Libertarianism, a fairly new movement in the United States, is propounded by politicians, business people and pundits. They say it is the only way America can regain its pre-eminence in the world. But it is really just another name for egotism, narcissism, and sociopathic behavior.
It is not a new way of thinking, but is based in erroneous aristocratic assumptions regarding wealth, power and position that are still held by many. They believe they are smarter, better, and therefore, more deserving than the rest of us.
Many high achievers (and those who believe they should be, but…) act as if they are aristocrats. They deserve to be treated in a special way, socially, in business and legally. Other people believe they are to be treated aristocratically because of their birth into the right family, education in the right schools and position in the right society. They think they should not have to pay a fair share of taxes, have laws limit their actions, or be critiqued for their lifestyles.
Instead, they deserve to have several McMansions and condos and to buy up huge tracts of land for their own use, posting it to prevent others from enjoying it. And, of course, they imply, "Don't question us about paying for what we have. After all, we've got money, even if we also have huge debts."
The money they made is frequently not due to inventiveness or even hard work. Instead it is made by cooking books, cutting corners, ignoring laws, and making false (or at a minimum very questionable) statements in documents, contracts and advertisements. They also prey on people's weaknesses, pride and greed, but mainly on their ignorance.
America went through the saving and loan scandal in the late 1980's, the dotcom bubble before the turn of the century, the corporate corruption scandal in the first half of the present decade and more recently the mortgage scandal and the actions of speculators. Is it realistic to believe that the problems the United States faces will go away if business people who caused these problems are left alone to do what they please? This is the way the emperors, kings, czars, princes, dukes, counts and other nobles in Europe, China, India and Japan lived for centuries; back to the pharaohs in Egypt and even before.
In the last century, the communist governments in the USSR and China as well as Nazism were built on this same line of thinking. "Trust us, we've got all the answers." In totalitarian societies, the elite reserve the best for themselves and give the masses only enough to keep them from rioting. Do we want that kind of life in America?
Yet the Libertarians think just like this. They pose it as liberty and freedom, but they really mean anarchy. They also propose getting rid of laws that help us uphold moral standards. Some people would like that, but would that create a land in which you would want to live?
Libertarianism would create a nice life for the leaders, but the common people and middle class would suffer to support them in their luxury. It took two centuries of revolutions in America, Europe and then around the world to overthrow the aristocratic systems. Let's not give Libertarians a chance to take us back to the "good old days" (for the rich and powerful that is).
Roger A. Meyer, PhD
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Since the whole essay is wrong, I will respond to only the first two paragraphs:
Libertarianism is not "a fairly new movement." It is the philosophy of, for example, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, among the Founders, and thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of other thinkers and doers since 1776.
Libertarians don't say "it is the only way America can regain its pre-eminence in the world" because that's not our point, not our goal, not our desire. Libertarianism is, rather, the only way America can regain the way of life that made it pre-eminent: our freedom.
Seeking American "pre-eminence" is a neo-conservative, not a libertarian, goal.
Libertarians think in terms of the individual, not of the group, not of the nation-state.
Libertarians want, simply, freedom, liberty for the individual.
And to this particular libertarian, it is a never-ending puzzle why so many seemingly otherwise sane people have such an emotional difficulty with the very concept of freedom, of liberty.
Perhaps further discussion will elicit an answer, but further discussion with more irrational name-calling won't.
Mr. Meyer ought to learn, for example, the difference between "egotism" and "egoism" and he will at least seem more knowledgeable, if not more intelligent.
Finally, the ridiculous assertion that libertarians "believe they are smarter, better, and therefore, more deserving than the rest of us" is the opposite of the truth. No, what we believe is, simply, we are as good as, and each individual is as good as, other individuals and that each and every individual deserves to be free.
Gosh, why is that so hard?
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I am a married mother of two. My husband supports us on his income alone. Needless to say, we are lower-middle class. I can honestly tell you that you have no real concept of what Libertarianism is. It is not a new way of thinking. It is actually an 'old' way of thinking. Libertarians are just old school Republicans. When the party shifted in the 70s, the LP formed. Do some research before writing essays on things you obviously know nothing about. Here is an excerpt for your enjoyment.
