Libertarians and the Right love to point out the historical failures of Socialism. And they are correct in doing so. Socialism and its pure form, Communism [aka Marxism], are connected to many of the worst genocides and crimes of the 20th century. The analysis of Friedrich Hayek showed that this was a great risk of those ideologies: the ruthless take over and ... do ruthless acts. But should we blame the ideology for the acts of its corruptors?
Marxist apologists say no, the system was never tried properly and people like Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini and Mao were independent evil leaders. They say the ideology is not responsible.
What is an ideology? Alvin Gouldner in his masterly work, The Dialectic of Ideology and Technology [a very hard read - I'm about 1/3 way thru], shows that ideologies arose from the ashes of the old regimes as respect for traditions of religion and aristocracy collapsed. Assessing "ideology" from a sociological perspective, he shows that an ideology is a rational system that connects the ideas to the world and gives people a basis for collective action. An ideology is a social glue to help them stick together to "change the world".
Without the ideology, the collective action cannot occur; the movement will quickly collapse as its participants squabble over details. The worldview of the ideology is crucial. Seen this way, there is no other conclusion but that the ideology of Marxism IS partly responsible for the evil crimes of its implementors. The ideology of Marxism - and Socialism in its pure form - is simply wrong and unstable. The ideology must bear this burden of guilt.
Let's look now at the common form of pure libertarianism. Where do its proponents proudly point to its successful implementation?
Chile. The Chicago School loves to say how its libertarian economics saved that nation and created its prosperity. Other nations in the southern part of South America also implemented the Chicago School's system in the decades of the 1970s and early 1980s.
Murders of thousands of persons followed. This is rather well documented. Ruthless leaders did those killings. Yet those leader groups [Pinochet, etc.] were using the libertarian ideology to help hold their followers together - they followed the Chicago School's economics. Thus the same standard and analysis that correctly condemns Marxism must also condemn libertarianism. It's a flawed ideology. Ruthless persons take over - or implement it - and do ... ruthless actions.
How can a libertarian argue with this? Friedrich Hayek would be his hero - his idol. Yet the Hayek analysis and the facts confirm that Libertarianism is unstable and can lead to great harm to people. It doesn't work, it's flawed and should be rejected as a political economic system. It should join Marxism on the dustbin of history.
Aristotle would see the beauty of this symmetry [ref.: Nichomachean Ethics]. He saw systems, concepts and values as having a continuum between two extremes, both of which were sub-optimal or bad. A middle ground was an optimum - that's where true virtue lay. In this case, that optimum is Fraternal Libertarianism, which lies midway between socialism and libertarianism.
Word of the Day
"Ferity" - noun [$1000] used in the essay, "Walking" by Thoreau.
Ferity means 1.a. the state or quality of being wild or savage, brutishness, wildness; hence ferocitt; b. Of a plant, etc.: wildness, uncultivated condition; 2. savage or barbarous condition, a form of this; 3. barbarity, barbarous or savage cruelty or inhumanity.
Sentence: Both Marxism and Libertarianism can unleash frightful ferity; the ruthless can achieve power and a free rein in both. Both ideologies are deeply flawed.