Friday, 7 June 2019

Libertarian Politics is a Failure

The libertarians might be good in philosophy, but their political opinions are often flawed. I follow libertarian writing quite closely, but I rarely get to see a convincing political analysis by a libertarian intellectual. I think this is because most libertarians are too dogmatic—they can’t see beyond the confines of their brand of libertarianism. They don’t consider what is going on in the world and what concerns are uppermost in the minds of the people.

Like Narcissus, the libertarians are obsessed with themselves, not with their good looks (I hope), but with their own thinking which they believe is the best in the world.

You will rarely find a unique perspective on political issues in the articles authored by libertarians—in their articles they mostly rehash the same old viewpoints that you would have already picked up from dozens of media outlets. To make their articles appear unique, they try to insert some libertarian cliches and their own rationalizations, but most readers are not going to be impressed by cliches and rationalizations.

The libertarian political movements cannot win support because they are not being led by real politicians—they are dominated by intellectuals and philosophers who don’t have any political talent and whose perspective on political issues is flawed. A successful politician is not an armchair rationalizer, he is a man of action: he is a communicator; he goes out in society, listens to the people’s problems, and offers his solutions; he gets into verbal duels and even nasty street brawls with his political rivals; he struggles to raise money to fund his campaign; he does all that he can to convince the people that he is the right man for the office.

Instead of men of action, the libertarian political movements are being dominated by theorists who sit in their armchair and rant against their political rivals, or rationalize and pontificate about a “libertarian utopia” that they will create if the masses vote for them. They never listen to anyone who is not a libertarian intellectual like them; they never make the effort to understand the historical nature of the problems that their country is facing. Their thinking is utopian and they are convinced that their libertarian philosophy is a magic wand for curing the world of all its woes and bringing happiness to all.

The only people that the libertarians can hope to impress with their philosophizing are other libertarians. The man on the street is unimpressed by libertarianism, because he is not looking for philosophy; he is looking for concrete solutions to specific problems; he is looking for politicians who are capable of taking “actions” to solve social problems. I am not saying that the political choices that the voters make is always correct—often they end up voting the wrong political force into office with disastrous consequences for their society. But they will generally vote for politicians who offer a plan for action and not for philosophers whose entire campaign consists of rants, philosophical theories, and rationalizations.

In most Western and Asian democracies, the libertarian movements fail to get more than 2% of the vote. All the rationalizations and pontifications of the libertarian politicians and intellectuals is having no impact on the people. The general public is not going to be impressed by the libertarian political movements as long as these movements are dominated by intellectuals and philosophers who don’t listen to anyone and preach without getting up from their armchair.

I don’t see any major progress happening in the libertarian space in the next 20 years. The libertarian political movements will continue to be dominated by philosophers and intellectuals who have zero understanding of the political realities.

2 comments:

wkbeaty said...

Mostly agree, but didn't Reagan say, "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism." ?

And I think this statement hold the clue to why this article is accurate.

"A successful politician is not an armchair rationalizer, he is a man of action: he is a communicator; he goes out in society, listens to the people’s problems, and offers his solutions; he gets into verbal duels and even nasty street brawls with his political rivals; he struggles to raise money to fund his campaign; he does all that he can to convince the people that he is the right man for the office."

Libertarians don't believe there should be an office to start with and they do not think government solves problems nor should. I know that maybe naive just pointing it out. Ever listen to any Jordan Peterson?


Anoop Verma said...

WkBeaty, I didn't know that Reagan has said that. Interesting quote. I have listened to a lot of Jordan Peterson and also read his book. But I am not keen on his political and cultural ideas. I think he does not have his basics right. The anarchist wing of libertarianism is one of the key problems.