Monday, April 27, 2015

Why Libertarianism is Immoral

Introduction

It is amazing how people fail to listen to reason time and time again, and there are so many examples of this in our society.  What is even worse is when a people want to be taken seriously from an intellectual standpoint, but fail to listen to reason because they want to believe what they want to believe.  To compound the issue, it is worse as a Christian to look and see your fellow brethren having such trouble accepting reality.  I am talking of course, about so many of the Christians in this country labeling themselves as libertarians.  The thing that I notice is that it is mostly the white, rural persons that label themselves as such, and I believe that is a problem.  I personally see this as so many Christians refusing to associate with the world, so that they do not become entrenched and drenched in sin; and while this is understandable considering how easy sin happens within our lives, it also presents a problem: being out of touch with reality!  Therefore, I would like to present my reasoning for calling Christian libertarians out of touch with reality. 

#1.  Feeding People Once or Twice a Week is NOT a Ministry.

If there are starving people, and there are plenty of studies to show that children are starving (http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-249.pdf; http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/2012Characteristics.pdf; http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/pd/slsummar.pdf; http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/child-nutrition-programs/summer-food-service-program.aspx), then why are we surprised that virtually no one is coming to faith among the downtrodden in our society when we just thrown them a bone once a week?  I am sure that Fr. Matt Kennedy (the priest at my church) might have a problem with me saying that, but the difference in my church is that we do not just feed the poor once a week.  We also invite them to come to our church on Sundays, where we have a meal, and we help them the best way we know how.  We offer counseling, an after-school program for children at a housing project, help each other find jobs and cheap, quality apartments and places to live, and we also preach the word.  The difference between my church and many other churches is that we actually help people instead of saying, “Well, I hope you are successful in all of your endeavors, see you Sunday”. 

How does this all relate to my point?  Just feeding someone without teaching them to feed themselves is worthless.  It is the old saying, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you will feed him for life”.  I always hear Christians calling the poor “freeloaders”, “lazy”, “unwilling to help themselves”, and many other insults to the poor just because they do not have a job or money.  I wonder if it has ever occurred to any of these people that say these things (and I hear these things coming from church-goers virtually every day of the week whether in person or on social media) that the reason the poor are still poor and having trouble finding a good job is because no one has ever taught them how?  Instead of just kicking the poor while they are down, why are we so unwilling to offer them jobs?  Why is it so hard to find these people jobs?  It is not that jobs are that hard to come by, it is that most of the people running a lot of the businesses just are not willing to hire people for a livable wage or even train people.  Sure it can be a hassle to have to train new workers, but think about it like this: would you rather have someone who has done the job before and never listens to anyone because they have too much experience or would you rather have someone that you can train to do what you want them to do the way you want them to do it?

My point is that even though some rich people are very generous, giving stuff away does not work if those rich people never train anyone to do anything.  It is very hard to run a successful business, but I am not convinced that it is as hard as people say it is.  The problem is that no one knows how to run a business because everyone is taught a combination of bad economic THEORY and that money is the deciding factor in virtually everything.  When all people focus on is money, such as what the libertarian economic worldview suggests, it should not come as a shock when the poor start asking for free money.  If profits are the most important thing in the libertarian economic system, then why are we all so surprised that the poor and downtrodden want us to give them straight profit without them having to foot any of the expenses?  We are talking a 100% profit margin.  All these “freeloaders” are doing is making a profit off of everyone else, so why are THEY being judged for it, but big businesses, such as BP who spills millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico by not training their employees/not fixing faulty equipment or McDonald’s who puts artificial garbage in their food to cut costs so they can make more off of their foods, are allowed to make profits and we cannot say crap about it? 

Now, the case could be made that McDonald’s is doing what should happen to businesses that cut corners, but I do not think it is that simple.  There are a lot more factors, but I am convinced that McDonald’s’ profits are falling because they have not adapted to the Millennial generation.  My generation is very picky when it comes to our food, and we do not want the same things that the previous two generations want/wanted.  Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway and Chipotle are doing amazing things because they continue to offer good menu items with even better diversity.  Taco Bell’s recent experimentation with their food has been second to none, and I am surprised that McDonald’s has not sued them yet for slandering their terrible food.  Getting back to the point, McDonald’s is not being judged by libertarians for their business model even though they don’t pay their workers anything, nor do they give any REAL opportunity for advancement within their company; yet when McDonald’s workers speak out against these issues, they are a bunch of “freeloaders”.  Instead of just insulting these workers, why not just offer them a job or help them find better employment somewhere else?  Why is it always the worker’s fault that these corporations are not paying them?  Productivity has increased to a point where workers should be making far more than they are now.  These huge corporations are making billions of dollars a year, but they cannot afford to pay their workers? 

