A New Day in Politics

How libertarianism can fix what's wrong with America

Most Americans used to call themselves Republican or Democrat. These days, more call themselves independent. What does that mean for American politics? A lot.

"Independents are everywhere, and they're becoming the largest single voting bloc in the country," Reason magazine Editor Matt Welch says. " (T)hey can determine every national election and every ... election for state office. So independent voters—people who refuse to say, 'I'm a Republican or I'm a Democrat'—that's where all the action is."

Welch and Reason.tv Editor in Chief Nick Gillespie just published a book on what to expect from this change: The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America.

The big change they see stems from independents' refusal to be absorbed by any party. "Compare the tea party to the ... Howard Dean antiwar movement," Welch said. "Howard Dean became the chairman (of the) Democratic National Committee. But the tea party has kept an arm's length and said, 'No, we're not going to be Republicans. ... (W)e're going to focus on ... government spending, deficit, and debt, and that's it.' ... And by maintaining that independence they have retained power."

"Independence in politics means that you can actually dictate some of the terms to our overlords," Welch and Gillespie write, adding that we need independence not just in politics but from politics. Welch said, "When we look at the places where government either directly controls or heavily regulates things, like K-12 education, health care, retirement, things are going poorly."

It's very different outside of government where—from culture to retail stores to the Internet—there's been an explosion of choice. "(Y)ou were lucky ... 20 years ago (if) you would see one eggplant in an exotic store," Welch continued. "Now in the crappiest supermarket in America you'll see four or five or six varieties of eggplant, plus all types of different things. ... (W)hen you get independent from politics, things are going great because people can experiment, they can innovate. ... We should squeeze down the (number of) places where we need a consensus to the smallest area possible, because all the interesting stuff happens outside of that."

Government is a zero-sum game: Someone wins, and someone loses, unlike in the market, where it's win-win, where merchant and customer thank each other. "Anytime that you have the government expressing anything," Welch continued, "it's a battle of values. If a government is supporting an art show, people who find that art offensive have a legitimate claim. If a government buys ... a new baseball stadium, well, my wife hates baseball, so how is that fair to her?"

"Fifty-one percent of the people get to tell the other 49 percent what to do, how much to pay, where you have to show up," Gillespie added. In the private sector, everybody gets to pick what he or she wants.

"There are troubles and tradeoffs," Gillespie said. "But ... if somebody starts selling stuff you don't like, you don't hold a rally and you don't try and get a bunch of people to vote to change it. You go to the next grocery store ... or you build your own grocery store. It's hard to do that with schools ... with health care and ... retirement." Of course, as government makes more decisions for people and limits competition, it reduces our choices. It's also given us horrible, unsustainable debt.

But, surprisingly, the Reason folks are optimistic.

"There are cases (of big government rollbacks)," Gillespie said. "New Zealand did this. Canada did this. The U.S. did this after World War II—dramatically ramped down the amount of spending, both in absolute terms and in relative terms as a percentage of economic activity. Political change happens."

But for now, the politicians continue to move us in the wrong direction. Last year, the feds alone added another 80,000 pages of rules. Despite talk of cuts, spending keeps growing. So does the debt.

And yet maybe the optimists are right. Maybe the human spirit is so powerful it will overcome the stupidity of politics.

I sure hope so.

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com.

COPYRIGHT 2011 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.
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  • Almanian||

    CAPTION:

    Heeeeey, Macarena!

  • JoshInHB||

    I know change is possible when a media uberdouche like Mark Halperin realizes that Obama is a dick

  • GregorySmith3||

    Yet they fired his ass, I guess Halperin wasn't good MARXISTNBC.

  • Sinic||

    And yet maybe the optimists are right.

    And maybe the Scientologists are right to.

  • ||

    Libertarian governmentolve all problems; many people will be worse off.

    Fundamentally, the issue is one of the right of individuals to control their own lives.

    The fact that, by reducing rent seeking and government interference in the economy, people will generally be better off is secondary.

  • ||

    You know, maybe everyone should be independent and require the parties (or nonaffiliated campaigners) to win them over anew, each and every election cycle. Rather than automatically pulling the switch every time. Make them compete to win your very temporary loyalty.

    There's a downside to this, of course, in that what might be used to buy votes could make things worse, but that crap happens, anyway.

  • Brett L||

    I just vote against the incumbent every time. That way, when I win I am less disappoint.

  • Tony||

    "Fifty-one percent of the people get to tell the other 49 percent what to do, how much to pay, where you have to show up," Gillespie added. In the private sector, everybody gets to pick what he or she wants.

    In other words, whatever percentage represents libertarians (far less than 51% I'd posit), gets to tell everyone else how their economy should be structured. But it's OK because you've slapped a sticker that reads "freedom" on it, even though it's guaranteed to result in more misery.

  • JoshInHB||

    Don't force me to choose, just tell me what to do.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    In other words, whatever percentage represents libertarians (far less than 51% I'd posit), gets to tell everyone else how their economy should be structured.


    The economy is already structured according to individual behavior, Tony. There's NOTHING wishful thinking and autoritarian action can do about it, except make people live more miserably, like in Cuba or North Korea, where pretty much EVERYBODY "agrees" with how the economy should be "structured."

  • Tony||

    You don't get out of the consequences of your policy just because you call it liberty. A laissez-faire economy is still a choice.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    You don't get out of the consequences of your policy just because you call it liberty. A laissez-faire economy is still a choice.


    Of course it is a choice, but what is true for one is true for the other. I can say the same thing about your beloved Central Planning: You cannot avoid the consequences of Central Planning. So what exactly have we both accomplished from stating the obvious, Tony? Did you learn something new? Because I certainly haven't.

  • Tony||

    I think we agree. So tell Stossel to stop with the tired bullshit about how somehow my policies represent tyranny of the majority but his don't represent tyranny of the minority because, uh, freedom!

  • rts||

    Freedom is tyranny now?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I think we agree.


    You thought wrongly. I simply stated that you said nothing of value.

    So tell Stossel to stop with the tired bullshit about how somehow my policies represent tyranny of the majority but his don't represent tyranny of the minority because, uh, freedom!


    I am not going to tell Stossel anything. I do not judge actions by intention or intended results but by how they affect others in their life, property or liberty.

  • Tony||

    I do not judge actions by intention or intended results but by how they affect others in their life, property or liberty.

    Doesn't that make you a utilitarian Hitler?

  • Edwin||

    "....others in their life, property or liberty"

    right, and that's what you're getting with modern governments with full enfranchisement; the consensus of the people on what exactly their rights are. You're just pissed off that the vast majority doesn't agree with you, only the rest of us are willing to make such decisions from actual consensus, whereas you believe you'd have the right to shove it down their throats regardless of their wishes*

    *which you absolutely do. All of you libertarians do actually believe that you have the right to use force if your rights are violated, with government not being any exception. You do believe that every time a cop pulls over a pot snmoker or something simialr, that they do have the right to shoot the cop. You all do indeed ultimately believe that you have the right to violently revolt

  • A Serious Man||

    Okay children, social contract theory 101: NATURAL RIGHTS to LIBERTY AND PROPERTY > Government/democracy.

    I could give you a dozen quotes from Locke, Jefferson, Madison, and Burke affirming this point. If you disagree, fine, but don't spread the pernacious fiction that this country wasn't founded upon the above axiom.

  • Edwin||

    more natural rights bullshit

    where is the giant tablet floating in the sky that tells us the absolute objective rules of everything, hmmm?
    If it's all so objective, why can't any of you agree on the details?
    If it's all so objective, then why do so many people see flaws with it? Why is it in fact so full of flaws and half answered questions?

    The only thing that truly exists is consensus with stronger civil rights protections which are protected by a requirement for a supermajority

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    where is the giant tablet floating in the sky that tells us the absolute objective rules of everything, hmmm?


    Edwin here, you see guys, requires something akin to physical laws to retrain his animal insticts and barbarity, in lieu of rationality and reason.

  • Edwin||

    you dodged the question

    how do I know absolutely for sure that you're right versus the other guy?

    Where is the PROOF that you're right?

  • A Serious Man||

    @Edwin: How did we know slavery was wrong? Up until the point where a majority decided it was wrong, was owning other human beings morally correct? After all, we don't KNOW that treating other human beings as pieces of property is wrong, it's all subjective to what the majority feels is correct.

    If a group of pedophiles founded an island colony where they molested children, I guess in that society pedophillia would be morally right as well, what with them being the majority and all.

  • ||

    You are freely masturbating right now. Do we have a right to make you stop?

  • MNG||

    Because it is self evident, can't you see it?

    Look harder then!

  • Fiscal Meth||

    HOLY SHIT!! ONE GUY SAYS 2+2=4 AND ANOTHER GUY SAYS 2+2=5!!! THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS MATH!!! IF A MAJORITY SAYS 2+2=4 THEN ONLY A SUPERMAJORITY CAN MAKE IT EQUAL TO 5!!! ALSO YOU ARE ALL MURDERERS AND ALL CAPS ARE THE BEST!!

  • skr||

    You don't believe in a natural right to your own life? The consensus may decide to protect or not protect that right, but I don't think the right goes away without the protection. The right is simply not protected and is violable.

  • Arcaster||

    So when the supermajority decides to burn down your house, rape you, and slit your throat, you'll be cool with that right?

  • Edwin||

    false dichotomy

  • Arcaster||

    How so? You claim:

    The only thing that truly exists is consensus with stronger civil rights protections which are protected by a requirement for a supermajority

    If the consensus is all that exists, and your rights are protected only by supermajority, I want to know what happens when you're one of the people the majority decides to fuck in the ass. Are you just going to say, "well, it's for the greater good."?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    What's food enough for Socrates is good enough for Edwin.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    ^g^

  • yofed2||

    its full of flaws and half answered questions because our educational institutions suck. american citizens for the most part have little ability to critically think, and we accept the spoonfeeding of beaurocrats. "don't make me choose, tell me what to do". most americans have half a brain, which makes them dangerous when conveying their understanding about what principles this country is founded on, and on what principles this country needs to move forward on. they are swayed by the constant rhetoric and ideological propaganda about the true role of government by beaurocrats and bankers who seek power and control over our lives, which, is a 180 from our founders original intentions. get educated and understand the true consequences of what the overreach of our government is doing to you and to me; making us slaves to their policy, slaves to their debt. wake up. open your eyes. open your mind.

  • ||

    "You all do indeed ultimately believe that you have the right to violently revolt."

    If it comes to that, yes. And the Declaration of Independence agrees with us.

  • Edwin||

    the declaration of independence does not say that you get exactly your way 100% of the time.
    You have no right to kill people except in the most extreme of circumnstances, and our times are not such. Time to grow up.

    FYI this is what I'm talking about all the time when I say you're all sick in the head. This guys just adnmitted he thinks he has the right to fucking shoot everyone just because he disagrees with some government policies.

    You guys are all fucking Manson wannabes.

  • skr||

    He said no such thing. He said that he believes in a right to revolt. He never gave the conditions under which that right would be excercised. However, he did imply with, "if it comes to that" that those conditions would probably be pretty extreme. This would seem to comport with the right to self-defense.

  • yofed2||

    you are clueless

  • Fiscal Meth||

    You hypocritical fuck! I suppose you have the right to go around shooting people if they refuse to lives the way the majority wants them? No. You just want a man in a uniform to take your place behind the gun, so that you can keep up the pretense of civility, but to force others to obey you just the same as any dictator. Our criticism of you is that you play fast and loose with the use of overwhelming force against innocent people because you want them to obey you and you call us Manson Wanna-bes? Fuck you! You're the violence apologist you bloodthirsty fucking mobber!

  • ||

    "You have no right to kill people except in the most extreme of circumnstances, and our times are not such."

    It is getting closer evey day and with every "socialy just" law the progressives pass. At some point you have to wear the chains of carry the arms, and by your statement you better hope the cains come in your size. Like it or not freedom is not free and government control is even more expensive, just ask the average North Koren or Cuban how "great" their life is.

