google-site-verification: google2cfa6877cbf464e2.html The Grand Theory of Libertarianism: September 2015

Saturday, 19 September 2015

The Grand Theory

 Physicists are looking for a “Grand Unified Theory”.  It has something do with gravity, electromagnetic forces and the early universe.  Perhaps it has not been clearly stated but I think there is a similar quest in politics, the search for a “Grand Theory” that solves the problem of ethics.  You might ask “what problem of ethics”?  It has to do with the fact that inherent in all democratic systems is the issue of force and coercion.

This may not bother most people most of the time.  In Canada we are glad to have universal health care, free education up to grade twelve and many other benefits.  It is when the government does something that we don’t agree with that it becomes a problem.  Then it bothers us that our “majority government” who won with less than fifty percent of the popular vote is ramming through legislation we don’t like.  But what if the government wins with ninety percent of the popular vote and ten percent didn’t like the legislation?

Libertarians will argue that it doesn’t matter if ten percent of people object or if it is ninety.  It is wrong either way to make people do something by force.  In any other context things that we would call immoral, do they now become moral if the government is the one making you do it?  The obvious answer is, “No” but we have become accustomed to thinking of the government in a special class and that democracy makes it different.  Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP, are all the same in this respect, they accept the notion that if they are in power it is acceptable  to make people do and pay for things they would not agree to under any other circumstances.

We have grown to like the idea of getting things from other people by using government.  That way we don’t have to walk up to our neighbors who have more money than us and ask them, or force them ourselves.

Libertarianism as a political philosophy does not carry this internal contradiction because it remains consistent in saying that it is never right to make people do something against their will.

So there you have it, an approach to politics where you don’t have to think that different rules apply to the government.  Ethics and political theory can live together in Libertarianism, a “Grand Unified Theory”!