That Frothy Mixture of Statism and the GOP

Today's reminder that Republican conservatives and libertarians are no longer peas in a pod comes from deservedly reviled Congressman Rick Santorum:

One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a libertarianish right. The left has gone so far left and the right in some respects has gone so far right that they come around in the circle. [...]

This whole idea of personal autonomy -- I don't think that most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. And they have this idea that people should be left alone to do what they want to do, that government should keep taxes down, keep regulation down, that we shouldn't get involved in the bedroom, that we shouldn't be involved in cultural issues, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world. And I think that most conservatives understand that we can't go it alone, that there is no such society that I'm aware of where we've had radical individualism and it has succeeded as a culture.

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  • ||

    How fucked up does a man have to be to accuse HILLARY CLINTON of being too individualistic?

  • ||

    that there is no such society that I'm aware of where we've had radical individualism and it has succeeded as a culture.

  • michael||

    Well, there you have it. Can it be more obvious that mainstream Republicans have very little in common with libertarian ideals?

    Sounds kinda like collectivism with a nationalist twist... kinda like facism. Now not totally, but just enough to make my skin crawl.

  • tros||

    Considering where his "tradition" has put us, I am inclined to tell anyone that supports it to shove it up their ass. I don't care what The Founders wanted. These people are fucking up the country now, and I shouldn't have to argue about whether or not it is a recent historical phenomenon.

    Oh yeah, and it's not like I learned about fucking Henry David Thoreau in my fucking PUBLIC SCHOOL or anything.

  • Jack William Bell||

    Crap like this is why I'm not a Republican, fair-weather or not. Santorum can kiss my hairy white ass.

    My problem is that I can't stand the Democrats either. And I agree with most people that the Libertarian Party is just a large collection of varigated loons. (Being ineffectual is a side issue.)

    Where does that leave me? I want a party that represents my interests *and* has a rational plan for acheiving its goals. I want a party that harks back to Ben Franklin. I want to vote *for* someone rather than against/registering a protest vote.

    Ghod I hate politics in this country right now...

  • ||

    Sounds kinda like collectivism with a nationalist twist... kinda like facism.

    Indeed. That guy is scary. Of course it's nice to see them admitting openly that which has been clear for the last 5 years or so: the GOP does not believe in small government anymore (if it ever did). Any of those fiscal conservative, small government types left in the GOP need to realize, to paraphrase Reagan, you didn't leave the party, but the party left you.

  • ||

    You know, I�m beginning to hope there really is a hell for these retarded hypocrites to roast in for 500,000 years.

    Then turn �em for the next 500,000 years. Nice even cookin�, yum!

  • ||

    I've had Republican posters criticize me in the past for saying things like "Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin--the only difference is which specific parts of your life they want to stick their noses into." I'm wondering if they'll now spin reasons why Santorum doesn't count as a REAL Republican.

  • ||

    Oddly enough, in the profile of Grover Norquist in the current New Yorker, he eloquently described the "leave us alone" coalition as the key to the Republicans' power.

    Of course, that doesn't mean he was telling the the truth.

  • ||

    "Apologies in advance to gaius."

    Apologies? I still don't know which said it!

  • ||

    Jack William Bell,

    The Democratic Party has set up a Suggestion Box outside of all western state party headquarters.

    Please do not dispose of food containers in the Suggestion Box.

  • ||

    trotsky,

    The key word in "Leave Us Along Coalition" is "Us."

    It's not the "Leave People Alone Coalition."

  • Bastard of Art and Commerce||

    "The idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. "

    What a dick.

  • ||

    I love the "radical" part of the phrase "radical individualism." How does one become a radical individualist? Unibomber? But he did want to influence society, and he did so negatively and illegally. what characteristics does a "radical" individualist have that seperates him/her from "normal" individualists?

  • ||

    Rick Santorum is hereby cordially invited to munch my taint.

    Jesus, what a douchewit.

  • ||

    Happily Santorum is unlikely to win re-election.

  • gaius marius||

    Apologies in advance to gaius.

    indignantly accepted, mr david! :)

  • ||

    Apparently Santorum has never read de Tocqueville, since a mere perusal of Democracy in America would show a sort of radical individualism (outside of the South - he'd probably fit right in with paternalistic slave owners) that would freak him out.

  • ||

    I want a party that represents my interests *and* has a rational plan for acheiving its goals.

    why? why not just look for candidates like that, whatever party they may be in?

  • gaius marius||

    how santorum and his ilk came to confuse this

    there is no such society that I'm aware of where we've had radical individualism and it has succeeded as a culture

    with the diabolical mechanism of the state-idol peering into bedrooms and shuttering kids' lemonade stands, i'll never know. they're unhinged people, nietzschean militants who sincerely believe that only they, the noble heroes of the management class, can guide us with their ideas.

    what tripe.

  • ||

    Vote for gridlock, that's the only thing that makes sense to me. One party for congress, the other for president.

    Although they vote and make a lot of noise, I dunno how much of the US is really fundy. 10-20%? I keep thinking they're going to finally overplay their hand and traditional american leave-me-aloneism will reassert itself.

  • B.D.||

    I hope you're correct, Hakluyt.

    I heard this this morning at work. Now, I wasn't surprised by what Santorum said, but such twisted logic beguiles me. His comment "...I don't think most conservatives hold that view..." What the hell does he think the definition of conservative is? (rhetorical question) Or, better yet, the comment about "traditional conservatives"...I suppose he might not have ever heard of Barry Goldwater....

  • ||

    As a right-leaning, "small L" libertarian, I say Santorum should go F#ck himself.

  • ||

    Jack William Bell said:
    "Where does that leave me? I want a party that represents my interests *and* has a rational plan for acheiving its goals."

    We feel your pain, but it would be harder for such a party to exist than it would be to prove the existence of God.

    All we can do is be the Vestal Virgins, the keepers of the flame. Get used to it.

  • ||

    I saw Santorum on The Daily Show last week, and being from PA I watched with more enthusiasm than normal. He was pushing his book on government promotion of traditional family values. Now, mind you, I find no fault with the notion that a traditional family structure has been successful, but here was Santorum claiming that 1. It was ideal and 2. The federal gov't had a responsibility to enforce this ideal. At this point I turned to my very liberal roomate and said that this is why there's no real difference between the parties. Both sides view it as proper for the government to enforce their idealogy.

    Stewart did an overall excellent job debating Santorum without attacking him, actually tying to have a real dialog, which is great. However, all of Stewart's points focused on the idea that non-tradtional families are just as deserving and not that the government had no business putting it's nose in, period. Apparently, there's no room for limited governenment anymore.

    On the next show, Stewart mentioned that he had received a lot of complaints about his interview. My roomate was a little bewildered, as he thought it was pretty good. I told him the reason that people didn't like it was because Stewart didn't outright attack and ridicule Santorum. Apparently, there's no room for reasoned debate anymore either.

  • ||

    I must admit that I do find it rather refreshing that someone has finally come out and said that they know better than you about how to run your life, and that the Founding Fathers were wrong, instead of hiding it behind terrorism or the damn children.

  • gaius marius||

    I don't think most conservatives hold that view

    sadly, mr b.d., i'll bet he's right. most american conservatives don't.

  • ||

    Santorum embodies everything that scares me about one segment of the Republican party. I continue to generally side with them because I think there is a greater chance of social liberty in a republican controlled world than of economic liberty in a Democrat controlled world.

    If I start hearing a bunch of serious Santorum for Prez talk, I'll have been proven wrong. I have nightmares about our next election. Hillary vs. McCain? -shudder-

  • ||

    I think there is a greater chance of social liberty in a republican controlled world than of economic liberty in a Democrat controlled world

    That's funny, because I think the exact opposite--the Democrats will give you social but not economic liberty; the Republicans will give you economic but not social liberty.

    At least in the old days. Now they both just plain suck.

  • ||

    Although they vote and make a lot of noise, I dunno how much of the US is really fundy. 10-20%?

    I think it's actually much less than that. I would think 5% or less. That's about 15 million people, which no matter how much a minority, can make a very significant amount of noise.

  • ||

    gaius,

    "Neitzchean militants" are "the management class?"

    I think this post has crossed your wires, Old Bean.

  • Jack William Bell||

    zach said "why? why not just look for candidates like that, whatever party they may be in?"

    That's what I do, but sadly it only works on the local level. And not always then.

    The problem is that the candidates who get the support from their parties to compete at the national level (especially for president) can only do so by being living caricatures of their respective party's most egregious sins. Even Badnarik was an example of that in the last election. (Which was also the first presidential election in a generation that I boycotted. I couldn't bring myself to vote for Badnarik even as a protest vote.)

    Like I said; I hate politics in this country right now. I feel as if there is no organized group which wants to seek a fair, rational and reasonable path to limiting the power of the state/increasing the autonomy of the individual.

    BTW: Is statism/personal autonomy really a zero sum game? It seems intuitive that it is, but I'm willing to listen to arguments otherwise.

  • ||

    "radical individualism..."

    I just don't really know what to say when people think this is something scary.

  • ||

    Or, better yet, the comment about "traditional conservatives"...I suppose he might not have ever heard of Barry Goldwater....
    I imagine he's reaching a bit farther back, to the primeval reaction of the English aristocracy when faced with the possible loss of power to the unwashed masses.

  • gaius marius||

    I think there is a greater chance of social liberty in a republican controlled world than of economic liberty in a Democrat controlled world.

    make you a bet on that, mr ligon. :) i think a democratic party, concerned as they are about liberal notions of human rights and personal sovereignty, is more disposed to shift the responsibilities of the people onto a bureaucratic state as a path to personal emancipation, but that is a death by a thousand cuts. they'll feed leviathan, but not let it off its leash (without being deposed) because of their concern for human rights.

    the republican end, however, are converts to a notion of *imperial*, not personal, emancipation, freedom through sovereign lawlessness. watching bush and his kids (like santorum) shred treaties and circumvent constitutional protections with cheering red-state crowds in support in their ideological wars, i suspect they are easily the swiftest avenue to tyranny.

  • ||

    And another thing: how does "radical individualism" differ from "rugged individualism," which was once a source of pride for conservatives in this country?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    My mother, Truman Dem turned Eisenhower Repub and never looked back, sat on my couch four days ago and told me I was nuts to criticize GWB for spending too much. That it was the Dems in congress that were responsible.

