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    I Used to be a Libertarian

    I funded my engineering degree by working the drilling rigs during the summer months. Working hard, foregoing recreation, facing the elements, and exposing myself to more workplace danger contributed to a big paycheck. I had contempt for those students who took an easier, but lesser paying, job. So when the libertarian philosophy was first introduced to me, it seemed quite logical: one earns based on one’s effort—and one gets to enjoy the benefits of that effort.

    Then I got thinking. I came from the working poor demographic. My father was a farmer, one of these proud traditional farmers putting in long hours to eke a meager living for his family while providing food for all the city people. Society honored such farmers. But we were still working poor.

    My father did not have a great value for education. In his mind, a strong back and long hours were the way to make a living. Had society demanded that he pay for his children’s education, he probably would have kept me at home doing the farm labor small boys were capable of. And he just didn’t have the money anyways.

    Had the government not paid the expenses for my primary schooling, I could not have gained the skills to enter post-secondary education—and eventually learn about libertarianism. My intellectual abilities were, in a large part, developed by my rural school, the great teachers I had, and my university.

    The best answer I could find within libertarian philosophy on how to educate the children of the working poor would be that some wealthy person or organization would make a deal with my father. They would pay for his children’s primary education, and either we children or my father would somehow pay them back in future labor. That “indentured servitude” didn’t sound right to me at the time, so I abandoned the libertarian philosophy.

    Still the urge to identify with an ideology was strong. For a very brief time, socialism sounded great. Fortunately, that period lasted shorter than my time as libertarian. Eventually I parked myself into a version of conservatism, one that emphasized self-reliance and independence from government but allowed some interference from government to the “natural order”. This stage of my life lasted about 15 years.

    One day, I came across a stunning fact. The drilling rig wages I had put towards to pay my tuition fees only covered 10% of the costs for my post-secondary education. My provincial government picked up the rest of the bill. So here I was with my conservatism ideology, but my education came from a socialist agenda. I had troubles reconciling this paradox. If I were to truly to be a conservative, I should have paid for all my education up front. But even the high wages of the drilling rigs would not have covered these costs.

    Had society not collectively educated young men and women from working poor backgrounds, many of them would not have gone on to fill important occupations in society. In essence, society made an investment its people, and society attained a profit a decade or so later. I could see the logic, so I was starting to think like a socialist again.

    After several years of thinking, I am neither a conservative nor a socialist. I have gravitated towards this political philosophy:
    1. There are situations where society must let individuals make their own choices and live with the consequences.
    2. There are situations where society must take collective action to better society. This means paying taxes and providing services to those who cannot afford them.
    3. The balance between #1 and #2 shall be determined by democratic means.
    4. For each time government tries to effect change in society, it should monitor how well the change is working and make appropriate adjustments.

    Western democracies are already providing some sort of balance. I would argue that it is probably not the best balance we could attain for political parties are far more interested in electoral success than the society they may govern. It’s time for a new system, one not based on “isms.”

    Ironically, I can now see how a libertarian philosophy could work. Those with higher abilities and drive should be allowed to keep much of their earnings. But they also need to be trained to recognize that they have talents, ambition, skills, and experience other people could never attain. The more talented need to become more compassionate and generous and recognize that a strong civil society helps them earn and enjoy a higher income. And for those on the “receiving” end, they must learn to be more grateful and responsible. They still have a duty to move themselves forward in life.

    But we are not in a functional libertarian mindset yet. The only way to get there is to apply a better balance of individual freedom and collective action.

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    Re: I Used to be a Libertarian

    Quote Originally Posted by TDGonDP View Post
    I funded my engineering degree by working the drilling rigs during the summer months. Working hard, foregoing recreation, facing the elements, and exposing myself to more workplace danger contributed to a big paycheck. I had contempt for those students who took an easier, but lesser paying, job. So when the libertarian philosophy was first introduced to me, it seemed quite logical: one earns based on one’s effort—and one gets to enjoy the benefits of that effort.

    ...


    But we are not in a functional libertarian mindset yet. The only way to get there is to apply a better balance of individual freedom and collective action.
    Your conclusion is what I would call 'democratic socialism' which is a popular approach and one that I take on the basis that I don't think that socialism can be imposed by revolution but, by education and debate.

    I flirted with 'libertarianism' at one point but, realised that the internal contradictions and hypocrisy required to apply that tag were not my leaning. I have found that libertarians tend to be 'anarchists' who believe that they already have the means to insulate themselves against the World, usually in league with others of the same status (ironic); they are generally not interested in collectivism unless it is at a level that directly benefits them and are 'drawbridgers' when it suits them.

