Quantcast
Libertarian Socialism is an Oxymoron?

Forums - Politics Discussion - Libertarian Socialism is an Oxymoron?

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. 

Sure, if you assume "libertarian socialists" like big states, then the term is indeed an oxymoron given an baseless assumption. Which matters vey little.

As an example, Proudhon, the first one to pubiclaly call himself "anarchist" on a book and using definitions compatible with those of the anarchist movement, did so in a book titled "What is Property? An inquiry into the principle of right and of government", in which he in a single stroke conflates property (private and of the means of producion, in particular) with theft and denounces all forms of government. That (but not necessarily only that) has been called libertarian socialism, for reasons which should be obvious and are self-consistent.

Also, this all doens't only exist in the realms of theory. There are many people who organise themselves according to these principles in a smaller scale (as in, not an entire country), as well as have been some experiences in which large-scale anarchism, or something trying to approach it, has been brought into practice, even nowadays. Be that as it may, it's a fact that many people advocate for these ideas and practices, and that "libertarian socialist" is a meaningfull, descriptive term for those people, regardless of wether they're right or wrong or on the actual applicability or feasibility you or anyone else ascribe to their beliefs.

The discussion here is wether the term makes sense, not wether the philosophies described by such term could come to fruition with good results in this or that context.



Around the Network
sc94597 said:
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.

I can see why many ideas I read on here never come to reality...

Because they are nonsensical to the world that exists and all exists in perfect world theoretical examples. 

Who the hell is tilling for fruit in 2017 in the western world much, people are working complex jobs that are nearly impossible to do on your own on a self employed basis. Therefore the argument of getting rid of wages makes no sense...

 

 

 UNLESS you have a big state government that reshapes the economy...oh how libertarian lol



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. 

Very true. What I find is even more ridiculous is people with economic left leaning ideologies who define themselves as Liberal ( which libertarianism originates from).

Interestingly enough a "classical" Liberal would have been against the social programs as they believed the free market was more efficient in pulling people out of poverty.

 

Same with private property in the means of production.

If you're interested in this economic thought I would suggest looking into Ludwig Von Mises, especially his book "Socialism", where he completely and utterly obliterates every argument for it.



" Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God"

LadyJasmine said:

I can see why many ideas I read on here never come to reality...

Because they are nonsensical to the world that exists and all exists in perfect world theoretical examples. 

Who the hell is tilling for fruit in 2017 in the western world much, people are working complex jobs that are nearly impossible to do on your own on a self employed basis. Therefore the argument of getting rid of wages makes no sense...

 

 

 UNLESS you have a big state government that reshapes the economy...oh how libertarian lol

1. All libertarian conceptions of society (socialist or not)  are theoretical. But guess what, in the 17th century democratic republicanism as a concept was worse than theoretical, it was considered a failure after the examples of Rome and Greece. Most western countries were monarchies or oligarchies. Now look at the world. 

2. Whether or not it is theoretical has nothing to do with the topic: whether or not such a label is an oxymoron. 

3. Working for oneself is not the same thing as self-employment. While some would choose self-employment, others would choose to work in democratically managed cooperatives, communes, syndicates, or even a few might still prefer wage labor. Independent contractors exist in the real world, and I see no reason why they couldn't do any service work as manufacturing becomes mostly automated. 

 

4. Stop plainly asserting things. Support your claims like "UNLESS you have a big state government that reshapes the economy...oh how libertarian lol."



So I challenge anybody who thinks libertarian-socialism is an oxymoron, but enjoys the works of people like Rothbard (the father of modern right-libertarianism) to look further into some of Rothbard's influences. Rothbard certainly considered such persons libertarian and recognized that what they were labeling as "socialist" was not exactly what is colloquially thought of as socialism in a post-Leninist world. He disagreed on the economics without having to misinterpret those with whom he disagreed. 

I carefully chose these from The Mises Institute, because Mises was mentioned in this thread and was another person who influenced Rothbard. The Mises institute is also a big anarcho-capitalist/right-rothbardian hub. 

https://mises.org/library/memories-benjamin-tucker

https://mises.org/library/benjamin-tucker-and-his-periodical-liberty

https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/libertarian-views-intellectual-property-rothbard-tucker-spooner-rand

https://mises.org/library/spooner-tucker-doctrine-economists-view-0

The Spooner-Tucker Doctrine: An Economist's View

"In this article, Murray N, Rothbard discusses Lysander Spooner and Benjamin R. Tucker's anti-State doctrine and how it affected his ideological development."