    And let me tell you, Ma would agree with Santorum 100%.

    The trouble with the gridlock theory is that it doesn't work either. Maybe we should go with the 'abuse the system til it collapses' theory.

  • ||

    To me, big time republican politicans rushing to be seen with Dobson and Falwell and Bob Jones is a little like if you saw Clinton hanging out with Chomsky, Angela Davis, and the Weather Underground at the White House. These people have influence all out of proportion to number of people they represent. Maybe the dems can steal that Silent Majority bit.

  • ||

    Off topic, but was I just imagining I got briefly hijacked onto a thread about the US invading Canada?
    It was an unusually vigorous debate... hopped up even.

  • Jack William Bell||

    Ruthless said: "We feel your pain, but it would be harder for such a party to exist than it would be to prove the existence of God."

    Why? Seriously, no jokes. Why? If someone wanted to organize such I would donate money and time. I'm sure others would as well. (Ya sure, the big 'L' libs might get upset. But screw them too.)

    I feel a weekend essay coming on. Watch my blog on Monday.

  • ||

    "I have nightmares about our next election. Hillary vs. McCain? -shudder-"

    McCain still says that he's not running, so it will be Hillary vs. Giuliani, Frist or Jeb. I'm sure the big-L Libertarians are diligently searching insane asylums for their next candidate. If 2008 gives us Hillary/Kerry vs. Jeb/Condi, and the Libertarians pick their usual village idiot, then I'm moving to North Korea.

  • ||

    Its great how the dichotomy of American politics is now the party of 'morality' vs. the party of 'equality'. As if they were opposites to begin with.

    republicans.. democrats.. it makes no difference. They all want to control our lives, they're just not in agreement as to how.. yet.

  • gaius marius||

    "Neitzchean militants" are "the management class?"

    increasingly, mr joe. i'll borrow:

    It is as if Ronald Reagan read Friedrich Nietzsche � improbable in the extreme, given his reading avoidances � and acted out ubermenschlich in the role of Bonzo. Dionysian spirit emerges in the form of a Hollywood cowboy turned Cold Warrior; an energizing amorality becomes salesmanship; cultural rebirth happens in Levittown. Nietzsche's aphoristic style metamorphoses into speechwriter platitudes that pass for a voice of born-again American prophecy. What remains beyond the clown mask is the Nietzschean will to power, the ideologized readiness to employ recitation of "democracy," "free markets," and "self-reliance" in order to establish or maintain hierarchies of moral permission. The American superpower triumphs as global ubermensch, creator and promulgator of an economic master morality that posits Third World servitude as the natural order.

  • ||

    "And I agree with most people that the Libertarian Party is just a large collection of varigated loons. (Being ineffectual is a side issue.)"

    Indeed. And as long as the varigated loons are the only ones who show up and, occasionally, do something it will always be that way.

    As I have said before, libertarians are lazy. The LP is a political party, not a business there to serve you. If you don't like it, get involved and change it.

    I started getting involved locally about 4 months ago. As expected, if you're willing to just show up the influence is pretty much laying on the table for you to pick up if you want it.

    Don't like the local party leadership? Run against them next election. They are most likely the leader because they were the only ones who willing to run for the position.

  • ||

    I vote Libertarian most of the time, but the Republican canidates used to be my back up party. Now, I see myself disagreeing with more Republicans than Democates. I live in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and I can't wait to move out when I graduate college. However, I do have to say that I give him a lot of credit for speaking his mind, but I'm still not going to vote for him.

  • ||

    Ruthless - invading Canada eh?

    Heard of the Athabasca Oil Sands? They might have WMD up there you know.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athabasca_Tar_Sands

  • ||

    "I feel as if there is no organized group which wants to seek a fair, rational and reasonable path to limiting the power of the state/increasing the autonomy of the individual."

    Jack William Bell,
    Lose your faith in organized groups.
    Relax and be a Vestal Virgin.

  • ||

    Just so someone points it out.

    Nice choice of title for this post.

    Anon

  • ||

    Is statism/personal autonomy really a zero sum game? It seems intuitive that it is, but I'm willing to listen to arguments otherwise.

    Not always, but it can be pretty hard to get Hit'n'Runners to understand that.

    The easiest example is antitrust law, which is a state action that re-distributes personal autonomy, but also tends to increase it.

    Here is another example (see my posts about a proposed governmental tagging scheme and the not-gettin'-it responses):

    http://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2005/07/the_protectioni.shtml

  • ||

    Are some of saying variegated loon when we mean pied bill loon?
    Lets be precise.
    Had we heard there's more recent proof of the existence of the Ivory Billed Peckerwood?

  • gaius marius||

    libertarians are lazy

    it's difficult for a self-identified group of antiauthoritarians to come together under a leader to get anything done. :)

  • ||

    Well, so while libertarians were sitting around having quaint debates about their relationship to the Republican party, it turns out it's not up to libertarians- they've unilateraly given us the boot, in no uncertain terms. It's official. We've been served. It's On.

    there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. "

    Uh, yeah, like high levels of happiness and prosperity. Gee, wouldn't want that.

  • Jack William Bell||

    Patrick said: "I started getting involved locally about 4 months ago. As expected, if you're willing to just show up the influence is pretty much laying on the table for you to pick up if you want it.

    Don't like the local party leadership? Run against them next election. They are most likely the leader because they were the only ones who willing to run for the position."


    I have freinds here in Washington State who did exactly that. They failed miserably. The LP has a well-deserved reputation for being moonbats and even if rational peeps were leading it that reputation would remain for a long time.

    It's time for something different I think. A party that says "It's time to get the government out of your bedroom *and* your pocketbook. Only we'll take it one step at a time instead of promising to abolish the IRS on day one. And we'll keep an eye on the big corporations because we distrust them as much as we do government."

  • ||

    dead elvis,
    You've been served all right. You're dead!
    What's your beef?

  • ||

    "The easiest example is antitrust law, which is a state action that re-distributes personal autonomy, but also tends to increase it."

    How does limiting options increase personal autonomy? Firms gain market share based upon their products' desirability to consumers. Antitrust law only protects certain competitors, not competition.

  • ||

    Re: an organized group which wants to seek a fair, rational and reasonable path to limiting the power of the state/increasing the autonomy of the individual.

    "If someone wanted to organize such I would donate money and time. I'm sure others would as well."

    I don't mean to pick on Mr. Bell here but these comments illustrate the problem as I see it. Am I the only one who finds it scary and bitterly ironic that libertarians are pining for some white knight to be their "leader" or even just an organizer??

    Nobody is going to do this for you. And, I will add, that until libertarians get organized and are able to bring something meaningful to the political table, Republicans and Democrats will rightly see them as irrelevant and to be safely ignored.

  • ||

    One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a libertarianish right. The left has gone so far left and the right in some respects has gone so far right that they come around in the circle.

    His other crime is thinking of politics in only one dimension. Just like the average joe on the street (not our joe), he can't possibly fathom anything beyond the left-right, "conservative"-"liberal" continuum.

  • ||

    Somewhere, Ron Paul is itchy his skin fervently, muttering "it won't come off...it just won't come off!"

  • ||

    Santorum is just stating the obvious. Most people in this country are not libertarians. They may have libertarian tendencies about some things, but they are not libertarians. More importantly, most people are not libertines, which is what most libertarians have become and what has come to pass for what used to be libertarianism. A libertarian believes that government should not interfere with the individual or society. That does necessarily mean that there should not be societal mores and that society itself is not free to make its own rules outside of government complete with sanctions such as ostracism. The issue for a true libertarian is the individual's relationship to the government, not the individual's relationship to society or other individuals.

    A libertine, which is what most self-professed libertarians really are, is someone who doesn't even think society has claim on his autonomy; essentially, if it feels good do it.

    A libertarian will object to the government regulating people's sex lives but admit that there are large social consiquences of promiscuity and that sexual mores are something that society as a whole should deal should try to encourage. The rub is when the coercive power of government is used. Its perfectly libertarian to say that drugs ought to be legal but also in your personal capacity object to the morons who believe that drugs are not harmful. The libertine, in contrast, views rampant promiscuity or drug use as perfectly acceptable regardless of the cost and objects to society coercing the individual in any way.

    In that sense the Democratic Party is much more libertine than the Republican Party. The Democratic Party is the party of the 1960s, the sexual revolution and the like. I think this is partially what Santorum is getting at. Democrats of course are not libertarian, despite their libertine tendancies, which makes them a threat to liberty. They would not ban homosexuality the way some Republicans would, instead they would if given the opportunity, make it a crime to object homosexuality by branding views they see as objectionable as "hate speech".

    America as a whole, in contrast, has never been particularly libertine. It may have been libertarian in some ways, but it has never up until the 1960s been libertine. American has been and continues to be predominantly Protestant and generally pretty moralistic. Yes, there is a leave me along mentality, but that mentality has always been balanced by a pretty puritan populace. Most people in this country have a traditional view of morality and object to things like drug use, homosexuality, rampant promiscuity, and the like, for better or worse. That is why the majority of the people do not get too upset about things like the drug war, regardless of its failures, or attempts to ban homosexual marriage. The populace may have a libertarian streak about some things, but they are not libertines.

    Libertarians would advance their cause a lot further if they would distinguish themselves from libertines and make the distinction between public and private action. Just because the government is not the solution to a problem doesn't mean that there isn't a problem. It seems that this distinction often gets lost and what gets put out as libertarianism is just a non-philosophy of saying anything someone wants to do, if it doesn't involve use of government power is wonderful. That is never going to fly and I think hurts the cause of trying to limit government power.

  • ||

    The Democratic Party has set up a Suggestion Box outside of all western state party headquarters.

    I hate to admit it, but at this point you're probably right. Of all the possible electable evils. the Red State Dems are probably the least of them (and I haven't voted for a Democrat for so much as the dog-catcher since 1976).

    The only thing libertarians are accomplishing by associating with Republicans is playing the role of the lipstick on the pig, Ron Paul et al notwithstanding.

  • ||

    ""libertarians are lazy"

    it's difficult for a self-identified group of antiauthoritarians to come together under a leader to get anything done. :)"

    Some people HAVE been trying to do exactly that, and we've had some success.

