Exposing Libertarianism: The Belief That We Should Give More Power to Those Who Are Corrupting Government

libertarian-stupidityAnyone who follows me knows I am not the biggest fan of libertarians. In fact, I loathe the whole ideology. I’m not saying that all libertarians are bad people (I know a few who are great people), I just happen to believe their ideology is ridiculous and doesn’t make any sense. These people believe in an ideology that’s never thrived anywhere on this planet at anytime in human history.

The United States has never been run under libertarian ideologies. In fact, our government was at its smallest back when slavery existed, women couldn’t vote, and segregation was legal. We had to enact laws, fight a war and pass Constitutional Amendments (you know, grow government) to protect people from those who exploited a “smaller government” that allowed for such barbaric behavior.

The truth is, when you look around the world at countries with:

  • Few regulations
  • Low taxes
  • Guns
  • Small governments

They’re typically dirt poor, violent, and controlled by the select few who are extremely rich – because there was no government put in place to prevent the rich and powerful from essentially rigging the entire system.

Hell, even in a country like the United States, with regulations, the rich and powerful often do whatever they can to try to rig our system and corrupt our government. Could you imagine what these people would do if there weren’t laws stopping them from doing whatever the hell they wanted? Or do these millions of people really believe that the rich, powerful and these giant corporations would act more ethically with fewer regulations? Do they really think that regulations are what led to our 2008 crash; the BP oil spill; the chemical spill in West Virginia; the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas; and the downfall of Enron?

While libertarians like to whine and complain about how corrupt and inefficient our government is, the truth is their ideology is based upon giving more power (via deregulations and a smaller government) to the very people who are responsible for making our government inefficient and corrupt.

Their “plan” is to massively shrink our government, handing over an unregulated and unchecked amount of power to the very people who are constantly trying to buy our government so they can get rules that would help them bypass the regulations that they don’t like.

Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

Oh, but it’s okay. Libertarians believe that consumer power and “the market” would correct all of this. Tell me, how would the “market” have prevented any of the disasters I listed above? Hell, without regulations they would likely have been much worse.

But even libertarians themselves prove that the entire ideology is absurd. I’ve often joked that if you got 10 libertarians together to define what it means to be a libertarian, you’d get 10 different answers. I’ve literally have debates with libertarians where by the end of the discussion they were bickering about who was or wasn’t a “real libertarian” because even they couldn’t agree on the “true meaning” of libertarianism.

To say nothing about their overly simplified and often dangerous beliefs on foreign policy and national security.

In a perfect libertarian utopia where things like human nature, greed, reality and facts didn’t exist, libertarianism might work. But, unfortunately for libertarians, all of those things do exist. That’s why when I ask them to name a successful society, either now or in the past, that’s been built on their ideologies – they can’t name one.

The truth remains that libertarianism is built on fantasy and driven by the avoidance of reality.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • chasnej

    true libertarian understands the need for a force to enforce compliance
    with laws enacted by representative government. Corruption and
    criminality (the failure to respect rule of law) are anathema to
    libertarianism. If we do not use the instruments of power well, by
    setting government as the bulwark against abuse of corporate and union
    power, we cannot expect balance.

  • strayaway

    Of course you “loathe the whole ideology”. After all, libertarianism is the opposite of authoritarianism so necessary to propagate much of progressivism. Of course, most libertarians are not anarchists and some progressives don’t want presidents to act like dictators by changing laws. Those are both extremes. Most of us are somewhere closer to the center of the libertarian/authoritarian spectrum.

    Anarchism doesn’t work but a breath of liberty is very tonic. Our own revolution was libertarian in nature compared with British rule. The birth of protestantism brought innovation and prosperity to NW Europe after shedding some of the authoritarianism of the mid-evil church. China economically blossomed when it allowed private property. I’m not suggesting that China is libertarian but it became a lot more prosperous and free when it became “more” libertarian than it was.

    The US is turning into an oligopolistic police state under recent governments of both parties. We are headed in the opposite direction resulting in the 1% gaining a greater share. Those “dangerous (libertarian) beliefs on foreign policy and national security” mentioned in the article include not helping overturn the governments of Ukraine, Libya, Egypt, and Syria and bombing 6 countries in the last 6.25 years. Progressives used to criticize Ollie North until they became Ollie North.

    • Capitol Hill Dad

      An intelligent response.

      So can you point to a libertarian utopia – in any time in the history of the world? Anything even close?

      Of course the kind of liberty you are speaking of – in vague generalities – above we all want (anyone with any sense) – but these will not be gained by lowering taxes on the wealthiest, slashing social, educational and infrastructure programs and eliminating environmental regulations. They will lead to a third world country, of course – these policies are the formula for one. I guess the little beggar boy on the streets of any third world country has his liberty – he can beg – or he can starve..

      How have progressives “become Ollie North”? please explain..

      Are the progressives the ones who favor American imperialism and continuous war?

      How about the U.S. in the 60’s? Were we a Big Government socialist nightmare then? Were we communists?
      The middle class did pretty well – and so did business. Were we, on average, worse off then than now?

      • strayaway

        Yes, I can. Pure libertarianism is total anarchy. Off campus, no one is recommending that. However on the libertarian/authoritarian spectrum, I’ll mention the first three that come to mind. The Protestant reformation, the Founding Fathers throwing off Imperial rule, and Chinese reforms allowed since Mao. In each case, expanded liberty resulted in increased relative prosperity. That’s the real world where the contest is between liberty and authorities.

