Monday, March 09, 2009

Libertarianism != Selfishness

A common insult hurled at libertarians is that, because they do not support government-sponsored welfare, they are selfish.  In today's reading for CC, J. S. Mill's On Liberty, I encountered a great response:
In all such cases there should be perfect freedom, legal and social, to do the action and stand the consequences.  

It would be a great misunderstanding of this doctrine to suppose that it is one of selfish indifference, which pretends that human beings have no business with each other's conduct in life, and that they should not concern themselves about the well-doing or well-being of one another, unless their own interest is involved.  Instead of any diminution, there is need of a great increase of disinterested exertion to promote the good of others.  But disinterested benevolence can find other instruments to persuade people to their good, than whips and scourges, either of the literal or the metaphorical sort.  

1 comment:

IntimateKitchen said...

That is a bunch of literal wind.. you can blow it up anyones ass you like however the fact remains.. the many are more powerful than the individual. The world is a heinous place, and we are all stuck here together.. Might as well help each other out if we can.. sometimes we can't and we have to save ourselves .. thats understandable.. But thats not the same as not wanting to.. or practicing indifference.. to us that sounds like your saying.. "I dont Care About You! (I only care about myself..)" Sounds selfish to me.. Scrooge.