January 2, 2012 through January 8, 2012
Libertarian Socialism: Complimentary Opposites
In a speaking engagement held on September 7, 2011 in Oslo, Norway, Noam Chomsky spoke at length about Libertarian Socialism, an ideology he identifies with. The terms alone, Libertarian and Socialism, may seem oxymoronic or hypocritical when used together, as the former advocates for the individuals freedom while the latter promotes the individuals responsibility to society. But when you study this political philosophy closely you begin to see the brilliance and beauty in the way these two ideas compliment each other.
Over the many years that I have followed politics my views have shifted from one end of the spectrum to the other. I began to find myself agreeing with different political beliefs depending on the circumstances of the issue at hand. This willingness to learn both sides of an issue taught me not to be so narrow minded our quick to judge based on a single ideology. In the past 10 years that I have spent working, along with the few years I attended college, I have grown to identify and appreciate the principles of Libertarian Socialism. It is important that we have a society of strong and independent individuals, but it is even more important that we build communities that respect each others differences and that prioritize helping the less fortunate.
Another great independent but socially-aware thinker was Albert Einstein, he once wrote “Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.” For he understood the obligations that free citizens have to their society. In his short writing titled “The World As I See It” he elaborated on this belief:
“we exist for our fellow-men–in the first place for those on whose smiles and welfare all our happiness depends, and next for all those unknown to us personally with whose destinies we are bound up by the tie of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving. I am strongly drawn to the simple life and am often oppressed by the feeling that I am engrossing an unnecessary amount of the labour of my fellow-men”
There is a lot to be learned from Einstein and Chomsky, not just in their scientific accomplishments, but in their philosophies about life. Below I have edited video highlights from Chomsky’s speech in Norway. Listen closely to these words of wisdom:
Chomsky on American Libertarianism
Chomsky on Libertarian Socialism and Economics