modern family communication, the world tried libertarianism and it failed

all dressed up

all dressed up.

The mathematics of the modern British family revealed

The modern family keeps in touch via 1,768 texts, 520 emails and 68 hours on the phone every year, it has emerged.
Almost half of all Brits even text, email or phone their family members – when they are in the same house because they are too lazy to get up and go to talk to them in person.

…A spokesman for Toshiba, which commissioned the study said: ”As individuals, we are becoming busier than ever, but this means we aren’t always around to talk to our partner or children when we need to.

”And this means we are relying on other methods to keep in touch.

…’But it’s worrying to see so many are even communicating this way when their partner or children are in the same building or even in the next room.”

I’ve been thinking about these statistics for a couple of days. I should probably find them troubling, but I cannot find a good reason yet. Unless the family is truly dysfunctional, what difference does it make how they communicate. That study will probably show up shortly. Way back, say twelve years ago, before the explosion of texting and smart-phones, dysfunctional families – or where either the parents or the children were having some personal issues, they would either just not talk or when they did there was tension or outright hostility. Maybe because of hectic lives, or personal communication problems, some of these same families are at least trying to maintain a some kind of meaningful presence in each others lives.

The Empire Typewriter

The Empire Typewriter. According to this site The Empire or Wellington began production in 1892, in  Montreal , Canada.

If they ever reboot the Indiana Jones franchise this might be a good true story to use for inspiration, Andean Atlantis: Race, Science and the Nazi Occult in Bolivia.

Have you noticed all the countries in the world yearning to become libertarian states? No? The reason is that there are none. And there are none because humanity already experimented with libertarianism, We Already Tried Libertarianism – It Was Called Feudalism

For liberals, basic rights are fundamental, in the sense that they can’t be compromised or traded against other, non-basic rights. They are also inalienable; I can’t contractually transfer away or otherwise give up my basic rights. To the extent that I enter contracts that do this, I have an option of exit that restores those rights.

This is different from property rights in specific things. Picture yourself as a person with a basic right to association, who also owns a wooden stick. You can sell your stick, or break it, or set it on fire. Your rights over the stick are alienable – you don’t have the stick anymore once you’ve done those things. Your rights to the stick are also not fundamental. Given justification, the public could regulate its use (say if it were a big stick turned into a bridge, it may need to meet safety requirements), in a way that the liberal state couldn’t regulate freedom of association.

When libertarians say they are for basic rights, what they are really saying is that they are for treating what liberals consider basic rights as property rights. Basic rights receive no more, or less, protection than other property rights. You can easily give them up or bargain them away, and thus alienate yourself from them. (Meanwhile, all property rights are entirely fundamental – they can never be regulated.)

How is that possible? Let’s cut to the chase: Nozick argues you can sell yourself into slavery, a condition under which all basic liberties are extinguished. (“[Would] a free system… allow him to sell himself into slavery[?] I believe that it would.” ASU 331) The minimal libertarian state would be forced to acknowledge and enforce contracts that permanently alienate basic liberties, even if the person in question later wanted out, although the liberal state would not at any point acknowledge such a contract.

If the recession were so bad that millions of people started selling themselves into slavery, or entering contracts that required lifelong feudal oaths to employers and foregoing basic rights, in order to survive, this would raise no important liberty questions for the libertarian minimal state. If this new feudal order were set in such a way that it persisted across generations, again, no problem. As Freeman notes, “what is fundamentally important for libertarians is maintaining a system of historically generated property rights…no attention is given to maintaining the basic rights, liberties, and powers that (according to liberals) are needed to institutionally define a person’s freedom, independence, and status as an equal citizen.”

Government. Which brings us to feudalism. Feudalism, for Freeman, means “the elements of political authority are powers that are held personally by individuals, not by enduring political institutions… subjects’ political obligations and allegiances are voluntary and personal: They arise out of private contractual obligations and are owed to particular persons.”

What is the libertarian government? For Nozick, the minimal state is basically a protection racket (“protection services”) with a certain kind of returns to scale over an area and, after some mental cartwheels, a justification in forcing holdouts in their area to follow their rules.

As such, it is a network of private contracts, arising solely from protection and arbitration services, where political power also remains in private hands and privately exercised. The protection of rights is based on people’s ability to pay, bound through private authority and bilateral, individual contracts. “Protection and enforcement of people’s rights is treated as an economic good to be provided by the market,” (ASU 26) with governments as a for-profit corporate entities.

What doesn’t this have? There is no impartial, public power. There’s no legislative capacity that is answerable to the people in a non-market form. There’s no democracy and universal franchise with equal rights of participation. Political power isn’t to be acted on in a representative capacity toward public benefit, but instead toward private ends. Which is to say, it takes the features we associate with public, liberal government power and replaces them with feudal, private governance.

Opportunity. Liberals believe that positions should be open for all with talent, and that public power should be utilized to ensure disadvantaged groups have access to opportunities. Libertarianism believes that private, feudal systems of exclusion, hierarchy, and domination are perfectly fine, or at least that there is no legitimate public purpose in checking these private relationships. As mentioned above, private property rights are fundamental and cannot be balanced against other concerns like opportunity. Nozick is clear on this (“No one has a right to something whose realization requires certain uses of things and activities that other people have right and entitlements over.” ASU 238).

Procuring rights and passing those rights on, based on property is also specious in terms of inalienable basic rights since in many cases how that property was procured is up for debate. Was it gained under completely fair circumstances, was it truly earned – and in whose opinion. Much of U.S. foreign policy post WW II has been about protecting the financial interests of corporations. Workers did OK with this for a while, but for the last forty years wages have not kept pace with their productivity, yet we’ve had the massive accumulation of wealth by the top 1%. The average worker has no chance of catching up with the rent seekers.

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