    Check out: http://www.libertyforsale.com/

    Also, read this post about an editorial in LP News:
    http://libertyforsale.com/?p=228

    CATO, Reason, and every other liberty leaning group needs to join together NOW and start supporting the LP. Either work to change it into the party it should be, or stop complaining that it's innefectual. It's possible people. Reason is great, CATO is great, but without a political party big enough to speak of those principles your dead in the water. I'm tired of reacting & responding to these jokes of politicians already and I plan on doing something about it. Get your ass on board, soak up the bitter feelings you've had with your past encounters with the LP, and make it into a party that represents a principled, YET reasonable voice for freedom.

  • ||

    April,

    "Radical individualism" is just like "rugged individualism" except that queers and atheists are allowed in.

    In other words, the GOP is all for individualism, as long as all the participants are exactly alike. White, god-fearing Christian heterosexuals.

  • ||

    dave b,

    "Firms gain market share based upon their products' desirability to consumers." But after a certain point, they (sometimes) accummulate enough power to retain their market share regardless of desirability to consumers. The Coke/Pepsi duopoly, for example, often won't deliver to stores that allow RC Cola a prime location.

    Though I think a better example of regulation expanding autonomy is the enforcement of the "drive on the right" regulation. How much more limited would your autonomy be if you had to drive super-cautiously because the roads were like Mad Max?

  • ||

    Also inherent in Santorum's missive is this: one cannot be a moral person without religion.

    Dave W.,

    Thankyou for your intellectually lazy response. Merely telling people that they are "not getting it" is the sort of discourse I expect out of you.

    Anti-trust law does nothing of the kind; what it is does do is provide a powerful weapon for the politically connected to rob the successful.

  • M1EK||

    "That's funny, because I think the exact opposite--the Democrats will give you social but not economic liberty; the Republicans will give you economic but not social liberty.

    At least in the old days. Now they both just plain suck."

    Ow, my brane.

    Did you guys just forget the Clinton Years or what? Not a libertarian utopia, but a hell of a lot better than what we've got _now_ BOTH socially AND economically.

  • M1EK||

    Hak, you're an idiot.

    "Anti-trust law does nothing of the kind; what it is does do is provide a powerful weapon for the politically connected to rob the successful."

    Baloney. What it does is allow for other software companies to produce commercial software if, for instance, the government bothers to enforce it against Microsoft.

    I suppose we'd all be better off if Standard Oil had been left untouched too.

  • ||

    John,
    I enjoyed your sermon, but you sound like Santorum's sock puppet.

  • ||

    Hak is not an idiot. He's an ideologue. And a very bright one at that.

    His explanations of why the actual functioning of the world allows his preferred policy alternatives to be enacted without the need for balancing competing interests are among the fullest and best thought out of any I've seen.

  • ||

    Yes, M1EK, I remember the Clintonesque expansion of the drug war and the Defense of Marriage act, and I remember Lady Clinton a few weeks back trying to get the electorate freaked out about video games. I voted for Bill Clinton, and I held my nose and voted for Kerry, and I agree the 90s were better than now but that's not saying a hell of a lot.

    The Democrats and Republicans have BOTH abandoned any good ideals their respective parties may have stood for; the only difference now is that Republicans will steal your freedom in the name of protection from the "terrists and hommasekshuls" while the Democrats will steal your freedom because "it's for your own good and won't you please think of the children?"

  • ||

    I suppose we'd all be better off if Standard Oil had been left untouched too.

    As a matter of fact, yes, we would.

  • ||

    "But after a certain point, they (sometimes) accummulate enough power to retain their market share regardless of desirability to consumers."

    That theory has already been disproven. No company can maintain market share if their products have no desirability to consumers. Just because Coke and Pepsi are large corporations with the biggest market share doesn't mean that people will still buy their products in spite of their economic self-interest.

    "Baloney. What it does is allow for other software companies to produce commercial software if, for instance, the government bothers to enforce it against Microsoft."

    Microsoft cannot stop any other company from making commercial software. They can attempt to bully Dell and HP into only making computers with Windows installed, but if consumers want something other than MS products, then they will vote with their feet and seek out competing products with other operating systems.

  • ||

    gaius marius @ 3:15 - That was dead nuts!

  • ||

    i guess i am far more libertine than libertarian; that is, most of what passes for an assault on "moral rot" these days is largely consensual sexual activity.

    fuck that noise.

  • ||

    Getting a compliment from joe is like getting fighting tips from Gandhi. But I guess I agree with Haklyut here too.

    "I suppose we'd all be better off if Standard Oil had been left untouched too."

    Not like consumers were being bothered by their cheep cheep cheep oil. But I'm sure that was just Phase One of the ultra-secret Std-Oil-Take-Over-the-World-Plan, whereby they enact a stranglehold on the oil markets worldwide, raise rates to markup heights that would make scalpers blush, while dictating US policy at home and abroad to enforce their interests. Good thing antitrust laws took care of that.

    Oh, and in case you haven't noticed, the two biggest spinoffs from the breakup of Std Oil have merged back together. Fat load of good THAT did.

  • MP||

    Hak is not an idiot. He's an ideologue. And a very bright one at that.

    Yeah, but he can still piss you off sometimes.

    Comment by: joe at July 14, 2005 10:54 AM
    Fuck you, Gary, you're dodging on the "left handed people" example makes it clear you're being disingenuous, and I'm not intersted.

    ;)

  • Warren||

    I joined this post late. Most everything has been said so I just want to add my brief support to the following.

    1. Senator Santorum is the worst sort of demigod asshole.
    2. Republicans have always betrayed their small government rhetoric and ruled as demigod assholes every bit as big as the Democrats.
    3. Now the assholes are so entrenched in power that they can sneer at the personal liberty types they once courted to get there.
    4. However fucking broke it is, the Libertarian Party is all about individual liberty and small government. If you�re not happy with it get involved and FIX IT.

  • ||

    MP, joe, Hakluyt. You guys had better step it up, for it appears we _have_ been served. I just received this email from a friend who occasionally peruses the board at my suggestion.

    "Why do all the reason topics peter out so fast?

    On the boards I hang on, we just keep berating each other until someone cries."

  • ||

    Jeez, except for Goldwater, hasn't this been exactly how republicans vote on the senate floor since Ike? What's changed? That a bunch of libertarians began to assume republican love of limited liability corporations made them freedom loving? Reagan got into office preaching one thing, but almost immediately took a shot at states with his "drink 21" bullshit, and Meese.

    The only way libertarians could have convinced themselves that conservatives was if they tossed out the dictionary, really, look up libertarian, then look up conservative.

    And towards the Libertarian Party. I have tried to talk to a number of local ones here in Chicago. It was like talking to drug addled yippies...they were able to track a consistent thought for about 22 seconds, and rarely responded to any evidence that did not coincide with there flat-world pro-republican stances.

    I consider myself both a Liberal and a Libertarian...dictionary definitions, look 'em up...not by republican transmogrified bullshit definitions.

  • ||

    Jack,

    Bummer about your friends in WA. The situation probably varies radically around the country.

    In my part of CA, some of the moonier moonbats have been drummed out. The remaining local leadership doesn't do anything. Our approach is to just come up with reasonable objectives, a strategy to acheive them, and build resources independently. This idea puts us WAY ahead of local leadership. If we're successful, it will force them to follow or get out of the way.

    I think people (especially within the LP) have an inflated perception of the LP's reputation. Most voters have little impression about and pay little attention to the LP. To your point though, our group has not settled on whether we want an overt affiliation with LP. We'll see if they become a liability.

    Bottom line: all political parties have their scary moonbats. The trick is to flood the organization with reasonable, rational people so whatever importance the moonbats may have is quickly eliminated.

  • ||

    I dunno, "It Takes a Village, Republican Edition" would have been a pretty good title.

  • ||

    Herman, wouldn't the Republican version be "It Takes a Village to Burn a Witch?"

  • ||

    Oh, and in case you haven't noticed, the two biggest spinoffs from the breakup of Std Oil have merged back together. Fat load of good THAT did.

    Yep, British Petrolium and Amoco. And instead of being an American based conglomerate, it's now a British based conglomerate.

    Who came out ahead on that one?

  • ||

    Read this people...
    Wayne Dyer rips politicians a new one. If that doesn't get you psyched I don't know what will.

    http://www.drwaynedyer.com/articles/art2.cfm

    And get involved in the LP already. Help change this party around. We've got the ball moving already, but we need your help.

    JOIN today and become part of the solution.
    http://www.lp.org

  • gaius marius||

    More importantly, most people are not libertines, which is what most libertarians have become and what has come to pass for what used to be libertarianism. A libertarian believes that government should not interfere with the individual or society. That does necessarily mean that there should not be societal mores and that society itself is not free to make its own rules outside of government complete with sanctions such as ostracism. The issue for a true libertarian is the individual's relationship to the government, not the individual's relationship to society or other individuals.

    that's well said, mr john.

  • ||

    M1EK,

    You're a fool.

    What it does is allow for other software companies to produce commercial software if...

    Yes, there is such a dearth of commercial software out there. *LOL*

    __________________________________________

    I'll repeat what I wrote earlier -

    Also inherent in Santorum's missive is this: one cannot be a moral person without religion.

    One needs a church upbringing in order to be a worthy individiaul.

    That pretty much says it all concerning this collectivist scumbag's views.

  • ||

    Warren - You're right the fuck on with your post, but the word I think you're looking for is "demagogue."

    Merriam-Webster, "demigod":
    1 : a mythological being with more power than a mortal but less than a god [not quite fitting - he still needs the help of 59 other assholes to get his agenda through, generally]
    2 : a person so outstanding as to seem to approach the divine [Even Santorum's jesusfreak ass wouldn't be so cavalier as to suggest divinity]

    M-W, "demagogue":
    1 : a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power [ding ding ding, we have a winner]
    2 : a leader championing the cause of the common people in ancient times [2005..not so ancient]

  • ||

    gaius marius,

    Oh just become a puritanical objectivist and get it over with.

  • ||

    OK, this is it. A conservative is an Upstate New York farmer. I know 'cause I live here. There's nothin' wrong with 'em, they aren't bad people. They are conservatives. End of story. That's the list.

    Now, as for those who enjoy taunting their work mates with the tired old phase, "I'm a Conservative", they really should pick a new word to describe themselves.

