A New Age for Reason
This blog was originally created out of a desire to express libertarian philosophy, but after several years now of commitment to a labeled political ideology, I am evolving as a person, and this will have to change with me if it is to be a useful tool going forward. I will strive to bring you content which is thoughtful and which stimulates the kinds of discussions that will help lead towards further intellectual development.
Monday, July 16, 2012
A New Way Forward
As a life long libertarian and emerging liberty activist, I have been thinking a great deal about the role our movement is playing in the world, how effective it is and where it could be headed. I have been studying the other political ideologies, social revolutions and moral enlightenments, and I think the rational disconnection between libertarianism and the political systems that exist in our world is our primary focus.
Every other political ideology is focused on outcomes and have almost no thought whatsoever for the miserable means they utilize towards achieving their ends. Libertarianism, as a form of moral fundamentalism is hyperfixated on the means we utilize to achieve our ends and thus we look very weak when speaking against a statist who asks, "How are the roads to be built?" I believe; however, that our apparent weakness is our greatest strength if we could only begin to think like a utilitarian and extrapolate our ideas to where they would lead us. Then our arguments would focus on prosperity, personal satisfaction, the optimization of independent actors, cultural achievement, research investment, savings, responsibility and things of that nature.
Secondly, I notice within myself and within other libertarians an almost crippling impulse to hyperfixate on how things are not the way we want them to be instead of focusing on how they are and where we can lead them towards. We are almost universally unwilling to compromise, and we view this as a good thing, and as a result, when it comes time for coalition building, we are almost always left entirely out of the discussion and when a synthesis emerges, our ideas are entirely excluded. This is why we have been losing battles since as early as the anti-federalists watched helplessly as the constitution was ratified without a bill of rights.
The maturity of any political ideology is inevitably in how it chooses to govern, and coming from an ideology which says that we should never govern at all, have we really arrived at any answers? There is a synthesis within the confines of a democratic society where libertarian style solutions could be used to achieve statist goals, and when the alternative offering is a statist solution to achieve statist goals, I think this is a great leap in the right direction. For instance, if we are going to have a welfare program, wouldn't it be best administered by a competitive charity marketplace? We are still struggling to get school vouchers passed while we watch our nation drowning under the heavy hand of unresponsive bureaucracy. Would it be a huge insult to liberty to withdraw 50% of the defense spending while at the same time slightly increasing social spending in exchanges for tax cuts and a conversion over to a voucher based system? Wouldn't this ultimately be a vastly superior world than the one we currently find ourselves in?
In self-help, there is a school of thought called Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and this school of thought is one of the few in that science I approve of. It takes its lessons from the Buddhists to empower people by getting them to approach their lives more rationally. When you accept the way you are for as you are and stop thinking about things in terms of all or nothing and the way things ought to be, you can improve upon yourself in gradual increments. Until you do this, you remain washed away in an ocean of indecisiveness and you flounder. Scaled up, until we accept the world for what it is and decide to mold it into its most ideal form, we will never make any headway as a movement. Incrementally changed, even the most vicious government could become a voluntaryist society someday, but you need to treat the disease of immorality and you cannot do that if you condemn the patient to death.
If you have any thoughts, feel free to leave them below. The primary purpose of this blog is to provide a more structured environment for this kind of discussion, so thoughts can be more well developed, and I look forward to the interaction.