Recently I began an outline of some of the questions that should be asked in regard to whether or not Libertarians and social work can/should coexist. The purpose of the post was to get the topic of social justice and Libertarianism in the search engines. It may prove to be more difficult than I thought. As evidenced in the article, below, attempts to associate social justice with anarcho-capitalism may be worded in warm and fuzzy ways, but it seems that people in human services only have an elementary understanding of Libertarian thought.
What’s a libertarian? Well, all political science is about who has control over whom, and this can be broken down into one of two camps. There’s the camp of people who want to make their own decisions, and there’s the camp of people who want others to make decisions for them. To illustrate this in your mind, imagine a straight line running from left to right. On the far left, 100 percent of a person’s actions is controlled by the government, and there is no right of individualism. We used to call those places “absolute monarchies,” but being that it’s the 21st Century we can just label that point North Korea. On the right, 100 percent of our actions are controlled by ourselves as individuals. We call those places “anarchist states,” but in this day and age it’s pretty much Somalia holding that end down. Source
The problem with the camp of people wishing for others to make decisions for them is that they can force the State to impose this point of view on others, and enforce it with laws, and involvement in the judiciary system (litigation, fees and/or incarceration). The author views Libertarianism as being a sliding scale, with a lot of grey area – on one side is North Korea, on the other is Somalia.
Anarchy is not chaos.
There are plenty of sources to read about what constitutes true Libertarianism. It is quite simple, but after so much social engineering, each argument has to be revisited and taken back to the core principles, where they can be destroyed. Start learning what these guys have to say. Here is the real debate, folks. I doubt many people working in human services get past any level of butt hurt to read this stuff, but they should:
These are black/white issues:
1. The non-aggression principle (no right to initiatory force, including the use of government to enforce your views)
2. The right to self-defense.
This is somewhat of a “thin” versus “thick” Libertarian thing. The leftists cannot comprehend via their thick skulls a world functioning without any government not descending into chaos, or Somalia (they fail to acknowledge the government forces behind war and poverty, and may falsely attribute failure to private enterprise). Thin “Libertarian Brutalists” understand that private enterprise functions far better without government. It seems counter-intuitive, but government is not vested in solving problems, and they tend to get in the way.
In the absence of government, would charity fill the void of social work? If private enterprise is the answer, should/would employees from the private sector take over the roles of government social workers?
What made my heart leap over all of this is that the article was posted on Social Justice Solutions. I got my hopes up that we may be on the verge of a breakthrough, but no such luck. Perhaps starting anywhere is better than nothing at all, but it seems few people really do consider themselves to be Libertarians, even by the loosest of definitions. This post had less than 40 likes the last time I checked. A post demanding that congress live off of minimum wage had thousands of likes. If they just followed it through … that government is the problem. But no, it’s just bad government that is the problem, and most of them wish to be free to hate their representatives, even as they beg them for money for their causes.