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Libertarian Socialism is an Oxymoron?

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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.

No, I don't think you came to that conclusion from reading this. There's almost no doubt in my mind that you determined that beforehand.



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Nirvana_Nut85 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. 

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.

First of all, no. Mises never ever refuted Socialism. I guess you may be blind by ignorance or just popular misconception.

Mises does not offer strict proof that Socialism cannot work. Mises states that it can't work, meaning that he denies the existence of proof that it may actually work. However he himself doesn't not prove anything, he just states it. Second of all, making a book about theories doesn't make you correct. Mises wrote against Socialism the same way Marx wrote against capitalism. Would you say Marx was right? Plus, Das Kapital was never finished so... there could've been more theories. Who knows?

Now, more detailed. Even though Mises did not prove anything against Socialism, there is a good chance he was right. If we use common sense and some perspective, we cannot assume he was wrong or even refuted, just because he didn't "obliterate" Socialism.

However, contrary to what Mises (and apparently you) seemed to think, it is perfectly reasonable for a welfare-statist or interventionist to accept this economic argument in its entirety. Meaning that a libertarian could agree with socialism and vice-versa.

See, if you happen to agree in some points and disagree in some other points, the silverlining is that you can form a bond. Libertarianism not always was this idea from today, as stated by a LOT of people already, and socialism didn't always have this stigma from today aswell.

Now to the OP: I don't know if this helps but... It's worth a look.

https://youtu.be/GB4s5b9NL3I



Normchacho said:
Aeolus451 said:

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.

Socialism in any of it's definitions can't be achieved without some degree of authoritarianism. How else would you redestribute or control the wealth, goods or means of production if a smaller group of people disagreed with the larger group? By forced compliance by the government. 

That also points out how libertarian socialism contradicts itself and it's an oxymoron. It can't exist or be implemented without a government or group of people enforcing the will of the people on the people who disagree with the majority. 



Helloplite said:
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 actually feel universities are a chore :P Dropped out of university majoring physics. Went directly into training to become an IT network specialist. Best decision of my life.



If you demand respect or gratitude for your volunteer work, you're doing volunteering wrong.

LadyJasmine said:
Jumpin said:

That's because many people incorrectly identify libertarianism as being synonymous with neo-liberal/laissez-faire economics, but it isn't. It is doctrine which advocates policies which enhance freedoms for the most people in a given society. That is why many libertarians advocate social aspects within economies, rather than laissez-faire economics, which ultimately lead to corporate ownership, advantages over small scale operations, and advantages toward  inheriting parties leading to an economically oppressed working class.

Historically, Libertarianism began as a socialist platform to combat unfairness among the Noble class.

William Godwin, one of the fathers of libertarianism, was also one of history's strongest advocates for the estate tax. The purpose of the estate tax was to hamstring the economic advantage of the Noble upper class by taxing their estate when they transfered wealth to heirs - usually by death inheretence. The money would be transfered to the state in order to strengthen the infrastructure for the lower classes. He argued that this would create a happier and more productive society, as those who had the aptitude to rise would rise, and those who didn't would still have an easier time on their end. Meanwhile, the incompetent heirs of wealthy families would have far less of an opportunity to be a cancer on society.

However that is not libertarian though thats socialist?

 

Pretty much in the end supposed socialst libertarianism requires a strong powerful government. 

 

Pretty much I see a lot of theory and no real world applications

 

Firstly to invoke socialist libertarianism would require a strong powerful government to break the current status quo. 

It's not really socialist though. Because in a socialist society there wouldn't be any individuals with massive amounts of individual wealth on which an estate tax could be levvied. A complex redistributive tax system is really more like social-democratism. Since it allows for private, individual ownership of production/land and significant accumulation of wealth.

If someone wanted to impose socialism on a currently capitalist society they would simply confiscate all private wealth and either distribute it among the masses or nationalise it, and not wait until you died.



“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” - Bertrand Russell

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."

Jimi Hendrix

 

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LadyJasmine said:

I have been reading a lot lately, and it seems this ideology is very popular among young progressives my age.

However, I sort of find the ideology sort of conflicting in nature?

If you want to create a society that is more progressive, you need greater government intervention in society and as a result society is less 'free' and therefore less libertarian in nature? I am not saying that is a bad thing...

It seems to me libertarian socialism can only exist if those libertarian principles do not apply to economic freedom?

 

 

What are your thoughts? 

I've commonly been labeled both a socialist and an anarchist over the years to the point that I've just accepted and embraced both labels, and that makes me what I suppose might be considered an extreme libertarian socialist, so here's my persepctive on that:

To my way of thinking, there's no contradiction between these two concepts. You seem to be embracing a view of libertarianism as something that's opposed to government at a conceptual level and I think that's where your confusion comes from. The anarchist opposes AUTHORITY (as in to say unequal social relations), not GOVERNMENT. For me, it's not about whether government exists or is sufficiently "limited" or not, but rather about who controls it. The important thing about socialist organization for me is that it be democratically controlled at all levels. Here's a real-world example that I've experienced:

