When Atlas Fails

It’s all connected.

That’s what I see. It’s all connected.

Monopoly isn’t just about prices. Business isn’t just about prices. In fact, damn little in life is just about prices.

And that’s how many of us who aren’t individualism-centered in our world view see much of libertarian thought. It’s all about the money.

But there is a whole other side to monopoly that has to do with the conceit of power; the idea that rules don’t apply once you achieve position and wealth. The anonymity of the corporations compounded with the brutality of an appetite for profit lends decision-makers within the organization license to engage in behaviors divorced from consideration, compassion and connection.

Libertarianism comes across as a rationalization for cruelty, a mask of a “works well on paper” philosophy that attempts to deal with the economic, social and political dirt and funk of human interaction by removing the inconveniences of emotion, interdependence, and general irrationalities of life within civilization.

When faced with uncomfortable failures of said philosophy to provide the goods and goodness promised, the causalities of those imperfect outcomes become not victims but perpetrators or at the very least co-conspirators in their own suffering. Presumptions such as “choice” and “free will” absolve the rest of us of complicity in the pain and suffering of others, and in extreme cases, from having to engage with our fellow human beings in any meaningful way at all.

This is not say that the first principles of libertarianism are without usefulness, but the strengths they have are limited by situation and degree and it is when they are expanded beyond proper scope, they simply cannot deal with humanity’s complexity.


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