Posted by: Middleclass Search | September 4, 2013

Libertarian vs. The American Dream

A system engineers comment on what appears to be an outdated philosophy. The basic libertarian concern is protecting the individual from the state. The libertarian point of view appears to be that if you have a free market it will provide for free citizens. A pirate ship that elects its own captain is a capitalistic democracy and is the freest form of liberalism I can give but even here the crew has to agree on their split of the swag and on how the ship is maintained.

Although seldom addressed any capitalist endeavor consist of two parts the business (capital – money and machines) (the elected captain) and the workers (the rest of the crew) who make the machines produce a product or service. The libertarian philosophy addresses business side of the equation but fails to address the labor side. The philosophy operates well in the 1760’s when most businesses were local and labor was local. If a business produced a bad product or was unfair to its workers “the word” got around and consumers and workers would go elsewhere.

The libertarian economic approach to the world makes sense in the 1700’s when there was 2.5 million people in United States and .7 billion people in the world mostly distributed in small towns and there were two or three global companies. But today there are 316 million people in the United States and 7+ billion people in the world many living in large cities and a multitude of global corporations.

The individual needs protection not only from big government but from big corporations this latter consideration is what is missing in the libertarian philosophy.

A recent article in Mother Jones (I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave by Mac McClelland –Mother Jones March/April 2012 issue) on a product shipping facility outside of Chicago demonstrates why the libertarian philosophy is 200 years out of date. Companies go into remote small towns and set up large processing operations such as chicken packing, fish packing and product packing/shipping. They pay little attention to local health and safety rules and give little attention to the well-being of their employees.

There will be people who would argue that the workers can walk away from such an employer but if it is the only work around they have little choice. The companies that operate these facilities can’t be compared to the operators of a Nazi concentration camp but they certainly would be comfortable operating a Russian gulag.

The libertarian philosophy is contributing to these American gulags their philosophy needs updating. Free markets do not guarantee free citizens.

The American Middle-class deserves better they want the return to the “American Dream” not “American Gulags” from their political parties.




  1. Actually, Libertarian’s are not anarchists. They believe in a limited government that includes a justice system. If ones rights have been violated, they can seek due process in that system. If one’s property has been damaged, they can sue….

    • The approach being taken is one of a system engineer, not an economist, a political scientist, or a philosopher. A system engineer uses the products of the previous in making a system operate. The Maintain America’s Middleclass Blog is looking for the best economic and political system that will provide for a strong American middleclass. The argument is not with the libertarian philosophy only that there appears no way that it will contribute to a strong middleclass. By advocating total free trade in a global society the American middleclass is weakened since you are advocating that the individual must devote his or her energies against global corporations. Your example tends to prove the argument – how does the average American middleclass person, practically, seek due process with a global corporation? Your approach may have worked fine in 1760 (US population 2.5 million) when businesses were local but how do you implement it in 2013 (US population 316 million).

      John Galt’s world may work for a small elite in a small world but not for the middleclass in a global economy.

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