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Author Topic: American-liberals, socialists and statists, what is your idea of liberty?  (Read 4547 times)
lemonginger
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June 21, 2011, 07:22:01 PM
 #21

I dont think he is talking about completely abolishing property rights. He is proably talking about some form of "weak" property rights, like right of exclusive use or similar.

Weak exclusive claims to property.
Strong common claims to property.
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July 10, 2011, 05:34:54 AM
 #22

I can identify with this:

My Philosophy of Liberty

By Anthony Freeman
http://economicsandliberty.wordpress.com/my-philosophy-of-liberty/

The following is a loose overview of my personal “Philosophy of Liberty” which I have developed up to the present time. It warrants further refinement and I’m sure I will continue to modify it as I continue my studies of economics and liberty. Those champions of individual liberty that have contributed to my personal philosophy are too numerous to list here but I have provided links below to sources where you will find many of their works. I hope that my philosophical observations may be of benefit to you and give you some ideas in the development of your own “Philosophy of Liberty”.

Simplified Definitions

Life: our biological existence in space and time.

Liberty: the ability to live one’s life as one wishes while respecting the lives of others.

Property: the goods that man produces or acquires through voluntary exchange and/or gift. Claims of land ownership are included here as well.

Murder: the taking of man’s life without his voluntary consent. This deprives him of his future (and future productivity).  Excluded from this definition is the taking of another person’s life in the act of self-defense against an aggressor (when one believes one’s life is threatened) or in the defense of others when the lives of these others are threatened.

Slavery: the taking of man’s liberty without his voluntary consent. This deprives him of his present.

Theft: the taking of man’s property without his voluntary consent. This deprives him of his past (the time energy and talent that he used to produce this property).

Plunder: The ill-gotten gains from theft.

On The Nature of Human Life

    Man seeks happiness (and seeks to remove uneasiness or discomfort).
    Man seeks life for if there is no life there is no man.
    In order to live man must consume those things that sustain his life (food, shelter, etc.).
    In order for the necessities of life to be consumed they must first be produced.
    An infant cannot produce for himself so he must rely on the production of others through charity.
    As a child matures he must continue to rely on the charitable production of others until he learns to produce for himself.
    In the process of producing for oneself man usually develops a specialization resulting in a surplus that can be traded for the products of the specialized skills of others.
    This process of production results in what is often referred to as “the fruits of his labor”.
    These products are an extension of man because they are the direct result of his invested time and life energy.

First Conclusion

Based upon the propositions set forth, anyone who seeks to take another man’s life, liberty or property against that man’s voluntary consent is an enemy to human life. With this understanding I propose to label my philosophy of liberty as “pro-life” as I am vehemently opposed to murder, slavery, and theft. This is not to be confused with the label of “pro-life” as it relates to abortion although abortion is certainly an issue to be considered within this broader philosophy (the issues regarding abortion will not be addressed in this missive).

Further Observations

There are some men who seek to take away the property and liberty of others in order to use this production for personal profit. These men choose this path as they find it preferable to producing for themselves.

This short-term benefit is not only dangerous to the thief but it is detrimental to his long-term well-being as well. This is because his victims must divert a portion of their resources toward protection services instead of to production. This loss of production reduces the overall societal standard of living as there are less products and services available for trade.

Despite this, the thief is not concerned with the detrimental, long-term effects of plunder as he only cares about the immediate benefit. Therefore, the rest of society must take protective measures if they wish to safeguard their life, liberty and property. It follows then that the degree of man’s freedom is proportionate to the level of protection he has secured.

The Ignorant Plunderers

These are the individuals that unintentionally participate in plunder as they have not thought through the consequences of their actions. Those in this category are the majority of all plunderers and, unfortunately, a large percentage of society.

The Purposeful Plunderers

These are the individuals who know that their actions are contrary to human well-being and they continue in their plunder anyway. They can be thought of as “anti-life”. Those in this category are in the minority of all plunderers.

