Are Libertarians ruining Libertartianism?

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Brachina
Are Libertarians ruining Libertartianism?

http://www.real-time-with-bill-maher-blog.com/real-time-with-bill-maher-...

This is something I've been thinking about as a Leftwing Libertarian for awhile now and so does Bill Mahar obviously

Any thoughts? How did Libertarians become the patsies of fantical capitalism and how did Ayn Rand become seen asca symbol of Libertarianism and not coocos.

onlinediscountanvils

I don't know too many left-libertarians who don't self-identify as anarchists, so the term 'libertarian' has effectively been ceded to the Randians.

Slumberjack

Bill Maher is a horrible little man, and a liberal in the American vernacular, meaning he can be convinced of anything as his stupid monologues attest to. I think Ron Paul has done more than anyone to render the term libertarian as meaningless as a tea party rally against government entitlements, that they're the recipients of.

Brachina

That was pretty nasty Slumberjack. Guess that's no suprise coming from you.

I don't see myself as an anarchist and don't like using the term because the word anarchy has implications in common speak that are both negative and can create false assumptions, although I've seen other use the term in the way you discribe.

I prefer to think of myself as a Libertarian Socialist. Its not a prefect fit, but at least it doesn't imply I want well anarchy and the destruction of civilization and order. I want liberty and I believe social justice is usually the best way to achieve it.

Slumberjack

I was describing Bill Maher and Ron Paul, and what they've done to libertarianism, or on its behalf.  I don't see you in my description.  Where did you get the impression I'm a nasty?

Brachina

I have a great deal of respect for Bill Mahar and he is NOT in the same as the Pauls.

Did you not read the blog post, he's not apart of the strong rightwing turn to the right and he rejects it. He also don't treat the word socialism like its a four leader word like many Americans.

He supports an end to the American Empire as he puts it and supports a social safety net and that thier is a place for the government. He rejects Ayn Rand. He supports reasonable gun control. So he's not like that.

ygtbk

FWIW, Ayn Rand didn't call herself a libertarian, and didn't like libertarians: her name for her philosophy was Objectivism. See:

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ar_libertarianism_qa

"Hippies of the Right", indeed!

Mr.Tea

Slumberjack wrote:

. I think Ron Paul has done more than anyone to render the term libertarian as meaningless as a tea party rally against government entitlements, that they're the recipients of.

I respect the Pauls, actually. Ron Paul was the only major political figure to talk seriously and gain any mainstream traction about the terrible War on Drugs and prison-industrial complex. He was also one of the most forceful opponents of the Iraq war, even before it turned into the disaster it became. His son, Rand, was the only one to stand up to Obama on the use of predator drones to conduct extra-judicial killings. Where have the Democrats been on these issues?

josh

ygtbk wrote:

FWIW, Ayn Rand didn't call herself a libertarian, and didn't like libertarians: her name for her philosophy was Objectivism. See:

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ar_libertarianism_qa

"Hippies of the Right", indeed!

A rose by any other name would smell just as . . . sour.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I more often than not call myself a syndicalist as opposed to either an anarchist or socialist. I have never liked any kind of centralized control over the economy which is why I despise state socialism just as much as IMF control of economies. I use the nom de plume I have on this site because his writing's inspired me in my youth. The other early influence on my political views was George Woodcock's books on anarchist thought. The term libertarian has always been one that I have associated with the right wing.  My first question of anyone who calls themselves a Libertarian is do they believe in the concept of limited liability corporations.  If they say yes then they are clearly not on the side of labour but on the side of capital.

ygtbk

@ K, two questions:

1) In your view, in a world with no corporations, (and no limited liability partnerships, such as currently exist in BC, for example), would there be a big difference between syndicalism and libertarianism? I'm guessing common ownership is a big one, but I'm not sure, since in many instances common ownership has been de facto state ownership.

2) Does the fact that corporations can be sued and may have to pay hefty fines (e.g. BP for the Gulf oil spill) have an impact on your view of limited liability, or is it more of a philosophical issue?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

1. I believe in the workers owning the means of production in a cooperative that they democratically organize. I then see them organizing themselves in umbrella groups where they decide how to cooperate but without a top down hierarchy. The classic model often cited is international postal systems where the individual country runs its own postal service but they all agree on how to ship the mail between the countries without a global postal service calling the shots.

2. The fines for BP have been miniscule in comparison to the damage done by the spill to communities and small businesses in both tourism and fishing.  The game is so rigged that there are arbitrary caps on how much an oil company is responsible for in the event of a catastrophic incident. The construction industry is a good example of the misuse of the corporate veil.  I am a rich person who wants to build condos so I form a numbered company to do the project.  If I build substandard leaky condos then the people who sue find that the company is a shell and has no assets to go after.  The profits flow to the individual owners and the shell company is the holder of the liability. Suing a company that has no assets is a fools game.

I want a system that results in the principles behind BP losing their fucking wealth for destroying the environment and the builders of leaky condos if it is done negligently losing their homes not the poor saps that got suckered by buying a home from a rich person hiding behind the corporate veil.

