Saturday, November 24, 2007

The freedom to fly though the windshield

Libertarianism doesn’t work for me in the complex modern society. In the early days of human existence we were a bunch of tribes making a living as hunter-gatherers. As populations increased we eventually developed a more complex society thanks primarily to the development of agriculture and writing. The domestication of plants and animals gave us some control over food supplies, as we are a poorly adapted predator. We are not strong, fast and we don’t have much in the way of fangs. As much as we don’t like the idea we were probably more scavenger than great hunter until we began to develop technology. First language then writing magnified the effects of that technology until today we have the capacity to willfully destroy the world and unwittingly destroy life on a mass extinction level. We have adapted to live in a new social order also. The history of man as political animal is primarily one of rule by the strongest much like other animal groups. Again as we developed we acquired more complex structures to govern our interactions but we are still for the most part ruled by strongmen. Democracy is an ideal that does not exist anywhere although varying amounts of democratic principles are exercised by different nations. This has led us to the various isms of which libertarianism is on my mind. The libertarians claim to be the champions of individual freedom but to me they are just selfish to the extreme. This seems to be a creation of the privileged to justify their behavior. I was reading a critique of Aynn Rand earlier and that is what stimulated this entry. Atlas Shrugged is 50 years old. I just can’t justify extolling the individual to the detriment of the larger society the way she and the libertarians advocate. If we as a species are going to survive we are going to have to arrive at an accommodation with socialism. The capitalist system is a tyranny especially as practiced by the libertarians. They want to be free to use land as they see fit without regulation of any kind. In practice this destroys the environment that we all must live in. They somehow have adapted natural selection to society in such a way that land holders are the fittest and the rule of law exist to preserve their status and nothing else. They are unwilling to deal with the concept that in a society as complex as ours no one can prosper without cooperation. If you are free to ignore the recommended vaccinations for your children than eventually the diseases like measles and mumps that used to kill huge numbers would return. We see this at college campuses on occasion today. We set up free trade agreements to get around environmental and labor protections in the mane of economic development and we get poison products and poison air. I would like to see the libertarians like Ron Paul that extol freedom for them but want restrictions on abortion and isolation as a foreign policy challenged on the face of their arguments. Seatbelt laws save lives and they reduce the burden on the rest of us to care for the victims of accidents. You are not free to poison my air I don’t care how many brown people you are willing to kill to keep your private property

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