It's an old Salon/AlterNet article that's been kicking around for over a month and libertarians everywhere have addressed it already (Salon has 775 comments at this writing, AlterNet 1008) but the headline is still purposely, arrogantly, inflammatory:
At its heart is yet another in an endless series of attempts to define libertarianism without regard for its primary definition, the Zero Aggression Principle (ZAP), as though it would be possible to define a bird without regard to the fact that it has wings.
True to form the article offers a photo of the politically-driven libertarian-leaning Republican Rand Paul as representative of all "libertarianism" and then buries the "11 questions" in over 2200 words hypocritically predisposed to define libertarians as hypocrites.
Here are the 11 questions with their libertarian responses:
In the context of ZAP "spontaneous order" means "voluntary cooperation." Coercion is not order; coercion is disorder.
2. Is a libertarian willing to admit that production is the result of many forces, each of which should be recognized and rewarded?
Only non-coercive production should be rewarded; coercive production is criminal.
3. Is our libertarian willing to acknowledge that workers who bargain for their services, individually and collectively, are also employing market forces?
Include the missing word "voluntarily" and the answer is yes. Coercion is not a market force, it's a criminal force.
4. Is our libertarian willing to admit that a "free market" needs regulation?
It's a trick question. Under ZAP "free market" means a market free from coercion. Government regulation is coercive regulation. Free markets are regulated by the sum total of the voluntary actions of every individual freely engaged in the market.
5. Does our libertarian believe in democracy? If yes, explain what’s wrong with governments that regulate.
Democracy as practiced by governments is the tyranny of the many over the few. Free, voluntary democratically run private organizations are not a problem.
6. Does our libertarian use wealth that wouldn’t exist without government in order to preach against the role of government?
Another trick question. Government wouldn't exist without wealth because government must tax (steal) wealth in order to exist. Government doesn't create wealth; criminals create governments by stealing wealth. (As for people preaching against the hand that feeds them think "Filmmaker Michael Moore.")
7. Does our libertarian reject any and all government protection for his intellectual property?
Libertarians who reject government obviously reject ALL government protection, period. Small government libertarians (Minarchists) disagree on this point specifically because the don't reject ALL government coercion.
8. Does our libertarian recognize that democracy is a form of marketplace?
Already answered in the response to question 5. "Our libertarian" will recognize that voluntary democracies can take many forms in the free, voluntary marketplace: in marriages, business partnerships, charitable functions, religious organizations, etc., etc., etc...
9. Does our libertarian recognize that large corporations are a threat to our freedoms?
Of course. Corporations large and small are creations of government. It's a coercive relationship that libertarians reject as "corporatism" which requires abolishing both governments and corporations.
10. Does he ["Our Libertarian"] think that [Ayn] Rand was off the mark on this one, or does he agree that historical figures like King and Gandhi were "parasites"?
This is apparently a reference to Rand's rejection of altruism. Since opinions don't coerce anyone libertarians have no objection to people's opinions. Everyone is free to think of others, including King and Gandhi, in any way they choose.
11. If you believe in the free market, why weren’t you willing to accept as final the judgment against libertarianism rendered decades ago in the free and unfettered marketplace of ideas?
This is a truly curious question. The judgment against libertarianism wasn't rendered in "the free and unfettered marketplace of ideas," it was rendered in a continually controlled, regulated, dictated, manipulated, monitored and managed marketplace of government coercion, tellingly called "the mixed economy" (a mix of individual freedom and government coercion). It has been an "unfree and fettered" market for decades. apparently R.J. Eskow, the article's author, doesn't know what the word "free" in the context of "free market" means.
The article is yet one more example of the fear and loathing in which libertarianism is held by those desperate to cling to the political status quo.
The real question, then, is whether R.J. Eskow himself is a hypocrite for refusing to confront the reality that America's present philosophical, economic and international status quo suffers from the Dissociative Identity Disorder of having a Marxist social policy, fascist economic policy and an imperialistic foreign policy.
But then, good libertarians will admit that even he is entitled to his non-coercive opinion no matter how dysfunctional it is.
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