We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The central tenet of Libertarianism is freedom. It is the right to choose. Not just choose 'stuff' while shopping, but everything. Where to live, who you associate with, who you do business with, who you work for or who works for you, and what you want to do with your life. While it is often contrasted with Socialism and Communism, this commentator points out there is a third thread which is often overlooked, but cuts across the philosophical spectrum - bureaucratic centralism. It's my belief that Conservatives are essentially libertarians (small "l") who like having, or believing in, the direction that centralized government can provide. Which is why Libertarians, more often than not, are lumped in with Republicans. In my recent past, I've learned to distrust and, whenever possible, avoid anything government claims to provide, or that people believe it should provide. If I could avoid, or it was practical to avoid, all things the government provides, I would. Unfortunately I don't have that freedom, since it's been taken either by vote or by bureaucratic diktat.
I think a more complete concept of libertarianism is the right to act as one wishes so long as those actions do not encroach upon the rights of others.
In terms of the failures of socialism versus what the commentator labels bureaucratic centralism, I believe this has been addressed in the past. Von Mises and Hayek argued that central planning, e.g. socialism, would fail because the economic planners could not acquire and decipher information in a complete or timely manner (a failure of a signaling mechanism) as opposed to a free market which was continuously acting on information (the invisible hand).
In contrast, Oskar Lange argued that while government planners could accumulate the information (inventories of goods would signal whether supply was greater than demand or vice versa), the nature of bureaucracies was that they would not act on it.
The crucial missing element is not so much “information,” as Mises and Hayek argued, as it is the motivation to act on information. What was missing (in a bureaucracy) was the willingness—better yet, the necessity—to respond to the signals of changing inventories. A capitalist firm responds to changing prices because failure to do so will cause it to lose money. A socialist ministry ignores changing inventories because bureaucrats learn that doing something is more likely to get them in trouble than doing nothing, unless doing nothing results in absolute disaster.
Mike M: The crucial missing element is not so much “information,” as Mises and Hayek argued, as it is the motivation to act on information.
It's both, and they linked. Even if you assume the best of intentions and the strongest efforts, a central authority still can't allocate resources efficiently. One of those resources is the efforts of the components that make up the central authority, meaning bloat is inevitable.
On the other hand, markets have a number of failings too, such as myopia. That's why all advanced economies are mixed systems, with strong government sectors, a social safety net, and robust markets.
mike m: Please explain EXACTLY (vague terms like myopia are not explanations) what you feel are the failings of markets that are corrected by having central planners assume control.
We're strong believers in markets, however, markets have a number of well-known failings. For instance, air pollution is an externality that markets fail to account for. Also, during economic downturns, significant damage can occur in an economy, such as idle workers losing important skills, or simply starving.
mike m: A better explanation can be found here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/05/03/government-complexity-entrenched-special-interests-illinois-puerto-rico-venezuela-column/83801194/
Pointing out that bureaucracies can become sclerosal doesn't mean there shouldn't be any bureaucracy.
Bulldog: It's my belief that Conservatives are essentially libertarians (small "l") who like having, or believing in, the direction that centralized government can provide.
It's best to avoid using "conservatism" as a synonym for libertarians. Conservatism means trying to retain traditional institutions. Conservatives include many people who advocate for government control of people's personal lives. It is conservatives that passed and maintained laws against sodomy, for instance.
Libertarians often ally with conservatives, but that just shows that they are really after economic liberty, and figure social restrictions won't apply to them.
Maybe if you took an intro course on set theory you wouldn't continue to misinterpret, misconstrue and misrepresent what others are saying. BD's makes it clear that he believes conservatives and libertarians have some common ideas, but some differences as well.
mike m: BD's makes it clear that he believes conservatives and libertarians have some common ideas, but some differences as well.
By saying they are essentially the same is equivalent to saying the differences are non-essential. We pointed out important reasons why libertarianism and conservatism are different political philosophies.