    When I hear someone call themselves a 'Conservative' in its current usage, I immediately think of Hate-Radio. Farmers listen to Paul Harvey and then its off with the radio and back to work. End of story. That's the list.

  • gaius marius||

    Oh just become a puritanical objectivist and get it over with.

    lol! not just yet, gg, not just yet. :)

  • ||

    The LP is not, and cannot, be an effective use of a vote in a winner takes all system unless it is perceived to have taken away victory from one of the two major parties. At that point, it will have a portion of its platform adopted.

    Here is the problem, though. The LP, and many libertarians outside of the LP, insists on being the Party of Principle. If you don't swallow the LP line whole, you are a traitor to principle and no better than a Democrat or a Republican or whoever the bad guy du jour happens to be. Since in a winner takes all election all significant voting blocs must be adopted by one of the two major parties, if it is known that neither party will get a Libertarian constituency unless it can swallow the essentially the whole LP platform, neither party will ever court libertarians. Congratulations, you are the party of principle that has principled yourself into total politcal isolation.

    Further, the LP is nothing but kooks. I've been to the meetings. All forms of reason get shouted down in a shower of platitudes, Harry Browe style. I met him. He's a jackass. I've got news for you. Starting from our current state of governance, it is harmful to the cause of individual liberty to scream from the rooftops that you want to destroy the IRS. The faithful cheer while the vastly more numerous nonbelievers laugh. The LP is more harmful to the advance of liberty as an acceptable political concept than most people seem to appreciate. Its greatest accomplishment is to make the idea that humans should be free to live their lives as they see fit sound like complete lunacy to the average voter.

    To be politically effective, you must prioritize some portion of your libertarian vision, condense the abstract into a policy of some sort, and seek a strong coalition to advance your policy.

    In my case, the right of self defense is a deal breaker. I will NEVER advance the interests of a coaltion who has adopted a position that threatens me on self defence. The Democrats have shut up on that issue, so my decisions can now be more complex. For me, the next issue of critical importance is - Who is going to save me from the Baby Boomers? With their numbers on the rise and their departure from the work force into the dependent class, they will have the clout to vote themselves my whole paycheck every week. They will have the clout to ensure a nationalized healthcare system that emphasizes distribution of free drugs to them while tossing aside the development I think is much more critical.

    Again, I find myself thinking that the Dems will be of no help. I'm all ears, though.

  • ||

    dave b,

    ...Microsoft cannot stop any other company from making commercial software...

    Oh, yes they can, along with IBM, Amazon.com, Sun, probably Oracle and any other company with a large patent portfolio. Some of those companies don't even produce software.

  • ||

    "No company can maintain market share if their products have no desirability to consumers."

    Yes, david b, but they can maintain market share with *less* desirability to consumers, than they would have to put on the table if they had to compete with competitors, rather than squash them.

  • ||

    My problem with Dave's argument is that once you start talking about "autonomy" as if it were a discrete commodity that can be "redistributed" [something like Mills' concept of utility] you end up with all sorts of screwy theoretical results.

    For example, if we take the hypothetical case of a wealthy father with four ne'er do well adult children, if the father was FORCED to support his children in a comfortable lifestyle, no matter what the children chose to do, you could say that autonomy had been "redistributed" in a way that "maximized" it, since one person has lost only a portion of their autonomy, while four people can now do whatever they want without consequence for the rest of their lives.

    Just about every theoretical attempt to "redistribute" autonomy will have this fatal flaw. Liberty, when seen [as it is over at Atrios] as "not the freedom from constraint, but the freedom to DO the maximum number of things" inevitably degenerates into a rationalization for forcing system participants with resources to subsidize the activities of system participants without resources. When "autonomy" is a redistributable commodity that reflects mere scope of action [regardless of context or how that scope of action is obtained], there is no longer a way to distinguish between the autonomy of free individuals to live their lives unmolested, and the "autonomy" of those who wish to choose to make bad choices without facing the consequences.

  • Vache Folle||

    I think Rick Santorum is a conservative from the 15th century meaning of the term. The state and church, hand in hand, must control every aspect of your life because you are an evil slacker and don't know what is good for you.

  • ||

    Borrowing from Hakluyt, maybe these pseudo-conservatives should call themselves 'collectivist scumbags.' That outa stick.

  • ||

    No, I think "demigods" makes sense.

    The party leaderships operate as if they're a higher order of beings than the rest of us.

    That works just fine.

  • ||

    what John is really saying is that the libertarian cause would be helped if more libertarians were, and acted like, traditional american politicians. which is kinda obvious, i think, but does not change the fact that i personally have no interest in being a politician. similarly, you don't have to be a politician in order to hold valid political beliefs.

    the word "libertine" doesn't actually imply any political leanings, but is descriptive of a person's lifestyle. whether Society should or shouldn't shun "libertiney" (hehe, i like that) behavior is most likely not the concern of the libertine anyway, since after all, in america today, there are plenty of societies to choose from.

  • ||

    libertine...blah...libertine...blah....(republican agent)...blah...blah....libertine (republican agent)

    FREEDOM...libertine is the word republicans use to degrade freedom lovers.


    you know, as an aside, I've managed to line up about 200 Chicago musicians on a "liberty" platform. I believe that if we wanted, we could get a libertarian elected in the next cycle. But we won't help them. We will probably put our weight behind some independents. Why? Because of the fact that Libertarians in America EVER believed that fools like conservatives wanted anything but power.
    I have always felt betrayed by CATO and many organizations of it's type. Why?
    Here is one great example, African Americans are essentially conservative, but they vote democratic because they want citizen rights which conservatives have denied them (I'm not talking about affirmative action, I'm talking about police actions)...CATO's response...like Murphy in Sea Lab...TOO BAD
    The LP right now could be elected in Illinois if they only realize that opposing statism, and supporting basic constitutional rights is all Illinois minorities want right now (for instance African Americans are resoundingly in favor of school choice, limited government, gun rights)...but libertarians can't see them, 'cause they are afraid of statism, when they don't even see that it is statism that relegates them to second class status.

    Look the LP is not interested in Liberty, no matter what is said. They have betrayed every freedom loving individual every day of the last ten years. The Libertarian party has been used, very, very successfully to drain off support of freedom loving Americans.

    Last Saturday night, at a music show at the mutiny (mostly white crowd that night), I recruited another 10 or so...they all start out the same way...telling me that they know that the democrats don't represent them...but....I snapped them up...no LP party member could have done that...because no LP party member would have said "Damn right...fuck the pigs....we're free men and women aren't we!!" I don't talk about the gold standard (an obsession with IL LP members) I talk about freedom. Freedom from the government.

    Something Libertarians forgot about.

  • ||

    Jason Ligon is right. The LP will never get anywhere unless it learns to distinguish between "compromising" and "selling out." Figure out which planks of your platform will appeal to a majority and focus on THOSE, while (at least temporarily) ignoring the stuff that scares people, like abandonment of all worker-protection laws.

  • ||

    Choose your future:

    Republicans: Massive breaucracy that is "security" based, ala 1984.
    In this future, living under a constant state of fear is imperative.

    Democrats: Massive breaucracy that is "services" based, ala Brazil (the movie, not the country)
    In this future, the idea of "being taken care of" creates a society that is fundamentally nuts.

    I guess this is want has driven me to support the Left more often lately. As a "radical" individual, I have a better chance of success subverting the Democrat future than the Republican one.
    Cause we all know what the Repubs are going to do when the deficits get really bad; merge the IRS and Dept of Homeland Security. "Not reporting ALL your income, huh? Must be a terrorist!"

  • ||

    fluffy,

    Fantastic analysis. First-rate. :)

  • ||

    Random thought: I think the whole "demi god" vs "demogogue" confusion can be cured with the application of the Fortune Cookie "In Bed" Test (tm).

    When choosing between the words, imagine an intimate moment. That frisky thing in your visions says:

    A) "Baby, you're a demi god in bed."

    B) "Baby, you're a demogogue in bed."

    There, all confusion should be cleared up.

  • ||

    While we're on the subject of Standard Oil, I would recommend that everyone interested read Ida Tarbell's HISTORY OF THE STANDARD OIL COMPANY.

    Tarbell's book is generally thought of as a muckraking expose that was evidence in favor of the Antitrust laws, but if you read it with a "libertarian" eye it does the exact opposite - it shows you that if the courts in Ohio, Pennsylvania or New Jersey had been willing to enforce laws against basic things like fraud and simple assault, the Standard Oil Company could not have maintained its monopoly. It's hard to call Standard an example of a monopoly that needed special legislation for its containment when the monopoly would have been broken if the company hadn't gotten away with things like sending gangs of thugs to attack workers building pipelines for other companies.

    As far as Microsoft goes, I've thought for some time that the reason people see them as a problem is because they overestimate exactly how much profit there should BE in the software world. Microsoft is seen as a threat to other software developers because those developers want to sell software to perform particular individual functions on your computer, but they know that as soon as they demonstrate the need or market for a given product, Microsoft can add that functionality to Windows and essentially present it to consumers for "free" ["free" being measured by the fact that the consumer was already paying for Windows, anyway, so the additional functionality on the margin seems to have zero cost]. They see this as evidence that Microsoft is a monopolistic threat to other developers. I see this as evidence that the "natural" area of competition is OS to OS, that the model of having multiple developers "selling into" a single computer is not supportable long term, and that software industry figures are overestimating how much profit they should be able to wring out of a single computer user.

  • ||

    fluffy said"My problem with Dave's argument is that once you start talking about "autonomy" as if it were a discrete commodity that can be "redistributed" [something like Mills' concept of utility] you end up with all sorts of screwy theoretical results."
    -----
    Who talks like that, except elites, who don't have much interest in what the folks on the street care about? I don't mean to be nast...but really...good for your harvard debate class...but bullsit if you want to get anywhere in America.

    Do you think your average High school graduate, liberal or conservative, would do anything but stare at you funny?

    I'm sorry, I'm being a pissant.

  • ||

    Dave B, there's a difference between an oil company where the barriers to entry with regards to startup costs are high enough for established businesses to drop prices and choke out competitors versus a software company where a guy in his basement with a day job can produce a program that will create competition. The distinction is not one that most people seem to be capable of grasping, but it's the reason why antitrust laws can't be described in absolute terms.

