Libertarian pessimism

Responding to Libertarianism and Positive Psychology

What if it is objectively true (as I think it is) that it is safer for the meek individual to live in a free society than under a socialist state? In that case the individual who feels pessimistic might reasonably and rightly grab onto the market as onto a life vest.

In neither a market nor a socialist economy does the individual truly stand alone. In both cases the typical individual is entirely dependent on the system, without which he would die. The difference is that the support provided by the market is the unintentional byproduct of millions of people who are not, even in the abstract, trying to keep a particular person alive. But in the case of the socialist state, the state can be said to be trying to keep everyone, and therefore (in the abstract) each particular person, alive. For example, when I buy gasoline, I am not trying to feed the gasoline attendant. I am there for my car and for myself, not for the attendant. But I am, nevertheless, indirectly feeding the attendant - without intending to. In contrast, in a fully socialist economy people are not going to survive unless the state tries to keep them alive.

In case that last point is not clear, I'll explain. In a fully socialist economy, wheat is grown because the state directs it. Bread is baked because the state commands it. Everything that happens, happens at the command (the direction) of the state. So if the commands are not given, then the stuff will not be made. So, whatever the state commands, will be made, and what it does not, will not. If the higher-up does not direct his underlings to feed the people, then they in turn will not command that the wheat be grown, the flour be made, the bread be baked. In order for people to survive, then, the state must try to keep them alive. Socialism is precarious in part because it depends on the conscious intention of people at high levels, since they may, after all, forget, or change their minds. This is ironic, because it is this dependence of socialism on conscious intention that makes people think that it is especially safe and secure.

People tend to believe that things will not happen that are not willed. This has different facets. If something happens, people tend to think it was willed to happen (possibly by a witch). And on the other side, in order for something to happen, people think it needs to be willed to happen. And in a market, there is no such will, while in a socialist state there is. So people tend erroneously to think that in markets, things that they are worried about will not happen while in socialist economies they will. And so, erroneously, they favor socialism thinking that it will keep them safe, even though the truth is that socialism endangers them.

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