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Libertarianism

In: English and Literature

Submitted By alewis94
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Imagine not having control over anything you do in life; letting society control everything you do and living your life, as other people want you to live it. With viewing life from the libertarian philosophy, libertarians will argue that each person should be able to live life as they want as long as they are not harming others. With the governments today, they create laws that protect people from themselves. This is hard for libertarians to accept because in their opinions, each individual should have their own freedom. The core of libertarianism is the fact that we own our bodies, our earnings, and our earnings and this meaning the government has no right to take or limit any of these. Henry David Thoreau discusses in his “Civil Disobedience” many topics that are more informing on the topic of individual living rather than the community. Thoreau was a transcendentalist. Transcendentalists believed that society and its institutions—particularly organized religion and political parties—ultimately corrupted the purity of the individual. They had faith that people are at their best when truly "self-reliant" and independent. It is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed. From Thoreau’s point of view, he would tell you to break a law regardless of the consequences if the law is unjust to another person. Thoreau not only harbored runaway slaves in his home, but he also refused to pay taxes since the money was going towards supplies that were going to be used in a war in which he though was unjust. This shows the individual freedom and will to do what he wants, but he also has to pay for the crimes he commits.
As Sandel states in his writing, libertarianism starts with the idea that each individual has a right to himself or herself. With this being said, you are able to do whatever you want with yourself as long as you are not causing harm to other people. One thing about this philosophy is that it does not promote good to everyone around you. Socially, this creates problems between people because not everyone agrees on the same thing. The last component to discuss about the Libertarian philosophy is that you are responsible for anything and everything you personally do. If you commit a crime, you must pay for the crime in whatever way is necessary. Only individuals make choices and are responsible for their actions.
Since Sandel views life as being more of an individual rather than being a society, he does not differ much from Henry David Thoreau. Sandel believes you may do whatever you want to as an individual, so looking at Thoreau’s ideas through Sandel’s eyes is very easy since their point of views are much alike. People are free to do bad things, in the sense that they cannot be compelled to do what is morally required. As Sandel talks about the incident with the kidney transplants, it shows the pitfalls of the libertarian philosophy. This demonstrates how we, as libertarians, can become very selfish when other larger situations are more important; not just the individual view.
In conclusion of the libertarianism philosophy, this is the best way to look at things. With controlling your own actions and accepting the consequences, this does not affect other people around you; only yourself. As Sandel references in his book the situation of selling kidneys, this refers back to the decision making and dealing with your self-consequences. While you’re still not harming other people, you have to be aware of what other people will do with the choices you make. After reviewing the pitfalls of the libertarian philosophy, it is clear that libertarians make decisions based on the individual more than they do the society, which isn’t always the best case. When this happens, this shows that libertarians can be selfish at times and are very self-centered. This being the only pitfall discussed, the philosophy is still a great one and many people follow this.

Work Cited
"Chbc Blog." Chbc Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2013.

"The Ludwig Von Mises Institute." The Mises Review: Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? by Michael J. Sandel. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2013.

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