Libertarianism and Collectivity
You’ll see today that the Libertarian Party, overall, will get at least twice as many votes as the Green Party.
The Libertarians espouse an ideology that clearly has some resonance. It centers around a partial-truth that the establishment parties would never broach: The centralized governments of the modern nation-states are too large and too coercive, and they are the locus of too much concentrated wealth and power.
I say “partial-truth” because I think the fallacy of Libertarianism is to generalize “too coercive and too concentrated.” The Libertarian vision is of a world where governments of any scale would be extremely minimalist. Collective social and economic functions would mostly be the purview of private businesses, private clubs, and voluntary organizations.
Socialism (in its original and full ideological form) advocates social ownership of society’s productive assets as a universal principle. No private ownership of the means of production (at least at the “commanding heights of the economy”) anywhere, ever.
Anywhere, ever . . . isn’t that a little silly? Libertarianism advocates near-total private ownership of the means of production as a universal principle. Everywhere, always. Definitely silly.
Bioregionalism recognizes that diversity of lifeways is natural and desirable. In a bioregional world we could expect to see regionalized economies and polities where property relations span the spectrum from mostly-private to mostly-public. Economic relations and most all other aspects of life (educational practices, healthcare provision, gender relations, etc.) would exhibit wide-ranging diversity.
People don’t live primarily via private businesses, private clubs, and voluntary organizations. Beyond the family, people live in, identify with, and depend upon collectives. Libertarians don’t appreciate the fact that there are always social and public collectives. The issue about the collectives we live within is one of scale. A problem with the nation-states is that they’ve gotten conflated with the concept of ‘community.’ The governments of the nation-states are indeed too large, too remote, too coercive, and the locus of too much concentrated wealth and power.
People will try to manage their common life within any collective. When the collective is too large the attempts at management become unwieldy; bureaucratic to the point of absurdity. The Soviet Union was a prime example. The federal government of the United States is also an example, though to a lesser extent. Libertarianism arose as a reaction against such. But the Libertarians take a valid critique of government at that scale and mistakenly universalize it.