The Philosophy of Liberty

Via Lew Rockwell, I found this animation on Susan Hogath's website. I think it's cute, fairly concise, well-made, and worth watching.

It's nice when someone can distill ideas and present them in a simple, but pleasing, manner. More info about it, and the book that inspired it, can be found here.

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I'm actually kind of getting

I'm actually kind of getting tired of people mentioning this. Don't get me wrong, I'm as libertarian as the next anarcho-capitalist but this animation is really getting old.

I hadn't seen it. We have

I hadn't seen it. We have read the book, so it is cool to see the synopsis presented like this.

Holy false dichotomies,

Holy false dichotomies, Batman! Where to begin? Is this the basis of libertarian thought?

I mean, let's start near the beginning: "You own your life. To deny this is to imply that another person has a higher claim on your life than you do." Well, I don't believe that another person has a higher claim on my entire life than I do, but I do believe that people can have higher claims on parts of my life that I do.

Of course, you could argue that my life is indivisible, but the animation itself later implies regularly that my life has components, one of which is property... On these lesser components, I am very happy to admit that people can have claims on them greater than mine.

And that's just for starters...but I'd write pages and pages on every slide, and I don't have the time.

Also putting the animation

Also putting the animation on the front page is annoying. You have to explicitly tell Mr. Flash to stop it if you don't want it to run every time you reload the page.

i think that any claim

i think that any claim another would have on your property (a mortgage lien or a car note, for example) are mutual agreements, and therefore covered by the statement presented within the animation. I'm trying to think of a counterexample, and you suggest they exist - i'm not saying they don't, I'm just saying that I can't think of one. Would you be so kind as to suggest one, or several, so that we can examine them in context?

I mean, let’s start near

I mean, let’s start near the beginning: “You own your life. To deny this is to imply that another person has a higher claim on your life than you do.” Well, I don’t believe that another person has a higher claim on my entire life than I do, but I do believe that people can have higher claims on parts of my life that I do.

Well that's fine and good, but irrelevant - the question is if it's just for those other people to enforce their claims at gunpoint. Voluntary socialism, Hutterite communes, etc are perfectly compatible with libertarianism.

And that’s just for starters…but I’d write pages and pages on every slide, and I don’t have the time.

Well you could, but they'd be pages and pages of errors most likely.

Cute. And true. Although my

Cute. And true.

Although my folk would argue that using wording appearing to support the appointment of leaders and worship of contracts (and... hell anything involving the false dichotomies involved in discussions of "property" :wink: ) promotes self-destructive and nihilistic thinking...

But whatever. The main points are universal. And the graphics are, as mentioned, cute.

"I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

Mandos: It doesn't deal with

Mandos:

It doesn't deal with any of the hard problems.

1. The treatment of children. If they have full self-ownership from the beginning, why are parents and guardians permitted to restrict their liberty?

2. The past record of property. All property in the world has a "contaminated" history. Real estate in particular has been transferred through unjust acquisitions, and the same is the case for raw materials which are obtained from land that has been transferred through unjust acquisitions. If the playing field for property starts out with unjust transfers, how do you fix it? (Another way of putting it: if the foundation of libertarian views is based on a fictional history of how property came to be, why give it credence?)

3. It states (without argument) that collections of people can't have rights that individuals do, but we know that in other circumstances collections of items can have emergent properties that the individual components do not. Why cannot the same occur with moral or legal rights? (For more, read up on the fallacies of division and composition and the sorites paradox.)

4. Most people believe that the initiation of force is permissible in at least some cases to prevent a harm that hasn't occurred yet. (Although it's not the case today, a majority of Americans did support the invasion of Iraq--and no doubt a majority would today if there really were WMD found there.)

Of the "two libertarianisms" described below, this presentation is clearly in the second camp rather than the first.

http://www.libertysoft.com/liberty/features/70bradford1.html

---begin quote---
The most fundamental question you can ask a libertarian about his political philosophy is: Why is liberty good? And the way a person answers this question reveals a great deal about the kind of libertarian he is. What's so good about liberty? Why should people want to be free?

There are two ways that libertarians answer this question.

The first answer, one that generally dominated libertarian thinking prior to the 1960s, is that freedom is good because of its consequences: it maximizes people's ability to flourish, to achieve their goals and to be happy.