On Advancing Liberty

It appears then that there are three worthy endeavors that must be undertaken if one wants to enhance life (freedom):

First: One must work to master himself.  Self-mastery.  Self-control.  He must work to adjust his actions so that he is no longer a participator in plunder.  Robert LeFevre referred to this as Autarchy or “self-rule”.  Freedom is self-control, not license to impose on others.

Second: One must work to educate those individuals that are Ignorant Plunderers so that they can recognize the negative consequences of their actions and then hopefully change those actions.

Third: One must invest a portion of his resources toward the protection of his life, liberty and property from both types of Plunderers. Harry Browne recognized this when he said that “freedom is self-defense” in his fantastic Rule Your World seminar.

On Self-Defense

There many strategies for defending one’s life, liberty and property which will not be addressed in detail here.

One strategy for dealing with the Purposeful Plunderers that I will call your attention to is the one put forth by Marc Stevens in his book Adventures in Legal Land. His key observation is that the Purposeful Plunderers must maintain a veneer of legitimacy or moral authority in order to continue their plunder. Marc’s techniques for destroying that veneer are powerful and they warrant further study, analysis and practice.

On Education

Thankfully for the internet there are now numerous resources where people can learn the ideas of liberty. A few that I will mention here are The Freedom School, LewRockwell.com, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

On Self-Rule

On this wise I will refer you to two, short discourses that explain this principle better than I ever could.  The first is Robert LeFevre’s Autarchy.  The second is A Way To Be Free – Epilogue which I feel are some of the finest words ever written concerning the cause of liberty.

Conclusion

With my personal philosophy I can easily be referred to by any of the popular labels: Libertarian, Liberal, Classical Liberal, Voluntaryist, Autarchist, Capitalist, Free-Market Capitalist, Anarcho-Capitalist, Anarchist, Agorist, Counter-Economist, Idealist, Realist and so on but when you really get to the heart of the matter I am ultimately “Pro-Life”.
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July 10, 2011, 09:52:33 AM
 #23

Well said, sir. 
david4dev
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July 10, 2011, 10:02:05 PM
 #24

I am honestly curious. What is your idea of freedom that all men deserve?

I'm a socialist but not a statist and I don't even know what an American-liberal is.

Liberty is the extent at which you can do whatever you want.

In my opinion each individual should have as much liberty as possible without infringing on the liberties of other individuals. In the best societies there should be a very high average degree of liberty and nobody should have much less liberty than this average. It a difficult topic because there is no real way to objectively and quantitatively measure liberty.

Liberty is restricted in 3 ways:
  • Naturally: restrictions due to the laws of nature and natural occurrences. For example, however much you would like to exceed the speed of light, you can't. Another example is illness, which can restrict your freedom to live your life the way you want.
  • Passively: restrictions indirectly due to the actions (or inaction) of others. An example is ownership any scarce resource - if you own it, others can't. Another example is using DRM to prevent people from downloading and using digital goods.
  • Actively: restrictions which are directly caused by the actions of others. Examples include violence, law and taxes.

Natural restrictions can and should be reduced through scientific research and development.

Passive restrictions can and should be reduced through voluntary sharing of both scarce and plentiful resources. They can also be reduced through an increase in active restrictions (eg. taxation with wealth redistribution).

Active restrictions can and should be reduced by limiting the powers of governments and corporations but going too far may enable more active restrictions from one individual to another (eg. removing murder laws will reduce active restrictions from government but may cause an increase in murders). Also a reduction in active restrictions may cause an increase in passive restrictions.