"
FIRST, I MUST BEGIN by affirming my conviction that Lysander Spooner and Benjamin R. Tucker were unsurpassed as political philosophers and that nothing is more needed today than a revival and development of the largely forgotten legacy that they left to political philosophy. By the mid-nineteenth century, the libertarian individualist doctrine had reached the point where its most advanced thinkers in their varying ways (Thoreau, Hodgskin, the early Fichte, the early Spencer) had begun to realize that the State was incompatible with liberty or morality. But they went only so far as to assert the right of the lone individual to opt out of the State’s network of power and tax-plunder. In this uncompleted form, their doctrines were not really a threat to the State-apparatus, for few individuals will contemplate opting out of the vast benefits of social living in order to get out from under the State ... "



Around the Network
sc94597 said:

So I challenge anybody who thinks libertarian-socialism is an oxymoron, but enjoys the works of people like Rothbard (the father of modern right-libertarianism) to look further into some of Rothbard's influences. Rothbard certainly considered such persons libertarian and recognized that what they were labeling as "socialist" was not exactly what is colloquially thought of as socialism in a post-Leninist world. He disagreed on the economics without having to misinterpret those with whom he disagreed. 

I would credit Mises more than Rothbard as the father of the modern right libertarian and simply reading through his works, such as "Socialism", he points out the incompatibility of socialism and libertarianism​ as in that school of thought, tax is theft and private ownership "Trumps" public ownership.



" Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God"

Nirvana_Nut85 said:
sc94597 said:

So I challenge anybody who thinks libertarian-socialism is an oxymoron, but enjoys the works of people like Rothbard (the father of modern right-libertarianism) to look further into some of Rothbard's influences. Rothbard certainly considered such persons libertarian and recognized that what they were labeling as "socialist" was not exactly what is colloquially thought of as socialism in a post-Leninist world. He disagreed on the economics without having to misinterpret those with whom he disagreed. 

I would credit Mises more than Rothbard as the father of the modern right libertarian and simply reading through his works, such as "Socialism", he points out the incompatibility of socialism and libertarianism​ as in that school of thought, tax is theft and private ownership "Trumps" public ownership.

I consider Mises to be a liberal, but not a libertarian. I define libertarian as, "A subset of liberals who strongly believe in self-ownership, and derive their support for individual rights from the axiom of full self-ownership." This includes right-libertarians, left-libertarians and any libertarian socialist who believes in voluntary action. Unfortunately, Mises believed in things like conscription, did not found his support for individual rights on natural rights, and focused instead on praexology. Rothbard took  from Austrian economics, natural rights theory, and individualist anarchism, combining them all into right-libertarianism. Rothbard's theory starts with the axiom of self-ownership, and derives all other rights from there. 

I am of course a left-Rothbardian/agorist/individualist anarchist , but not a libertarian socialist nor an anarcho-capitalist. I think all property norms, and forms of organization can coexist fine, with dispute resolution enacted by a mutually agreed upon arbitration system. Still, socialism as defined by most libertarian socialists need not be enacted through force. It is entirely voluntary. 

By the way, libertarian socialists would agree that "tax is theft" and aren't fans of "public" (as in state) ownership. 



yeah its an oxymoron as you said both terms are pretty much antagonistic in meaning and implementation

...the problem is that a lot of people join these groups and causes without really understanding what these things actually mean



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.

Pretty much this.  I reject right-libertarianism (the kind most Westerners think of when they hear the term "libertarian" these days, as in the Ayn Rand/Murray Rothbard/Libertarian Party/Cato Institute schools of thought) for the same reasons I reject Marxism. It doesn't mesh well with human nature. They claim to believe in "maximising freedom," but in practice their ideology is little more than an implicit support of "every man for himself/dog eat dog/I got mine, Jack, so screw you" social Darwinism. They use a corruption of Adam Smith's "invisible hand" concept, claiming that, left to its own devices, the market will always self-correct, when history clearly shows that it frequently does not self-correct, and has to be corrected by government intervention, but they continue to adhere to the idea of laissez faire.  John K. Galbraith once said "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness," but that can be just as easily applied to right-libertarians and anyone else with similar economic viewpoints. Whether or not they are just finding ways to rationalize their "selfishness is a virtue, altruism is a vice" ideals to their base, or they honestly believe their own bullshit, is irrelevant. Humans are quite frequently anything but "rational actors," and many a businessman, both large and small, has, out of pure greed and a lack of scruples, sought to cut as many corners and fuck over as many people as they think they can get away with just to boost their profits. The mere existence of human greed and evil lays low the idea that unregulated markets can ever truly function for the benefit of everyone.