  • JoshInHB||

    Not sending people to concentration camps is also tyranny of the majority.

  • ||

    You assume that Americans understand "laissez-faire".

  • ||

    WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

  • Tony||

    Let's do an analogy. Say you're a city council, and there's a busy intersection. You have the choice of putting up a stoplight or not. Putting up a stoplight technically reduces liberty on the scale of the individual. But fewer people die. And shouldn't that be the most important measure of a policy's usefulness? Just saying you're maximizing individual liberty doesn't give you bonus points, it doesn't absolve you of democratic accountability, and you don't get out of responsibility for your choice just because you choose a certain way.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Let's do an analogy. Say you're a city council, and there's a busy intersection. You have the choice of putting up a stoplight or not. Putting up a stoplight technically reduces liberty on the scale of the individual. But fewer people die.


    From where do you draw that conclusion?

    And shouldn't that be the most important measure of a policy's usefulness?


    I don't subscribe to utilitarianism. I live that to the mass murderers, Tony.

    Just saying you're maximizing individual liberty doesn't give you bonus points, it doesn't absolve you of democratic accountability


    Why would I care about "democratic accountability"? What is that, exactly? Are you saying that principles and moral ethics should be contingent to what's popular?

    Beheadings were popular at one time. Maybe the beheaders counted with "democratic accountability." Did that make beheadings any more moral and ethical?

  • Tony||

    From where do you draw that conclusion?

    This is a hypothetical. Assume it.

    I don't subscribe to utilitarianism. I live that to the mass murderers, Tony.

    That doesn't even make sense. The goal of utilitarianism is to maximize human well-being. Hard to do that and mass murder at the same time.

    What you mean is that you care about principles more than people. Like Hitler.

    Why would I care about "democratic accountability"? What is that, exactly? Are you saying that principles and moral ethics should be contingent to what's popular?

    I'm saying that what economic policy is imposed on people ought, in a democratic society, be what they want imposed on them, decided via democratic means, no matter how certain you are that it's good for them.

    The problem with morals and ethics as you understand them is that they are arbitrary. I certainly don't want you deciding morality for me, because I think your morality is abhorrent. Not to say morality doesn't inform my political beliefs; I just happen to think it's immoral to impose economic policy on people against their will.

  • JoshInHB||

    A lack of action is not a choice and it is not an imposition on anyone.

  • Tony||

    How is it not a choice? If you are charged with overseeing the intersection and you choose not to put up the stoplight, and then more people die, how are you not responsible for that decision when you could just as easily have put the stoplight up?

    A lack of action is in reality the same thing as action. Which is why Obamacare is constitutional, incidentally.

  • Edwin||

    "A lack of action is in reality the same thing as action"

    absolutely agreed Tony, spot on on the previous two points

    "Which is why Obamacare is constitutional, incidentally."

    Now I think you're stretching it. The sixteenth amendment allows the feds to tax income. Charging people a fee for NOT buying something is not taxing income. And the commerce clause cover INTERSTATE commerce. Not doing something isn't commerce. To believe so would literally give the government absolute economic regulatory power with no limits.

    Your policy/no-policy equivocation holds for matters of POLICY or human CONVENTION, but not for personal human action, at least where laws are written with explicit and narrow enough words like "commerce"

  • Tony||

    The Obamacare bit was just to be provocative, but let me try to defend.

    The CC enables broad discretion on the part of commerce, based on case law precedent. An activity can even be entirely intrastate and regulated as long as it has some interstate effects. Congress, according to case law precedent, can regulate activity unrelated to commerce if it has some effects on commerce at some level. Inaction with respect to health insurance almost certainly falls under this power.

    An analogy I read about was medical marijuana. Someone was growing it for personal use only, yet the court ruled that the feds had power to regulate it under its drug laws, even though nothing was being sold to anyone. Activity (or inactivity) that can be shown to have effects on interstate commerce can be regulated. It's very broad power to be sure, but it's what Congress has under court precedent.

  • Edwin||

    precedent can be wrong Tony

    You're not going to convince me that words in plain English say something other than what they clearly say. SCOTUS even stretched "may run a postal service" into "may forcibly shut down other postal services". Some things are just clearly nonsense.

    and even with case law the obamacare is a stretch. Again DOING NOTHING is not commerce.

  • Tony||

    precedent can be wrong Tony

    Surely. I think it's probably the case, though, that some measure of practicality has entered Commerce Clause case law. I see little value in restricting the ability of the federal government to regulate commerce or things tangentially related to commerce. Its jurisdiction is the country, and it needs to be able to respond to problems in that jurisdiction.

    I would definitely prefer a stronger law than Obamacare, but my opinion is this: if the constitution forbids the government from regulating healthcare and implementing a national plan, then the constitution is flawed and should be fixed, since a national healthcare plan is a necessity in the modern world.

    Even so, people who don't get health insurance quite actually DO affect commerce in that they affect costs for those who are insured. The only way out of this fact is to let people bleed to death on the streets if they aren't covered and can't pay. That's obviously unacceptable.

  • Edwin||

    ", that some measure of practicality has entered Commerce Clause case law"

    nothing in the constitution says anything about a judges' ideas about practicality.

    "Its jurisdiction is the country"
    eh. land-wise. But WHAT it may regulate is limited by the constitution. This is a union, not one homogenous country. And that;s a better set up for many reasons, and even for regulatory reasons.

    "then the constitution is flawed and should be fixed"

    OK so your side should work to honestly change the constitution, instead of trying to change the meaning of words.

    "The only way out of this fact is to let people bleed to death on the streets "
    OK now you're doing the libertarian extreme false dichotomy thing. No state does any such thing - every state has ambulance srevices and then the hospital is obligated to stabilize you.

  • Tony||

    OK so your side should work to honestly change the constitution, instead of trying to change the meaning of words.

    If it has to come to that. I'm confident healthcare reform can fit into the established understanding of the constitution. If not, then there are a lot of laws and court decisions that would have to be revisited.

    OK now you're doing the libertarian extreme false dichotomy thing. No state does any such thing - every state has ambulance srevices and then the hospital is obligated to stabilize you.

    Right, then those costs are imposed on every insured person. That's why not being insured is engaging in commerce.

  • ||

    Your beliefs are well, false, Tony.


    people who don't get health insurance quite actually DO affect commerce in that they affect costs for those who are insured.

    For we can find many examples of Americans who have lived their lives without medical insurance, who never fell ill and who never sought any claims through Medicare once they reached age qualification.

    More over, we can find numerous examples of those who, when they fell ill, paid from their own pockets, the full price charged for medical services.

    In short Tony, you do not get at all the whole business of insurance.

    Insurers know if they can expand the pool of premium payers, especially those who do not file claims, they can apportion claims expenses across a larger body of customers.

    That insurers have been incapable of inducing those non-customers into customers is the failing of insurers to marketing -- wrong prices, wrong offerings.

    Those who choose to not insure but who merely exist are seen as a gold mine for insurers, if only government can force them to pay premiums.

    Yet, those persons have nothing to do with affecting "costs of the insured" as you oh-so wrongly claim.

    The costs of the insured get affected primarily by the U.S. government, since it is the largest purchaser of medicine (doctors' services, drugs, hospital stays).

    There is one true, great, invariant law for the whole of economics, the Law of Prices.

    The Law of Prices holds that the winning bids of demand in the face of supply set the price.

    Every day, 10,000 Americans become newly minted aged 65 persons who immediately qualify for free-to-them medicine paid for by U.S. taxpayers through the U.S. government.

    In short, the U.S. government is outbidding everyone at record sums for all manners of medicine while suppliers work hard to limit their supply.

    Other forces affecting costs are [1] the legalizing limiting of the supply of doctors through licensure; [2] 20 year monopoly patents granted to drug makers; [3] the FDA drug approval cycle, which erects a barrier to entry on the order of 10s of billions for drug approval.

    Even insurers ability to write off claims paid as a loss effects prices as insurers have little incentive to curtail payouts.

    So, Tony, did you want to talk about medical economics or were you merely making chit-chat?

  • JoshInHB||

    A lack of action is in reality the same thing as action.

    The stupid is strong in this one.

  • ||

    Jesus Tap Dancing Christ Tony. It is in no way, shape, or form the City Council's fault that some douche bag can't drive and doesn't understand how a fucking 4-way stop works.

  • Tony||

    Jesus Tap Dancing Christ Tony. It is in no way, shape, or form the City Council's fault that some douche bag can't drive and doesn't understand how a fucking 4-way stop works.

    It absolutely is. You just have to be able to look at the world at the statistical level. Without stoplights means x number of people die. With stoplights means y number of people die (where y

  • Tony||

    Cut off for some reason.

    (where y is less than x). Why aren't people entitled to hold their government accountable for the consequences of the policy with respect to the intersection?

  • ||

    As someone with more than a passing knowledge of statistics, I'll say with 97.5% confidence that you're a douche deliberately misinterpreting the nature of statistical inference to make a point that isn't justified by the theory.

    The other 2.5% probability is that you're an idiot.

  • ||

    Okay, so from your standpoint, I am not responsible for my own actions if the government could have done something to prevent me from taking that action in the first place?

    I'm not being facetious, I'm just trying to understand where you're coming from.

  • ||

    Obama will just outlaw cars.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "...I just happen to think it's immoral to impose economic policy on people against their will."

    What? No you don't.

  • Tony||

    Sure I do. Luckily for me most people want my economic policy. (And most people is good enough in a democracy.) Most Republicans want it, even though they're too stupid to realize it. Only a tiny sliver of people actually want to do away with the welfare state. Luckily for them they have an entire political party on their side.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "...I just happen to think it's immoral to impose economic policy on people against their will."

    Plus

    "...And most people is good enough in a democracy"

    equals

    "I have not imposed anything on people because individuals stop being people when they stop being the voting majority."

    Is that how you define mass-murder too? In that case I understand why you think utilitarianism doesn't lead to mass murder. "It's not mass-murder when it's just a bunch of individuals in a voting minority. It's just sacrificing an uncooperative part for the well being of the whole" Is that about right Tony?

  • Edwin||

    false dichotomy, that's not what he said

    he (and I) have repeatedly said there should also be strong protections that require a supermajority to breach

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Bullshit. I copied and pasted. He said that he doesn't believe in imposing shit on people, then he said that it's fine to impose shit on people as long as they are in a voting minority. You added that certain things require a supermajority before they can be imposed on a superminority. That is a nonessential distinction. You cannot support democracy without endorsing impositions of force on some on behalf of others. Stop lying.

  • Edwin||

    unless you're a complete pacifist then someone is imposing force on someone else, period.

    as long as there is some form of property rights then there uis some measure of force in society. What we're talking about is how we decide what those rights are. Libertarians claim that there is an objective standard for this. They offer no proof. Therefore the only other options are some form of democracy/republic with constitutional protections, or some form of autocracy.

    You believe in some form of force just as we do, since you do believe in property rights. Tony and I are just better at actually dealing with the whole issue of coming up with conventions as to what those rights are. You guys simply state an opinion and assert that you're right.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    I believe that the only proper role of force is in retaliation against its initiator. You offer no proof that property requires the initiation of force.

  • ||

    Every single one of our creditors, to whom we owe 14 trillion dollars, would probably like us to do away with the welfare state.

  • Edwin||

    "What? No you don't"

    Yes he does. He has repeatedly stated that law should be made by democratic/republican/representative consensus, and that he's fully willing to subscribe to however that pans out.
    He has also described his POLICY PREFERNCES, but even if he doesn't get them, he's still willing to live by them.

    At least I hope so. If the people in a state voted to end the typical union laws for government service jobs (that is they don't HAVE to negotiate with unions in strikes and can just hire new poeple), would you still see it as legitimate? I mean I know you wouldn't like it, but wouldn't it ultimately be legitimate if poeple voted for it?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    You are imposing economic policy on the people who were outvoted by their neighbors. Even if you get a supermajority, you're still imposing force on the people who don't want to do what you want to make them do. How are you so dishonest that you can't admit that democracy, by definition, imposes shit on people?

  • Tony||

    Even if you get a supermajority, you're still imposing force on the people who don't want to do what you want to make them do. How are you so dishonest that you can't admit that democracy, by definition, imposes shit on people?

    I never said that it doesn't. In a democracy, sometimes you don't get what you want. Sometimes you get a big fat shit sandwich. But that's the case no matter how large or small the group is that is trying to accomplish the act of getting along. It's true of a marriage of two people. It's called compromise and being an adult. Expecting every single policy to go your way is to be a bratty child.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "I just happen to think it's immoral to impose economic policy on people against their will."

    You never said it doesn't? So that was a spoof Tony up there?

  • AustereAustrian||

    Why can't I have the right to be a bratty child?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    This is a hypothetical. Assume it.


    So, hypotetically, I would know that installing street lights result in less deaths?

    That doesn't even make sense. The goal of utilitarianism is to maximize human well-being.


    That's a lie. Utilitarianism simply espouses the maximization of the greater good, however this "greater good" is defined. That doesn't mean maximizing human well being.

    Hard to do that and mass murder at the same time.


    The same utilitarian justifications that served mass murderers (i.e. to make men perfect) are used all the time to justify regulations and plunder.

    What you mean is that you care about principles more than people. Like Hitler.


    Hitler didn't care about principles - or people, for that matter.

    I'm saying that what economic policy is imposed on people ought, in a democratic society, be what they want imposed on them,


    Tony, you don't seem to get it: You don't leave such things as economic policy to popularity contests, precisely because people's envy will trump principles and morality.

    The problem with morals and ethics as you understand them is that they are arbitrary.


    Great - anything is arbitrary. The thief will think that defending your property is arbitrary. The murderer will feel that defending your life is arbitrary.

    I certainly don't want you deciding morality for me, because I think your morality is abhorrent.


    I haven't decided morality for you. Moral and ethical choices are your responsibility. What I am espousing is not imposing moral or ethical choices on you - YOU are the one espousing that these are imposed on EVERYONE ELSE by popular vote.

  • Tony||


    So, hypotetically, I would know that installing street lights result in less deaths?

    It's irrelevant. Assume you would. (Christ almighty people, stoplgihts were invented for a reason!)


    That's a lie. Utilitarianism simply espouses the maximization of the greater good, however this "greater good" is defined. That doesn't mean maximizing human well being.

    Well, my greater good is human well being, as is the case with anyone calling himself a utilitarian, but whatever.

    Tony, you don't seem to get it: You don't leave such things as economic policy to popularity contests, precisely because people's envy will trump principles and morality.

    Whose principles and morality? There's a perfectly legitimate moral case to be made for, say, progressive taxation and the welfare state. I happen to think it's orders of magnitude more convincing than the bullshit you believe in. So who gets to decide what the standard is?

    Presumably you think the US was founded on at least some of these principles. Why don't you have any respect for the single most important principle behind it all: That government should act according to the will of the governed?

    YOU are the one espousing that these are imposed on EVERYONE ELSE by popular vote.

    I'm saying popular vote satisfies a single moral imperative: that people get to decide themselves how they are governed. What do you want as an alternative? Imposing your moral choices on everyone else, and not even bothering with popular vote?

  • Tony||

    And the will of the people isn't just a moral requirement. If anything it's secondary to the fact that it's a practical requirement. Impose a society on people that they don't want, and they will reject it eventually. Happens all the time. If you were in their shoes I'm sure you'd think you were entitled to exactly the same thing.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    And the will of the people isn't just a moral requirement. If anything it's secondary to the fact that it's a practical requirement.


    You mean, it's expedient.

    I still don't see how giving people freedom of choice is "imposing a society." Perhaps you should elaborate on that, because it seems contradictory.

    If you were in their shoes I'm sure you'd think you were entitled to exactly the same thing.


    Which is why such things as liberty and rights should not be left to popular vote. The wolves will vote themselves the right to have dinner over the sheep.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    So Might equals Right?

  • AustereAustrian||

    If your Max Stirner...

  • Edwin||

    "Great - anything is arbitrary. The thief will think that defending your property is arbitrary. The murderer will feel that defending your life is arbitrary"

    Yeah pretty much. WELCOME TO THE HUMAN CONDITION RETARD.

    THERE IS NO OBJECTIVE SET OF RIGHTS. THE BEST WE CAN DO IS CONSENSUS WITH FULL ENFRANCHISEMENT WITH A FEW STRONG PROTECTIONS.

    If it's all so objective and you're so sure your ideas about rights are so corrcet, then why the hell can't you guys agree on everything? I've heard a million different opinions about the details of property rights from libertarians.

    Oh, and each one of you believes you have the right to kill everyone else for even the tiniest transgression of rights. And this while, again, you can't agree on anything. Yeah, great way to make a peaceful society.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    Yeah pretty much. WELCOME TO THE HUMAN CONDITION RETARD.


    Perhaps you have difficulty following the adult discussion, Edwin. Saying that "such and such is arbitrary" is nothing more than a cop-out, a way to sleaze oneself from logical discourse.

    Please, leave the adult conversation to us, the adults, and go play with your megablocks, the ones with the pretty colors.

  • Edwin||

    OK, then where's the objective proof you're right?

    You're great at insulting people and yet you repeatedly dodge the real questions.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    OK, then where's the objective proof you're right?

    You're great at insulting people and yet you repeatedly dodge the real questions.


    You just asked the question and then immediately go ahead and accuse me of dodging it.

    Take your Thorazine, Edwin, and go to bed.

  • Edwin||

    WTF are you talking about?

    You keep saying your opinions are not opinions but actual real-world fact. That your ideas about rights are woven into the existence of reality. It's an old natural rights/libertyarian canard that be disproven by one simple challenge - PROVE IT.

    If YOUR ideas about the details of rights are absolutely correct thenb PROVE IT.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    You keep saying your opinions are not opinions but actual real-world fact.


    Where did I make such statement?

    That your ideas about rights are woven into the existence of reality.


    They're not my ideas:

    a) You wrote your statement
    b) You used your fingers to write it
    c) You have freedom to move your fingers and write your words.

    Ergo, you have a right to move your fingers and write words.

    As the Thorazine-depleted child you are, you seem to confuse inductive reasoning with deductive reasoning, expecting "objective" proof of a conclusion derived from deduction. I cannot help you in that regard, that is your problem.

  • Edwin||

    Holy shit WTF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?

    You have ceased to make any sense

    it's a simple question. Can you PROVE that your opinions about righs are correct?

    If you have no proof then the issue of the details of rights have to be by consensus and protections. There necessarily would be no other way.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    By what standard are the "FEW STRONG PROTECTIONS"(presumably limitating unchecked mob-rule) set since there is no such thing as an objective scope of action, within which individuals ought to be free to pursue their own happiness free from coercion? If the individual is arbitrary and Majority power needs to be limited by a "FEW STRONG PROTECTIONS", how do you arrive at those limitations? Darts/Dartboard? Let me guess Philosopher Kings.

  • Edwin||

    it's called a constitution. Ever heard of it?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    By what non-objective standard was the constitution written? Darts/Dartboards?

  • Edwin||

    Tony no one needs to assume anything, stoplights reduce accidents compared to stop signs. That's a known aspect of municipal engineeriong

  • ||

    "

    Hard to do that and mass murder at the same time."

    Unless you're only murdering 40% of the population so that their resources can be redistributed to the other 60%.

  • Tncm||

    This is a hypothetical. Assume it.

    So you admit you're practicing lifeboat ethics by basing a philosophical system around a situation you can't justify and cannot happen in the real world?

    That doesn't even make sense. The goal of utilitarianism is to maximize human well-being. Hard to do that and mass murder at the same time.

    Utilitarian ethics supports the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people. So Hitler was being a typical utilitarian when he calculated that Utopia for the majority of Germans outweighed the deaths of Jews, intellectuals, communists, and classical liberals.

    What you mean is that you care about principles more than people. Like Hitler.

    Hitler had no principles. National Socialism, like all collectivist ideologies, is built on a loosely-defined set of ethical principles and world views that contradict one another. It's only consistency is the thread of thought in all collectivism; adulation of society as represented by the state over the individual, leading to the inevitable result of totalitarianism. You are equally guilty of this line of thinking.

    I'm saying that what economic policy is imposed on people ought, in a democratic society, be what they want imposed on them, decided via democratic means, no matter how certain you are that it's good for them.

    No one is being imposed upon under a system of true laissez-faire capitalism except thieves, criminals, and other social parasites. Individuals who respect the property of others will find their status in society enhanced, not harmed by libertarianism.

    The problem with morals and ethics as you understand them is that they are arbitrary.

    No one here is claiming you operate under an ethical system; you are simply a romantic who follows whatever policy satiates your emotional grievances.

    I certainly don't want you deciding morality for me, because I think your morality is abhorrent.

    My ethical system leads to an objectively superior material state for the part of humanity that participates in it. Yours causes class warfare, the destruction of capital accumulation, inflationism, a cyclical economy, and subjection of the individual to the state. It is only through appeals to emotion and the illiteracy of the general public that you can make your "system" sound even remotely better then mine.

    Not to say morality doesn't inform my political beliefs; I just happen to think it's immoral to impose economic policy on people against their will.

    You do it all the time with taxes, increases in the money supply, regulation, and tariffs. In a voluntaryist society you could go off with your other collectivist friends and practice liberal policy to your heart's content, you just wouldn't be able to force it on everyone else.

  • Tony||

    So you admit you're practicing lifeboat ethics by basing a philosophical system around a situation you can't justify and cannot happen in the real world?

    Not at all. It's a simple analogy to regulation vs. no regulation. It's known that stoplights prevent traffic deaths, OM is just being a butt.

    Utilitarian ethics supports the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people. So Hitler was being a typical utilitarian when he calculated that Utopia for the majority of Germans outweighed the deaths of Jews, intellectuals, communists, and classical liberals.

    Utopianism and utilitarianism are incompatible. Obviously allowing for racism and genocide does not quite work with what is generally understood to be concern for maximizing human well-being. But if we can take it away from the extremes, I get what you're saying. The problem is, you're equally a utilitarian. You think that your policies maximize human well-being, you just define well-being differently (e.g., economic liberty).

    No one is being imposed upon under a system of true laissez-faire capitalism except thieves, criminals, and other social parasites.

    A laissez-faire economy has vast consequences for large numbers of people. It's every bit as much of a policy choice with consequences as a planned economy. Maybe people don't want maximum individual liberty, and who are you to tell them they have to accept it? You want out of this responsibility merely by claiming that your policy is superior than mine. I think the opposite, I'm just not pretending that therefore I'm entitled to get out of responsibility for the consequences.

    My ethical system leads to an objectively superior material state for the part of humanity that participates in it.

    Except in every circumstance it's been tried. The best places to live on earth are mixed economies with a little more 'socialism' than the US. I think it takes a mix of democracy, capitalism, and socialism to make a decent society in the modern world. I don't expect you to take credit for any laissez-faire societies, but I do expect you to make assertions about what could be with no real-world evidence.

    In a voluntaryist society you could go off with your other collectivist friends and practice liberal policy to your heart's content, you just wouldn't be able to force it on everyone else.

    We are already in this society. Even if it were just me and a few hundred liberal friends, we'd have to establish something like representative democracy to get anything done. We just have a voluntary society on the scale of a nation-state. It's not tyranny just because you don't always get your way. That's the nature of human interaction at any scale, and you're free to leave at any time.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Not at all. It's a simple analogy to regulation vs. no regulation. It's known that stoplights prevent traffic deaths, OM is just being a butt.


    Stoplights do not prevent deaths, Tony. They only help motorists lower the cost of driving towards an intersection by not having to increase their alertness, but you cannot prevent soemone from running a red light.

    Utopianism and utilitarianism are incompatible.


    They're different concepts, Tony. Besides, utilitarianism promises are utopian: Utilitarianism argues that the "greater good" can be *known*

    A laissez-faire economy has vast consequences for large numbers of people.


    That would be true for people that do not live under a laissez-faire economy, but your conclusion that a laissez-faire economy would be thus immoral is incorrect. Just because abstaining from drinking alcohol is accompanied by painful withdrawal effects does not make being a teetotaler is inherently a bad thing.

    It's every bit as much of a policy choice with consequences as a planned economy.


    It may be so, but so what? Your argument is absurd. Stopping the war on drugs is also a policy choice with consequences for many; what does THAT have to do with the morality of stopping the war on drugs?

    Stopping a thief from stealing from me has consequences for the thief. What does THAT have to do with the morality of stopping thievery, or with thievery itself?

    Maybe people don't want maximum individual liberty, and who are you to tell them they have to accept it?


    Who said they have to? Those people can become indentured servants for all I care.

    You want out of this responsibility merely by claiming that your policy is superior than mine.


    Other people's choices are not my responsibility, Tony. They never are, as I cannot control their minds any more that they control mine. As for your policy, espousing slavery does not seem like a morally superior stance:

    "Maybe people don't want maximum individual liberty"

    We are already in this society.


    You confuse the map with the territory. "Society" is just the name we give to the group of people that decide to live close to each other, but that does not mean you are beholden to that society as if we were all ants.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "Obviously allowing for racism and genocide does not quite work with what is generally understood to be concern for maximizing human well-being."

    Does allowing for National Citizenship does factor in to the question of all human well-being? Shouldn't the government tax the income of the poor as well as the rich of America at a rate of ninety percent and give it to the citizens of other countries since, compared to many other countries, they are the super-rich?

  • Tncm||

    Not at all. It's a simple analogy to regulation vs. no regulation. It's known that stoplights prevent traffic deaths, OM is just being a butt.

    My problem is that you're including your conclusion in the premise you schmuck. You create the scenario in a world where traffic lights will stop deaths to make it impossible for anyone to argue against you because then you can just claim they're sociopaths and dismiss their arguments.

    You take Krugmanite arguing to a whole new level.

    Utopianism and utilitarianism are incompatible.

    As Old Mexican stated, utilitarianism is innately utopian in that it chases undefinable abstracts like "the common good".

    Obviously allowing for racism and genocide does not quite work with what is generally understood to be concern for maximizing human well-being.

    But that's the problem, isn't it? "Maximizing human well-being" leads to different conclusions for different people. You'll get some utilitarians who reach libertarian conclusions from that premise (repealing welfare will help the majority even though a minority of poor people will be hurt in the short run) and some who reach fascist conclusions (if we suppress minorities we can create a unified culture which will benefit the majority of the nation). Both are, paradoxically, justified by the vagueness of utilitarianism.

    But if we can take it away from the extremes, I get what you're saying.

    Except you don't, because in your next breath you say:

    The problem is, you're equally a utilitarian. You think that your policies maximize human well-being, you just define well-being differently (e.g., economic liberty).

    I've always said that libertarian policy maximize human material well-being, i.e. plentiful goods and services of differing types that continuously improve. Whether you give a damn about material wealth differs from person to person, but I have never tried to justify libertarianism from utilitarian grounds. I've always said that I'm a libertarian for purely selfish reasons; libertarian policies help me, my family, and my friends. The fact that it also helps the rest of the world is happy coincidence but ultimately irrelevant.

    A laissez-faire economy has vast consequences for large numbers of people. It's every bit as much of a policy choice with consequences as a planned economy.

    Laissez-faire capitalism is the starting point for all of human civilization. It is socialism that has imposed on capitalism, not capitalism on socialism.

    Maybe people don't want maximum individual liberty, and who are you to tell them they have to accept it?

    They don't have to accept it. They can go create police state communes if they so choose, as long as they leave everybody else alone.

    You want out of this responsibility merely by claiming that your policy is superior than mine.

    I've explained to you the criterion by which I find my ideology superior to yours. You reject that criterion because you place a higher premium on satisfying emotions than I do. I can't argue that libertarianism will "feed your soul" more than liberalism currently does. But I can argue that libertarian policy creates a higher material standard of living for the general populous than progressivism, and I will win that argument if you choose to engage me in it. I have dismantled Keynesianism and welfarism before, I can do it again.

    I think the opposite, I'm just not pretending that therefore I'm entitled to get out of responsibility for the consequences.

    I accept the consequences of my ideology, which is that everyone becomes richer and no one becomes poorer.

    Except in every circumstance it's been tried.

    The Gilded Age, an era of generally unrestrained capitalism (though it had many, many problems) was the largest period of economic growth in the history of the United States. Never before or since have real wages and the standard of living climbed as fast as they did during the era of "leave it be" government.

    he best places to live on earth are mixed economies with a little more 'socialism' than the US.

    How misinformed you are. If you had looked into Western Europe more thoroughly you'd know that by most metrics they have a freer economy than the United States; lower business regulation, expediency in starting up a new business, etc. The only metric that we surpass them in is in terms of taxation, and even then we're only slightly lower than most European nations.

    This also ignores the liberalization of Sweden's economy under the Moderate Party which has been covered extensively by Reason.

    I think it takes a mix of democracy, capitalism, and socialism to make a decent society in the modern world.

    Interventionism is the root of all evil in modern human civilization, as we've explained to you countless times in the past.

    I don't expect you to take credit for any laissez-faire societies, but I do expect you to make assertions about what could be with no real-world evidence.

    I have a plethora of empirical and theoretical evidence justifying libertarianism, and I've shared some of it with you before.

    We are already in this society.

    Can I secede from the United States?

    Even if it were just me and a few hundred liberal friends, we'd have to establish something like representative democracy to get anything done. We just have a voluntary society on the scale of a nation-state. It's not tyranny just because you don't always get your way. That's the nature of human interaction at any scale, and you're free to leave at any time.

    I wish I could leave, but unfortunately I'd be thrown into another coercive monopoly on law and military power. It's like saying a hostage is "free" because he or she can move from their current captor to a variety of other captors at his or her whim.

  • Tony||

    You create the scenario in a world where traffic lights will stop deaths to make it impossible for anyone to argue against you


    Yes, that would be the real world. Similarly, I think laissez-faire policies generate more human misery than other systems, but I don't expect you to buy that.

    Laissez-faire capitalism is the starting point for all of human civilization. It is socialism that has imposed on capitalism, not capitalism on socialism.

    And for good reason.

    I accept the consequences of my ideology, which is that everyone becomes richer and no one becomes poorer.

    Now I KNOW there has never been a society without poor people, so I fail to see what you base your claim on. Lemme guess, America's poor live better than kings of yore because of penicillin?

    How misinformed you are. If you had looked into Western Europe more thoroughly you'd know that by most metrics they have a freer economy than the United States; lower business regulation, expediency in starting up a new business, etc. The only metric that we surpass them in is in terms of taxation, and even then we're only slightly lower than most European nations.

    I'm not talking about business regulation. Our system is fucked up in many ways. I'm talking about the provision of a social safety net and government services to make up for the glaring holes in the market--which, as I think you mean by "emotion," are comprised of things like concern for human well-being.

    Can I secede from the United States?

    You can renounce your citizenship and move away. You want to be sovereign, get an army.

    I wish I could leave, but unfortunately I'd be thrown into another coercive monopoly on law and military power.

    Here, the world's tiniest violin. I want a toaster with internet access. There are a lot of choices for you with a large range of governments. What on god's green earth makes you think you, among billions of people, are entitled to your own private utopia?

    If your politics are rare in the marketplace of countries, maybe there's something wrong with your politics.

  • ||

    @Tncm: I think I love you.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Me too.

  • AustereAustrian||

    Does anyone love tony or edwin? Didn't think so. These guys must be from salon or slate or something

  • skr||

    The goal of utilitarianism is to maximize human well-being. Hard to do that and mass murder at the same time.

    Actually it's quite easy. The goal is to maximize the well being for the greatest number of people. If population pressure is destroying the environment and causing suffering, then it would be moral to kill 1/3 of the planets population in order to drastically increase the well being and happiness for the remaining 2/3. So 2 billion dead and 4 billion much better off. Now in order to get around this little difficulty, utilitarians invent harm from the mass murder for the remainder by claiming damage to our collective soul or some such bs.

  • MNG||

    Any moral theory if wrongly done can lead to horrible consequences. If ulititarianism endorses doing the act which maximizes overall human welfare then acts which do so would be wrong from a utilitarian viewpoint, whether they were dressed up in utilitarian rhetoric or not. Blaming utilitarian theory for that is like blaming Locke for slavery and the near elimination of the native americans because they were often dressed up in Lockean rhetoric.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    But wouldn't that maximize human welfare in a Malthusian scenario?

  • skr||

    It's not a question of whether the moral theory leads to horrible consequences or not. Its a question of whether the moral theory permits horrible actions as being moral. It is impossible to forsee every possible consequence of ones actions and therefore it's impossible to prevent every horrible consequence. However, a moral person can make a moral decision regarding the action they take and prevent horrible actions. Since horrible consequences are impossible to completely prevent, it is better to live in a world in which people choose to prevent horrible actions instead of a world in which horrible actions are permitted in an futile attempt to prevent horrible consequences.

  • Tony||

    If population pressure is destroying the environment and causing suffering, then it would be moral to kill 1/3 of the planets population in order to drastically increase the well being and happiness for the remaining 2/3.

    Could be, I suppose. So what's going to stop them? The inherent elegance of your moral rectitude? The sanctity of individual rights, or "some such bs"?

  • skr||

    Well at least with a natural rights framework, that act of exterminating 2 billion people would be immoral. I also assume that people's belief in a natural human right to life would cause them to defend themselves against their murderers. What I don't understand is how people can accept a moral framework that would morally allow the extermination of 2 billion people.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Just say it Tony. Might is right. It'll feel good to be honest. Chant it like you're at a union rally MIGHT-IS-RIGHT! MIGHT-IS-RIGHT!

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    The goal of utilitarianism is to maximize human well-being. Hard to do that and mass murder at the same time.

    Last I checked, the constitution gives congress the power to declare war. AFAIK, every country reserves the right to declare war. I suspect that any country that didn't reserve that right to itself would not be a country for long. Which probably wouldn't be to good for the citizens of that particular country.

    Mass murder being used as a tool to maximize human well-being already has a long and venerable history....

  • yofed2||

    the only thing that government should be "imposing" are laws that protect the rights of the individual. for example... should we get rid of all laws pertaining to maintaining clean drinking water or clean air? no. not at all. a manufactuer spitting tons of shit into the air, and affects the clean air i have a right to breathe is an acceptable form of government oversight. but telling me i MUST purchase health insurance, or that i need a license to sell lemonade on a street corner is not acceptable. mass killing is an infringement on many individuals natural rights to live. i don't think anyone is advocating outright mass murder here. but the thing you must understand is that libertarians are NOT trying to impose any economic or social policy on ANYONE. that is the point. you get to do WHAT YOU WANT TO SUIT YOUR BEST INTEREST AND THE PEOPLE YOU TAKE CARE OF BEST INTERESTS. its about freedom. very few things should need to have a democratic consensus when everyone agrees that society should be free, and governments only role is to foster that freedom for us so we can become whatever we want, do what we want. in a free society, no one is allowed by government mandate to impose anything on anyone, unless regulating behaviors by individuals, or group entities from trampling on an individual's rights. go read some Friedman.

  • ||

    I just happen to think it's immoral to impose economic policy on people against their will.

    Well, why stop at economic policy, Tony. Surely, there's nothing in your argument to forbid the same standard being applied to social policy. So, if people decide they want to lock up gays, you're down with that, right? Or, hey, people want to forbid those Muslims from practicing their religion, no problem. Right, Tony?

  • ||

    Tony's commentary about economic policy is premised on the notion that he can convince people to ignore that the economy is a description for a set of human actions. When you say you want the government to control the economy, you're saying you want the government to control people.

  • Tony||

    When you say you want the government to control the economy, you're saying you want the government to control people.

    Control is too strong. The word is regulate. Regulating people is what we have governments for.

  • ||

    Control is too strong. The word is regulate.

    Because if we don't use ugly words, we won't have any ugliness, eh, Tony?

  • Some Sock Puppet||

    I can't believe this is a freakin' argument.

    Some forms of thought/government/politics/language are less controlling than others. Tada.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    In this analogy, does history begin out of a vacuum with a busy street and a city council? Who built the street? Who owns it? Who are all these people speeding wildly through untimed intersections? Why do they have no concern for their own lives? Why did someone build a multi-laned road designed to carry heavy traffic at high speeds without including a traffic light in the design? How does such a dangerous street become so busy despite the risks?

  • ||

    In Tony's world roads are all a gift from the Great Obama with no need for construction or, you know, actual work, and have 0 cost and 0 opportunity cost since there is no cost to the government to maintain or build them. Therefore, the only consideration is control.

  • MNG||

    This is the madness of arguing with deonotlogical libertarians Tony, you get into a debate on whether stop lights could possibly save lives for Christ's sake.

    But how would we know? We can't see the future! Maybe the lights would attract anal-probing aliens!

  • skr||

    and this is also the madness of arguing with consequentialist liberals where you get responses like, "well i suppose [it would be moral to kill 2 billion people]." FFS

  • Fiscal Meth||

    I respect you MNG. You are usually honest so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and you can feel free to try reading what I said again. City Councils aren't formed to solve the problem of highways popping in and out of existence, uncaused, equipped with speeding traffic but missing important traffic signals. I was pointing out that his analogy asks me to accept a distorted reality stripped of all context. No knowledge can be gained by considering such an analogy.

  • ||

    Leave it to two authoritarian partisans to completely ignore the fact that inattentive drivers cost lives while attentive drivers save lives. A stop light doesn't answer your cellphone for you. A stop sign doesn't change your CD for you.

  • ||

    Unless you shorten the yellow light. Then the cash rolls in. but more people get killed. Kind of like delaying a bust and letting the dope dealers sell the dope so they can seize the cash instead of the seizing the drugs.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    The property owner of the intersection can decide if they want to put up a stoplight, stop signs, or do nothing at all.

    The problem with your scenario is that you make an assumption government should own roads.

  • ||

    Actually, removing the stoplights speeds the traffic along and results in no accidents. see here: http://marginalrevolution.com/.....-road.html

  • ||

    So, let me get this straight, if the police stop a bunch of the posters here from beating you over the head with a baseball bat, you consider that in imposition of your values on them? You do realize how absurd that sounds, don't you?

  • ||

    You're free to go start your own statist commune if you want.

  • cynical||

    Yes, it's like freedom of religion. Secular liberals, some tiny fraction of the country, force everyone else not to make them worship the majoritarian sect. Selfish, tyrannical bastards.

  • Old Mexican||

    "There are cases (of big government rollbacks)," Gillespie said. "New Zealand did this. Canada did this. The U.S. did this after World War II — dramatically ramped down the amount of spending, both in absolute terms and in relative terms as a percentage of economic activity."


    The U.S. did as well after WWI. The problem with these "rollbacks" is that they end up stopping way above the levels prior to the intervention. The U.S. Gov may have rolled back spending to pre-WWII levels after WWII but certainly not to pre-New Deal levels (although, to be fair, Truman's government did shut down some New Deal programs and fired a great deal of New Deal officers and other brigands.) The same with Harding's and Coolidge's rollbacks: They certainly cut the size of government way below the Wilsonian/WWI levels but not to or below the pre-war levels.

  • Old Mexican||

    "There are troubles and tradeoffs," Gillespie said. "But ... if somebody starts selling stuff you don't like, you don't hold a rally and you don't try and get a bunch of people to vote to change it. You go to the next grocery store ... or you build your own grocery store. It's hard to do that with schools ... with health care and ... retirement."


    But, Nick, you see, those things like education and healthcare and retirement, well, those things are rights, and thus they have to be regulated and provided by government. Government told me so, which makes it so! See?

  • Old Mexican||

    Government is a zero-sum game: Someone wins, and someone loses, unlike in the market, where it's win-win, where merchant and customer thank each other.


    The economics unsophisticated (pretty much everybody in the U.S. unfortunately) only see the producer getting rich (that is, getting money) without taking into account the result of the exchange: The customer obtains what he or she wanted or needed. The economics illiterate ignores what is not seen (the consumer's bottom line) and only focus on what is seen: The producer's bottom line. The exchange makes BOTH parties better off, as the producer gets what he or she wanted and the consumer gets what he or she wanted.

    Instead, the government does not indulge in exchange, it indulges in taking: It takes from one group of people to give it to another group in exchange of political favors. This may make the other group better off and the government politically better off, but makes the previous group WORSE off. That is a ZERO-SUM game.

    The economics illiterate and intellectually unsophisticated (leftist boobs, to put it more succinctly) tend to describe the market process as a zero-sum game, making the mistake of confusing money with wealth. If a person receives money, and the other person is without that money, then the process is a zero-sum game, right? The person that hands over the money has not gained anything, right?

    Wrong. Again, the [leftist boob] only focus on the obvious: the money changing hands. He totally ignores the exchange process that happens at the same time. People that exchange money for goods, value the goods more than the money; thus, they profit from the exchange. People that create the goods and exchange them for money, value the money MORE than the goods they created; producers thus profit from the exchange. It is NOT thus a zero-sum game, as BOTH parties profited from the exchange.

    Perhaps the wrong conclusions at which the [leftist boobs] arrive stem from confusing finance with economics. They are NOT the same thing.

  • Edwin||

    "the government does not indulge in exchange, it indulges in taking"

    you might as well describe businesses as such. The business owner TAKES your money by FORCE if you want his product.

    Governments provide plenty of services in exchange for the money they draw in. Furthermore it IS ABSOLUTELY voluntary in most of the world where YOU'RE FREE TO LEAVE. Payment is only CONDITIONAL WITH STAYING WITHIN THE SERVICE AREA BOUNDARIES. Remember, THERE ARE NUMEROUS BUSINESSES THAT WORK LIKE THIS THAT YOU LIBERTARIANS WOULD DEFEND THEIR RIGHT TO DO SO. HOA'S INCLUDED. Hell, you idiots would defend every abuse of a homeowner association under the guise of "contract rights" no matter how shitty or underhanded.

    The point about being in a country being voluntary is doubly strong in a world where international transit is cheap and easy. Hell, you'll have an easier time going to a different country than you will getting out of an HOA, which you need to sell your house to do.

    If there were a telecommunications product or service where you had to pay if you were within a service area, and you had to pay a different company in a different area, or something like that, you idiots would defend their right to charge people no matter what.

    Hell, if there werer a tiny sign notifying you of tolls or conditions of usage on a tiny road, you idiots would still defend the road-owners' right to enforce tolls or driving behavior, even if the sign were barely visible AND there were no exit from the entrance of said road.

    You feebs keep calling it "theft" and "force" when you defend the schemes with even less real choice and consent just because they're not governments.

  • rts||

    The business owner TAKES your money by FORCE if you want his product.

    Mr. MadisonEdwin, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    Seriously though, where do you shop that the retail staff whip out guns and rip your wallet from your back pocket when you express your interest in buying "Moron Quarterly"?

  • Edwin||

    Try taking some of their stuff for free and you'll see them pull their guns on you

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    Try taking some of their stuff for free and you'll see them pull their guns on you


    How does that mean that businesses take instead of exchange? Do you understand what "exchange" means, and what "take" means?

  • Edwin||

    Yes I do, do you?

    You get services from the government IN EXCHANGE for your money

    and you have the CHOICE to do so because you can FREELY go to like 100+ different countries.

  • rts||

    You get services from the government IN EXCHANGE for your money

    And the services I don't want or ever receive from the government? What's that, I can't opt out or reduce my tax payment? And this is an exchange how, exactly?

    and you have the CHOICE to do so because you can FREELY go to like 100+ different countries.

    Ah, love it or leave it; might makes right. I love when it gets to this point in the argument where the naked aggression is laid bare.

  • Edwin||

    "Ah, love it or leave it; might makes right. I love when it gets to this point in the argument where the naked aggression is laid bare."

    No, it';s a distinction you're not getting. The libertarian claim is that taxes are theft, when it clearly is not becasue there is indeed a choice. And again, it's just as much if not less agression than the store owner will show you if you try to get his product/service without paying.

    "And the services I don't want or ever receive from the government? What's that, I can't opt out or reduce my tax payment? And this is an exchange how, exactly"

    There are plenty of businesses that work like that. If I rent an apartment the super is always there for me, I can't pay less but also give up my right to repairs from the super.

  • rts||

    The libertarian claim is that taxes are theft, when it clearly is not becasue there is indeed a choice.

    Sure, the mafia has moved into town and is now demanding protection money, but hey... you can always leave town, right? Except this mafia is everywhere.

    it's just as much if not less agression than the store owner will show you if you try to get his product/service without paying.

    I don't want or indeed benefit from 99% of what the government is doing. If I don't want to do business with a private entity, I simply keep my money.

    If I rent an apartment the super is always there for me...

    You voluntarily enter into this arrangement with your super; taxes are involuntary.

  • Edwin||

    no they're not involuntary because I'm voluntarily staying in this coiuntry and have the right to leave any time

    this mafia is not everywhere in this case. There are Many many different countries each with its own government and the fukll right to leave

    "I don't want or indeed benefit from 99% of what the government is doing. If I don't want to do business with a private entity, I simply keep my money."

    Not always. You guys would defend the right of HOA's to levy fees. You guys would defend the right of an amusement park to charge on an hourly basis of being in there if they had some sort of computer system where you carry around a little thingy so they know you're inside.

  • The Hamilton||

    Do us all a favor and leave your own damn self....

  • ||

    As long as you pay your permission fee for your passport and exit taxes to this government.

  • Edwin||

    there are also businesses and business arrangement that work like that too, and they're usually not nearly as cheap as getting a passport

    face it, what I said is still true, getting out of most countries is cheap and easy

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    Yes I do, do you?


    No, my dear: You DON'T. You're equivocating.

    You cannot say that TAKING is the same as EXCHANGING, which is what businesses do: They provide a good for money at the same time, which is why it is called "exchange." Neither can you then say that government indulge in EXCHANGE, when they first TAKE. Either they are exchanging or they are taking; it cannot be both at the same time as both concepts are contradictory.

    You get services from the government IN EXCHANGE for your money


    You're equivocating. The government TAKES you money first, by force. LATER they government may give you some service, but that's NOT an exchange. Exchanges happen when goods change hands at the same time, not when the other party feels like it.

    and you have the CHOICE to do so because you can FREELY go to like 100+ different countries.


    You are sure a dishonest and childish individual. Go and play with your megablocks, kid - those over there, with the pretty colors.

  • Edwin||

    you've literally not described any difference. Is your opinion based solely on the fact that you're using different words?

    The government doesn't take anything by force any more than any other subscription, contract, or area-residence service does. You are CHOOSING to stay in this country, and thereby CHOOSING to pay taxes. There are like 100 different countries to choose from. You would rightly lambast someone for complaining that different stores don't have exactly the kind of product you envision, but the fact of the matter is there is still choice, it weas stil formed in the free market of human action.
    Maybe you envision some country that isn't jurisdiction based, but that's not what the free market (the ultimate free market - all of us humans just striving to do better on this planet of ours) brought and so that's what you get. Maybe you should consider that the jurisdiction based system was widely chosen because it works out better, like so many common feature in products. For example, I've never seen a car with a stirling engine, and for good reason. Maybe at some point someone built one to try it out on the market, but it didn't work out.

    Where is your actual distinction between taking and exchanging when the same level of choice exists/

  • rts||

    Right, because choosing between Target and WalMart is exactly the same as choosing between staying in your country of birth or moving to Somalia, which is what I'm sure you think is the libertarian paradise.

    Exactly the same level of choice.

  • Edwin||

    no, but choosing between wal mart and target is pretty similar between choosing between America and switzerland or Mexico or any othe country, it's just more expensive to get there

    but no prohibitively expensive

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    you've literally not described any difference.


    "Literally"?

    Should I add "stupid" to your long list of features, besides Thorazine-deprived and infantile?

    The government doesn't take anything by force any more than any other subscription, contract, or area-residence service does.


    Sorry, Edwin, I had figured you all wrong: You are not a little Thorazine-deprived infant after all. You're just stupid.

    And double-stupid if you think you can get away with what you say above. People make contracts and sign subscriptions because they expect to exchange. Businesses do this, so how can they TAKE if,a s you say, governemnt cannot be TAKING because it behaves as if a subscription or a contract existed?

    You think you can have your cake and eat it, too. That is: You're stupid.

  • Edwin||

    so you're complaint is that there is no EXPLICITly written contract? That' asinine

    how about when you go to a restaurant? should you not have to pay just because you didn't sign anything?

    people are born somewhere and grow up to full-rights age in some country or another, that's a fault of reality, there's no getting around that. That doesn't change the fact that if they REMAIN that they are CHOOSING to do so.

    If I inherited a home in an HOA I'd still have to pay the fees even if I didn't sign a contract, right?

  • poetry||

    edwin,

    if i steal your wallet out of your back pocket, and you protest ("hey! you stole my wallet!"), and then i punch you in the face and run away...

    ...and two weeks later i mail you couple of creed albums and some oranges...

    did i "take"? or did i "exchange"? was my hypothetical behavior acceptable to your moral standards?

    please answer. i am curious how your logic works.

  • Edwin||

    well since you didn't give me an option you stole

    but governments do give us an option - you have the option to leave. I've repeated this numerous times. And again, there are so many economic relationships that work this way that you guys would defend.

  • skr||

    So if I choose not to use those services, I don't have to give the government money?

  • Edwin||

    yes, you can choose to leave the country

    but while your here, you're subscribed to the service, so you have to pay the fees. Just like if you want to keep a home in an HOA. Or like any other contract or area based service

  • skr||

    but I didnt choose to be born in this country, whereas if I owned a house in an HOA it is because I chose to own a house in an HOA. I never signed a contract for the services provided that I don't use. That is the fallacy of your argument. You try to compare government services to a service contract when in fact there is no contract between the government and myself.

  • Tony||

    You can't choose to be born anywhere. Your parents make that choice for you as your custodians. Libertarianism has a real problem with the fact that people are born as babies.

  • skr||

    The inability to choose where you are born seems like more of a problem to the notion of a social contract since a contract entered under duress is invalid.

  • Edwin||

    no, that's a failing of reality, you have to be born somewhere and reach maturity somewhere. From that point, the fact is you still have a choice to go anywhere you want

    Are restaurant contracts invalid just because I didn't sign anything?

    Do I not have to keep paying dues if I inherit a house that's in an HOA just because I didn't sign the HOA agreement?>

  • skr||

    Oh come now Edwin, you know as well as I that the act of entering into a restaurant and placing an order is an act of good faith even though there is no written contract. How does that correspond to entering a country in a manner without choice? That would be a false analogy. As far as the HOA is concerned, there is a covenant on the property and if you do not wish to own property that has that particular obligation you can sell it or you can disclaim the inheritance and not take possession of the property and its atending obligations.

  • ||

    Does Edwin still not grasp the concept that if I don't pay taxes, the government can throw me in jail, garnish my wages, and make my life a living hell, whereas if I choose not to eat at taco bell and instead choose burger king, no one is going to harrass me?

  • ||

    No. He doesn't. He's not even being obtuse about the difference. He really is that fucking stupid.

  • The Hamilton||

    No, you seem to have projected that onto libertarianism.

  • The Hamilton||

    Moron....

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    you might as well describe businesses as such. The business owner TAKES your money by FORCE if you want his product.


    Did you take your Thorazine this morning, Edwin?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    I've never heard of any business taking any money from anybody by FORCE for wanting one of thier products. Sounds like someone replaced his Thorazine with LSD. Lucky Edwin.

  • Some Sock Puppet||

    It isn't "free" to move, jackass. It costs money. Something many of us are struggling with thanks to your insane definition of what government should and shouldn't do and the costs involved.

  • Edwin||

    don't you need to get elected so you can actually do something in order to fix a country in the first place?

    and shouldn't you be able at least to get your own shit right? Just the other day you idiots were saying how right-to-work laws are un-libertarian when they're clearly the less harmful of all the union-related laws that foreseeably could be passed.

    There's definitely a lot free-market oriented reforms could do. But libertarian reforms? Nope. (FYI, they're not one and the same)

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    don't you need to get elected so you can actually do something in order to fix a country in the first place?


    Do you indulge in circular reasoning as a matter of routine, Edwin?

  • Edwin||

    WTF are you talking about?

    You need to get elected to do something. You pathetic nerd idiots keep talking about how people like you and how there are huge libertarian trends, when there in fact isn't and you've nbevcer gotten anyone elected and libertarianism is seen as disgusting at best by the vast majority of people who know about it,.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    You need to get elected to do something[.]


    No, you don't.

  • Edwin||

    you do if that doing something is affecting government policy

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    you do if that doing something is affecting government policy


    Thus released the evidence that you're indulging in circular thinking.

    If you need to get elected to fix government policy, and government policy is affected by elected people, why have the policy (and government) in the first place?

  • Edwin||

    I'm not talking about whether or not we should have government policies.

    I'm syaig you guys are idiots because all you do is coplaing about the government buyt never make an effor to get elected to change thingfs.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    I'm syaig you guys are idiots because all you do is coplaing about the government buyt never make an effor to get elected to change thingfs.


    There you go again - like a merry-go-round.

    "You don't like te local mafia? Well, you ahve not made an effort to enter and change the local mafia!"

    Great argument, Thorazine-deprived boy.

  • Edwin||

    "You don't like te local mafia? Well, you ahve not made an effort to enter and change the local mafia!"

    Wel basically yeah, except your use of "mafia" is nothing but shrill libertarian rhetoric, and you guys explicitly keep talking about CHNAGES you'd like to see made in your "local mafia"

  • Fiscal Meth||

    You should consider making an either-or decision Edwin. Either call people names, accuse them of being serial killers and be a total asshole OR mis-spell everything like hyper-active child throwing a tantrum. If you do both, no one will feel bad for SYAIG THAT YOU NEED TO MAKE AN EFFOR TO NOTICE YOUR ERRORS AND MAKE THE CNHAGS NECESSARY SO WE CAN UNDERSTAND THE THNIGFS YOU ARE COPLAIYNG ABOUT IN ALL CAPS!!!!!!!

  • skr||

    tell that to K street you maroon

  • Yet another Dave||

    How is it that a nation that consistently scores center-right (in other words, the average American is a moderate independent, possibly a moderate Republican) on political polls, but Washington is managed by wingnuts on both sides? Alas, in a democracy, we get the leadership we deserve, but the good news is that there's wingnuts on both sides, and so generally if anything is to get done, they've got to meet somewhere in the middle ... where the rest of us usually are already. Unfortunately, what usually happens is that Congressman A goes to Congressman Z and says if you help me get my whacked-out legislation rammed through your party, I'll help you get your whacked-out legislation through mine.

    The real good news is that the more Washington makes it clear that they don't really have the best interests of Americans in mind, the voters are just getting madder and madder. There are currently two independents in the Senate, and Minnesota had an independent governor not that long ago. Minor victories, sure, but it just shows that the grip of the GOP and the Democrats is loosening.

    Not to mention the success of the Tea Party. You know that Washington sees them as a threat, because the Republicans are doing everything they can to kiss their collective asses, and the Democrats and their friends in the MSM are doing all they can to marginalize them.

    I also think the fact that the last couple of elections resulted in major party shifts speaks volumes. A lot of incumbents have lost their jobs in recent years. Granted, most voters just clicked an R when last election they clicked a D (or vice versa), but it shows they're really getting fed up across the country. And as long as we keep getting administrations like Bush's neocons or Obama and his brood, both spending money like drunken sailors on liberty in Phuket (really, the only real difference between Dubya and Obama has been what they wasted the dollars on, but they're equally responsible for the shape the economy is in), eventually, they'll start passing up the D and the R altogether and start clicking on the L, the C, or the I. All it takes is for enough of a wave to come through for people to no longer be afraid that clicking something other than the R or the D will be throwing a vote away, the voting third party or independent could actually make a difference because you aren't the only voter in all of America to do it anymore ... then it will happen.

    Personally, I would love to see a full-on anti-incumbent campaign happen, until such day as people feel more confident about voting third party. Imagine a voting cycle where every incumbent candidate found him or herself out of a job. Granted, there are a handful of decent politicians that would be lost in the process, but imagine the message to be sent. Maybe then they'd realize we aren't voting them in because we agree with their whacked-out thinking; we voted the other guy out because had enough of his.

    Hey it's my dream, I can make it as big as I want.

  • Tony||

    The Tea Party are most certainly a "threat." That gaggle of incompetent fire-breathing morons who now control the House seriously think that sending the world economy into a panic unless they get every policy they want enacted is responsible governing. You know who else pouts and threatens massive destruction unless they get everything they want? Toddlers who hijack planes.

    Hoping significant numbers of people will wake up and start voting 3rd party is indeed to dream. We need structural changes if we're going to get out of the 2-party system, which has maintained itself since pretty much right after George Washington warned us about it. It's built in, and there's nothing we can do about it right now. So my advice is to pick the team that isn't threatening the world economy over maintaining tax cuts for oil companies and billionaires. But that's me.

  • Edwin||

    Tony,

    it's the liberals who won't even consider any spending cuts. I mean Christ the democrats are calling anyone who proposes cuts everything short of Hitler.

    If we raise taxes, would you agree to lower spending?

  • Tony||

    The Democrats have conceded trillions of dollars in cuts! Obama's deficit commission cuts $3.8 trillion, and some Democrats are working to cut even more. Furthermore, the Democrats are conceding the entire argument just by agreeing to austerity policy in the first place.

    They are simply saying that if we're going to stick it to old, sick, and poor people, maybe billionaires ought to sacrifice a few pennies too. That sounds like sanity to me, I don't know about you.

  • Edwin||

    "The Democrats have conceded trillions of dollars in cuts!"

    I don't know what the hell you're talking about.

    Unions and democrats all over have been freaking out over even the tiniest cuts.

  • MNG||

    "They are simply saying that if we're going to stick it to old, sick, and poor people, maybe billionaires ought to sacrifice a few pennies too. That sounds like sanity to me, I don't know about you."

    Tony, don't you get it, it's because it's not the poor people's money, to take a small fraction from someone who inherited it from his great-grandfather who earned it via some coercive or rent-seeking activity and give it to people who may need it to barely survive is TEH HORROR!

  • ||

    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....inion_main

    End this Bush tax cut hysteria

  • ||

    Tony, although I don't agree with most of what you posit, I do agree that: (a) the playing field does not present equitably, for a host of reasons, and (b) because it has remained unfair for so long and the upper 1% has consequently acquired so great a percentage of assets, those who embrace capitalism and libertarianism (like me) appear either naive or ignorant. Even Milton Friedman, champion of capitalism and freedom, desired to help those who couldn't help themselves. The problem I have though, especially with your last sentence in this entry, however, is that in our current system it absolutely will not fall on the upper 1% -- the billionaires to support social programs. It will be middle class you and me. The moment the government takes 1% more of my paycheck to give it to someone who they have determined needs it more than me, it represents 1% that will not go to my family. Maybe because I don't make enough, I can suck at the trough too. But I don't want too. Moreover, how much economic sense does it make to make me pay a fraction of that percentage point for someone to administer that redistribution?

  • Tony||

    I favor policies that allow middle class wages to rise with overall economic growth. The major dysfunction in our system is that all the growth (real or bubble-based) has gone to the top in the last few decades. If you make the middle class not only larger but more financially secure, they can afford to pay for the safety nets and more things too.

