Skip to content

other isms

3 FANTASIES: LIBERTARIANISM OBJECTIVISM UTILITARIANISM

The point being that the lives of millions of Americans are being damaged by the selfish and sometimes criminal actions of a very few persons with extreme wealth and power, aided by a major political party, and we must therefore band together in resistance and civil self-defense, to achieve a sane and healthy society.

Libertarianism is an adolescent fantasy of adult white males who developmentally got stuck at age 4. “No! You don’t own me! You can’t make me! You’re not the boss of me! Leave me alone!” And we do.

Well, except that some of my friends think that maybe Ron Paul’s ideas might make him an attractive alternative—especially his objection to imperialist warfare and its militarist and corporatist apparatus, and his advocacy of legalizing drugs. I agree about those, so, for a moment I’ll take him seriously. Two things about Ron Paul should always be kept in mind: (1) he’s a Republican; (2) he named his son after Ayn Rand. Nevertheless, in comparison to the other Republican candidates he comes off as remarkably reasonable, humble, and honest. He’s probably not a malicious person. But his policies would cause harm to a huge number of people, who, through no fault of their own, find themselves deeply needy, and would find themselves even more needy as a result of Paul’s laissez-faire capitalism. See the “social justice” page, including:

Sandel, Justice: What’s the Right Thing To Do? (2009): “…the idea of self-ownership, consistently applied, has implications that only an ardent libertarian can love—an unfettered market without safety net for those who fall behind; a minimal state that rules out most measures to ease inequality and promote the common good [eg universal, affordable health care; social security; public education; food industry inspection; environmental protections and development of green energies; banking regulations]; and a celebration of consent so complete that it permits self-inflicted affronts to human dignity such as consensual cannibalism or selling oneself into slavery.” (103-4)

Abstract/blog on libertarian moral philosophy: Libertarians are an increasingly prominent ideological group in U.S. politics, yet they are largely unstudied. Across 16 measures in a large web-based sample (N = 157,804) including 11,994 self-identified libertarians, we sought to understand the moral intuitions and psychological characteristics of self-described libertarians. Based on an intuitionist view of moral judgment, we focused on the underlying affective and cognitive dispositions that accompany this unique worldview. Compared to liberals and conservatives, libertarians showed 1) stronger endorsement of individual liberty as their foremost guiding principle, and weaker endorsement of other moral principles; 2) a relatively cerebral as opposed to emotional cognitive style; and 3) lower interdependence and social relatedness. As would be predicted by theories concerning the origins of moral reasoning, libertarian values showed convergent relationships with libertarian emotional dispositions and social preferences. Our findings add to a growing recognition of the role of personality differences in the organization of political attitudes.

Two serious Qs: (1) Is it imaginable that Paul’s ideal America would ever be brought about, by democratic vote—would a majority of rational, self-interested but compassionate, patriotic citizens vote to put it in place, even in steps? (2) Imagine they did. How long would America remain a healthy, nonviolent, democratic, libertarian community?

Two Qs that I want to ask each libertarian: What is it that you are so afraid of, and why do you deal with your fear in this way?

And a third: How important is democracy, on a scale in which 1 = we’re better off without it, and 10 = it’s very important to human well-being and progress? Think about it.

Libertarian theme song

And let’s not flirt with Ayn Rand’s Objectivism. Homo sapiens is a subjective species. Pure objectivity, as a guiding principle or ideology, is a distortion of vision that is so extreme as to be profoundly psychological (in addition to failing as an approach to democracy and social justice).

It is like launching your boat into a river and thinking that the current will carry you to the top of the mountain, or feeding a tiger lettuce and potatoes. The tiger dies and you are lost at sea.

Our emotions go back 40,000 years, minimum. So does our imagination and creativity and community. We’ve had a body since, it seems like forever! Live in that!

Some evidence:

(Don’t miss the last 6 minutes!)

Refute that? Deny that? Ignore that? Who are you?

In the end, Objectivism offers only solipsism in the bunker:

In a TV interview, Mike Wallace asked Rand if her atheism suggested that her life would end with her death. She replied, no, when she died the world would end.

When I was a kid, my grandparents and parents and sister and I regularly planted trees, to be enjoyed by future generations. Would Rand have joined us in that effort? What future generations? What future? What but her self?

How Ayn Rand became the new right’s version of Marx,” by George Monbiot, Manchester Guardian.

Utilitarianism is the fantasy of an ancient ego struggling to justify its belief in its own absolute superiority, while coming to terms with the fact of its finitude.

Of course the big problem is that the qualitative (pleasure, pain) can’t be quantified and objectively measured. It’s like measuring to ascertain the motion or location of an electron. You can’t have both. Quantitative consciousness diminishes qualitative. Or it’s like when they ask you, on a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is your pain? Your answer has some immediate, comparative usefulness, but not much more.

However, I do like the suggestion, by people like Thoreau, that in the case of consciousness, quantity increases quality (as in moral conscience), but that’s in people who are imaginatively attentive to life, and care about it.

Other Topics:  99%OCCUPYnutshellnonviolentpowerhistorymisogynyracismmoneywealth gap 1wealth gap 2republican partynamescapitalismfascismother ismspathologiessocial justice 1social justice 2social justice 3soulbody and soulthingsanarchyactionsbtwbib

One Comment

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Vote 4 Johnson? | tomkoontz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: