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(Salon)   The question libertarians just can't answer   (salon.com ) divider line
    More: Obvious, members of the United Nations, industrial society, advanced countries, political philosophy, infant mortality, open borders, Fraser Institute, economic freedom  
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9974 clicks; posted to Politics » on 04 Jun 2013 at 4:07 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-04 11:44:32 PM  

jjorsett: Why are there no libertarian countries?

Why were there no democracies prior to Greece? Because nobody had tried it yet. There's a first time for everything.




Let us know how it works out.
 
2013-06-04 11:47:07 PM  
 how is it that not a single country in the world in the early twenty-first century is organized along libertarian lines?

Right next to the purely Democratic and pure Socialist ones.
 
2013-06-04 11:48:50 PM  

Communist_Manifesto: You should read a book called debunking economics by a professor named steve keen. Here is a link to a youtube video of him speaking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZKjQtrgdVY


Got a chance to watch the video. There is actually a fair amout of points that I agree with him on since many of his criticisms are of the methodology used by mainstream economists in the way they ignore certain factors and aggregate everything together. I won't get into the nitty gritty technical stuff of it since no one's gonna care about that, but thanks for the link.

bugontherug: And this right here is part of why libertarianism lacks persuasive appeal, and has never and will never win a sustained majority of public support in any country ever.


Because much of this stuff is counter-intuitive and not obvious to people with simplistic views of how an economy works or are easily swayed by smooth politicians who are trying to get re-elected by promising more spoils taken from one subset of the population and given to another. Especially when it's their own personal gravy train that's under assault.

You harp on the semantics of "force" in such a way that reveals a total failure to grasp that the "free" market is highly coercive. You pretend that because nobody is pointing a gun at his head, that the Wal-Mart employee has "freedom." But workers everywhere know that freedom is illusory because they've inhabited the real world for more than five minutes. They do what the boss says because they have to.

You failed to comprehend even what is meant by "force" or "freedom" in the first place - hence the need for the semantic explanation.

People choose to enter into employment contracts because they don't want to have to grow and make their own food. If Wal-Mart didn't exist and no one was allowed to work for anyone else, we would ALL have to work at providing for our own sustenance. This was the state of being human for hundreds of thousands of years.

You're confusing "force" with scarcity of resources. The fact that we have scarcity is an economic reality. Stop saying it's a result of the free market (this would still be a reality even if there were no free markets and absolutely everything was controlled by central planners). You're flatly wrong, and any economist from the right to the left side of the spectrum would say so.


Baryogenesis: Exactly. The worker is only free to quit and look for work. Very few people can quit a job and be employed somewhere else the next day.


It happens all the time. Examine any jobs data published by literally any government or private agency, and you'll see that thousands of jobs are started and lost every single day. People are CONSTANTLY starting their own businesses, getting hired, quitting old jobs they hated, partnering with other people to begin their own businesses, doing private consulting work, etc. Are you naive enough to think that an economy of 300 million people (looking just at the United States) ISN'T in constant flux, and are you so ignorant of economics not to understand a basic concept like frictional unemployment?

IF that Wal-Mart worker could walk across the street and get a comparable job at Target then then they would be free. S/he could freely choose employment based on whatever factors they choose and not based on needing to pay bills and buy food.

EVERYONE NEEDS TO PAY BILLS AND BUY FOOD. That's a result of the scarcity of resources. This is basic economics. How is this so hard to understand?

You level the same tired pseudo-marxist arguments against the free market, yet you turn a completely blind eye to the millions of people who died as a result of government subverting and eliminating the free market over the last century. How can you be so wedded to such an ideology that has been proven to be so flatly dangerous and downright murderous in our past experiences and attempts to eliminate them?
 
2013-06-04 11:54:53 PM  
Critiquing Rational Actors

...So, if someone believes in a "just world" in which people generally get what they deserve, and is confronted with a situation where innocent victims get hurt, his or her world view is threatened. Rather than change the world view, such people change their view of the innocent victims, by blaming them: they must have done something to deserve it.

It is rather easy to see how this might work in the economic or political arena. If there are poor people, and our democratic, free economic system rewards work and effort, then the people who are poor must be defective: they refuse to work, or don't want to work. There is no reason to help them or "reward" them for their poverty. Nor is there any reason to provide them with health care or any other care. That would deprive good people of their hard-earned money. It would deprive them of their "freedom." Anyone who proposes such a thing must be irrational at best, and a diabolical socialist or communist at worst.
 
2013-06-04 11:57:37 PM  

HighOnCraic: My main complaint about libertarianism is that conveniently provided excuses for maintaining segregation (which wasn't so great for my older relatives in Alabama).  It was a way of saying, "I don't believe in segregation at all, I just think that Federal laws or Supreme Court decisions outlawing segregation are much worse than segregation, and people who don't like segregation should just work things out at the local level."  That's a brief synopsis of the chapter on civil rights from "The Conscience of a Conservative."

The counter-argument is that Goldwater wasn't a "true Libertarian," since his foreign policy ideas would've needed a huge military and espionage network to wipe Communism off the face of the earth...


It should be obvious that Goldwater only speaks for himself and people who agree with him rather than ALL libertarians. Try telling a Friedmanite, a Randian, and a Rothbardian that "all libertarians think alike," and they'd each shoot you to shreds with the 3D gun they printed out (after they're done shooting up each other).

/Rand was a biatch
 
2013-06-05 12:20:22 AM  
"Who put the Ram in the rama-lama-ding-dong?"
 
2013-06-05 01:00:25 AM  
No one has mentioned the Republic of Minerva? A little ctl-f'ing seems to turn up nothing. Not that anyone reads the posts this far in, but still, the premise is not completely valid.

(Still, when your nation fails because the king of Tonga has his warriors _ROW_ to your island and you lack defense to stop their _SPEARS_, it does say something...)
 
2013-06-05 01:01:06 AM  

Wendy's Chili: The laws that created the railroads and land grant colleges were passed during the Civil War too. That's because yesterday's small government racists wouldn't let reasonable legislation through when they were in the congress. Much like today.


I assume you meant gave away tons of land to the railroads?
 
2013-06-05 01:08:01 AM  
Hydra
Funny how as a linguist he fails even to define what "private tyrannies" are in the first place.

The internal structure of practically every corporation is essentially fascist.

A private firm CANNOT force anyone to buy its products since it does not procure its own private military and holds guns to everyone's head

Not necessarily, but it can hold a gun to the heads of potential competitors and suggest they take up a new line of work.

his ever-expanding government.

Chomsky is an Anarchist, so that's a hell of a claim.

Economic systems and governmental systems are not mutually exclusive of each other, nor do they exist in separate vacuums.

Is this where I get to tell you that capitalism has never existed without a powerful State acting as its enforcer?

Expanding this relatively accurate economic calculation to a large population of thousands - let alone millions - without some sort of coordination mechanism (read: money and prices) and achieving rational economic allocation of resources is impossible.

Syndicalism.

Sadly, I know that because you said "rational" you probably meant "anyone who's rich automatically deserves it".

the information problem

There is more than enough of everything for some inaccuracy to be acceptable.

Scarcity is a current condition of existence - there simply is not enough stuff available to satisfy every single person's wants and needs

Libertarians, and capitalists of all stripes for that matter, love to conflate wants and needs, but there is a definite difference between food, shelter, and medical care and solid-gold Ferraris, a yacht made out of space shuttles, a scale model of the beer volcano in Pastafarian heaven, etc.


skullkrusher
yeah, it has nothing to do with the fact that anarchism on any sort of meaningful scale is childish and naive

Did you once have a messy breakup with an anarchist or something?


Dusk-You-n-Me
Marxism of the Right

Libertarians need to be asked some hard loaded questions.


FTFTFA

What if a free society needed to draft its citizens in order to remain free?

As if that's the only way for people to organize for mutual defense?

What if it needed to limit oil imports to protect the economic freedom of its citizens from unfriendly foreigners?

As if having oil = economic freedom?
Also: If there's one thing all capitalists seem to be able to agree on, it's that brown people are scary.

What if it needed to force its citizens to become sufficiently educated to sustain a free society?

As if people have to be forced to be educated?

What if it needed to deprive landowners of the freedom to refuse to sell their property as a precondition for giving everyone freedom of movement on highways?

As if private property is freedom?

What if it needed to deprive citizens of the freedom to import cheap foreign labor in order to keep out poor foreigners who would vote for socialistic wealth redistribution?

Voting? In a stateless society?
Also: As if capitalism could survive without a State?

Empirically, most people don't actually want absolute freedom, which is why democracies don't elect libertarian governments.

People who want nothing to do with the State don't vote. It's often chalked up to "apathy" but "fark you, leave me alone" is a positive political statement.

a libertarian government could never be achieved democratically but would have to be imposed by some kind of authoritarian state

Or people manage to liberate themselves from the existing authoritarian state.

But without a sufficiently strong state, individual freedom falls prey to other more powerful individuals.

If libertarians would spend two farking seconds to consider that most people would join voluntary 'non-profit' militias, they would have an easy answer to this.


Isitoveryet
the State is simply a reflection of its inhabitants.

Looooooooooooooooooooooooooolllllllllllllll


rustypouch
That's about where my thought process goes. But I don't want *anyone* to die before it's found out that a company is adulterating their product.

Hypothetically, there could be private consumer protection groups which would screen products and inform buyers which ones are or aren't safe. Naturally, there would have to be consumer protection groups to watch those consumer protection groups and tell people which ones are or aren't trustworthy. Those ones would need to be watched by other ones, and it's turtles all the way down.


Headso
true, we could get to a point in technological advancement where everyone can have everything they want and power generation is so clean that there is no pollution. Then libertarianism might...might work...

Compared to the pre-industrial times, we're already close enough. The problem is that the machines are privately owned by capitalists, so most of the extra productivity is turned into profit to be spent on crashing solid gold Ferraris into mansions while millions of people starve.


Mrtraveler01
The honor system has never been proven to work on a large scale.

Honor-based systems were (and somewhat still are, although broken) ubiquitious before capitalism.


Befuddled
Is that question: how did you make yourself totally immune to reason?

They were somehow tricked into reading about praxeology.


Smidge204
"Groups of people making decisions" is exactly what government is...

Government is an institution, bureaucracy, agency, 'corporation'. Without professional decision-makers and enforcers, it's not a government.
 
2013-06-05 01:14:25 AM  

vygramul: TheHighlandHowler: I think many democracies (and republics) are libertarian in their infancies, but as they mature, government grows.  This is partly due to demands from the populace, and politicians' lust for power.

It could be that they find out that libertarianism doesn't work.

Or it could be that communism works great, but that politicians' lust for power and the demands from the populace spoil those systems, too.


It's because libertarianism combines the most extreme aspects of personal self-interest and greed ("f*ck you, I got mine) and unrealistic idealism and faith in others ("people will change if it's in their best interests to change"). The idea that people should be allowed to do whatever they want so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else because their actions will be circumscribed by the reactions of other like-minded individuals is patently absurd. The error is obvious to anyone who realizes that people WILL act against their own interests out of pettiness or meanness or short-sightedness; and some people are unable to control their actions without strong social or temporal strictures such as religion or laws.

The other reason is one of definition. If a theme of libertarianism is that anyone may do what he pleases with minimal intrusion, so long as no one is harmed, then what exactly is harm? Who determines the degree of harm? If there is minimal regulation, what is the consequence of harm and who administers it? All this has to be defined and then implemented...and now you no longer have a fully libertarian society. It's got nothing to do with "lust for power," or "demands from the populace," except insofar as a desire for something besides anarchy and/or endless debate and argument about getting things done is "popular demand." There's a limit to how much can be accomplished by social consensus and social disapproval, and once a society grows beyond that point, a more restrictive government is inevitable and essential.

Or else the society must fragment and revert to a more manageable size. You don't get the benefits of a large civilization and the freedom of a band-level society at the same time.
 
2013-06-05 01:14:35 AM  
Hydra
People choose to enter into employment contracts because they don't want to have to grow and make their own food.

Currently, people can't be subsistence farmers because they would still have to pay property taxes.
Without a State to artificially create property taxes, a gift economy based on collective agriculture and industry would be orders of magnitude more popular than a vestigial capitalist economy.

The fact that we have scarcity is an economic reality.

It's not as I addressed above.
 
2013-06-05 01:15:17 AM  
RON PAUL is a religious nut.  He's ok with theocracy as long as its state governments that do it instead of the federal government.  Paul and his Christian Reconstructionist pals can all fark off.
 
2013-06-05 01:32:20 AM  
i40.tinypic.com
 
2013-06-05 02:51:32 AM  

DirkValentine: I would be happy with single payer with private options above and beyond regular care.


I don't see why people would have a problem with this.  It seems that it is any governments job to provide for its citizens.

It just seems that there are people who would, philosophically, object to slavery not because it makes men chattel, but because the master is supposed to feed, shelter, and treat his workforce.  That's socialism!
 
2013-06-05 03:02:39 AM  
Asking why libertarians haven't been able to run an entire nation is a little premature, dontchathink?  Maybe focus on getting more than 1% of the general, or a single governorship, or a single senate seat, or a single congressional seat...hell, how about a single state senate or congressional seat?  Shooting for the moon when you can't even light your own fart is pretty, what can i call it, delusional, no?
 
2013-06-05 03:13:06 AM  
Well the reason why libertarians can't answer that is because you keep asking right wing neocons the question.

Hint: libertarian isn't code word for "reagan loving GOP Hanger on", though that's what the the younger Paul would tell you.

Actual libertarianism isn't about promoting a pro-jesus, fundamentalist state. It's about the fundamental expansion of liberty for all peoples. An actual libertarian would consider gay marriage as just as good and important as free access to firearms. An actual libertarian would tell you that an atheist, a jew, a christian and a muslim should have equal rights in America, and would vociferously decry any legislative attempt at discrimination.

But we don't have actual libertarians grandstanding in America. We just have Rand Paul style, right wing fundamentalists, who have so poisoned the idea of libertarianism with their fundamentalist christian wackjobs, sitting around circle jerking to Ayn Rand, one of the biggest hypocrites/heros of Rand Paul cause. Objectivists are not libertarians. Objectivists are not libertarians. Objectivists are not libertarians. End of story.
 
2013-06-05 03:27:01 AM  

Bith Set Me Up: Why is a raven like a writing desk?


Poe wrote on both.
 
2013-06-05 03:41:56 AM  

I Ate Shergar: Bith Set Me Up: Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Poe wrote on both.


Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is never put with the wrong end in front!
 
2013-06-05 03:44:26 AM  
and it is never put with the wrong end in front!

nevar*
 
2013-06-05 04:05:32 AM  

Hydra: Baryogenesis: Exactly. The worker is only free to quit and look for work. Very few people can quit a job and be employed somewhere else the next day.

It happens all the time. Examine any jobs data published by literally any government or private agency, and you'll see that thousands of jobs are started and lost every single day. People are CONSTANTLY starting their own businesses, getting hired, quitting old jobs they hated, partnering with other people to begin their own businesses, doing private consulting work, etc. Are you naive enough to think that an economy of 300 million people (looking just at the United States) ISN'T in constant flux, and are you so ignorant of economics not to understand a basic concept like frictional unemployment?


Nationwide unemployment figures and frictional unemployment mean precisely jack shiat to the guy out of work who quit because his boss at Wal-Mart made him work off the clock or denied him health benefits or sexually harassed him or what have you.  Of course unemployment is happening all the time.  No one is disputing that, so don't be absurd.  That doesn't mean the unemployed folks aren't going without or losing their homes or their medical coverage, etc.  There is a cost with changing jobs and many, many people can't afford to quit.  A choice between working and eating isn't a free choice.

Can an average person quit their job at Wal-Mart and get comparable employment the next day?  The next week?  The next month?  How long can the average person get by with no income?

According to the BLS, more than half of currently unemployed people have been unemployed for more than 15 weeks and the median length of unemployment is between 16 and 19 weeks. This is for the past 6 months, so obviously the economic downturn and slow recovery are part of that issue.  Even if we revise those numbers down to account for the effects of a sluggish economy, the average person is still looking at 2-3 months of unemployment.  Again, the choice between working to pay the bills and 3 months of unemployment isn't a free one.

Hydra: [Baryogenesis:]  IF that Wal-Mart worker could walk across the street and get a comparable job at Target then then they would be free. S/he could freely choose employment based on whatever factors they choose and not based on needing to pay bills and buy food.

EVERYONE NEEDS TO PAY BILLS AND BUY FOOD. That's a result of the scarcity of resources. This is basic economics. How is this so hard to understand?


No duh, but that's not the actual argument.  Of course everyone needs to pay bills and buy food.  Therefore they NEED a job to pay for that stuff.  Therefore losing that job is an enormous hardship for most people.  Therefore, a person can't make a rational choice between keeping a job and not paying rent.  An employer can say do X, Y, Z or you're fired (which means no money for FOOD, kinda important).  Their employer has power over their employees if said employees can't easily get a different job.

And that comes down to pretty basic supply and demand.  There is a huge supply of unskilled labor and a decreasing demand for it due to automation, globalization, union busting and computerization, among other things.

Hydra: You level the same tired pseudo-marxist arguments against the free market, yet you turn a completely blind eye to the millions of people who died as a result of government subverting and eliminating the free market over the last century. How can you be so wedded to such an ideology that has been proven to be so flatly dangerous and downright murderous in our past experiences and attempts to eliminate them?


Yeah dude, pointing out that businesses can and do exercise power over their employees and/or the economy at large is obviously the same thing as advocating totalitarian marxism and the murder of millions.

But hey, if you like that game

www.mhslibrary.org

FREE MARKET!!!
 
2013-06-05 04:06:48 AM  
Of course the libertarian ideal's been tried. It's called the State of Nature - I believe Hobbes had some nice things to say about it.
 
2013-06-05 04:58:50 AM  

Jim_Callahan: By Salon's logic, which boils down to "6.5 billion customers can't be wrong", I can only conclude that the author of TFA thinks that the Big Mac is the world's finest dining, wives should be the property of husbands (still the most popular form of marriage, even the US has tried it in the past!) and Sikhism isn't a real religion (no country has ever been dominated by it!).  Yes, appeal to popularity, totally a great logical argument.

Also, if you sub in the definition, not that they're asking why a plurality-centric party doesn't hold a majority, which is kind of a question that answers itself.

//I'm not saying that Libertarianism is great or even particularly viable, in all frankness it isn't.  I'm just pointing out that Salon's opinion writers are as usual making down syndrome kids look like Mensa candidates.


The masses are not very good at picking the best.  Terrible, in fact.  Generally, they are good at rejecting the very worst, though.
 
2013-06-05 05:04:58 AM  

RanDomino: Also: As if capitalism could survive without a State?


Ding-ding-ding!  Excellent summary of why Spencerite "libertarianism" is a steaming pile.  You *can't* safeguard the property and contract rights that are necessary to the formation of capital without a state, or without something very much like one.
 
2013-06-05 05:06:58 AM  
Meh, Libertarianism would work great if only everyone abided by the rules.
 
2013-06-05 05:51:43 AM  
sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net
 
2013-06-05 07:09:50 AM  

udhq: Dedmon: TheHighlandHowler: I think many democracies (and republics) are libertarian in their infancies, but as they mature, government grows.  This is partly due to demands from the populace, and politicians' lust for power.

Well damn, if there are many of them, it should be really easy to provide an example?

Ummm.....really?

The United States, remember?  It was called "The Articles of Confederation", and it did not work out well at all.....


How exactly were the confederates a libertarian system?
 
2013-06-05 07:14:41 AM  
I've never seen some get smacked down so hard and still think they won the argument as DIA. What a moron.
 
2013-06-05 07:16:04 AM  
"When are you moving out of your parents' place?"
 
2013-06-05 07:26:25 AM  

Hydra: Funny how as a linguist he fails even to define what "private tyrannies" are in the first place. That being said, I suppose we can deduce that what he really means by the term is a "free-market cartel" or some sort of a "natural" oligopoly or monopoly that emerges as a result of collusion. They drop their prices together below their cost of production to force all other competitors out of the market only to raise them back up and reap monopoly profits. As explained by one libertarian thinker Murray Rothbard here, that was largely a myth - whenever they would try to raise their prices back up, new firms/the older ones that were forced out would enter the market again. Here's a video from Milton Friedman on the subject and a longer one from Burt Folsom. There are actually some good explanations that are out there - the trick is finding them.


That is one small aspect of "private tyrannies" and it is astoundingly stupid to say it won't happen when it does in fact happen even with laws preventing it.  To think weakening legal defenses will make it less likely is absurd.

The defining characteristic between "public" and "private" is the ability for a given entity to have legal, legitimate use of force. A private firm CANNOT force anyone to buy its products since it does not procure its own private military and holds guns to everyone's head (Wal-Mart doesn't have its own army). Instead, we have a public defense system in which the legal, legitimatized use of force is given to a special entity called the government. All situations that Chomsky was referring to where corporate interests were enshrined into law through legislation by the government have occurred precisely as a result of his ever-expanding government. Read up on some public choice theory if you want to learn more.

In libertarian fantasy land where every person will always have access to multiple open markets.
 
2013-06-05 07:44:25 AM  

Hydra: The defining characteristic between "public" and "private" is the ability for a given entity to have legal, legitimate use of force. A private firm CANNOT force anyone to buy its products since it does not procure its own private military and holds guns to everyone's head (Wal-Mart doesn't have its own army).


Private firms in the USA have forced people to buy their products and have responded with an army - complete with an air force & chemical weapons - when people complained.
 
2013-06-05 07:48:33 AM  

Karac: Hydra: The defining characteristic between "public" and "private" is the ability for a given entity to have legal, legitimate use of force. A private firm CANNOT force anyone to buy its products since it does not procure its own private military and holds guns to everyone's head (Wal-Mart doesn't have its own army).

Private firms in the USA have forced people to buy their products and have responded with an army - complete with an air force & chemical weapons - when people complained.


If we totally stripped the govt's power to limit corporations the free market would totally prevent that from happening again.
 
2013-06-05 08:36:15 AM  
The two main problems with the Libertarian idea are:
1) No land left in the world to start one
2) It does NOT SCALE.

It works well with small government AND a small homogeneous (idea-wise) population ...ONLY.

/libertarian
 
2013-06-05 08:55:01 AM  
"When are you going to get a job and move out of my basement?"
 
2013-06-05 09:01:08 AM  

Dancin_In_Anson: Karac: Please, enlighten us then as to the true Libertarianism.

Enlighten yourself.


Reading through that I came up with a new motto for Libertarians.

(Drum role)

It's. "We'll get back to you on that"

Libertarians literally apparently answer that to everything.

"How will you build roads?"

"We'll get back you on that"

"Since your not anarchists, which laws do you support"

"We'll get back to you on that"

"What will you do about corruption?"

"We'll get back to you on that"

"How will you stop people/companies from destroying the environment"

"We'll get back to you on that"
 
2013-06-05 09:01:08 AM  
You know what else wasn't tried before it was tried? Everything.

Although, the only place libertarianism can possibly happen is in a republic with several member states that allows each state to make its own rules apart from the rules written into the union charter that everyone must abide by. In other words---- a working 10th Amendment.

There needs to be an escape hatch for those in your state who can't accept your brand of libertarianism. You shouldn't want them there anyway unless you want to enslave them to finance your libertarian lifestyle.
 
2013-06-05 09:08:04 AM  

mr lawson: The two main problems with the Libertarian idea are:
1) No land left in the world to start one
2) It does NOT SCALE.

It works well with small government AND a small homogeneous (idea-wise) population ...ONLY.

/libertarian



Ok, so that's cool.  I'm assuming you live in America, though, so how is it relevant to your political beliefs?
 
2013-06-05 09:10:50 AM  
Baryogenesis
A choice between working and eating isn't a free choice.

farm2.staticflickr.com


Biological Ali
Of course the libertarian ideal's been tried. It's called the State of Nature - I believe Hobbes had some nice things to say about it.

a1.phobos.apple.com
 
2013-06-05 09:17:37 AM  
Real Communism has also never been tried, or so I'm told by Marxists who like to deny the disastrous past attempts at collectivist societies.
 
2013-06-05 09:26:24 AM  

wxboy: "What is the Dewey Decimal number for a biography on Theodore Roosevelt?"


It would depend on the language the biography is written in.
 
2013-06-05 09:27:28 AM  
Libertarianism in the idyllic sense creates this amazing environment where private initiative, entrepreneurism, and creative productivity flourishes.  In practice it's a fantasy philosophy that tricks Americans into blaming the government as the party "holding them back," when in reality the problem is entrenched moneyed interests (the primary beneficiaries of the "libertarian" philosophy) manipulating the government in their favor.  So, rather than blaming fraudsters on wall street, big banks, or corporate lobbyists for creating the system where their wages are stagnant, their health care is exorbitantly expensive, and their house is lost to foreclosure, they blame themselves for not being "Galt" enough, or blame the government for stifling "competition," usually, in their view, because the government is "giving away" so much of THEIR money to minorities.  (interesting that they tend to not really talk all that much about the massive special interest/corporate welfare provided by the government).

The most ironic thing about it is that they're correct, in a way.  The government has been taken over by moneyed/corporate special interests who have completely rigged the system in their favor.  The most absurd example of libertarians being complicit in this is the libertarian willingness to accept the philosophy of Citizens United - that corporations (i.e., entities created and recognized under the LAW, in other words, entities whose very existence requires governmental recognition) are "people" who are entitled to influence elections and governmental officials as much as they want, and that this is a fundamental aspect of "liberty."

So it's especially absurd when a "free market libertarian" votes for a republican, on the grounds that republicans better reflect their libertarian views.  In reality, the GOP represents the worst of both worlds: decrying the government while using governmental power to benefit moneyed special interests at the expense of everyone else.  And the GOP isn't even subtle about its desire to be bribed by moneyed interests.  When Mitch McTurtle stands up and says that requiring corporations to disclose their poltiical activities and funding sources will lead to "discrimination" against entrenched moneyed interests who are trying to influence elections... well,  you know that something is seriously wrong.
 
2013-06-05 09:29:54 AM  

I_C_Weener: Why the Dewey Decimal System puts comics in the same section as reference?


It doesn't. The DDC for comic books is 741.5. Dewey doesn't have a number for reference. Reference books would be numbered based on the subject matter contained in the work.
 
2013-06-05 09:32:15 AM  
Is there a defender of libertarianism on this thread willing to toss out a description of how libertarianism, properly implemented would work?

I am trying to keep an open mind, but none of the libertarians I have met in my life (so far) seem to be able to explain what it means and how it actually would work.

/Sincere question
 
2013-06-05 09:44:36 AM  
It's a profoundly stupid question.

States are organized FOR THE PURPOSE of dominating and robbing a population.  That mode of social organization grows out of the age-old habit of conquering and enslaving.  That's where debt itself comes from -- obligations that are unilaterally imposed on subjugated people, which they must pay as tribute, for the privilege of not being killed outright.

Why aren't States more free than they are?  Because they are CONCEIVED and DESIGNED from the ground-up to use people as livestock.  People are the best livestock in the world, as long as you disable the part where they try to get away all the time.

The modern State is just a more sophisticated version of straightforward chattel slavery.  They call it taxation now, instead of tribute, and the people calling themselves agents of the State are called "bureaucrats," instead of standing armies. (Standing armies are for foreigners ... who pay tribute in the form of resources instead of cash money.)  The age-old system of turning people into service-slaves have been upgraded to turning them into free-range money-based slaves.

Part of the evolution of slavery has been to greatly improve the PR.  A small group of oppressors can't control a much larger population by constant force, so there needs to be some kind of reliable psychological control mechanism.  Disarming the slaves and enforced illiteracy were two of the methods of choice for a long time, but the other primary method, used since ancient times, has always been religion -- you set the dominant caste up as the image of gods, and teach the subordinates that they "owe" the gods their lives.  That way, they enslave themselves, and save the masters a LOT of headaches.  All you need is a priestly class to deliver the constant admonitions to serve.

These psychological means of maintaining servitude have greatly improved.  Although religion never fully went away, it's been modernized, and now takes the form of State-approved media, whose job it is to constantly cheerlead for Statism generally, and spew a constant barrage of propaganda that reinforces this idea of duty and obligation and service to the State.

Asking why States aren't in the habit of being more freedom-oriented is like asking why we don't see too many piranhas that choose to be vegetarians -- they weren't made that way.
 
2013-06-05 09:53:26 AM  

Phinn: States are organized FOR THE PURPOSE of dominating and robbing a population.


I am sure you would enjoy a lot more freedom without the state...
 
2013-06-05 09:57:54 AM  
SpectroBoy
Is there a defender of libertarianism on this thread willing to toss out a description of how libertarianism, properly implemented would work?

Not that kind of libertarian, but

First there are really three kinds of libertarians- Zero-government arch-capitalists, 'small government' libertarians, and anti-capitalist Anarchists. The latter is wholly unrelated to the others.
'Small government' libertarians think that the only role for the government is to protect property and national defense. They often point to a mythical golden age before the slaves were freed and the natives exterminated by the State to make way for bootstrappy settlers the government was 'corrupted'. However, they neglect to account for the problem that if things were so great then, why did it all go pear-shaped? The government's job of protecting property and defense inevitably leads to environmental regulation and labor laws, so small-government libertarianism inevitably leads to the same big government.