  • Yet another Dave||

    And instead go with the party that believes the solution to every problem is the government teat? Sorry, but my experience is that the government has the anti-Midas touch - everything they come in contact with turns to crap. Be it big business, charities, whatever, there's almost always a better solution.

    Personally, I tend to vote Republican (I admit it - I'm one of those who's just not ready yet to throw my vote away on a third-party or independent candidate), as I see them as the lesser of two evils. But they're still an evil, so in a way, I'm grateful to wingnuts like Tony for helping to keep them at least somewhat in check.

  • Tony||

    I respect your partisanship! That's usually not an invitation to the cool kids' table here. I see the Democrats as the lesser of two evils. But I'm not really concerned with this ancient, senile, distracting debate about big vs. small government. Republicans consistently spend more, rack up higher deficits, and expand government intrusion more than Democrats. I don't find their lip service to small government convincing in light of the evidence.

    But you must understand that this is all part of the plan--and perhaps you know that and are OK with it. The plan is to run up spending as much as possible when they are in charge, so that when Democrats take over they will have cause to block anything and everything they want to do, impose their destruction of the welfare state, and blame Democrats for anything bad that happens. I'm not sure you get that, but I would respect you even more if you did. Better a smart Machiavellian than a dumb idealist, imo, at least for a conversationalist.

  • Edwin||

    right tony it's all a conspiracy

    or maybe neither party has had enough p[ower for long enough to fully implement their policies

  • Tony||

    I know it's a conspiracy because they don't keep it a secret. They all affix their name to Grover Norquist's fiscal terrorism support letter.

  • Yet another Dave||

    "Consistently"?

    Actually, Republicans have traditionally been better about trimming the fat than the Dems have. You're looking at one neocon administration and painting the whole party with the same brush.

    You speak of Republicans looking to destroy the welfare state - I guess you weren't paying very good attention because I think I clearly stated that I think that needs to be done. When it comes to social welfare, there's a lot of organizations out there that do it better, more efficiently and for less money than the government ever has, and as if that weren't enough, I'm not compelled to give to them if I don't agree with their mandates the way I am compelled to give to Uncle Sam. There's an old joke that Democrats are very generous people, when it's other people's money they're spending - personally, I really would prefer to be the one who decides how I spend the money I make.

    Of course, the neocons have made the GOP not a whole lot better. Bush's Defense of Marriage Act was legislated bigotry, and going into Iraq was just him wanting to finish the job his father started (though Obama's efforts in Libya aren't any better - guess he wanted a war all to himself). I happen to like, though, that many Republicans are trying to kiss up to the Tea Party, it shows that they get that we're pissed off and don't want the status quo anymore. I'm sorry that the Tea Party scares the hell out of you, but a fundamental return to the basics is exactly what the country has needed for a while. That the Democrats don't want to play ball with the movement that most represents the voice of the American people currently (remember - moderate-right is how the average American tracks ideologically), I guess that would scare someone like you.

  • Tony||

    Actually, Republicans have traditionally been better about trimming the fat than the Dems have. You're looking at one neocon administration and painting the whole party with the same brush.

    So we get to exempt the most recent 2-term Republican administration because...? And besides I'm going back at least as far as Reagan. In recent history, Republicans are the bigger spenders and the bigger debt creators and it's just a fact.

    I really would prefer to be the one who decides how I spend the money I make.

    Good for you. You can do that, and you can contribute a few bucks for a safety net whose purpose is to prevent those who maybe aren't so responsible (or those who are just unlucky--which could be you someday) from going directly into dire poverty and dragging the economy down with them. It's firmly in your best interest to have a safety net no matter how much money you have. Appeal to charity if you must, but since charity has never amounted to the security a government can provide, it's just speculation.

    I'm sorry that the Tea Party scares the hell out of you, but a fundamental return to the basics is exactly what the country has needed for a while.

    I'm scared of the Tea Party because they don't want a return to the basics. They want to radically impose a type of society that has never existed in this country and certainly not in a modern context. All the bluster about patriotism and traditional values is just that--they are the true radicals in our system today, and I fear all radicals.

    Of course I dispute that the Tea Party (conservative Republicans under a different name) represent the will of the people. Even Tea Party voters don't want to do away with their own welfare. They're just too dumb to realize that the elites in charge that they support want to do exactly that.

  • The Hamilton||

    Interesting...how is it throwing your vote away to vote for someone with whom you have more in common principles-wise? Asshat....

  • JoshInHB||

    As on of those crazy tea partiers I say fuck yes. Let the motherfucker burn. No new taxes at all.

    If you assholes don't agree to orderly cuts we will settle for disorderly ones.

    You see cutting government is what we really care about and don't care much about how it is done.

  • Tony||

    I understand that--I'm perfectly well aware that you and your Republican cohorts in the House don't care about public will or economic or political responsibility. You care about enacting your radical ideological agenda at the expense of world economic stability, because you are wannabe petty tyrants who don't understand that democratic governing requires compromise and appealing to the people your policies will be affecting. You're right, and that's all that matters, and you know you're right because Rush Limbaugh told you so.

  • JoshInHB||

    Yep,
    It's a bitch isn't it.

  • JoshInHB||

    Hey we finally figured out how to use the left's tactics so that we win either way.

    The only way we lose is if pseudo-republican pussies cave.

  • Tony||

    It doesn't matter in the slightest to you that when you win, everyone loses, does it?

  • JoshInHB||

    The only way you can make a statement like that is if you believe government is the source of everything good and benevolent in society.

    Stop worshiping the state.

  • JoshInHB||

    I mean good god, cutting spending to 1997 levels would just devastate the country. We'de be just like Somalia, and who wants to live like that. Well other than everyone that tells me how great Clinton was, but still.

  • Tony||

    Raising taxes to 1997 levels would hardly be Armageddon either, I'm sure you'll agree. You're in the party of austerity, so do austerity. That means (and always has) cutting spending AND raising taxes. The fantasy bullshit universe the Republicans live in somehow allows only one side of the ledger to be tinkered with.

  • ||

    You just can't accept the fact that the government isn't pulling in any more taxes than it already does can you? And where do you suppose the bulk of those taxes are going to come from? Other people might try to argue with you about how the top earners, the one's you want to tax, do this or that S.B.O. blah, blah, blah.

    Fuck all of that. Go ahead and figure out a way to take every last red cent from "the Rich". Then when that doesn't scratch the surface of the 14 Trillion Dollars you can start in on the rest of us.

  • Some Sock Puppet||

    It doesn't seem to matter to you. Why should the rest of us care?

  • ||

    I know this is hard for you to understand or believe Tony, but cutting back the yearly federal budget to 1999 levels would not mean the collapse of western civilization.

  • CE||

    What's radical about restoring spending all the way back to say 2007 levels?

  • GregorySmith3||

    Good luck selling libertarianism.

    From my experiences on this blog I have learned the following.

    1. The confederate flag is bad and you should not celebrate your southern heritage. Black pride, gay pride, Hispanic pride, and anything else is ok because we're too chickenshit to say it's not.

    2. Illegal immigration is good because the laws don't matter and farmers need slave labor, er, cheap workers and it's racist to tell them to speak English.

    3. We like guns but we're more interested in legalizing pot.

    4. We love capitalism and small businesses but hate corporations.

    5. Ayn Rand is bad.

    6. We claim to hate both parties but we hate Republicans more.

    7. Anarchists think they're libertarian.

    8. We hate jails, prisons, cops, DA's, teasers, because it's better for 1000 scumbags to kill than for one innocent person to die.

    9. Fox News is evil, the Koch brothers are evil, and George Soros is a nice libertarian.

    10. Religion is stupid but state-sponsored atheism is cool.

    11. We love free speech but don't you dare put your website on the body of a message.

    12. Ayn Rand is stupid.

    13. You're not a libertarian!

    Frankly, the comments on reason.com are not that different from dailykoss, The Huffington Post, and plenty of other liberal websites.

  • Ehop||

    you need to read a little more

  • ||

    I don't think it's a safe assumption that he can read.

  • GregorySmith3||

    I've read both books by John Stossel, almost everything Ann Coulter has ever written, Liberal Fascism, Primetime Propaganda, Atlas Shrugged, and Bankrupt, Arguing with Idiots, Reason Magazine, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the South and that's just the political category.

    By the way, what have YOU read, smarty-pants? You must be one of those eletists for Haaaavaaaad just like Ohhhhbama.

  • ||

    My dick is enormously gargantuan. I mean, we're talking orbit-modifying-space-debris scale. Extra large.

    How big is YOUR dick? Not as big as mine, I'll bet.

  • The Derider||

    How did that not drive you insane?

  • Tony||

    What do you mean not?

  • Tony||

    What do you mean not?

  • Joe M||

    Hahahaha... very weak troll work there. 3/10

  • ||

    Greggoooooooo!!!!11!!1!

  • Joe M||

    We need to be careful. Reason editors posting a Stossel article referring to Reason editors could get us stuck in an infinite loop.

  • CE||

    Or another series of video questions promoting some book.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The CC enables broad discretion on the part of commerce, based on case law precedent.


    "Because a judge said so." So much for logical analysis and rational thought.

  • Tony||

    Its their job to decide these things. Who else do we appeal to? Magical rights fairy in the clouds?

  • ­­­||

    The thing about the eggplant isn't true, because I happen to shop in the crappiest supermarket in America and they don't have eggplant one.

  • ||

    I thought the same thing when I heard that.

  • ||

    My Walmart carries eggplant.

  • skr||

    mine only has one type of eggplant

  • Barry Loberfeld||

    Tony: “I'm saying popular vote satisfies a single moral imperative: that people get to decide themselves how they are governed. What do you want as an alternative? Imposing your moral choices on everyone else, and not even bothering with popular vote?”

    Yet another Dave: “Bush's Defense of Marriage Act was legislated bigotry….”

    Actually, the DMA is a perfect example of the “popular vote.” So, if the GREAT 51 PERCENT “decide” that “they” (i.e., everyone) are to be “governed” by legislated homophobia (including death by stoning), don’t go “[i]mposing your [libertarian] moral choices on everyone else”!

  • Tony||

    You make the common mistake of assuming that just because I value consent of the governed means I think everything democracies ever do is a good thing.

    I believe that both good and bad policies can come from democracies. I just think it's disingenuous to claim that because they are the will of the majority and not 100% of people they are impositions, while your policies that nobody wants would not be, because they're... special.

  • Barry Loberfeld||

    So the criminalization of homosexualilty (with capital penalization) would not be an "imposition" if it represents the "the will of the majority," but sexual freedom for all individuals would be if it represents a policy "that nobody wants"?

  • Tony||

    Technically I suppose all laws are an imposition. Societies that very much did penalize homosexuality were in the wrong, in my opinion, but that doesn't mean I think those laws were illegitimate.

  • skr||

    does that mean you also think that laws permitting slavery were legitimate?

  • Tony||

    Define legitimate. There's the legitimacy of having a sufficient army to back up laws, and there's the moral legitimacy of obeying the consent of the governed. Since the slaves were not asked for their consent, laws allowing it were not morally legitimate, but they were still laws that people had to obey until they were repealed, making them practically legitimate.

  • skr||

    wow, you are one fucking evil positivist.

  • Tony||

    I just don't believe in sky fairies.

  • Skr||

    Neither do I.

  • Skr||

    And don't really see why you would need to believe in sky fairies in order to hold a deontologic moral framework in light of some of the recent work coming out of evolutionary pyschology and ethics.

  • Tony||

    That's a good point--there is something a little unsettlingly classical about utilitarianism. On the other hand, evolutionary psychology won't reveal the best way to live for humans in modern societies. Though it definitely will contribute to our practical understanding within a utilitarian framework.