Do you remember about five and a half years back when there was a movement called Occupy (originally known specifically as Occupy Wall Street) here in the Western world? Well the internal structure thereof was a good, if small-scale, example of the kind of way that personally I think society as a whole should be ideally run. The movement was launched by an anarchist anti-advertising group and that was reflected in the way the encampments were organized. Every evening the people in each encampment would gather for an event called the General Assembly wherein we would discuss, debate, and decide on what our policies and actions would be going forward. We would divide up into small groups so that we could have practical discussions, and then each small group would select one person to state our agreed-upon views to the larger group. Using the principles of intersectionalism, women and people of color were given priority and would speak first because our voices were the most marginalized in the larger society. The encampment adopted a policy or plan only if more than 95% of its participants agreed on it, so it was very much democracy by consensus, not simple majority rule. Everyone was involved directly in the decision-making is the point I'm trying to make here. There were no politicians. And because we used consensus-based decision-making, even the small share of people who might not have agreed with the rest's decision pretty invariably respected it and went along with it nonetheless because they knew that they had had a meaningful say in the process.

In terms of our internal economics and cultural life, the general principle was that we shared the necessities. Permanent residents of the encampment were given free food, free shelter, free health care, access to our makeshift library, etc. Our resources were crude because we were relatively small groups (typically ranging from 3,000 at the low end to 20,000 or 30,000 at the peak per encampment) operating on a shoestring budget rooted in crowdfunding. We also had free cultural performances and events ranging from plays of sorts to poetry readings and musical performances to our own semi-official newspaper and comic books. You could call that a socialist, or even arguably communist, type of economic and cultural organization since it was very heavily based on sharing resources. That's what we freely decided on. It was just the most practical way to keep the project going and also reflected much of the founding people's ethos.

What we DIDN'T have were things like police forces. We didn't really need them. We had rules (as discussed above), but because the decision-making process involved everyone and was consensus-based, the process was broadly thought of as a kind of contract development. People agreed to our terms actively rather than passively and it made everyone more willing to go along with the rules we established even if some didn't actually agree with all of them. That's not to say we didn't have problems from time to time, but they were few and generally were resolved by simply expelling the more troublemaking elements. The boldest thing we had to do was establish a curfew and a rotating night watch after a rape occurred (by an outsider, not a proper resident at that), but that was the closest we came to having a police force and it's hardly the same thing.

The core problem with our structure was the same one that other, larger anarchist societies typically experience: inability to fend off outside attacks. Contrary to popular myth, anarchist societies very rarely collapse or devolve into chaos (in contrast to their Marxist counterparts) and ours didn't either.  But they usually get created amidst a social crisis that diverts the central government's attention and energy elsewhere (like amidst a civil war, for example) and just simply crushed by invasion as soon as the crisis is over. The end of the Occupy encampments was similar. Mayors around the country eventually ordered our encampments dismantled and because we didn't have any armed forces of our own, we were pretty powerless to stop that from happening. The police had guns. We had human chains. Rather an uneven match. In larger-scale communities, anarchists typically create a (democratically-organized) army for the defense of the community, but because they're not conventional armed forces and operate on limited resources, that's never really enough. I don't know what the solution is to that dilemma to be honest. I mean I can think of solutions, but they would violate the principles of anarchism and tend to turn these projects into conventional state-building, thus kind of defeating their purpose. That's why, for me, anarchist socialism is just kind of a moral position that I take. I'm not predicting "the inevitability of communism" or something silly like that.

Anyway, I hope that helps give you a mental picture of how principles of political equality can indeed go hand-in-hand with those of economic equality. The two things naturally go together, in my view. Where the Marxist is willing to use any means to achieve the ends of economic equality, therein lies their problem, by contrast. Their means wind up becoming their ends because power is intoxicating and addicting. But that's why I think it's important that we not embrace the idea that the ends justify the means.



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.

 

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

 

tell that to the north koreans



o_O.Q said:
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.

 

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

 

tell that to the north koreans

That's not intervention, that's dictatorship. See, the key is moderation. For example the amount of government intervention in the US is absolutely laughable and barely does anything to protect its citizens.

That's why the wealth gap is so gigantic and citizens are forced to drink poison water and get fucked over by their employers.



If you demand respect or gratitude for your volunteer work, you're doing volunteering wrong.

vivster said:
o_O.Q said:

 

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

 

tell that to the north koreans

That's not intervention, that's dictatorship. See, the key is moderation. For example the amount of government intervention in the US is absolutely laughable and barely does anything to protect its citizens.

That's why the wealth gap is so gigantic and citizens are forced to drink poison water and get fucked over by their employers.

 

it is not in human nature to practice moderation... which is where all of these socialist ideas fail

as long as the systems are imposed by people, greed will ultimately take over



o_O.Q said:
vivster said:

That's not intervention, that's dictatorship. See, the key is moderation. For example the amount of government intervention in the US is absolutely laughable and barely does anything to protect its citizens.

That's why the wealth gap is so gigantic and citizens are forced to drink poison water and get fucked over by their employers.

 

it is not in human nature to practice moderation... which is where all of these socialist ideas fail

as long as the systems are imposed by people, greed will ultimately take over

And that's exactly why you shouldn't haver an agreessive capitalist system in any country either, the only thing you get is few powerful people taking profit of the others just because they have more money, they are greed and nobody put them any kind of limit, at the end is just freedom for a few while the others live like slaves, a good system needs some socialist ideas integrated on them, the more people deny this the slower our civilization is advancing, we need to stop seeing the boogie man in every single idea that resembles something about socialism.