Fast food chains such as McDonald’s have done something extraordinary by inventing the “Franchise”.  Basically, large corporations, like McDonald’s, collect royalties off of their brand names while pushing the cost of labor and goods onto a private businesses owner.  This makes it a lot harder for these owners to pay their workers when they have to pay McDonald’s so much in royalties and keep their costs low while keeping their profits high.  Furthermore, if their profit margin is too low, McDonald’s will come after that owner, so if the owner actually does pay their employees, they will most likely not meet the profit margin goals set for them.  By cutting off the restaurant from being under their control, McDonald’s essentially cuts off any advancement within their corporation because most of the workers are not actually working for McDonald’s in the first place. 

I say all of this to say that government regulations are not necessarily a bad thing.  Rich people and corporations will always find a way around everything, so the government has no choice but to always be on their toes with keeping regulations up to date.  I cannot figure out why Christian libertarians have such a hard time comprehending that most rich people are evil and going to hell, and somehow the government is even worse than the rich.  I think my next point will show how terrible and apathetic the libertarian worldview actually is. 

#2.  Libertarians Do Not Understand How Human Nature REALLY Works

The fundamental belief of libertarianism is that the government should stay out of everything except for the protection of its citizens.  The problem is that this is an extremely inconsistent worldview.  What counts as the government protecting its citizens?  How far do we take this?  All someone would have to do is look at the gargantuan cost of medical care in our country to see that the libertarian view of how the economy and the government should work and cooperate with one another is extremely flawed.  If it is the government’s job is to protect its citizens, why are libertarians so angry at the government when the government decides to protect its citizens?  The reason is that the only protections that libertarians care about are other countries taking over our country.  Libertarians view capitalism as a “god” of sorts when it comes to rules governing the economy.  They would say that the economy left to its own devices will eventually self-correct.  Obviously the economy will self-correct if it is left to its own devices, except that it will not. 

The Great Depression did not get better until World War II ignited our economy when we started mass producing for war.  The government did not have the means nor the ideals to actually fix anything back then, but President Franklin D. Roosevelt was on the right track.  He figured that the big problem after the Stock Market Crash of 1928 was unemployment.  If the market was supposed to self-correct, why were so many people unemployed for so long?  In fact, it would have become much worse if WWII had not started when it did.  FDR’s “New Deal”, really did not do anything because the government only has a certain budget, and increasing the government debt would have made the US Dollar even weaker than it already was. 

I think that a stimulus or a public works program can work if the government has the correct financing, but the best way to deal with a depression or recession is to prevent it from happening in the first place.  The reason that the “Great Recession of 2008” happened is almost completely because of libertarian philosophy.  One of the big ideas behind libertarian philosophy is the idea of private property and ownership.  President George W. Bush is a poster-boy for this idea, and he spoke on October 15th, 2002 saying, “We can put light where there's darkness, and hope where there's despondency in this country. And part of it is working together as a nation to encourage folks to own their own home.”  By over-believing in private property, President Bush made an inevitable scenario even worse than it already was about to be.  He did stave off a market self-correct, but it was even worse when it did happen.  It is no secret that the repeal of Glass-Steagall sparked the economic meltdown of 2008.  Essentially, the repeal of Glass-Steagall was merely libertarian philosophy at work: keep the government out of our bets against the American people.  I have heard many libertarians that are outraged at what the financial sector is allowed to do, yet they keep electing officials that support Wall Street being allowed to do anything and everything they want, and they turn around and blame liberal policies like demanding fair pay and decent healthcare for a good cost for the crashing of our economy. 

