Sunday, December 27, 2015

Existentialism & libertarianism (video)

Free Market Existentialism? | Bleeding Heart Libertarians - Davis S. 'Amato:

October 21, 2015 - "William Irwin’s latest book, The Free Market Existentialist, is a novel attempt to ground libertarian political theory in existentialism.... Irwin more than accomplishes his goal of establishing for free market existentialism a place in the 'marketplace of ideas.' He develops, in clear, absorbing prose, a compelling, if controversial, vision of libertarianism based on a wholesale 'rejection of objective values,' just the kind of values (for instance, natural rights) that commonly provide the foundation for libertarian arguments.

"Irwin’s attempt ... spotlights and challenges the Marxist political commitments of Jean-Paul Sartre, 'the person most identified with existentialism.' Irwin argues that Marxism is actually inconsistent with Sartre’s view of freedom, which posits the individual as a dynamic and responsible agent who creates value and meaning for himself. Sartre thus sees human freedom not as an aspect of human nature, the existence of which he emphatically denies, but as an implication of authorship and accountability. Because the individual is the ultimate source of his own values, forever remaking his reality in accordance with those values, he is, Sartre says, 'condemned to be free'....

"And individualism, Irwin argues, is 'the main link between existentialism and libertarianism.' Both stress the primacy and responsibility of the individual, the importance of autonomy and choice to living a meaningful, fulfilling life....

"Irwin is a master of rendering abstruse philosophical ideas clear and understandable to the layperson. He shows that 'a world without morality' is not necessarily the grim dystopia that we might imagine, that it is better to discard the fallacy of objective morality than to remain in a state of self-delusion.... Irwin’s libertarianism rests on the idea that we should refrain from theft and assault not because of some moral duty, but because prudence recommends that we refrain. Guided selfishly by our long-term interests, we recognize the benefits of living with others in a free society; we therefore agree to forswear certain behaviors in which we are otherwise perfectly free to engage."

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