I’d like to write about it! Let me know.
An anarchist does not want chaos. Anarchists do not believe that people should be free to murder and steal. If they did, they would be statists.
If you are expecting a philosophical discussion of pragmatism in politics, I have misdirected you. I am not going to talk about pragmatism in the sense of philosophy. To my knowledge, that ideology in philosophy has no actual standard set of political beliefs. When I say, “pragmatic,” I simply mean the idea that we should do something because it is practical and simply just “works”. This approach misses entirely some very key aspects of, not just politics, but life itself.
The biggest problem with pragmatic politics is that we have it implemented now. No, the bureaucracies don’t work. That’s not my point. My point is they THINK that it works or think that it SHOULD work. How many times have you heard, “instead of getting rid of the whole department, why don’t we just fix it?” That seems pretty reasonable for the pragmatist. Many of these idea’s that we have we think are simply just much more practical and they work. Well, look at the state of affairs we are in now. We have a government out of control, we have predator drones killing innocent people in other countries, we had people being locked up with a suspension of habeas corpus, and many other things that are seemingly easier than taking the hard nosed approach.
If we are to be specific about things such as suspending habeas corpus, we see that it is actually very practical, and somewhat effective. However, the biggest annoyance to any pragmatic politician are natural rights. These rights should not be looked over. Many libertarians don’t believe in these rights but to deny rights is to deny all that presupposes it because rights are a (not THE) logical conclusion. To deny the existence of natural rights is to deny an objective moral base. Many people actually do deny that and succumb to some type of relativism. This, I think, is a huge mistakes for libertarians, especially. If there is no objective, universal (this need not be from a deity, by the way) moral code then there is really no reason to object to things such as social security. Why? Well, first, there’s no basis to say that it’s immoral to take money from one person to give to another. Secondly, it’s very practical for older people. We have seen benefits from social security. That’s not the end of it, though. Some may argue, well, there is actually no social security but the Federal Reserve prints up money so they don’t run out of it. “So what?” The pragmatist should ask. However, many don’t ask that question and run on the basis that they should not do it. The first problem is that there really is no basis for “should” because there is no “ought” in moral relativism aside from what you’re already doing (after all, relativism means to do what the culture is already doing). Second problem is that it, for the most part, does work. There is no real reason to say that it’s “bad” for people who are saving because the value of what they are saving falls quicker than the rate of interest that they are being paid. The pragmatist usually will deny all of what I am saying but that makes me wonder if they really are a pragmatist at all. This also steps on the feet of natural rights in a civil, and less business, sense. If are to assume that there may be a terrorist threat, would it not help to lock away as many people as possible based on the information provided? Based on a pragmatists view, I’d say yes. They will, of course, deny this but that probably means they aren’t really pragmatists. They have some belief in natural rights whether they think it or not.
Another argument that a pragmatist ought to make, if they really followed what just “works,” is an elastic type constitution. One that can be read and interpreted that which best serves the current situation. This seems to me like a really bad idea. Many people talk about the importance of being flexible. Flexibility, indeed, is a very good trait. That being said, should the very core of a system be something that can easily sway in time, neglecting any supposed “rights” people have? It may very well be the case that this week catching terrorists isn’t easy. So what would be the more practical step? Round up a large group of them. This is very similar to the situation with the Japanese during World War 2. This is the kind of thinking that we have in Washington D.C. today. It’s not what we need. It’s what we need to get rid of and stick to something that is based on something stronger than just “what works best.” Pragmatic thinking neglects rights, morality, and a foundation.
At a first glance this may seem like leftist propaganda. I don’t think it is, though. I think this portrays a perfectly good Libertarian message. It says that PEOPLE have responsibility to take care of each other and not government. It seems like the Left typically forgets that. The Left inadvertently downplays the charity and compassion for others. Spread around this message because I believe it is a very powerful one. Don’t forget to thank the Left for accidentally helping our cause. ;)
In 2009, Avatar was released. Not too many people would have thought that a movie with blue people in it would end up being the highest grossing movie of all time. Yet there was something that attracted people to it. If not just for the plot or action, the actual world that James Cameron, the writer and director, created. Year after year comes some great movie that will reach the top of modern day box office hits. Although for entertainment, is there anything deeper that we can learn from them?
