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News Does libertarianism just shift tyranny from the government to individuals?

  1. Jul 28, 2012 #1
    Ron Paul may very well be the most honest Congressman, but are any of his ideas really practical in increasing freedom? I agree with him that we don't need more government, but I don't think we need less either; we need more direct and accountable government.

    Please correct me if you think I am wrong, but from the debates and from his books that I've read, these are part of his political philosophy:

    He thinks any kind of "arms" control is unconstitutional (i.e. including bazookas, tanks, and possibly WMDs), that people who CAN afford health insurance yet have life-threatening preexisting conditions and are denied access should either find a charitable organization or drop dead, that a 19th century style gold reserve would actually increase consumer confidence, that the 1964 Civil Rights Act is unconstitutional despite being established law in later Supreme Court cases, that tort reform can solve global warming/pollution, and on and on.

    Just think about the pollution example. If a multibillion dollar corporation pollutes a river and affects a group of Average Joe's livelihood as fishermen downstream, what are the chances of them winning a court case? Against the corporation's team of seasoned lawyers who cite contradictory science, blame other corporations, etc? Tort reform already exists and is very ineffective; given his disdain for international law, suing Japan for tsunami debris would be a laughing matter. What else but the government can rein in such a corporation?
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  3. Jul 28, 2012 #2


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    Here's an example of the kind of "fix" some Libertarians want: In the state I live (Washington), when the government was set up there was a lot of concern about too much power concentrated at the top of state government. They were worried that top-heavy government would lead to tyranny and corruption.

    So the power was shifted down, with the counties and cities having more strength than in most states.

    Now we have tyranny and corruption at every level :grumpy: - not everywhere, but spotty here and there. This makes it nearly impossible to get rid of.

    Say what you will about governments that concentrate power in one place, but at least with that structure, you know where the rot is.
  4. Jul 28, 2012 #3
    "Freedom" is a bit of an arbitrary term because what one person defines as "freedom" can infringe on another person. My "freedom" to control my property verse your "freedom" to enter onto it. I value whats written on the constution, others don't. I also wouldn't consider the USSC to be the final say on what's consitutional or not, they make political decisions and are not really interested in what the founders wanted(nor is anyone else aside from a very few people - the founders views would not match up with any party even close to mainstream) so much as pushing their own political agenda.

    Libertarianism in its most complete form(open borders, no police, no FDA, no Enviromental laws, personal ownership of Nuclear Devices) is delusional but it's possible to remove what I consider excessive government while strenghtening the areas I feel government should be used for.
  5. Jul 29, 2012 #4
    "Ron Paul may very well be the most honest Congressman"

    Ron Paul claims that if you do not support him you are against the Constitution.

    Ron Paul kept insisting that he was way ahead of Romney in terms of delegates, and thus would win the nomination.

    Ron Paul wrote extreme racist things in his newsletter, then later denied he wrote it, and said he did not know who was writing his newsletter.
  6. Jul 29, 2012 #5


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    One of the amazing things about items in the US constitution is the 2nd amendment and the reason it is so powerful is that it's based on the idea of trying remove a monopoly of force from a government, as this was understood by the people that revolted against a corrupt system.

    The idea of removing any centralized system for power is one of the most powerful ideas for governance IMO because in terms of tyranny, you need some kind of centralized framework or at least a big majority to pull it off.

    When you have a situation where no centralization to the point of becoming a systemic risk (this is the term in finance) is possible, it means that tyranny is largely averted because the only way tyranny can occur even potentially is when the situation for power becomes large enough in that its potential for execution in all its levels in terms of tyranny becomes realized.

    The 2nd amendment dealt with the monopoly on force very well and I imagine there are many other opportunities to deal with similar issues with regard to tyranny in a similar fashion.
  7. Jul 29, 2012 #6


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    I am not clear if your OP is very relevant to the title of the thread, but the answer to the title is "no". A system where individual tyrants are permitted is called anarchy, not libertarianism.

    A libertarian philosophy does not espouse no government, nor even a weak government, but rather a government with a very well defined role. Specifically, a libertarian government protects its citizens from force or fraud by other nations and other individuals, but otherwise does not interfere.

    The EPA, would have place in a libertarian government. After all, you are just as dead if you are shot by a mugger or poisoned by a corporation. An ideal libertarian government must be strong enough to be able to redress such things and dismantle such corporations.
  8. Jul 29, 2012 #7
    This may be a bit off topic but it does apply to Ron Paul and other politicians.

    Why is it that The Constitution is held in such high regard.

    I mean the Founding Fathers had excellent ideals but that was relative to them. How could they have predicted societies ways and behaviors 200 years into the future.

    Can people not see that sometimes change needs to happen. I hate it when in the debates Ron Paul's only answer to anything is "It's in the Constitution".

    Correct me if i'm wrong but didn't the Founding Fathers write "A more perfect union" and not The Perfect Union.

    It perplexes me for a nation to assume that a 200 year old document is to be considered infallible.