    I discovered that it was the Anarchistic side of the philosophy that really attracted me and so, I have adopted some aspects of that in terms of personal responsibility to cooperate and try to improve things at a local level.

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    Re: I Used to be a Libertarian

    Quote Originally Posted by William Rea View Post
    Your conclusion is what I would call 'democratic socialism' which is a popular approach and one that I take on the basis that I don't think that socialism can be imposed by revolution but, by education and debate.

    I flirted with 'libertarianism' at one point but, realised that the internal contradictions and hypocrisy required to apply that tag were not my leaning. I have found that libertarians tend to be 'anarchists' who believe that they already have the means to insulate themselves against the World, usually in league with others of the same status (ironic); they are generally not interested in collectivism unless it is at a level that directly benefits them and are 'drawbridgers' when it suits them.

    I discovered that it was the Anarchistic side of the philosophy that really attracted me and so, I have adopted some aspects of that in terms of personal responsibility to cooperate and try to improve things at a local level.
    Thank you for your thoughtful response. There are different kinds of libertarians and socialists, and this article kind of used these terms in the broad sense. And I'm pretty sure that my four points (of what you have called democratic socialism) would still be taken by some thinkers that I believe in nationalization of all business, confiscating all wealth from the rich, and setting up a police state. It's so hard to have reasonable discussion when all socialism is evil.

    As well, there is the philosophical definition of anarchy, which isn't all that bad--and there is the popular definition of anarchy that has us forming groups of 50 or so for our protection in the absence of civil order.

    In my conservative days (again many definitions), I came across many hypocrisies of that philosophy as well. For example, many farmers like to think themselves as conservative, but are often asking for help from government.

    I think your "drawbridgers" is a good description of a common political philosophy. If a government initiative helps me, it is good. If not, then it can be explained as being wrong.

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    Re: I Used to be a Libertarian

    Quote Originally Posted by TDGonDP View Post
    After several years of thinking, I am neither a conservative nor a socialist. I have gravitated towards this political philosophy:
    1. There are situations where society must let individuals make their own choices and live with the consequences.
    True.

    Quote Originally Posted by TDGonDP View Post
    2. There are situations where society must take collective action to better society. This means paying taxes and providing services to those who cannot afford them.
    True, but I will note that this should be done through charity, NOT through compulsion.

    Quote Originally Posted by TDGonDP View Post
    3. The balance between #1 and #2 shall be determined by democratic means.
    I disagree. I think it should be determined, more or less, by charity rather than "compulsion by majority".

    Quote Originally Posted by TDGonDP View Post
    4. For each time government tries to effect change in society, it should monitor how well the change is working and make appropriate adjustments.
    I disagree. I want the charity of individuals to be in control of these matters, not federal government compulsion.

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    Re: I Used to be a Libertarian

    Quote Originally Posted by gfm7175 View Post
    True.


    True, but I will note that this should be done through charity, NOT through compulsion.


    I disagree. I think it should be determined, more or less, by charity rather than "compulsion by majority".


    I disagree. I want the charity of individuals to be in control of these matters, not federal government compulsion.
    From an idealistic standpoint, I would have agree the voluntary giving is preferable to compulsory giving.

    However, we (or should I say the "more wealthy") just are not generous enough to have much of an impact. Our current "have-nots" will have even less, and this sets up an untenable social order. Until we change our mindsets to become more compassionate and generous, a libertarian society cannot function. Maybe sometime in the future, but not now.

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    Re: I Used to be a Libertarian

    Quote Originally Posted by TDGonDP View Post
    From an idealistic standpoint, I would have agree the voluntary giving is preferable to compulsory giving.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by TDGonDP View Post
    However, we (or should I say the "more wealthy") just are not generous enough to have much of an impact.
    Before responding, I will note that this is a bigoted argument, as you are inferring that [all of the "more wealthy" people distinction] are not generous enough from the truth that [a part of the "more wealthy" people distinction] are not generous enough. But, putting that fallacy aside...

    This argument is also too vague for me to adequately respond to... Could you please define what you mean by "more wealthy"? As in, what yearly wage/salary amount would you consider to be the entry level for the "more wealthy" category?

    I would also counter-argue that even the least generous of "more wealthy" people (awaiting a definition for the term), still end up making more of an impact than "less wealthy" (awaiting a definition for the term) people do, even though the "less wealthy" people would obviously be considered more generous from a 'percentage of total wages/salary' standpoint.

    Quote Originally Posted by TDGonDP View Post
    Our current "have-nots" will have even less, and this sets up an untenable social order.
    I agree that people who need help should be helped... It doesn't even have to be in the form of giving them money... It can be in the form of "teaching them how to fish" as well, which typically is the more fruitful method of aid.

