Clarification of Ideas Around Libertarianism

Jim, I believe we have started talking straight past each other. Let us see if we can sort of the misunderstandings.

Let me begin by clarifying that I don’t claim to know libertarian ideology or philosophy. If I am misrepresenting your position, you will just have to try to clarify where I am going wrong.

What I have allowed myself to do, is to take my interpretation of what I have read on the subject combined with your answers to tease out what I view as the most important points of contention.

I do not see any problems with citizens creating a society according to libertarian principles. That is their choice and right. Now if I lived in such a society I would use my right to free speech to argue against such a society, but I would respect that within this society, taxes are defined as theft.

Here is my sticking point: You libertarians seem to insist taxation is theft under any society. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong in this assumption.

My point is that citizens of every society must be the ones defining whether taxes are theft or not. It must be possible to have societies where citizens define taxes as theft as well as societies where taxes are not defined as theft.

Each society must allow its citizens to define the meaning of property rights as they see fit. Some may define property rights in libertarian terms. That is fine. Their society, their choice. Likewise citizens of other societies should be allowed to define a more limited sense of property rights.

The only things that are absolute in my view is:

  1. Society must be democratic. The majority has to be able to define the laws by which society is governed. Exactly how this works should be flexible. On can imagine different arrangements for division of power and representation.
  2. The majority are not allowed to pass any laws which cancels democracy. Democracy is not allowed to end itself.

I think it is sensible to keep the list of absolute rules to a bare minimum. How property or taxes should be defined or whether it should even exist should be up to the citizens to define through a democratic process. In this regard I deem a socialist style society equally legitimate as a capitalist style society, as long as it remains democratic.

I hope this clarifies any misunderstanding of my criticism of libertarianism.

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Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.

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