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Libertarian Socialism is an Oxymoron?

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I don't think it is. I just took that 8-axis-test and I'm a social libertarian apparently (which I would agree with).

Social libertarianism to me means regulating capitalism while providing universal health care, pensions and other forms of support - that's the social part. The libertarian part is stuff like being pro-choice, pro gay marriage, being against surveillance by the state, etc. (I'm also against "modern" feminism because it strikes me as very regulatory in nature). In Germany we had a social-liberal coalition in power for 13 years and it's my preferred coalition on a state-level.



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Not sure, but Swedes at least have some sort of national bipolar disorder when it comes to politics. Many I've met are leftist authoritarians who desire a consensus driven, collectivist society that simultaneously supports and even emphasizes minority and individual rights. This is of course absurd and a complete ideological collision, many just tick off the "good boxes" of the political map to maximize their decency for social media points and feelgood motions at the town square while wearing brand clothing and gear likely made from slave workers. It's a little bit funny but mostly scary.



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vivster said:

Government intervention is required to give everyone a chance to be free. The "freedom" capitalists love to talk about is only for a minority of the population. Leaving a society to their own devices leads to chasms and elites that only benefit a few people at the top.

So yes, more government intervention is more freedom net total.

We wouldn't need intervention if the human nature was altruistic. But alas, it's the opposite.

I pretty much agree with this, whether it's conglomerates or goverments calling the shots; someone is still calling the shots and decisions will benefit some and hurt some. The idea that capitalism sets us free is quite dated and linger from a time where people themselves were commodities and whole swaths of the population could be ignored to benefit the few. It creates a caffee late society where the majority is the brown sludge filling most of the glass to keep the excellent foam afloat up top.



End of 2016 hardware sales:

Wii U: 15 million. PS4: 54 million. One: 30 million. 3DS: 64.8 million. PSVita: 15.2 million.

Aeolus451 said:
Farmageddon said:

I'm curious, have you read VGPolyglot's and specially nemo37's posts on this topic here? If so, would you care to elaborate as to how they're like cats trying to catch their own tails?

The term makes sense, has been long used and is still used to this day in many circles. It just so happens that "libertarian" has been in large part appropriated by some sectors of the right, specially in some countries. It was not always like this, though, and the term came into usage as a term from the left - which also happened to be called socialist, but more on that later. Murray Rothbard, in his "The Betrayal of the American Right, p. 83, says: "One gratifying aspect of our rise to some prominence is that, for the first time in my memory, we, “our side,” had captured a crucial word from the enemy . . . “Libertari­ans” . . . had long been simply a polite word for left-wing anarchists, that is for anti-private property anarchists, either of the communist or syndicalist variety."

Moreover, it's kinda silly to argue anarchists, for example, would be incurring in contradiction by calling themselves libertarian just cause a right wing ideology took the term to identify themselves after the fact, specially when it could easilly be argued the term is representative of the former group in more senses then it is of the later.

Also, socialism has been identified with either state-economy dictatorships à la URSS, or with wellfare states. The former is just convinient (both for people pointing fingers at it as, back then, for the URSS themselves), while the later could realistically at most be said to have some socialist tendencies. What they both have in commom, though, is that most of the sectors which comprised (and still comprise) the left would disagree that they and they only are socialists.

Futhermore, the broader, older, definition of socialism is useful, as it shows what many ideiologies have in commom, from what we'd call Socialism today, to democratic currents which defend a people's government before "true communism" (aka a democratic socialism), to free-communists/anarcho-communists, to all other kinds of anarchists (minus ancap's,  but that's another discussion). It's also still in vogue, even though a lot of stigma has been built over the term. The adjective has meaning beside the proper noum. You can be "democratic" and not like North Korea's dictatorship. There's no contradiction there.

All in all, neither the words taken separate have opposing meanings, nor the term-as-a-whole is contradictory. People do believe liberty should and can - and many would argue can only - be had in a society withouth private property/wage labour/captalism/things-of-the-like-for-example. You might disagree, but that's beside the point here. If people think like that than libertarian socialist is an apt description of their beliefs. Morevor, the term-as-is, and not the simple juxtaposition of the words, has both an history and a meaning of it's own, which also makes sense and, yes, is still alive in the world, even if fringe.

