Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Left - Right Libertarian Link


When arguing with liberals such as a Truth 101, or a Jerry Critter or even a Jersey McJones, I become frustrated because I see that underneath the arguments, we share some fundamental goals, like a prosperous and free America.  It is the means we disagree on.

Roderick Long is a left-libertarian and he laments, as I do, our failure to bring those from the left into the libertarian fold.


His article, How to Reach the Left, is a masterpiece. It gives great insight into just what left-libertarianism looks like.  It is far from the loony left that haunts the Democrat party.  He disdains that crowd as the "Aristocratic Left," and is quite hostile to it...
These are left-wingers who have a particular vision of an idyllic society and are prepared to hammer into place anyone whose preferences or behavior don't align with the vision; in effect they see other people as their property.
More importantly, I think he has staked out some libertarian common ground where liberty lovers on the left and right could unite, if each group could drop some preconceived notions.

His argument rests upon the premise that we do not have a truly free market, and I agree with him on that...
Consider, for example, the recent debate in the United States over healthcare, in which the choice between our prevailing corporatist system of healthcare and a somewhat more socialistic one was presented as a choice between a free market and socialism — so that opponents of prevailing corporatism were tricked into supporting socialism as the antidote, and opponents of socialism were tricked into supporting the prevailing corporatism as the antidote.
it is true that free markets penalize irrational business decisions; but it will be difficult to convince people of this if [...] they continue to labor under the conflationist delusion that current economic conditions are a reasonable approximation to a free market. 

How do you like your tyranny?  Democrat or Republican?

Long’s thesis identifies the source of our contention:  The left's attempts to protect people from the tyranny of big business ends up making us slaves of the state.  The right thinks it is arguing for free markets, but the result is corporate fascism.  False freedom for the people, a gilded cage (to protect them from predators) for businessmen and bankers

Here's an Example:
So when conservative lawmakers strip away regulations on risky loans without repealing deposit insurance, what they are "deregulating" is not a purely private business, but rather a business that enjoys government-granted privileges — which is not the sort of deregulation that libertarians favor.

Libertarians favor taking away the government-granted privileges as well.  Doing otherwise creates a moral hazard.

The Problem of Corporations

I see some problems with big corporations, and I share some of the left’s unease with them.  Here is a left-libertarian critique of the corporation in a nutshell:
The problem with the corporate form is that it grants to private business a distinctive governmental feature — legal personhood, and the accompanying privilege of limited liability — without the correlative burden of democratic accountability; granting such a status, van Eeghen argues, constitutes an un-libertarian surrender of individual responsibility, and confers the benefits of ownership without its corresponding costs, thus enabling corporations to concentrate power and externalize risk in ways to which libertarians should object. (Mises Daily)
Piet-Hein van Eeghen readily acknowledges the benefits of corporations, but his critique makes sense.  For the pro-corporation argument, see  In Defense of the Corporation - Stephan Kinsella

Mo Bigger Government is Not the Answer

The answer to corporate behemoths can’t be to make government even bigger.  Too often government becomes the teammate of corporations instead of being the referee.  This spurs corporations to ever greater heights of irresponsibility, thanks to the government-provided safety net.

We need look no further than wall street, where whizz kids wrecked our economy and nobody went to jail because nobody broke any laws. Financial chieftains can crash an investment firm and destroy billions in wealth, paying no price whatsoever.  If that is not an invitation to irresponsibility, I don't know what is.

Making corporate heads, board members and officers financially liable for the actions of the corporation would go a long way towards snuffing the wild speculation and reckless gambling that continues to endanger our nation.  Knowing you will have to eat your losses engenders prudence.

Can left and right agree that exposing the big behemoths and the pseudo-capitalists to the vagaries of the free marketplace would be a good starting point?

13 comments:

Jack Camwell said...

The way I see it is that government and corporations are both run by people. People in positions of power are going to do whatever is necessary to keep it.

Some people might be more benevolent than others, but "all who gain power are afraid to lose it. Even the Jedi." =)

Trestin said...

Good stuff. I checked out some of the links. I had no idea Jersey has a site.

Silverfiddle said...

The blog links were just a simple courtesy. The good stuff is the links to Mises.org

Country Thinker said...

"Consider, for example, the recent debate in the United States over healthcare, in which the choice between our prevailing corporatist system of healthcare and a somewhat more socialistic one."

This is a critical statement that is very hard to get people to understand, especially when you have a president (Bush) who said "we have to suspend the free market to save the free market."

I would also add that any economy that has a central bank that can artificially lower inerest rates, as well as print money with a keyboard stroke preclude our economy from being a free market.

Silverfiddle said...

Country: True, so true. I do think more Americans are waking up to the reality of what you say.

Fascism sounds harsh and is not completely applicable, but our government, the banks and big biz are locked in an orgiastic love embrace funded by We The People.

conservativesonfire said...

There are more than ample number of coporations that are willing to scam the system (Monsanto, GE, the big banks are just a few) and plenty politicians that are willing to coopperate. This not free market capitalism or even anything close. It does seem that bigness is a common thread. I don't know what we do about that except to the extent possible we need to down size government and re- establish the limits the Founders provided so that politicians have less influence to sell.

Leticia said...

Libertarians favor taking away the government-granted privileges as well. Doing otherwise creates a moral hazard.

I can totally stand behind this concept.

Jersey McJones said...

A corporation is not a human being, nor is it excused of human abuse.

Good post.

JMJ

MK said...

".....I see that underneath the arguments, we share some fundamental goals, like a prosperous and free America. It is the means we disagree on."

Sorry, but i have to disagree, the left everywhere in the world claim to want prosperity for all, but what they have delivered every single time is the exact opposite. Just look at your own states where liberals are in power, they've turned just about everything to sh!t. I suppose your average garden-variety halfwit liberal wants prosperity for all. But at some point you have to stop accepting ignorance and stupidity as an excuse from them because over and over and over, their side of politics has only delivered mediocrity and a lower standard of living.

Just look at the number of people fleeing democrat controlled states, i'm telling you the left's fundemental goals are not a prosperous and free America, it's the opposite.

"The left's attempts to protect people from the tyranny of big business ends up making us slaves of the state."

The left have no problem with the tyranny of big business, the problem is that their ideology cripples them from making a big business of any sort. The only big business they can make is big government which as you say is tyrannical.

"Can left and right agree that exposing the big behemoths and the pseudo-capitalists to the vagaries of the free marketplace would be a good starting point?"

MK said...

"Can left and right agree that exposing the big behemoths and the pseudo-capitalists to the vagaries of the free marketplace would be a good starting point?"

I can.

MK said...

"A corporation is not a human being, nor is it excused of human abuse."

Yes, and you'd agree the same should apply to these bastards right?

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/felled-by-an-invidious-green-plot-20100818-12f2r.html

Silverfiddle said...

MK: I chalk up liberal failure as a failure to learn, from their own mistakes and from history.

Silverfiddle said...

MK: The Green behavior was criminal, and if people were free to protect their property with lethal force, criminal activity like this would grind to a halt.

What a sad story...