Several of my close colleagues have recently expressed a desire to call themselves “Libertarians,” perhaps in an effort to dissociate themselves from the dysfunctional liberal/conservative dialogue.
Wow — researching stuff in 2019 is quite different from the 1970’s! In fact, I would argue that in the not too distant future, even all this typing (and talking) on smartphones and computers will eventually be displaced by some sort of internal mechanism like having the capabilities of the smart cell phone implanted into our bodies. I call this either “internal GPS” or “internal Vid” in my Sci-Fi writings. If you think there is a lot of “noise” with all our multi-tasking now, imagine what it will be inside your head; that is why I have included a “Vid On, Vid Off” feature for the neural implants to shut off the noise if desired. The A.I. assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana are the precursor to that voice in your head. It also appears that the omnipresent Elon Musk is working on improving the neural connections we use to access memory so it sounds like rather than augmenting hard drives for our “machine” we are going to have to improve the connections between our neurons, synapses, ganglia, et al.
But, as usual, I digress, so back to the definition of Libertarian. My preliminary research indicates that the original meaning of Libertarian originates as far back as Lao Tzu, the chinese “Old Master.”
From Wikipedia: Libertarian thinkers. Lao Zi (571 BC – 471 BC): According to Murray N. Rothbard himself, Lao Zi was the first Libertarian, given Lao Zi’s contempt for those in power and so for the state. In more modern times, Étienne de La Boétie (1530–1563): French judge, writer, and “a founder of modern political philosophy in France.”
As I told one of my colleagues, I had thought Libertarian was an anarchist term and the initial Chinese and French proponents did have an anarchy bent to them. I then found out there are now two distinct definitions for Libertarian — A left-libertarian and a right-libertarian. The newer definition is the right-libertarian and most famously espoused by Trump advisor, Steve O’Bannon (sic). Here is a Wikipedia bio about Steve O’Bannon. I am including it because it helps understands the “Alt-right” which is really the platform that Donald Trump relies upon for his ideology. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Bannon
Regarding “right-libertarianism,” that seems to have started in the 1950s, Ayn Rand is the philosopher that most of the Alt-right people look to when coming up with their ideology. Rand’s philosophy is known as Objectivism and I remember reading it 30+ years ago and finding it quite dense. https://atlassociety.org/objectivism/atlas-university/what-is-objectivism/objectivism-101-blog/3366-what-is-objectivism.
I have to admit that at some point in the 1970s and 1980s, I read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged twice cover to cover and it was my “go to” philosophy during the go-go years of the 1980s. I did realize, by the end of the 1980s, that Objectivism was fundamentally self-centered and narcissistic, and opted for a more liberal and spiritual path going forward. I feel that I have become a better person by veering away from Objectivism. The latest book about Ayn Rand I believe is called “Mean Girl.”
Frankly, I think the entire Republican party is just plain mean, with their failed trickle down economics voodoo, fascist tendencies, and blatant lying as a political strategy. I think the Republicans would do better getting their news from Al Jazeera rather than Fox News.
Since the 1970s, I have been much more comfortable with left-libertarianism that is more aligned with Existentialism and the philosophy of Albert Camus, a left-libertarian, and one of my favorite writers, back in the day, as the Millennials like to say.
All this said, in some ways, I am qualified to help our younger generation navigate the future because my grounding in classical Marxian-Liberal Libertarianism, coupled with my finance capitalism training at Wharton helps understand the divisive ideological disconnect we now face worldwide, but particularly in the U.S.
Here is a link to a somewhat academic definition of left-libertarianism from www.studentsforliberty.org.
Politically, as most of my readers are probably aware, I consider myself a progressive these days and sincerely hope that Bernie Sanders gets the nomination for President, as he knows how to simultaneously navigate the maze of Washington politics and connect deeply with America’s youth, who really have a lot more at stake than the dollars and power sought by power possessors like the Koch Brothers, Donald Trump, Fossil Fuel Companies, Bio-Pharma Companies, Plastic Manufacturers, Wall Street, and yes, even Tech Companies.
Orwell was quite prescient when he wrote 1984 and we are now deeply in the throes of “Big Brother” and “The Thought Police.” One thing the youth have is time but they realize their future has been mortgaged by greed and misdirected thinking that “knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.”
Frankly, I do not think we have the luxury of considering ourselves as “Libertarians” when there are 65 million people displaced throughout the world and that number will multiply significantly due to the effects of climate change in the next 30+ years.
When I finish the Awakening trilogy, I plan on working on a scholarly book I now call “Resource Capitalism,” that will hopefully lay out a blueprint for implementing the Green New Deal through a systematic implementation of such concepts as blockchain, distributed ledger technology, triple bottom line accounting, how to break down archaic business models and start conforming with nature because like it or not, we work for nature and not the other way around.
As most right thinking people have figured out, we have to quickly transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy (like yesterday) and that will require enormous pressure on fossil fuel companies to reconfigure their business models or face legal and economic destruction.
We have to start better managing our natural resources and recognize that the $21 trillion in oil and gas reserves are worth a lot less than fossil fuel companies value them currently. That creates a disconnect between Wall Street valuations and the real value of these assets. As I said at the UN at a symposium for finance professionals one month before the signing of the Paris Accord in November 2015, “the markets will not be forgiving of this overvaluation of reserves and will punish these companies unless they are systematically directed to manage the transition from fossil fuels to renewables.” As an addendum, I would add that fossil fuel companies have to cooperate with public policy and wishes and stop influencing people with various forms of mind control, manipulation and downright deception.
Remember, we are not planet savers — the planet will figure out what to do with us and other endangered species. We are species savers and the main species we are trying to save is ourselves.