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Some Fundamental Problems with Liberalism

Submitted by PerfectSociety in Philosophy

(1) The idea that people should have the rights to Life, Liberty, and Property and that State power over people requires the consent of the governed (consent in the sense that a government can only have legitimate authority over those whom it provides the aforementioned rights to) ....except that:

  • No State is obligated to actually provide those rights to all people and instead can legitimately (as per liberal philosophy) limit them only to its own citizenry and oppress others outside of that citizenry. The consent of non-citizens to be governed is deemed unnecessary.

  • Peoples that are deemed uncivilized or primitive are not to be granted the same rights (or any for that matter), and can be forcibly "civilized" into a mode of living compatible with the interests of liberal capitalist political economy. Their consent to be governed is deemed unnecessary.

These were all ideas embraced by and argued for by classical liberal philosophers despite the simultaneous advocacy of Natural Rights such as Life, Liberty, and Property as well as the principle of consent of the governed. Certain groups of people had to be excluded from these principles despite State authority over their lives being deemed legitimate, which is a massive contradiction.

(2) The Lockean Proviso is illogical due to its inherent question-begging nature. In most cases it's impossible to homestead unclaimed land such that all other potential homesteaders have land of equal quality and equal quantity. First of all, land just doesn't work like this. It is quite heterogenous. Secondly - and most importantly - how do you determine who is included in the all other potential homesteaders category? There's no way to determine who is and is not a potential homesteader.

(3) Homesteading/the labor theory of property only recognizes a particular type of of labor being applied to land in order for that land to count as property. Only agricultural labor counts. Nomadic Pastoralism or Hunting-Gathering is not included in this framework for legitimate property claims to land. There is no sound justification for this that is provided.

(4) Utilitarianism is logically incoherent, because there is no way to make accurate judgements about what Actions or what Rules would maximize utility for people. There is no objectively determinable proxy metric for utility comparisons when debating over alternative Rules or Actions.

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