There is a point to me being so technical here, but I will make another point before you actually understand where I am headed.  People like to call more orthodox Christians “Pharisees” for following what God has commanded, but that is not the actual sin of the Pharisees.  The major sin of the Pharisees was attempting to keep the rules while trying to find any little loophole they could find in the Law so that they could always keep the Law.  It is the loopholes that is the problem, and Jesus called them out on it in Matthew 23:23-24 when he said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.  You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”  The Pharisees missed the essence of the Law: love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself.  Libertarians do the exact same thing by neglecting their neighbors, but they justify it by saying “I gave them some mint, dill, and cumin”.  The Pharisees tithed expensive things and gave to poor too, but that did not make them righteous nor did it capture the essence of the moral law: showing your love for God by helping your struggling neighbor. 

I would also like to show how easy it is for humans to rationalize their sinfulness.  The Pharisees looked at the law and said, “I only NEED to give X amount of tithes and give to the poor”, and this is how corporations and rich people in the world act.  When the government says they need to do X, they do X, but find any loophole they can to cut costs somewhere else.  Now, I am not saying that all of the government’s regulations are good or even relevant, but it is better than having no regulations at all because no regulations or rules for businesses has been proven time and time again to be a detriment to our economy rather than a help.  It seems so interesting to me, and frankly quite frustrating, that Christian libertarians cannot understand this sinful aspect of humans and do not want safeguards to protect people from businesses that want to cut corners and hurt their workforce for the sake of a higher profit margin (that is actually not true because libertarians have told me they do want safeguards, but that would go against their own economic philosophy, so they are quite inconsistent).

I always hear Christian libertarians call rich people some of the most generous people they know.  I am sure the Pharisees were called “generous” by the Jewish populace too for their massive amounts of tithes.  However, Jesus made a real indictment on the rich.  He said in Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, and Luke 18:25 (funny how three of the four gospel writers find this important, but apparently rich people are such great people with high character), “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”  Basically, Jesus is saying that most rich people are going to hell.  Sure most of the world is going to hell, but Jesus seems to make special note of the rich and of the Pharisees (obviously the two were not mutually exclusive).  I cannot understand why libertarians seem to think that these rich people are somehow going to be extremely moral.  After all, it seems like these huge corporations on Wall Street keep buying the smaller corporations so that they can become even bigger.  We are seeing more and more monopolies and oligarchies within our nation, and libertarians are angry about it, but libertarians are in favor of no regulations.  Libertarians complain about the high prices of everything and inflation, but they do not want to interfere with these large corporations taking control of a whole industry and then jacking up the price or fixing the price. 

Furthermore, their common argument about education is that the private sector does it better.  This is not true all the time, and there are plenty of examples of the private sector screwing their students out of their money.  University of Phoenix recently had to pay a massive fee to the government for their actions and the government basically shutdown Corinthian Colleges.  I am sure that libertarians would call these institutions despicable, but these institutions are merely trying to make a profit, and that is what drives our economy: profits.  This continues to show the massive inconsistency error of the libertarian view of economics.

Libertarians claim that a lack of government interference will increase competition, but history shows that leaving the market to its own devices causes price fixing, monopolies, low wages and benefits, and oligarchies.  It causes the rich to get richer, and the poor to get poorer.  I once made a meme using Calvin from “Calvin and Hobbes”.  Many sports fans have a picture of Calvin peeing on their rival team.  I took that picture and put a rectangle labeled “Poor People” and put it in place of the rival team, and then I wrote “Rich People” on the forehead of Calvin.  Calvin then exclaimed, “Oh, yeah!  It’s trickling alright!”  The title of this meme was called “Trickle Down Economics Explained”.  Trickle Down Economics is the belief that if we just get rid of all regulations on the rich and give them all tax breaks, their cup will fill up and overflow onto the rest of us.  As Pope Francis even said, “There was the promise that once the glass had become full it would overflow and the poor would benefit. But what happens is that when it's full to the brim, the glass magically grows, and thus nothing ever comes out for the poor ... I repeat: I did not talk as a specialist but according to the social doctrine of the church. And this does not mean being a Marxist.”  I think Pope Francis nailed this point on the head.  The problem is that libertarians trust corporations and rich people without forcing them to prove their claims.  What is worse is when people who hold to Reformed Doctrine like I do, yet they judge Arminians for blindly following certain false prophets and teachers.  I am not saying that I agree with everything the government does, but at least the Bible says that they are “servants for our good”.  The Bible never says that about the rich.  I already quoted Jesus on rich people, so I will not bother.  However, will say that Reformed Christian Libertarians should stop judging Arminians for blindly trusting in false teachers and prophets when Reformed Christians constantly blindly trust in hell-bound rich people who tithe spices and money to the poor instead of helping them to earn their own money.  This is hypocrisy in its most basic form.  I agree with Dr. James White that the Reformed Movement will fizzle out because Christians are too focused on judging people’s sins instead of looking on their own sinfulness, repenting, and then having compassion on the sinful.  This does not mean that we are to endorse or enable the sins of others, but when you allow the children of your own country to go hungry JUST because you disagree with the means of dealing with it (governmental assistance), how does that make you a better person?  That makes you just as despicable as the Arminians following Joel Osteen and Crefalo Dollar.  At least those people are promising (falsely, so they’re not justified) to help the poor make their lives better.  For all of the talk of “Total Depravity”, it might actually help to apply it and stop naively trusting the totally depraved rich people of our country to help our fellow countrymen out of poverty. 

