Friday, March 15, 2013

Freepublican Finale

It started as a poorly-focused libertarian project built around promoting the work of a single individual, but became something much worse. Naming any of the players involved would be unprofessional, but for the sake of simplicity, I call the entire fiasco "The Freepublican Job."

We live in a society. By definition, we have to balance our needs and desires with those of the people among us. If we were all identical, it would be far easier, but people have a diversity of lives that most of us cannot fully grasp. We have to be conscientious of the consequences of our actions on people whose lives we can never anticipate.

It can be exhausting to try to be considerate of others and to anticipate how our actions affect others. It can be an almost stifling weight for people who are comfortable seeing the world from their singular perspective.

The siren song of libertarianism is that it promises to let us shake off those concerns. Perhaps that, and not institutional failings, are the reason it's been so much more successful taking root amongst wealthier individuals.

In a world where no one is required to think about anyone else, those who have temporal power feel that they could come out ahead, either because of the skills which make them powerful in the first place, or because of the temporal power they've already gained.

That's the ultimate failing of libertarianism. It's easy for the powerful to let everyone fend for themselves. It relieves them of the societal expectation to give any of their accumulated wealth to anyone else. It helps them sleep easily at night.

It's a philosophy which demands sensible fiscal policy from government and stipulates that it should never be used to impose societal expectations on others. No matter how strong those ideas are though, it will never gain a significant foothold until it's more than an excuse for the wealthy to shake off the responsibility that comes with their power.

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