Is this acceptable to libertarians?

A is dying in a desert, B sees him and offers him a deal, he writes down a deal, which would require A to give him all his property and money in return for getting out of the desert alive.

Is this acceptable to libertarians? Seems like a classic contract, and there is no coersion or violence, just a simple deal. It is an extreme example, though.

What do you mean by acceptable?

Are you asking whether a Libertarian would ignore the situation if he could personally assist?

… or are you asking whether he would demand a law to make that situation criminal?

… or something in between?

“Accept this or die” sounds pretty coercive to me.

I hate that libertarians don’t want anyone telling them what to do, but when I go to get a book out they’re always TELLING ME to be quiet.

But it’s nature that’s doing the coercing, so it’s cool.

Sure. Why not?

My first reaction to the OP was “Why would librarians have a particular opinion about this?”

Moved to Great Debates.

General Questions Moderator

First, libertarians aren’t monolithic in thought. Just like you can’t really ask if democrats, republicans, or Catholics or Jews agree if something this specific is acceptable. Some might, others won’t.

My personal libertarian philosophy doesn’t find this acceptable. I won’t let someone die for my economic advantage

To add to what Sigene said. I would find the actions of B to be reprehensible. However, I believe in the right of two people to enter into a contract. Now, whether this contract is enforceable is another question.
I think that most Libertarians would agree that this contract should not be enforceable due to party A being under duress at the time of agreement.

Now what if party B had good reason for asking for those conditions in the agreement. (He had to leave behind his bag of gold in order to carry A to safety, a detail not refuted by party A.) Now the agreement seems more reasonable and should be enforceable.

Requiring the contract in coercive circumstances seems to violate a basic duty to aid others. I agree with others who don’t get why libertarians would have any special oppinions on this. I don’t know any libertarians who believe a basic duty to aid is an overstepping government control measure.

If this came before my court I’d vacate the contract and order save-ee to pay save-or (saviour?) $1 per gallon of water furnished and $8 per hour of time expendedand tell save-or to get his head out of his ass.

You write that as if any two self-designated libertarians would agree on an answer. I have yet to find two such. (I am being only the slightest bit snarky; I’ve lost count of the libertarian doctrine discussions that fractured into a set of wholly individual viewpoints.)

Very few libertarians seem to acknowledge that any such duty exists. “Let them die if they can’t pay” seems to be the norm, and one I’ve seen argued on this board.

I’m not sure if I’m a Libertarian or not, but I find their ideas intriguing, and I’d like to subscribe to their newsletter.

That said, are you fucking high? If B has the ability to save A’s life in the example you put forth, but does not do so without promise of payment in writing, B is an awful human being, and that is not acceptable.

I’m sure there’s a broader point I’m missing, as I do not know what Libertarianism has to do with the OP. Sounds like an asshole test, not a political test.

You are confusing a legal duty with a moral duty. They can be, but needn’t be the same.

When it comes to helping people, many libertarians are happy to do so. They just don’t think they should be required by law to do so.

No, I’m not. Plenty of libertarians have made it clear they’d let someone die rather than raise a hand to help them. Social Darwinism is a common feature of libertarianism; if you are going to die without help, that just shows that you should die.

Perhaps a minority think that way, but not many. If any such thinkers show up in this thread, you can debate that idea with them.

Funny, that’s what I always hear when someone points out the bad attitude or behavior that typifies a group.

“I’ve got mine, screw you” is one of the most common and notorious features of libertarianism; not some little fringe problem with the movement. As far as I can tell, for many libertarians that’s pretty much all that libertarianism is.

When it comes to real-world analysis of libertarian stances, the difference may be moot.

I am most manifestly not a Libertarian, but I believe in (and believe I share that belief with some large number of USAians, if not global citizens) many ideals classified as libertarian… but like Christianity, it makes a good philosophy but a lousy basis for a political system. I have, unfortunately, spent thirty or more years in a field that attracts big-and-little-L libertarians and listened to more rank BS on the topic than I care to think about.

I never fail to be amused and/or disgusted at how posing what should be a simple, real-world example with a clear answer turns libertarians into raging morons or a cannabalistic mob, self-contradicting everything until they give up the discussion in a huge huff. (Because I Just Don’t Understand, See, and by the way, Those Idiots Over There Aren’t Real Libertarians… or some such.)

I have a friend who has been attending formal meetings of a Libertarian theory and doctrine group for decades, and he cannot answer the simplest real-world what-if questions and suppositions. The very suggestion that their elaborately constructed theory might not work with real humans in the mix sends him into a rage. And no proposition ties him up faster than trying to get him to nail down exactly how, say, individual vehicle ownership might be managed under a Libertarian paradise.

I can respect someone who champions libertarian ideals. I can muster no respect for anyone who thinks libertarianism is a valid political doctrine.

There are lots of libertarians on this MB. When one shows up making the argument you claim that most libertarians make, you can debate that argument with them. Until then, I’m just pointing out that you are simply making stuff up.

I’m not a libertarian but I can understand this uncompassionate way of thinking, and honestly seems so far to me like the very best reason to join the libertarian force. But It wouldn’t be as simple as saying I feel like taking care of myself and nobody else, it’s that I have a lot of resentment to people who put themselves in a situation of dire desperation and then act like it’s someone else’s responsibility to get them out of it. How did this person get in the desert in the first place in that situation? passing a gas station while on one/tenth of a tank of gas left?, shit he chose his own mess. I’d use an analogy of someone left with no cash left for food or any essentials to stay alive because they decided to blow all their money and not save at all, and then act like SOMEBODY is wrong for not breaking them off a piece of their own stash because they were irresponsible. I would’t blame someone treating me the same way, I wouldn’t like it obviously but I’m a realist.