How do libertarians propose to respond to sudden and major crises?

C
#1
For example: A global Influenza pandemic?

How can rights and individual liberty be respected when in order to address crisis a government must coerce the citizenry?

In the case of an Influenza pandemic; forced quarantines, the introduction of military police, the restriction of movement, the complete regulation of commerce and commercial transactions, the seizure of vital infrastructure among other things would be necessary actions on part of government.

Are libertarians comfortable with this response? If so, how do they reconcile it with their absolutist and uncompromising ideology?
 
T

Think for myself

#2
For example: A global Influenza pandemic?

How can rights and individual liberty be respected when in order to address crisis a government must coerce the citizenry?

In the case of an Influenza pandemic; forced quarantines, the introduction of military police, the restriction of movement, the complete regulation of commerce and commercial transactions, the seizure of vital infrastructure among other things would be necessary actions on part of government.

Are libertarians comfortable with this response? If so, how do they reconcile it with their absolutist and uncompromising ideology?
I think that is an excellent point there Colin.

While Libertarianism sounds great in theory, it's points like that where the argument tends to fall apart.
 
L

lakeman

#3
For example: A global Influenza pandemic?

How can rights and individual liberty be respected when in order to address crisis a government must coerce the citizenry?

In the case of an Influenza pandemic; forced quarantines, the introduction of military police, the restriction of movement, the complete regulation of commerce and commercial transactions, the seizure of vital infrastructure among other things would be necessary actions on part of government.

Are libertarians comfortable with this response? If so, how do they reconcile it with their absolutist and uncompromising ideology?

I am not a Libertarian but I have seen enough to have a guess.

In the event of a major crisis the need to keep some people from harming other citizens would neccessitate some of the actions you listed above. And if the need to protect people from other people does not exist then those government actions are not needed.

Let's talk about that list:

forced quarantines - this might be needed as sick people are a hazard to the healthy.

the introduction of military police - this might be needed to accomplish the first.

the restriction of movement - this might be needed to keep the disease from spreading too rapidly from sick who are a hazard.

the complete regulation of commerce and commercial transactions - I have visited sites like fluwiki and the government sites too and have not heard anyone talking about the need for this.

the seizure of vital infrastructure - same as above.

These last two things should really make us all feel uncormfortable Libertarian or not. Even the first few are uncomfortable but at least there could be justification.
 
M

michaelr

#4
You guys have to be kidding me. What flue pandemic are you talking about, bird flue? Isn't the one that killed a couple hundred world wide. FEAR FEAR FEAR! SHAME SHAME SHAME, but it would figure!

Martial law for the flue, someones been watching "The Stand", haven't they?
 
M

michaelr

#6
Damn nice reference there Mike.
Well you saw what good it did, maybe thats because most if not all flues can be and are carried by birds.

This thread is nothing more then Colin's fear that Paul may win. Being a globalist(which may not be a bad thing) and Paul being a Nationalist, I can see where he may have problems. But this thread is about as low as it gets.
 
W

william the wierd

#7
For example: A global Influenza pandemic?

How can rights and individual liberty be respected when in order to address crisis a government must coerce the citizenry?

In the case of an Influenza pandemic; forced quarantines, the introduction of military police, the restriction of movement, the complete regulation of commerce and commercial transactions, the seizure of vital infrastructure among other things would be necessary actions on part of government.

Are libertarians comfortable with this response? If so, how do they reconcile it with their absolutist and uncompromising ideology?
Bird flu hit previously in 1918 and while I have no problems constructing a Libertarian response that has already been done. The current libertarian movement is stuck in the 60s or at best early 70s. I would advise you to reread "The Selfish Gene" by Dawkins, which is the seminal work on sociobiology and evolutionary psychology. The key problems with the postulates of Rand and Rothbard or even earlier von Mises are that they have been superceded.
  1. Self-ownership principle. Well you don't act as if you own yourself unless you are nuts. Living things act as if they are trustees for the genes that created them.
  2. Non-aggression principle = no initiation of aggression against other individuals and their legitimately acquired property. Economics pervades the social universe the way gravity does the physical universe and for the same reason: a lack of power. The most powerful social force is kinship. Next comes mutual reciprocal altruism as in your mommy was right about always saying please and thank you not to mention sending gifts to people who send gifts to you and homemade gifts are better. Peer group imprinting of language, moral code, social distance and the rest of the traits that require adoption studies to differentiate them from genes. Nations are built on these traits. Non-aggression means accounting for all four of these social forces that follow different rules and determining what is the least aggressive action, which ain't easy.
 
