- 1:18 pm - Fri, Feb 17, 2012
- 23 notes
Three fundamental components of libertarianism (live and let live, smaller government, and anti-militarism) are dear to me. However, I reject libertarianism as a whole, because at its heart lies a profound misconception. Libertarianism is predicated on the assumption that people are rational. The libertarian refuses to believe that the government is smarter than he is. He rejects the notion that the government should tell him how to live his life, or that the government should take care of him or anybody else. His attitude is that the individual is always smarter than the government. If the individual makes an error in judgement, reality will quickly impose its consequences, and that person will learn and improve.
Pleistocene Hunter Gatherers (via azspot)
The trouble with this quote is the same trouble you encounter with “liberals believe X” or “conservatives believe X.” It fails the ideological Turing Test.
You don’t have to think the individual is always rational and smarter than the government to think the individual has a right to autonomy. Take drug legalization. Libertarians are for it. But I don’t know any libertarians who think using narcotics is smart. It is, of course, stupid and foolhardy.
The libertarian argument for legalization is twofold. The utilitarian case is that prohibition has created a godawful mess — gangs, mass incarceration of minorities, etc. — that has not reduced consumption and that legalization would ameliorate.
The deontological case is that the state has no right to dictate what you can do with your body. It’s YOUR body, and nobody else’s. People have the right to do things even when other people think they are being very stupid.
Neither one of those beliefs is predicated on the assumption that individuals are always rational.
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