View Poll Results: Do libertarians inadvertently enable fascism?

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Thread: Do libertarians inadvertently enable fascism?

  1. #21
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    Re: Do libertarians inadvertently enable fascism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    Indeed. But people seem to want to pin some of these outcomes on libertarian political philosophy. However it appears without the induction of libertarian values into the system. In fact, adopting some of the core libertarian values can help to fight this effect. All government will trend towards tyranny if not carefully watched and constrained. At the base of libertarian political theory is a belief in some form of minarchism. That is to say an acknowledgment that government is in some form necessary, but attempts should be made to watch and control it so that it cannot grow too far and begin to act against our rights and liberties.

    You can get further in depth with the varying degrees of government involvement called for under libertarian theory, but at the heart is the following. The results of oligarchy and the rise of the aristocracy are not events isolated to the libertarian political platform.
    Weakening government is no solution against oligarchic influence. Not that oligarchic influence bothers me more than popular influence.

    Oligarchs grasp for power in all directions. Limiting government just creates a new kind of opportunity.
    Last edited by Morality Games; 11-03-10 at 07:06 PM.
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    Re: Do libertarians inadvertently enable fascism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    Plutocracy. Aristocrat implies a person has gained their power because of an ancestor's valor on the battlefield or through some notable act of public service, and that they are entitled to the position because abilities are passed long through lineages. The merchant equivalent is plutocrat. Both are weak forms of meritocratic selection, which is, rule of the most skilled.
    I use aristocracy more in the class sense as functionally the groups are equivalent and both our aristocracy and the aristocracy of ol' are perpetuated and proliferated through families with the greatest means.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    Weakening the government doesn't stop plutocracy. It requires informed and vigorous control on the part of the people, or representatives who genuinely care about the people, to keep the government effective, but the government must be strong.
    Weakening the government in general may or may not act to prevent plutocracy. However, libertarian philosophy is not to reduce government to the point in which it breaks. We're not looking to break government; merely have it operate in a more responsible manner which is respectful and protective of the rights and liberties of the individual. That being said, while we look to decrease the overreaching arm of government force against the individual; we are not looking to end all government nor all proper forms of regulation and oversight. There are places government can belong; it just must always be mindful of our rights and liberties.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

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  3. #23
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    Re: Do libertarians inadvertently enable fascism?

    Government is a system that has the tendency to expand and become tyrannical, excessively using power and screw people over, if not contained by private actors.

    Private actors have the tendency to expand, become plutocracies and excessively use their power, to screw people over, if not contained by government.

    It's a tightrope walk, and the best we can hope for is a healthy balance. IMHO.
    "Not learning from mistakes is worse than committing mistakes. When you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, it is hard to be tolerant of others and it does not allow even God to be merciful."

  4. #24
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    Re: Do libertarians inadvertently enable fascism?

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    Government is a system that has the tendency to expand and become tyrannical, excessively using power and screw people over, if not contained by private actors.

    Private actors have the tendency to expand, become plutocracies and excessively use their power, to screw people over, if not contained by government.

    It's a tightrope walk, and the best we can hope for is a healthy balance. IMHO.
    Indeed, and the rub is where that balance lies. The varying political philosophies will put emphasis on various areas depending on where they feel that balance is. Libertarian political philosophy is no different, our core is upon the preservation and proliferation of the rights and liberties of the individual. Everything then flows from there. There are many entities to watch, be it from the government sector, the economic sector, etc. And the interplay of these various actors have consequences upon us all. But in all the various libertarian attack threads, it's as if this seems to be an unreasonable process for our political ideology while acceptable in other forms. This thread, the traffic intersection thread, etc. are examples of dishonest or ignorant application of generalized libertarian ideals to a system in which actual libertarian models may not even drive to.

    In this thread people propose that libertarian ideology drives to oligarchy; but oligarchy is already had even in the absence of applied libertarian theory. Thus it is not a product of libertarian political philosophy; but rather the evolution of government once created. Government is necessary, but also dangerous. Thus it must be controlled and restricted, which is where our (libertarian) philosophy currently focuses its efforts.

