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Reconciling Advertising and Liberarian principles

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    A thought popped into my head the other day when I was watching an advert on the television (A luxury of time I don't often have nowadays). I am a Libertarian, I believe that the free and open market combined with a socially liberal state and populace is the best ideological course for the modern era of society.

    However, some of these adverts genuinely disgust me. They are so banal in their construction, so irrational and so cheap that they most accurately represent the ugly head and desperation of some people in this Capitalist world. I struggle to rationalise how people can invest hard-earned utility in this garbage and ultimately about how other people will be willing to invest their utility on products because of it.
    Advertising works best when it is not upfront and corporate facing surely? If a statement on a billboard with the brand name Coca cola on it tells me that coke is the best drink in the world, surely even the bluntest individual can understand that the statement is subject to inherent credibility flaws?

    The culture of consumerism and commodification in general has grown to disgust me, because it focuses on the outright exploitation of gullibility and stupidity.

    Do any other Libertarians/Right-wing economists share my view? Does this 'free market' repulse you in some ways? I suppose ideally I'd rather advertising was 'cleaner', that it wasn't a cheapened thing with as many loud noises and bright colours as possible to distract away from the actual product or brand.

    There are many many good adverts which appeal to genuine human experiences; the 'Hovis' bread advert going through British history is a good one because it illustrates the age and persistent qualities of the company. The Red Bull advert is another, because it is energetically filled with real, unscripted events that the company has gone on to sponsor. It sounds terrible cliche, but again, Apple has pulled off a marketing miracle. Their adverts are well made because the product is central, there are no distractions, The actions are set in time to a rhythm, and the functions of the device are shown on plain view.

    Am I just getting frustrated at cheap and tacky consumerism? Is it something that we can expect to go away when and if the population becomes more educated?
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    What do you have against librarians?!
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    (Original post by GeorgetheAug)
    What do you have against librarians?!
    I misspelt Libertarian, deal with it. :dry:
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    (Original post by Ocassus)
    I misspelt Libertarian, deal with it. :dry:
    Just messing with you

    With adverts in general I just always remind myself that they're always just trying to make you buy your product. They might give the illusion of being special or appealing, hell, some are genuinely funny or catchy, but really, they don't actually care about you feeling good. They just want you to give them money, and making you like their adverts is part of that.

    That said, sometimes I get the feeling that they're just trolling with awful adverts (Gocompare GO AWAY)
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    I hate adverts that just talk ****, like toothpaste adverts. Many of these border on just flat out lying and I think there is a case for applying more stringent laws to the science used in adverts.

    Otherwise, I share your sentiments however it is just one of those things you have to deal with.
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    You haven't presented a 'conflict' between advertising and libertarianism to be honest. What you are doing is like asking whether it's fine to be a libertarian and hate football - I mean, hating football would obviously be crazy but it doesn't go against your libertarian principles. You don't have to personally like everything people do in order to think they have the right to do it.
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    (Original post by D.R.E)
    You haven't presented a 'conflict' between advertising and libertarianism to be honest. What you are doing is like asking whether it's fine to be a libertarian and hate football - I mean, hating football would obviously be crazy but it doesn't go against your libertarian principles. You don't have to personally like everything people do in order to think they have the right to do it.
    This is true. Its more the problem of the blatant commodifying of simply EVERYTHING that gets on my goat. Yes I defend their right to do it, but it can be bloody taxing on ones principles sometimes.
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    (Original post by Ocassus)
    This is true. Its more the problem of the blatant commodifying of simply EVERYTHING that gets on my goat. Yes I defend their right to do it, but it can be bloody taxing on ones principles sometimes.
    I don't think it should be. Let me give you an example: generally speaking, we all agree that drugs should be legalised, not necessarily because we want to take them or even agree with people taking them, but because it is better for society, and it makes no sense to criminalise people for an act that is victimless. That being said though, there's nothing wrong with a libertarian at the same time campaigning through charitable activities and the media to raise awareness about the effects of drugs on a person and their family. If a friend of mine asked me if they should take heroine or smoke cigarettes, I always suggest they don't.

    Libertarians should engage in lively social debate, but also oppose the use of force to bring about subjective value judgments.

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Updated: April 23, 2012
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