Libertarians conflate many senses of the word voluntary (and consent) and exclude others to suit their ideological needs of the moment. To libertarians, being forced to live in a system of laissez faire capitalism is voluntary for everyone because you could die instead. All government is considered involuntary, even though you can exit. And paradoxically, all voluntary exchange is based on involuntary systems of rights (primarily enforced by government.) See also Voluntaryism and private charity (voluntarism).
What a deal if you get to narrow the choices that your victims choose among "voluntarily". If they are limited to working for others or starving, which is the majority case in capitalist societies, what a deal for the capitalists!
- Capitalism Is Coercive (6 links)
- Libertarians pretend that there is no coercion in capitalism, but its foundation in private property is coercive and allows further coercion through economic power and Private Government.
- Property Is Coercive (18 links)
- Claims that government is coercive but capitalism and markets are not overlook the coercion involved in property.
- The big lie of libertarianism [More...]
- "The big lie libertarians make is that membership in the State and any collective mutual advantage insurance agreements it establishes is not voluntary, when everybody knows that there is a market in State memberships, and if one does not like to be a member of the UK for instance one can shop around and say purchase membership in the Monaco Principality."
- Violence Vouchers: A Descriptive Account of Property [More...]
- When a state upholds a system of property, all it is doing is issuing to owners a set of vouchers for violence against those who ignore property. Trade is similarly based on property and violence. Rents also are based on violence, ruling out just deserts and just processes arguments.
- Voluntaryism (1 link)
- A faction of anarchist libertarians who want entirely voluntary relations, but assume free markets and property (which are not voluntary.) An exercise in wishful thinking, that the world will voluntarily swirl around your indestructible rights.
- What do voluntary mean? [More...]
- Matt Bruenig makes clear that following antidiscrimination rules for business is exactly as voluntary as following property rules for business. Because you have a choice of not being in that business. And if one violates self-ownership, so does the other.
The non-consensual constraints on conduct recognized by libertarians are quite extensive. Our duties to respect the lives and the physical integrity of others' persons, and their freedom of action and extensive property claims, our obligations to keep our contracts, avoid fraud, and make reparations for harms we cause, are not based in free choice, consent, or any kind of agreement (actual or hypothetical). These are natural rights and duties, libertarians claim, that people possess independent of social interaction. Despite their emphasis on consent, voluntariness, and contract, libertarians are averse to appeals to consent or social agreement to justify their preferred list of moral rights and duties.
Samuel Freeman, "Illiberal Libertarians: Why Libertarianism Is Not a Liberal View" pg. 125
All political governments today behave as if consent to a social contract is tacit and implied: just as all libertarians behave as if consent to a system of property rights is tacit and implied.
Mike Huben, "Mike Huben's Criticisms"
[W]e have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.
George Orwell, "Review of Power: A New Social Analysis by Bertrand Russell"
There isn’t some a priori theory that tells us whether we are more at risk, relatively, of being busybodied by our neighbor or excessively nose-counted by the state. Or killed by a soldier of the state, or lynched by a voluntary local association of neighbors wearing pillowcases on their heads.
John Holbo, "Thinking About Groups"
[...] our economic life contains plenty of coercion; Nature coerces us, as a community, to provide ourselves with food, shelter, and other necessities; we mediate that coercion, reduce it with technology and self-organization, add to it with structures of power and authority, and apply it to individuals. Specifically, many individuals are coerced into labor. The curious nature of our economic system requires that this coercion take the _form_ of consensuality, but it is consensual only in the sense that a slave consents to slavery if she does not kill herself.
Gordon Fitch, alt.politics.libertarian Sat Feb 12 14:35:07 EST 1994