Mission Statement

Mission Statement: This blog is dedicated to both political philosophy and application to current issues based on the ideas of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty. Additionally, this blog strives to create an atmosphere where intelligent discussions based on the principles of logic, no matter the viewpoints expressed in their conclusions, are not only welcome, but also thrive.

To learn more, feel free to read the introduction and subsequent posts which explain the aforementioned philosophy and purpose of this blog in more detail.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Weekly Roundup

          In lieu of a weekly update this weekend, I wanted to post links to a couple specific articles with brief comments on each. The articles are a little older, but raise some interesting issues. I think they are good reads and the starting point for intelligent debate if we so choose.

The Economist - Lessons from California: The Perils of Extreme Democracy

          This is a stellar discussion about the failure or success of direct democracy in California. I think that direct democracy needs to be tempered by a Constitution or it becomes mob rule, but I don’t think that California has necessarily crossed that line. One of the early commenters, QEsPapa, wrote a great summary. Perhaps the best answer is to have all taxes be the result of direct democracy, with all expense originating from the legislature, with a Constitutional mandate to not run a deficit? The taxpayers would keep taxes small and legislators would be forced to spend within their means.

The Economist - Cuba's Communist Congress: The Start of a Long, Slow Goodbye

          This article discusses Cuba and showcases how they cannot sustain their communist government. They are being forced to open more private businesses, due in large part to the most common critique of communism—if everything is given, no one will work. The US policy of restricting citizens and not engaging the country is a separate issue that I hope to discuss later.

The Economist - Don't Bully Boeing, Barack

          In this article, the Economist argues for the NLRB to not have so much power (trying to tell business which states are available for expansion and which are not).  Not only is that a vast abuse of power, but the underlying reason, the Unions, is an important issue in itself.  Rather than the days when a Union helped protect Kentucky coal miners from being sent to their deaths, these days Unions are forcing members to join, exacting dues whether members are "willing" or not, exercising vast power over businesses, and becoming a force from which people need protection instead of a protecting force!  Of course in a libertarian society people should be allowed to Unionize, just as they should be allowed to not Unionize and businesses should be allowed to employ whomever they choose.  Propping up industries or workers has not done many favors for the economy in the long run before, and there is no reason to think government intervention will help this time, either.
          These articles showcase libertarian values playing out in the world, but libertarians are not using them to show people that our system works. Many people still are either ignorant enough to equate libertarianism with anarchism, or scared enough to think that people will not be able to flourish with a small government. Using examples of how libertarianism would be making life a little better should be a cornerstone of those trying to convince people of the philosophy.


Hortensio said...

"These articles showcase libertarian values playing out in the world, but libertarians are not using them to show people that our system works."

I find people often criticize libertarian ideas as unworkable, and this criticism is probably the biggest obstacle for libertarians to face. And yet, you're right: With few exceptions, libertarian policies work, or at least give comparable results to the alternatives.

(Probably the best and most uncontroversial example of a practical libertarian policy is the Cuban example you highlighted here: Free markets and private enterprise work where other systems stagnate.)

I personally think you have to give it to non-libertarians gradually, on an issue-by-issue basis. (Particularly with Burkean conservatives like me, who don't want to radically change society all at once unless we're sure that change is better than the status quo.) Once it's shown that, for example, free trade is decidedly better than protectionism or that decriminalized drugs don't lead to social collapse, it's much easier to get people to sympathize with less government intervention.

Liberty's Rest Blog said...

Hortensio, thanks for the read but especially for the comment. I more than anything want this blog to become a place of discussion.

I agree with having to give it to non-libertarians gradually. The ignorant (and I do not use that word negatively) fear the ideology because they do not completely understand what it is. Many of those who understand what it is do not see it as capable, like you said. Even those who do may not agree with fast change, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It is certainly an uphill struggle.

What I like about the ideology is that the more I learn about it, think about it, and apply the principles to issues around me, the more I see it working as a system. It seems like one of those "whole is greater than the sum of the parts" things. I hope to write about this soon and further showcase it by tying together the various articles I write, but I just haven't reached the critical mass to be able to do that yet. Hopefully before much longer...