Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Skeptical Libertarian

Cranking out the previous post necessitated that I read a lot of dreadful nonsense written by self-proclaimed "libertarians;" pretty depressing.  But in the course of things I stumbled across a website and blog that reminded me there are still some sane people in the world: The Skeptical Libertarian.  I'm now including them in the links to the right.

I especially recommend their piece "Why Libertarians Should Support Science Based Medicine."  It's a brilliant little piece, more eloquent than mine, and you should read it!

Dr. Steele,

Your latest two posts are excellent, and The Skeptical Libertarian is an insightful and valuable publication as well. Those who are stereotypically opposed to the genuine achievements of modern science (e.g., the anti-vaccine crowd and the denialists of the known causes of AIDS and the occurrence of the Moon landings) are not friends of liberty in a meaningful sense. They are Luddites and are thus undermining the only influence that can shift the terms of human interaction sufficiently to cause a lasting movement toward liberty: technological progress. Also, it is important to recognize that a political establishment that cannot achieve its avowed goals despite repeated attempts and massive money poured in would surely not be able to put together a “conspiracy” that would fool almost all of the people all of the time.

I am of the opposite persuasion from the conspiracy theorists, in that I see libertarianism and transhumanism as naturally allied. The implications of true liberty, if it were implemented, would be a massive growth in technological innovation and, as a result, rising living standards. The converse is also true. Whatever technological innovation manages to squeeze through the current hyper-regimented system also creates new areas of liberty for individuals and thus improves the prospects for future liberty.

Another important insight is that different people are at different stages of technological evolution, depending on which technologies they personally use in their lives. Thus, it is not only important to promote the development of new and improved technologies, but also to encourage all people to use more existing technology in their lives.

Thanks for the comment, Gennady. I agree, including regainding libertarianism and transhumanism -- one reason I am so adamant that libertarianism is not some form of conservatism, and that conservatives are not our natural allies.

This is somewhat relevant to our debate in TRA re Obama v. Romney, too. While I think the political outlook is bleak, there's reason to think that economic and technological innovation may outpace it. Certainly if history is any indication, this is the way to bet.
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