Sunday, March 04, 2012

I Used To Be a Libertarian, a song lyric


I used to be a libertarian.
but I'm all better now;
I've seen the light and carry on
with one less sacred cow.
Yes, I like my roads and parks,
all the public can endow;
This doesn't mean I follow Marx --
well, Groucho, I'll allow!

Once, I thought that I was all
I needed to succeed,
but spring and pride precede the fall --
now I have gone to seed!
Some say that being good is good,
some say so is greed;
be greedy for some brotherhood --
you'll find that's what you need.

The other day I saw Ayn Rand
lunch with John Stuart Mills;
they talked about supply and demand,
the use of men's free wills.
But they failed to come up with a cure
for all of mankind's ills,
for Ayn claimed that John's heart wasn't pure,
he said Ayn gave him chills!

Yes, I am a proud individual
but if I am free,
I'll be more than that old residual
lizard deep in me.
I know he's back there in my brain,
coveting all we see,
but I can choose and so I'll gain
the person I should be.

This doesn't mean that I've gone Lefty
or read from Chairman Mao,
but each man's load is far too hefty
for the sweat from just his brow.
I've seen the light and carry on
with one less sacred cow;
I used to be a libertarian
but I'm all better now!

Stephen Brooke ©2012

A song lyric or maybe just a poem -- the chorus-y bit (first section here) would repeat as desired. Very rough first-draft idea and, of course, there is music in my head.

* * *

I used to be a libertarian but I'm all better now.

I find the libertarian's worship of individualism to be just as objectionable as the socialist's insistence on collectivism.

Each of us is both an individual and a member of human society. We are all servants as well as masters. This sticks in the craw of the modern man, who sees himself as free and beholden to none.

No one stands alone. We used to understand this.

We are and remain social creatures and must consider the good of all to be as important as the good of the one. There must be a balance.

On the other hand, I also believe that no one has the right to tell me what to do, as long as I cause no harm. I do not necessarily bow to the will of the majority. But if I am to dwell in a society, it is to the good of all -- myself included -- to abide by the rules that allow that society to operate.

This does not mean that I must, however. I have no moral obligation to do so -- I can choose not to participate. Any rules or laws I consider morally wrong, of course, I should refuse to obey.

Indeed, I consider any yielding to another's will to be morally questionable. We have free will and should exercise this gift. We must do what we do because we choose to do it, not because we are coerced.

Or maybe I'm just too cantankerous to ever do what someone tells me to do. That's why I've been a self-employed entrepreneur type most of my life -- even if I haven't made all that much money, I've been my own boss. Pretty darn hard to work for too. I should've quit long ago!

* * *

I did flirt with libertarian ideals for a good while, until I recognized that most so-called libertarians want to limit government only so far as it helps their own agendas. They would retain the structures and strictures that maintain a capitalist system. The only true libertarians are anarchists.

The anarchist recognizes that ownership is a restriction on freedom. If you own something you prevent me from using it. You have reduced my freedom.

More importantly, even if ownership remains there are such creations as corporations that allow the capitalist to hide from personal responsibility. Responsibility is what is lacking in most 'libertarian' concepts -- it's all 'what is in it for me.'

Let's face it, modern laissez-faire capitalist libertarian thought is a rehashing of 19th Century Social Darwinism and an even older Calvinism. This is why I abandoned the libertarian cause entirely. Oh, I think the anarchist ideal -- libertarian communism, if you will -- is an admirable one but see no possibility of it working anytime soon. If ever.

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