        I can think of a great Country headed in the opposite direction too away from liberty. Since 1977 our standard of living has been in decline as our government grows. Presidents who wage personal wars without a declaration from Congress, a president who changes laws, a court being told that it could not hear a case because undisclosed government officials said so. The top 5% are doing very well at the expense of the other 95% under Bush and Obama whose standard of living is in decline to some extent hidden by a huge accruing federal debt hovering over our children. We are in decline. The press is owned by the elite. Presidential candidates of both parties are pre-selected for us. Work is sent abroad and foreign mercenary workers are brought in to replace more costly US workers. Yes, progressives favor wars as much as about anybody except McCain. Obama bombed 7 countries to begin with. His Libya adventure was a policy catastrophe. The cold war is back and Hillary is behind every bit of this setting the stage for our own Eva Peron.

        The sixties, like when Kennedy balanced the federal budget and threatened the bankers before his death? Kennedy wasn’t a flake either.

      • Capitol Hill Dad

        OK we are nearly in agreement! – except the part about the how the billionaire Koch brother’s funded, Cato institute, “libertarian” policies is somehow the the solution (low regulation on big banks and big business, low taxes – especially for the ultra-wealthy, and “small government” – when it suits them).
        It is GOOD government we need, and government that serves the interests of the MAJORITY its citizens – not just the 0.01%. “Libertarianism” does not fix this – only adds to the problem. It is a fantasy being sold the gullible by the very forces that are responsible for the decline in this country you point to – they are misdirecting you. You liked the idealism of JFK’s ’60s? So do I. I am a JFK Dem.
        So let’s go back to the tax structure of those good ‘ol days – shall we? (hint – you going in the opposite direction)
        Now, Re our candidates being pre-selected for us – now here’s an article you won’ t find in the mainstream press. I am impressed by Glen Ford’s eloquence on multiple issues
        It is Incredible.. an outrage really..


      • Chris Devine

        I own myself. You do not have the right to use force, fraud or coercion on me in order to achieve your ends. If you agree with this statement you are libertarian.

        If you dont agree, not only is that alarming, but we just aren’t going to be great friends 😉


      • YourHonored

        If you agree with that statement you are a “civil libertarian” the philosophy of libertarianism is much broader

  • Hume

    Good dose of reality …. well put …..

  • YourHonored

    this article was very well articulated, thank you! I’m assuming, however, that you don’t hate the whole ideology, I’m assuming you agree with “civil libertarianism” at least?

  • Marcus Cotey

    This is pure drivel. Thanks for lumping everyone under one umbrella. For certain their are Libertarians who believe an anarcho-capitalist system would be great but most of us just want accountability and efficiency in our government and from our representatives. This article makes it sound like everything is great and nothing is broken. This is absolutely false. No the EPA should not be disbanded and I am good with the EPA SuperFund when it goes to clean up old factory sites but the recent EPA reg that states it can control ALL water in the USA and bring lawsuits against ANYONE violating said law is absurd and just another example of typical government overreach. And whoever mentioned Social Security…well that is just a laugh…because both Dems and Repubs have borrowed so much from it that it is no longer solvent.
    The reason the Libertarian party keeps growing is because more and more people are realizing government has failed us and continues to do so. It is time for a new way of thinking and a new way forward and none of the current POTUS candidates are the answer. Continue with your noses in the air looking down on all us plebians…may the sun forever burn your eyes.

  • Sc

    The structure of his argument; if immoral corporate influence is
    the source of government corruption, the worst thing we could do is
    further weaken government. Sound logic, tragically ignorant premise. In
    terms of the demise of civilization, progressive ideology definitely
    makes the most progress. There is an uniformed belief that the heart of
    the struggle is between evil corporate leaders/1%/elites and
    well-intentioned but over-matched regulators. Nothing could be further
    from the truth, here’s why – the same players move from the State to
    corporate positions like changing a pair of shoes and the reason they
    are able to do so is centralized government. The farther the center of
    power is from the local level, the less accountability there is. I
    experienced this first hand in dealing with Bay Area regulatory agencies
    when I was on the industry side. The movie The Big Short also points
    this out explicitly with bankers and the SEC hiring from each other
    regularly. It’s not the quantity of government that helps society, it’s
    the quality. We achieve quality in government by reducing the degree of
    separation between law makers and the citizen. Libertarianism is not
    anarchy, it is prioritizing trust in the average citizen to make
    decisions about their own lives rather that placing huge power in the
    hands of someone very few people either know, or have access to. It is
    the bloated size of the State that directly facilitates the ease of
    executing corruption. Classic example; G.D Searle and Donald Rumsfeld.
    Contrast with libertarianism – oh can’t buy liquor on sundays? Easy.
    Walk around the block to your friend – the city counselman and have a
    reasonable conversation about it. Easy! In fact, nearly every city in
    America is an example of functional libertarianism succeeding where
    backwards Statism would have damaged life.

    Here’s the
    fundamental principal of libertarianism according to me – human beings
    have problems handling power, therefore the worst thing in the world you
    can do is consolidate power. Big government is a honey pot that
    attracts sociopaths, reduces transparency, and allows for further
    consolidation of power. Unlike our ignorant progressive friends ;),
    libertarians understand that
    you don’t need an obese State to protect individuals, all you need are
    quality regs like the Glass-Steagall Act. Decentralized government is the
    answer. Powerful regulations can be implemented by targeted, small
    federal and local governments.

    Disunity among self-professed libertarians? Let’s don’t conflate variety of tactics with variety of strategy. The strategy is equally unified as any other broad-umbrella base – trust your neighbor more than career sociopaths (either business chiefs or state chiefs).

    The casualties of big government are
    many. Venezuela right now, Scandanavia is falling apart at the seams due
    to cultural disintegration brought on by progressive approaches to
    immigration and sovereignty. All fascist governments are enabled through
    consolidated big government. The case is a slam dunk in my view and we
    haven’t even started on the petro-dollar system or fiscal issues.