F.A. Hayek, known for his defense of classical Liberalism and debates with John Maynard Keynes, expanded on the topic of “spontaneous order,” which was originally, to our knowledge, introduced by the Chinese philosopher, Zhuangzi. Spontaneous order is the idea that good things can come about without organization. As Zhuangzi put it, “good order results spontaneously when things are let alone.” It refers to order that happens without anyone deliberately planning on order to happen. Is order without deliberate planning possible?
Almost any alien film can provide an answer to the question. Little known to the viewer of an alien movie, the viewer may be watching a reflection of human life before government. First, no one would argue that government came before people did. So, when the viewer is watching aliens, the aliens have a way of communicating. The viewer is watching a reflection of a part of human history. Communication, language, these are things that came before any centralized government planning. Whether it’s cave writings, sign language, or spoken language, these are all examples of spontaneous order. Government couldn’t have come before communication as it is impossible for a group of people coming together to create a government without first knowing how to communicate to each other. Language and communication is an example of spontaneous order. Order that came, not because government suggested, subsidized, or enforced it, but of human beings, free of government restraint (as there was no government before it), that realized the importance of it.
In Cowboys & Aliens, originally made after the comic book, the aliens, without giving too much away, were going after gold. This movie takes place in the 1800’s in, what seems to be a Western town. This was obviously before government control over money through the Federal Reserve. When the group finds out the aliens are after gold, Woodrow Dolarhyde, played by Harrison Ford, sarcastically asks, “what are they going to use it to buy something?” There is some interesting insight in this question. Why gold? Before government took a monopoly over monetary policy, people were free to use what they wanted for trade. Looking back in time, before government, there was a bartering system. Where one would trade, say, shoes for a hat. This seems okay on a low-scale level but the problem is obvious. Not everyones wants and needs are the same. While somebody might want a hat, with shoes to sell, the other person may not want the shoes, thus creating a problem for somebody who wants the hat. Humans solved this problem simply by creating a third entity in which people would use to exchange goods or services. It happened to be gold that people used. Money nor the barter system was created because of some government intervention, agency, or bureaucracy. This system of trade was created by individuals, pursuing their own interest, that ended up helping others in the end. For a great exposé on the history of money, read What Has Government Done To Our Money by Murray Rothbard. It can be found here for free or How Economy Grows & Why It Crashes by Peter Schiff.
Recently The Fighter, starring Christian Bale & Mark Wahlburg, gained much praise for its excellence in, not just portrayal of Mickey Ward’s life and boxing career, but of actual filmmaking itself. Sports are adored by people throughout all countries. Sports, such as football or soccer, have been documented going back into Ancient Greece and Ancient China. Sports is an interesting history, not just for sports buff, but for sociologists and economists as well. Not only is it a great example of spontaneous order but of self-regulation. A group of people, voluntarily, submitting themselves to play by certain rules a certain activity. Yes, this includes wearing gloves and punching each other.
A growing number of movies center around video games. From adventurous movies like Tron to comedies like Grandma’s Boy. Recently video games have become a big part of people’s lives. Even for adults. In fact, adult men and woman make up a large part of the gaming industry. What is interesting about video games is the idea that somebody can create their own world. For instance, World of Warcraft, a game involving many players in an online world, is a very interesting world where people play as many different creatures doing different things. This cyber world is run on its own rules. The government plays no role. It’s all left up to freedom.
P.J. Proudhon wrote that liberty “is not the daughter but the mother of order.” It is not true that all spontaneous orders are good. Just as somebody can do evil with freedom. However, the alternative, freedom, is the better of the two. Between freedom and force, freedom should always be picked. The concept of spontaneous order is not some far distant utopian outlook but it has been proven, historically, that some of the greatest things can come about spontaneously. Without the need for a centralized dictator (or centralized force).
Can order come from non-order? Tom Bell of Chapman University explains.
John Stossel explains that costs of licensing hurt the poor.
Many times when somebody gets frustrated with an arguing against a Libertarian they’ll throw up the common Libertarian myth #3; “oh, you just want to throw us back into the dark ages! You aren’t for progress!” Of course sometimes it’s stupid to even try to argue back that point because it’s more focused on emotion rather than reason. However, if somebody truly believes that, there are two important things one must remember when responding. The response is broken into two parts: first, the social aspect of progress. Second, the economic aspect of progress.