    Quote Originally Posted by TDGonDP View Post
    Until we change our mindsets to become more compassionate and generous, a libertarian society cannot function. Maybe sometime in the future, but not now.
    Plenty of people are quite compassionate and generous, if left to their own free will... Other people are not. There's nothing that can be done about that, as not even an entity as great as God can control free will, let alone us humans... The best we can do is 'lead by example' and hope that other people will take notice and want to "join the cause"...

    Compulsion is never the answer... Compulsion, as colored by my personal religious views, comes from Satan himself.

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    Re: I Used to be a Libertarian

    Quote Originally Posted by TDGonDP View Post
    how to educate the children of the working poor would be that some wealthy person or organization would make a deal with my father.
    Toward post secondary perhaps not toward primary education.

    There is an observation that literacy rates raised not with the amount of available education but as market incentive for having a literate workforce increased. This can be observed in many contexts and has more than one implementation.

    In this way there will always be an abundant pool of educational teaching resources as a function of need for literate labour. The public / private then really comes down to efficiently..

    The drilling rig wages I had put towards to pay my tuition fees only covered 10% of the costs for my post-secondary education.
    Why assume that cost of education is properly reflected? edX offer many courses that can cost $30,000 for a few hundred.

    Don't misunderstand. I am only highlighting a budget is a reflection of their condition. Look at dental rates in AB as a function of being on employer-insurance paid the same way medical costs are in the states. I would argue both are highly inflated and are not a reflection of a true free market as seen in other places in the world.

    If people are insulated from price than there is no elasticity and market reaction. If market barriers are too restrictive - same same.

    Privatizing post-secondary would without a doubt prohibitively increase the costs for a short time. If however the demand of the economy was for high skilled educated workforce [which it is]….we would massively accelerate our modernization by reducing fat and inefficient system of formal education which produces marginal productive gains with a certification system based on meritocracy and open learning, which everyone knows is the future anyway. [with the one big risk of just importing foreign labour: china's top 1% is our entire school system]

    Doubt this look no further than secondary education: grades 10-12. How useful an education does the average child receive? ….if preparatory for post-secondary why does it fails in most cases?

    The answer is the system, due to how it funded and administered. If administered well - the student outcomes are good - if administer poorly bad. Cost being a non related factor despite the cries of bias parties and instead being directly tied to funding structure.

    Why bet the total of your students on a public system when you can micronize the problem and have options in a free educational market which generally multiply and compound success overtime?


    I have gravitated towards this political philosophy:
    1. There are situations where society must let individuals make their own choices and live with the consequences.
    2. There are situations where society must take collective action to better society. This means paying taxes and providing services to those who cannot afford them.
    3. The balance between #1 and #2 shall be determined by democratic means.
    4. For each time government tries to effect change in society, it should monitor how well the change is working and make appropriate adjustments.
    This does seem to be the compromise we need, at least for now. I would argue though 3 and 4 are incompatible and the law must enshrine liberty above democracy by imposing strict limits on the ability of society to tax or impose social programs etc. Governments must be view as a cancer as much as a cure to complex problems.

    I honestly though if I could ask one thing in this political world. It would not be internal reform, merely the ability to trade citizenship. If we were allowed to choose our citizenship; I have no doubt my fellow small government conservatives would create our own little slice of paradise. A greater compromise is necessary in a country of millions of divergent views and that leads to too many cooks in kitchen to get anythign close. A socialist to deserves their chance to play god.

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    Re: I Used to be a Libertarian

    Quote Originally Posted by gfm7175 View Post
    Agreed.


    Before responding, I will note that this is a bigoted argument, as you are inferring that [all of the "more wealthy" people distinction] are not generous enough from the truth that [a part of the "more wealthy" people distinction] are not generous enough. But, putting that fallacy aside...

    This argument is also too vague for me to adequately respond to... Could you please define what you mean by "more wealthy"? As in, what yearly wage/salary amount would you consider to be the entry level for the "more wealthy" category?

    I would also counter-argue that even the least generous of "more wealthy" people (awaiting a definition for the term), still end up making more of an impact than "less wealthy" (awaiting a definition for the term) people do, even though the "less wealthy" people would obviously be considered more generous from a 'percentage of total wages/salary' standpoint.


    I agree that people who need help should be helped... It doesn't even have to be in the form of giving them money... It can be in the form of "teaching them how to fish" as well, which typically is the more fruitful method of aid.


    Plenty of people are quite compassionate and generous, if left to their own free will... Other people are not. There's nothing that can be done about that, as not even an entity as great as God can control free will, let alone us humans... The best we can do is 'lead by example' and hope that other people will take notice and want to "join the cause"...