The second answer to this question is that people should be free because all people have a moral obligation to respect the life, liberty and property of others. This school of thought became popular in the 1960s and '70s, thanks primarily to Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard, who developed, articulated and popularized it with considerable energy and skill.1
---end quote---

The REAL problem with this

The REAL problem with this animation is that it assumes 1.) the majority of people are primarily rational beings, and concordingly 2.) the proper rational argument can convince these people of the superiority of the libertarian philosophy.

Most libertarians are, at their core, optimists. The believe that most people would be open to their message under the right circumstances, and that the political process can ultimately be used to achieve their philosophical goals.

I think this is rather misguided. The VAST majority of people in this country are irrational, impulse-driven, savages. They're simply going to do whatever they like, without any worry as to whether it's right or just.

I think libertarians need to accept that, most people are quite happy to pose their will on whenever they think they can get away with it, our objections regardless, and that with few exceptions, they so vastly outnumber us that we have no hope of resisting. And that this state of affairs isn't likely to change.

Instead of wasting time on futile attempts to achieve a libertarian society, I think what libertarians really need to do is spend more time discussing how scattered libertarians can best deal with living in an inherently collectivist society.

You know it's bad when I'm

You know it's bad when I'm in agreement with Mandos. I know I can't be the only one here who finds this extremely annoying. "The" philosophy of liberty, as if there's only one? What are Hayek, Friedman and other such consequentialists then, chopped liver? Ugh. And don't even get me started on the gaping holes in the argument...

For the record - this

For the record - this animation was based on a speech from a book for children:

http://jonathangullible.com/

It does not go into great detail about the philosophy because that is not its purpose.

Also, Kerry Pearson (known online as "Lux Lucre"), was the one who created the animation. He passed away a couple of years ago, so he's not likely to be coming out with any revised versions.

Instead of wasting time on

Instead of wasting time on futile attempts to achieve a libertarian society, I think what libertarians really need to do is spend more time discussing how scattered libertarians can best deal with living in an inherently collectivist society.

That's a short discussion.

1) Move to societies that are less inherently collectivist.

2) Make more societies less inherently collectivist.

Seriously, what do you mean by "deal with"? Do we need libertarian support groups to deal with the emotional stress of collectivism? Or were you thinking of practical tips, like how to cheat on taxes or grow your own weed in your basement?

What's to discuss?

Most libertarians are, at

Most libertarians are, at their core, optimists. The believe that most people would be open to their message under the right circumstances, and that the political process can ultimately be used to achieve their philosophical goals.

That may be true for most libertarians, but certainly not all. I think most of the current US population despises freedom, either purposely or unintentionally as a result of what they've been taught, and that's not going to change any time soon.

I should note that one thing

I should note that one thing I did like about the animation (aside from its simplicity) is the little animation of the hand moving over someone to indicate robbing/killing them. Priceless.

Even if this is a futile

Even if this is a futile goal in our current society, there is nothing wrong with keeping this philosophy in mind when acting. Does the animation run through the entire school of libertarian thought? No. Is it still worth watching and sharing with others? Certainly. Even if it does annoy high-brow intellectual types. :dunce:

There aren't many children's books that deal with the concept of liberty in such an approachable manner.

I'll certainly have a copy

I'll certainly have a copy around for my kids.

The VAST majority of people

The VAST majority of people in this country are irrational, impulse-driven, savages. They’re simply going to do whatever they like, without any worry as to whether it’s right or just.

So... what? Should we just give up on them?

Enlightenment has to start somewhere. If it starts with a cute animation on the Internet, then I think you'll have to agree that this option is better then some others that have been used throughout history.

As you said, libertarians are primarily optimists. From the above statement, you don't seem too libertarian yourself.

I'm not really. I don't

I'm not really. I don't know WHAT I am though. I feel the libertarian principles are the best way to organize a society, I just think they're completely unachievable with human beings.

Lippard, Real estate in

Lippard,

Real estate in particular has been transferred through unjust acquisitions, and the same is the case for raw materials which are obtained from land that has been transferred through unjust acquisitions. If the playing field for property starts out with unjust transfers, how do you fix it?

You fix it by moving on with secure property rights. People produce most wealth when property rights are secure; the initial distribution of land and natural resources means little in the long run.