How Libertarianism is Based on Both Aristotle and Kant

Posted by rbroberg 5 years, 3 months ago to Philosophy
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To start, let me define a phrase: moral equivalence. Moral equivalence would mean: "The [moral] state or [moral] fact of being equivalent; equality in value, force, significance, etc." Because "moral" describes a human characteristic, moral equivalence must deem all human beings of equal moral value. Because human actions are not of equal moral value, moral equivalence is true if and only if human beings are not responsible for their actions.

The concept of moral equivalence is analogous to the concept economic equivalence.

In other words, the drug addict who discovers himself and the modern painter who develops his work are equal to the doctor who discovers a treatment and the lawyer who develops objective patent law.

Now to Libertarian values. Libertarian values include personal responsibility. Since, as we saw above, moral equivalence is true if and only if human beings are not responsible for their actions, Libertarian values must condemn moral equivalence.

"The Libertarian way is a caring, people-centered approach to politics. We believe each individual is unique. We want a system which respects the individual and encourages us to discover the best within ourselves and develop our full potential."

The best to whom? The full potential to do what?

These questions are left deliberately unanswered. The reason is the Subjective Theory of Value (STV).

"The subjective theory of value is a theory of value which advances the idea that the value of a good is not determined by any inherent property of the good, nor by the amount of labor necessary to produce the good, but instead value is determined by the importance an acting individual places on a good for the achievement of his desired ends."

This is subjectivism with regard to economic value. According to Objectivism, this is false. The reason is that subjectivism in economics necessarily leads to subjectivism in morality. The economic value of an ounce of gold is objectively greater than an ounce of radioactive waste. Unless, one wishes to use the spent material to manufacture a dirty bomb. The economic value of an ounce of gold is objectively greater than an ounce of cyanide. Unless one wishes to kill oneself or others. And so on.

And so STV does not adequately describe the objective value of "goods" as it cannot. It cannot because it does not define the standard of value as life.

Thus the Libertarians are in a strange predicament. They hold life as the standard of moral value, but hold "one's preference" as the standard of economic value. If "one's preference" is an electric car, but it costs more to drive, maintain, and even to transport electricity to his location, then clearly his preference is not a value. Since human beings are neither omniscient nor infallible, preference cannot be the standard of value, for economics or for morality. This will be explained further when I introduce the ethics of Rand's nemesis, Immanuel Kant.

Kant believed the world was unknowable. Thus, "his formulation of humanity as an end in itself requires that humans are never treated merely as a means to an end, but always also as ends in themselves". This echoes the uniqueness mentioned above and establishes moral equivalence in one statement. Make no mistake, Kant here unknowingly unifies LP "caring for people" and moral equivalence.

As such, we should reject the Libertarian's liberal view of human affairs, as it is incompatible with the Aristotelian view of personal responsibility and capitalism written into the same document, the LPP. Make no mistake, Rand and Kant are incompatible and any philosophy or political movement drawing from both necessarily draws nothing but confusion.
SOURCE URL: http://www.lp.org/introduction/what-is-the-libertarian-party


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  • Posted by freedomforall 5 years, 3 months ago
    Lots of supposition and, imo, presumption of guilt without evidence, rbr.
    What data did you evaluate to draw the conclusion that libertarians support subjective theory of value? Please share the data so we can evaluate rationally. Without that data, this looks like a biased conclusion.
    Have you taken your arguments to a libertarian discussion site to be debated with libertarians?
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    • Posted by 5 years, 3 months ago
      The main point is not to presume guilt, but to explain a possible rationale behind Rand or other Objectivists rejecting the Libertarian Party or less often the libertarian movement.
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    • Posted by 5 years, 3 months ago
      I am using a sample the libertarians I have met who support STV. You are correct that it is a key point in the argument. If you do not support STV, then the argument does have "lots of supposition".
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      • Posted by freedomforall 5 years, 3 months ago
        In my experience, the "libertarians" you are talking about are neo-libs (yes, like neo-cons) and LINOs (like RINOs), which means they have adopted the moniker and don't care a bit about the integrity or meaning of the principles that libertarians stand for.
        They would be rejected by libertarians that I know, too.
        There are also those who are still learning about libertarian principles and trying to overcome the propaganda conditioning that media and government schools have falsely put forth as the only truth for decades.
        Based on my experience, your conclusions are not correct.
        (no worries, we can disagree ;^)
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        • Posted by 5 years, 3 months ago
          Ok, I suppose its a sample size error. I could re-formulate the article to replace "libertarians" to "those who maintain the STV" and thus avoid the error of "all libertarians believe in STV". It is particularly true of libertarians that they will reject any type casting! :)
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  • Posted by $ CBJ 5 years, 3 months ago
    Contrary to your assertion, libertarians do not “hold life as the standard of moral value, but hold ‘one's preference’ as the standard of economic value.” Libertarians simply hold personal liberty as the standard of political value. Period. Libertarianism is a political philosophy. Period. Individual libertarians vary in their views on morality and their theories of economic value. They are united only in their belief that individual liberty is a value to be pursued in the political arena, and that each individual is entitled to such liberty as long as he or she does not suppress the liberty of others.
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  • Posted by tkstone 5 years, 3 months ago
    I need a little education here. It was my understanding that in a fair trade both parties valued the acquired value more than the traded value. Doesn't this indicate subjective value? Or is it that the value in question is objective, while the individual's utilization value is subjective?
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