Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Libertarianism, the series

I find myself attracted to the idea of libertarianism. I’m also aware of how it conflicts with some of my other values. Most libertarians seem to be much more concerned with what look to me like “meta” issues, than I am. My concerns relate to what I see as providing the greatest degree of freedom to the greatest number of people.

This makes me a lefty, and most of what that implies. I care about keeping the state as far from private behavior as possible. But: “my right to swing my fist ends at the tip of your nose.” This is where things begin to get messy. Is the remedy for a violation of that principle another swung fist? I don’t think so. Then there’s the problem of the tragedy of the commons. State intervention is necessary to protect shared resources. It seems trivially proven that some degree of state regulation is necessary. So the argument is about what is regulated and how much so.

My argument is that blanket economic freedom does not lead to either the most absolute liberty (as if that sort of thing could be measured) or the most liberty for the greatest number.

To be continued…

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