    Compulsion is never the answer... Compulsion, as colored by my personal religious views, comes from Satan himself.
    I think you are missing the point. A truly libertarian society is unsustainable. It will be unable to keep social order and eventually fall in on itself.

    I would say Haiti is the best example of a libertarian society. The rich get to keep most of their money. They hire their police force, have their own hospital, etc. etc. The poor have little opportunity for upward advancement, mostly dependent on foreign aid and the poor-paying jobs proffered by the rich. But everyone is free.

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    Re: I Used to be a Libertarian

    Quote Originally Posted by Conaeolos View Post
    Toward post secondary perhaps not toward primary education.

    There is an observation that literacy rates raised not with the amount of available education but as market incentive for having a literate workforce increased. This can be observed in many contexts and has more than one implementation.

    In this way there will always be an abundant pool of educational teaching resources as a function of need for literate labour. The public / private then really comes down to efficiently..


    Why assume that cost of education is properly reflected? edX offer many courses that can cost $30,000 for a few hundred.

    Don't misunderstand. I am only highlighting a budget is a reflection of their condition. Look at dental rates in AB as a function of being on employer-insurance paid the same way medical costs are in the states. I would argue both are highly inflated and are not a reflection of a true free market as seen in other places in the world.

    If people are insulated from price than there is no elasticity and market reaction. If market barriers are too restrictive - same same.

    Privatizing post-secondary would without a doubt prohibitively increase the costs for a short time. If however the demand of the economy was for high skilled educated workforce [which it is]….we would massively accelerate our modernization by reducing fat and inefficient system of formal education which produces marginal productive gains with a certification system based on meritocracy and open learning, which everyone knows is the future anyway. [with the one big risk of just importing foreign labour: china's top 1% is our entire school system]

    Doubt this look no further than secondary education: grades 10-12. How useful an education does the average child receive? ….if preparatory for post-secondary why does it fails in most cases?

    The answer is the system, due to how it funded and administered. If administered well - the student outcomes are good - if administer poorly bad. Cost being a non related factor despite the cries of bias parties and instead being directly tied to funding structure.

    Why bet the total of your students on a public system when you can micronize the problem and have options in a free educational market which generally multiply and compound success overtime?



    This does seem to be the compromise we need, at least for now. I would argue though 3 and 4 are incompatible and the law must enshrine liberty above democracy by imposing strict limits on the ability of society to tax or impose social programs etc. Governments must be view as a cancer as much as a cure to complex problems.

    I honestly though if I could ask one thing in this political world. It would not be internal reform, merely the ability to trade citizenship. If we were allowed to choose our citizenship; I have no doubt my fellow small government conservatives would create our own little slice of paradise. A greater compromise is necessary in a country of millions of divergent views and that leads to too many cooks in kitchen to get anythign close. A socialist to deserves their chance to play god.
    What good is liberty when society is in a state of chaos?

    Civil order is needed for the wealthy to create and enjoy wealth.

    Europe went through a great upheaval in 1848. Many cities experienced mass demonstrations and break down in order. The reason was that the industrial revolution did not produce a better life for the masses as they moved from agricultural to factory workers. To prevent a total breakdown, the traditional political power brokers ceded some of their powers to the masses. For example, the Habsburg Empire set up a parliament where citizens could vote for the representatives who would then "advise" the aristocracy. Not exactly a true democracy, but a big step towards that concept. Life was still hard, but the agitators felt enough of their demands had been met that they backed off on their protests and order was restored.

    Libertarianism will create a two class system: the extremely wealthy elite and a poor masses. If you can sell libertarianism to the poor masses such that it keeps them placated, then by all means, go for it.

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    Re: I Used to be a Libertarian

    Quote Originally Posted by William Rea View Post

    I flirted with 'libertarianism' at one point but, realised that the internal contradictions and hypocrisy required to apply that tag were not my leaning. I have found that libertarians tend to be 'anarchists' who believe that they already have the means to insulate themselves against the World, usually in league with others of the same status (ironic); they are generally not interested in collectivism unless it is at a level that directly benefits them and are 'drawbridgers' when it suits them.
    I can completely relate to the middle paragraph of your post, which I cut out and quoted above.

    I come out as a libertarian - left on most political mapping tests, but I don't use the label. I'm pretty anti-authoritarian, but I think a functional state is necessary for society to exist on any appreciable scale.
    Maybe they like Trump because they're like Trump.
    Quote Originally Posted by marke View Post
    I don't get the facts from Fox News and others. I am one of the people supplying them with the facts.

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