Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Skeptics and Libertarians - The Ys Shrugged

I've been contemplating libertarians, skepticism, Ayn Rand, Ron Paul, and the facade that most modern libertarians present to the world. A review of current libertarian principles (such as they are) leads me to the conclusion that this modern incarnation of libertarianism is incompatible with skepticism. This is mostly focused toward the U.S. due to Ron Paul running for president.

This is the first of a three-part series on skepticism and libertarianism. Let's review a few terms first:

1a person inclined to question or doubt accepted opinions.
a person who doubts the truth of Christianity and other religions; an atheist.
2 Philosophy an ancient or modern philosopher who denies the possibility of knowledge, or even rational belief, in some sphere. 

1an adherent of libertarianism:[as modifier]:libertarian philosophy
a person who advocates civil liberty.
2a person who believes in free will. 

Civil Liberty:
the state of being subject only to laws established for the good of the community, especially with regard to freedom of action and speech:under Conservative rule civil liberty became seriously eroded[as modifier]:civil liberty groups
(civil liberties) a person’s rights to be subject only to laws established for the good of the community:growing threats to our civil liberties. 

I'll be working with these definitions as I progress through the series. You'll note that 'civil liberty' is defined as something that ensures laws are established for the good of the community. Allons-y. 

Here are a few ways that the government regulates society as a whole to protect the good of the community:

  • EPA: Prevents corporations, businesses, associations, etc. from ruining our air, water supply, etc.
    Education: Ensures a minimum standard is met by all schools, and prevents people from indoctrinating children in any one ideology (except for private schools).
    FDA: Ensures minimum safety standards for food and pharmaceuticals production to reduce illness and prevent death.
    Constitutional Amendments: Used to outline government structure, to prevent tyranny of the majority, to prevent tyranny of the government, and to ensure all laws are applied equally to all citizens.

    Challenge #1 for skeptical libertarians: Demonstrate how any of these items are unnecessary for the public good without blindly declaring "The free market will handle it." 

    The reason that bodies such as the EPA and FDA exist is precisely because the free market refused to address issues such as environmental pollution and contaminated food. 

    It is clearly a matter of the good of the community to ensure we're not buying food and drink that will kill us. We can't complain to the company if we're dead; in fact, allowing someone to put known toxins into our food supply constitutes premeditated harm. Having the FDA in place ensures that most harmful products are stopped before they reach store shelves, thus limiting illness and loss of life...thus helping to protect the good of the community. 

    Anyone who wishes to disband the FDA is No True Libertarian. Does the FDA need to be reformed? Yes. Are they effective? Yes, and they'd be much more effective if Congress didn't keep restricting their authority to prevent harm. 

    I am skeptical of anyone who claims that the FDA is unnecessary. History says otherwise, and I'll take facts over your unfounded claims. Isn't that what skeptics are supposed to do? 

1 comment:

  1. I'm skeptical of anyone who thinks faith in some higher power can solve social problems with violence is capable of logical reasonable thought