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NghtRppr
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July 10, 2011, 10:21:58 PM
 #25

You're taking the wrong approach. You're starting with some kind of goal in mind and then deciding how to reach that goal through various actions. Instead, you need to decide what kind of actions are permissible and then figure out what goals are compatible with those actions. As you mentioned, murder is right out but so should all forms of assault on person or property, including theft, which is what taxation is.
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July 10, 2011, 10:39:25 PM
 #26

You're taking the wrong approach. You're starting with some kind of goal in mind and then deciding how to reach that goal through various actions. Instead, you need to decide what kind of actions are permissible and then figure out what goals are compatible with those actions. As you mentioned, murder is right out but so should all forms of assault on person or property, including theft, which is what taxation is.

I'm starting with a goal, attempting to find actions that will make progress towards it and discounting any actions that I find immoral. There are some countries with dictatorships causing a strong active restriction of the liberties of the people who live their. An action that could increase the liberty of those people is to go to war with those countries and overthrow their government then help the people to create a society that is more free and more democratic. I believe this is wrong even if the outcome is a long term improvement because I believe that war is always wrong.

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NghtRppr
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July 10, 2011, 10:49:11 PM
 #27

I'm starting with a goal, attempting to find actions that will make progress towards it and discounting any actions that I find immoral.

So you don't think theft is immoral?
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July 10, 2011, 10:51:56 PM
 #28

I'm starting with a goal, attempting to find actions that will make progress towards it and discounting any actions that I find immoral.

So you don't think theft is immoral?

Not always. I don't think taxes are immoral if they are used to provide public services and welfare (but not where they are used to fund war or wasted on needless bureaucracy). Someone starving stealing food is not immoral either in my opinion.

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NghtRppr
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July 10, 2011, 11:12:16 PM
 #29

Not always.

Then my previous criticism stands. You're looking at the consequences and deciding if the action is right or wrong based on that. You've got it backwards. You need to first decide what actions are right or wrong and then accept whatever consequences they entail.

Someone starving stealing food is not immoral either in my opinion.

Even if you steal as a matter of life and death, you should still be forced to pay restitution because it's still wrong. It's not something owed to you just because you are hungry. If it weren't wrong then you wouldn't be expected to pay for your crime.
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July 10, 2011, 11:17:31 PM
 #30

Not always.

Then my previous criticism stands. You're looking at the consequences and deciding if the action is right or wrong based on that. You've got it backwards. You need to first decide what actions are right or wrong and then accept whatever consequences they entail.

Someone starving stealing food is not immoral either in my opinion.

Even if you steal as a matter of life and death, you should still be forced to pay restitution because it's still wrong. It's not something owed to you just because you are hungry. If it weren't wrong then you wouldn't be expected to pay for your crime.

My views on theft depend on the consequences. I don't believe that it is an absolute wrong like murder or initiatory violence. We have a fundamental difference in opinion where you believe in the sanctity of property and I don't.

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July 10, 2011, 11:32:03 PM
 #31

My views on theft depend on the consequences.

They shouldn't anymore than murder or rape should.

I don't believe that it is an absolute wrong like murder or initiatory violence. We have a fundamental difference in opinion where you believe in the sanctity of property and I don't.

Yes, we do. I can promise you that I won't touch you or your property first but it seems like you aren't willing to offer me the same respect. We have two mutually exclusive opinions and if one of us can't convince the other to change his mind, the only alternative is violence.
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July 11, 2011, 10:35:44 AM
 #32

I can promise you that I won't touch you or your property first but it seems like you aren't willing to offer me the same respect.

Actually I can promise you that I won't steal your property because I have all of the property I need and more (which isn't that much). Even if I lose all of my property, I can rely on the welfare state to provide for my needs so I will not have a valid reason to steal from you.

if one of us can't convince the other to change his mind, the only alternative is violence.

There are plenty of other alternatives. The one I favour is respecting each others opinions while disagreeing. My morality will prevent me from initiating violence anyway and even in the case of self defence, I will look for alternatives (such as running away).

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July 11, 2011, 04:13:40 PM
 #33

Even if I lose all of my property, I can rely on the welfare state to provide for my needs so I will not have a valid reason to steal from you.