  • ||

    John,

    "American has been and continues to be predominantly Protestant and generally pretty moralistic. Yes, there is a leave me along mentality, but that mentality has always been balanced by a pretty puritan populace. Most people in this country have a traditional view of morality and object to things like drug use, homosexuality, rampant promiscuity, and the like, for better or worse."

    ummm not really. Maybe if you attempt to broad stoke "the history of America" and "still today". I don't want to sound like Howard Zinn, but don't believe the overly simplified books your teachers gave you.

    The US never signed the United Nations "Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others" While even most western European countries did.

    The first laws against putting anything into your own body weren't until the 1914 there was any serious law forbidding putting anything into your own body. The John Brown's of the US just happened to the loudest busybodies. Just like today....

    The Scots-Irish who settled most of the modern south Appalachia and the west, were hardly a "mostly puritan group".

    These are just a few examples, but you are way off telling us the history of America is puritan and willing to subject our selves to mass regulation.

  • ||

    Santorum is right and Jeff Jarvis is wrong. Conservatism is NOT about individualism. It's about shaping individual behavior so that it's consistent with cultural norms that conservatives hold dear. So, Santorum's views are consistent with mainstream and core conservative views. Obviously, there are more things common between liberals and libertarians than conservatives and libertarians.

  • ||

    Dammit, that should be demagogue not demogogue. Nothing like fing up your own crappy joke ...

  • ||

    Hey, skeptikos, I didn't mean to be offensive by going too highbrow.

    Dave had posted something about antitrust law that I could only answer by going hypothetical.

    If I can't be a political philosophy geek at reason.com, where exactly can I be one? Is there no safe haven left online for such geekiness?

    You're really dogging my autonomy, sir. I suggest someone redistribute some of your autonomy my way.

  • ||

    The LP is what you make of it. The LP is us, if we want it to be. David Boaz walked out with Ed Crane a long time ago. Reason readers have lost hope it seems. Yet we all call ourselves libertarians. What liberal or conservative (by today's definitions) doesn't support their respective parties. We are so critical, so quick to jump all over this party, (despite how much of it is deserving), as we turn our backs in disgust.

    And I applaud those who gave it their all, and sincerely don't have the strength to offer more hope. But now, it's my time, and I'm not backing down until I see results.

    Please read this from the editor of LP News if nothing else. The time is ripe people.
    http://libertyforsale.com/?p=228

  • ||

    I'd volunteer to help start an "evolutionary libertarian" party, but if I was a candidate there would be all sorts of uncomfortable questions about why I never registered for the draft, and people would probably laugh at me when I told them that I would have smoked a lot of pot in college if it didn't always make me puke.

    That's the other problem with organizing libertarians. Not only are they naturally anti-authoritarian and thus about as herdable as cats, but you also have to find enough of them who have successfully navigated a bureaucratic and regulatory society whose rules they largely resent and reject. I had a hard enough time maintaining a driver's license in New York state when I lived there. How am I going to wade through their notorious ballot access petition rules?

  • ||

    What liberal or conservative (by today's definitions) doesn't support their respective parties.

    haha, are you being serious?

  • ||

    fluffy,

    Why do you think the "courts in Ohio, Pennsylvania or New Jersey had been willing to enforce laws against basic things like fraud and simple assault" against Standard Oil?

  • ||

    "What liberal or conservative (by today's definitions) doesn't support their respective parties.

    haha, are you being serious?"

    Are you referring to those aside from the 51 million or so that voted Bush, and the 49 million or so that voted Gore? Yeah, I'm pretty damn serious.

  • ||

    Oh, yes they can, along with IBM, Amazon.com, Sun, probably Oracle and any other company with a large patent portfolio. Some of those companies don't even produce software.

    They don't produce software because they feel that their product is not viable in the marketplace, not because MS shut them out.

    Yes, david b, but they can maintain market share with *less* desirability to consumers, than they would have to put on the table if they had to compete with competitors, rather than squash them.

    My local grocery stores are fully stocked with everything from Coke and Pepsi to el-cheapo watered-down store brand soda. The Coca-Cola company cannot force grocery stores to stock only it's products. Let's assume for a second that they could. What would happen is that people who did not want Coca-Cola products would be forced to shop elsewhere, and the store vendor would have to make the decision of whether or not it was worth it for them to follow Coke's edict at the expense of lost business and customers.

    Dave B, there's a difference between an oil company where the barriers to entry with regards to startup costs are high enough for established businesses to drop prices and choke out competitors versus a software company where a guy in his basement with a day job can produce a program that will create competition.

    I hate to get all Austrian School on you, but the natural monopoly argument you're trying to make has already been disproven.

  • ||

    Are you referring to those aside from the 51 million or so that voted Bush, and the 49 million or so that voted Gore? Yeah, I'm pretty damn serious.

    you're pretty damn stupid, if you think that all 51 million bush voters were registered republicans, and all 49 million kerry supports were democrats.

  • ||

    Jason Ligon is right. The NYC libertarian party had about 4 people who were motivated the right way about the party, but pandering to 20 or more nutjobs just to get people to run at the city council level. People who's 'rights' didn't stop at the end of your nose, and didn't understand when others questioned them on it.

    We need to take over Dem/Rep parties locally, whichever have control of city hall, so that the party faithful will vote for you out of habit.

    And not harp about the 17th amendment or other nutty peeve, but just talk about random searches, or run on laws protecting folks from eminant domain.

  • ||

    Joe:

    Probably because they had been bought and paid for, but not in ways open enough that a journalist like Tarbell would have evidence of it.

    But that would still mean that to stop Standard, we needed to enforce our laws against fraud, assault, and bribery. We didn't need to invent a category of crime that actually overlooked all of these very real crimes to criminalize legitimate competitive actions taken by the company, like [for example] the rebate.

  • ||

    Gott in Himmel

    I have never wanted to kick a congressman in the nuts so bad.

    I mean, didnt this country come into being so that PEOPLE COULD BE LEFT ALONE?! So we wouldnt be taxed for stuff, so we werent persecuted for beliefs by the majority? What in god's name is wrong with this man?! Ignorant bastard.

  • ||

    Borrowing from Hakluyt, maybe these pseudo-conservatives should call themselves 'collectivist scumbags.' That outa stick.

    Actually, I like "crotch-monkeys" better, given the rather morbid preoccupation with other people's gonads by the likes of Santorum and his ilk, it seems to be a rather apt description. ;-)

  • ||

    Herman, wouldn't the Republican version be "It Takes a Village to Burn a Witch?"
    Jennifer - For the part of Republican party Santorum is pandering to, yes. You'll need to get creative on a title for the corporatist side of the party.

    So anyone from the Illinois LP want to talk to Skeptikos and friends? Or will they just end up backing KMFDM for the Chicago city council because the Ill. LP would prefer to talk about abolishing the IRS or something?

  • ||

    dave b,

    apparently I did a REALLY bad job making my point. Microsoft, with its patent portfolio, can CERTAINLY shut other companies out, by taking them to court on patent violations. The companies that I was referring to that don't produce software are essentially patent holding companies. They never had any intention of producing software. And it isn't only Microsoft that can shut any other companies out through patent litigation. That's why I mentioned IBM, Amazon.com, and Sun. I didn't mention them because they were companies that thought, "their product was not viable in the marketplace."

    As proof, I would challenge you (or anyone, really) to write any piece of software that someone else would pay money to use, and to do it without violating at least two patents. Remember, it will usually cost six or seven figures to defend each patent infringement lawsuit. Any company that does not have those kind of resources readily available will be bankrupt quite quickly, if patent holders decide it's in their interests to sue violators.

  • ||

    fluffy,

    Personally, I dug Daniel Yergin's The Prize a lot more, from a historical reading and analysis standpoint. Tarbell has been criticized as being quite a contrarian opportunist, and that Rockefeller repeatedly spurned her attempts at interviews suggest that she had a political axe to grind in writing that book. I think I also read a rumor that she had a thing for Rockefeller and kinda went Ayn-Rand on him when he refused her advances.

  • MP||

    Shawn,

    Patent abuse (sanctioned by the ridiculous patents granted by the US Patent office) is a completely separate issue from the economic concept of a monopolist. They are not remotely related. There are many companies in existence whose solely exist to create patents and collect license fees. They are not monopolies.

  • ||

    As proof, I would challenge you (or anyone, really) to write any piece of software that someone else would pay money to use, and to do it without violating at least two patents.

    I'll do you one better and name people who have written software for free, or closer to free than MS products are.

    Internet: Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird, Opera, Safari, Konqueror.

    Office Apps: OpenOffice, StarOffice

    Operating Systems: Debian, Mandrake, Knoppix, Ubuntu, Linspire, Be, BSD, SkyOS

    Not to mention the millions of other small programs from everything to tax preparation to video/MP3 editing, to file organizing available at download or tucows.com. Where are the crippling patent lawsuits against these companies? You name any software segment, and I can come up with a list of competitors of all sizes who have found some kind of way to circumvent patent litigation while still being able to provide a viable product that people are willing to spend money on. Here's another article about how the antitrust litigation against MS has only served to hurt consumers.

  • ||

    Count me in with Jack.

    I think it's time for a relaunch of the Federalist Party...

  • ||

    MP,

    You are absolutely correct. I was just being a pedant (and asshole, apparently) when I responded to, "Microsoft cannot stop any other company from making commercial software." (emphasis mine)

    I wouldn't even claim that Microsoft has a monopoly on software development, or commercial software. Perhaps it might on desktop operating systems and "office" software (word processor, speadsheet, and presentation software), but precious little else.

  • ||

    dave b,

    Just because there haven't been any patent lawsuits against the companies that have produced the packages you've mentioned, doesn't mean lawsuits aren't possible. I would be VERY surprised if all of those packages weren't in technical violation of several, or dozens of, or hundreds of patents each. I would also be surprised if most motorists were not in technical violation of traffic laws. Most people who break traffic laws aren't punished, either. I am more concerned about the potential for abuse in these cases, rather than the actual abuse that has taken place so far.

    I really don't care about the Microsoft antitrust case, other than it being a waste of taxpayer money and consumer money, like so much else the government does.

  • ||

    I would like to take this opportunity to remind libertarians everywhere that Ron Casey, who will be running against Santorum next year, is strongly opposed to gun laws. I don't know how libertarian Casey is in other departments, but he already is looking good in my book.

  • ||

    fluffy,

    "Probably because they had been bought and paid for, but not in ways open enough that a journalist like Tarbell would have evidence of it."

    Wow, sounds expensive. Like, really, really expensive. A bunch of different states, different parts of the federal government...you've got to have some serious coin to pull something like that.

    "But that would still mean that to stop Standard, we needed to enforce our laws against fraud, assault, and bribery." Against the people with the serious coin, you mean. Mmm-hmm.

  • ||

    Santorum obviously knows his goose is cooked in PA. He's running for President and with Frist's move on stem cell research, the evangelical Christian/conservative Catholic vote is his for the taking. He has as good a chance as anyone for this flank of the party.

    Santorum just told the truth, which is admirable. The scary thing about him is he believes in a federal role in these issues. It's one thing to argue that states should have the right to regulate private sexual behavior, but the modern Republicans have the power now and they will reflexively try to use the club of the federal government to impose their morality on everyone.

  • ||

    ...seriously expensive, but worth it. If you can pull it off. With the onerous fiduciary responsibilities and all, they'd pretty much be duty-bound to try. Within the bounds they need to follow, of course.

    "...but not in ways open enough that a journalist like Tarbell would have evidence of it." Or, maybe, by hiding in plain sight. By doing perfectly legal things, like making donations or entering and enforcing contracts, but being able to do them on such a huge scale that they end up the power, and can dictate terms - within their sphere of business, or other spheres of business, or the regulators of their spere of business, or maybe even other spheres of government.

  • ||

    Well, I don't think the federal courts would have been involved in these particular cases, so it would cut down the expense somewhat.

    And despite your disingenuous tone, it is not disputed at this point that Standard Oil, on more than one occasion, violently interfered with the attempts of other companies to build pipelines. "Violently" meaning "organizing bands of men to attack pipeline construction crews".

    Since I have never come across any record of any of the Rockefellers being charged in these instances, I conclude that the state courts in the areas where this took place, for one reason or another, chose to fail to enforce the law.

    Since there have certainly been other instances in American history where local police and courts failed to prosecute powerful figures due to corruption, it isn't unreasonable to conclude that corruption may have been involved here, too.

    The Standard monopoly was never an extraction monopoly. They didn't own all the oil fields. Standard was a refining monopoly partially supported by a transportation advantage. They obtained their transportation advantage by using the volume of their shipping to negotiate preferential shipping terms from railroads [which should have been perfectly OK, as far as I am concerned] and by controlling all of the regional pipelines. This meant that their advantage [and their monopoly] would collapse if someone else was able to successfully operate a pipeline from the main Pennsylvania extraction area to a refining center. They prevented this from happening, where they could, with good old competition and with payments to holders of rights-of-way - but when that didn't work, they didn't shrink from using violence.

    If Standard had been punished for this behavior and the companies that had attempted to launch competing pipelines had been made whole, the monopoly would have fallen of its own accord and there would not have been a need for federal antitrust legislation.

  • ||

    antitrust lessons:

    1. Markets stop happening when there stop being a multitude of suppliers that act independently of each other. We routinely call things like the cola market "markets," but they are not even close and do not evince much of the invisible hand that make markets so magic.

    2. Redistributing autonomy, part I: I meant redistributing supplier autonomy to the demand side of the market. Antitrust law does this when it decreases supplier's autonomy to co-ordinate, grow or aggeragte, but simultaneously increases the amount of consumer choice.

    3. Redistributing autonomy, part II: No, this is not a discussion for geeks only. Example. Recently I had a H'n'R discussion arguing that fm radio was not a market because there were way too few suppliers. Some Reasoner responded that there was no competition problem because of XM and cds and ipods. Whatta crock! My car has like 50 fm slots. I want some choice. I deserved some choice. I am sure that there were advertisers who would have loved to get to me, too. Instead I got 5 (give or take) stations of crap from 1987 to 2005 and my fm radio has remained off most of the time. That is what happens when markets are consolidated. Yeah, I did eventually get a cd player in the ol' jeepster, but no triumph of demand side autonomy here. So Clear Channel got additional autonomy, basically at the expense of my (and everyone else's) autonomy. What I am saying is that this is not a zero sum game. Clear Channel's additional autonomy to consolidate is a pittance compared to the aggregate autonomy of the disgusted-with-fm-radio crowd taken as a whole.

    4. Perspective: You guys think that Standard Oil and M$ are great examples of typical antitrust. You don't understand the half of it, at least from a policy perspective. When suppliers start co-ordinating, you don't have the invisible hand anymore. You quickly lose anything that can be fairly called a market. I am saying that antitrust should be brought in any time suppliers stop setting their prices substantially independently of each other. This isn't just Standard Oil and M$. Its healthcare, gas, canned beans, you name it. Antitrust doesn't destroy capitalism, rather it is a theoretically neccessary rule to even have capitalism, which capitalism we have lost and are too stupid to realize it. Even A. Smith understood that multiple, redundant *truly independent* decisionmaking is needed on the supply side, even though: (1) supply side consolidation was not such as big issue an issue in Smith's day (no phones, no faxes); and (2) he didn't call it antitrust.

    5. Antitrust -- a dirty word: some of the posters point at that big business has killed antitrust, and some even insinuate that people could get into some kind of trouble for suggesting it be brought back. So, Standard Oil has re-merged, bigger than ever. Yup, and their lobbyists have convinced Congress to obscure blame for 9-11 on the country that funded the bastards and then proceeded to get us into a "mysterious" Iraq. $500 million for alternative energy researh, but $100 billion for the Middle East war chest. All this is why we need antitrust more than ever. Y'alls drawin the wrong lesson.

  • ||

    "for one reason or another"

    Really? "for one reason or another?"

    Why so coy?

    Besides, it's not as though the capacity to own politicians and judges, and the capacity to successfully employ violence as a business tactic without facing legal repercussions, are mutually exclusive.

    But yes, we're in agreement, the Standard Oil monopoly was able to get away flagrantly illegal acts, because they were able to buy off the legal system. Buying off the legal and political systems is always a threat when there is too much concentrated power.

    "If Standard had been punished for this behavior and the companies that had attempted to launch competing pipelines had been made whole, the monopoly would have fallen of its own accord and there would not have been a need for federal antitrust legislation." Yeah, that's great, except for the whole "They prevented this from happening, where they could, with good old competition and with payments to holders of rights-of-way..."

    While outbidding everyone who doesn't have as much cash in hand is certainly less immediately hurtful as using thugs with clubs, the functioning (or mal-) of a market in which competitors are pushed out doesn't really depend on whether they were pushed out by force or by leverage.

  • ||

    Shorter David W: if it doesn't waddle, quack, or swim, it ain't a duck.

  • ||

    Antitrust regulation tends not to create competition. It creates a market for lobbying. The regulatory fixes just don't seem to be all that great.

    It is not a crock to insist that all competing forms are considered before yelling about monopoly power. You can define a market as narrowly as you like until you have a monopoly, but that doesn't really tell you very much. You do not deserve choice. You deserve the right to try to compete and create choice. Failure to provide you with radio stations you like doesn't mean there is a market failure. Part of the whole argument is that absent preferential regulatory treatment, entirely new alternative forms of meeting a demand will arise over time.

    What trust busting tends to do is prop up improbable competitors and create artificial environments where real competition can't take place anyway because one party is always under the threat that if they make a market rocking maneuver, they will get their asses sued.

    It isn't the worst practice in the world, but the nasty public choice considerations around who gets targeted is at a minimum unseemly, and the results aren't very impressive. We can argue all day about what would have happened if Standard Oil had been left alone. Fact is, none of us know. It may have been better for a while or it may have been worse for a while. It is unlikely that either condition would have lasted in perpetuity as long as there was money to be made by a competitor who could break through.

  • ||

    OPEC is as much of a supply side cartel as there is on earth, and they all cheat on agreements to better their individual positions.

  • ||

    So, here are my thoughts on prospects for a libertarian third party movement:

    Tactics: In our system of plurality voting/winner-take-all, there's not much room for a third party to win many elections. Oh, it will happen here and there (e.g. Jesse Ventura) but these things are rare. The best that a third party can do is:

    1) Elect people to local non-partisan offices, where the major parties can't capitalize on their name brand recognition.
    2) Win the occasional partisan office. Rare, but it happens now and then. Several years ago the Greens elected somebody to the CA State Assembly. I think they elected somebody in Maine a few years ago. The LP has elected people to state legislatures here and there.
    3) Make intelligent use of the spoiler effect: Identify particularly egregious major party candidates in close races and try to make them lose by a margin that is smaller than the third party candidate's total. And if it works, after the election contact the winner and remind him or her that the third party captured a bloc of votes large enough to decide the race.

    Or maybe announce this strategy before the election: Say that any incumbent who votes against a tax cut, or for a tax hike, or some other pressing issue, will face a spoiler in the next election. I believe that an LP affiliate in the Pacific Northwest did this with some success a few years ago.

    In any case, focus on races where small numbers are significant.

    A useful complement to this strategy is to add a carrot to the stick: When a decent maverick from a major party comes along, refrain from running a challenger against him. Or, if it's necessary to have somebody on the ballot to secure ballot access for the future, run a low-key candidate who will quietly collect his 0.1% and not raise a fuss.

    Once the power of the stick has been demonstrated (by spoiling a few races), a successful and organized third party can even offer incumbents the chance to become "certified" mavericks: Identify key priorities, reasonable measures (where "reasonable" means more than token but less than purity) and promise to endorse incumbents who vote in favor of priorities, and who vote against the most egregious proposals.

    Strategy: All of the things outlined above are easier if the third party vehicle has a moderate platform. When I say moderate, I don't mean sell-out! I mean a platform that is a significant improvement over the status quo but reasonable enough to be considered in the current political environment, and devoid of the most manifestly kooky ideas. And yes, I know, even a modest libertarian platform would still turn off a lot of voters. That's why above I deliberately identified ideas that don't require huge numbers.

    How to construct such a platform? Well, here's a suggestion: Start by asking yourself which GOP ideas you actually like. Put them on the list. Next, take the best ideas that the ACLU has to offer (notice that I said their BEST ideas, not ALL of their ideas). Oh, and the best ideas that IJ has to offer.