When a Libertarian argues about the federal government, it puts them between a rock and a hard spot. The federal government prohibits racism and discrimination. This is a very attractive position for the Libertarian. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a legislation that many Libertarian’s do not like. It is commonly used as an argument to show that Libertarian’s want to go back to the racist days where blacks were lynched or were slaves. This obviously isn’t true. Libertarian’s support individualism. It should be obvious that Libertarian’s generally are not collectivist. They do not think of people based on generalizations but by individual traits that make people who they are. In fact, Libertarian’s abhor racism because it is a form of collectivism. It is ignorant way of grouping people together based on one trait, and one trait only, color. That being said, this is the part people don’t understand, Libertarian’s do not believe that people should be prohibited from being a racist (such as long as they do not use force on somebody else). This is the clause that people use against Libertarian’s. When somebody argues that point against me, I tell them that I abhor racism. It is absolutely disgusting and ignorant. It is a form of collectivism that has hurt many countries for many years. Then I point out, would you like to argue racism or private property? They are fundamentally different issues. I say, people who own their land have a right to their land, do they not? Do you not have a right to choose what you do with your property? The only thing Libertarian’s disagree with in the Civil Rights Act, is anything to do with private property. Seeing as government run programs are run by the government, there can be laws passed that prohibit racism. That is perfectly fine. Any Libertarian, if they were a true Libertarian, would support that. What they do not support is the government telling people what they can and can’t do with their own private land. There is no question of public accommodation. There is absolutely NO line between public accommodating services and private property. Either the government owns the property or a private individual owns the property. Secondly, I point out to the person that politicizing racism, does not eliminate it. It is impractical to eliminate a collectivist philosophy through the means of politics. It may even outrage people more that they’re forced to do it. Racism still exists, I’m sure of it, but the tides have changed, not because government has changed, but because individuals have decided to become more tolerant of individuals. That is philosophy, it is not force. Social progress does not come from laws passed by Congress. It comes from individual’s realizing the mistakes they’ve made, and adapting to the realities of life.
The next part is economic aspect of progress. The common argument is that because we want to reduce taxes, we somehow want less economic developments. Such as roads, high-speed rails, education, etc. Even the argument that we just want to go back to the industrial revolution days. This is all ridiculous. Nobody wants to ride horses on the street (maybe the environmentalists), work in unhealthy working conditions, child labor etc. Libertarian’s are pained as masochists who want the most painful dystopian future. The reality of the situation is that we want well-educated people, hard-working adults, healthy children, etc. The goal is the same as a liberal or conservative. The difference arise on how to get there. That’s when you pull out all of the failures of government policies and how the free markets have helped. Innovation does not come from government bureaucrats, it comes from individuals who want to change the future. Who want to make money for their product. It is not from a person that sits in an office and tells businesses what they can or cannot do. What a Libertarian is saying is let the individuals decide if they want a high-speed rail. If a company sees it as a profit maker, it’ll happen. If they decide that it isn’t then it won’t. Innovation can only strive if individuals are allowed to be creative. What allows for more creativity than freedom? Did government bureaucrats create automobiles? How about your favorite iPhone or iPad app? Maybe the railroads? No, government gets in the way. Libertarian’s want the best way to progress a society and that comes from freedom, not obstacles. They won’t people to be able to build skills in order to become highly skilled workers who get a better income, eliminate the minimum wage laws. These are all examples of progress. What isn’t progress is plunder, force, and restriction. People need to be able to act freely, responsibly, and accordingly as long as it does not harm anybody else.
Libertarian’s do not want things to regress. We do not want slavery. We do not want racism. We want progress such as long as it does not interfere with individuals lives. We want people to be free to do as they wish, on property they have spent money on, as long as it does not harm anyone else. We want the people to decide what progress economically we will have. Government fails on a moral account and a practicability account. Time to let individuals who have something to lose have a say in their own lives.
This is a great explanation of how government interferes and makes things more difficult for consumers to have what they want.
“Deregulation” was the mantra of President George W. Bush and his Republican predecessors, and many of the problems we are now facing are the predictable result of this failed political philosophy. Importantly, these conservatives not only undermined federal oversight of the energy industry, the food system, and the financial sector, they also worked to reduce broad protections for consumers, workers, and the environment.
Bullshit. The amount of regulations he pushed through from 2001 to 2007 was almost 14,000 pages.