I got an interesting note from a self-described “Left Libertarian” and figured I’d post it – along with my reply – in the hope that it’ll generate some worthwhile back-and-forth.
I belatedly became aware of you only after a few of the lefty writers I follow turned up on Unz Review. Unz has a link to Lew Rockwell and that’s where I encountered Eric Peters. My politics are left-libertarian, which I understand is a bit of a mind-fuck for a lot of people. Nevertheless, I’ve got a long history with fast cars and the people who love, crash, rebuild and otherwise shape their lives around them. Please take a gander at my blog and let me know what you think. It’s not always about cars and it’s not always about politics. Sometimes it’s about nothing more than where my cat shits. By the way, I’m the inventor of the disposable litter box. Those beer flats are good for something.
My reply: The left-Libertarian thing intrigues me.
I am all for liberty in personal areas as well as economic areas. I figure if I’m not causing tangible harm to another person by my actions – personal or economic – then I have an absolute right to be left in peace. This puts me at odds with the left and the right, which (seem to) believe in liberty in one area but not the other.
The left values free speech (well, used to value it) and defends the right of people to have sex with other consenting adults, as they like; to do as they like with their bodies, etc. I agree with and support all of those things as I hold that I only have title to myself and do not have an ownership stake in anyone else.
This is a core Libertarian tenet. It is why Libertarians also oppose “safety” laws such as mandatory seatbelt and helmet laws; the reason for that being that my “safety”is no one else’s proper business and I – as the owner of myself – have an absolute right to decide risk-reward for myself and to enjoy the benefits as well as to be held accountable for the consequences thereof.
That it is morally affronting to hold Joe “accountable” for what John has done – or because Joe might do something (to cause harm) but hasn’t actually.
The right values economic freedom, sort of (the issue of corporate rights is where I depart from many Libertarians) but also undermine this by defending, for example, property taxes to support government schools and government wealth transfer programs such as Social(ist) Security and, of course, the “defense” (sic) industry. The right also practically worships “law enforcement,” which strikes me as cognitively dissonant when juxtaposed with the idea of “limited” or “small” government.
The right claims to value individual liberty yet often supports curb stomping it when it dislikes certain expressions thereof, such as the use of arbitrarily illegal “drugs,” “speeding” (i.e., driving faster than an arbitrary number) und so weiter.
My Libertarianism is consciously contrary – to both. It opposes both coercion and collectivism.
It maintains the absolute sovereignty of the individual, in all things – personal and economic. Thus, in the absolute right to freely associate – or not. The absolute right to own property, free of any obligation to pay “taxes” on it to be permitted temporary possession of it, as is the case currently. That taxation, as such, is theft. That no man “owes” any other man anything beyond that which he freely agreed to be bound by except respect for his equal right to be left in peace so long as he himself is peaceful.
Whether other people like what you’re doing is immaterial.
Their feelings are irrelevant.
Their hardships or bad luck do not impose an obligation enforceable at gunpoint. Other may have a claim to sympathy. They do not have a right to use force to improve their lot or to impose their wishes on others.
The only relevant thing – insofar as justifying interfering with anyone, ever is: Has this person caused tangible harm to another person or to his property? Not to “society.” Certainly to the state (or statute).
Is there, in other words, a flesh-and-blood victim? If not, then there can be no such as a crime and the person ought to be at liberty to be left alone.
That is a quick summary of my views. I’m eager to get yours!
PS: I will check out the site and – thanks for the contribution to the betterment of the lives of cat owners everywhere. I have four… not counting the ones I feed outside!
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