Libertarianism is, as the name implies, the belief in liberty. Libertarians strive for the best of all worlds - a free, peaceful, abundant world where each individual has the maximum opportunity to pursue his or her dreams and to realize his full potential.
The core idea is simply stated, but profound and far-reaching in its implications. Libertarians believe that each person owns his own life and property, and has the right to make his own choices as to how he lives his life - as long as he simply respects the same right of others to do the same.
Another way of saying this is that libertarians believe you should be free to do as you choose with your own life and property, as long as you don't harm the person and property of others.
Libertarianism is thus the combination of liberty (the freedom to live your life in any peaceful way you choose), responsibility (the prohibition against the use of force against others, except in defense), and tolerance (honoring and respecting the peaceful choices of others). Live and let live. The Golden Rule. The non-initiation of force.
Libertarians believe that this combination of personal and economic liberty produces abundance, peace, harmony, creativity, order, and safety. Indeed, that is one of the central lessons of world history.
Virtually all the progress the human race has enjoyed during the past few centuries is due to the increasing acceptance of these principles. But we are still far from a truly libertarian world. Libertarians believe we would see far more progress, abundance and happiness if the ideas of liberty were fully accepted and allowed to work their miracles.
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I am a lifelong Libertarian. I voted for the Libertarian presidential candidate in every election except those in which Clinton ran, when I was forced to vote for the only viable alternative to disaster, as I will probably have to do again this year, unfortunately. I am a genuine card carrying lifetime member of the Libertarian Party. I have contributed to them many times.
The Libertarian Party certainly upholds the philosophy and politics of the original founding fathers (and is the only party that does, in my honest opinion). The Democratic Party has left many of its members (as opposed to many of them leaving the party), as it has shifted further and further to the left. The Republican Party has also left many of its members as it has embraced big government, massive public spending and large deficits, as well as assaulting individual freedoms and liberty. Many former Republicans and Democrats had nowhere to turn as their parties deserted them. Many of those became Libertarians, going all the way back to Robert Heinlein's run as the first Libertarian presidential candidate. Heinlein was a far better writer than Dr. Meyer ever will be. See his brilliant "Starship Troopers" (which has essentially nothing to do with the recent awful movies) and "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" for a deeper understanding of what Libertarianism really means.
I have earned my money legally and morally in every way, while also helping create a new IT industry in the Philippines, which desperately needs one. I have never used any of the unsavory means Dr. Meyer lists in my career, and only know a few (mostly liberal) businessmen who have. The most unsavory businessman I ever dealt with practically worshipped Al Gore.
As for "not paying my fair share of taxes," in 2006, I paid not only my fair share (based on average amount of taxes paid per taxpayer, which is all that was authorized by the constitution), I also paid some 270 other people's fair share, helping make it possible for about half the "taxpayers" to actually pay nothing (and this is fair?).
The basic tenet of Libertarianism can be summarized with the line "your freedom ends where mine begins," keep your laws off of not only my body, but also my personal property, which you apparently don't believe in.
Some of the Libertarian Party's greatest contributions are actually think tanks that do have a real impact on national policies and legislation, such as the Cato Institute. The Mises Institute also harbors many libertarian thinkers. Try researching them if you want to understand Libertarians.
I have travelled in some 44 countries now, and have seen overwhelming proof that the more personal freedom and respect for private property, the higher the standard of living (and for all, not just the harder working). The more powerful the central government and the more it embraces the ideals of the left (usually these come together), the lower the standard of living for all except for Party members, who live quite well.
Capitalist, Entrepreneur, Libertarian
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Roger Meyer certainly has a myopic view of Libertarianism that is clearly not based on fact. Mr. Meyers claims to have a PhD, however I find this hard to understand based on his flawed analysis of Libertarianism.
I could go into a long response to his article, however Libertarian Harry Browne put it best, "Some people say Libertarians want anarchy. But anarchy is what we have now. Our cities aren't safe, our schools are centers of violence and the politicians have turned the rule of law into a chaotic web of regulations and mandates. Libertarians want to restore order by removing the destabilizing influence of government."