"Anarchism" (not in the political sense but in the "anything-goes/no rules" sense) in the marketplace is just as foolish as "anarchism" in society. There will always need to be rules and various checks and balances in place, and some central authority to create and enforce those laws, i.e., a government. Otherwise what's to keep some private entity from running roughshod over other private citizens just to make a buck? Power, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Private power can be just as authoritarian and insidious as any government, as the lessons of the Gilded Age ought to teach us. In the absence of any real rules or regulations, wealthy business interests have shown that they're more than willing to abuse workers, subjecting them to long hours in unsafe conditions with little pay and no benefits, and hiring mercenaries to beat or even murder them if they go on strike; to despoil the environment if it's cost-effective to do so; and to corrupt the government by being able to literally buy politicians. If they thought they could get away with it and make a nickel by doing so, businesses would pay American workers third-world wages and dump toxic waste in the water supply, and they've already succeeded in giving themselves more and more power and influence over the electoral process. I don't care if it's some Standard Oil-like monopoly or the government that's trampling my rights. The end result is the same. There needs to be accountability, and there needs to be rules in place to prevent abuses. Big business has no more of a right to pollute the air I breathe than some random stranger has a right to break in my house and steal my stuff.

 

sc94597 said:

Cool, I got this. I consider myself a Left-Rothbardian, individualist anarchist, strongly pro-market, neutral on the question of property norms. I imagine a polylegal arbitration system where people with different ideas on property resolve their disputes through mutually agreed arbirtrators. I am strongly against state-privilege, especially towards hierarchial institutions. 

https://8values.github.io/results.html?e=29.5&d=66.7&g=83.9&s=62.3

Interesting quiz. I got this:

I was expecting the economic axis to be closer to the middle. I like having a market economy, and I don't even have a problem with making money or even capitalism in and of itself, and worker/consumer ownership of the means of production isn't a priority of mine, though I do believe strongly in the need for regulations, progressive taxation, safety net programs, and a national universal health care system.



sc94597 said:
LadyJasmine said:

I can see why many ideas I read on here never come to reality...

Because they are nonsensical to the world that exists and all exists in perfect world theoretical examples. 

Who the hell is tilling for fruit in 2017 in the western world much, people are working complex jobs that are nearly impossible to do on your own on a self employed basis. Therefore the argument of getting rid of wages makes no sense...

 

 

 UNLESS you have a big state government that reshapes the economy...oh how libertarian lol

1. All libertarian conceptions of society (socialist or not)  are theoretical. But guess what, in the 17th century democratic republicanism as a concept was worse than theoretical, it was considered a failure after the examples of Rome and Greece. Most western countries were monarchies or oligarchies. Now look at the world. 

2. Whether or not it is theoretical has nothing to do with the topic: whether or not such a label is an oxymoron. 

3. Working for oneself is not the same thing as self-employment. While some would choose self-employment, others would choose to work in democratically managed cooperatives, communes, syndicates, or even a few might still prefer wage labor. Independent contractors exist in the real world, and I see no reason why they couldn't do any service work as manufacturing becomes mostly automated. 

 

4. Stop plainly asserting things. Support your claims like "UNLESS you have a big state government that reshapes the economy...oh how libertarian lol."

I feel like I am taking to a person who is basing his thoughts from the 60s... cooperatives, communes, syndicates?????? 

Talk about 2017 and what we have is the gig economy...by most measures it is a step down from stable employment with benefits for the average person. That is more a right wing dream then any progressive ideal of having every person fight it out for themselves reducing themselves to the lowest dollar... 

Socialist libertarians seem to be people stuck in theory and ideal thoughts...like how hyper capitalist think the freerer the market the freer the people

In the end if people want a society that is more progressive you require the big hand of government to enforce those values onto a society to change it, it wont change on its own.

 

Perhaps afterwards when the society has been reshaped can a more libertarian style of system take place.