#3.  Libertarians Do Not Understand What a “Free Market” Really Is.

Actually, most liberals do not understand what this is.  Because we constantly label people based on our biases, we miss what terms actually mean.  To have a market be “Free” means that it is open for anyone to compete.  Therefore, for libertarians to keep the government out of the lives of the people means to make the market less free.  By having a lack of rules to follow, the corporations that have more resources and capital are able to better compete against the ones that have less UNLESS ones that have less come up with better ideas and products to increase their amount of resources and capital.  However, even with this, many people sell out when big corporations offer them a substantial amount of money.  If it were not for the US Department of Justice, Comcast would not have given up its pursuit of Time Warner Cable to make an even bigger monopoly than what already exists.  Furthermore, without the government, At&T would have bought T-Mobile, and would have regained its status as a monopoly.  If it were not for the government, the Big Pharm practice of paying off generic drug makers not to make generic drugs so that they could have a monopoly for a while would not have been banned (See FTC vs. Actavis).  Governmental interference in the market makes the market more free. 

Most libertarians assume that liberals believe that the government wants to take over the private sector.  The government is generally not asking to control businesses (and neither are liberals), they are more or less forcing businesses to be more transparent in their business dealings.  I am going to do something that all of the Christian libertarians are going to hate me for: quoting the Apostle Paul.  “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval”.  Therefore, what are libertarians so scared of?  It seems that Paul is actually saying this: the government does what it wants and is appointed by God, so pay your taxes and obey them, and if you do so, you will be fine.  Libertarianism is not Biblical for moral reasons, but the Bible does not endorse one economic system over another.  However, we can extract the morals from the Bible, as I have already sufficiently and efficiently done, and we can see that libertarianism is merely an excuse for the rich to take advantage of the poor. 

I am what is called an “Ordo-Liberal”.  I believe that the private sector should remain private, but the government must regulate the private sector, or everything will turn into monopolies and oligarchies.  I believe in private utilities, but the government should have a say in the way that utilities conduct their businesses.  One of the basic tenements of Ordo-liberalism is the belief that the more power large corporations have, the more they will be able to sway political and public opinions on certain issues so that they can skew everything to their advantage and maintain their control.  Economic control inevitably leads to political control, and the United States is yet again the poster-child for this.  Politicians on both sides of the aisle have been bought out, and when the government tried to do something about it, the Citizens United Ruling gave the power right back to the economically powerful.  Yet, who put these judges in place that ruled in favor of Citizens United?  Bush and Reagan, two of the biggest libertarians in the history of the nation.  You say you want to replace the politicians in Washington, but you keep voting for the same kinds of people that will just bring more Wall Street control of Washington. 

Somehow it is always the government’s fault when everything fails.  It is never the people’s fault, just the government’s fault.  It seems that once again we see my second point in action that Christian libertarians do not actually believe in Total Depravity.  Somehow the politicians became corrupted, but it never occurred to most libertarians that they themselves are the ones that are corrupt, which is why they keep electing people to office who will give more and more power to themselves and to Wall Street.  The Democrats are definitely not innocent in all of this because Obama and Hillary are establishment candidates themselves, and I hope that Hillary never becomes the President because I do not trust her based on things I have read and heard. 

