I wish Bionic Mosquito would do a post about the pragmatist vs. purist debate currently being waged among libertarians. "To vote Trump or not to vote," if you will.
Your wish is my command, but I suspect my response won’t be tremendously satisfying.
I'm a parent. I haven't got the luxury of principles.
Principles or pragmatism? A choice that libertarians face numerous times every single day in life. I am certain that every libertarian chooses pragmatism – not every time they face a choice, but enough times to matter. We each individually choose when and for what reason we are willing to compromise. We each decide every day what lines we are willing to cross.
Those who consider themselves the most principled are never shy about abusing those whom they self-righteously judge to be less so – all the while ignoring the planks in their own eyes.
Define a violation of the non-aggression principle. Murder and robbery are easy. We disagree on many other issues – are they violations or not?
Define self-defense. Define aggression. Define punishment. All subjective terms. (This is where that pesky thing known as “culture” comes in – a real difficult subject for some self-labeled purists to grasp). Given this…what is principled? One libertarian’s “principled” might be another libertarian’s “pragmatic,” and neither be “wrong.”
Is voting a violation of the NAP? The voter has shot no one, robbed no one. He has voted. Yet, he votes for someone who will shoot someone and rob someone…. So I understand fully why a principled libertarian would not vote. But this doesn’t automatically lead to the conclusion that voting is a violation of the NAP.
There are those who found no problem with supporting or even voting for Ron Paul four or eight (or twenty-six) years ago, but find trouble doing the same with Trump. The difference between voting for Ron Paul and voting for Donald Trump is…what exactly? The levels of violation of the NAP between these two once in office is one of degree, not type (as are the definitions of aggression, etc.); further, the power for any president to change much of anything is limited. Keep these thoughts in mind when you reply to my query.
Because with these thoughts in mind, all you will be left with is…
There is pragmatism in the idea about not voting at all because one vote doesn’t matter. There is pragmatism in the idea of sending a message – the fewer the votes, the less legitimate the government. While I agree with these, I do not intend to cover these aspects. I only cover the choice: Trump or Hillary or don’t vote at all?