How to act like a social libertarian.

Wow its been awhile since I’ve updated but I’ve got a decent one so I’ll try and make it worthwhile.

I’ve studied ethics from varying courses including religious-based concepts for years now. While I wouldn’t neccessarily call myself an expert there is no shortage of faults for all of them. From Singer’s utilitarianism to Naturalistic Ethics, hedonism to eudamonia, all of them suffer from a plague- over complication. I personally feel that its a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth; in this case the cooks are rules or principles and the broth is a way in which to live. Furthermore, the demands they set upon the average joe are often ludicrous- it is simply unrealistic to ask anything more from a person than what they want and what they perceive. In fact, it is one of my own tenets of libertarianism that we question any situation without basis of obligation.

Getting back to it, libertarianism works well for me. There’s a healthy dose of Satreism involved, with how one makes his own values through the world but if we are going to apply it to real world events then I guess I should use a real world political stance like libertarianism.

How to approach practically anything

To begin with, I would like to first make some assumptions based upon anyone who wants to be libertarianist:

– you believe that a clear cut definition of good/evil is a retarded way of looking at the world.

– you believe that you are vulnerable to error.

– you’re not going to throw in some spiritual reasons ad hoc and expect other people to adhere to them.

Ok now they we got that out of the way I hypothesise that you should ask yourself some questions whenever an ethical standpoint wants to be addressed. The questions intermingle at times, but that’s a good thing as I’ll explain later.

Question 1: what right do I have to tell another person what to do?

Consider your personal obligation and your personal justification for a protest or whatever action. If you think you should kill another, what gives you the right to kill? Again, involving any spiritual justification is illogical and plain idiotic, so remove yourself from that. If you feel you have legitimate involvement in other people’s decision making. If its a decision that you are making, consider what rights or lack of rights you have to that situation.

Question 2: Do you fully appreciate the positions within the debate?

Do you believe you can accurately and fully comprehend what people are talking about when they mount a particular position? Can you personally think that, from another person’s position, that their argument is valid and justified? If you can consider an alternative to your own, then consult question 1- what right do you have to tell another person, in another position, what to do?

Question 3: What impact does the debate have on me or my loved ones?

If the impact is considerable, then naturally you have a greater right to become involved. If it has less of an impact, you have less of a right and obligation. Buried in mind this is quite far reaching things like economy for example can have profound effects on you and your loved ones, even if it is indirect.

Question 4: Is the alternative better?

Is an alternative viewpoint a better idea for everyone involved? If you have a differing opinion, will that satiate opposers or simply make yourself better off? If the alternative to getting punched in the arm is being shot in the face, then obviously being punched in the arm is the best possible outcome.

Question 5: What does science say?

Science is not judge, it is a tool. If there is something that science has a say in, it should be noted and fully recognised as a valuable tool in your decision making.


Notice that I’m not making a plan of how these questions should be evaluated, or what your rights are. I too, personally do not have any right to say what rights are, beyond science so it would be hypocritical of me to tell you what is. By asking these questions to yourself you will have at least given yourself a better idea on how to approach things. I urge you to err on the side of freedom and personal choice.


Some examples: Marijuana legalization

Response to question 1:

what right does anyone have to say to anyone else whether they can smoke cannibis? Do I have a divine right in any way to stop or disallow someone else making that choice?

question 2: The positions within the debate are fairly obvious in this case. Proponents believe that it is a beneficial or entirely responsible herb, less dangerous than alcohol or tabacco. Those against stress that another drug is dangerous, and that it leads to a gateway effect. There is somewhat of a deadlock here, and politicians tend to side with the most votes.

question 3: The legalization of marijuana would have a positive effect on myself and loved ones. By doing so, myself and my loved ones recieve more options about how to live their lives which is as always invaluable. While their intoxication could cause difficulties, the response to question 5 should clear this up.

question 4: The alternative is non legalization. Marijuana will continue to be sold illegally but relatively obtainable for anyone who wants it. It can be cut with god-knows-what and has no regulations regarding its quality making it a more dangerous product. The alternative is not abysmal, but certainly worse than increasing freedoms.

question 5: this is where the debate has the most grounding. Scientifically, marijuana has been found to be not physically addictive, has next to no side effects beyond the absolute highest of doses over an extraordinarily long amount of time and is profoundly less harmful than alcohol and tabacco, putting it somewhere in the region of caffeine. There is no scientific or sociological reason (consider Netherlands’ successful drug policy) to not legalize marijuana.


~ by freeze43 on October 13, 2008.

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