Saturday, July 15, 2006



I'm still waffling away over here. Latest comment:

Sorry about the misnomer Frank, if it's any consolation I did the same thing to myself when I said that I was an ex- libertarian - I too thought of myself as a "a liberal (in the unbastardised sense)".

Empirically, your claim that wealth "always [goes down] when governments start fiddling around with its distribution" is unsustainable - all governments of advanced industrial countries do so, and GDP continues to rise. Even a weaker version of that claim is discredited by the fact that the post-war economic miracle coincided with the expansion of the Keynesian/welfare state. Granted most of state spending was not oriented towards distribution per se, but much was, and much more (educational spending for example) had an egalitarian distributive effect. Theoretically, it's also wrong, because the defence of property rights (i.e. state enforcement of particular property relations) is precisely a massive "fiddling around" with the distribution of wealth, in the sense that it is not somehow natural or neutral - it is a definite decision to coercively enforce a certain distribution of property (and hence wealth), and not other possible distributions.

I also think your belief that economic inequality is unimportant is unsustainable, but that argument can wait.

Going back to the point about apathy and dominance, to put it fairly simply and abstractly: presuming that the state does indeed affect the interests of different people, and groups of people, differentially - i.e. some for good, some for bad, some better than others, some worse than others - it is in everybody's interest to be able to defend/assert their interests vis-a-vis the actions (and non-actions) of the state.

If liberals/libertarians had their right to vote taken away, we could expect their interests and aspirations not to taken into account by the state. Similarly, those who are apathetic are less likely to have their interests taken into account, i.e. to be treated fairly, by the state. They will have no say in the state's actions/non-actions but will still be affected by these. In this sense they will be subject to domination - not total domination, not slavery, but a relationship of domination with those who disproportionately influence the state.

These are all things that could probably be better expressed - and of course have been by others - outside the confines of a comment box back-and-forth, but there you go.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?