    What else? Well, a genuine committment to spending restraint might be nice. A willingness to support the free market over the interests of big business (when the two conflict) would be nice, and it would win the respect of some liberals. (No, not all liberals, but I began this post by identifying tactics that can work for small numbers.) A socially tolerant demeanor goes a long way electorally.

    Most important, a successful libertarian-style party needs a platform that focuses on "What is the first step toward reform?", rather than "What will libertopia look like when we get there?"

  • Uncle Sam||

    I hate when people use pseudohistory to justify government intervention in the economy.
    The whole mythology of "evil" Standard Oil is what most of us learned from government employees.

  • ||

    thoreau:

    I agree almost completely with the thought process (see my post upthread), but I disagree that the 3rd party is the right way to persue the strategy because there is an element missing in your analysis from my pov - that a whole platform won't be adopted by either of the main coalitions. An ISSUE might be adopted, but a whole platform will not. The extent to which your idea gets adopted relates A) to the constituency you represent that is willing to vote or not on that issue alone and B)to the extent to which you idea is compatible with all major voting blocs currently in the coalition. Each issue you add as a take it or leave it makes you less palatable as a constituency and less likely not to piss off big voting blocs.

    I really think that single issue advocacy is the best way to be heard. If you can get a bunch of people together who will all walk away or vote on a single issue that is not an attack on a large coalition participant, you can win that issue. The NRA does many things wrong, but this they understood. The tactic resulted in a roll back of a government overreach inthe form of the AWB that by all rights never should have gone away. How hard would it have been for the Dems to scream about machineguns flooding the streets? But they didn't because they lost on that issue so badly.

  • ||

    Jason,

    I think that the most important benefit of Anti-Trust laws is not the big breakups we've seen on occasion, but "the dogs that didn't bark."

    Norms are established and most businessmen, being businessment, play by the rules, when there is a broad understanding that there will be pushback against those who act egregiously.

    Discussing anti-trust laws by pointing to the big, famous cases is like discussing the deterrent effect of firearms ownership by pointing to the stories about shootings that make the nooz.

  • ||

    Dave-do you happen to have a link that isn't a .pdf file? I'm interested to read what you posted, but I have a persistent problem with acrobat crashing my computer.

  • ||

    Native NYer,

    We need to take over Dem/Rep parties locally, whichever have control of city hall, so that the party faithful will vote for you out of habit.



    This has actually been a fantasy of mine for quite some time, one I recounted to my girlfriend while reading this thread. If you're actually looking to do this in NYC, send me an email and let's get started.

  • ||

    Jason-

    In my proposal, the single issue aspect is most important for use of the spoiler effect. The rare elected official has to run on a broader platform. The spoiler effect probably would be most useful if in each case the focus is a single issue. However, a third party vehicle might be useful if it builds up some institutional memory and works different issues in different races, depending on what will have the biggest effect under the circumstances.

  • ||

    To elaborate, if a third party has some success using the spoiler effect to block tax increases, and then some people want to use the spoiler effect on some other issue, it makes sense to refrain from re-inventing the wheel.

    Of course, different issues would build somewhat different coalitions. The core of the coalition might be all that would remain from one issue to the next. And the core would probably be more ideologically pure. Which could cause problems...

    So, all of my ideas are predicated on the notion that a sane libertarian-lite party emerges. How to do that? Hell if I know.

  • ||

    Joe / Dave:

    Part of the point of my attempt to relate a historical anecdote was to point out that even in the case of Standard Oil, the "poster child" of claims that harmful monopolies can arise from normal competition, normal competition was not sufficient to bring their monopoly into being or to maintain it.

    You might think it's bad that a competitor with greater assets on hand can outbid other competitors for useful opportunities. I don't really have a problem with that. I actually would have a problem with the opposite implication - that there can be a right to buy something for a lower price than someone else is willing to pay for it.

    The "mal"functioning of a market may not depend on how competitors were pushed out, but your remedy probably should. If Standard hadn't backed up its monopoly with occasional violence, at least one competing pipeline almost certainly would have opened, and the market would not have been "mal"functioning any more.

    I don't have any problem with suppliers combining, because I don't use the convenience of buyers as my sole criterion for deciding whether or not a market is functioning. Unions are "combinations", too. The fact that unions had to be specifically exempted from the antitrust laws should tell you something: namely, that some combinations are more equal than others. I don't have a problem with unions, because I think that no one has an obligation to sell their labor on any particular terms, and if people want to combine into a negotiating unit to secure better terms for the sale of their labor, it's their moral right to do so. The fact that this makes for imperfect competition in the labor market is irrelevant, because perfect competition is not my standard of value. And since I don't acknowledge that there is any conceptual difference between selling your labor and selling a product or service, I am forced to conclude that combinations of other market participants have to be allowed, too.

  • Uncle Sam||

    What are the citable facts of Standard Oil resorting to violence?
    One person related to me about suspicious fires at some of Standard Oil's competitors. However, suspicions are not facts. That is more ligically explained by companies under the gun resorting to auto-arson in order to claim insurance payouts.

    Many of the charges against Standard Oil were made by oil companies that were unable to compete against the innovative production strategies and tactics which made Standard Oil so successful.

  • Uncle Sam||

    And brought down the price of oil to consumers.

  • ||

    "Dave-do you happen to have a link that isn't a .pdf file? I'm interested to read what you posted, but I have a persistent problem with acrobat crashing my computer."

    Here's a Google cache HTML version.

  • ||

    I don't really see what's shocking about what Santorum has said. To my mind he's being more honest then most in the party these days. While others don't say the same things their actions indicate they're in line.

  • ||

    I thought I was the only one who felt both the Republicans and Democrats were a bunch of feeble fucks, stealing our tax money to pay their bucktoothed brats college funds and fill their own liquor cabinets.

    Libertarian though I am, I can't stomach most of the party line... but the alternative is so much, much worse.

  • ||

    Fluffy,
    That is what they want you to think. That is why Bork is not sitting on the Supreme Court now. But one last "consider this." In your mind graph US economic prosperity versus antitrust enforcement and lose that religion.

  • ||

    Dr. t:

    I like your ideas.. I would add that the third party would need to take steps to make it clear that it isn't a tool of either party.

    That's what I think about the Greens. During that whole Nader thing there was talk that the Greens were getting support from the Republicans. I don't know if that's really true or not.. but I do know that the Greens were total tools for "trading votes" with fuckers in other states (where one votes for Nader only in places that are heavily skewed Democrat).. what a complete crock of shit. If you vote for a Democrat, then you are voting for a fucking Democrat. Stop pretending.

  • M1EK||

    dave b,

    "Microsoft cannot stop any other company from making commercial software. They can attempt to bully Dell and HP into only making computers with Windows installed, but if consumers want something other than MS products, then they will vote with their feet and seek out competing products with other operating systems."

    I worked on OS/2, and I call bullshit.

    HTH.

  • M1EK||

    Hak, you're a moron.

    "Yes, there is such a dearth of commercial software out there. *LOL*"

    Yes, as a matter of fact, there is a dearth of commercial software out there. MS basically destroyed competition in office software, browsers, and a few other trivial little niches like that, by using their monopoly position in operating systems to subsidize loss leaders, destroy competition with tie-ins, etc.

    Perhaps you're only 12, or mildly retarded. That's the only excuse for your lack of knowledge of what was once a competitive marketplace with multiple non-Microsoft options.

  • ||

    thoreau:

    "So, all of my ideas are predicated on the notion that a sane libertarian-lite party emerges. "

    I agree, and I'm something of a skeptic. If we try to imagine such a coalition, there are certain folks you know for a fact will be ruled out. Objectivists come to mind. H&R contains a very broad cross-section of libertarian types. I wonder if we could even imagine a functional coaltion of commenters.

    I mean, there are times when I find myself in pretty strong agreement with RC Dean, and that in and of itself is horrifying to many other commenters. The big issue would be the war, of course. I don't think we could put together a coalition to do any one thing if it meant that one side or the other had to advance the interests of a coalition that was 'wrong' on the war.

    Hak, for another example, is probably as unlikely to bend on the Republican coalition's dislike for alternative lifestyles as I am unlikely to bend on an expressed Dem attack on self defence.

    Hmm, maybe what we need is not a party, but two issue coalitions representing left libertarianism and right libertarianism (I hate those characterizations, but I can't come up with a better way to describe differences between someone like you and someone like me). These issue advocacy groups choose a single issue to advance under threat of withholding their votes from their affiliated coalition. The left could persue a social issue and the right could persue an economic issue. Whoever wins, we get at least something. We could meet in secret to strategize our issue advocacy, and capitalize on any complementarity in the two issues.

    Now, if my math is right, all we need is 10 times more libertarians than there actually are on earth so we can still be effective after dividing our voting power by 2 ...

  • M1EK||

    All the navel-gazing about the national elections is stupid when there's races that can be won at the local level (some of which are in non-winner-take-all contests; some of which aren't). I vote libertarian for judge every chance I get (quite often around these parts the only candidate running against the Republican is a LP).

    As some have half-heartedly pointed out, all a 3rd party does in a winner-take-all race where there are 2 other credible candidates is ensure that the candidate farthest away from you wins.

  • ||

    As some have half-heartedly pointed out, all a 3rd party does in a winner-take-all race where there are 2 other credible candidates is ensure that the candidate farthest away from you wins.

    No. Your 3d party vote does not ensure that the candidate furthest from you wins. The person who wins was going to win without your vote, without the votes of people you canvassed, and etc.

    Also, you ignore the good part of 3d party voting, which is that every libertarian votes makes libertarian candidates more viable in future. If you can't influence the current election (and you can't no matter how local), you may as well influence future elections.

  • ||

    Jason-

    You make a good point on the war, but on domestic issues that incredibly divisive issue is largely moot. There are still differences of emphasis, of course, but at least that one polarizing issue is out of the way.

    As to holding one's nose while cooperating with the "other guys": The strange yet beautiful thing about a spoiler strategy is that you can defeat "them" by appealing to "them." If you want to see a gun-grabbing candidate lose, then take votes away by talking about civil liberties and other left-libertarian (for lack of a better term) issues. If Hak wants to see a socially conservative candidate lose, then talk about guns and taxes and take votes away.

