Libertarian doctrine varies dramatically within the confines of Libertarianism (part of Libertarianism I guess, being as Libertarian as you care to be), but in its purest form, it is a Utopia of strict objectivism that appeases the prevailing left with a staunch adherence to personal liberty and does the same to the right with a likewise laissez-faire attitude toward business. The ruling elite in a Libertarian paradise cedes all questions of personal behavior to the citizenry, as it should be, but in devil’s trade for that, the personal behavior of commerce becomes likewise unregulated, and that’s a problem. It seems to me to be a bit of a self-assigned hall pass to rapacious mercantilists whose personal appetites veer from churchly ways.
It’s Republicans with bongs. It’s feeling bad about cutting school lunches. The core Libertarian message is that if things get bad enough, the people for whom it is bad will pool resources and correct the problem. The inferred corollary is, “and if they don’t, screw ‘em.” Whatever the attitude toward social safety nets, when it comes to infrastructure and public services, systems are required, and they need to be consistent and maintained to good health, and under the fat-trimming knives of Libertarian leadership, everything from pothole repairs to hospitals to soup kitchens falls under the butcher’s gimlet eye.
There is a strong advocacy of Libertarianism within certain elements of the tech sector, notably the highest echelons of management and ownership, one that suffers from a myopia that relates significantly to Obama’s both celebrated and reviled utterance, “You didn’t build that.” It’s the tech wealthy becoming wealthier, perceived as due reward for their pioneering individualism, conveniently forgetting that the technology their new technology hitchhikes on was developed through government research. The same is true of pharmacology, space exploration and many other fields that have more and more come into the realm of private commercial ventures. After a few decades of Libertarianism, all of that seed research dries up and you’re left with a passel of cutthroat entrepreneurs fighting over the last leftovers from the final sustained periods of pure research.
The first thing Libertarians will tell you is that they are fiscally conservative but socially liberal. Social liberalism requires funding though, and until you square with that, you’re not socially liberal. That’s just the way it is sold in the marketing materials, not as Randian feudalism, but rather ultimate freedom. It’s a second-rate philosophy popularized by a third-rate novelist whose big idea should have died right along with her.
Libertarians are refugees from the Republican Party for whom financial and environmental deregulation was proceeding too slowly. Or maybe in Johnson and Weld’s cases they were sick of being on the B-List and smelled blood in the water so they decided to make some hay while the election was unstable. The driving precept of Libertarianism remains unfettered capitalism, which wouldn’t annoy me quite so much except that it is always sold under a predictive model of spontaneous social cohesion that holds no historical model.
The Libertarian concept of a free market is flawed at its core because we no longer club each other to steal wildebeest meat, which is the beginning and the end of pure free markets. Anything more than that is influenced by structure. The restructuring of these “free” markets according to the whims of Libertarianism as pertains to patents, contracts, property, monopoly and enforcement (and these are the economic pillars that truly matter) are always going to be to the advantage of an elite that knows better, a kind of presumptive benevolent monarchy of the smug. The trick for hardcore Libertarians is to get as close to the clubs and wildebeest model as possible while keeping the lottery mentality afloat in the minds of a trusting public. I prefer an accountable democracy.