    In the end, I really hate these troll/attack threads because there's never any real effort to discuss with us our foundations, our platforms, and specifically what we'd like to drive to and what we could accept. It's always some outlandish and silly thing. "libertarianism will drive to fascism" or some other crap like that. And I think a lot gets "blamed" (for lack of a better word) on libertarian philosophy. Too many people, IMO, look at our crazy section and apply that to the overall. And through the liberal use of hyperbole and propaganda lay blame unto our platform which does not rightfully belong. I believe that for many people if they'd seriously sit down and have an adult discussion of libertarian philosophy would come out for the better. Doesn't say you have to agree with it; but in the end would behoove us much more than these silly attack threads and rampant supposition.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

    Quote Originally Posted by A. de Tocqueville
    "I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it."

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    Re: Do libertarians inadvertently enable fascism?

    I think someone is a little vague on what fascism is.

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  6. #26
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    Re: Do libertarians inadvertently enable fascism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    Indeed, and the rub is where that balance lies. The varying political philosophies will put emphasis on various areas depending on where they feel that balance is. Libertarian political philosophy is no different, our core is upon the preservation and proliferation of the rights and liberties of the individual. Everything then flows from there. There are many entities to watch, be it from the government sector, the economic sector, etc. And the interplay of these various actors have consequences upon us all. But in all the various libertarian attack threads, it's as if this seems to be an unreasonable process for our political ideology while acceptable in other forms. This thread, the traffic intersection thread, etc. are examples of dishonest or ignorant application of generalized libertarian ideals to a system in which actual libertarian models may not even drive to.

    In this thread people propose that libertarian ideology drives to oligarchy; but oligarchy is already had even in the absence of applied libertarian theory. Thus it is not a product of libertarian political philosophy; but rather the evolution of government once created. Government is necessary, but also dangerous. Thus it must be controlled and restricted, which is where our (libertarian) philosophy currently focuses its efforts.

    In the end, I really hate these troll/attack threads because there's never any real effort to discuss with us our foundations, our platforms, and specifically what we'd like to drive to and what we could accept. It's always some outlandish and silly thing. "libertarianism will drive to fascism" or some other crap like that. And I think a lot gets "blamed" (for lack of a better word) on libertarian philosophy. Too many people, IMO, look at our crazy section and apply that to the overall. And through the liberal use of hyperbole and propaganda lay blame unto our platform which does not rightfully belong. I believe that for many people if they'd seriously sit down and have an adult discussion of libertarian philosophy would come out for the better. Doesn't say you have to agree with it; but in the end would behoove us much more than these silly attack threads and rampant supposition.
    I understand your frustration. Too harsh polemics and a rude tone easily becomes tiresome. And I hope I did not give you the impression I was blaming you or libertarianism in general for fascism.

    Personally, I sympathize with libertarianism, although I don't consider myself a libertarian (a libertarian friend of mine once said, though, he believes I am a libertarian who has just not read enough Friedman and Hayek yet :P ). Usually, I am by far not as bothered by social safety nets and limited redistribution, as many libertarians I have met seem to be, but I believe, on the contrary, that they are a good thing to compensate bad side effects of free markets. On the other side, I am very wary of genuine socialists or social democrats who go too far in these regards, who seem to distrust markets in general and/or don't understand the market's great strength when it comes to efficiency. Also, I believe the market has done more in history to improve the general public's wealth, than socialism or redistribution has. I'd just not go so far saying that redistribution is wrong or unnecessary. And I am not quite as fond of the qualities of free markets on other fields than efficiency, like justness and fairness -- freedom is not everything, we also need some equality, and when your belly is empty, you can't fill it with the nice freedom from coercion.

