It occurred to me today that libertarianism is, ironically, oppressive.
Most people most of the time are only concerned about short term gains. What's for dinner tonight? What's on TV? Where will my high school senior go to college? Will my new car have decent resale value in 6 years? Will I have time to grab a bite to eat before the recital this evening? Can I afford to get my foot fixed by the podiatrist?
Only rarely do people consider questions about collective ethics and well being. What should we do about global warming? What can we do to ensure universal access to health care? How can we improve education for everyone?
These collective questions need to be settled collectively. I cannot unilaterally decide how health care should be implemented or how global warming should be solved (or decide if it is a problem).
Humans need informed, collective decision-making. Individuals need to be asked to think about the long term.
How you approach the question of global warming is different when you're deciding what car to buy for yourself versus what legislation should be passed. In the first case, you are asked to consider what your personal comforts will be like for the next few years. In the latter case, you are asked to consider your children's futures. And so the answers you give in each case are different.
I want my sports car, and I am happy to pay the true cost of that decision. However, I don't want to make a futile sacrifice all by myself. For example, I don't want to take the difference between the price of my car and what I think it ought to cost, and contribute it to a private pro-environmental organization that may never make any progress. I will just be cheating myself out of the cash. But if I know that everyone will pay a price, I will think the deal is fair.
Likewise, if I buy a hybrid, I'll pay a bunch more and do very little to affect carbon emissions by myself. I may make a statement with my purchase, but that's not an effective way to solve the problem if only a few percent of buyers buy hybrids. The only way to make the sacrifice effective is to enact legislation that will ensure that there will be enough hybrid purchases to make a positive difference to the environment.
Libertarianism wants to strip us all of the option to make these sorts of collective decisions, i.e., strip us of the right to make binding decisions about our long-term future. So, ironically, libertarianism is a form of oppression. We are not allowed to engage in collective decision-making, but instead we must all sit idly by while the people of the world thinks only about what it wants on its pizza tonight. In a libertarian society, we're not allowed to organize people to make binding decisions.
The only people who get to make binding decisions are those with the personal economic power to make a decisive difference. Who are they? They are the billionaires and the CEO's who run the worlds largest cartels and corporations. Libertarianism is great for them.
Of course, there is a long litany of other reasons why libertarianism is flawed and impractical, but this argument seems like it may be the most compelling of all.