I will give you though that this usage is not current in most circles, and that in those it's bound to raise questionsd/ anor cause confusion. That by no means makes the term an oxymoron.

 

Sorry for typos and bad structure, by the way. I should get some sleep :p

I read the op and glanced around a bit in the 1st page then looked into libertarian socialism then into libertarianism/sociolism then I posted. I didn't read into the history of each term or their older meanings for the most part. I also didn't look into how those terms are defined around the world. I didn't have hours to research and compose a post that was better written. 

Socialism is authoritarian in nature while libertarism is the oppisite of that. The political beliefs behind those words are in opposition of eachother. The name libertarian socialism is a oxymoron because of that. Alot of different things I read on this go into a in-depth explanation just behind the name or terminology without really getting to the meat libertarian socialism. That's what I meant with like a cat trying to catch their own tail. Even the explaination of libertarian socialist is convoluted. Tryin' to get a bead on their stances on issues has been fun. 

 

(1) "Libertarian = a person advocating total individual freedom through minimizing the role of the government. 

Socialism = the abolition of privately held means of production. 

A libertarian socialist sees the state as a coercive authoritarian institution which the elite uses to exploit the people. A libertarian socialist sees capitalism as a way for the ones with money, i.e. power, to enforce oppression on the ones who don't. 

Free market is about as fair as the freedom to kill an innocent person."

 

(2) "Libertarian Socialism is a political philosophy that advocates abolition of the state and private property. The term can also be synonymous with anarchism or left libertarianism. The term chould be differentiated from right libertarianism with it's emphasis on laissez-faire capitalism as opposed to libertarian socialism's anti-capitalism and anti-statism ideals.

Johnny is a libertarian socialist who believes in abolition of private proverty along with the state. He believes in a non-violent organic shift to libertarian socialism as opposed to a revolutionary overthrow of authoritarian regimes."

 

(3) "A libertarian socialist would argue that a society based on such huge disparities of wealth is unfree. If you wish to enter into employment, you choose first and take orders later (as with liberal democracy). Libertarian socialists believe in voluntary association and economic democracy. This will allow the individual to reach his/her full potential. "

Depending on which one of those you go by on this, it could seen as an oxymoron or just another type of socialism. In my opinion, they should change the name of it to something else to permnantly resolve the discussion surrounding it's name. It detracts from the beliefs behind it. Anyway, libertarian and socialism shouldn't be in the same name. 


First off, socialism isn't authoritarian in nature. I don't know who told you that, but they're wrong. Socialism is at it's very core democratic in nature, since it relies on the common ownership of the means of production.

"a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole." - http://www.dictionary.com/browse/socialism

 

A Libertarian Socialist would be someone who believes that both the means of production, and political power should be controlled by the people as a whole.

" the appeal to a form of emancipation grounded in decentralized, cooperative and democratic forms of political and economic governance which most libertarian socialist visions, tend to share." - Critical theory and libertarian socialism: Realizing the political potential of critical social theory. Bloombury. New York-London. 2014. p. 189

I really don't see what makes this so difficult to understand.

Oh, and Urban Dictionary isn't really a valid source when talking about political ideologies.



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Normchacho said:

A Libertarian Socialist would be someone who believes that both the means of production, and political power should be controlled by the people as a whole.

I think this definition is too restrictive to a particular type of libertarian socialism (particularly communism.) A syndicalist, mutualist, and especially an individualist does not think the people as a whole should control a particular means of production, for example. The syndicalist wants the workers via trade-unions (syndicates) to control the means of production. The mutualist thinks everybody should ideally have access to a means of production, but the people "as a whole" don't necessarily control everything. The individualist would be even more antagonistic to your definition, as obviously the most extreme individualists prefer a contractual artisan society. All of these fall under "socialism" and all are libertarian. 

I think only communists and collectivists would agree with your definition, which while they fall under the libertarian-socialist umbrella, they are only a subset of the whole.



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If you take the two terms in their commonly used application, yes it is an oxymoron.

However, libertarian socialists hold that wage-labour relations are in effect anti-liberal. Therefore they seek to abolish capitalist relations that have been construed as 'rational'. There is nothing inherently harmonious about hierarchy, which is what economic libertarianism within the context of private ownership relies upon. If you take liberty as a field that should also apply to the relations of wage-labour, then libertarian socialists seek to establish the sort of 'libertarian conditions' that would emancipate and autonomize workers, the poor, etc.