I think that insurance should be the way for people to shelter themselves from the risks of the actions taken by their companies to earn profits not a legal system that protects their wealth no matter whether they are negligent or not.

ygtbk

@ K:

I understand your points, I think. So if the current system were modified to either make shareholders personally liable for the actions of the company, or to make directors personally liable (I'm not quite clear which from your condo example), would that be a move in the correct direction? Alternatively, would running everything as partnerships (possibly with tradeable partnership interests) be a step in the correct direction? Neither of these quite adds up to workers owning the means of production, obviously.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I don't believe in forcing people to do things so I am not about to tell families that they can't run businesses or hire workers to work in their businesses. I just think they should be responsible for the consequences of their actions. I think that individual Directors should be personally responsible for all negligence that their companies engage in including criminal charges if workers are killed for instance.  I think that shareholders should be responsible for the actions of the companies they invest in, in proportion to their share of the stocks.  So if you buy one of a million shares then you would be on the hook for one millionth of the liability. If you are the majority shareholder then you would be on the hook for the majority of the liabilities.  I disagree totally with limiting personal liability for the actions of corporations.  If you want to invest in oil and gas because that is where the money in the stock market is being made then you should pay the price if your pipeline spills or your oil rig blows up. I think that would mean that good companies with environmental standards that are high would be the ones getting capital flowing to them not BP.

ygtbk

So in a world where shareholders were liable for the actions of the companies in which they owned shares (effectively making them general partners), would anyone have a beef with libertarians?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

So far we are only discussing the ownership of the means of production and not the regulation of the companies. Since we live in the world we were born into I still support labour laws and environmental laws and the public construction of infrastructure.  I am not sure that libertarians want the government to set minimum wages and build hospitals and schools and other socially necessary collective actions.

ygtbk

@ K:

Is it possible that hospitals, schools, and other socially necessary collective actions could be provided by syndicates or partnerships? I'm asking because generally speaking, libertarians support some minimal role for government, unlike anarchists. I'm not all that concerned about labels, but it seems that you see a legitimate role for government.

So I'm thinking that the difference between libertarianism and syndicalism (if shareholders were liable, in my hypothetical world) would be one of degree rather than kind. I may be wrong.

Slumberjack

kropotkin1951 wrote:
I am not sure that libertarians want the government to set minimum wages and build hospitals and schools and other socially necessary collective actions.

That sort of collectivist approach doesn’t fly in libertarian circles with an over emphasis on individual mastery of their own domain.

Slumberjack

ygtbk wrote:
 I'm asking because generally speaking, libertarians support some minimal role for government, unlike anarchists.

Anarcho-Syndicalists have an idea to remove power from the state and place it in the hands of labour movements.  Essentially a municipalized venue through which workers might get a better hearing for their demands, because it's supposed to represent a more direct means of appeal and decision making.

ygtbk

@ SJ

That's more or less what I had gathered from here:

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/578407/syndicalism

but the first sentence talks about abolishing the state. I think K's version is slightly different. That's why I'm asking.

Slumberjack

kropotkin1951 wrote:
I more often than not call myself a syndicalist as opposed to either an anarchist or socialist.

Under present circumstances, identity can be seen a form of registration and categorization, which renders it not so important anymore imo.  It seems as though every 'ism' and 'ist' contained by the existing political constructs are locked into proclaiming various rights, mostly by asserting a vision primarily framed in binary terms around victimhood and transgressor, depicting a surreal landscape where any and all ideologues can be expected to set their followers to work digging trenches and foxholes.  I don’t know if the Marxist dialectic around ownership of the means of production, spread to the four corners, does enough or anything really, to provide the necessary remedies in support of real emancipation for workers.  Here I’m thinking of how collective ownership of a dwelling, between occupant and the bank, serves to provide true freedom for the occupant.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The syndicalists in Spain run many social services.  My understanding is they had to develop them because the state run programs were only available for workers and their families. The fascist government said you are not workers but are in fact owners therefore you cannot access any programs that are for workers.  Mondragon is one of the best examples of trying to put mass syndicalism into practice. It of course like all human enterprises has many flaws but in total I think it is a far better model than our shareholder owned corporations. They are a hybrid institution that looks a lot like a corporation in many respects but that is a result of operating in a capitalist society. I would rather work for one of their enterprises than a corporation that is continually trying to find ways of screwing its workers to increase shareholder value.

 

Slumberjack

I think the larger an organization becomes, worker organizations or what have you, the further an individual becomes situated from the decision or concensus building center.  Anarcho-Syndicalism sets itself on the path toward failure the moment it becomes regionalized or globalized, as a result of the well experienced axiom that justice delayed is justice denied.

Slumberjack

kropotkin1951 wrote:
 I would rather work for one of their enterprises than a corporation that is continually trying to find ways of screwing its workers to increase shareholder value. 

Agreed.

socialdemocrati...

Libertarians are too focused on liberty denied by governments. They're still fighting the battles of the 1700s.

In the 21st century, (Western) governments largely stay out of peoples' business (although not completely). The biggest lack of freedom that most people will experience in Canada will be as workers (wage slavery), as consumers (buying from similar oligarchs), or as third parties (a contract between an oil company and the government, where we're "external" to the contract and still end up having to pay for the environmental and health impact).

And I suppose there's a contradiction when governments intervene to protect the "rights" of big business.

sherpa-finn

Interesting exchange on syndicalism and co-ops. One of the challenges faced in many such efforts is that working people have multiple interests in different economic spaces: their interests as workers (in their places of employment) is one. But we all also have very real and distinct interests as both producers and consumers of goods.

Negotiating the terms of exchange between these different interests, functions and spaces is fraught with challenges. And it can be particularly problematic within social / co-op enterprises that aspire to have all those divergent (sometimes conflicting) interests represented around the same management or board table, struggling to come to consensus.

(And that's not even talking about the issue of capital, - and how its interests are to be accomodated or not  ...)

JKR

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

Libertarians are too focused on liberty denied by governments. They're still fighting the battles of the 1700s.

Three generations of human rights 

http://alturl.com/7u2t6

JKR

DP - Double Post