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Thursday, March 24, 2005

 

libertarian panics


from brainwash, a link to a social study of libertarian panics in american history.

in as much as i view the arc of individualism as leading to the sort of majoritarian deterioration that plato feared so rightfully, i see real trouble in the prerogatives being taken by the executive and (to a lesser extent) legislative branches of american government which are extraconstitutional -- and, in some cases, unconstitutional. laws like the patriot act are an ancient exercise in plebiscitarian societies: politicians capitalizing on the fear and delusion of the masses in times of crisis (real or manufactured in propaganda) to machinate for the consolidation and expansion of power beyond law with stupid popular consent. the political aftermath of 9/11 is at heart another episode of pompey's pirates -- and it is made possible now as it was then by the strength of the populares, the gullible masses and their self-serving advocates, in the political process.

but i do entirely agree with the study's idea -- that america is paranoid about infringements on their individual freedoms and has done too much to free itself from social constraint. it's a dominant feature of western civilization in decadence -- the impulsive ideas of the renaissance carried much farther than is healthy for our or any society. the virulent reaction against any new limitation or tax is symptomatic, as is the burgeoning development of a welfare state that dangerously concentrates power and wealth so as to assume the mundane responsibilities that are mandatory of truly free men. individual emancipation is the goal, and irrationally so -- leading to a weak and corruptible nanny state fed upon mountains of unpayable debt.

in essence then, this admixture of socialism and libertarianism -- both facets of the metastasis of anarchism -- is the enemy of society, and it is sensible to see the decline of society in its prescription. but this is not because the law impinges on the liberty of the masses; rather, it is because the law can no longer stand against the unleashed will of the mob! the populares rewrite the law to fit political expediency with the consent of the somnolent people, who can only be awakened momentarily to stop the law from injecting any modesty into the political dialogue.

the panics we need are not libertarian, but social. to the extent that they exist, their aims are frustrated by the loggerheads of a decadent pluralistic society with too many voices that cannot muster decisive direction. and so the slide continues, even though many can see the problem.


We need no panics. I'm tired of hearing, "There ought to be a law against that. The government needs to step in and do something." That is how we ended up with a bloated nanny state that incentivizes stupid choices.

Individual emancipation is my goal. I do not wish to bo forced to live your lifestyle, nor do I wish to force you to live mine. Can't we all just get along? My libertarianism is no enemy of society. It is a defence of society.

 
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i rather think it probably is, mr twba, whether you see it so or not. the wish to be left alone -- to minimize your level of social interaction -- is both fundamentally antisocial and very common. society by consensus no longer makes mandatory the human connections that are the essence of a functioning social organization. but when sensible tempers seek stoic disengagement, who is left to moderate?

"individual emancipation" -- what does it mean? in the end, only that you should not have to do anything you do not want.

this is hopelessly utopian, of course, although no one seems to be able to admit it. and in practice it has been terribly destructive.

on the one hand, as a friend of mine recently said, "our rights seem to multiply with every graduating law school class". i agree -- the west (particularly america) has first been suffering from the tyranny of the minority, the anarchist impulse, since the mid-19th c. people have essentially decided that church and state and civilization are all secondary to their personal development. the individual priority is extremely democratic, but ultimately selfishness makes compromise and consensus to action all but impossible to arrive at. it is the fertilizer of decadence -- for so long as tolerance remains.

the reaction to that development, on the other hand, has been the end of such tolerance -- majoritarianism -- the conclusion that the rights of the minority have become too great an impediment to honor. this is what we're seeing increasingly in the actions of congress over the last 20 years, an organization so viciously partisan now as to be nothing more than a party battleground. majoritarianism knows no law -- only the will of the people. and when it is finally concluded that congress can no longer be effective because of the infighting and intrigue... well, sufficient power has already been accumulated in the presidency.

in this way, individualism has a suicidal democratic will -- the fulfillment of its ideals leads to chaos and its own destruction in tyranny.

many of the laws we get of which you complain are, i think, attempts to cut a compromise where none can be cut -- where tolerance and amicable understanding of a collective destiny, that individual advantage and personal "fairness" in every last detail do not mean everything, would work -- but a razor-thin demarcation of selfish rights in an attempt to ensure that no one is slighted can never. the arrogant hypersensitivity to slights is wildly manifest now, and its a product of selfish individualism carried too far. it is the source of much radicalism among hotter tempers, imo (though i hope not yours).

 
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When I wrote, "Can't we all just get along?" I may have been jokingly paraphrasing the great philosopher Rodney King. I wasn't suggesting that we minimize social interactions, rather that we learn to interact without stepping on each other's toes. I wish to be left alone by tyrannical state and church. Free men working for their self interests construct the best society.

majoritarianism knows no law -- only the will of the people. and when it is finally concluded that congress can no longer be effective because of the infighting and intrigue...

Congress is not effective now. Care to pick an over/under for the year of revolution?

 
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When I wrote, "Can't we all just get along?" I may have been jokingly paraphrasing the great philosopher Rodney King. I wasn't suggesting that we minimize social interactions, rather that we learn to interact without stepping on each other's toes. I wish to be left alone by tyrannical state and church. Free men working for their self interests construct the best society.

when it is finally concluded that congress can no longer be effective because of the infighting and intrigue...

Congress is not effective now. Care to pick an over/under for the year of revolution?

 
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I will figure out the preview button eventually.

 
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Care to pick an over/under for the year of revolution?

lol -- no thanks. too depressing. but i do think it's quite a lot closer than most anyone thinks. my lifetime, anyway.

 
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