Travis Hallman, September 6, 2017
Libertarians and Socialists may have more in common than the two realize. There are many denominations of libertarianism within the liberty movement such as; classical liberalism, minarchism, libertarian transhumanism, anarchism, progressive libertarianism, anarcho-communism, etc. Overall, Libertarians agree our current state should be drastically reduced in size and power. Libertarians and Socialists are no exception. Voluntary Socialists support competing voluntary organizations operating within a free market to create a safety net.
2.11 Retirement and Income Security
“Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government. Libertarians would phase out the current government-sponsored Social Security system and transition to a private voluntary system. The proper and most effective source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals [as witnessed with the recent string of hurricanes]. We believe members of society will become even more charitable and civil society will be strengthened as government reduces its activity in this realm.”
A very good example of this happening in America occurred when President Trump cut the spending for Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels was receiving approximately $1,000 per day but they immediately received $50,000 in donations when the president cut their (government-funded) allowance.
For example, if 999 of 1,000 people living in a free market choose to contribute to an organization which provides a safety net but does not require the one person to join, would that be moral? Yes. Would it be immoral to not allow the 999 to (voluntarily) establish their said safety net if they so desire? Yes.
Libertarians would not prevent an organization from creating a voluntary safety net after we establish a free market for our nation. It’s neither pragmatic nor moral to do so.
One good explanation of Libertarian Socialism can be found in the following excerpt by David Boaz, “The Coming Libertarian Age” Cato Policy Report , “One difference between libertarianism and socialism is that a socialist society can’t tolerate groups of people practicing freedom, but a libertarian society can comfortably allow people to choose voluntary socialism. If a group of people—even a very large group—wanted to purchase land and own it in common, they would be free to do so. The libertarian legal order would require only that no one be coerced into joining or giving up his property.”
Voluntary socialism should not be confused with progressive libertarianism. Progressive libertarians support a government operated safety net but are socially tolerant regarding civil liberties, immigration, and foreign policy. Progressive libertarians should not be confused with liberals either. Liberals support a government operated safety net but are socially liberal regarding civil liberties, immigration, and foreign policy. Socially liberal and socially tolerant individuals both support the legalization of choices regarding bodily-autonomy but socially liberal individuals would require government permissions (permits) to engage in such acts; whereas socially tolerant individuals would support your freedom of choice without requiring (the purchase of) government permission. Voluntary Socialists do not support politicians creating the safety net. Instead, these are maintained by communal efforts of the volunteers.
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The author’s views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Ask A Libertarian Team or its followers.