The Voluntary Community

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The
difference between conservatism and libertinism lies in the dichotomy
of the two camps' philosophies. The conservative believes in a "virtuous"
community in which the authority vested in the state plays a part
in ensuring compliance with communal norms. In opposition, the libertine
believes in unreserved freedom of the individual as the sole communal
purpose, regardless of accepted communal behavior. Both philosophies
have admirable attributes, but if practiced in isolation, leave
us either with totalitarianism and or an atomistic-individualism.
Neither of these options is very appealing. Libertarianism attempts
to bridge the gap between these two polar opposite philosophies
with a workable model that ensures "virtue" without an
omnipotent state.

In
order to begin constructing a workable model, we must begin with
the smallest sovereign entity, the individual human. Every individual
is born of another and through this relationship forms a family,
the smallest human community. It is the family, acting in its role
as educator, that teaches religion, morality, tradition, culture,
accumulated intellectual capital, etc. Furthermore, the family nurtures,
monitors, and guides its offspring, thus becoming the first and
most essential communal entity to act as a restraining force upon
the degenerating forces of libertinism. Granted nobody voluntarily
joins a family; however, in the vast majority of cases, one voluntarily
decides to remain a member.

Human
beings are socials animal that require interaction with fellow humans
in order to live beyond bare subsistence levels. This is only made
possible through the division-of-labor, resulting in specialization
as the general rule, thus forcing humans to interact with one another
through trade in order to achieve beneficial progress for everybody.
This system of human interaction, also known as capitalism, has
made possible the sustainable explosion in both the quality-of-life
and the population numbers over the last few hundred years. Before
the advent of capitalism, there was little to distinguish human
living conditions in 500 BC from that which existed in 1,500 AD.

Capitalism
does not just provide for the production and distribution of goods,
but also for both the supportive and regulative institutions necessary
for the system to flourish in, and the moral underpinnings of civil
community. Capitalism, which places the consumer as supreme, regulates
itself through incentives. If the consumer is unhappy with the product
then the producer will fail. This provides the necessary incentive
for the production of reliable products at the right price for the
enjoyment of the consumer. Some of the supportive and regulative
institutions capitalism devises in order to accomplish this are
the establishment of financial organizations to facilitate trade,
trade organizations to regulate best practices amongst members and
the development of contract dispute organizations in order to settle
disagreements. Again, we see voluntary communal entities forming
in order to regulate its members. Moreover, though, is the promotion
of the bourgeois virtues prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude,
in the individuals who practice capitalism, as without these personality
traits one would face failure and or ostracism by fellow market
participants.

Once
humans begin interacting with one another, there is an immediate
realization that there are certain common bonds amongst like-minded
people. Amongst themselves, these people invariably will establish
religion, clubs, civil communities, etc. Each in turn regulating
the conduct of their members; thus, acting as further restraints
on libertinism. Furthermore, this sense of being part of a greater
community instills in its members a sense of charity when faced
with human suffering.

It
is important to note again that the smallest divisible sovereign
entity is the individual human. The right to secession from the
larger community is sacrosanct, both for the individual and for
the entity to which it is a member. With this right also comes the
responsibility to accept the consequences of secession such as the
ostracism and outright boycott that entity might suffer from actions
of the larger community. There should be no doubt on the influence
suspension of both communal and trading bonds with a larger community
can have on entities. These lawful noninvasive reactions by the
larger community are acceptable; coercive activities backed by force
are not acceptable.

The
state in contrast to the voluntary community tends to politicize
and polarize the community. Therefore, leading to the aggrandizement
of centralized power in dispute settlement, the destruction of subsidiarity
in the regulation of community activities and its substitution with
state coercion through the threat of force. If one were to extrapolate
out this process over time, the logical and experiential conclusion
of this model is the omnipotent state.

Every
removal of subsidiarity from the regulation of the community, by
the ever-expanding state, displaces the human being from that which
grounded them in wholesome relationships. This loss of wholesome
relationships has unleashed the atomistic-individualism of libertinism.
Thus, the state is responsible for the degeneracy of today's community.
The state has neutered the role that the voluntary community plays
in the natural authority that regulates human action, and replaced
it with the unnatural authority of the omnipotent state, its political
shenanigans and relativistic moral center based upon pride, envy,
gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. The irony of the entire
experience is that in working towards the virtuous community through
the mechanism of the state, the conservatives have in actuality,
ensured the supremacy of libertinism.

September
22, 2005

Jonathan
Liem [send him mail]
resides in Singapore, is an avid investor and aspiring Classical
Liberal.

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