianism rejects.

Don't use economic arguments. Use the moral argument instead.

What I consider the most powerful argument for libertarianism is the moral one. That means the least state power possible. As there is no way of knowing what is best for society as a whole, the only thing that's left to argue about is whether people should be free or serfs.

Juan Ramón Rallo, a Spanish economist and libertarian points out:

Who do I defend? I defend liberty. And liberty is an impersonal value, about which I don't care who benefits from it in detail. I defend it because liberty is right. And I can't defend a value that makes me do utilitarian calculations about who is going to benefit, because then I would be doing social engineering and assign profits and losses. And profits and losses shouldn't be determined by me, but by human cooperation. And human cooperation happens freely. And it happens by avoiding that there is institutional coercion, such as that of the state or that of lobbies via the state.

In other words, it doesn't matter what someone wants to do with their life and property, as long as he/she doesn't violate that same right of others. Socialists and communists can go and have their experiments, as long as it's voluntary. The thing is that there are always going to be problems in 'the economy'. People are going to make bad decisions, or very good decisions, but as long as human cooperation happens on a voluntary basis, that shouldn't even be a point of discussion.

Personally, I like the way @adamkokesh puts this idea forward. In his videos, he puts forward the idea that you own yourself. And since nothing else can be produced without the human body, it is the ultimate means of production. Therefore, capitalism (the private ownership of the means of production) is the only moral option.

Adam's line of argument clearly shows that you don't need to bring up the fact that capitalism works better. It's just the right thing to do, which can be proven by the example of the human body. If you own your body, I can't use it for whatever purpose I want. According to the same reasoning, if you own your own body, it's immoral for the state to claim a certain percentage of what your actions produce (e.g. your wage).

In conclusion, the most powerful argument for libertarianism/anarchism is that it simply is the moral way to go. It doesn't matter what's best for society, because you can't predict it and it's up to the people themselves to find out. In debates it's easier to use the moral argument. After all, who doesn't pretend to have a good moral character?

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post, don't forget to upvote, resteem and follow me @rvanstel for more content like this. Have a nice day!


And it is extremely deeply immoral to take from those who produce and give to those who cannot produce or don't want to produce anything and that's exactly what the government does and eventually system will collapse when the producer become minority and eaters become majority

Yep, I agree. Thanks for reading!

I agree. The moral argument for liberty is superior to all others. We have freedom and liberty plastered all over our society - we should use that to convince people that true freedom and true liberty are values worth defending.

True words! Thanks for reading!

You write about this a lot?

Resteemed, upvoted and followed. Keep writing about LIBERTY!

Great stuff!

Thanks man! Most of my posts are about liberty, anarchy, etc. Be sure to check my profile for more content like this!

I like the way you try and educate like minded on how to explain why a libertarian approach may be the best approach. I do however have similar questions as most of the non libertarians ask and this has everything to do with the fact that a society/community based on 100% voluntarism as well as 100% free market, will cause victims. And yes, any systems has victims, but in a community with only free will, how will victims be supported in eg getting their daily food, or a roof over their head, or healthcare when individuals are not able to operate in a free market, are ill, are not able to add any value to the community/society due to their illness, or maybe their intellect, or any other reason beyond their own control?

As you say, every system produces 'victims', so to speak. However, libertarianism isn't a system. It's total freedom. In a libertarian society nothing is forced, so in this case I don't think you can speak of "the system producing victims". But of course you're totally right in that there would be poverty, equality, etc., just like it exists now.
The existence of poverty isn't an excuse for the existance of the state. There is no guarantee there will be no poverty when a state exercises its violent control over a certain territory (because that's the essential task of a state). For example, in places where the state isn't as big, it's possible to see much poverty (e.g. in rural parts of Central America), or very little poverty (e.g. Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Hong Kong).
So, my guess is that you are thinking of a state that provides social programs to its citizens. For example, here in the Netherlands we have welfare for the poor, the ill and the old. So the question is: is it possible to replace social welfare programs when people can't be forced to fund them?

