Monday, March 16, 2015

"...each person’s life, liberty, and justly acquired property should be respected as essentially inviolable."

Another Would-Be Critic of Libertarianism Takes on a Straw Man - "The latest cheap shot is David Masciotra’s piece at Alternet, '"You’re Not The Boss of Me!' Why Libertarianism Is a Childish Sham." As the title indicates, the upshot of the piece is that only a child would wish not to be subject to the arbitrary will of others. Thus Masciotra has disguised a brief for authoritarianism as a plea for communitarianism...
So what does Masciotra have to say? Let’s sample his "critique": Libertarians believe they are real rebels, because they’ve politicized the protest of children who scream through tears, "You’re not the boss of me." The rejection of all rules and regulations, and the belief that everyone should have the ability to do whatever they want, is not rebellion or dissent. It is infantile naïveté. 

This is a typical misrepresentation: libertarians reject all rules and regulations; they demand the freedom to do "whatever they want." I wonder if Masciotra’s failure to qualify "rules and regulations" with the word government is an innocent oversight. Or is he trying to sneak something by his uninitiated readers? Obviously, libertarians believe that each person’s life, liberty, and justly acquired property should be respected as essentially inviolable. (Emergencies may create exceptions with respect to property.) Libertarians also advocate freedom of contract. All of that amounts to a web of rules and regulations that constrain the individual’s conduct. When libertarians say the equivalent of "You’re not the boss of me," they are saying that no one may properly threaten or use physical force to compel them do anything they have a demonstrable right to not do or compel them not to do anything that they have a demonstrable right to do."

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