Hello Left Libertarians.
Welcome to my new "blog". I don't know if I'm using that term correctly, though I don't care too much if I'm not. I'm not competent, nor enthusiastic, enough to start an actual blog or website, so I'm exploiting this forum to do that---I know how to type things in Yahoo boxes and send them. Trying to start a blog may be too much of a headache.
Anyway, the discussions on this forum are generally too fast and thick for me to follow. So I'm going to try this method to ask some questions, make some comments, and put my 2 cents worth in now and then. I've read some of this forum when I've found it relevant to my interests and questions, but I may not, probably will not, refer to specific posts. I'm using a more or less "loose" APA method, rather than the post-for-post reply method. Hope that's not too annoying or internet-unorthodox for anyone
THIS ISSUE: Liberal Libertarianism (Sort of) Further Defined, Property Rights Foundations, Comments for Kevin Carson on his FAQ, An Appeal to Web-Based Organizations/Publications to have a Physical Contact Option (For Prisoners and Web-challenged People).
LIBERAL LIBERTARIANISM----STILL NO EXACT DEFINITION
Libertarianism, to me, is properly a development of liberalism. It's based on tolerance, humility, a recognition of ones own fallibility in the face of
vastly complex systems---the economy, society, the ecology, the human body and mind....the universive. It's based on goodwill, the golden rule, the live and let live and non-aggression principles, individualism. I think my path is right, but I wish you the best in yours. If yours is right or better, more power to you. Note Well: This means there should be tolerance toward cultural conservatives, not just minorities.
Liberal libertarianism is opposed to conservative/right libertarianism. It is not based on the traditions of The Constitution, the founding fathers, patriotism, free enterprise, law and order, American values, etc., etc. It's more radical that "moderate" libertarianism such as that recently found in the new LP "Libertarian Reform Caucus". No, I don't have a strict definition delineating where "radical" and "moderate" (in a more disapproving sense) begin and end.
Liberal libertarianism accepts the possibility, perhaps even the likelihood, that others may engage in non-aggressive interactions and behaviors, economic, social, sexual, etc. that may OFFEND others---on the right, the left and everywhere on the cultural map. So be it. Freedom is freedom.
I couldn't find the post, but on LL or LL2 there was a comment noting two diverging ideological trends in "left libertarianism". I don't remember exactly what they were, but I believe they revolved around property, trade and contract. The more "left" libertarians seem to be more hostile and restrictive toward property rights, trade and contract---they are the "left wing" of left libertarianism.
I am tolerant of and curious about mutualism and capitalism which I see as complementary and competing options in a libertarian polity/anarchy (I am neutral about the whole
anarchy/minarchy issue and make no apology about that). I liked Phil Jacobson's Three Voluntary Economies I found on the all-left.net homepage.
For these positions, and other perhaps others, I prefer the label I've given myself of "liberal libertarian". I see too many restrictive, vindictive, controlling tendencies in left libertarianism, that perhaps not suprisingly, mirror the same tendencies in "right libertarianism".
I am a STRONG proponent of private property----INCLUDING LAND AND HOUSING. (Yards, acreages, houses, homes, sheds, workshops, offices, etc.)
I do NOT have a very good philosophical foundation for my propertarianism. It isn't necessarily Lockean, though I accept, more or less, Lockeanism as an acceptable foundation. There are a few questions
about it though.
In order to claim a piece of land one must "homestead" it. That is one must "use" (in Locke's terms, "mix his labor with the land". This is the "stricter" requirement. The "looser" (and easier) is simply that one "occupy" it.
But how much of or inside the "borders" of ones land must one "use", and how often, etc. for the "use" requirement to be met? Can't one claim, homestead and own a piece of land with specific borders just to enjoy a certain degree of spaciousness? I would hope so. But this leads to the problem of someone "greedily" and "arbitrarily" claiming huge pieces of land who's borders he may not even be aware of clearly; that he can't or generally doesn't even "visualize" on a day-to-day basis.