C
#8
I am not a Libertarian but I have seen enough to have a guess.

In the event of a major crisis the need to keep some people from harming other citizens would neccessitate some of the actions you listed above. And if the need to protect people from other people does not exist then those government actions are not needed.

Let's talk about that list:

forced quarantines - this might be needed as sick people are a hazard to the healthy.

the introduction of military police - this might be needed to accomplish the first.

the restriction of movement - this might be needed to keep the disease from spreading too rapidly from sick who are a hazard.

the complete regulation of commerce and commercial transactions - I have visited sites like fluwiki and the government sites too and have not heard anyone talking about the need for this.

the seizure of vital infrastructure - same as above.

These last two things should really make us all feel uncormfortable Libertarian or not. Even the first few are uncomfortable but at least there could be justification.
I would think that government control or heavy regulation of the distribution of goods and services would occur in any massive crisis, even during an influenza pandemic. Markets would pretty much grind to a halt with government being forced to insure the survival of the nation's accumulated wealth through protection measures. For example the seizure private food, health and other supplies would occur in varying degrees to address the needs of the populace within the context of societal breakdown. It also might be prudent to seize certain services operated by private companies through public infrastructure to insure their stability and maintenance

But an Influenza pandemic is just an example of such terrible or sudden hypothetical crises and isn't the exact focus of my post.

Libertarianism seems to be flawed on the basis that is it ideological, inflexible and uncompromising. Thus it cannot react to hypothetical crises or constant inconsistences and complications within society. If libertarians concede that their ideology cannot successfully address these hypothetical occurrences it leads reasonable individuals to conclude that the ideology itself is fundamentally flawed. If libertarians can ignore their own ideological principals when they view it to be prudent, the rest of us can ignore libertarian principals whenever we believe it to be prudent as well.

What is harm? What are rights? How do we react to political and other circumstances? Blah subjectivity!

Fortunately most of us have significantly more expanded social, economic and political concerns than ideological libertarians. Uncompromising ideological tomfoolery just doesn’t make much sense. Flexibility, reason and the rejection of ideological and rigid thinking seems logical.

Hence we have no qualms with measures and certain responses to dangerous crises.
 
C
#9
You guys have to be kidding me. What flue pandemic are you talking about, bird flue? Isn't the one that killed a couple hundred world wide. FEAR FEAR FEAR! SHAME SHAME SHAME, but it would figure!

Martial law for the flue, someones been watching "The Stand", haven't they?
This thread isn't really about a flu pandemic.

It's more about questioning the ideological basis and nature of libertarianism itself.

* And as a note: This thread isn't "as low as it gets" and doesn't address my hommie Ron Paul. Finally I'm not overly concerned about Ronny's 0.05% of winning the 2008 Presidential election, but let's try to get over that stupid off-topic tangent.
 
F

Freedom for All

#10
For example: A global Influenza pandemic?

How can rights and individual liberty be respected when in order to address crisis a government must coerce the citizenry?
Your presumption that coercion is required in the event of a pandemic is flawed.

Considering that coercion would have been most effective in halting the spread of HIV in the pandemic's early stages, and considering the twittering that went on when even something as simple as branding/tattooing infected carriers, and it's clear that you're not asking a serious question.

What does one do? The individual what he can to protect himself and avoid infection. If the 1919 flu struck again, chances are good that it would evade capture and remain deadly in the wild despite modern medicine's best efforts.

In the case of an Influenza pandemic; forced quarantines, the introduction of military police, the restriction of movement, the complete regulation of commerce and commercial transactions, the seizure of vital infrastructure among other things would be necessary actions on part of government.
No, they wouldn't. That's your assumption, it's not fact.

Are libertarians comfortable with this response? If so, how do they reconcile it with their absolutist and uncompromising ideology?
It's bullshit.

There, reconciliation done.