That's like saying "I don't have to steal from you, I can just ask someone else to do it for me and then receive the stolen property". That's called aiding and abetting.

There are plenty of other alternatives. The one I favour is respecting each others opinions while disagreeing. My morality will prevent me from initiating violence anyway and even in the case of self defence, I will look for alternatives (such as running away).

Right, so you refuse to do your own dirty work but you have no problem advocating thugs in blue costumes doing it for you.
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July 11, 2011, 04:54:00 PM
 #34

Here's my take on it. Took me a bit, but I think I got it covered.

THE LAW

Men, Women, Agent(s), Person(s), and Life collectively or individually have synonymous equivalent meaning herein. De facto entrusted crucially dependent Life admits safe guardianship or conveyance thereto.
1.   All men are equal in Rights.
  1.1.   All men are intrinsically free, whose expression when manifest, admits autonomy.
  1.2.   Rights exist because man exists (consequent to Life).
  1.3.   Rights are inalienable and inherent, hence discovered not created.
  1.4.   Man commits autonomous choices apart from all other men.
2.   Rights are defined as the Liberty to control, secure and defend one’s Property and Life.
3.   Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything not in violation of other’s Rights.
4.   Rights Violations are unprovoked physical aggressions (UPAs) initiated by man against another, or Breaches of Contract (BOCs), resulting in an incontrovertible diminishment in one’s Rights.
  4.1.   UPAs are non-consenting acts which cause an Object (Property or Life) to undergo a transferred or transformed change to the Object’s original energy state or condition.
  4.2.   Energy transfer to/from an Object or energy transformation of the Object occurs by means of three ways, namely: thermodynamic work, heat transfer, or mass transfer.
  4.3.   Contracts are compulsory promissory agreements involving Property or Life (and specific performances or forbearances therewith) between mutually consenting men.
  4.4.   Misrepresentation of Contract obligations or BOCs resulting in misappropriation of Property or Life, or expenditures related thereto, is subject to Rights Violations.
5.   Property can be anything comprised of physical material matter (PMM).
6.   Property is the exclusive non-simultaneous possession or dominion of discrete PMM.
  6.1.   Unconstrained/non-delimited/uncontrolled PMM (UPMM), UPMM effusions or energy transmissions, are not Property; they are ownerless nonexclusive UPMM or Emissions thereof, until physically made to become otherwise.
 6.2.   A Property’s inertial reference frame, dimensions, Emissions/Emitters, usage and genesis thereof, define and constitute its Property Scope Ambit (PSA).
  6.3.   PSAs that initiate tangible material perturbations which intersect or preclude another’s preexisting or antecedent PSAs may be subject to Rights Violations.
6.4.   Preexisting antecedent unconstrained Emitters cannot proscribe the receipt of similar, both in magnitude and direction, intersecting Emissions Flux.
  6.5.   Property cannot transform into something extracorporeal, extrinsic or compulsory due to the manipulation or interpretation of its PMM composition.
  6.6.   Absent Contract and Force, Property or Life of one man shall not control, compel or impede Property or Life of another.
  6.7.   Unintentional personal ingress vouchsafes unimpeded passage and egress.
7.   Force is the means –proportionate to the aggression– to obstruct, inhibit or extirpate the Rights of any man who interferes with or imminently threatens the Rights of other men.
  7.1.   Force can only be applied to resolve Rights Violations and is consequently just.
  7.2.   Man, or an Agent to man, must ascertain that a Rights Violation has occurred.
  7.3.   Man is severally liable and accountable for solely his Rights Violations a posteriori.
8.   Justice, viz., lawfulness effectuates disjunctive Rights between men.
9.    That which is neither just nor lawful is Violence and imperils the Rights of man.
10.   Violence causes inequality (unequal in Rights of man) and is forbidden.


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July 11, 2011, 07:45:04 PM
 #35

Statist from sweden.

