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The Faults of Libertarian-Socialism

June 24, 2008

The nature of politics today is not easy.  Democrats or Republicans.  Liberal or conservative.  Add in Libertarians and it gets some what more interesting.  Republicans tend towards conservative, except those in office, they seem to be trending towards liberal now, and are paying for turning from their base as their base turns from them.  Democrats tend to be more liberal, Democrats that lean towards conservative are punished and pushed from the party.  Conservatives believe in small government, people are capable of running their own lives and taking care of themselves.  Government is needed to set limits of responsible behavior for those who won’t set their own limits.  Liberals believe in more government to balance things out and make life fair for those who won’t or can’t fend for themselves, almost but not quite socialsim.  Liberals don’t set limits on morality like conservatives do.  Libertarians are an odd marraige of small government with liberal morality. 

But there is another politcal ideology.  Liberation-Socialist Anarchism.  Libertarian-Socialism is not new.  It has been around for a long time.  It was never really a major ideology, but recently is becoming a growing threat.  What is Libertarian-Socialism?

According to wikipedia, “Libertarian-Socialism is a group of political philosophies that aim to create a society without political, economic or social hierarchies-a society in which all violent or coercive institutions would be dissolved, and in their place every person would have free, equal access to tools of information and production, or a society in which such coercive institutions and hierarchies were drastically reduced in scope.  This equality would be achieved through the abolition of authoritarian institutions such as private property. ”

“Libertarian-Socialists believe that all social bonds should be developed by individuals who have an equal amount of bargaining power, that an accumulation of economic power in the hands of a few and the centralization of political power both reduce the bargaining power- and thus the liberty of the other individuals in society.”

It all sounds good?  It should, who doesn’t want equality?  The first problem is how one defines equality.  The second problem is how one attains equality. 

If equality is defined as everyone being the same, with the same motivations and desires, the same idea of right and wrong, Liberation-Socialism might work, and quite possibly would be the standard by which the world operates.  There is the first problem with this ideology.  everybody is not the same.  We have different motivations, different desires, and different ideas of what is right and what is wrong.  Liberation-Socialists recognize ideas like profit to be a crime against humanity.  In order for one person to make a profit, another person must come out with less.  Under Liberation-Socialism, the wages of one’s labors would be equivilant to the value of the product.  In other words, if I hire you to build a car, then I sell that car for $20,000, I would have to pay you $20,000, anything less than that and I would be stealing your labor.

Some people aspire to higher goals than others.  That is what makes capitalism work in modern society.  I might want a cadillac, maybe someone else wants a honda civic.  Maybe I want to earn enough money to purchase anything I desire, car, boat, biggest house in the neighborhood.  Maybe the next person just wants to spend quality time with his family and go fishing on the weekends.  Under capitalism we all set our own priorities and goals, then work toward that end.  We recognize that equality does not mean that we are each a carbon copy of the next person.  Libertarian-Socialism requires that we all have the same wants and desires and goals.  Without that similarity, somebody will always feel like they have less than somebody else.

Under this ideology, if I decide to murder someone, it isn’t necessarily wrong.  The person I want to kill is more than welcome to defend himself, but it really wouldn’t be a crime since there would be no governing authority to make it illegal.  Therefore, there would have to be a governing authority to set and enforce laws.  The same governing authority would be required to ensure that a person was paid the “value” of his or her labor.  But a governing authority would, by its very nature, centralize political power into the hands of a few thereby reducing the bargaining power and liberty of individuals in society.  In this case, the governing authority would be required to be extremely tough on society in an effort to keep everything “equal”.  Human nature is such that anyone aspiring to leadership roles is driven to be better, to have more than the next person.  This applies not only to business, but to government as well. 

In fact, human nature is the primary reason Liberation-Socialism could never work.  There is always someone who wants more and is willing to work to achieve more.  Likewise, there is always someone who does not want to assume risk, and would prefer to work for some one else.  There have always been, and will always be, people who chose to sit back and do nothing, these same people will demand an equal share in society, even if they must take it from others with out investing their own labor.  According to the Liberation-Socialists these people are just victims of capitalism.  They would work if they weren’t being victimized by the rich. 

Under capitlism, each person has opportunities if they choose to explore those opportunities.  Each person can decide to work for themselves or to work for someone else.  They can set their own goals and work to achieve those goals or fail according to their own efforts and abilities.  Capitalism recognizes that people are different. Each person has their own goals, desires, morals.  Under capitalism, government sets laws that control what the majority would consider immoral acts.  Murder, theft and deceipt are outlawed. 

While no system is perfect, capitalism comes closer than any  other in that it recognizes the difference in people and their motivations.  Libertarian-Socialism fails for no other reason than it ignores human nature.  There will always be those in society that work harder and achieve more.  Likewise, there will always be those who are willing to have less rather than take the risks to have or lose more. 

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