Thoughts, facts, opinions

Snippets of thoughts, quick notes, sources of what might appear in a more complete way on my website -

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Why should you support libertarians

Vote libertarian November 7

Put pressure on those in power

The main political reason that you will ask for is that of necessity of putting pressure on those in power. The Reps or Dems in Washington or elsewhere are entrenched in their limiting ideology and somewhat comfortable in their opposition where they know what to expect. America has been founded on the principle of sacredness of individual rights and freedoms. The Reps and Dems are currently espousing ideologies that are either disciplinarian, the former, or communitarian, the latter. Even if the libertarians don't win many seats in the legislatures - those elected will feel the pressure of the founding ideology of freedom that is so deeply American.

And here is what libertarians profess:

Libertarians believe that the government has no right to forbid anything that honest and peaceful people do among themselves. This is includes transactions, organizations, for-profit businesses of any nature - material production, services, medical, psychological, sexual or educational. The idea that most things should not be forbidden admits exceptions of course - such where exercising certain liberties would create dangerous confusion (e.g. dressing up in a cop's uniform), harm (exposure of minors to adult situations or reckless behavior on the road) . The only behaviors and transactions between mature adults that could be forbidden are those that involve violence and dishonesty.

The basis for this ideology is deeply moral because it vests the individual with the decision of what his world should be, which he or she can freely organize with cooperation with others - cooperation that will, of course, test his power against the power of others. But the power match, by the libertarian principles, is to be fair - because it must not be carried out by invocation of someone's subjective concept of eternal and absolute rules and principles, but by a struggle among individuals equipped with their skills and means. Much of this struggle would be carried out on the free market - where goods and services are exchanged and financial means acquired and disposed of. The market functions as a paradigm of peaceful power struggle where under the conditions of honesty the price of always right and the match is even.

Questions are often raised against libertarians about the fate of the least powerful, who would be typically destined to be poor. Another very important question is whether the market is a suitable instrument for managing resources that are limited - such as land and water. The answers that I find among libertarians on those issues are not quite satisfactory and will be properly addressed in the future. Libertarians show good signs of pragmatism advocating programs for the underprivileged and access to medical insurance and health care - while they may differ from the left by proposing non-governmental solutions the goal is the same - social safety net that prevents people from falling into misery.


Monday, October 02, 2006

After the summer and the Israeli-Arab war

Yes - I neglected this blog while being distracted by the wonders of summer in the moderate climate of the US Northwest. While so many of us enjoyed ourselves in the warmth of the sun and in cheerful company of people free of religious fanaticism the Jews and Arabs kept killing each other in Palestine.

The state of Israel exists in the Middle East as a result of international support through the United Nations fostered by arrangements begun long time ago between the so-called superpowers. As such Israel exists legally by the mandate of the world. As such Israel has every right to defend its security and its actions to respond with force to violations of its borders are completely justified. Also justified are actions of world powers, UN and military organizations, to help Israel. Yet it is hard to imagine a situation where it will have no mortal enemies bent on its annihilation. Despite the continued support of the world it seems that Israel is destined to be surrounded by enemies.

In prewar Poland Jews constituted around 10% of the population. This was the result of long tradition of tolerance which allowed Jews to practice their traditions and religion with minimal harassment. Unlike in Western Europe where Jews had to appear like everybody else, be assimilated, in order t o advance their life and career. The haven for Jews that existed in Eastern Europe, especially in Poland, became their downfall. Jews were easy to find for their Nazi persecutors, easy to identify and kill.

I cannot escape the thought that the state of Israel similarly concentrates Jews into a global ghetto located amidst their enemies. Of course the world supports the right of Israel to exist and it seems like the right thing. But the right thing at some point may become impossible to carry out. Arab and other Muslim countries around Israel are undergoing a crisis whose depth is hard to predict and may become the source of a violent eruption of unpredictable magnitude. It is hardly doubtful that the Islamic countries will go through significant violence in resolving their crisis. It is also hardly doubtful that much of that violence will be directed at Israel at which point that country will require help from the world led by Europe and America whose powers are waning now in favor of the new powers of Asia. Either Europe and America will involve themselves in a ruinous struggle for survival of Israel or they will abandon it.

I think the second scenario is more likely. The war in Iraq has exposed the limits of American power and exposed the truth that nations should not always do what is right but merely what is possible and in their own interest. Europe and America, former colonial powers, are powerless to get significantly involved in the crisis of the Islamic world. They would risk too much.