Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2015/ Phony Choices

Phony Choices

I am tired of libertarians and their framings on "freedom" and "choice". Here are some typical arguments I hear:

One problem is that a choice without a viable alternative is not a choice. If my options are either to work or to starve in the streets, then I will probably choose to work. That does not mean working is a viable alternative:

There is little incentive to fix the system so that choosing to work is significantly better than starving on the streets; in fact the incentive is opposite to this.

There is an idiotic argument that even if some choices are bad, the powerful people who offer those choices will compete with each other, offering better terms for the workers and improving their situations. In some cases this is true, but in many cases it is not:

Choice is on a continuum. If there are lots of viable options then choices are real ("which soda pop do I want to drink?") If there are few viable options or all options are terrible then the choice is phony. But libertarians pretend that this continuum is a binary: either you consent or not. Life in libertarian utopialand will probably involve a lot of coercion of the powerless by the powerful, if not outright slavery.

I probably am doing a terrible job of criticizing this argument, which sucks because I am convinced there is something deeply exploitative about it.