Anti-State libertarians think that everything would be done through private transactions and that a perfect market would be allowed to arise without the distorting influence of the government. All problems would be solved by the God-like Market and anyone who's badly off would have only themselves to blame. In case of conflict or crime, everyone would have what amounts to an insurance corporation with private enforcers which would hunt down the perpetrator and extract justice from them. Voluntarily. In the event that they have their own insurance corporation, the two would (voluntarily) hire a "dispute resolution organization" (private court) to, fairly and impartially for some reason, make a decision, which the insurance corporations would voluntarily abide by. And they would treat the perpetrator well, rather than driving APCs into their neighborhood and blasting away indiscriminately in order to act with minimum risk and maximum efficiency, because the person they're after might be a customer some day. Seriously, this is what they actually believe. And if you feel your insurance corporation isn't treating you right, you can buy insurance against that.
This is a pretty brilliant description from their own sources although they've already managed to contort their position to wash their hands of it. Link is to index page; start with page 1.
 
2013-06-05 10:11:30 AM  
"If your approach is so great, why hasn't any country anywhere in the world ever tried it?"

I thought we kinda did in 1776 or so.

(American Libertarian =/= Anarcho-Capitalist)
 
2013-06-05 10:16:59 AM  

dittybopper: Karac: Honest Bender: If your approach is so great, why hasn't any country anywhere in the world ever tried it?
Lack of opportunity would be my guess.  You can't just relocate somewhere and declare a new government.   And no government is going to willingly give up power.

Just shows how little faith libertarians have in their own ideas.
Did George Washington let the British unwillingness to give up power stop him from founding the USA?

Interesting that you bring that up:  The USA was pretty damned libertarian when it was founded.  In fact, the Constitution itself is pretty damned libertarian.  *PARTS* of the USA weren't very libertarian, of course, but as a whole, on the federal level, it was largely that way.   It was a big "Fark you, let us run our affairs as we see fit" not just collectively, but also at the individual level.

Unfortunately, nature (and politics) abhors a vacuum, and over time, the pressure to fill that vacuum builds up, and you get more and more regulations.  It is the unfortunate nature of organizations (and government is an organization) to expand as much as they possibly can.


Libertarianism probably works great when you have a massive amount of resources and unowned land to claim, frontier dangers to nationalize around, and the like. And slave labor.

Of course, the land was owned, we just stole it.

And the frontier dangers were solved with vigilante justice more often than not, and certainly not any fair voting.

I mean seriously, aside ftom the ability to pull an oregon trail, wtf was so libertarian back then? People like dia say they don't want somalia, but it sure sounds like you do.
 
2013-06-05 10:34:49 AM  

Altair: skullkrusher: gameshowhost: skullkrusher: gameshowhost: vygramul: Altair: vygramul: gameshowhost: [i40.tinypic.com image 479x229]
failed libertarian attempt to make their vision of the future sound appealing

If there's one thing that truly seems to defy Libertarian theory it's a love for the ultimate in fiat currency: Bitcoin.

as much as I hate to defend libertarians, I'm not really sure I'd call Bitcoin a fiat currency

Oh? What commodity backs it?

PROCESSING POWER™

technically limitations on processing power ;)

That's true.  But it's still weird. :|

well, it is a fiat currency. It isn't backed by anything. However, the inflation of the "money supply" is restricted so... it's still a fiat currency.

you must not fully understand what a fiat currency is

/hint: bitcoin isn't one


no, it isn't a fiat currency in that it isn't issued by a government. However, it has no intrinsic value or backing so fiat is the most accurate way to describe it.

http://economics.about.com/od/money/a/Types-Of-Money.htm

It isn't a commodity or backed by a commodity... that leaves us with fiat.
 
2013-06-05 10:35:44 AM  
Somalia was overtly and aggressively socialist for 20-30 years, which is what drove its economy into the ground.
 
2013-06-05 10:51:42 AM  

tallguywithglasseson: In D_I_A's defense, I'll bet public education really does suck in Texas.


Can anyone really be surprised when they're more interested in building these:

photographyblog.dallasnews.com

instead of libraries?

It's all about "Screw libraries and education! Ya gotta beat "X" HS so I can relive my glory days 'cause I wasn't good enough to play D-I CFB."
 
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