Usufruct and Abandonment
If I owned
a piece of land, I may want to travel, but keep that land. I may also want to sell or rent it. I suppose the "usufruct" requirement forbids selling or renting land. Under these theoretical requirements I would feel the presence of the "usufruct police" oppressive----I don't care if they're anarchist, or claim to be. (Would anarchists, with their abstruse and complex "theories", be just as oppressive as statists with their usage laws and regulations?)
The idea of abandonment doesn't bother me too much. But I'd like see it better defined. How long must a piece of land and/or building be unoccuppied or unused, to be "abandoned"? Can one occassionally "declare" that one is still "using" it, or plans to at some point? Does one have to do this is a newspaper or the internet with a specific circulation or number of readers? What is the number of years (or less?) of disuse
before property is considered abandoned? Is it even possible to specify such a time limit that wouldn't be philosophically arbitrary. (But if so, maybe arbitrariness is sometimes unavoidable in the real word.)
I don't see any of these questions as trivial.
Recidivism and Revanchism
There was a long, LONG, argument between Tony Hollick and several others on LL2 that included these ideas. I have to agree that I'm skeptical toward both recidivism and revanchism, and I think Tony's arguments against them were good. (By the way, I've disagreed with Tony on several issues, and I don't necessarily accept the premise that states own the "sub-strata" of the land).
My Own Attempt at a Justification for Property Rights
The rights of life and liberty and those "corallary rights" that follow from
them---freedom of association, expression, trade, contract, privacy, etc.; the right to be left alone; and possibly others I'm forgetting or that haven't been formulated---cannot REALISTICALLY be exercised WITHOUT PROPERTY.
Without property rights, there's no way to "secede".
Property rights allow a diverse population of billions to do their own thing, to have and create their own space, their own communities, and to stay out of each other's hair. Property rights is the only realistic mechanism for conflict resolution.
Stated more or less de-ontologically, I believe people have a right to their own space, their own house and home, and to literally build on, arrange and decorate their grounds and dwellings according to their personal tastes, convenience and values It's a fundamental need and a right, inseperable from freedom of expression. Land use
restrictrictions, certainly those based on "safety" and "community standards" (unless part of a freely agreed to contract or covenant) violate freedom of expression and are oppressive. Property rights are a liberal issue.
I don't pretend the above is a "tight philosophical defense", just an attempt to at least show the "spirit" of my propertarianism. It could probably use some work, and I may tinker with it from time to time.
KEVIN CARSON: Tod Altman's Geo-Libertarian FAQ was 17 pages in 12-point. Your Mutualist FAQ is 56 pages in 8-point, columnized. I'm still struggling my way through it. I think you need a much pared down, popular version with a greater emphasis on the practical aspects of co-operatives rather than the history of economics. Your FAQ seems like it's written for insiders and scholars, not average people disgruntled with "capitalism" or just
curious about other libertarian economic options
BTW, I belong to my local Natural Foods Co-op. I know it's one-person, one-vote, so isn't capitalist, but it looks just like capitalism to me. It's basically a grocery store and the prices of most things are more than I can afford, no different from other "capitalist" stores. The capitalist discount Grocery Outlet (and similar stores) is much cheaper and often more beneficial to us poorer folk. I joined the Co-op partly because I always felt a little guilty when they asked if I was a member at the checkout stand and had to say "no", and partly to say "thanks" for carrying so many good healthy vegan products.
It's too bad there's no physical address for Alliance of the Libertarian Left, because prisoners, who are a very eager captive audience, don't have access to the net. If there were a physical address and a literature fund, I'd
contribute to it. I try to send print-outs, but that's tricky, because prisoners generally can't receive literature unless it's directly from "the vendor". Physical addresses for more web-based magazines/organizations would alleviate that problem and it'd allow prisoners to get a wider array of political opinion. It wouldn't have to be much, just pamphlets and small newsletter re-capping the main discussions, etc.
Hopefully for MLL #3: Vulgar Anti-corportism, Contractual Group Rights
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