  • Stephanie White||

    "there's been an explosion of choice. "(Y)ou were lucky ... 20 years ago (if) you would see one eggplant in an exotic store," Welch continued. "Now in the crappiest supermarket in America you'll see four or five or six varieties of eggplant, plus all types of different things. ... "

    I think the free market libertarians are a bit out of touch with what's going on with the food system and agrobiodiversity if they are saying that the corporate agribusiness model has resulted in more variety. It hasn't. The corporate agribusiness model loves standardization and consolidation and, as a result, there is less diversity in our food systems, even though it might appear that you have more choice at the supermarket. I know it seems hard to believe, but it's true...and it's actually put our food system at risk because there is no longer enough genetic diversity, and a very small number of corporations control the means of production.

  • ||

    I think the free market libertarians are a bit out of touch with what's going on with the food system and agrobiodiversity...

    All libertarians are inherently pro free market, but thanks for making it painfully obvious that you're trolling.

    Perhaps the author, John Stossel, is out of touch with the realities of the typical US supermarket, but as demonstrated upthread this generalization is false.

    a very small number of corporations control the means of production

    I'm glad the children were here to witness this example of authentic marxist gibberish. Yes, kids, it's ok to laugh.

  • Stephanie White||

    All libertarians are inherently pro free market, but thanks for making it painfully obvious that you're trolling.

    But, I'll bet they all have very different ideas of what a free market it, and the rules by which it functions.

    I'm glad the children were here to witness this example of authentic marxist gibberish.

    What do you object to? The phrase "means of production"? It would be better if you could show me (i.e. provide evidence) how the food system is NOT consolidated instead of just objecting to the way I've phrased it.

  • Stephanie White||

    but thanks for making it painfully obvious that you're trolling.

    And not trolling....just being wordy and redundant. It happens.

  • skr||

    really, last time I checked, there were a whole shitload of sources for seeds from which I could choose. There are also seed banks all over the world protecting biodiversity. There is even a global grassroots effort called the Seed Savers Exchange that links gardeners from around the world who are interested in preserving different varieties of plants. The last SSE catalogue I looked at, printed with phonebook sized fonts, had over 200 pages of different heirloom tomato varieties available. That's pages btw with maybe 50 varieties on each page. Now large scale producers are using GM seed or hybrid seed, they have been using hybrid seed which can't be saved for about a century btw, and practice large scale monocultures. I assume this is to what you are referring. While monocultures are risky, they also confer enormous efficiency benefits which are going to be needed in light of the recent UN population projections.

    However, any time someone starts blathering on about the means of production, it can be safely assumed the are Marxist monkeys spouting dogma.

  • Stephanie White||

    There are also seed banks all over the world protecting biodiversity. There is even a global grassroots effort called the Seed Savers Exchange that links gardeners from around the world who are interested in preserving different varieties of plants. The last SSE catalogue I looked at, printed with phonebook sized fonts, had over 200 pages of different heirloom tomato varieties available. That's pages btw with maybe 50 varieties on each page.

    Yes. That is true. But a big book filled with seed varieties doesn't change the fact that agrobiodiversity is disappearing fast. Before I type here what is otherwise easily available online, let me just give you a link: http://ngm.nationalgeographic......ebert-text

    While monocultures are risky, they also confer enormous efficiency benefits which are going to be needed in light of the recent UN population projections.

    Yes...people in agribusiness and those complicit in protecting agribusiness, i.e. the US government, have an interest in positioning the current and impending food crisis as one of production...as one of quantity. Consider the source. Agribusiness uses the language of mass starvation and climate change to ply their wares. Consider this: there are a lot of hungry people on the planet right now. There is more than enough food produced to feed everyone. Hunger is not about the quantity of food produced. Hunger is political and has more to do with the way food is distributed.

    Monocultures and industrial farming is only efficient using very narrow measures of efficiency. If you consider the pollution caused by this kind of farming (the costs of which are externalized), or soil loss, or the huge energy inputs required...it quickly becomes apparent that industrial farming is extremely inefficient.

    However, any time someone starts blathering on about the means of production, it can be safely assumed the are Marxist monkeys spouting dogma.

    I often wonder that people who say things like this have even read Marx. "Means of production" would be more properly referred to as an economic term. Yes, Marx used it, but so do lots of political economists. As in, "capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are held privately." And, btw, you know what another Marxist term is? Capitalist.

  • Skr||

    Industrial agriculture continues to improve with regards to the harms you mention by incorporating techniques from organic agriculture and genetic modification. Organic production also pollutes via runoff, pesticide sprays, and equipment emissions. Organic techniques that use concentrated nitrogen sources like blood meal instead of manure deplete organic matter in topsoil like fertilizer salts do. Topsoil erosion is more of a result of cultivation practices than which seeds are used and no till practices help tremendously.

    While the problem of distribution is huge, it shows little sign of going away. This means that we are going to need to increase production capacity by at least 30% in the next century to accommodate another 3 billion people. That number is likely to be greater because as third world countries develop they consume more meat.

    This is not to say that there isn't room for improvement in industrial agriculture. I also think that we are probably going to see a decrease in monocultures as varieties are engineered for specific marginal microclimates. But the sky just isn't falling.

  • Stephanie White||

    Organic production also pollutes via runoff, pesticide sprays, and equipment emissions. Organic techniques that use concentrated nitrogen sources like blood meal instead of manure deplete organic matter in topsoil like fertilizer salts do.

    Which is why I would argue for sustainable agriculture, not organic agriculture. Organic input substitution does not, in and of itself, make an agroecosystem sustainable.

    While the problem of distribution is huge, it shows little sign of going away.

    I'd agree that this is true in the current system. Food production can take many forms. Strengthening local and regional food systems, and returning the means of production (yes, I said it) to regular people can help to mitigate problems of distribution. Local and regional food systems have other benefits, as well....including the promotion of agrobiodiversity and the reduction of energy use.

    That number is likely to be greater because as third world countries develop they consume more meat.

    Yes...this is another assumed given. I don't buy it necessarily. If meat is produced and is not subsidized by the government, the cost would encourage more reasonable consumption. As much as an industrial food system responds to demand, it also creates that demand through artificially low prices.

  • Stephanie White||

    You know, it's kind of ironic to find libertarians defending corporate industrial agriculture, which is clearly a product of government protectionism. Talk about social engineering. You should refer to food and ag policies after WWII, especially during the Nixon administration before you defend industrial ag as a 'natural' product of a free market.

  • The Hamilton||

    Supporting corporate industrial agriculture and supporting corporate industrial agriculture corporations that suck Uncle Sam's rod for favors are two different things. Or didn't they teach you that at your liberal "higher" education corporation?

  • Stephanie White||

    How are they different? Really, when you make a statement like this, you need to explain yourself. I can try to infer your meaning, but that's akin to assuming, and, well, you know where that gets us.

    BTW, re your 'assumption' of what one gets from attending "liberal higher education corporations" (which is really just you disguising your anti-intellectual bent), the biggest surprise to me is how I've come to embrace/appreciate values that might be construed as more conservative....and I got there through study and research, i.e. actually using my brain. Before you make a blanket statement about what 'we' are, why don't you check out some of my blogs?

  • ||

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  • ||

    holy shit this actually makes sense in this context

  • Holy Cow||

    Yet Another Dave:

    It was Clinton not Bush who signed DOMA.

    Hmmm, the authorization to invade Iraq was yay-ed by 73 Senators. So um, were their fathers also targeted by Saddam or were they all on a jag to finish the job their daddies started? Tell me. I'd like to know.

  • Idiot Savant||

    Why do people think that Libertarian means some kind of middle ground in mainstream politics? In reality, it's an extremist group. Not saying I disagree with Libertarianism, but it's definitely not founded in equilibrium.

  • AblueSilkworm||

    Of course. But who says that's a bad thing? I've always thought of us as Freedom's Fundamentalists. As someone *needs* to be.

  • johnavery||

    "If a government is supporting an art show, people who find that art offensive have a legitimate claim. If a government buys ... a new baseball stadium, well, my wife hates baseball, so how is that fair to her?"

    Yet you defend the rights of corporations to spend money lobbying for their political candidates?

  • emory||

    As long as they have money, they should have more say than 51% of the population!

  • The Derider||

    But the tea party has kept an arm's length and said, 'No, we're not going to be Republicans. ... (W)e're going to focus on ... government spending, deficit, and debt, and that's it.' ... And by maintaining that independence they have retained power."

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Do you morons actually believe that tripe? Yes, the Tea Party has maintained independence from the Republican party. Black is white, up is down, and anarchy is freedom.

  • Nightscoft Squire Maldunne||

    I wasn't aware there was more than one type of eggplant. Thanks John :)!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Now, let's see if this bitch is a repeat.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Language that would lead to impotence? So no mentions of Shrillary allowed, then?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You're wealthy, John. Pay that kid's $70 thou bill.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Me thinks Naomi didn't get the cum laude she thought she deserved.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I can't tell if Vedder is talking to me or not.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    LIBERTARIANS WANT TO CHOOSE THEIR OWN ADVENTURES.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Dumb kids' green spends the same.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I went to college solely for the binge drinking. That helps prepare you for a job tending bar.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Market failure! The market is silent on the value of sheep skin.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That Pell grant comes with a free doctor visit.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The bank's going to foreclose on my diploma?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    NEEEEeeeEEEeeeeEeeEeRDsssSSs!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I liked O'Neill better the first time I saw him, when he was this guy.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Maybe you should learn not to wear shorts on Fox Biz. That's the kind of thing you learn not to do at Yale.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'd be pissed if Geico put a billboard on my front lawn. Who wants to crawl out from under their rock every morning and see that eyesore?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    A rotary phone? Figures.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Stossel has all his money locked up in giant scissors and golf cart fuel.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Plus, thanks to Stossel's endowments, at Central Park "University" kids are educated on how to avoid perverts.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That's because the Repukes are anti-education!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    No lecture halls at Princeton?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That's it for Dave Foley?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Magnets! And they're working. Somehow.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    But HOW...HOW do they work?

    -juggalo4life

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    LUKIANOFF!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Lover and Partner? Isn't that the new Katherine Heigl RomCom?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    He should have played the race card.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It's not educators' fault that Repugs are illiterate. Or is it?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Everyone knows that "plantation" is code for land where crops are grown.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It's your own damned fault for paying $60,000 to be slapped around by liberal fucks.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You know what I found very effectively kills weeds? My urine.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ugh. They're on stools. That means audience questions.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Good question from Two Face.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The military signals commitment... to George W. Bush.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Advise your brat not to go into liberal arts.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Other options to college? What the fuck have these people been saying for the past fifty minutes?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the college administrators."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    College is worth it to the professors, on payday.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Dig Truman up and impeach him for not having a diploma! Like they used to do to those popes.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    At Dust University.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Sorry I couldn't attend this liveblog. I was busy working my second of two manual labor jobs so that I can someday afford to put myself through college. What was it about? Anything interesting?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    No joke. fuck you truth!

  • tadcf||

    I agree with Libertarianism--just not conservative libertarianism--as it exists today in modern political thought.

  • CE||

    And yet maybe the optimists are right. Maybe the human spirit is so powerful it will overcome the stupidity of politics.

    More likely, the stupidity of politics will bankrupt the government, leaving the people to run things on their own, and do a better job of it.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    Update on this thread's resident agitators:

    Edwin seems to have no understanding that American citizens must pay taxes on income regardless of where they earn it or where they live, and that renouncing one's citizenship requires paying many years of future estimated taxes in advance. So, no, you are not "free to leave" and stop paying.

    MNG remained relatively tame, and chose instead to stoke the fires of Tony and Edwin's commentary.

    Tony decided to trot out the tautology of how we need government to make decisions about whether or not to put up stoplights on government-owned land, whilst ignoring the fact local governments actually shorten yellows at intersections to increase camera revenue at the cost of safety.

    GregorySmith3 is upset that libertarians aren't Republicans or KKK members, and wants us to start flying the rebel flag.

  • The Hamilton||

    Tony is a jive-ass turkey, bro. How wouild putting up a stop sign minimize anyone's liberty, right? Jebus....

  • tadcf||

    John Stossel should label his brand of libertarianism 'Conservative Libertarianism', since it is against certain freedoms like abortion--a position allied with conservatives.

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