    The main problem I see with ideological libertarianism, much like with other ideologies, like socialism, is that they sound great on paper, but I see problems when it comes putting them to reality. To realize the libertarian ideal of a genuinely free market, and a tough, but very small government, is probably just as unrealistic as the establishment of a socialist utopia. And just like the socialists, I see the threat that libertarians may cause quite a few unwanted side effects in their strife for the ideal, when they take actions to make it become reality.

    But I do believe libertarian thought is a good bulwark and balance against prevalent other ideologies, which are often way too embracing of government.
    Last edited by German guy; 11-03-10 at 07:52 PM.
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    Re: Do libertarians inadvertently enable fascism?

    I think that most libertarians are likely well aware of the side effects of our political ideology. There will never be that perfect system, and in reality what you end up with is a conglomeration of various ideologies. However, every ideology has a trade off somewhere.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

    Quote Originally Posted by A. de Tocqueville
    "I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it."

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    Re: Do libertarians inadvertently enable fascism?

    No.However libertarianism will never work and libertarians have the cover of knowing at least at some level it will never be attempted.
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    Re: Do libertarians inadvertently enable fascism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    Fascism? No.

    De facto oligarchy? Yes.

    Italy and Mexico would be examples.
    When were Mexico and Italy libertarian?
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    Re: Do libertarians inadvertently enable fascism?

    Quote Originally Posted by digsbe View Post
    Can you expound more upon your question? I don't quite understand, any examples?
    Sure. I guess my broader question, beyond the immediate one, is whether libertarian politics (and Small Government ideology in general) has unintentional negative consequences that need to be more carefully examined by its proponents.

    In terms of the poll, I'm asking whether Small Government is capable of surviving seditious conspiracies on the part of wealthy interests. For instance, let's imagine a state whose budget is a tiny fraction of its wealthiest citizen's property. Now suppose this citizen commits murder, and this fact is discovered: Would it be realistic for Small Government to be capable of enforcing the law on this person if the perpetrator chose instead to openly defy and/or seek to overthrow it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Spiker View Post
    No.
    Facism is mainly characterized by 2 notable things: the support or use of revolt, violence and rebellion to keep things in control - or to alter what's present.
    And the belief that individuality is *toxic* to your government, economy and overall function as a society.
    Yes, but that doesn't necessarily address the question. An idea can, in practice, have consequences that promote its own opposite extreme.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Spiker View Post
    So - they both shoulder with revolution (through physical means if necessary) - but facism almost *requires* physical control to keep the system at a measured constant (like in the movie Logan's Run)
    I'm not quite sure I understand your point here. Fascism functions through a number of mechanisms, and violence is only one of its tools: It also appeals to bigotry, economic privilege, xenophobia, nationalism, religion, severe punishment of street criminals, and scapegoating of defenseless minorities. People may go along with it due to self-interest, ideological sympathy, apathy, or fear, so fascism does not actually require ubiquitous government presence - only the occasional "making an example" of dissidents, and the persistence of propaganda.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aunt Spiker View Post
    and this is how libertarianism functions. It FULLY encompases individual thought and free-will.
    It rhetorically enshrines them, but libertarianism fails to understand the social mechanisms by which these things are fostered and protected. In other words, in the name of liberty, it may weaken or erase that which protects it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Black_Zawisza View Post
    Reduction of government inadvertently enables big government to take control? Excuse me, what?
    The size of government is unrelated to its power. Arguably Europe has some of the most extensive bureaucracies, while Saudi Arabia is much more parsimonious - a handful of hereditary royalty whose word is law.

    Quote Originally Posted by Black_Zawisza View Post
    The greatest danger is not from the mugger hiding the alleyway, nor from the multibillionaire business magnate, but from the politician in the capital city.
    Everything is ultimately connected, and we have to look at how things operate as an ongoing system - we cannot treat politics as a set of static objects. A politician in a democracy wields power through webs of relationships; a business magnate wields power directly, and has the potential to become less accountable to law the greater their wealth in proportion to the state. This can yield two outcomes, neither of which is desirable: Corruption, by which they use their resources to dictate the composition and policies of government, and (an admittedly extreme scenario) fascist sedition, whereby they seek to use private resources to impose themselves as head of a new government.