If we keep allowing Wall Street to have more and more power without regulating them and breaking up their monopolies, then how can the markets ever be free?  Furthermore, what is the definition of “Free” in this sense?  Should it not be defined as giving everyone an equal opportunity to make a living or start a competitive business?  By deregulating Wall Street, it has allowed Wall Street to influence politicians to make laws that make it so that Wall Street Execs can sue for virtually anything.  A huge example is Monsanto.  They make 90% of their profits off of suing farmers for patent infringement because their genetically modified corn dominates all of the other corn in the country, so the corn that farmers are using have been inadvertently mated with their corn to produce Monsanto’s corn.  I had a talk with Congressman Richard Hanna about this, and he skirted the question.  Afterward, he then wrote me a letter stating that he would love for us to stop using genetically modified food, but it is expensive.  I am not even against GMOs.  I am against corporations being allowed to hold patents on genetics.  I do think that holding patents on a chemical by which to derive at said genetic could be patented.  It is obvious that Richard Hanna has been bought by huge corporations considering he does not have the guts to stand up to Monsanto. 

Right now Monsanto is suing most of the small-town farmers, and it makes me wonder when libertarians will become angry enough to make the government do something about it.  Libertarians would say that Monsanto is out of line, but they are just trying to increase their profit margins without increasing their expenses, and they are making very good profit off of the backs of small business owners.  I would concur that Monsanto is out of line, but they are not out of line according to libertarian philosophy.  How is Monsanto being left alone by the government creating a free market by which small farmers can compete in?  One could argue that Monsanto is not being left alone considering that they are using the government to sue small farmers, but they (Monsanto) were left alone for so long that they were eventually able to influence and corrupt politicians into ignoring them until they were able to virtually take control of the government.  Yet, we should keep trusting businesses and rich people?  I can give a million examples of these kinds of things by Wall Street Corporations that show that leaving the market to its own devices causes the poor to get poorer, the rich to get richer, and the government to become more corrupt. 

#4.  A Refusal to Own up to the Damage You Have Done Has Caused an Opposite Reaction.

I have friends that are becoming communists and now believe in collectivism because they see the damage that libertarian philosophy has done to the United States.  They have thrown the baby out with the bath water because capitalism is viewed as evil for the fact that it was allowed to go on without any governmental justice.  My generation (the Millennials) have become so fed up with the government not doing anything that many have decided to throw out capitalism altogether, instead placing their faith in human nature to create a non-sinful collective state.  This has been show time and time again to be even worse than unregulated capitalism as the USSR, China, and North Korea can all tell us.  It was not until China started allowing private property and giving businesses a little bit of freedom that       China began to prosper.  Under Mao Zedong, China was a gigantic economic mess.  Once more moderate communists came into power in the 1970s, China’s economy started growing again. 

Having too many government regulations kills the economy even faster than having no regulations.  However, because of the neglect of the poor and middle class by libertarians in their philosophy, many people are veering off into communism in exchange for financial security.  It is just like what the Modernist Movement in the early 1900s did: because science was viewed as the only explanation for anything and caused terrible things like cancer, nuclear bombs, and other things, the peoples of the developed countries threw out moral absolutes and science in favor of post-modernism.  When one group of people screws up for so long, it makes the backlash that much worse.  If the United States becomes a communist state, you only have yourselves to blame for not taking care of the problems when you had the chance.  More and more people are willing to use the government to solve their problems because they trust the government more than they do businesses because all businesses have done is crash the economy and rob the coffers of the poor and middle class for years. 

Conclusion


I read a newspaper recently that was printed by a small press that called for a revolt.  These kinds of papers are popping up all over the place.  I am not one to revolt because I believe this problem can be solved without violence, but it cannot be solved with libertarian philosophy.  It is alright for people to own private property and to conduct a business how they see fit AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT DO ANYTHING IMMORAL!  However, if it does do something immoral, that immorality needs to be regulated by the government as to what is moral or immoral.  Otherwise it is useless to call them immoral if no one is able to take action against them.  

2 comments:

  1. http://reformedlibertarian.com/blog/a-response-to-why-libertarianism-is-immoral/

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  2. I would write a response, but I am not sure it is worth my time.

    ReplyDelete