Sunday, 4 September 2011

Libertarianism: "Identitiy Politics for Selfish White Men"

Apparently Libertarianism is just identity politics of Selfish white men. The evidence 'Left Outside' uses for this absurd assertion is my last post, where I suggest that although I might disapprove of a T-Shirt bearing the slogan "I'm too pretty for homework so my brother has to do it for me", I would be unlikely to do anything about it, because I don't really give a shit. The hysterical reaction of the left to such things, I find faintly disturbing, and evidence of an intrusive, totalitarian mindset which seeks to impose it's values on everyone.

Of course with a name like "left outside", there is going to be economic lunacy in there too. Let's just look at some of the more absurd statements in this post.

Jackart’s argument seemed to hinge on the idea that “Lefties” who are trying to make the world a slightly better place for women (and slightly worse for selfish, privileged men)...
Political freedom is not a Zero-Sum game.
Brian Caplan is one prominent Libertarian who has written very strongly in favour of late C19th America despite all the oppression of women and blacks and poor people and trade unionists.
Of course, it is possible to praise an economic system without supporting the entire social system. Praising, for example the competitive rail-road expansion in 19th Century America does not equate to support for slavery. Praising Enoch Powell's legacy of economic thought does not imply support for "sending 'em all back" and so on. Brian Caplan isn't a supporter of "oppression". Play the ball, not the man.
Likewise a large and probably dominant strand of Libertarianism has adopted the Thatcherite slogan “Let Management Manage” which is nonsense. Getting bossed around at work feels often worse than being bossed around by the state...
...except that the state has a monopoly of legal violence and takes 50% of your earnings at gunpoint. You CAN leave a job. Of course if the lefties get their way, there won't be any other jobs to go to. Workers "rights" merely make it more risky to hire someone, so there are fewer jobs around. You really want to empower the worker? A job-creating dynamic economy is much better than job protection. Employers need to treat their workers decently or they will walk. What this has to do with a T-shirt slogan, though is beyond me.

The left-outside's post starts from the assumption that all such hysterical left-wing actions such as getting products of which some people disapprove off the market, are a good thing; making the world a "better place". Individually, the may be right. Taken together, I fear such actions create an atmosphere of mutual suspicion, excess caution as people businesses refuse to take risks or make arguments for fear of offending noisy bullies. Left-wingers, obsessed by identity politics, shout down any dissenting voices. My point is that the world would be better if everyone just ignored behaviour by others that doesn't directly affect them. Libertarianism is a mindset in which I don't seek to impose my values on others, and simply ask the same courtesy in return.

The fact Left-Outside thinks this "selfish" is telling, and explains why socialism in action usually involves enormous piles of corpses. Link



7 comments:

Single acts of tyranny said...

From the link "Why would I call Libertarianism a sort of Identity Politics for selfish, white men?"

Er, because you probably condemn racism and sexism but don't quite get irony or self-awareness

Piers said...

"Getting bossed around at work feels often worse than being bossed around by the state"

What a fucking cock.

ReefKnot said...

Good piece Jackart.

Duncan said...

except that the state has a monopoly of legal violence and takes 50% of your earnings at gunpoint. You CAN leave a job.

You don't like this? You can leave the country. What's stopping you?

Single acts of tyranny said...

"You don't like this? You can leave the country. What's stopping you?"

Hmm, let's see

1. Language barrier
2. Immigration controls on destination countries
3. Family ties
4. UK related work skills
5. Lack of an obvious destination country where the state is not similarly violent

Oh and try leaving with more than 10,000 Euros in cash...

Any more questions?

Duncan said...

Single acts of tyranny,

The interesting thing here is that many of the reasons you have identified are in fact relevant in explaining why people can't just leave jobs they don't like.

In this way, being bossed around by a boss is very much like being bossed around by a state. Libertarians have no problem with the former but see the latter as more or less unjustifiable.

The reasons you outline explain why the libertarian objection to the argument people do not have to continue working for a particular employer and can change jobs if they don't like it is unsustainable for most people. They have job-specific work skills, family ties keeping them in certain locations, lack of contacts in other areas, etc.

However, libertarianism holds that such factors do not matter, the very fact that a choice exists is all that is relevant, not factors which may structure a choice.

The only reason you identify that is relevant are immigration controls and for UK citizens this is not really a problem. None of the rest are actual restrictions preventing you from leaving a country you don't like. They are simply preferences for speaking a language you know, remaining close to family or retaining a similar job.

In this respect, your fifth point is particularly interesting:

Lack of an obvious destination country where the state is not similarly violent

The point is here that, for most people, the alternative to leaving a job they don't like and are bossed around in is getting another more or less identical job.

Jackart's objection to the comparison between the state and an employer does not work for the very reasons (plus more) that you have outlined.

Flob said...

Spot your own grocers' apostrophe in the first paragraph.

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