The London Libertarian

The London Libertarian

About the blog

Commentary and debate on politics, economics and culture from a libertarian perspective. To Libertarian Alliance Website >


Anyone can make individual contributions on any subject covered in this blog by emailing LABlog2017@Yahoo.com

What is Politics?

PoliticsPosted by David McDonagh Sun, January 04, 2015 10:56:23

Why do people think politics are a sign of concern but the market is not? Most people seem to have no idea of what politics is. Many people, especially many students, feel all we do is political but this is a de facto, if unwitting, totalitarian outlook.

So when the state spreads into fresh aspects of life, like trying to stop people smoking, or to slim down, the de facto totalitarians feel those zones were/are political already, as all that we do is somehow political. So they feel the state need not be limited.

Politics is state action in the main, though the state has a few rivals, like the coercive bodies that we call Trade Unions. Politics is not just free decisions that affect others but rather it is forceful or coercive action against others. Coercion is the realistic threat of force or open violence; not mere speech about imaginary force. The state has it. Some Trade Unions have it. Firms usually lack it entirely. But a few firms in the past, maybe, had the use of coercion and thus they were political.

A free market can only emerge once the state ceases to exist. Many hold we cannot have a free market. A lot of the LA members are such, as were most classical liberals; but no anarchist agrees to that. Most liberals thought the state was a good thing but they held that it is best to keep it to doing only a few things, like keeping law and order.

The market gives the people way more control than politics ever could but not over but rather in society. It is not central control that most might first think of but rather it is polycentric control over our own affairs. David Ricardo erred badly in comparing the use of money to votes, an inept comparison that is still used in economics books today. If money was like votes we would all be dead. Churchill was haply right to say that democracy was the best form politics but it is still crass politics thus it is still illiberal coercive action against other people. Thus politics is anti-social, not caring for others, as fools feel to be the case. It is the jackboot, even when on the feet of basically well-meaning people.

Many free decisions do affect other people but they have no threat of force or violence, so they are not political. Politics is about using force against other people. Politics is gratuitous hostility towards others. It is thus very unfriendly.

Many might say that free actions can be worse than violence might be in their impact. One foreman, at a firm I worked for in the 1960s, used to often repeat that he would sooner hit a man than sack him, and it was said that he had acted on this idea, often, in the past, before I arrived, but I never saw anything like that from him; though he was over six foot three inches tall and clearly physically fit enough to repeat it again. In fact, he was a friendly chap but he did repeat his maxim often. I used to reply that the sack might be better for them, but it is easy to imagine some men who might agree with him.

This could be liberal if he put the choice to the victim beforehand so that he could choose, but if he assumed it, without consent, then it would be illiberal; but sacking a man is no more illiberal than a man deciding to leave the firm. But if he is the best worker in a small firm then it could cause the firm to decline. I recently watched the 1950s film Hobson’s Choice (1954) that featured that in its story line.

Most of society [i.e. human interaction; this post is part of my society, for example] is effectively free of coercion, thus it is apolitical. It even was such in the late USSR; as Michael Polanyi realised, despite the mythology surrounding that state.

There never was a mixed economy or a state centrally planned driven economy either. It is quite true to say there never was a free market too, but some, not all, in the LA think the latter will be achieved some time in the future.

Monopoly is a reason for expecting dysfunctional activity and the state is the sole cause of actual monopoly, and near-monopoly too. Liberty is vital for human welfare.

Where we go, how we make a living and the like, is best left to the individuals concerned. The state should keep out of it. That is the basic pristine and anarcho-liberal creed. But even well before we get rid of the state, money needs to be privatised, so the 2008 financial mess can be dodged that fools on the mass media tend to think was caused by free market values. One man more than any other who was for loose money was Keynes and a great liberal propagandist [as even Keynes was once] who aided the process , especially around 1970, was Milton Friedman. Those who the mass media speak of as free marketers are often in favour of state regulation. The USA is in a mess today owing to the national monopoly of money. That alone would rule out a completely free market.





  • Comments(3)//blog.la-articles.org.uk/#post138