    Here in Ireland, later this year a Constitutional Congress is being called to discuss changes to the document which isn't even 100 years old. Changes such as creating a more secular society and same sex marriage are all being discussed.

    Do events like these happen in the US?
  9. Jul 29, 2012 #8


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    I believe that the constitution is horribly outdated and needs to be scrapped and we need to start over. Sure there have been many cumbersome attempts to fix it, but we really need to start over. IMO. It just doesn't reflect modern society, even with all of the ammendments.
  10. Jul 29, 2012 #9
    Any attempts to change the constution should and will be met with stiff opposition. If a process to change it were ever started, it would be deadlocked and likely lead to a civil war or seperation of the country considering the fundementally different views in different areas of the US.
  11. Jul 30, 2012 #10
    Because it's largely based on libertarian principles. The principles of classical liberalism, that goes back to John Locke and more or less all the way back to the middle ages holds just as true today, according to them. The thing is, the essence of libertarianism is just the individual rights to life, liberty and property. Philosophically, those rights are just as appliable today as 3000 years ago.ยด

    So my (with emphasis on *my*, this is how I see it) answer to you would be: the philosophical character of libertarianism, with it's timeless appliable moral principles.
  12. Jul 30, 2012 #11


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    We think it is the most important factor enabling the US to go from nothing to being the world's only superpower in less than 200 years.
    I don't know anyone who considers it infallible. In particular, the ability to change it is built-in and that's considered to be one of the key elements of it. It has been a while since there have been any major changes, but there were some pretty big flaws in the original constitution that were fixed with amendments.
    No they don't, but I'd definitely be in favor of them. In the US, though, we've been able to make major changes without Constitutional amendments, which I consider to be a problem.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012
  13. Jul 30, 2012 #12


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    Not sure if there is an easy answer but if you'll indulge me: What would the government you would prefer to have look like?

    I hear the criticism of the Constitution being old/outdated a lot, but the Constitution is primarily an organizational/structural document and so I don't see much in it that has an "age". One obvious exception would be the 2nd Amendment, though.
  14. Jul 30, 2012 #13


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    It was the first time in human history where people were legally guaranteed individual freedom, right of property, and equality before the law. Before the U.S. constitution, people were never more than subjects to a higher authority and any privileges they may have enjoyed were always at the pleasure of that authority.
  15. Jul 30, 2012 #14


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    I agree. The founding fathers wrote the constitution to protect the people from an all-powerful government from getting out of control, but clearly that has happened. The problem is, as that famous quote goes, "The American Republic will endure until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money." Learning the lessons of how the federal government got so large and corrupt over time, we could fix the constitution to prevent that from happening again. But it would probably require either a revolution or a complete and total breakdown of government in order to implement such changes.
  16. Jul 30, 2012 #15
    Can you expand on this? I am interested in what changes you want to see.
  17. Jul 30, 2012 #16


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    I'm just thinking back on all the threads we've had where everyone had a different interpretation of the law based on confusion due to numerous ammendments. I think it's time to clean up. I haven't developed "the world according to Evo" yet.
  18. Jul 30, 2012 #17
    A result of the political nature of the USSC. When ever a case comes the judges know what they are going to vote for long before deliberation even starts. The time spent during the case is for them to find supporting evidence for their posistion for their write up.

    As an example, 4 of the USSC justices felt handgun ownership wasn't something the founders intended protected by the 2nd, it's laughable how absurd that is.
  19. Jul 30, 2012 #18

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    Why is that absurd? Handguns didn't even EXIST at the time, it's actually absurd to assume they COULD have intended their use be protected.
  20. Jul 30, 2012 #19
    Handguns did exist at that time but lets disregard that truth and actually look at what the founders did to get a better perspective on their own ideologies.

    They rebelled against a country using arms that they owned including cannons, something they wouldn't have been able to do without them. They went to war, killed british soliders and declared independence. They specifically designed their new nation to allow its population to do that exact same thing in the future should the need arise. They also carried their personal arms every where they went. They were champions of personal liberty and liberty includes the ownership of firearms and the ability to protect ones self and property.

    Now do you honestly believe that the founders would have even tolerated the idea of banning handguns? It's laughable. If anything the founders would be planning another revolution considering the current state of the US.
  21. Jul 30, 2012 #20

    I can't speak for anyone else, but I do think Article II (re the Presidency) of the body of the US Constitution needs work. The main problem is the Electoral College which allows a president to be elected with less than a majority of the popular vote. Clinton only won 43% of the popular vote in 1992. The remaining votes were divided among two other candidates. However it's theoretically possible for the winning candidate to get as little as about 26% of the popular vote while the losing candidate gets 74%. This is the mathematical limit and is virtually impossible, but a 40-60 ratio is not all that unlikely.

    In addition, if no one gets a majority of the electoral votes, the newly elected House of Representatives chooses the president based, not on a majority of the members, but on a majority of states, each voting as a block and each state having one vote, based on a polling of the state's delegation. This only makes it all the easier to elect a president with less popular votes than the other candidate(s). Presently, 13 states have about half the US population.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
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