Category: Uncategorized (Page 2 of 2)
There is no point to assuring social stability, political security, and optimal ‘liberty’ for future generations if they are to inherit an environmental wasteland that forces their hand into cleaning up our mess.
There must be restraints on the liberties which people and institutions take with our earth, just as there are laws against theft. In general, if a resource is both renewable and clean – with steps in place to renew it when important to do so (e.g. trees) – then there should not be restraint on industries which produce goods from these resources (e.g. paper). But should demand outstretch renewability (e.g. paper), then alternatives to these products must be sought (e.g. go paperless), and not ones which are wasteful or promote further pollution in other directions (e.g. plastics).
On the other hand, if a resource is rare or not clean or not renewable – like many rare metals that fall into all three classes – then there ought to be restrictions on their use even if they come from land which is not public. This reflects the importance of the issue to future liberty. We should not pretend, for instance, that wasting rare metals and polluting with them does not constrain future capacity for free action – liberty. It minimizes the future use of those metals and forces future action to focus on problems that were avoidable.
So much may seem acceptable for such things as Plutonium, but there remains the concern that government intervention into business practice would only hinder progress. If strong constraints were in place, after all, it would seem doubtful that such things as the iPhone would ever had seen production. The question is how to balance. This question is difficult. It is clear, however, that such products should not go to production without a plan for reuse and recycling, and for such plans to be valid, they must incorporate plans for reuse and recycling into the design of the products themselves. .
If it should seem that environmental concerns are directly contrary to business and therefore not libertarian concerns, consider that I am not, as a libertarian, concerned with the liberty of companies. I am concerned with the liberties of individuals – and the accountability that comes with it. Companies should be allowed to take risks, but those risks should not jeopardize the liberties of individuals, present and future. Again, forcing future generations into action is a reduction of liberty for society.
At the forefront of the conversation must be energy. Many issues would be solved by a viable renewable energy infrastructure. A renewable energy grid viable in fifty years time seems like so little to ask until you consider the scope of the project and the necessary war against inertia. As compromise libertarians we must tackle these problems head on, lest our future generations have constrained liberties due to our laziness.
As with any governance, the best governance in business is an intelligent and benevolent dictatorship. The inevitable occurrence of ruthless or dim dictators means that employees will come together to protect their interests. When they do so come together, business change becomes much more difficult, which is more often bad than good in a fast moving economy. The argument then is that if you want people to not unionize for the sake of agility in business, you have to allow them alternatives to living under a dictatorship which may be ruthless or dim.
“At Will” employees are often not simply free to go. These employees are often most familiar with matters that are of intellectual property to the company in question and cannot so easily use their transferred knowledge without consequences. Moreover, companies often force employees to sign covenants not to compete, which entail that people do not join competitors or otherwise enter their marketplace if they were to leave.
Intellectual property is not going away, and shouldn’t, but if you think unions hurt business, you have to allow employee mobility as the alternative. This can be done by not forcing people into covenants not to compete.
If you like unions in themselves, I don’t think you understand economics. If what you want is a collective power, then partner and hire employees yourself to develop alternative or complimentary products and services.
Workers should be allowed to do this much and a leadership’s best defense is being intelligent and benevolent.
***This is the final part to Just Liberty, written in early 2010.***
Our foremost compromise must be in the area of privacy. This sounds terrifying to some, but effectively, it is not as scary as one may think. First, one cannot cause much trouble these days unless one is using a digital device. As a result, we must make certain consolations. Namely, that our communications will be surveilled. Second, one cannot have much influence unless one establishes a network; and this network is a subsequent threat to security. The result is that one must admit to surveillance in public. That is, public moments and discussions are public information.
People generally have a fear of being watched. It is innate. Should they realize that in there home they are being watched, or in public that they are being followed, this fear comes out regardless of their guilt as to a given matter. To some extent this fear is rational; on the one hand you may be watched or followed for malicious reasons – the questions regard who is doing the watching or following. We should all be quite a lot more comfortable should we know that the person doing the watching or following is also being watched or followed by a higher authority. But then the issue becomes abuses of that authority.
The potential for abuse is obvious. If the surveillance reveals strategic information then that strategy can be easily defeated or hedged, in most cases, in advance; leaving it less effective or not effective at all. And if this means that Libertarians are defeated by Republicans as a result, then obviously this is an abuse of power. The same goes for business. The same for personal battles. As a result, to defend against such abuse, one has to amend the conditions of surveillance, such that it does not fall into the lap of interested parties – i.e. parties with an interest outside of keeping the peace. The best method for this is automated surveillance, i.e. surveillance which starts, and in almost all cases, ends with a computer.
**This is part of an essay unpublished, but written in early 2010**
There is no better time than now for some common sense. The fact is that we are a nation in some disarray. On the one hand, we are concerned that we may be subject to terrorist threats should we let our guard down. On the other hand, we are concerned that our liberties are eroding for the sake of safety, and that there is no end in sight but the police state. This balance between liberty and safety is the matter when it comes to politics. The Republicans are known as the military party, but the democratic spending is all defense spending of a social sort. In the end, it is the balance between this spending as a whole, together with our residual liberties, which makes our nation what it is.
The recent ‘Libertarian’ uprising is a reaction, first and foremost, to the fact that our liberties seem to have become just that: residual. That what matters in government is the control they have over our lives and not the protection of liberties at all. In this light, it is not surprising that the people are rallying behind the “Tea Party” movement. The promises that liberty can be restored, the promises that America can return to a golden age post-revolution.
But one cannot turn back the clock without also destroying the blueprints on all modern weaponry, including something as simple as the PC. Realizing this, a restoration to the days of the constitution is not feasible, since for one, it is not really what anyone wants. And should we like the comforts of technology, then we must also appreciate that the Constitution does not provide enough guidance on the matter of balancing liberties with security. What we can say is this: the fig leaf is on the ground. We have bitten from the apple for better or worse and we cannot go back. So we must consider the amendment of some of those liberties, to some degree. The romance of utter liberty has long been dead – for it was anarchy – but going back to the days of yore is not an option. If we are to be Libertarians, we must make compromises.
**This is the first installment from a short piece I wrote in early 2010. It has not been made public – in any part – until now**
I mention here that there are two basic types of integrity. I think I said this overlooking what is so easily taken for granted: that you are the same person from one moment to the next. Specifically in that your willingness to enter commitments match your following through with them at a later time. Otherwise, it is a post I like.