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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:08 pm
 


I talked with one provincial candidate after the election. She said the Manitoba Liberal Party is the party of Libertarian Socialism. She complained that most party members cringe when she says that. I just asked her what that means. Her description sounded benign enough, but I looked it up for more detail. The result scared me; I now understand why other party members cringe. She's a beautiful woman, vibrant and energetic; not someone I want to hit on but her energy is refreshing. When she felt frustrated I wanted to encourage her. However, I have to disagree with her on this one point.

Here's a definition from Microsoft Encarta
Quote:
INTRODUCTION
Socialism, economic and social doctrine, political movement inspired by this doctrine, and system or order established when this doctrine is organized in a society. The socialist doctrine demands state ownership and control of the fundamental means of production and distribution of wealth, to be achieved by reconstruction of the existing capitalist or other political system of a country through peaceful, democratic, and parliamentary means. The doctrine specifically advocates nationalization of natural resources, basic industries, banking and credit facilities, and public utilities. It places special emphasis on the nationalization of monopolized branches of industry and trade, viewing monopolies as inimical to the public welfare. It also advocates state ownership of corporations in which the ownership function has passed from stockholders to managerial personnel. Smaller and less vital enterprises would be left under private ownership, and privately held cooperatives would be encouraged.

COMPARISON WITH COMMUNISM
The terms socialism and communism were once used interchangeably. Today, however, communism designates those theories and movements that, in accordance with one view of the teachings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, advocate the abolition of capitalism and all private profit, by means of violent revolution if necessary. Marx organized the International Workingmen's Association, or First International; when this congress met at Geneva in 1866, it was the first international forum for the promulgation of Communist doctrine. This doctrine was later explained by Lenin, who defined a socialist society as one in which the workers, free from capitalist exploitation, receive the full product of their labor. Most socialists deny the claim of Communists to have achieved socialism in the USSR, which they regarded as an authoritarian tyranny.

This website (advocating anarchy) defines Libertarian Socialism as
Quote:
Libertarian Socialism is a term essentially synonymous with the word "Anarchism". Anarchy, strictly meaning "without rulers", leads one to wonder what sort of system would exist in place of one without state or capitalist masters... the answer being a radically democratic society while preserving the maximal amount of individual liberty and freedom possible.

Libertarian Socialism recognizes that the concept of "property" (specifically, the means of production, factories, land used for profit, rented space) is theft and that in a truly libertarian society, the individual would be free of exploitation caused by the concentration of all means of wealth-making into the hands of an elite minority of capitalists.

So that means an entrepreneur who founds a small business that has a little factory in a unit of an industrial strip-mall is committing theft. Uh, huh. Needless to say, I believe that goes way too far. As Scrappy said in another thread
Scrappy wrote:
I believe in social programs that give a hand up and a hand out.

People on this message board tend to get rather harsh, but everyone needs a helping hand once in a while. We need to help people, to pick them up and dust them off when something happens to knock them flat on their ass; but we don't want people dependant for life.

So, what does Liberalism mean? First I will quote from Wikipedia, the internet encyclopedia: Liberalism
Quote:
Liberalism refers to a broad array of related ideas and theories of government that advocate individual liberty. Liberalism has its roots in the Western Age of Enlightenment.

Broadly speaking, liberalism emphasizes individual rights and equality of opportunity. A liberal society is characterized by freedom of thought for individuals, limitations on power, the rule of law, the free exchange of ideas, a market economy, free private enterprise, and a transparent system of government in which the rights of all citizens are protected. In the 21st century, this usually means liberal democracy with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law.

Liberalism rejected many foundational assumptions that dominated most earlier theories of government, such as the Divine Right of Kings, hereditary status, and established religion. Social progressivism, the belief that traditions do not carry any inherent value and social practices ought to be continuously adjusted for the greater benefit of humanity, is a common component of liberal ideology. Fundamental human rights that all liberals support include the right to life, liberty, and property.

Since freedom and equality do not always go hand in hand, some liberal philosophies stress one of these ideals over the other. Classical liberalism emphasizes free private enterprise, individual property rights, laissez-faire economic policy, and freedom of contract, and opposes the welfare state. Classical liberals support equality before the law and hold that economic inequality, arising naturally from competition in the free market, does not justify forced wealth redistribution. New liberals advocate a greater degree of government influence to protect individual rights (in a broad sense), often in the form of anti-discrimination laws. New liberals support universal education, and many also support welfare, including benefits for the unemployed, housing for the homeless, and medical care for the sick, all supported by progressive taxation.
[hr]
Classical liberalism (also known as traditional liberalism and laissez-faire liberalism) is a doctrine stressing the importance of human rationality, individual property rights, natural rights, the protection of civil liberties, constitutional limitations of government, free markets, and individual freedom from restraint as exemplified in the writings of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and others. As such, it is seen as the fusion of economic liberalism with political liberalism. The "normative core" of classical liberalism is the idea that laissez-faire economics will bring about a spontaneous order or invisible hand that benefits the society, though it does not necessarily oppose the state's provision of a few basic public goods that the market is seen as being incapable of providing. The qualification classical was applied in retrospect to distinguish early nineteenth-century liberalism from the "new liberalism" associated with Thomas Hill Green, Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, which grants a more interventionist role for the state.

Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman are credited with a revival of classical liberalism in the 20th century after it fell out of favor beginning in the late nineteenth century and much of the twentieth century. This revival is sometimes referred to as neoliberalism, although it must be said that many prominent neoliberals, like Alexander Rüstow and Wilhelm Röpke have tried to distance themselves from laissez-faire liberals.

Libertarians of a minarchist persuasion use the term "classical liberalism" almost interchangeably with the term "libertarianism", while the correctness of this usage is disputed (see "Classical liberalism" and libertarianism, below). Nevertheless, if the two philosophies are not the same, classical liberalism does resemble modern libertarianism in many ways.
[hr]
Historically, Canada is a nation of two liberalisms. Prior to the 1960s, Canadian politics were classically liberal, i.e., there was a focus on individual liberty, representative government, and free markets. This brand of liberalism can be traced to the arrival in Canada of the United Empire Loyalists and the enactment of the Constitutional Act of 1791. The Constitutional Act established responsible government through the elected assemblies of Upper and Lower Canada. While the Loyalists were faithful to British institutions and opposed to American republicanism, they were committed to North American ideals of individual liberty and representative government. This brand of liberalism was prominent though the Liberal government of Wilfrid Laurier, which advocated such policies as free trade with the United States, and beyond.

The second liberalism began, roughly, in the 1960s with the election of Lester B. Pearson as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and can be traced through the politics of Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chrétien, and Paul Martin. This liberalism is what is properly called welfare liberalism, or what contemporary North American use of the word signifies: liberal democracy, social liberalism, multiculturalism, diplomacy in foreign policy, and a mixed economy or more commonly with liberals now a regulated free market economy. In this second sense, Canada is presently one of the more liberal countries in the Americas. By contrast, prior to the 1960s, Canada was one of the most liberal countries in the world in the first sense.

Since the article cites Libertarianism and how it is similar to Classical Liberalism, I give the Wikipedia definition of "minarchism" and the Principles of Libertarianism from the Libertarian Party of Canada.
Quote:
In civics, minarchism, sometimes called minimal statism or small government, is the view that the size, role and influence of government in a free society should be minimal — only large enough to protect the liberty and property of each individual.

From the website of the Libertarian Party of Canada: Libertarian Principles
Quote:
Every individual has the right to his or her own life, and that right is the source of all other rights.
Property rights are essential to the maintenance of these rights.
It is essential that no individual or group initiate the use of force or fraud against any other.
There are only three legitimate things for a government to do:
1. Settle disputes among individuals but only after private, voluntary arbitration has failed
2. Protect us from criminals
3. Protect us from foreign invaders
As long as we respect the rights of others, all of us have a right to live as we see fit, as a free-trader in a free market.

As another counterpoint, here is the Wikipedia definition of Conservatism:
Quote:
Conservatism is a relativistic term used to describe political philosophies that favor traditional values, where "tradition" refers to religious, cultural, or nationally defined beliefs and customs. The term is derived from the Latin, conservāre, to conserve; "to keep, guard, observe". Since different cultures have different established values, conservatives in different cultures have different goals. Some conservatives seek to preserve the status quo, while others seek to return to the values of an earlier time, the status quo ante.

Finally, the NDP. The NDP grew out of the CCF: Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. They are distinctly communist in outlook. They believe the party knows best, that a government under their leadership will control all. As the local provincial candidate pointed out to me, they grew out of Saskatchewan farms where their assets are land and labour. The farm boss had to crack the whip; all farm hands had to get up at 6:00am sharp because the sun got up at that time. The sun will not wait for anyone; a farm is a collective where everyone must adhere to nature's schedule. The NDP still think as a collective, that government will control all. The Liberal party believes in individual liberty.

This is demonstrated by an incident that happened to me on July 20: I had a city worker come to cut my lawn. I ordered him off my property; how dare he claim he has the right to enter my back yard and cut my grass! He even used a weed whacker on my rhubarb! My property is my property, I am lord and master over this little piece of land. No one has the right to demand any standard regarding how frequently I cut my own lawn or how thorough. I kept my front lawn neat; I had let my back yard slip a little, but did cut the lawn. In fact I had cut my back lawn just 10 days before the city worker tried to. I planted irises and chives in the flower garden beside my house, and let ferns grow. A note from the city also complained about how well I weeded that flower garden. My back yard is surrounded by a 6 foot fence, and closed off by an arch and a steel gate attached to the front corner of my house; clearly private. The city even has a limit over the number of cats permitted in a house. That's what you get from an NDP government: big brother is watching; very communist.

This comes back to the question of what our party stands for. I believe the "new liberalism" of American president Franklin D. Roosevelt goes too far. That called for housing for the homeless; we saw what happens to welfare recipients housed in Manitoba Government Housing. They trash the place, something they get for free is not valued. Habitat for Humanity makes far more sense than welfare. It's a program to provide affordable housing; those receiving inexpensive housing must not only help build their own house, they must help build several other houses in the program. They work for what they get so it's valued, but it costs a lot less money than simply buying a house. This brings me back to the definition of Classical Liberalism: "a doctrine stressing the importance of human rationality, individual property rights, natural rights, the protection of civil liberties, constitutional limitations of government, free markets, and individual freedom from restraint".

I have advocated the Liberal party continue the sound financial management that is the legacy of Finance Minister Paul Martin. This city issue illustrates the need to also support individual property rights.


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