Saturday, November 7, 2015

What's Wrong With Being a Libertarian

So what’s wrong with the political philosophy of libertarianism? This. 
“The philosopher Charles Taylor explains in his book, ‘The Ethics of Authenticity,’ that the search for self-actualization is a noble and important enterprise in life,” wrote David Masciotra. “Authenticity is important, and people should not compromise their principles or passions to placate expectations of society. Taylor complicates the picture by adding the elemental truth of individuality and community that personal freedom is empty and meaningless without connections to ‘horizons of significance.’ That beautiful phrase captures the essentiality of developing bonds of empathy and ties of solidarity with people outside of one’s own individual pursuits, and within a larger social context.”
“Competitive individualism, and the perversion of personal responsibility to mean social irresponsibility, is what allows for America to limp behind the rest of the developed world in providing for the poor and creating social services for the general population.
“It also leads to the elevation of crude utility as a measurement of anything’s purpose or value. Richard Hofstadter, observed in his classic ‘Anti-Intellectualism in American Life,’ that many Americans are highly intelligent, but their intelligence is functional, not intellectual. They excel at their occupational tasks, but do not invest the intellect or imagination in abstract, critical, or philosophical inquiries and ideas. If society is reducible to the individual, and the individual is reducible to consumer capacity, the duties of democracy and the pleasures of creativity stand little chance of competing with the call of the cash register.”
“Opposition to any conception of the public interest and common good, and the consistent rejection of any opportunity to organize communities in the interest of solidarity, is not only a vicious form of anti-politics, it is affirmation of America’s most dominant and harmful dogmas. In America, selfishness, like blue jeans or a black dress, never goes out of style. It is the style. The founding fathers, for all the hagiographic praise and worship they receive as ritual in America, had no significant interest in freedom beyond their own social station, regardless of the poetry they put on paper. Native Americans, women, black Americans, and anyone who did not own property could not vote, but ‘taxation without representation’ was the rallying cry of the revolution. The founders reacted with righteous rage to an injustice to their class, but demonstrated no passion or prioritization of expanding their victory for liberty to anyone who did not look, think, or spend money like them.”

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