    Quote Originally Posted by Black_Zawisza View Post
    Accordingly, the state must be kept on a tight leash, so that the statist atrocities of the 20th century can never be repeated.
    But private power must also be kept on a tight leash, so that the thousand-year horrors of the Middle Ages are never repeated. Libertarians generally fail to appreciate that their ideas lack a rigorous means to prevent wealth from overthrowing constitutional authority. It happens far more often in history than the sort of ideology-driven atrocities of the 20th century.

    Quote Originally Posted by chevydriver1123 View Post
    No because in order for fascism to take route the state needs full control.
    I think you're making a chicken-and-egg error in believing that fascism results from government control - more often than not, it seizes or otherwise acquires power from a much less potent form of government.

    Quote Originally Posted by chevydriver1123 View Post
    It could never happen in a Libertarian society.
    People are people in every society. The question is which societies have the most rigorous mechanisms for deflecting fascist impulses? How would a Libertarian society deal with, for the sake of argument, a billionaire who owned most of the media, employed a private standing army, corrupted elected leaders, and decided to install himself as dictator or his family as hereditary royalty?

    Quote Originally Posted by SE102 View Post
    Ahh I see, meaning with weak institutions strongarms are more likely to take over.
    Yes, exactly. Contrary to the assumptions of many Small Government advocates, bureaucracies tend to diffuse government power rather than enhancing it. Dictators usually prefer a much simpler, military-style chain of command so their orders can be obeyed quickly and efficiently. The bureaucratic inefficiency often condemned by conservatives is part of what makes it resistant to radicalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    Fascism? No.

    De facto oligarchy? Yes.

    Italy and Mexico would be examples.
    Both can be enabled by libertarianism - the only question is the disposition of the seditious elite. I.e., whether they consider it more convenient to organize around a single leader, or to rule as a cabal.

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    Obviously, libertarian philosophy is very far from facism. Maybe you could even say if more people were libertarians, that would make facism less likely.
    Perhaps - although it might make feudalism more likely.

    Quote Originally Posted by German guy View Post
    But I do see a problem, that's not resulting from philosophical tenets of libertarianism, but a side effect of the implementation of such ideals: When democracy and public policy (including democratic elections, individual and pluralist participation and according collective action) is pushed back in favor of markets and mere individualism, you feel more and more people falling off the train: Those who are disadvantaged by the markets, the poor and less wealthy. The side effects of free markets are extreme material inequalities.

    The more you cut safety nets that save those people from the worst excesses of the market, the more prone they become for fascist or other kinds of populist and demagogic paroles. It's "voice or exit", and when you are too poor for either, you revolt. When you have nothing to lose except your chains, you are ready to revolt. And you are ready to follow demagogues.

    Libertarian principles put to action that cause an increase of inequality, and which lowers the power of democracy, will cause the free, republican system to lose legitimacy and support. People who are kept down materially and denied to make a difference with their voice, because the markets dictate everything, are no longer ready to support this system. And when it goes too far, you will find too many people ready to use violence to replace it with another kind of system, even if the alternatives are just illusions.
    Well said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    I think someone is a little vague on what fascism is.
    "-isms" are always subjective, but we can agree on common characteristics that together comprise fascism: I.e., dictatorship, military aggression, demonization of powerless minorities, appeals to race-nationalism and other endemic bigotries, propaganda, veneration of Order, and alliance with economic elites to overthrow democratic constitutions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    I think that most libertarians are likely well aware of the side effects of our political ideology.
    I have to strongly disagree on that, given the levels at which they've supported Republican politics. While there was some principled (and largely perfunctory) opposition to George W. Bush's policies among libertarians, it seemed they considered low taxation a higher priority than protecting basic constitutional liberties. A man who literally defended his policies by citing the medieval Divine Right of Kings doctrine had very strong support among Small Government advocates.

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