Even with specific issues such as education on the front burner, the
discussion still boils down to essential philosophical differences. "To say
that you don't want to be part of the decision-making process," notes Jon
Lebkowsky, "embodied in the consensus, and that you don't want to be bound
by the decisions that emerge from that process... is to say that you don't
want to sign the social contract. It's a mountain-man sort of thing..."
Tooch objects: "I don't see how allowing me, my neighbors, schools,
teachers, etc., to interact freely, to choose how to deal with one another
is analogous to a mountain man on his solitary peak. Rather, it's simply a
recognition that personal choice and voluntary arrangements are almost
always preferable to group decisions imposed upon all."
For two weeks, the pros and cons of Libertarianism have been laid out at
four major Web sites, including Electric
Minds. Having heard and weighed the arguments on all sides, isn't it
time you spoke up
for what you believe in?
In order to participate in Conve
rsations, you need to be registered
in to electric minds.
The debate at FEED rages on, though
the libertarians seem to be out-numbering everyone else.
Mark LaRochelle explains: "The libertarian ideal ... has something to
do with the sense of rule of the people (self-government), and a great
deal to do with the protection of individual liberty from autocracy and
Another reader writes in to say: "The idea that government is
supposed to go about remedying the wrongs of the world makes my hair
stand on end. There's no end to the wrongs you can find once you start
making a good living off them."
FEED's Steven Johnson responds: "But the government *is* supposed to remedy
those wrongs when a bank teller absconds with your life savings? That's
libertarian, I'd say. Why not let the market decide which banks have the
most honest tellers?"
In the latest posts in this discussion, which now numbers over 200 posts, a
critic of libertarianism argues that no culture based only on capitalism
has long endured and decries the fact that the movement is dominated by
white men. Libertarians respond by arguing, first, that the U.S. is the
longest continous government in the world and second, that there are many
women and people of color who are either libertarians or subscribe to
free-market ideas -- including Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell and, of
course, Ayn Rand. Read
Gary Kamiya's feature on libertarianism for background.
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Libertarianism is a much-discussed topic in digital circles. Advocates claim that a completely free market without government intervention is the secret to a harmonious society.
Critics argue that the emphasis on less government and privatization leaves the poor and disadvantaged out in the cold. What do you think?