Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's A Simple World: Canadian Libertarianism

There is a core attraction to libertarianism, although scholars differ on definition and expressions take different paths, almost all of us can relate to certain articulations.  In North America, libertarianism has been hijacked by the right wing and we have this bastardized belief system which frankly borders on the absurd.  In Canada, for the first time, we are starting to see the practical manifestations of this hybrid libertarianism and within that we see the convenient mirage, the simplistic belief system which bears no relationship to any world humans actually populate.

On the national scene, Harper is slowly but surely dismantling the federal core, in favour of free market forces, unencumbered by checks which have evolved out of necessity, rather than some misplaced argument against the nanny state.  Environmental reviews came to be because the free market failed to protect the citizens, their amoral zeal for profit  resulted in destructive impacts for society, they fouled our water, our soil, our air, etc.  The "state" intervened because intervention was required, only here was their any detached moral underpinning to counter naked greed that operates without consequence.  To now see the environmental review processes as intrusive may have validity in terms of degree, but it is dangerous and nonsensical when one doesn't incorporate how we GOT here in the first place.

If you want to see the new absurdity of the Canadian libertarianism, Wildrose is the case study.  Listen to a Danielle Smith, WORSE her apologists like a Joan Crockatt for example and you just don't understand that libertarian spirit in Alberta, somehow intolerance is flipped around into a virtue, it's about letting everyone express themselves, it's actually about tolerance!  Oh bull, the notion has been taken to such an extreme to render the assertion paralyzed.  The state has no role in admonishing views which think homosexuals will burn in a lake in of fire, that's your new libertarianism Canada!  That people actually turn a lack of leadership into an enviable trait, only serves to demonstrate that this libertarianism operates in a fantasy land that humans have never visited.  There is nothing admirable in tolerating intolerance and failing to distance yourself, failure to do so is tantamount to sanction, that is your libertarian end game here.

Nobody likes being told what to do, nobody likes excessive intervention in the affairs of men.  However, in a practical world we accept compromises between individual liberty and a greater interest that is the sum of our parts.  There is a naive idealism with these modern expressions of libertarianism, certain legitimate "beefs" taken to the level of borderline absurdity.  I would argue having a person who hopes to "lead" a province fail to admonish outrageous views is the byproduct of a simplistic view of the world that leads to dangerous practicalities.

If recent expressions are representative of Canadian libertarianism, Harper, Smith, the minons and their tortured tenets, I reject it all, see it as dangerous, reckless, woefully simplistic, lacking nuance, ironically close minded and the beginning of the true end of the Canadian federation, at least in any meaningful, cohesive expression.  Time is my unwanted friend on that score.  I believe we are just NOW beginning to digest the impact of rule under misguided ideologues and their almost fairy tale world they think humans can operate within.


JimmE said...

That this so-call political point of view has been tolerated & become ligit is appalling. So-called Libertarianism is a fancy name for fear & greed. This concept needs to be fought ruthlessly & pointed out so that it is no longer socially acceptable.

Jerry Prager said...

I remember when the Bill Davis government wouldn't fine polluters back in the 70's and now Roy McMurtry votes Green, no wonder Harper got rid of progressives, can't be a corporatist stooge if you care about the environment we're going to leave our grandchildren.

Jerry Prager said...

It's Ayn Rand's legacy, the nonsense of Objectivism, a woman who routinely abused her own followers: the anti-government, pro corporatist, faux libertarian, rugged "individualism" of morons: of faux Christian hate mongers, who think dominion over the land means raping resources, rather than intelligent stewardship: the school of deregulation: the thing Harper wanted to do the banking systems before he was elected. He is the newest master of failed policy initiatives stretching back to the Lack of Common Sense Reactionaries and the American Bush League, polices that put the people of Ontario at risk.
I'll take anarchists over libertarians every day of the week, because real anarchists have intellectual vigour, while libertarians are nothing more corporate pimps.

Jerry Prager said...

I do think however, that a genuine liberal political philosophy focused on greatest equal liberty would bring true liberatrians a little closer to voting liberal.

Tof KW said...

...libertarianism has been hijacked by the right wing and we have this bastardized belief system which frankly borders on the absurd.

Libertarianism has always been a deeply flawed, unrealistic, and somewhat Utopian view of a "perfect" world of total freedoms. Our own personal morals will guide society as a whole?


That's as pathetically crazed as Communism's central belief of no possessions and everyone willing to work for the common good.

Communism is screwed up because people are inherently greedy and like to own things. Libertarianism is screwed up because people are dishonest in the pursuit of their greed, and they can't be trusted to police themselves.

And thus both Karl Marx and Ayn Rand utterly failed while penning their highly simplistic and implausible "manifestos."

The world is never simple, so never trust simple solutions offered by simpletons.

Koby said...

Tof KW

The notion that the central core of communism is the belief that there are no possessions is really funny. I assure you. Marx had no desire for communal underware. Your briefs are yours in way a libary book is not yours. What he was calling for was common ownership of the means of production. Equally silly is putting Marx and Ayn Rand on the same intellecutal footing. Rand is a joke. No one outside of right wing American politicians takes her the at all seriously. That is in marked constrast to Marx. Whatever your thoughts about Communism, Marx was still one of the better economists of his day.

Steve V said...

"Libertarianism has always been a deeply flawed, unrealistic, and somewhat Utopian view of a "perfect" world of total freedoms. Our own personal morals will guide society as a whole?"

I agree with that, it never works in a practical sense, but I would suggest differing degrees of delusional approach. As someone else pointed out, the idea of corporations as people is particularly fairy tale in belief.

Tof KW said...

Koby, I realized my error of placing Rand in the same intellectual company of Marx after posting that. Indeed, Rand is a mental midget and should never be placed in the same company as Marx.

I do in fact respect Marx for his attempts to develop a Utopian society free of war and class struggles. That was noble. Rand was nothing but a half-witted shoddy novelist who tried to justify unbridled selfishness and greed. She was also a fraud and hypocrite for grabbing social security and medicare when she needed them in her final years.

However you can not disagree with my central tenet; both communism and libertarianism are glaringly flawed due to their disregard of man's greed (communism's main defect) and the lengths some will go to acquire wealth and power (libertarianism's main defect).

As for the lack of ownership under communism, that part is very real. You can trivialize this with your communal underwear jokes, but our family emigrated from communist Eastern Europe in the 60's, so I have some knowledge of what life was like there. We did not own our house, or the land it was on. No ownership meant we could not better our lives. This was the main reason for us leaving ...and the main reason why communism will always fail.

Anonymous said...

I find it quite entertaining seeing so many communists and fascists commenting here with their knickers in serious knot.

How the heck did you all find a libertarian website??

Funny thing is they call in to question the inteligence of those who believe in libertarianism yet show their complete ignorance of the ideology. Spewing the usual accusations of greed and immorality.

Afraid of something? Yes, truth and liberty. Those virtues always win in the end.

The statists both left and right see the end of their reign.

Peaceful, cooperative and free people will will hopefully have their day.