My answer to this question comes in two parts:

  1. First of all, there is no way to accurately predict what people will do when they aren't forced to do anything, as I point out in my article. Asking whether a libertarian society will work is like asking if plantations will work without slavery. Besides, who will determine what the definition of work is? When are people provided so-called basic necessities? Everybody has a different living standard and different expectations. Here in the Netherlands, people have a relatively high living standard, even when they're on welfare. On the other hand, there are also very poor places in the world where people are much poorer than over here, while also relatively happy (as far as that can be measured). So, over here people might ask for welfare rather than work hard and earn a low wage, while in other countries people could only dream of that job that Dutch people would reject.
  2. But we can always try to predict the future by looking to the past. There are many examples that show people voluntarily care for the poor. Think about the Netherlands before we had a welfare state. The poor were cared for by the church and a lot of different charities. Or take the United States in the previous century. Hospitals were entirely privatized, but nobody was turned down because of a lack of funds. Moreover, in 2016 alone, the American people donated $ 390 billion to charity. Now imagine how much that could be when the state didn't take away half of everybody's income.

So, in conclusion, a libertarian society is perfectly capable of caring for the poor, the old and the disabled. People often think that in a voluntary society, nobody would care about each other anymore. That's nonsense. Objecting to something that the government does, doesn't mean that you automatically reject its being done at all (see the first picture of my article). And just the possibility that there might be 'victims', is not an excuse to force a state to let it happen anyway. As you already pointed out, every system has its victims. So, the chance for poverty doesn't rectify a certainty for creating victims.

Oh, and before I stop, it's also strange to think that people are only able to organize for social programs when they do it in name of the government, as if that's some magical seal that makes it possible to care for one another. I always hear people say that in a free society people don't care about each other. What I always wonder is: if virtually everyone thinks that, why can't they organize something themselves? Often the sad truth is that those people are exactly those people that wouldn't care about the poor if they found themselves in that situation. Isn't it funny that the biggest advocates for socialism always contribute the least to it?

I hope this answered your question! I'm thinking about making a separate post about this too haha. Have a nice evening!

First of all I like to mention that I'm not particular happy with how our states are acting and implemented. Secondly, I understand what you are saying, and we will only know the truth what 'system' works (better) when testing it. Thirdly, most of the conversation I have with other libertarians and anarchist in and outside of Steemit stays high level, without practical solutions and ideas for issues that will arise (and we have to see by testing what issues will arise, I understand that, but some of those issues can be thought of before such society even starts, based on common sense and what we know from the past and can learn from it). Fourthly: it would help very much when using real life examples of societies (small or large) that survived generations and longer using a libertarian approach since examples are tangible and can be understood easier, otherwise it says a theory. Fifthly: it would also help to go one level deeper and come up with solutions how to transform the current society into a different society, most people dont like changes and especially changes that brings them into big unknown, therefore I do not believe in revolution but evolution and that takes time, probably generations or even centuries.

I'm not sure of you know places like Ruigoord or ADM to the west of Amsterdam. More or less small towns that are run in an anarchist way. I visit these places regularly, enjoying the events and parties they organise or let other organise on their 'premises'. On one hand things go kinda ok, but I also hear from the people who live at ADM, or have their art workshops at Ruigoord, they have tremendous issues amongst themselves. And these communities are still very very small. I'm not saying these issues cannot be resolved, and maybe some of the issues are related to our governments having some control over these places, but somehow I think not all people can see the bigger picture and therefore create more problems then that they work together to create a better future for their community. But that said, I'm not an insider at these places, I just converse with some of the people and spend time at there premisses.

Do you have any suggestions how to start transforming lets say a district, town, or city NL (or elsewhere)?

I'd recommend looking into the Mormon church charity system. It's a great implementation of voluntary welfare.

Thanks for your comment and suggestion. I'll make a note of this and check this out soon.

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Very well written. I personally struggled to share libertarian/ankap ideas skilfully. When I was discussing with clever being experienced in discussions and logical thinking I did well, but with the opposite of the previously described, or with some1 who lacked one of the core skills I just didn’t do really well. I’m to tired now to feel the newly obtained knowledge rewiring my thought processes, but I’ll make sure to follow you and read it some other time:)

Thank you for reading! Yes, it can be extremely difficult to explain certain things to individuals that are more emotion driven than logic driven. That's where it can be good to put some emotional arguments in the mix as well. At any rate, don't be afraid to speak out, even when you find it difficult. At first, people may dismiss you, but everytime it makes you rethink and make your arguments stronger. Do that for a couple of years and you're a master in presenting your opinion.

Thanks for following!

After every interaction I feel that my knowledge about the theme and the skill of explaining it grows:). Im not that type of person that would be shy to speak his mind:D

Sure thing buddy! Steem on.

Very nice article!
(Re-posted on social medias.)

Nice one! Spread the message far and wide :)