13 May 2011

UPDATE: Due to this BS thing where I can do everything with this blog except publish a post, I have moved home to Wordpress: http://ncnblogger.wordpress.com/ (this will remain as an archive and be damn sure I will still read all your wonderful blogs as ever). Those who have linked me please update the link. Thanks all. Looking forward to continued blogging in the future.

2 May

Today's news is that Osama is dead. Well it's sort of 10 year old news, but there you go. Supposedly one of the very mind controlled special forces shot him in the head, although given the notorious nature of the invading forces' willingness to kill someone then play dress up afterwards, who knows it may have been a woman who they drew a beard on with marker pen. Photo looks 'shopped but what do I know. Then again corpses just like your TV dinner keep very well in the freezer...lol...


Anyway I'm off to get kidney dialysis using only sand and donkey piss while being hunted by all the satellites and spy planes that a trillion dollar military budget can buy, for ten years. Ciao

PS does this mean the war on terror is over now and 'we' can come home and dismantle the police state and not have RFID passports and iris scans and creepy wiretaps anymore? (Comptroller says no)

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Libertarians: I love ya, but I don't agree

For those unfamiliar, Libertarianism is the idea that government should be minimised to the point where all it does is prevent people from harming each other. (To me, that leaves just a military and police force).

(Photo: a drawing of John Stuart Mill, arguably the original libertarian thinker.)

The aim of this political ideology is to maximise both personal freedom (as liberals, socialists traditionally do), and economic freedom (as conservatives traditionally do).

(Image of Nolan 2d Political Spectrum sourced here.)

And I get it. Sounds pretty rosy, right? Government isn't going to interfere with your rights or the money you've earned. You are free.

Ask me about libertarianism a few years ago, and I'd tell you that it seems to be the ultimate ideal towards which all peoples are striving; as close to a utopia as could be acheived on this Earth.

(Photo: Look, no government in sight. Beautiful.)

But, the economic situation of the last 18 months has forced me to rethink, for two reasons.

One, the flaw in the libertarian ideal is the claim that total economic freedom and total personal freedom can co-exist. Personal freedoms such as social welfare are provided by the government.
However, in a libertarian state, this would be left to charity. Not a bad idea, and I'm not bringing up the same old chestnut about fiscal libertarians being heartless; but seriously, what if charity was not forthcoming?

Who, amongst the British 1800s/early 1900s 'upper crust', helped out the poor? Some people did. Others did not. Healthcare for the poor was terrible, for example.

What did those benevolent wealthy folks wind up doing? They started to legislate help through the government. Damn those socialists (add disgusted emphasis) who wanted to give schoolchildren free meals, or build sewers for towns plagued by cholera.

(And see graph halfway down this page about how much the UK spends in %GDP on healthcare compared to the US and their 'efficient', 'competitive' free market system!)

In other words, total economic freedom and total personal freedom are, in my opinion, mutually exclusive. And neither of them are great ideas, as with these freedoms comes responsibility. To both look out for your fellow citizens, and not take advantage of others' help, is too much for many a citizen to handle.

(Photo: David Lloyd George, former PM of Britain and influential figure behind liberal social reforms here in the 1900s-1910s.)

If we go back to depending on charity to help out those who need it, who honestly predicts the standard of education, healthcare and social welfare would remain the same? This ties in with my second point.

(Photo; Sometimes I think libertarians miss the point about social welfare. What if the rich don't want to give? Which freedom is more important, the wealthy's right to keep more of their income or this guy's right to survive?)

Second is the misconception about the free market. I bought this completely just a few years ago. After all, the market had been rising in correlation with the stripping away of regulations during the late 20th Century, so it seemed that market freedom caused market growth.

(This led to one of the best politcal quotes of non-wisdom by then-UK Chancellor Gordon Brown, about the days of boom and bust being over. I think we'll be hearing that one a few more times in the run-up to the next general election, whenever that may be.)

The 2007-8 economic crisis, however, has shown that deregulation caused deep underlying problems. Turns out, if we don't regulate the financial sector, some people will milk it dry and ride off into the sunset with the profit while we socialise the loss! Who knew?!

(Photos: not totally relevant, but I love the pro-gun propaganda in the US. Always strikes a chord with me.)

I think that government welfare, and economic regulation, are a lot like guns; they may seem bad, but do you really want to be without them when they may one day help you out?

That is why I am now more of a liberal than a libertarian.

(Interesting political spectrum test. Are you a Libertarian?)

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Individual Liberty? But that's "selfish"!

No, we need to look after each other voluntarily without having a government do all that at gunpoint. Sounds absurd at first but soon you realise that the reason it sounds so is because of the very unfree nature of our current existence. Envision greater possibilities! Ok, some kind of massive wake-up would be needed before this kind of free, responsible, uncontrollable society could emerge. And that's what we are seeing day by day in the world - a massive waking up of the previously enslaved masses (including myself I must add!)

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