Libertarianism: What is Natural?

All disagreements on the merits of libertarianism can be distilled to the question of what is natural, in particular with respect to the ownership of property.

My claim is that the laws of nature do not specify how human society should be organized or arranged, only humans can decide that.

The problem I see with libertarianism is that there is something inherently authoritarian about the ideology. One is essentially claiming that a bunch of dead philosophers are the only true guardians of the definition of property rights. That is an appeal to authority, which I am profoundly against.

The only sensible choice is for the inhabitants of any society to collectively agree how that society should work, including how the idea of property should be understood. The idea of taxation as theft, then quickly collapse as a house of cards.

Taxation is rejected on the grounds that you have absolute dominion over the property you own. However if all property is held by the government and you only have a right to certain types of utilization, then you owe the government taxes for residing on their land.

The libertarian idea of taxation as theft gets into a catch-22 situation. For taxation to be theft, you already have to live in a libertarian society. You need to live in a society where property rights are absolute.

It also makes the consenting argument fall apart. If you walk onto my property as a child, I may have agreed to take care of all children and thus you. However when you become an adult, you got to continue abiding by my laws or leave. Saying: “I want to stay in your land, but not follow your rules is profoundly unjustified.”

Oh, sure. You can. IF some other country will accept you. And if they don’t? Do you grab yourself a boat and just float around the oceans never touching land again?

If that is your choice. It is not some sort of universal right to have every kind of society available to chose from. Reality is that it is. Unfortunately reality has an anti-libertarian bias.

If there is no place you can go to and voluntarily consent to their contract, or no place that will accept you, then you’re simply trading one slave owner for another. But in the end, you’re still a slave.

You are only a slave in your imagination. You are only a slave if you chose libertarian ideology as some sort of absolute truth. Just like every wage earner is a slave, only when they chose to believe in communist ideology. I am sure there are people who belive they live in a tyranny because they can’t eat as many marshmallows as they like. The human mind can invent any kind of arbitrary rule which must be observed lest they deem society a tyranny or inhumane.

Have you read Locke? He does a pretty fair job of describing it.

I haven’t, perhaps you can give me the short version of point me to a good description online?

Do you own the water flowing through your land right now? What makes you think that any of this would be done any differently in a libertarian society?

The difference as I’ve elaborated on initially is I am basing society on a collective agreement between the citizens of that society. Citizens can chose to elect people who can draft up detailed laws and rules which then can vote on and ratify.

This contrasts with your explanation of the libertarian view, which relies on the concept of property rights defined outside of human society. You say government cannot decide what constitutes property rights. If government cannot do that, how can they then work out the details of property rights?

Who exactly is going to be in charge of defining what sort of detail of the laws agrees or disagrees with Locke’s idea of property rights? By not accepting the collective will as the fundamental decider, you are essentially ending up having a secular theocracy. A secular priesthood will be put in charge of interpreting the true meaning of Locke’s texts.

Essentially libertarianism ends up as a religion, and I reject all forms of religion.

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

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