Politics and Economics, Principles and Pragmatism

Too many times have I heard people talk about politics and economics being two separate worlds. People believe you can be a social liberal, and fiscal conservative. That the role of the state somehow differs from the economic system. What these people do not understand, is that the economic system of a country defines the role of the state. Economics and politics cannot be isolated from one another.

If you believe in a true free market, your view of the state’s role has already been decided. The free market cannot tolerate taxation. Taxation opposes the entire idea of a free market. Without taxation, what can the government possibly do? It would have no funding. Without funding, the government could not fund its courts, police, military, roads, social security, medicare, a central bank, or even your local DMV. With a free market, the government would cease to exist. The free market is anarchy.

Pretend you break up political philosophy into two groups; Statists and Anarchists. If you favor any form of taxation or regulations, you have just become a statist. You have decided that you do not believe free will should be upheld. You are saying that people should be controlled by others. Using consistent logic, the argument permits government control. The current debate among politicians isn’t whether the government can rule others, but rather to what extent. By this logic, it is permissable to take from some, and give to others. It is permissible to violate property rights, because there is no such thing within a state.

You either believe in a free market or you don’t. You are either an anarchist or a statist. So why is there so much fighting between statists? Some statists even say that the government should not violate our property right. This shows a complete lack of consistency. These small government politicians have taken an inconsistent stance, void of all principles. This is called pragmatism. How can politicians argue from a principle stance of rights, when they have already shown they do not believe in rights?

Russ Feingold is a Senator from Wisconsin. He has been one of the most heroic opponents of the PATRIOT ACT. He opposes it because it is a blatant violation of our property rights. However, Feingold is also a pure socialist. He believes we should all be given free education, healthcare, and welfare spending in general should be massively increased. So what’s the issue here? The issue is the support for the state. Support for the state shows that the government can violate all rights it sees fit. So there is a principled stance by these statist politicans. Once the principle is established that the state is permissible, every decision after that become pragmatic. This makes it entirely inconsistent to make an argument for rights or principles in general.

One it has been established by a politician that the state is legitimate, that politician must not make any argument stemming from a belief in rights. As I mentioned earlier, rights cannot exist within a state.Instead, he must argue that the results of policies will accomplish their goals. Take the bailouts as an example. In order for a statist politician to remain consistent, he must simply make his case based on his predictions of how the bailout will impact our economy. In order to argue that it is wrong for the government to do so, he must argue against the existence of the state as well.

Of course, everything mentioned above is assuming logical consistency, which is non-existent in today’s political realm. This brings me to one of the most inconsistent groups I have ever studied; Libertarians.

I like to break libertarians into two groups; Principle Libertarians and Pragmatic Libertarians.

The Principle Libertarians argue for minimal government. They say we have property rights, and the only legitimate role for the government is to protect these rights. They argue for this with one thing in mind, and that is morality. They believe that we have rights that need to be protected. However, the problem, is that these libertarians believe that an entirely coercive government is the solution to protecting these rights. In order to do so, the government must first violate these rights through taxation and other means.

The belief in property rights should that the rights cannot be violated under any circumstances. Consistency constitutes rights. Believing that the government should protect our rights is an inherently statist claim. It says that the government can violate these rights. From this point, you just get back on the same tracks. It has been established that rights do not exist, but to what extent should the be violated? Once again, even a minimal government philosophy held by most libertarians is entirely inconsistent.

Of course, this problem can easily be avoided. All one would have to say is “Participating in government could be optional”. However, if it is optional, it is no longer government. Government is coercive, no matter what the size. If you believe that opting out should be allowed, then congratulations, you’re an anarchist.

On the other side, there are the pragmatic libertarians. They do not believe in principles, but rather the results. These minimal government folk may be immoral, but arguing from a pragmatic stancepoint is vastly more effective than arguing from a principle standpoint. These pragmatic libertarians are still statists, but of a lesser extent. They believe that the less government control over the economy, the more successful. They are very right, but their argument leaves no room for morality.

And lastly, the group not yet talked about. Those who believe in the free market.

These are the people who believe in a completely free market. As I mentioned before, this leads to anarchy. In a free market, the government cannot exist. However, due to the bad reputation and violent nature of so many anarchists, I refuse to be recognized as such.

I defend my viewpoint from both stances of results and principles.

As far as results, I am refering to the economic outcome of the free market. I won’t go into depth about the advantages of the free market in this article, but I’ll briefly explain some things.

The most basic driving force of the market is competition. This competition is involved in every single transfer in the market. Contrary to popular belief, the market is completely self-correcting, as long as there is no intervention. Competition is the reason. The free market has the solution to every possible issue. The only things that will be produced, are things which are in demand. If there is a surplus, the price will drop. If there is a shortage, the price will rise. There would be no chance for depressions which require systematic failure brought about by monetary policies. Employment would remain a result of production, not a goal itself. Smart businessmen would be rewarded for doing well, and poor businessmen would be punished for being bad businessen.

In every possible way, the free market is the best way to ensure that every transaction is mutually beneficial. In the future, I will write in much more detail.

Lastly, I will briefly talk about the free market from a stance of principles. When it comes to arguing from a stance of principles, it gets difficult. That’s because of two reasons: 1) People don’t care about principles 2) We all have different views of what principles should be upheld.

The free market has moral rights, not legal rights. There is no such thing as a legal right, because in order for legality to exist, right are violated. So I will just right this from a stance of free will. Whether two people have identical viewpoints on morality or not is irrelevant. Everyone would agree that we should allow free will. This way, people can exercise their free will and choose which principles to believe in. Without free will, we do not even have the choice to believe in different principles.

So this is where the non-aggression principle comes in. No one can use coercion against anyone or his possessions. This means no one can steal, kill, rape, or harm in any way. It basically means no coercion. My entire political and economic theory can be summed up by this one principle. No coercion means no state. No state means free market. This is why economics and politics are impossible to separate.

From a principle standpoint, no one can legally have their free will stopped by a coercive force. This assurance of free will is the only system (or lack of) which allows people to act morally. When free will is not present, neither is morality.

As for being pragmatic, the free market wins big. A free market will always be more successful than a controlled economy for an infinite number of reaons.

The Free Market wins in all areas. Now all we need is a new name. How about Free Marketeers? Lame? Yes. Better than being called an anarchist? Yes. Works for me.

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