Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I'm kinda libertarian

I've neglected to present my political leanings in past posts, or at least I haven't given myself a label. I don't like labels, but, if pressed, I identify as libertarian. The following beliefs lead me to this: I am skeptical of the ability of the government to solve most problems, because it lacks important time and place (TP) knowledge, and the sort of accountability you see in the private sector. Not surprisingly, then, I believe in the general efficacy of private enterprise. I also believe that taxation in essentially theft, especially when a person is taxed to pay for something they alone would not opt to pay for. I have also found that identification with the state is usually bound to nationalism and tribalism.

There are, however, several points where I hesitate to agree with what are considered libertarian beliefs. I've detected an almost blind faith in the power of the market to address all concerns of "social justice" and basic equality, when, in fact, neo-classical economic theory doesn't really address these issues on all counts. In fact, in seems that classical liberalism presents certain fundamental rights whose defense necessitates the existence of certain institutions (this is obvious) and some of these rights may go beyond common law principles, or said principles might entail more than often assumed. For example, the availability of some level of basic health care for all. I'll elaborate more on this in another post.

Overall, however, I find most proposals from the left flagrantly disregard basic economic principles, and tend to reveal a contempt for the wealthy and otherwise privileged, and I don't think a sound and truly just system of government can promote such ideas.

Another note to conclude: I find myself more often critical of the far left than the far right. I think this is mostly due to my having attended a college where left wing ideology predominated, and also because I usually find people on the left to be somewhat more open to rational debate, partly because their basic humanitarian impulses are more aligned with my own, though I've encountered many exceptions, to be sure.

I tend to think that the far right is so steeped in nationalism or christianism or both that their assumptions about what is fundamentally good are radically different from mine. That said, their ideas do hold some sway in our society at present and thus perhaps are more deserving of open criticism.

On the other hand, I feel that many people on the left have their heart in the right place, but misunderstand many things about how society actually works. This is caused, I have come to believe, by the sort of complacency that is bread by intellectual isolation- groupthink, as some have labeled it. One of my goals in maintaining this blog is to help inject new life into the humanist community (that sounds awful ambitious, especially since my readership is presently close to nonexistent).

This is my present understanding of my critical inclination. I've learned that these things can change drastically as I assimilate new ideas and facts. I'll make sure to keep everyone updated.

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