A fellow “small L libertarian” with whom I happily engage in thoughtful debate, but far too seldom for my tastes, recently reminded me of the one glaring point upon which we diverge the most…
His normative (how things ought to be) libertarian/anarchist ideology vs my descriptive (how things are) realist worldview.
This is not to say my “brother from another mother” and fellow libertarian is flawed in his thinking and I’m not, because that is not remotely the case. However, staying on the descriptive/realist side of things is a safeguard against being frequently disappointed by our country’s current political climate.
Staying in the realm of the descriptive allows me to maintain my perspective and to see (and consider) all sides of a political argument.
Not that my friend lacks this perspective, he is one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. However, I don’t wish to spend my time defending or debating a political position that is more theoretical than pragmatic.
I think small L libertarianism is more pragmatic than other political ideologies and as I said in a previous post, I’m a libertarian because I’d rather align myself with an ideology that promotes freedom of the individual vs one that primarily promotes collectivism.
However, I reconcile this obvious dichotomy by understanding that human beings are fundamentally social (read:collectivist) creatures, ergo, humans tend to embrace collectivist solutions to problems over individualist solutions.
As Leonard Nimoy in his iconic role as Spock said “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few; or the one”. As logical as that statement is, human beings are also selfish creatures who often put their own individual interests above the interests of society when given the opportunity and not always for the good of society.
That said, I appreciate my libertarian, nigh-anarchist brother’s normative perspective because of the salient point he frequently reminds me of…
The most oppressed group in any society is the individual.
-The Rational Ram