Saturday, December 6, 2008

New Ways of Thinking: Libertarianism; reaching out to one another

The common definition of a Libertarian is one who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state; a believer in free will. Libertarians believe in independence, emancipation, and autonomy. Libertarians believe that freedom is inherent in all humans and must be preserved; a belief in non-violence, with the exception that the only legitimate use of force is in self-defense. This is the basis for my libertarian-leaning philosophy. However, I do have concerns of libertarianism’s compassion, libertarianism’s commitment to those who do not have the mental, physical, or financial “wherewithal” to help themselves. I have a concern with libertarianism’s ideology in regard to capitalism and free market, for without regulation or setting boundaries, how do we harness avarice?

The online Advocates for Self Government published the following quote by Michael Novak in regard to a free society, "No better weapon against poverty, disease, illiteracy, and tyranny has yet been found . . . Capitalism's compassion for the material needs of humankind has not in history, yet, had a peer."

There is no such thing as “Capitalism’s compassion.” To say a free society is a compassionate society by virtue of it being free does not mean that in-and-of-itself it has an inherent compassion. The wheelers and dealers within capitalism are not compassionate and therefore the system of capitalism will never be compassionate. Our current economic crisis is evidence of that. The unbridled drive for profit is the major force, and in it there is no concern for the well-being of others.

Everyone serves their own self-interest first in all things. If you are a compassionate person, it’s because it serves your own self-interest to be so. That self-interest does not have to be material benefit, but it can be philosophical, heart felt, or spiritual benefit as well. It’s what motivates.

Capitalist serve their own self-interest, which in their cupidity is to make as much money with the least cost that provides the desired or needed material goods for society; however if you do not have the money to purchase those goods, whether you desire them or need them, accommodations will not be made for you, even if it means saving a life. If you are mentally or physically handicapped no one is going to come to your assistance unless it is in their self-interest to do so.

NGO’s, faith based initiatives, local community initiatives, philanthropies, and organizations such as the United Nations serve their collective self-interest. The profit motive is non-existent in these entities. Their collective self-interest lays in the understanding that the mental, physical, and financial stability and well-being of all benefits all of the world’s people. They understand that the condition of our environment is important to maintaining these goals. In a libertarian society this is the system desired in assisting the poor, handicapped, or otherwise indigent. However, until we fully understanding the importance of non-government initiatives, until “we the people” understand that we have the power of “overwhelming force” to achieve change, we must rely on forms of socialism.

All of us need to change our way of thinking. We must promote and do all we can to evolve from hierarchical to heterarchial models of organization. Heterarchy is the operating paradigm of the aforementioned organizations. Until we change our way of thinking that someone or something (as in government) from above will descend to assist us -- as in the hierarchy model -- to each one of us reaching out to one another -- as in the hetararchy model -- we will not evolve to the place where we need to be. That place may not be libertarianism per se; but a transformation of libertarian, liberal, conservative, and “outside the box” thinking.

President elect Obama’s thinking is on the right track. He said: “In order for us to reform our health care system, we must first begin reforming how government communicates with the American people. These Health Care Community Discussions are a great way for the American people to have a direct say in our health reform efforts." This is a heterarchial way of thinking. Universal health care initiatives are intrinsically socialistic, but for now it may be the only way to solve this progressively dire problem of costly and inefficient healthcare.

Free markets, as so clearly revealed in our current economic quagmire, are a disaster without regulation, without setting operating boundaries in which free markets sell their products. The operators within markets and consumers need protections against monopoly and avarice.

The minimal role of the state must provide assistance for the indigent in our society; regulation and operating boundaries in a free market; regulation and operating boundaries surrounding gun ownership; regulation and operating boundaries for using only the amount of force necessary to defend one's self and property; a military only for self-defense, operating in a foreign policy environment of inclusion, non-belligerence, continuous reaching out to nations for consultation and honest debate on issues, negotiation, and using military soft power versus hard power.

Change is a process, but that change will only come from you and me. That is the message I read into the libertarian view. That’s precisely the message of Barack Obama.