I don't think liberty is top priority. Liberty can be sacrificed for the ability for lots of people to lead good lives. That said, it is essential that the entities with power are never allowed to grow to powerful. Not because it threatens liberty, but because it threatens the good life
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July 11, 2011, 08:15:33 PM
 #36

Even if I lose all of my property, I can rely on the welfare state to provide for my needs so I will not have a valid reason to steal from you.

That's like saying "I don't have to steal from you, I can just ask someone else to do it for me and then receive the stolen property". That's called aiding and abetting.
It is not like that and it is definitely not aiding and abetting - aiding and abetting requires me to do some action to help someone who is stealing from you. I would not do that. You seem to feel that if I lost everything and had to rely on the welfare state until I could make a living for myself, that would be stealing from you specifically.

There are plenty of other alternatives. The one I favour is respecting each others opinions while disagreeing. My morality will prevent me from initiating violence anyway and even in the case of self defence, I will look for alternatives (such as running away).

Right, so you refuse to do your own dirty work but you have no problem advocating thugs in blue costumes doing it for you.
I do not advocate any violence except for minimal force in self defence or when someone is arrested and will not come quietly.

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July 11, 2011, 08:20:38 PM
 #37

Even if I lose all of my property, I can rely on the welfare state to provide for my needs so I will not have a valid reason to steal from you.

That's like saying "I don't have to steal from you, I can just ask someone else to do it for me and then receive the stolen property". That's called aiding and abetting.
It is not like that and it is definitely not aiding and abetting

It most certainly is like that. I'll agree it is not aiding and abetting if you would knowingly shelter a tax evader.

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July 11, 2011, 08:37:08 PM
 #38

Even if I lose all of my property, I can rely on the welfare state to provide for my needs so I will not have a valid reason to steal from you.

That's like saying "I don't have to steal from you, I can just ask someone else to do it for me and then receive the stolen property". That's called aiding and abetting.
It is not like that and it is definitely not aiding and abetting

It most certainly is like that. I'll agree it is not aiding and abetting if you would knowingly shelter a tax evader.

It isn't like that. If you want to call it stealing then I would be stealing from the whole of society not you specifically. I suppose you also think that I am stealing now because I am benefiting from a public education, I have a subsidised bus pass and I go to an NHS dentist.

If I knew someone who was evading tax I would not turn them in to the police just as I don't turn in someone I know who is claiming benefits while working - however immoral I find that.

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July 11, 2011, 08:45:33 PM
 #39

It isn't like that. If you want to call it stealing then I would be stealing from the whole of society not you specifically. I suppose you also think that I am stealing now because I am benefiting from a public education, I have a subsidised bus pass and I go to an NHS dentist.

If I knew someone who was evading tax I would not turn them in to the police just as I don't turn in someone I know who is claiming benefits while working - however immoral I find that.

Very well, you're not aiding and abetting.

You're also not personally stealing from me. (in fact, since I think you're in another country you're not stealing from me at all, but that's beside the point) What you are doing is delegating your desire to steal from me (figuratively speaking) to a group of people. So a better description of what is going on would be conspiracy.

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July 11, 2011, 08:48:06 PM
 #40

It is not like that and it is definitely not aiding and abetting - aiding and abetting requires me to do some action to help someone who is stealing from you.

Read this...

Quote
Aiding and abetting is an additional provision in United States criminal law, for situations where it cannot be shown the party personally carried out the criminal offense, but where another person may have carried out the illegal act(s) as an agent of the charged, working together with or under the direction of the charged party, who is an accessory to the crime.

When you get someone to do your bidding, to steal from someone, that's called aiding and abetting.

You seem to feel that if I lost everything and had to rely on the welfare state until I could make a living for myself, that would be stealing from you specifically.

I'm forced to pay taxes against my will. That's theft. You are receiving part of that stolen money and you encourage it to happen. You are having money stole from me and anyone else that pays taxes against their will.
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