    And you can cut it both ways. I think the stick part of a spoiler strategy should be an easier sell to libertarians. The carrot part is harder: Sometimes you refrain from running a spoiler in order to encourage good behavior, and everybody will have their own thresholds and lines that cannot be crossed.

    Of course, my notion is a moderate party that goes well beyond H&R notions of what a libertarian should be. My notion is a party that is socially tolerant, spends less money, promotes market-based reforms (even when the market isn't what the Big Guys want), respects privacy, and is FIRST AND FOREMOST MODERATE ON THESE ISSUES!!! i.e. talk about cutting taxes, don't talk about blowing up the IRS. Talk about letting citizens who pass a safety class carry concealed (which is still more regulation than some would like, I know), don't have a debate over private ownership of nuclear weapons. Talk about the Patriot Act and medical pot, not "standing up to the jackboots!" and crack in vending machines. If you want to get esoteric and environmental, talk about encouraging conservation by privatizing water (the Economist frequently beats this drum, and points out that even France has private water), don't talk about ending all environmental regulations. And so forth.

    How to achieve this? I have no clue.

  • ||

    To be clear, when I mentioned domestic issues in my first paragraph above I should have said that I was mostly concerned with state legislative races, where the cost of a campaign is usually smaller.

  • ||

    Is there any reason to believe that libertarian politicians, if elected, would be effective in bringing about libertarian reforms? A typical libertarian reform would most likely involve taking a large concentrated benefit away from one group in order to grant a very small benefit to the great masses. I think I remember from my political science classes that this is self-defeating legislative behavior.

  • ||

    Is there any reason to believe that libertarian politicians, if elected, would be effective in bringing about libertarian reforms? A typical libertarian reform would most likely involve taking a large concentrated benefit away from one group in order to grant a very small benefit to the great masses. I think I remember from my political science classes that this is self-defeating legislative behavior.

    If true, then we need some reforms to change that dynamic. Taxing lobbying activities with a big fat sin tax would be a good start. A million in taxes for 20 min of face time with a Senator sounds about right to me. Right into the general fund. Politicians making us money instead of sucking it all up.

  • M1EK||

    Dave W,

    "No. Your 3d party vote does not ensure that the candidate furthest from you wins. The person who wins was going to win without your vote, without the votes of people you canvassed, and etc.

    Also, you ignore the good part of 3d party voting, which is that every libertarian votes makes libertarian candidates more viable in future. If you can't influence the current election (and you can't no matter how local), you may as well influence future elections."

    Nader elected Bush in 2000. I'm sorry, but your theory fails the real-world test.

  • ||

    Nader may have elected Bush (that's debatable), but no individual libertarian voter elected Bush. For each libertarian voter the relevant question is: will *my* vote have an impact. The answer is clearly no. Even in Florida. Even in 2000.

  • ||

    thoreau for president!

  • M1EK||

    Dave W,

    While the libertarian voters in Florida didn't make the difference in 2000, they could make the difference in (insert state) in 2008.

    In a winner-take-all system, voting for the candidate who is clearly going to finish 3rd is stupid. STUPID STUPID STUPID. How much more obvious can this be? All you ensure is that your favorite of the two front-runners now has a slightly LOWER chance of winning.

    All the jawflapping about how this moves candidates towards the (third party) issue is a load of crap. It hasn't happpened and probably never will - there's still far more fertile ground in poaching the middle than in picking up oddballs.

  • ||

    In a winner-take-all system, voting for the candidate who is clearly going to finish 3rd is stupid. STUPID STUPID STUPID. How much more obvious can this be? All you ensure is that your favorite of the two front-runners now has a slightly LOWER chance of winning.

    No. Your vote, no matter how cast, doesn't slightly LOWER the chance of winning. It negligibly lowers it. And I do mean negligible, in the sense of zero, probablistically speaking. Because your vote has zero influence on the election outcome, it makes sense to think about other effects (3d party visibility, 3d party viability, 3d party ballot presence) that are less negligible.

    If your vote made other individuals liklier to vote your way, and their votes in turn made it liklier that still others would be influenced by your initial example, then I would be with you. But that is not how it works. Others may be influence by how you *say* you are going to vote, but they are not influenced by your actual vote. They can't even ever be sure they know how you voted.


    Anyway, I like Ron House's idea about giving lottery ticket with your ballot so your vote will matter.

  • ||

    1st para of my previous post should be italic

  • ||

    In a winner-take-all system, voting for the candidate who is clearly going to finish 3rd is stupid.In a winner-take-all system, voting for the candidate who is clearly going to finish 3rd is stupid.

    Why, do you get some kind of prize for voting for the candidate who wins? Is it cool to be part of the "in-crowd".

    All you ensure is that your favorite of the two front-runners now has a slightly LOWER chance of winning.

    I have to go back a long way to find an election where I cared whether a Repugnicon or a Dimmycrap won. And I realize now that that was because I was young and not very bright.

    No single vote has any effect on the outcome of a national election.

  • Uncle Sam||

    So MS has made Firefox, Thunderbird, and various versions of linux impossible?

  • ||

    Nope. they just slowed them down as much as possible. There seems to be an illusion that any modicum of competition is a market, is capitalism. However, Adam Smith's theory demands a lot more than this. A lot more.

  • ||

    specifically, by "slowed them down" I mean by excercising contractual, vertical control over the hardware makers so that Linux will not run easily on a desktop.

    I know. I am fairly good at computers and have many of them. I made a substantial effort to get a Linux system going, but every machine had driver problems that were not easily resolvable, at least at the time. Can I prove that these compatibility problems were caused by M$? Alas, no. I don't have subpoena power. But I know they were.

  • M1EK||

    Uncle Sam,

    Firefox and Thunderbird are neat, and I'm glad they're around. But don't fool yourself - they aren't 'competition' because NOBODY PAYS FOR THEM.

    A real commercial browser's primary motive would be solving the needs of the people with the money. There is a lucky intersection right now between the motive behind FF/TB and that, but it's nothing more than luck; most open-source projects are NOT that good for end-users.

    (BTW, after MS killed Netscape by making browsers free and built-in, Netscape continued to release "a browser", but it sucked like a Hoover because at that point their only reason for existence was to drive people to AOL.).

    Would we be better today if NS were still around in its original sense, charging for browsers? Yes, damn straight we would.

  • ||

    Dave W.

    Now you're moving into tin-foil hat area. The reason Linux kernel-based systems have driver problems with desktop computers is that hardware manufacturers don't want to publish the specs of their hardware because those specs are company proprietary. And they don't want to spend the time writing drivers for a kernel that only 1-3% of the market is ever going to see. Let's say they have to devote two engineers writing the drivers for a Linux Kernel (multiple versions, perhaps) for a month. That's probably in the five-figure range of direct costs. Would writing those drivers get back more than that in extra sales? I would suspect that most manufacturers calculate they wouldn't. So, you expect hardware manufacturers to eat those costs? I wouldn't expect them to.

    BTW, I'm no computer guru, but I have never had a problem installing Linux kernel based O/Ss, especially the recent distros (Slackware in the mid to late '90s, SuSE since 2000) on non-cutting edge hardware. I still don't have drivers for my HP scanner (2630 ScanJet, I think) or the Sound Blaster Live! that's in my latest machine, but that's no big deal to me. I could swap out the sound card any time, I am just too cheap right now. And I don't think HP is too concerned about making their hardware incompatible with anything but Windows. Why go to the extra work?

  • ||

    Shawn,
    I think you overestimate how tough it is to write a driver. I know that if I had ever seen a printer or disk drive or modem or whatever box that said "LINUX drivers included," I would place some non-negligible value on that as a buyer. Seriously. I would pay more even now. I would have paid more, even before I tried to switch to LINUX. Still, I never see this (esp back in 2001-2 when I was trying to go LINUX).

    Of course its 1-3% of the market! You install LINUX and your floppy drive (remember, 2001), modem and printer stops working. That is a great way to keep LINUX at 1-3% and that is what happened. What is still happening.

    Anyway, your theory that the cost of writing code outweighs the premium that ppl like me would pay for the driver-enhanced hdwr is speculative and I am speculating that it is not the reflective of the cost-benefit analysis in the executives' heads at the hardware makers.

  • ||

    Floppy drive not working? WTF? Was it in a laptop? IDE drives (floppy, hard, and later, CD/DVD) have been pretty solid since the 1.2.* kernel days ('98 timeframe). WinModems were well-known to be a huge problem, and I wouldn't put too much faith in any hardware that was advertised as "certified for Windows" working with other OSs (including OS/2, btw.)

    I'm sorry you had such a tough time installing GNU/Linux, but I'm not convinced that it was because Microsoft told the hw manufacturers to make sure no other OS would work with those devices. I believe you overestimate the value that most consumers would put as to which operating system a computer is running. Most just want to play games, read e-mail, browse the internet, download music, write letters, watch movies, or make lists. Of course, I could be wrong about that, in which case you point is quite valid.

    My one month estimate for writing a device driver was to cover the time to code for various versions of the Linux kernel and producing all the extraneous paperwork that most professional software development usually requires. It could be high or low, depending on the device. I have read Allesandro Rubini's book, so I am vaguely familiar with what's required to write a device driver, even though I haven't done it myself.

    P.S. What's with the "LINUX" instead of Linux, or GNU/Linux, or Red Hat, or Mandrake, or SuSE, or Debian, etc.? Just curious.

  • Uncle Sam||

    Thunderbird and Firefox are competition in that people are opting to use them.
    However, they aren't competition to the MS OS.

    The reason MS became dominant is because Apple went for the monopoly schtick. MS aimed for business, Apple aimed for the home and educational environments. MS only made software, Apple made the whole system.
    Cheap hardware from Taiwan, and now China, Appl still made in good ol' USA.

    If you don't like MS, don't buy and quit complaining.

  • ||

    "Considering where his "tradition" has put us, I am inclined to tell anyone that supports it to shove it up their ass."

    Sounds like just the sort of thing Santorum wants banned.

    And what in the hell is this business about certain elements of the Right having moved too far to the right? The way he phrases it, it almost sounds like he's trying to insinuate that he's talking about...the libertarians? No. I have to be reading this wrong....

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