In that context it is not so much an oxymoron, but rather a mutation of what is commonly understood as 'libertarianism'.



vivster said:

Government intervention is required to give everyone a chance to be free. The "freedom" capitalists love to talk about is only for a minority of the population. Leaving a society to their own devices leads to chasms and elites that only benefit a few people at the top.

So yes, more government intervention is more freedom net total.

We wouldn't need intervention if the human nature was altruistic. But alas, it's the opposite.

Coming from someone who studies Political Theory at doctorate level, I must say that your first paragraph is excellently placed. Well thought out. Wouldn't mind to have students like you, unlike some of those who clearly feel that a University degree is a chore...



I think reading this, I have concluded that libertarian socialism is a massive oxymoron. Anyone who has defended the notion has mostly directly or indirectly has can back to the idea of government of enforcing those socialist values on to a society.

I see a lot of theoretical talk on here but pretty much can we skip the bullshit and just realize in todays world....

Progressives require a large big government enforcing progressive values onto society for their vision of society to come to fruition.

Because that is the only realistic way that will ever happen, and I find the justification that it can libertarian in nature turning into sort of theoretical exercise with no correlation to the politics of the current times.

 

Its rather simple, if a progresive governmnet wants me to have public healthcare for the bettr of all, I cannot for example seek private health care in Canada on my own...

If a society wants to put a cap on CEO pay to close the wage gap and be more equal, it is not being libertarian.

Pretty much I think its time to call a spade a spade. 



LadyJasmine said:

I think reading this, I have concluded that libertarian socialism is a massive oxymoron. Anyone who has defended the notion has mostly directly or indirectly has can back to the idea of government of enforcing those socialist values on to a society.

I see a lot of theoretical talk on here but pretty much can we skip the bullshit and just realize in todays world....

Progressives require a large big government enforcing progressive values onto society for their vision of society to come to fruition.

Because that is the only realistic way that will ever happen, and I find the justification that it can libertarian in nature turning into sort of theoretical exercise with no correlation to the politics of the current times.

 

Its rather simple, if a progresive governmnet wants me to have public healthcare for the bettr of all, I cannot for example seek private health care in Canada on my own...

If a society wants to put a cap on CEO pay to close the wage gap and be more equal, it is not being libertarian.

Pretty much I think its time to call a spade a spade. 

If you did make a serious attempt to understand what people were saying you wouldn't bring up silly strawmen like government provided health-care or maximum wages. 

Libertarian socialists are not social democrats. They don't support government provisioned goods nor regulated markets. 

 

You have yet to address my explanation of economies of scales vs. diseconomies of scales, for example. You have yet to address the idea that people would freely choose not to work for wages, like millions of self-employed people do today. You instead pretend that libertarian socialists are socio-democrats or state socialists, which is not the case. 

 

Consider the scenario where I and a group of friends decide to collectively till a field, grow a bunch of fruit, and then either use what we've grown or sell it to others and split the income. We all have an equal claim to the field as well as an equal claim to the fruits of our collective labor. That is socialism. Now, instead suppose that my neighbor Joe owns a field, but has a broken back. He wants somebody to take over and will pay them to pick fruit from his field and sell it on the market. That is capitalism. 

 

Both of these relationships can exist without government or with a weak government. As long as nobody forces somebody into one of these relationships, it is voluntary and therefore libertarian. 

 

Libertarian socialists predict that without a strong state people would prefer to work for themselves rather than work for property owners for a wage. That is all it is. No government nor a strong government necessary.



Normchacho said:

<snip>

I really don't see what makes this so difficult to understand.

Oh, and Urban Dictionary isn't really a valid source when talking about political ideologies.

Hey, it's my turn to thank you.

Also, I think most people's idea of the word "socialism" comes, directly or indirectly, purposefully or otherwise, from propaganda and/or ignorance, which are usually pretty hard to overcome. Moreover, these are already people who, considering the selection bias, are less likelly to consider the (broder sense) socialist ideas or be willing to give it much o a thought, and actually tend to have a pretty strong reaction to BABYEATINGCOMMUNISTSCUM. The fact the term "socialism" has originally and continuosly been used in another sense by those who actually study and/or participate in the movements the term describes seems to not always be enough to overcome this.