The Stateless Individual: What Is Libertarianism?

The Stateless Individual: What Is Libertarianism?

June 28, 2021 Off By Felso

Robert Nozick, in Anarchy, the State, and Utopia, proposes a return to the liberal principles of the 19th century, arguing that the state should shrink to a minimal extent.

Nozick is one of the most fervent defenders of the concept of negative freedom, claiming that the distribution of resources by the state leads to loss of freedom to the detriment of individuals. According to Nozick, the redistributive role of the state will inevitably affect the choices and activities of individuals. Moreover, according to Nozick, repeating Adam Smith’s economic suggestions that the state should withdraw from the economic field altogether, a free market economy increases individual creativity and profit. On the contrary, a redistributive state drives the beneficiaries of state aid into laziness.

Libertarianism:┬áLibertarianism or libertarianism, in the most general sense, can be defined as the libertarian view that brings Adam Smith’s determinations regarding economic liberalism to the extreme. Libertarians, who argue that the state should be as small as possible and that people should be completely free from moral constraints, take a position between individualist anarchism and extreme capitalism.

According to Nozick, the expanding state due to the duties it undertakes not only suffocates in a cumbersome bureaucracy, but also causes politics to become a beneficiary. Libertarianism can also be considered as a kind of market fundamentalism (Heywood 2007, p. 67). The libertarian understanding, which sees the market above political control, which will consist of all kinds of moral and legal means, surpasses classical liberalism and makes the market the sole determinant of relations.

The belief of the libertarian understanding that the market produces its own internal dynamics, free from any kind of control, causes libertarians to oppose the economic planning task of the state. For this reason, according to libertarians, the state cannot have the authority to assume a social or political task, and any positive or negative intervention by the state overshadows the freedom of the individual.

The libertarian politics of counter-revolution that earned Nozick the title of “father of individualist anarchism” was never fully implemented. However, especially due to its support for privatization, it has become advocated especially in England and the United States since the 1970s in order to overcome the cumbersome bureaucracy of the social welfare state that marked the 20th century and to alleviate the burdens on their economies, which were struggling as a result of the gradual expansion of the states. The policies of Thatcherism in England and Reganism in the United States tried to implement laissez-faire economics within the framework of a social philosophy called the neo-right, which was essentially conservative, during the 70s and 80s.

Both Thatcher and Reagan advocated privatization in the face of the expansion of the welfare state and encouraged the assumption of some of the social rights assumed by the welfare state by organically linked groups such as church organizations or congregations. The current neo-rightist views bring many negative consequences for individuals. Individuals have regressed in terms of social rights in the presence of new right-wing policies, and they have become dependent on Communalistic (communalist) relations, which will make their impact more felt especially in the second half of the 20th century.