Sunday, November 28, 2010

330 / Libertarian

I think they have me on free will, but I fail a lot of the other tests. Click on the image to read a list of questions that helps you discover whether "you might be a libertarian."

[You might have to go to my "real" blog, at, if the link doesn't work in the Facebook republication.]

I read in Friday's San Francisco Chronicle that David Nolan, who launched the Libertarian Party in 1971, had passed away. He was only 66 years old. His obituary, which appeared first in The Los Angeles Times, contained this summary of his (and the Libertarian Party's) political philosophy:
The government's job is to protect you; beyond that, it's up to you.
If "we" are nothing more than a collection of individuals, then Nolan's postulate about the proper role of government is probably on target. If, however, as I find to be true, "we" are more than just a collection of individuals, then the Libertarian Party idea about the proper role of government is fatally flawed.

My sense is that "we," as human beings, are both individuals and part of a collectivity, or "community," since we cannot survive (much less prosper) on an individual basis. If that is who "we" are, the role of government is not just to protect the individual, it is to accomplish community objectives through collective action.

I note that the kinds of "community objectives" that government has traditionally worked on are a lot less important to an individual who is rich. Most of us need the community to provide parks and recreation opportunities for our kids. If you're rich, you can take the kids to your private club. Most of us need a good public education system for our children. Again, that is not that important if you can afford to send your kids to private academies.

And so on.

Once again, the basic question comes down to, is it "me" or "we?" I am of the party of "we," which means that while I am all for "liberty," I am not a Libertarian.

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